Come With Me to the Casbah
My Oregon Casbah Kebabs
Our lamb is raised just minutes from our house, is grass fed and given no antibiotics or growth hormones, and is processed locally, too. The lamb is truly one of the blessings of living in the Oregon countryside, as creative and interesting meals show up frequently featuring this local product.
Have I shared with you the day an ewe made a visit to my front porch? She stood their baa-baa-ing at the glass front door, as if she wanted in for tea. Having been raised in the city, this discombobulated me so that I regret to say I forgot to reach for my camera, but that impression is forever burned in my mind. Country living has its facts, and having next week's dinner stop over for a visit is one of them.
This recipe is my loose adaptation from the Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates cookbook. This was printed as a dressing for a Northern African-inspired salad, and most salad dressings make fantastic marinades. It is as delicious drizzled over a lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad as it is here, so make plenty and use it generously. It features sumac, a really interesting tart, astringent, deep reddish-purple spice that just recently has shown up in my kitchen.
Reustle Prayer Rock 2008 Tempranillo Reserve
My Baby decided on the Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyard 2008 Tempranillo Reserve as a pairing, and I must say he's gifted. This wine is redolent of plum, coffee and toast with silky tannins, which was amazing with the spiced lamb. I am pleased to say that the wine comes from the Umpqua Valley AVA, an up-and coming wine region producing many spectacular wines, and is also less than 100 miles from home. Local, local, local. Interesting how foods from within a region seem to taste good together, yes?
My Oregon Casbah Marinade and Salad Dressing
In a jar combine:
Juice of one lemon (save zest for rice pilaf)
1 tablespoon ground sumac
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
salt to taste
Screw lid on jar and shake well. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil and shake again.
For lamb kebabs, cube tender lamb shoulder and place in zip-top bag with enough marinate to coat well. Place in refrigerator one hour or overnight. Thread skewers with lamb, red bell pepper, sweet onion and large cherry tomato. Grill over medium coals until meat is at desired level of doneness (we prefer medium), about 10 minutes, turning every five minutes.
Serve on bed of rice pilaf. In this case, I simply used a Near East pilaf mix, but stirred in the lemon zest before lidding it. Before serving, I tossed in 1/3 cup lightly toasted pistachios.