Friday, October 30, 2009

Sunday in the Rain

Sunday mornings have taken on a new routine around our house. After breakfast and some quality time with the newspapers, Paul and I have been heading over to the Bethesda Central Farm Market. It's a reminder of years past when both kids were in Sunday school and we would have "date morning," going to the gym and then strolling through the market in Dupont Circle before settling down with some coffee and the New York Times crossword puzzle.

We have come to know many of the vendors that we visit each week, and even recognize some of the regular shoppers. We have purchased everything from cider to merguez sausage, from bag your own lettuce mix to fresh trout to cheese. There are fruit and vegetable vendors, a fish seller, several farmers selling grass fed beef, bison, lamb and pastured chicken. We love stopping at all the stands to see what is new and different each week, tasting a piece of sausage here, an oyster there. Several weeks ago, there was a pizza truck there, run by three Italian brothers making Neapolitan pizzas in the built in pizza oven.

This past Sunday was a little different, as the light drizzle turned into a steady downpour just as we arrived. Many of the spots were empty and there were many fewer shoppers, but we bought some halibut from Mr. Lingenfelter and a baguette from the Atwater Bakery. Despite the weather, we were compelled to buy not one, but two containers of Pitango Gelato for the second week in a row. Last week was chocolate with dark chocolate chips and strawberry sorbet; this week we fell prey to the tasting spoons of espresso and cinnamon.

One of my favorite things to buy at the market for a weeknight dinner is a package of chicken thighs. They are easy to cook and difficult to overcook. Often, I just slather on a little mustard and then sprinkle some bread crumbs on top. Other times, I look for something different.
Though the cooking time takes this recipe just slightly out of my preferred time range of 30 to 45 minutes for a weeknight dinner, the preparation for this recipe is minimal and then the chicken just does its own thing in the oven leaving you time to assist with homework, reading, coloring , or preparing a side dish. I made these last week on the night that I had to take one child to a drama class at 6:30. I popped them in the oven before leaving and as the other child, a "responsible" teen, was home, left them to roast while I dropped drama girl off and came back. You could easily throw some potatoes or cauliflower in to roast at the same time and dinner would be complete. That night, I roasted some cut up fingerling sweet potatoes I'd bought at the farm stand the week prior, and then sauteed some kale when I returned home.

This is another delicious Ellie Krieger recipe from The Food You Crave (Taunton Press, 2008).

Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs
(Serves 4 - two pieces per person)

8 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin removed
1/3 cup grainy French mustard
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram (I didn't have any so I substituted 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the mustard, garlic, marjoram (or oregano), and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the mustard mixture evenly on top of each chicken thigh, being careful to cover as much of the surface as possible to form a "crust." Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a large baking dish. Bake until mustard mixture has formed a crust and is slightly hardened, and the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the center, 45 to 50 minutes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ellie Krieger's Lasagna Rollups

I love pasta. My family loves pasta. We are conflicted about our strong preference for pasta. Or at least I am. As I've committed to cutting back on the "white stuff" I have definitely turned pasta into more of a special dinner than an everyday event. And, I keep trying to find a whole grain pasta that I can love. In the meantime, I've limited whole grain pasta to use in dishes that feature vegetables and nuts which complement the flavor of the heavier, grainier flavor of whole wheat pasta.

My feeling is that for that once in a while Italian favorite, don't mess with the white stuff. I've said this before, but I just can't subject my family to a delicious, long cooked Bolognese, for example...on top of whole grain pasta. It would be like serving it with a seedy, sprouted, whole grain bread, which though it can be delicious toasted and topped with almond butter or jam, for example, or in a sandwich with turkey, avocado and white bean spread, just doesn't go with a traditional Italian specialty. Some things we just don't mess with. In our house, Bolognese gets white pasta, usually penne, and a baguette. Since a sauce like this is a once in a while dinner around here, I figure that's OK.

I've recently noticed a quiet revolution in the whole wheat pasta area that gives me hope that we can incorporate a little more pasta back in to our regular rotation. Many Italian producers have begun making whole wheat versions that are significantly better in both taste and texture than the first brands I tried a couple of years ago. I think the texture has been the biggest obstacle for me with whole wheat pasta - it tends to be stiffer and chewier than white pasta. And not in a good way.

A couple of recent purchases have put some of those concerns to bed. I recently tried Garofalo brand whole wheat spaghetti, which cooked in about the same amount of time as regular spaghetti, and had much more of a regular spaghetti texture. I made it with roasted vegetables, but I will definitely try this one in more dishes in the future.

I'm sharing this recipe with you straight from the cookbook though I've inserted a few of my own suggestions in brackets. This is one of the few recipes I haven't messed with and usually make exactly as is. I highly recommend Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave to anyone looking for recipes that are both healthier and still delicious. I've liked everything I've made from this book, and it also provides the nutrition information (just so you know, I am not being compensated to say this. I really like this book).

For this recipe, I use whatever brand whole wheat lasagna noodles I can find, and I haven't been disappointed in any. In this recipe, the taste and texture of whole wheat work beautifully. This is a hearty vegetarian meal that I have served to children (not just my own, who we know will at least try anything I serve). It's not a weeknight dinner for us, as it takes just a little too long for everyday, but it's a great Sunday evening dinner and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day. It's a lovely presentation although my photo does not do it justice at all.

The recipe includes a home made sauce, but mostly I use a good jarred marinara sauce to speed things up. I have found many brands that are not too high in sodium. Just use your favorite. An eggplant or artichoke sauce would be great too. I find that although the recipe calls for the rolls to either bake sitting upright or flat, the noodles are just a little too wide for them to sit upright easily in the pans I have. If you have a really deep pan, it would be fine. So I usually lay them flat. Once, though, in a fit of ambition, I cut the already cooked lasagna noodles lengthwise down the middle so that they were thinner. When I rolled them up they were not as high when seated upright in the pan. This is actually a better size for smaller children. If you do this, just remember to sit them with the ruffled side up for a nicer presentation.

Portobello Lasagna Rollups with Easy Tomato Sauce
(reprinted, with permission, from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger,
Taunton Press, 2008)

12 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 3/4 pound) [W: I have found this is 1 1/2 boxes of whole wheat noodles]
2 teaspoons olive oil
12 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped [W - you can find these presliced]
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups Easy Tomato Sauce (recipe follows) or store-bought marinara sauce
One 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain well and spread them out on a sheet of aluminum foil or waxed paper to prevent them from sticking [W: I use waxed paper sprayed with cooking spray].
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, stir in 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce, and simmer for 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, egg, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, a few turns of pepper, and the nutmeg.
Spread 1 cup of the remaining tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture onto a lasagna noodle. Top with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture, then roll the noodle and stand it up or lay it down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles, ricotta mixture, and mushroom mixture. Spread the remaining 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce over the lasagna rolls. Top with the Parmesan and mozzarella, cover loosely with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.
Serving size: 2 rolls
Per Serving
Calories: 500;Total fat: 18gMono: 4.3g,Poly: 1.2g;Sat: 7.5g,Protein: 26g;Carb: 56g;Fiber: 12g;Chol: 76mg;Sodium: 1110mg
Excellent source of
calcium, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, protein, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C
Good source of
copper, pantothenic acid, selenium
Easy Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 11/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
Two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained and the tomatoes chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and
cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the remaining ingredients and cook,uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
makes 3 cups;Serving size: 1/2 cup
Per Serving
Calories: 94;Total fat: 3gMono: 2g,Poly: 0g;Sat: 0.3g,Protein: 2.5g;Carb: 14g;Fiber: 3g;Chol: 0mg;Sodium: 476mg fiber

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Taste of New Orleans

I just got back from a great trip to New Orleans and jumped right in to try to make a Cajun favorite, Red Beans and Rice, with a healthier twist. I will caution you that this is probably not the lowest sodium dish you could choose to make, however, I have attempted to cut as much as possible.

First, I had to figure out the correct ingredients, and then I needed to locate them. After researching Red Beans and Rice on the internet, I worked out a few basics. I'd start with onion, celery and garlic to form a base, and use turkey kielbasa for the sausage. I knew I'd seen some turkey kielbasa recently in Trader Joe's and I also saw some in Harris Teeter. I ended up finding the beans at my local organic market - cans of Eden organic no salt added "small red beans." I decided to use canned because I wanted to simplify. I also found beans labelled "light kidney beans" and these would work fine too. I did not have to purchase the Cajun seasoning as I already have a mix that I make up in bulk to use when I make jambalaya. I'd be happy to provide that if anyone has trouble finding a low sodium seasoning mix. Check in the spice section of your grocery store. If you find a no or low sodium version, try that and you can always add a little salt to it if you're not too restricted.

The active time preparing this dish is pretty minimal. There's not much more to do than cut up the sausage and vegetables, and open a few cans. I had only planned to simmer for about 30 minutes, but dinner got pushed back. I ended up letting it simmer for closer to an hour, though, so it got nice and thick. I'm recommending 45 minutes, but if you have less time, 30 minutes would probably also do it.

I served it over brown rice instead of white, and with a mix of sauteed kale and spinach on the side. Pretty delicious and full of healthy protein and fiber.

Cajun Style Red Beans and Rice

(serves 4 or 5, maybe more if you don't have a teenaged boy)

1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound smoked turkey kielbasa (look for one that is not too high in sodium), cut into about 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunks

1 onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

2 fat cloves garlic (use more if they're small), diced

1 - 2 teaspoons Cajun spice mix, depending on your taste

1 cup low or no sodium chicken broth

1/2 bottle beer, a little more is OK too

3 cans no salt added small red beans or light kidney beans

3 bay leaves

1. Place large pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of the olive oil, or enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.

2. Add the pieces of kielbasa and let them brown on all sides.

3. Once browned, remove the kielbasa from the pot to a bowl or plate and set aside.

4. Lower heat to medium. If pot seems dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil.

5. Saute onion, celery and garlic, stirring frequently, until onion becomes translucent, about 5 - 6 minutes.

6. Add the Cajun spice mix and stir thoroughly into vegetables. Continue to saute for another minute or two.

7. Put the kielbasa chunks back into the pot, add the stock, beer, beans and bay leaves. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat to low, cover pot, and let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 40 minutes, use the back of the spoon to crush some of the beans to thicken the sauce.

8. Taste for salt - I did not add any as the sausage is salty enough and my Cajun blend has some salt in it.

9. Remove the bay leaves and serve with brown rice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New York Times Exposes the Problems with Commercial Ground Beef - No Surprise, but Eeeew.

Today I am both sad and disgusted at the news in the food world.  I am truly surprised and saddened by Conde Nast's announcement that it will be closing Gourmet magazine (not to mentioned pissed because I just renewed my subscription).  This is a loss to the circle of us who have a love of reading about food and cooking.  Gourmet has been the pinnacle of great food writing and photography, introducing us to new ingredients, new places and cuisines and new ways of looking at food and thinking about food.  I have had a subscription since 1990, give or take a year or two in the '90s while I was busy having babies.  I have always looked forward to receiving that glossy monthly treat, never utilitarian, always stimulating, even where the recipes were way beyond my tolerance for detail.  While I also receive Bon Appetit (another Conde Nast publication) each month, and do enjoy it as well, it just can't compete with  the quality of the writers, photographers and food editors found at Gourmet.  What could Conde Nast be thinking?  Could the ad revenue of the two magazines be so far different?

And then there's the front page of Sunday's New York Times.  Do not read further if you either have 1) a sensitive stomach, or 2) no desire to ever stop purchasing ground beef from commercial manufacturers no matter how absolutely disgusting the latest news about E. coli contamination is. 

Like Upton Sinclair in The Jungle, and Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation before him, Michael Moss exposes the darker side of ground beef.  While none of what he reports is actually a surprise to me (I gave up commercial ground beef after Fast Food Nation and have tried to move completely away from feedlot raised meat since reading Michael Pollan), Moss pulls no punches in exposing egregious and inexcusable lapses by both the industry and the federal government agency charged with monitoring it. 

If you're interested in reading the article and haven't already, here's the link:  After tracing one particular burger that sickened Stephanie Smith during the gound beef  E. coli outbreak two years ago, and through interviews and government and corporate documents, Moss concluded that "eating beef is still a gamble.  Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe." 

If you read the article, you will see that the so-called "burger" that caused this woman (Moss does note that her reaction was extreme) to become paralyzed from the waist down, was, as my favorite daughter would say "so wrong on so many levels."  Here are the highlights.  As I said above, if you have a sensitive stomach, just stop reading now and join me for my next post.

1.  Feedlot cattle are kept in small penned areas with barely enough room to move.  They defecate where they live so to speak and their hides are often coated with fecal matter.  Though there are supposed to be procedures in place to ensure that the hides are cleaned before the meat can be contaminated,  there are many slip ups and no one is inspecting each carcass let alone each piece of trimming.  Last year, workers at Greater Omaha (one of Cargill's suppliers) sued the company alleging that "they were not paid for the time they need to clean contaminants off their knives and other gear before and after their shifts."  Guess they're not paid to clean their equipment between contaminated carcasses either... 

2.  One package of commercially ground beef or burgers can come from multiple sources.  The burger that sickened Ms. Smith was composed of products from four different sources in three different states and Uruguay. 

3.  I use the word products in #2, because it's just not clear to me how this burger could even be called meat.  Moss describes the actual contents of this burger, from a package made by Cargill, labelled "American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties," which actually almost sounds upscale.  In this "burger" was a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings (some of which was fifty percent beef and fifty percent fat) and a "mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together in a fourth state.  One of the sources is a company that "processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria" producing what it terms "fine lean textured beef."  Cargill combines these products from different suppliers to arrive at the fat content it is shooting for - in this case, about 26.6 percent fat.  Why not use one piece of meat?  It would cost Cargill thirty cents more per pound.  Moss reports that most grocery store ground beef is blended in this way.  The USDA regulations allow even meat labelled ground sirloin to be made from trimmings. 

4.  The low grade bits and scraps are more likely have come from parts of the cow that have had contact with fecal matter.

5.  Cargill does not test meat supplied to it for E. coli bacteria, but relies on its suppliers to check. 

6.  Many slaughterhouses will not sell to grinders who check the meat for E. coli.  Unfortunately, the slaghterhouses are the source of the problem, according to a senior policy analyst with the consumer group Food and Water Watch. 

7.  Just weeks before Ms. Smith's burger was made, USDA inspectors repeatedly found that Cargill was violating its own safety procedures for handling ground beef.  In that very plant, inspectors found "large amounts of patties on the floor," grinders "gnarly with old bits of meat," and one worker who commonly dumped inedible meat on the floor near the production line.  However, the USDA inspectors did not fine or sanction Cargill. 

8.  Though Cargill does check the product for E. coli once it's ground, because its meat comes from so many different suppliers, even if a burger tests positive for E. coli, the company is unable to identify which supplier provided the product that went into it.  Just a few weeks before making the burger that sickened Ms. Smith, Cargill found some E.coli in a finished hamburger, and as it couldn't identify the supplier, decided to wait to see if there was a pattern of contamination before doing anything.  (**one bright spot in the article - Since 1998 when someone was sickened by its meat, Costco checks all trimmings before grinding.  Tyson will not supply them.)

 9.  As a result of the outbreak, Cargill has agreed to increase scrutiny of its suppliers and will increase testing of finished ground beef, but will not institute testing of incoming ingredients. 

10. It takes so little E.coli bacteria to cause a contamination that there is concern of infection via kitchen counters, towels and implements that have come in contact with the meat, even if you cook the meat well enough to kill the bacteria.

What's a carnivore to do?  First, it seems that you can limit your exposure by buying ground beef made in store from a single piece of meat. The fewer pieces of meat that go into your ground beef, the less the chance of contamination.  According to the article, Publix will grind the meat for you if you purchase a piece of steak. I wonder which other stores will do so.  Obviously the safest way would be to grind your own meat but I can't imagine that's convenient for many poeple.  Next best, only purchase ground beef from sources that you can ask if they test their "trimmings".  That requires the beef to be ground in-store. 

I guess it's important to ask what cuts are going in to the meat and if they're using a slaughterhouse, whether the slaughterhouse tests for E.Coli.  It's a lot easier to ask these questions when you purchase directly from the source.  It's also arguable that simply avoiding the feedlot system and purchasing meat from small farms decreases that chances that hides, and, therefore, the carcasses, are contaminated in the first place.  Gonna cost a little more though.

Please let me now if you have any comments and ideas about all this!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Deconstructed Manti - Sort of

A friend asked me recently how long I spend making dinner. I think that most nights the answer would be 30-45 minutes. As you know, my pantry is usually hurricane-ready and I do a lot of farm stand shopping during the weekend, so I can usually pull something together in that amount of time. Most of my go-to weeknight recipes are ones that are simple and rely in great part on ingredients I normally have. I might have to pick up some fish or shellfish or a rotisserie chicken day to day, but I try to keep kitchen time on a weeknight to a minimum. I know Rachael Ray says that her 30 minute meals are quicker than ordering take out, and I guess that's true to some extent, but it is still more effort to cook and to plan ahead to have the right ingredients. The reality is that it is easier to order in Thai food or pizza than it is to make even a basic meal at home.

However, for me, because of the need to eat healthier - watch sodium, calories, fat, etc. - and my desire for my family to eat healthier as well, I find the effort is unavoidable. It is just too hard to to know what is really lurking in the delicious carry out, for me to eat that way more than a couple of times a week. Since I do tend to eat lunch out several times a week, I try to prepare most dinners at home. Planning ahead and only choosing recipes that can be accomplished in that amount of time is how I make it work. I read many, many recipes each week. The only ones I try on a weeknight are those that I think I can squeeze in between pickup from tennis practice and delivery to drama class. Of course there are weeks when even this level of home cooking is just not going to fit into the schedule. I look at the cooking at home as a moving target.

As I don't have a demanding career now, this is a possiblility for me. I think if I didn't have this amount of time, I'd hire a family chef to do for us what I couldn't do myself. Although it seems expensive and a luxury to hire someone to prepare your meals, at least they'd be to your family's specifications. Some cook right in your own kitchen and leave your meals ready to go right in your refrigerator. It's like convenience food, but without all the additives, extra sugar, fat and sodium.

Michael Pollan recently wrote in the Sunday New York Times magazine (August 2, 2009) about how Americans, depite their love of cooking shows on TV, have given up cooking and have relegated it to a hobby akin to camping, hunting, gardening and riding horseback. His basic point is that in contrast to this trend, cooking at home is directly connected to a more healthful diet, and, therefore, to better health. It's a touchy subject, though, as the call for a large scale return to home cooking seems to some like a reversion to the 1950's for women. While Pollan opines that men can cook too, it seems to me that it does fall on women a little more heavily in many homes. In opposition to the argument that a return to more home cooking is a regression in rights for women, Pollan suggests that the move from home cooking to industrial cooking and farming was not spurred by woman entering the workforce so much as by effective marketing by corporations and the economics of the large supply of available convenience foods.

Regardless, as the evidence mounts suggesting that we can improve our health by eating fewer prepackaged and mass produced convenience foods, I feel I have no choice but to try to make this cooking at home work. So my goal is to make it as painless as possible. Full disclosure - I love to cook. But I do not love weeknight meal preparation. That is almost a different animal all together, what with all of our busy schedules. In support of cooking, take this one example from Michael Pollan's article with you: not only has mass production driven down the price of many junk foods, but items like French fries didn't become so popular until industry made it so easy for us to purchase and eat. Likewise, he notes that the mass production of cream-filled cakes, taquitos, chips and cheese puffs has made them all everyday items. He says "the fact that we no longer have to plan or even wait to enjoy these items, as we would if we were making them ourselves, makes us that much more likely to indulge impulsively." It's really hard for a home cooked meal to compete.

To makes things easier for myself, when I see grass fed ground lamb, I buy a package or two to keep in the freezer. They are often sold already frozen, are really fine to freeze, and are very versatile in cooking. If I can remember to defrost it, I can be a rock star around this house with one dish in particular that my family loves. This is my version of Melissa Clark's deconstructed Turkish dumplings from the New York Times food section. Even though Paul does not like eggplant, he doesn't seem to care that this dish is filled with it. And really, so what if he pushes it to the side of his plate - more eggplant for me! This time I've got grass fed lamb from Jamison Farm in Latrobe, PA. They've been coming to the new Bethesda Farm Market, which is located in the parking lot behind Jaleo on Sunday mornings. There is also a Thursday market on Bethesda Lane from 3 - 7 pm. Check it out at There is also a great fish guy there!

Pasta with Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant and Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from Melissa Clark, New York Times

(serves 4 - 6)

1 large eggplant

olive oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons olive oil


2 large cloves garlic, minced, and kept separate

1 large shallot, minced

1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta, a multi grain might work here though we use regular pasta

1 pound ground lamb, preferably grass fed

Aleppo pepper flakes, if you have it, to taste, or ground chili powder.

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2/3 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Put up water for the pasta.

3. Cube the eggplant into a 1/2 inch dice.

4. Spray a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil with olive oil cooking spray and spread the cubed eggplant out in a single layer. Spray tops of cubes with the cooking spray. Sprinkle the eggplant with a little salt. Roast about 20 minutes or until the eggplant is getting brown and some bits are crispy.

5. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and one of the cloves of minced garlic. Saute a few minutes until the shallot has softened and become slightly translucent.

6. Cook pasta according to package directions.

7. Add the gound lamb to the skillet with the shallots and garlic. Sprinkle the Aleppo pepper flakes or chili powder over the lamb. Several good pinches should do. Mix well and cook until the lamb is uniformly brown and no pink spots remain (If you are not using grass fed, you might even want to do this in a separate pan so that you can drain the meat from the fat. The grass fed lamb will not produce so much fat).

8. Add dill to skillet and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Stir eggplant into the mixture in the skillet. Taste and add salt and Aleppo pepper as needed.

9. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the reserved minced clove of garlic.

10. Drain pasta and add to the skillet to mix if your skillet is large enough. Otherwise, place pasta on serving platter and cover with the lamb/eggplant mixture. Top with the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle a little Aleppo pepper on top of the yogurt. Garnish with a little chopped dill.