A Slow Cooker Lamb Recipe for Summer

Speaking of summer weather, or not? I pronounce it “extremely hot and humid.” While that’s not true everywhere, of course, I know plenty of people who would answer emphatically yes when asked, “Sexy enough for you?” And emphatically not when asked, “Are you going to cook?” Some don’t even turn on the oven or boil a pot of water from June to October.

My friends, cooking in the heat, summer or not, is part of being a cook. Hug him. People around the world routinely cook in hot weather every day. Even if you cook outdoors, you won’t get away without breaking a sweat.

There are strategies for cooking in summer. Early in the morning, before the day heats up, is a good time to start dinner. And if you can cook today for tomorrow, maybe in the cool of the night? – better. All the recipes on this month’s menu can be prepared a day in advance, although it certainly isn’t required.

It’s hard not to get prosaic when you hit the farmers market right now. Dazzling fruits and vegetables, bursting with all colors: be still, my heart. Thin, fat and shiny eggplants, check! Ripe tomatoes of all sizes, to cry! Kidney beans and green beans and fresh beans. Peak berries and stone fruit particularly dazzling. I’m breathless. Cook dinner with that kind of tasty swag, inside or out, today or tomorrow, and how can you lose?

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With the eggplant, make a smoked paste, sprinkled with cumin, to spread on flatbread. The first step of the process is fun: you can burn the eggplant. Place them directly on hot coals or in the flames of a gas burner, turning them, until they are completely blackened. The inner meat will have been steamed until tender, then it’s just a matter of scraping off the charred skin and mashing the tender, smoke-tinged innards with aromatics, garlic, tahini, lemon, and olive oil.

Serve a bright tomato salad to serve on the side. As I learned from a friend in Istanbul, the pomegranate molasses, sumac, and toasted walnuts really add zing to the tomatoes. Or spread hot pita pieces or lavash with the smoked eggplant and top with tomato, if desired. it’s casual

At the Santa Monica Farmers Market, several stalls sell farm-raised meat as a small side dish. From one, I got a boneless lamb shoulder, which I knew would simmer for three hours or so. I would either do it on a covered grill over indirect heat or inside in a slow oven.

Then the plan was to tear the meat into strips and combine it with beautiful green and yellow beans and some of the braising liquor. And to wash it all down with a bunch of refreshing chopped dill, mint and parsley. It’s such a winning combination that I cut the same herbs to garnish the eggplant and tomatoes as well, and served it all together.

The dessert for this meal is all about stone fruit, melon, and berries. A chopped fruit salad, so to speak, or a compote. (In times past, a dish like this was called Macedonia.) The trick is to do a little more than macerate the fruits. Instead, dilute some homemade jam with a splash of wine or liquor to let them settle. You will add very little sugar, if you use all of it. Serve cold. It’s perfect on a hot summer day or night, especially if there’s a breeze. That, and another glass of rosé.

Prescriptions: Tomato Salad with Smoked Eggplant Flatbread | Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder With Green Beans | Summer fruit compote