Yogurt and Parsley Pesto Lamb Kebabs with Feta, Watermelon and Dill Salad

When summer rolls around, your body just naturally craves lighter, fresher foods.  That means chilled soups, salads and grilled meats.  Of course, when I lived in the States and had a nice backyard, that would mean grilling and eating outside.  But I changed countries, and therefore living space, and now I am stuck with a tiny stove top grill and the closest I can get to outside dining is to open up all the windows and let that lovely noise of cars and traffic become the soundtrack to our dinner.  Sounds idyllic, right?

Well, to tell you the truth it isn’t that bad.  But I do miss having a backyard.  Or front yard.  Heck….a porch would do.  But, I don’t.  So, anyhow, my body still craves these types of food, and today I satisfied that craving.  I wanted to use up the Parsley Pesto that I made for the Nicoise Salad the other day.  But, I also wanted to take it down a notch, so I added some greek yogurt to have that wonderful creamy, cooling effect.  So I marinated the lamb in that, it smelled divine.  It really reminded me of green goddess dressings, but with a gorgeous garlicky smell.  And I had some watermelon in the fridge and leftover Feta from those Feta and Walnut Cheese Coins I made a while back.  I have seen in all these magazines the birth of the watermelon salad.  I’d never gotten along to try or make one, but tonight seemed the perfect night for it.  I thought some fresh dill from my garden, balcony would be perfect, although I admit I was a bit scared because I had never actually made it before, it could have turned out to be a disaster!  But it wasn’t thankfully!  The whole meal was really refreshing, healthy, and delicious.  I especially loved the salad.  Who knew watermelon, feta and dill could become best buds?

I pulled out my little cast iron grilly-thing, and made some skewers with the lamb, zucchini and onion.

I thought they looked really nice, all green!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4

1.5 kilos of lamb leg, cut into cubes

1 Zucchini, sliced in half, then cubed

1 onion, sliced thickly

Parsley Pesto

1/2 cup greek yogurt

For the Salad:

1/4 of a small watermelon, cubed

1 small package of feta cheese, cubed

2 dill sprigs, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix the parsley pesto with the yogurt, and marinate the lamb and vegetables for about an 1.  Pre heat your grill.  Thread onto skewers, and then place them on your grill.  I prefer my lamb a bit charred, you might like yours less, so mine took about 20 minutes…..I’m sorry I can’t give you more precise times, but that’s the fun of grilling right?

In the meantime, mix the watermelon, feta, dill with the lemon juice, oil, and seasonings.  Set aside until your kebabs are ready.

In the end, I think it was a pretty perfect meal!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Nicoise Salad

How can you not love this salad?  It’s not really a salad, it’s a complete meal.  Of course, there are thousands of variations of Nicoise, and I don’t pretend mine to be the authentic one.  But, it’s my take, and I loved every bite of it.

When summer rolls around, I crave something that is cold, yet hearty.  But just the connotation of the word hearty to me is warm food.  But I think this is the equivalent of that for summer.  It really is a whole meal on a plate.  My version is chock full of vine ripe “Raff” tomatoes, green beans, new potatoes, red onion, tuna, boiled egg, and chickpeas (yum!), topped with a parsley pesto vinaigrette.  This combination is so satisfying and nourishing.  I truly enjoy making and then gobbling up this “salad” with a nice piece of crusty bread.  And really, it is quite easy to make.  Yes, you have to boil ingredients separately, but if you prepare beforehand, it is simple.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 2

2 hard-boiled eggs

3 new potatoes

80 g string beans

1 can of tuna, oil packed, drained

1 small red onion, sliced

100 g chickpeas, boiled and cooled. (or from a can or jar)

1 tomato, sliced

For the parsley pesto vinaigrette:

1 large bunch Italian parsley

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

4 tbsp grated Parmiggiano Reggiano

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

Arrange all the ingredients for the salad however you want.  I chose just for the picture to separate them, but it makes a really nice presentation if you have guests over.  You can even bring it out to the table without dressing, and then add the parsley pesto.

In a blender, pulse the parsley, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, the garlic, salt and pine nuts until a fine paste.  Then add the parmesan and lemon juice.  Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of this over the veggies, and then dress with the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice.  Toss to coat.

Reserve the rest of the pesto to use on bruschetta, fish, pasta, whatever your heart desires!

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do, and you can feel good, because its super duper healthy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla