July 16, 2014

A TASTE OF WHAT'S TO COME {the book + a video + a recipe}


Guess what arrived on our doorstep? My book.

I'm staggered with gratitude.

It's still another month until the book hits stores, but I need to share some of it with you. I really can't wait any longer!

Over the coming weeks, I thought it would be fun to share little tidbits from the book - a taste of what's to come. Each post, I'll excerpt a recipe from the book, and this time I also wanted to share a little cookbook trailer, made by my friend Mark Kohr. Emit Bloch was kind enough to do the music. Thank you Mark and Emit for your generosity!




Late Saturday night, we got home from Greece, one of our family's favorite spots on earth. The trip didn't disappoint. The Aegean was as vibrant blue as ever, our rocky little beach was still covered with stones of every color, the people were beyond welcoming, and our little island, Folegandros was as sleepy, charming and restorative as it's every been.

succulent lamb chops nestled in fresh fig leaves 
+ lemon cucumber tzatziki

This recipe is inspired as much by smell as by taste. Within minutes of placing the lamb in the hot oven, your kitchen will be filled with the earthy aroma of baking fig leaves. This scent instantly transports me to the Greek islands, where arid hills are dotted with fig trees warmed by the blazing Mediterranean sun. Maybe it’s my Greek heritage, but the wild perfume of roasting fig leaves is magic to me.

Fresh fig leaves may not be the easiest things to find outside of California, but rest assured that this recipe is totally delectable without them. Follow all directions below, and when it comes to finishing the chops in the oven, just place the lamb directly in a baking dish or ovenproof skillet. You may miss out on the scent of baking fig leaves, but you’ll still be rewarded with the taste of succulent chops.

My kids claim that they don’t even like lamb, yet they devour chops prepared this way!

Marinate your lamb, and make your tzatziki, a few hours before you want to cook.

Marinade + Lamb:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds double-thick rib lamb chops (2 ribs per chop)
Tzatziki:
  • 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup peeled, seeded, and finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1–2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • A dozen fresh mint leaves or dill fronds, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For cooking and serving:
  • 4–6 fresh fig leaves (optional)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges
At least 2 hours before serving, assemble your marinade by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic. Place the lamb in a glass container and coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate. One hour before cooking, remove lamb from the fridge to allow meat to return to room temp.

Also try to make the tzatziki ahead of time: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce chill in your fridge. Tzatziki only gets better as the flavors mingle.

When you’re ready to cook your lamb, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place a large cast-iron skillet on the stove top over medium-high heat. When the pan is nice and hot but not quite smoking, brown all sides of the chops, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (I don’t find it necessary to add any additional oil to the pan for browning, as some oil from the marinade will still be clinging to the chops.) To ensure a good sear, take care not to crowd the meat during this phase; brown the chops in batches if necessary.

Line a shallow baking dish with fig leaves, if you have them. Nestle the seared chops in the leaves. Place the baking dish in the hot oven to finish cooking the lamb. In minutes, your kitchen will be filled with the aroma of roasting fig leaves. Depending on the thickness of your chops, they may be
done after only a few minutes in the oven, and shouldn’t need more than 15 minutes. I have come to rely on touch testing my meat for doneness. There is that feeling of just the right give when meat is medium-rare. If you trust your fingers, go for it. Also feel free to use a meat thermometer: The chops will be juicy medium-rare when the internal temp reads 130° to 135°F. Let the chops rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Season the chops with flaky sea salt and generous grinds from the pepper mill. Serve the lamb in the baking dish with the fig leaves still underneath. Toss some lemon wedges into the dish so that everyone can squeeze the juice over the chops. Pass tzatziki around the table, and feel free to scoop it right onto the chops if you wish.

serves 3 or 4


87 comments:

  1. !!!! I'm so, so excited for you Erin! I loved the video + everything you say about food and the whole experience of eating + the inspiration for the way that you cook. I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to cooking from your book when it's out xo

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    1. Kathryne! Thank you so so much. I'm glad you liked the video! And I can't wait to share my book with you....a copy is heading your way in the next week or so:))
      xoxoxo
      E

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  2. This looks so delicious. Congratulations on the book! YUM.

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  3. The book looks mighty promising!!!! Congratulations. A lovely video. So beautiful. You are an inspiring blogger.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Oh my goodness! How exciting!!! It looks and sounds gorgeous!!!

    I'm also very nerdily excited to recognize the farmer's market (Berkeley Thursday, right?).

    I've only recently started commenting, but I have been reading your blog for a while, and have made the spinach-leek pie a few times. Can't wait to check out the book :)

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    1. Joyti! Yep you nailed it, the Thursday Berkeley market...Wait are you a local? Somehow I didn't realize it.

      I'm going to have a big book launch party at the Edible Schoolyard on September 7th - please come! I'd love to meet you.

      xoxo
      E

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    2. Yes, I am a local :) I've lived in the bay area my whole life.

      I'd love to meet you too. The launch party sounds fun!

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    3. Yes, we should definitely meet! How great to know you're here!

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  5. Welcome back from your vacation! I went to Greece and the ilands years ago and it was simply stunning. I am thrilled that your book is almost here - can ha is rdly wait. LOVED the video. Oh and the lamb is making my mouth water.

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    1. Lisa, thanks! Those Greek islands are magic aren't they?
      I'm so glad you liked the video, and that the lamb is making your mouth water... mission accomplished;)
      xoxox
      E

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  6. Oh Erin, I loved that video! It felt like being back in your lovely home and made me really miss you - I wish you didn't live half a world away. AND THE BOOK! It's just there! In your hands! Many exclamation points and much love to you xxxx

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    1. Emma! Thank you sweetie! I wish love lived closer too! We miss you! Xoxoxoxo E

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  7. Hello Erin,
    your book will arrive just in time for my birthday! It will be on top of my wish list. :)
    Love your video and how you share your yummy suppers with your family.

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    1. Eva! You're an August birthday too? I'm august 1st!
      Thanks for the sweet words:)))
      Xoxo
      E

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  8. This is so awesome Erin! I am just over the moon excited for you and I LOVE your video trailer. It's wonderful. I can't wait to get my hands on the book. Sending lots of congrats and hugs your way!
    xoa

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    1. Ashley:)) thank you thank you for the enthusiasm! It means everything to me!
      Can't wait to see you I'm just a few weeks! Xoxoxo E

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  9. I'm so SO excited for you Erin, and doubly excited to finally cook from the whole book! Congratulations!

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    1. Marites! You know I'm eternally grateful to you for recipe testing:) I can't wait to share the whole package with you!
      I hope you and your cute family are having a good summer!
      Xoxoxo
      E

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  10. Welcome back! Wow, I can't believe your book is almost here. Biggest, warmest, heartiest, most gigantic congratulations. I sense so much joy and success to come as it lands in hands and kitchens around the country. Brava, my friend. (Also, tzatziki!)

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    1. Cheryl! We're barely back;) Jet lag is making me feels bit in limbo- half of me in Greece and half here. But the trip was great and I thought of you as I scarfed down gallons of Greek yogurt!
      Xoxoxo
      E

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  11. I just stumbled upon your site. SO glad I did. Stunning recipes and pictures. Looking forward to more.

    http://saltyspicybitterandsweet.com

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    1. Aria, thanks for stopping by. Welcome:)

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  12. Wow! It's my first time stumbling on your site and a new fan! So I was so pleasantly surprised that the first post I read was of you releasing a cookbook! How incredibly exciting, congratulations! I can only imagine the wonderful possibilities for recipes coming from a gluten free omnivore! Looking forward to getting my hands into them :)

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    1. Irene, thanks so much for leaving a little note for me to know you stopped by. And I so appreciate your sweet enthusiasm for my book:)
      Welcome!
      xo
      E

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  13. Congratulations!! So excited to get my hands on it - it looks fab :)

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  14. AnonymousJuly 17, 2014

    Congratulations Erin! I am so happy for you and can not wait to get the book(a signed copy of course). Your daughter is looking more and more like you as she gets older.

    Take care,
    Jennifer Burt

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer, so nice to hear from you!!! Come to my book launch~ September 7th at the Edible Schoolyard Garden. I'd love to see you!
      xoxo
      E

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    2. AnonymousJuly 19, 2014

      Thank you, I would love to come. What time on the 7th?

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    3. September 7th 2-4 at the ESY garden- I'll be signing books and handing out Popsicles:)
      Everyone's welcome...Bring family, friends...
      Xoxoxo
      E

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  15. Congratulations Erin! The cookbook looks stunning. You are such an inspiration to me.

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    1. Aanal, you're too sweet! Thank you!
      xoxo
      E

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  16. So excited for you Erin, and for us! Your video may be the best book trailer I've seen. Engaging and personal and honest. Can't wait to see your garden in person, not to mention your book! xo

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    1. Jennie, your note brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the kindness!
      I can't wait to have you over:)
      xoxox
      E

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  17. A huuuge bunch of congratulations. Well done! And hank you for sharing your beautiful photos and inspiring recipes :-)

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    1. Thank you Christine!! xoxox E

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  18. Wow, love everything about this, Erin! You could not be more personable or pretty on camera (how do you remain so comfortable in front of that lens?) and your passion for practical, delicious cooking shows, and your family is just LOVELY! I love your yard! I love your workspace with the colorful photos! I love your kitchen and that it is filled with fresh food and smiling faces. This is all kinds of wonderful! The glimpses into your book -- the photos are insane, woman! I am gushing, but I just have to. I am so looking forward to my own copy of your book and so impressed with what you've accomplished. In the meantime, I will try to imagine what cooking fig leaves smells like :) So glad you had a great family vacation! Greece sounds magical. xo

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    1. Sophie, when I wrote about being "staggered with gratitude" this is exactly how I felt reading your comment. I can't tell you how much it meant to me.
      So looking forward to hopefully meeting you up in the Portland area before too long!
      xoxoxo
      E

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  19. big congratulations on your book release
    look forward to seeing it
    i too Love greece
    it will be good to see you
    love
    cecile moochnek

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    1. Thank you Cecile! Keep an eye out for an invitation to my book party at the Edible Schoolyard - I'd love to have you there!
      xoxox
      E

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  20. Erin,
    Watching your video reminded me of myself....good food...just without gluten. Healthy, nutritious and delectable. My grandparents on both sides had fig trees in their yards. They too loved cooking things wrapped in fig leaves. It brought back some YUMMY memories. Your title is what made me come to your site in the first place. They used to dig a pit outside and wrap a pig in either fig or grape leaves and burry it to cook. So delicious. The smell...oh! Congratulations on your upcoming book. Best of luck...I'm telling everyone.

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    1. Oli, I love the image of your grandparents cooking a fig/grape leaf wrapped leaf in their yard... yummy memories indeed! Isn't that smell of baking fig leaves delectable? It gets me every time!
      Thank you thank you for all the support - I'm grateful!
      xoxox
      E

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  21. yum.. this looks delicious. congratulations on the book release too!

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  22. Oh wow, how exciting. I will have to get my hands on a copy in NZ it looks stunning and we share a similar love for simple recipes so I am sure it would be most enjoyed.
    I love Greece and Greek food and this lamb dish just sings of all things Greek. I will tuck it away for our summer when the fig tree has leaves and cucumbers are ripe in the garden again.
    And so lovely to meet you in the video, what a pity we live on the other side of the world I would love to wander your garden and chat about food xx

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    1. Nicola, I'd love to wander through your garden too! Too bad that huge Pacific Ocean lies between us;)
      I hope you enjoy the recipe next summer. I'm so jealous that you can grow cucumbers... believe it or not, we just don't get enough sun in the summertime here.
      xoxo,
      E

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  23. Adorable! I'm sure we'll all be looking like that when we see your cookbook. Love at first sight! ;)

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    1. Love at first site.....I sure hope so Carolyn! xoxox

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  24. Yay! I cannot wait to cook from your book! The video is wonderful-- I love the laid back, easygoing, genuine feel of it all.

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    1. Thanks Jess! I hope you enjoy it. Can't wait to share it with you. xoxo

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  25. Oh Erin, this is so exciting!! I loved loved loved the video and seeing you and your family cooking together. This must be such an exciting time for you!! May I say, I'm super happy to see a Greek-inspired recipe as a first feature from your book? :) The lamb looks gorgeous, I will be making this first chance I get.
    Hope you had a good time in Folegandros!!
    xoxo

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  26. Magda! Let's hear it for the Greeks:))) I love lamb chops and the Greeks know how to do them right. I'm already missing that beautiful place so much.

    Folegandros was as beautiful as ever. I always worry that it will be built up and ruined, but the sleepy factor is still intact and I love that.

    xoxo
    E

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  27. First time on this space of yours and I must say it's beautiful!! All the positive energy, good food and this amazing book!! Ahh congrats to you !!! :)

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    1. Ami, welcome! Thank for stopping by and leaving such a sweet note for me. Huge smile over here!
      xo
      E

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  28. Congratulations! You're daughter looks so proud, which has to be huge! Hoping there is a book tour and it's near me :)

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    1. Mary Jo, Lilah really is proud. She keep looking through the book saying... "yum, I wanna make this one, and this one, and that one...." Makes me one happy mama.
      I'll be posting tour dates soon. Where do you live? I'd love to meet you!
      xo
      E

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    2. Ahh, that is so awesome! In pasadena, there's a great independent bookstore called a Vromans

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    3. Mary Jo, I'll be doing a book signing at Diesel at the Brentwood Country Mart in November. If that's not too far out of your way, I'd love to see you. Details coming soon...
      xoxo
      E

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    4. i'll make the drive! you're site has some of our families favorite recipes, i want my copy signed :))

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    5. Wonderful! Mary Jo, I'd love that! Xoxo E

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  29. Congratulations, that is AWESOME! I just have discovered your site and already am loving your beautiful work.. definitely will want to get a copy of your book.. thanks for the update!

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  30. I'm so excited to get my hands on a copy of your beautiful book! Also, just sent you an email about Folegandros - we're off there in September! xx

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    1. Kate, I just sent you a long rambling email about Folegandros. I'm so psyched for you that you're heading there in September. Ahhhhh....
      A copy of my book will be in your hands any day now.
      xoxo
      E

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  31. You won't believe how excited I am for you, Erin! I'm already so proud and can't wait to have the final result in my hands. Hope you're doing great, xoxo

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    1. Thanks Denise:))) I can't wait to share this heartfelt project with you.
      xoxo
      E

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  32. This is AMAZING Erin!!! I'm so ridiculously happy for you and your beautiful family. All your hard work has paid off love and your book looks so good! Love the video SO much! Yay!! xx

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    1. Emma, thank you so much. I'm super happy too. A little stunned that this super personal project is going out into the world... I know you know that feeling well;)
      So glad you liked the video... thanks Love.
      xoxo
      E

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  33. Last week, we had a delicious meal prepared from your book, and I can't wait to try more! I need to find some fig leaves so I can smell them baking in the oven. Time to visit some friends with fig trees!

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    1. Lisa it makes me so happy to think of you cooking from my book! I wish you lived closer by... you're more than welcome to come raid our massive fig tree.
      xoxox
      E

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  34. Emily BaldwinJuly 31, 2014

    I just got around to pre-ordering on Amazon! But I am also psyched for it to hit local bookstores -- I am already composing a mental list of all the GF & non-GF friends/family who will need copies...Can't wait!!

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    1. Emily! Such a treat to hear from you here. I hope you and your fam will join us at the Edible Schoolyard for my launch party on September 7th in the afternoon. I'd love to see you all!
      xoxo
      E

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  35. Love girls necklace!

    Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  36. Erin,
    Many many congratulations on the book! The cover looks gorgeous!!! I can't wait to see it.'

    xoxo,
    Jenn

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    1. Jenn! SO nice to hear from you! I hope all is well in your world.
      xoxo
      E

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  37. We also recently returned from a charming Island in the Aegean and loved it! My husband who is not Greek can make some mean lamb chops, but I love the idea of incorporating the fig leaf--can't wait to try this approach. Happy Nesting.

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    1. Where were you? I always like to hear about other islands! Isn't the Aegean a special place?
      xo
      E

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    2. Antiparos...it's a seven minute padofla (the ferry) ride as the locals call it from Paros. I wrote about it on one of my post I was moved by my experiences once again in Hellas.

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    3. I've been to Paros but never Antiparos. I hear it's great! Oh I'd love to be in Greece right now:)
      xoxo
      E

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  38. This video brought a huge smile to my face :) Oh man, you. I can't wait to get a copy of this!

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  39. Dear Erin, your book looks wonderful! I really can't wait to get my hands on it so I can get lost in your luscious recipes and beautiful photography. Also, I'm in love with that cookbook trailer. So sweet and real.

    Greetings all the way from Finland,
    Sini

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    Replies
    1. Sini, thank you so much for the sweet note! Sorry to be delayed in my reply - it has been crazy busy here.
      Your comment made my day.
      xoxo to you in Finland!
      E

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  40. I love lamb in any shape or form. The pic of these chops makes me wish I could just pick one up with my fingers to enjoy right now. MMM!

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    1. Carolyn, I'm with you... I love lamb. And these chops are so darned tasty!
      xoxo
      E

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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