[For your Thanksgiving dining pleasure, here’s the latest entry from the Naked Vine’s intrepid contributor Jeff. We here wish you and yours a wonderful holiday!]
This month’s dinner features a very nice French pinot noir combined with lamb skewers. There were a couple hiccups along the way, but we enjoyed the results. This is another dish I’m sure we’ll revisit and, if you do it right, it’s pretty easy. Most of the work can be done the day before.
- Roasted Garlic on Crackers with Cranberry Citrus Martinis
- Grilled Lamb Skewers with Garlic Yogurt Sauce
- Baked Eggplant with Feta Cheese
- Vanilla Poached Pears
- 2007 Mongeard-Magneret Bourgogne Pinot Noir
I hadn’t actually planned an appetizer, but Christine had gone to Findlay Market in the morning and picked up a roasted garlic bulb at the farmer’s market. You simply squeeze the soft garlic out of the cloves onto crackers for a tasty bite. Add in a little creamy cheese and you have a simple, but delicious first course. I dug around in the liquor cabinet and whipped up a quick and tasty cocktail – citrus vodka, triple sec, and cranberry juice cocktail martini.
Next I started the main course. I was doing fine, until I got to the part about marinating the lamb overnight. Hmmm, wish I had remembered that beforehand. As it turns out, you can put the lamb in a sealed plastic bag with the marinade and massage the meat to force the marinade into it and speed up the process. It turned out fine, but an overnight soak would undoubtedly have made the flavor more intense. The garlic yogurt was simply plain yogurt with garlic and mint folded into it. You want to make this a few hours ahead so the yogurt can take up the flavor of the garlic. This step could also be done the day beforehand. For the eggplant, I cut it into thick slabs, brushed on some olive oil and baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, sprinkling feta cheese over the top for the last five minutes. The lamb cubes were taken out of the marinade and skewered with onion pieces and cooked on the grill. I cooked them for about four minutes, turned them once and then cooked them for four more minutes, and they turned out perfect. I also cooked up some rice for a side and placed the skewers on them for serving. We had already opened the wine and I poured fresh glasses for dinner.
For dessert I made poached pears. They were supposed to soak in a hot liquid until soft, soaking up all the flavors of the liquid. It was pretty simple to make the poaching liquid, but I apparently had the wrong types of pears, which didn’t soften adequately. For the record, use either bosc or Anjou pears, not bartlett. It took a long time for them to cook adequately and they were still a little on the crisp side. They were tasty, nonetheless.
So, there were a few kinks in the evening, but all in all the food turned out great. And once again, the wine was delicious and I would certainly recommend it.