I took so many photos today. Of the roasted chick peas and chard, of the lemon potatoes, of the smoked lamb on and off the smoker, and drizzled with a dark blend of Worcestershire, vinegar and molasses on our ciabatta buns. All in the idyllic setting of our friends’ airy backyard veranda. The photos were stellar, on account of the fabulous food and setting of course, but when I got home and downloaded them, they disappeared from my computer and camera. It’s likely that I did something in my sleepy stupor, but damn. It.
So yes, we went for dinner at Mike & Natasha’s, so that we could finally try out the smoker we kept hearing so much about. They smoked a leg of lamb, and let me tell you, it was fantastic.
When I heard lamb was in the smoker, I figured roasted lemon potatoes were in order – something I’ve been meaning to try, but never got around to. I searched epicurious for one (sometimes I’m too daunted by the sheer number of cookbooks on my shelves) and came up with a recipe for Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon and Oregano, excerpted from Aglaia Kremezi’s book The Foods of the Greek Islands. Definitely a keeper, although I may increase the amount of lemon juice next time.
I surfed on, seeking inspiration for something side-dishy to bring that went with lamb. I’ve been trying to revive a bunch of chard I bought last weekend in a glass of water on the countertop, but it is not responding well to treatment anymore, so I searched for something using chard and came across a recipe for roasted garbanzo beans and garlic with swiss chard, and thought I’d give it a go. Another success. As always, I changed it drastically, and if you follow the original recipe I don’t recommend doing it all in advance, as it offers as an option. The chick peas were wonderfully crunchy and soft when they were fresh from the oven, but hours later were a little pasty. Also, the recipe calls for far more olive oil than I think is necessary. You end up draining it all off anyway – and there’s no need for the beans to boil in oil. (The original called for 1 1/4 cups with the chick peas – I used about 1/3 cup.)
And fresh mint mojitos to wash it all down.