Barbara always cooks Lamb

Chocolate Favors on the Holiday Table

I’ve mentioned our foodie group here before, three couples who love to cook for each other (and eat together) 3-4 times a year.  Last Friday night we had a special holiday dinner and extended our hospitality, our love of wine and food, our laughter, our politics, our general craziness to another couple. So eight of us gathered and enjoyed an Indian inspired dinner. Barbara and Michael were our hosts because Barbara loves to cook lamb this time of year. It is also a running joke that when we try to remember whose turn it is, Barbara and Michael always say it is theirs. The truth is they love to cook and just enjoy having people over to their home. Barbara usually manages to get an extra dinner in every year, whether it be a summer BBQ or a Holiday dinner, and you know, we never really object.

This is the menu we received in our emails on the morning of this dinner.

Holiday Dinner 2010

Samosas with Tamarind & Cilantro Chutneys
Tandoori Shrimp in Lettuce Cups
Spiced Roasted Peanuts


Curried Cauliflower
Gujarati Green Beans
Tandoori-Spiced Leg of Lamb

Lemon-Lime Mousse with Fresh Berries & Lace Cookies

Instead of one couple doing all the cooking, this was sort of a pre-arranged pot-luck. We all, naturally, brought wine. There is always a lot of wine. But this night, one couple brought the vegetables (cauliflower and beans) and another couple brought the Naan. Our guest couple got to just enjoy our culinary expertise.

Everything came together well and I found it to be an amazing dinner in that I didn’t feel “stuffed” at the end. Sometimes our meals end up like Thanksgiving, where at the end one can hardly get up from the table much less enjoy dessert but this meal somehow had the right combination. Maybe because there were less carbohydrates? Hard to say but by the time dessert came to the table I still had plenty of room and that was a good thing because this was a dessert to die for!

I have only included in this post what I considered the highlight dishes because typing up all these recipes would just take forever.

Curried Vegetable Samosas with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Cilantro-Mint Chutney (Barbara)
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 TB water
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped
1 (1/2 inch ) piece peeled fresh ginger

Curried Vegetable Samosas
2 cups mashed cooked peeled potatoes
1/4 cup yellow or red lentils, cooked
2 TB fresh mint, minced
1 1/2  tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp butter, softened
3/8 tsp kosher salt
3/8 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
15 egg roll wrappers
1 large egg, lightly beaten
cooking spray

  • To prepare chutney, combine all ingredients in a blender, process until smooth. Set aside.
  • To prepare samosas: combine potatoes, lentils, mint, curry powder, butter, salt and cumin.
  • Gently fold in peas.
  • Working with 1 egg roll wrapper at a time, cut down middle to form 2 long rectangles.
  • Moisten edges of wrapper with egg.  Spoon 1 TB potato mixture near bottom edge of wrapper.
  • Fold up from 1 corner to the opposite outer  edge to make a triangle.
  • Fold over to opposite side again as if folding up a flag.  Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
  • Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Lightly coat samosas with cooking spray, add to pan and cook at least 1 minute on each side until browned. Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve with chutney.

The next big hit of the evening was:

Gobhi ki Sabzi (Curried Cauliflower)

Gobhi ki Sabzi (Curried Cauliflower) (Curt)

serves 4 -6

1/2 C vegetable oil

1/2 tsp black mustard seed

1/2 tsp cumin seed

1 Tbls scraped, finely chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp salt

1/2 C finely chopped onion

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 lbs cauliflower, divided into small flowerets

1 small fresh ripe tomato, cored and finely chopped

1 fresh hot green chili ( about 3 inches) seeded and finely chopped

1 tsp grd cumin

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp good curry powder, or more to taste

2 Tbls finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a heavy 4 – 5 Qt casserole, heat the vegetable oil over moderate heat until it shimmers.  Stir in the mustard seeds and immediately add the cumin seeds, ginger and onions.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, add the salt and turmeric, and continue stirring for 3-4 minutes.

Drop in the cauliflower and turn the flowerets about with a spoon until they are evenly coated with the onion mixture.  Then stir in the tomato, chili, grd cumin, curry powder, sugar and 1 Tbls of the cilantro. Reduce the heat to low and, stirring constantly, cook over moderate heat until the cauliflower is tender but still intact.

To serve, transfer to a platter or bowl and sprinkle the top with remaining Tbls of cilantro.

We ended with a prefect dessert. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something light in taste but amazingly rich. Also if you have classy dessert glasses, its even better.

Lemon-Lime Mousse with Fresh Berries


Lemon-Lime Mousse with Fresh Berries (Barbara)

1 cup white sugar
8 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
5 TB butter
2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 C chilled whipping cream
Fresh fruit to garnish
•    Whisk first 6 ingredients in large metal bowl to blend
•    Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water ( do not allow bowl to touch water)
•    Whisk this mixture until candy thermometer reads 180 F, about 8 minutes
•    Remove bowl from over water.  Using electric mixture, beat until cool and thick, about 8 minutes.
•    Beat cream in another large bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold cream into egg mixture.
•    Cover and freeze overnight.   Can be prepared 1 week ahead.
Serve with fresh fruit.   Nice with raspberries.

The evening ended with hugs and holiday wishes. I think we might let Barbara host a holiday dinner every year.


6 thoughts on “Barbara always cooks Lamb

  1. My my, but aren’t you the gourmet cooks?! I did that a long time ago (when we were first married and that was a life time ago. Belonged to a “Gourmet Club” on base and we met monthly. Once the kids arrived, we were more into mac ‘n cheese. Since retirement, I pretty much stick to down-home cookin’, but I envy you!!! 🙂

    • Well Curt is head chef around here. Check back under the Eats tab at the top of the blog and you’ll see he’s been cooking up a storm, always has. I do desserts (if we have them) and some tried an true favorites. I should post my mac n’ cheese sometime, its not gourmet but everyone likes it.

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