May 09, 2010

Week 11: Fava Fritters and Lamb Kofta

Our week 11 meal was middle eastern themed. Two of the dishes on our todo list, from Jamie Oliver's book Jamie at Home, looked like they'd pair well together, so we decided to do both. The first dish was fava bean fritters, which were similar to falafel but made from fava beans. The second was lamb kofta kebabs, a wrap of spiced, grilled lamb.

For the fritters, I picked up the fava beans at the Thursday farmer's market near work. The recipe came together relatively easily. Peeling fava beans can be labor intensive, but with Emily's help it went quickly. Emily also put together the yogurt sauce and formed the quenelles. They fried up nicely. The outside was nice and crisp, but they were softer and creamier inside than is typical of falafel. I don't know if this was intended, but the contrast in textures was nice.

The second course was the lamb kofta. Ground lamb is mixed with thyme, cayenne, cumin, and sumac, formed onto skewers and grilled. I was looking forward to this dish because I'd never worked with sumac before, although I've had it in dishes at Loló, a local mexican-turkish restaurant. I only made a couple of minor tweaks to the recipe: I substituted almonds for the pistachios (due to allergies), and I used the lemon/mint yogurt from the fava recipe rather than straight yogurt. The resulting dish was quite good. We want to make it again soon but haven't made time yet.

Week 10: Empanada

Our tenth weekly dish was a little bit of a failure. I made the Empanada from Batali's book Spain - On the Road Again. The recipe called for 25-30 minutes of cooking at 450º. After about 15 minutes, I turned on the oven light and peered through the door to check progress. (I didn't want to let the heat out.) It looked like the empanada hadn't browned at all, which concerned me a little. I checked again at the 30 min mark and saw at it still hadn't browned, so I added another 15 minutes. This time it looked slightly colored, so I opened the door and found that it was deeply browned. The tinted glass in the door had completely masked it. By this time it was way overcooked, but still edible.

Aside from being overdone, the dish was good. The filling was quite hearty—just chorizo, pancetta, onion, and red bell pepper. The crust, of course, was a bit dry. We will give it another try someday, but it may be a while until we get around to it.