Posts Tagged With: Lamb

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

Oh gosh, Branden’s aunt gave him one of the most incredible cookbooks for Christmas, called Plenty.  If you’re a vegetarian, this book is a must to liven up your life.  Even if you’re not a vegetarian but appreciate vegetables, you should probably consider this book, too (we also made these sweet potatoes out of the book).  Seriously, if nothing else, the pictures are to die for.

This particular recipe jumped out at us right away…because it was on the cover!  It just looked SO good!!  And it was; we were not disappointed at all!

We served this as a side to grilled lamb chops and garlic bread that I rubbed with garlic and dusted with Za’atar before toasting.


  • 2 large, long eggplants
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tsp. za’atar

Buttermilk Sauce

  • 9 TBS buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400º.  Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise.  Use a small, sharp knife to make three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, without cutting through to the skin.  Repeat at a 45 degree angle to get a diamond-shaped pattern.

Place the eggplant halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet line with parchment paper.  rush them with olive oil – keep on brushing until all of the oil has been absorbed by the flesh.  Sprinkle with the lemon thyme leaves and some salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, at which point the flesh should be soft, flavorful, and nicely browned.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool down completely.

While the eggplants are in the oven, cut the pomegranate into two horizontally.  Hold one half over a bowl, with the cut side against your palm, and use the back of a wooden spoon or a rolling pin to gently knock on the pomegranate skin.  Continue beating with increasing power until the seeds start coming out naturally and falling through your fingers into the bowl.  Once all are there, sift through the seeds to remove any bits of white skin or membrane.

To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients.  Taste for seasoning, then keep cold until needed.

To serve, spoon plenty of buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves.  Sprinkle with za’atar and plenty of pomegranate seeds on top garnish with lemon thyme.  Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Categories: Middle Eastern, Recipes, Sides | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Pastitsio: Attempt I

Branden loves Pastitsio and ever since his favorite Greek restaurant closed its doors forever, he has been yearning for a Pastitsio that even compares.  There are a million different recipes for Pastisio, some with beef, some with lamb; some with a thick red sauce, some with a creamy bechamel.  Branden and I both prefer the bechamel variety with lamb (or a lamb/beef combo), but we’ve been pretty hard pressed to find a recipe that comes close to what we like.  We have finally found a recipe though that is a good starting point.  I figured I’d start with posting the original recipe because we did follow it completely (okay, so we added an additional 1/2 lb. of meat – and swapped veal for a beef/lamb combo, but I swear that’s it!!).

This recipe was good, but we have some ideas for the next time…starting with the bechamel.  It was fine, but lacking a tad in flavor.  Next time, the plan is to add some white pepper and a bit more nutmeg.  We also couldn’t find the Greek Kefalotyri cheese, so we went with a young parm and I just don’t think it was sharp enough.  We’ll be moving towards a slightly sharper parm (or driving the distance to track down Kefalotyri) for a bit more flavor.  For the meat “sauce,” we decided we needed a bit more wine, more garlic and more salt…and maybe a pinch more of rosemary.

Now don’t get me wrong, this recipe was very good as written, we just were looking for something a bit different.  Its all about personal preference when cooking.  Aaaaaand trying to recreate food memories.  We’ll get there…eventually.

By the way, here’s the original recipe.  This guy’s blog is pretty cool and has some authentic Greek recipes…reminds me of my month in Greece.  Sigh.  Enjoy!

Categories: Entrees, Greek, Pasta, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Restaurant Review: Bocodillo’s, Financial District, San Francisco

This restaurant/tapas bar was recommended to us by someone we met that lives in San Francisco.  Nestled on the border of North Beach and the Financial District is Bocodillo’s.  This swanky little bar offered a cozy atmosphere and great food.  The space was tiny, but the brick walls, hardwood floors, high ceilings, and soft lighting made this a great place to enjoy a quiet evening.

 We chose quite a random hodge-podge of tapas (Spanish for small plates) and none of them disappointed.  Please don’t judge me for the really random food choices I’m about to share- the majority of dishes in nice restaurants in San Francisco contain seafood and I was traveling with someone who doesn’t care for it, so the decisions were based on finding things she would enjoy as well since we were sharing the meal.

To start, we shared two different slider-like sandwiches.  The first was a lamb burger with aioli, shallots and tomato.  The second was catalan sausage, arugula, and manchego cheese.  Both delicious, little burgers were served up beautiful on toasted artisan buns alongside a pile of wild greens dressed in oil and vinegar.  I wish I had pictures to share, but the lighting was too poor to get decent shots.  Both were perfectly cooked and were extremely delicious!

Next I felt like we needed some veggies, so I chose the shaved asparagus, tuna ventresca, lemon-miso, and almond salad.  While my co-worked did try this, she was a bit skeptical about the tuna, so I ended up eating it mostly by myself…and boy was I excited that she didn’t like it!  I LOVED this dish, so much so that I can working on recreating it.  And not only did it taste delicious, it was beautiful to look at too– shaved asparagus is absolutely gorgeous.  I really loved the lemon-miso dressing that had a flavor somewhat reminiscent of a quality hollendaise sauce without the thickness.

The other “veggie” we chose was the fried baby artichokes and lemons with saffron-herb aioli.  I only say “veggie” because the artichokes kind of lost their nutritional value when they were deep-fried, but oh how yummy!  The artichokes were not breaded and somehow came out incredibly crunchy.  I loved the saffron-herb aioli as well that perfectly complemented the earthy flavor of the artichokes.  If only I was confident with deep-frying fancy vegetables would I give this a try…maybe when artichokes are in season!

Our main course was the Niman Ranch flat iron steak with chimichurri and black pepper.  I kid you not, this steak was so tender, I cut it with only my fork.  Seriously, I’m not kidding…I cut steak with just a fork.  Incredible.  This dish came out piping hot and perfectly cooked medium rare.  I really don’t think there’s much else to say other than this is probably some of the best beef I’ve ever had from a restaurant.

Since our meal was so yummy, we felt obliged to give dessert a try.  We shared caramel flan with maldron sea salt and the “arm of gypsy” with hazelnut mousse.  The flan was amazing and the addition of sea salt on top pretty much sealed the deal for me.  My co-worker who’s family is from Spain said this flan better than her grandmother’s- if that doesn’t convince you how good it was, I’m not sure what will!  The “arm of gypsy” was really good too- it was basically a thin sponge cake that was rolled up with hazelnut mousse.  Also amazing, but given the choice between the two, I’ll choose the flan every time!

I loved Bocodillo’s and definitely think it was one of the best meals I had while in San Francisco.   100% worth checking out for sure!

Categories: Restaurants, Spanish | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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