Friday, July 23, 2010

Grilled Lamb and Summer Squash Soup

My girlfriends came up from San Diego a few weeks ago and I promised them a delicious dinner. Since I had all day Friday off to plan, I decided to make things that were seasonal and I had never personally made before. Our dinner consisted of grilled lamb "lollipops" (recipe came from a coworker who made this at a work BBQ a few weeks prior), summer squash soup with cumin brown butter (from 101cookbooks), artichokes, and a mixed greens salad with farmers market tomatoes and home grown cucumbers from my garden. We had a day of wine tasting planned, so none of these recipes are super complex...just takes a little prior planning. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Grilled Lamb

1 "frenched" cut rack of lamb
1 bottle decent zinfandel- I used Trader Joe's organic
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 T fresh oregano
1/4 c olive oil

Clean lamb and trim any excess fat. Mix all ingredients and marinate overnight in a shallow glass pan. If you can start marinating in the morning, this should prob suffice, it just needs a long soak in the vino.
Preheat the barbecue to med high. Grill the lamb fat side down for 12 minutes, turn and cook until desired doneness (we did about 5 more minutes for pink, but not super rare). Cover in foil and let rest at least 5 min, cut in between bones. we had some flare ups due to the olive oil/fat combination. Dave ended up bbqing it over foil after he got some initiall grill marks on this and it worked great.

Buttermilk Squash Soup (care of 101cookbooks)

1 t cumin seeds
1/4 c butter
sea salt

3 T butter
2 med yellow onions, chopped
2 med garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 lbs yellow summer squash
4 c vegetable stock
1 c buttermilk
1 bunch chives, finely chopped

In your smallest frying pan, over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant. Just a minute or two. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the seeds into a fine powder. (If you don't have this, you can leave them still tastes good). Set aside. In the same skillet, melt the butter and cook until it's brown. Remove from heat, stir the cumin into the butter along with a couple pinches of salt, then set aside in a warm place. You want the butter to stay liquid until you're ready to use it.

To make the soup, heat the butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and a bit of salt. Saute for a few minutes, or until the onions start to get translucent. Stir in the potatoes and squash and cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until the squash starts to soften up. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of the stock (most of it) - the stock should just barely cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, roughly another 25 minutes. Remove the soup from heat, puree completely with a hand blender, then stir in the buttermilk. If you need to thin the soup out with a bit more stock, you can do so. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve each bowl topped with plenty of the cumin butter, and a sprinkling of chives.

Since the initial making of this soup, I couldn't get enough of it and made another batch. It hold up really nicely in the fridge, which makes it a great thing to prepare ahead of time if needed.

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