For Nancy


You may or may not have noticed the fine print on part of this site that states, “Dedicated to Nancy.” Well, Nancy is a real person. She is a person who has had a good and wholesome influence on my life and she has finally reached retirement! I am honored to have worked with Nancy and I couldn’t be more excited for her to move on to her next chapter.

On that note, how about a menu? This is a spread I made recently after a stressful work day. It was clearly too much food for a weeknight…but that’s how I live.

For Nancy!

Basic hummus with hot lamb bits

Blitz the following in a food processor until you like the consistency:

1 can chickpeas

minced garlic to your comfort level

tahini if you have it…or not

juice of a whole lemon

stream olive oil through the lid while still running

salt and pepper

dash of a tangy hot sauce if you play that way - I like green ones in situations like this

Into a skillet over medium heat:

half a pound of ground lamb (let’s be real…I made a whole pound and picked out cooked bits all along while eating random vegetables from the fridge and dipping pita in the pan drippings so by the time everything was done and ready for a picture, I was completely full)

1-2 chopped shallots

minced garlic to taste

a healthy shake of a pre-made za’atar mix (maybe I’ll make my own one day)

maybe some of that hot sauce from earlier

salt and pepper

olive oil if needed

Cook and break up the lamb until it is a sizzling pile of crispy bits that becomes a delicious puddle in the middle of a hummus crater. Bam with a handful of chopped fresh parsley then dip warm pita and vegetables in it while still hot…and get lamb fat all over your face…and dripping all over your arms…then maybe take a shower.

Leftover rice with herbs, shallot, and tomatoes

In a large bowl combine:

A cup of leftover rice from the fridge

most of a bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

most of a bunch of mint, roughly chopped

a couple tablespoons of finely chopped shallot that you reserved from before…I forgot to tell you to do that

juice and zest of one lemon

a couple tablespoons of the really good olive oil

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (best if cut first and then salted and allowed to sit while prepping other things)

salt and pepper all around

Toasty almond and red pepper dip

Layer the following in a medium hot skillet until it is all soft and tasty…season along the way:

one red bell pepper, finely chopped

more shallot!

a handful of almonds, toasted, cooled, chopped, and then thrown in to get hot again

garlic to taste

a couple tablespoons of smoked paprika

you guessed it! juice of a lemon, healthy dose of fresh parsley, maybe hot sauce

Spinach-yogurt dip with mint

I followed this recipe almost exactly. I used the last of the fresh mint instead of dried mint. I took all of this to work for afternoon snacks and this was, by far, the favorite. Keep that in mind if you make the recipes above. Those were just made up on the spot and could probably all be better.

Happy retirement, Nancy!

Samantha Culwell