My sister came to visit me in Lexington for a week and it was pretty much the greatest week EVER. Time flew by and by the end of the week, we’d eaten, shopped, and laughed our way through town for seven days straight. She brought my adorably furry nephew along and now the house seems incredibly empty without her and Stitch around. WAH.
I love Christine (Tintin) to bits and was so excited to bring her with me to work for a couple days. On one of those days, we took advantage of her culinary prowess and set a Greek menu, in conjunction with an awesome field trip to Marksbury Farm, which sells the most beautiful local lamb, perfect for a Greek feast. My brother in-law is Greek and he has quite the arsenal of family recipes posted right here.
If you haven’t heard of or been to Marksbury, you must MUST schedule a trip there immediately. We showed up on the first day they were serving lunch, which I’m so grateful for, as we were hungry and drooling over all the goodies in the store. In addition to all our Greek show ingredients, we bought Bluegrass Baking Company chocolate croissants, JD Country milk (chocolate and whole), Breathitt honey, Sanders olive oil, Sweetgrass granola, T&K Farms maple syrup, and plenty of goodies from the butcher counter, including lard, bacon, and pork chops. Phew. What a haul. I’ll write more about Marksbury later this week, as it warrants its own post! But the star of this show is the Four Hills Farm lamb. Their chops and ground lamb took our recipes to the next level with their tastiness and tenderness. YUM.
I LOVE moussaka. I love everything in it (eggplant! taters! maters! lamb! cream sauce!) and when combined, the ingredients are exponentially tastier. The lamb has the most perfect fat content, making this the most luxuriously rich and satisfying casserole that ever lived.
- 2 small eggplant or 1 large
- 4 small potatoes
- Olive oil, for roasting and sautéing
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lb KY Proud ground lamb
- 1 large tomato or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 tsp fresh oregano
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 ½ cups milk
- Grated nutmeg, to taste
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Slice eggplant and potatoes thinly (about ¼ inch thick) onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned and translucent. Add the ground lamb and cook until no longer pink.
Saute onion and garlic, brown lamb, then add tomato and oregano. Add the tomatoes and oregano and simmer to form a meat sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
In a separate pot, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon to form a roux. Allow the roux to cook briefly, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Add in the milk and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Once the sauce has thickened, grate in a small amount of nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, then temper in the sauce by adding a small amount of the hot sauce to the eggs while whisking. Add this mixture back to the sauce, stir, and remove from the heat. Add in the Parmesan, then season with salt and pepper.
To assemble, ladle half the meat sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Layer on the eggplant slices, overlapping if needed. Add the remaining meat sauce, then layer on the potato slices. Finish by pouring the béchamel sauce over top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned on top. If desired, you can put a light broil on the dish for additional browning.
Seared Lamb Chops with Mint Yogurt Sauce
- KY Proud lamb chops, about 1 inch thick
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Heat an ovenproof sauté pan over high heat and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the lamb chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Add a small amount of oil to the pan, then add the chops to sear for about 2 minutes on the first side. Turn the chops once they’ve browned nicely and sear on the opposite side, basting the chops with the rendered fat, if desired. Transfer the entire pan to the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the lamb reaches 130. After resting, this should reach about 135 or 140 degrees for medium rare. Serve with Mint Yogurt Sauce, below.
Mint Yogurt Sauce
We winged this one and ended up with fantastic results! Tzatziki is typically made with cucumbers, which weren’t available to us that day. Radishes add that same crunch, with a different flavor profile. And they don’t have the same high water content, so no draining needed! YAY. I’m all about improvising.
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 radishes, grated
- 2 tbsp mint, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Alright, so if you want a really authentic Horiatiki Salata, head to Toli’s page. But again, I like to improvise! This is the perfect summer salad, especially if you want to break up the richness of the moussaka or lamby lamb chops.
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, julienne
- 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced into chunks
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp chopped oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp chopped mint
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Stick everything in a bowl. Season it. Eat it. Use a crusty piece of bread to sop up the dressing and juices at the bottom of the bowl. Be sad when it’s all gone.
And…for my favorite part of each post, the outfit!!! I’ve been looking forward to a field trip where I’m not hiding behind the kitchen counter so that I can wear my new favorite shorts! These beauties, JB by Julie Brown, retail for $160, but GET THIS: they are 50% off right now! Get your butt to Monkee’s. Right now. They are having an incredible BOGO sale (that you would already know about if you liked them on Facebook) and you can buy one fall item at full price and get these shorts for FREE. Por gratis. Seriously, what are you doing reading this at home? Get to shopping! And that gorgeous necklace? A perfect gift for $45.
Christine is the sharpest knife in the block and in addition to having the memory of an elephant, she has a natural knack for communicating and teaching on television! Here’s hoping she’ll come visit me again soon and come cook in the Kentucky Proud Kitchen. I love sharing the screen (and pretty much everything) with her.