Spring Couscous with Ras El Hanout Lamb Leg
I found a packet of a North African seasoning called ras el hanout seasoning at Bi-Rite and I wanted to try it because the mixture of spices was so interesting and complex. Ras el hanout typically consists of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek, and turmeric but some mixes — the one I used — also include lavender. Together, these spices create a very aromatic, warm, and slightly chocolately flavour. This seasoning compliments gamey meats, like lamb, quite well.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Fennel and Mint
I love roasted vegetables. It’s so simple, healthy, and flavorful if you pick and choose the right combinations and seasonings. One of the seasonings that I’ve been really interested in playing with is a mix called baharat. This mix of spices is typically used to season meats in Arab cuisine but it’s pretty damn tasty on roasted vegetables — like the roasted cauliflower salad in the picture below — in my opinion.
The baharat mix I used consisted of allspice, pepper, cardamom seeds, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg, and paprika, but it actually varies by region. In the recipe for this cauliflower salad, I used a variation of the Turkish baharat as opposed to the Tunisian version which uses rosebuds; I just don’t care for rose flavoring. I tried to get into rosebud and rosewater with some cookie and cocktail recipes I experimented years ago which is why I have a four year old bottle of rosewater in my pantry. I should probably get rid of that, huh?
One of my favorite side dishes are smashed potatoes. My friend Dave makes the best smashed potatoes IMHO but he uses a fryer. I would use a fryer except *ahem* a certain someone took it to the restaurant and has yet to bring it back home.
Instead of frying them, mine are baked until they’re crispy. In my opinion, I think these are just as good as the fried ones because they’re not as greasy. I do not want to know what Dave has to say about this because he’s probably shaking his head at me halfway across the country.
The weather was really AMAZING this weekend and I can’t wait to spend the next weekend on our porch with a good book to read, a cold cocktail on hand (specifically, this refreshing blackberry smash cocktail), and a snuggly Bacon by my side. I wish we had enough space for a hammock…
I can’t believe I just said all that. The weather in Minnesota has been so shitty lately — Snow in April? What is this nonsense? — that it’s made me romanticize spring and summer a little more than I should. I definitely have a case of the spring fever.
Old Bay Potato Chips
Do you like potato chips? Single serving things? Stuff that isn’t greasy? Things that are easy to make? Well, if you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you’ll probably like these microwave potato chips.
I’ve been trying really hard to not buy junk food but I still get the potato chip cravings every once in awhile. I usually just want a little bit, and I really don’t want to be tempted by a huge bag of chips. I will eat the whole thing in one day. These homemade chips are just as tasty and crunchy as those big ol’ bag o’ chips. One potato solves your chip craving and most importantly, these chips are not greasy.
For the seasoning, I used Old Bay because it’s an old obsession that won’t die although you can pretty much season it with whatever you want: salt and pepper, parmesan, cayenne pepper…the possibilities are endless.