Tandoori Lamb Burgers


Tomorrow night, I get to play chef at an outdoor barbecue in Glenmore Park. In preparation, one of the hosts dropped off some lamb for me to prepare. Some beautiful 4H lamb. Thirty-eight pounds of lamb. An entire lamb, more or less. Minus the identifiable bits.

It’s all cubed for kebabs, but since there will only be 20 in attendance there’s a little surplus here to play with. I thought I’d grind some up in the food processor and make lamb meatballs as a starter. Rather than do my usual feta-oregano-currants-mint medley, the bottle of tandoori spice mix I just picked up (from a friend who just started his own spice company) caught my eye, and I shook a good dose of that over the meat instead, with a few cloves of garlic and a glug of olive oil, and then pulsed it to grind the lot.

And so just to make sure it was edible, since it is technically for company, I shaped some of the meat into patties, making them a little concave in the middle so that they don’t come out all domed, and grilled them as I would any burger. The tzatziki on top ensured we would all have garlic burps for at least the next 24 hours.

Except for W, who ate frozen blueberries and leftover cold and leathery quesadillas.
(With black beans squished in with the cheese. Sucker!)

P.S.: Good News! The Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmers’ Market is open again, every Wednesday between 3:30-7:30 until Thanksgiving! Yahoo!

P.P.S: My sister is shaving her head (bald) tomorrow for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta. (She is a grade 6 teacher, and letting her students do the shaving.) I was just re-reading her email about it, and think it’s worth sharing:

I had the honour, recently, of visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. As I walked through the museum, I reflected on the importance of bearing witness – on the value of seeing and knowing and empathizing, and of carrying that knowledge with me as I complete my life’s work. Leaving the museum, I was profoundly grateful never to have experienced those horrors in my own life – to have come so far without having suffered the tragedies experienced by others. Of the great many powerful images, personal accounts and words of wisdom I saw that day, one quote really resonated with me. Just at the end of the museum, there was the famous quote from Martin Niemöller which said – First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — ?
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — ?
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — ?
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

Every year, the school where I teach hosts a charity head-shaving event to raise funds for cancer research and to send kids with cancer to camp. Every year I watch with pride as our brave young students step up to do their part to make a difference. I’ve never participated because my life has never been touched by cancer —
I am not a mother of a child with cancer;
I am not the daughter of a parent with cancer;
I am not the sister of a woman with cancer;
I am not the teacher of a student with cancer.

There has never been any particular reason for me to stand up to support those whose lives have been struck by the tragedy of this disease. This year, I looked at the opportunity to participate with a different perspective – I may not be a mother of a child with cancer, but I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a sister and I am a teacher, and when I see the images and read the accounts of people battling this terrible disease, I know the wisdom of the saying, ‘There but for the grace of God go I’.

This year I am giving my hair in thanks – an act of gratitude for being so lucky as to have my children healthy and whole, my parents well, my sisters strong and my students thriving. It is my way of bearing witness to the suffering of others and to stand up, in some small way, to make things a little better. Just because I can. How fortunate am I?

One Year Ago: Roasted Chicken and Potatoes


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18 comments on “Tandoori Lamb Burgers

  1. Kate
    June 3, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I love W’s photo popping in now and again. Makes me miss my “little Indian” who is now 26 and still portrays an Oneida Indian at re-enactments :\
    Reading your blog is like getting a creative shot in the arm when I am rather stuck in neutral on what to make for dinner.
    Thanks for all your hard work in sharing, Julie.

  2. Christina
    June 3, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    My guys have the exact same Buzz Lightyear!!! Would love to have more uses for Tandoori! I’ll have to give these a try!

  3. “making them a little concave in the middle so that they don’t come out all domed” – So brilliant! Somehow, I never thought to do that before. It’s the little things in life that make me happy!

  4. Erica B.
    June 3, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    “Except for W, who ate frozen blueberries and leftover cold and leathery quesadillas.
    (With black beans squished in with the cheese. Sucker!)”
    Lol 😀 the lamb looks wonderful but the comments about W made me laugh. I just pulled the same trick with J (Half nekked boy)except it was mashed navy beans I hid in the cheese.

  5. Carol SB
    June 3, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Hmmm, is that one of your marvellous grainy salads on the side?

  6. Kathy H
    June 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Dang, Julie, you usually make me laugh, but now you’ve made me cry! I was moved to tears by your sister’s thoughts on cancer and shaving her head. Tell her thanks and give her a hug for me. When my youngest son was 14, he was diagnosed with cancer, while my dad was preparing to leave this life, also diagnosed with cancer. My son, indeed by the grace of God, is now a happy and healthy 20 year-old, and we try not to take any days for granted!

    The picture of the burger is making me hungry! Have fun at the barbeque.

  7. thepinkpeppercorn
    June 4, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Your little guy W is adorable!! He’s lucky you squish those black beans in there 😉 hehe

  8. Natalie (Michigan)
    June 4, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Please tell your sister how marvelous she is…. wow!

    BTW I made the no-knead with 1 c. of each –BEAN flour, wheat and white. very yummy…..

  9. the other allison
    June 4, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Your sister nailed it! I feel like I’ve been slapped. Thank you for sharing her with us. Every now and then our souls get a wake up call(we are unplugged). This is one of those times.

  10. Melanie
    June 4, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Those just look way too delicious!

  11. Cheryl Arkison
    June 4, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Sheesh, I’ve got cancer all around me and I’m not as brave or smart as your sister. What a great group your family is.

  12. Sue (London, ON)
    June 4, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Your sister is as amazing & eloquent as you are! What an inspiration to her students she must be.
    Thanks for sharing that Julie.

  13. Erica B.
    June 4, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Wow. I posted before you added the PPS. Your sister is one amazing & inspiring woman.

    Cancer is mean. Cancer took my Dad when I was 17. Hodgkins took my cousin who was a brilliant civil engineer. Thank you to your sister and Thank you for sharing Julie.

  14. Sue
    June 4, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Thank you Julie, for sharing your sister’s thoughts along with your own. It has inspired me to step up to the plate and see what I can do, blessed as I am with good health.
    Have a great day.

  15. lovetocook
    June 4, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Good for your sister. I’ve lost my hair twice to chemotherapy and can’t imagine parting with it by choice. She has admirable perspective and compassion and is surely one of those ‘best teacher I ever had’ types. Lucky students.

  16. Natalie
    June 5, 2009 at 4:42 am

    It’s good to start the day with a tear in my eyes, a small lump in my throat? To be thankful for what we have. Thank you Julie! There is a song that I first heard last year during the “Weekend to End Breast Cancer”. It’s called, “What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud”. Be proud today Julie!

  17. DJ
    June 5, 2009 at 8:38 am

    I love it when I hear of people who really “get it” about life. I have MS and my family did the MS Walk last weekend and are cycling/volunteering in the MS 150 bike tour next weekend. I recently have met many people who, like your sister, get involved not because someone in their life is touched by MS, but because they appreciate having their health.
    Kudos to your sister.

  18. Cory Lievers
    June 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    wow. this looks so yummy.

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