Sunday (or Monday) Supper: Grilled or Broiled Leg of Lamb

Start with my Grilled Lebanese Flatbread from this week’s Minimalist, add grilled or broiled leg of lamb and a minty yogurt sauce, and you’ve got one seriously good Sunday (or Labor Day) Supper. Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Grilled or Broiled Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Makess: At least 6 servings

Time: About 40 minutes

There’s really little point in grilling a bone-in leg of lamb, especially since butterflied leg is now often sold in supermarkets. It’s not cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, and it’s delicious, tender, and easy to cook. Even the uneven thickness is an asset: Cook the thickest parts to rare and you also get meat that is cooked to medium, which is still quite moist and tender, so everyone’s happy.

One to 3- to 4-pound butterflied leg of lamb

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Lemon wedges for serving

1. Heat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler until quite hot and put the rack at least 4 inches from the heat source. (Delay this step until you’re just about ready to cook if you choose to marinate the meat.) Trim the lamb of any excess fat. Mix together the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and some salt and pepper; rub this mixture well into the lamb, being sure to get some into all the crevices. If you have the time, let the lamb sit for at least an hour (refrigerate if it will be much longer).

2. Grill or broil the meat (best done in a roasting pan with a rack) until it is nicely browned, even a little charred, on both sides, about 20 to 30 minutes; the internal temperature at the thickest part will be about 125°F; this will give you some lamb that is quite rare and some that is nearly well done. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly, as you would a thick steak. Garnish and serve with lemon wedges.


Minty Yogurt Sauce

Makes: 1 cup

Time: 3 minutes

1 cup yogurt, preferably whole milk

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 chopped fresh mint

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly squeezed lemon juice if necessary

1. Combine the yogurt with the garlic, mint, a pinch of salt, and a grinding or two of pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding some lemon juice if necessary.

2. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a few hours; bring back to near room temperature before serving.



Posted in Recipes

Crazy Cukes


By Kerri Conan 

These are the best field cucumbers ever. Fighting words to be sure. But after growing lemon, Armenian, bush champion, sweet marketmore, and Mideast prolific Sean and I know what we like. And this summer we’re high on Poona Kheera

The pulp-to-flesh ratio is not too important to us, since we remove the seeds before eating anyway. Overall crispness is way more valuable. And any cuke that keeps cranking all summer long—despite the heat, the beetles, and the threat of disease—will be our BCF. The Poona (which comes from India) fires on all cylinders: You can eat them when they’re pickler-size or when they grow to over a pound. The flavor is clean and slightly sweet (like limestone spring water) and the texture is super crunchy. So they’re a lot like eating melons. 

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Posted in Produce

How to Cook Everything iAPP Now Only $1.99


Starting today at 3pm (EST) and ending Monday, you can buy the best-selling How to Cook Everything iPhone application for only $1.99 (down from it’s normal $4.99). The whole book (2,000 recipes) for $1.99? You do the math.

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Mark Bittman Books

Amazon Con?


I’m a heavy user of Amazon. It’s not that I like them, but I find them invaluable – the combination of nearly everything I ever want at decent prices with “free” shipping just makes it the most convenient way for me to shop.  

But this right here is bad. The big, powerful, 14-cup Cuisinart food processor has a list price, per Cuisinart, of $279. Amazon is selling it for $254 – okay, fine, you’re not going to get a better deal than that. But they claim the list price is $500, so you think you’re saving almost 50 percent – and you’re not.  

This follows on the heels of Virginia Heffernan’s musings about whether Amazon displays different prices to different customers.  

Not that we should expect any more of Amazon than of any other retailer, which is to say they’ll get away with whatever they think they can get away with. I’m just saying: Heads up.

Posted in Behind The Scenes



By Edward Schneider

Look at the pictures above, of the chicken house at Flying Pigs Farm in upstate New York. 

Now read this.

Do you see why those who have recently been deriding “locavores” as cranks are missing the point? It isn’t always about carbon footprint or ideology: it is often just about plain good food.

Posted in Farming

I CAN Believe It’s Not Butter


By Daniel Meyer

I was going to post this picture without comment. Butter-flavored syrup (which clearly contains no traces of actual butter) is a product just ridiculous enough to not require introduction or description. Or so I thought. But then I tasted it. 

The problem with Krasdale’s “buttery” syrup is not that it’s totally repulsive, but that it’s kind of delicious (in the same way that Top Ramen with two seasoning packets is delicious). I have parted ways with many of my childhood food desires, but there must still be a portion of my tongue (if not my brain) that remains susceptible to these crunchy-salty, sugary-sweet lab experiments that all-too-often pass as “food”, especially to kids. 

I am fortunate to enough to be able to cut myself off from butter-flavored syrup after just one drop, as tasty a drop as it was, because I know that it’s horrible for me, that there’s such a thing as real maple syrup that comes from trees, and that you can make your own (much better) version of Krasdale’s product by melting a pat of real butter in real syrup. But imagine if you weren’t lucky enough to know those things. You might never see a reason to stop. And that’s even more alarming than butter-flavored syrup itself. 

Posted in Food Politics

Garden Candy


By Edward Schneider 

I’ve said before that it gives me a thrill to pick and immediately cook produce from my father-in-law’s garden in the UK. I’m a city boy and the son of city folk: my father was born on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and, although my mother’s parents kept a few chickens in their yard outside Czestochowa, Poland, their emigration to Brooklyn when my mother was twelve marked the end of animal husbandry for them. So, I am innately ignorant of tilling the soil. My limbs, like those of Mrs. Sullen in George Farquhar’s 1707 comedy The Beaux’ Stratagem, were not made for leaping of ditches and clambering over stiles. Much less for hoeing and weeding. 

But I’ve long harbored the illusion that, apart from die-hard Londoners (who are just as bad as us New Yorkers), Britons are universally garden-mad and raised to be familiar with small-scale agriculture centered on a quarter-acre behind the house or in a public plot (an allotment). Some of you who have read more than a few of my posts will know that Jackie’s father has always been an enthusiastic horticulturalist whose big garden yields everything from fennel to rhubarb to elderflowers. Granted, when he bought the house, back in the 1950s in a then-new suburban development, he picked the one with the largest garden, but all the houses in his neighborhood sit on pretty substantial parcels of arable land.  

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Posted in Farming

Sunday Supper: Pasta with Pork Ribs

If after a summer of barbecue you’re looking for something else to do with those spare ribs, this pasta will do them justice (and then some).  Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 11/2hours

One of my favorite pasta recipes, a Neapolitan specialty—taught to me by my old friend Andrea—that can make just a few ribs go a long way.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small dried hot red chiles (optional)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 to 8 meaty spareribs, separated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with the juice

1 pound ziti, penne, or other cut pasta

Freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

1. Put the oil in a deep, broad saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chiles if you’re using them and the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the ribs and raise the heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs have browned and given off some of their fat, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands, and add them to the pot.

2. Turn the heat to medium or medium-low—enough to maintain a nice steady bubbling, but nothing violent. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs are very tender, nearly falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Remove the chiles from the sauce if you used them. (You can make the dish ahead to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Gently reheat before proceeding.)

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. Drain it and sauce it; serve a rib or two to each diner along with the pasta.Pass the grated cheese at the table if you like.


Posted in Italian, Recipes

No More Foreign Oil!


By Kerri Conan 

This time of year, Kansas is usually lousy with sunflowers. Precisely what you’d expect from “the sunflower state.” Several small-headed varieties grow from ditches and cracks in the pavement, while fields of commodity plants—with their massive faces and sturdy stalks—bow in the wind like a battalion of chorus lines. Here in the eastern part of the state, where the weather has been strange even for tornado alley, we’re not getting many blooms this year. Fortunately, our co-op in Lawrence started carrying local sunflower oil this summer: So everything is coming up golden in the kitchen. 

Bainter is the producer, from the small town of Hoxie. Maybe I’m stretching the standard “local” radius a bit. But in this case—since single-source cooking oil is a rare foodstuff in America—I’m counting 333 miles across my beloved state as nearby. Bainter oil isn’t cold pressed, but claims to be refined without chemical solvents. I believe it. The slightly cloudy color is the shade of melted butter, with a moderately assertive balance of grassy, floral, and nutty flavors. The viscosity doesn’t turn your mouth furry. And to my pleasant surprise the oil doesn’t smoke, burn, or go bitter when super-heated. If you have to ask about the price, you can afford it. This is the Midwest after all. Check out the company website. (And while you’re there, feel free to add a piece of Bainter’s patented hydraulic farm equipment to your shopping cart.) 

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Posted in American