cumin

Cumin Lamb with Sichuan Peppercorns

by Anne Maxfield on May 6, 2019

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s because the one decent Chinese restaurant closed, but I’ve been on kind of an Oriental run lately and this lamb dish, was part of it. Serves 4:

Cumin Lamb with Sichuan Peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan or regular peppercorns
  • 1 pound boneless lamb
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 to 8 dried red chiles (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 bunch (about 8) scallions, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Chinese cooking sherry or dry sherry
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast cumin seeds and peppercorns until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush lightly.

Slice meat across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick strips. Toss meat with crushed spices, ground cumin, salt and dried chiles.

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb MixPeel onion and halve it through the root end. Trim the ends and cut each half lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut white and light green parts of scallions into 2-inch lengths. Thinly slice scallion greens; keep separate.

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb PrepHeat a very large skillet or wok over high heat until screaming hot, about 5 minutes. Add oil. Toss in onion and the scallion bottoms. Cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are lightly charred but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add lamb and chiles to skillet. Cook, tossing quickly, until meat begins to brown. Add garlic, soy sauce and sherry. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and lamb is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Toss in onions and scallion bottoms. Remove from heat and mix in cilantro and scallion greens. Serve hot, over rice and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb CookingMy verdict: Another “you can make this anytime” from Frank. It’s hot but not killer, most of the heat coming from the Sichuan peppercorns. If you don’t have them, it will work with regular peppercorns, but won’t have the interesting kick you get from the Sichuan ones.

Since it was close to Easter when I made this, I was able to find a nice small piece of boneless leg of lamb which worked well, but if you don’t mind working around the bones, shoulder chops would work, and are generally a lot less expensive.

I didn’t have any peanut oil, so just used regular vegetable oil and it worked fine. You don’t want olive oil here, because you’re using high heat. Same story with the Chinese cooking sherry—just use dry sherry if you have it.

As you can see from the top photo, we had some green beans in the fridge, so I just tossed them in when I added the lamb and chiles.

 

 

Share

{ 2 comments }

Roasted Cauliflower With Cumin

by Anne Maxfield on March 31, 2016

Accidental Locavore Roasted Cauliflowe With RibsMy friend Rob, had this recipe on his Facebook feed and the Accidental Locavore thought it looked great. It came from a new cookbook, Made in India, which I promptly added to my bookshelf (floor actually) and am glad I did (even though I always swear, no more cookbooks, it was justified by donating a bunch to the local library).  This serves 4, but you can scale it up or down depending on the size of your cauliflower.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, about 1 ½ pounds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two sheet pans with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and set aside.

Wash the cauliflower and pull off the leaves. Break the cauliflower into small florets and set aside. Steam the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water and blanch for a minute or microwave for about 2-3 minutes. Drain it really well and let it dry for about 5 minutes.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds with the salt then add the chile powder and turmeric, followed by the oil. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can run the cumin and salt through a spice (coffee) grinder and put it in a small bowl with the chile powder, turmeric and oil. Mix well.

Accidental Locavore Cauliflower Before RoastingPut the cauliflower on the sheet pans in one layer and drizzle the oil over it. Toss to make sure the cauliflower is well coated. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, shaking the pans every 10 minutes to ensure it browns evenly. Put cooked cauliflower in a bowl or platter and squeeze the lemon over it. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict:  This is going to be has become one of my go-to dishes! Delicious, simple and easily tweaked. Since I was making Mexican spare ribs, I used lime instead of lemon to give it more of a Mexican flavor and they were perfect together. I steamed the cauliflower in the microwave—it’s faster and rather than getting oil in my mortar and pestle, ground and mixed the spices, then put them in a measuring cup and added the oil. That made it easier to drizzle over the cauliflower before roasting. Since I wrote this I’ve done broccoli the same way, this time with lemon (and I let the steamed broccoli marinate for a few hours in the oil) and it was great!Accidental Locavore Roasted Broccoli With Cumin

 

 

Share

{ 4 comments }

Spiced, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

by Anne Maxfield on October 29, 2015

Accidental Locavore PumpkinsEver since the Accidental Locavore was a girl, I’ve loved roasted pumpkin seeds. Actually, to be perfectly honest, it’s anything salty and crunchy that gets my attention. Since a friend of mine was going to be doing a bunch of pumpkins for Halloween, I asked for and got all the pumpkin seeds, delivered straight from the pumpkin, slimy parts and all. Once you’ve cleaned the seeds, this is an easy recipe:

  • The seeds from 1 or more pumpkins (butternut squash works well too)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons Za’atar, Turkish spice blend, or any spice blend you like

Accidental Locavore Raw Pumpkin SeedsPreheat the oven to 325° degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper. Place the pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and fill with cool water. Agitate the seeds with your hand until the slimy pumpkin stuff starts to separate. It will sink to the bottom of the bowl. When the seeds are clean, scoop them up with a slotted spoon and spread them out to dry on a clean dish towel.

Accidental Locavore Spiced Pumpkin SeedsPat them dry and put in a bowl with the olive oil and salt. Toss to coat. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Stir and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown and crunchy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with your choice of spices. Taste and add more spices and salt as needed. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Roasted Spiced Pumpkin SeedsMy verdict: I did two batches, one with a Turkish spice blend (cumin, peppercorns and Aleppo pepper) I found in the cabinet and one with a za’atar mix. They were both really good. The za’atar had the traditional sesame seeds in it, which were great with the pumpkin seeds. The Turkish blend was a little spicier and also really good. I let my seeds dry overnight so they would be good and crunchy. If you can use a dish towel for them to dry on, it works better than paper towels, which tend to stick to the seeds. I also saved and froze in one-cup packs a couple of bags for future projects (like pumpkin seed brittle), so stay tuned.

 

Share

{ 2 comments }

Lunch Chez Claudette

by Anne Maxfield on August 11, 2014

Accidental Locavore Claudette InteriorThere is a rumor floating around Manhattan that the space at 24 Fifth Avenue is cursed for restaurants. It’s too expensive a piece of real estate, in the heart of Greenwich Village, to be taking a chance on survival. The Accidental Locavore had lunch at the most recent incarnation, Claudette, a Provençal spot that opened recently.

It’s a very pleasant room, airy, whitewashed, full of hard surfaces and totally unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Provence (but, hey, there’s a lot of Provence, I’ve yet to visit). The staff is young, attractive and attentive. The menu, while concise, is physically large, with two of them fighting for space, on a table for two.

Accidental Locavore Lamb SaladI had the lamb salad – listed as an hors d’oeuvre, but which, with frites, made for an ample lunch. My friend had the Provençal chicken salad and helped with the fries.

The lamb was interesting – think of pulled pork but substitute lamb (my guess would be a shank), nicely flavored, and tossed with a minimum of frisse, a few chickpeas (literally three) and slices of the majority of an apricot, although the menu listed asparagus. The sherry vinaigrette could have used some more acid to balance out the richness of the lamb and I thought the salad was over-dressed (so not French!). Usually, I’m not a fan of fruit in a salad, however the apricots were beautiful and tasted great, so I’m allowed to make exceptions, right?

Accidental Locavore Chicken and Carrot SaladMy friend’s salad was chunks of white-meat chicken on a bed of greens, with ribbons of carrots (lots of them) and almost a crumble of ground pistachios and bulgur. The dressing was an orange vinaigrette with a lot of cumin. Cumin played a surprisingly large role in all of the dishes we had; it was in my lamb, her chicken (a lot!) and even in the fries.

Accidental Locavore Claudette FritesWe make a lot of assumptions about French food, one of them being that if someone is trying hard to replicate France in New York (or anyplace else), they’re going to have good frites. These looked good, in a paper cone, but were not hot, crispy, or salty enough. They were tossed in ras el hanout, a Moroccan blend of warm spices. Sounds good on paper, but fries with even a tinge of cinnamon are definitely weird. That plus the omnipresent cumin pretty much ruined the fries.

We split a piece of cheese for dessert that the waitress forgot to tell us was a blue cheese, but it was fine and came with some nice crusty bread and a fig compote. This lunch for two, with two glasses of rosé and a coffee was about $100, but could easily have been higher – remember you are on Fifth Avenue.

If you didn’t expect Claudette to be French, and more specifically Provençal, you would probably enjoy it. It leans more towards Morocco, with the use of spices, a lot of the dishes, the tiled walls and the tajines on display. This is not a bad thing, just not as marketable (or mark-upable) as France, I guess.

 

Share

{ 2 comments }