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Pistachio – Cumin Crusted Rack of Lamb & A Roasted Cauliflower – Hazelnut Salad

Cauliflower Salad

I have had the images for this post up and ready for words for about a week now. It’s not that I can’t find the words to go along. It’s just that I am ever near long enough the computer to sit down and write.

We had such a great time at the beach with my parents, my brother and his family that diving right back into work mode was a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s been busy around here but having my parents stay with me here in Birmingham for a couple of weeks shifted the rhythm even further.

It’s good. It’s all good. It’s actually awesome to have them around and see the new house, the new job, the new town. They really get a handle on my new situation and all the questions they had are being answered. My photo schedule, the way we do things, the people I work with, the places I like to go to for dinner, a drink or to shop. Things are about as new to them as they are to me and we share discoveries and new finds everyday.

Radish Sprouts

It’s really nice to come home after a long day and start cooking with my mom. Chopping, dicing, searing, etc… while sipping a glass of wine and watching the end of an old movie or listening to the radio. We have more quiet time for serious talks, or to simply catch up on news about the family at large.

It’s been raining lots lately and we have been enjoying a few comforting and hearty meals. The kind to make you feel instantly better and warm inside after being caught by a heavy rain.

Stews, fish soups, long cooked dishes, and roasted veggie soups have permeated the air around for days now, filling me with a bit of nostalgia. The flavors and spices of my grandmother's stews and roasts come into to our conversation almost at every meal. Her cooking while being so intricately French provincial was so influenced by her life in Northern Africa and encounters with other army wives.

Roasted Garlic

It might be for this reason that I have absolutely loved every page turned in the new cookbook by Ottolenghi, Jerusalem, co-authored with Sami Tamimi. I hear my stomach growl at just about every recipe and my eyes pop out from every stunning picture. I find my family’s cooking in so many of the recipes in the book.

I don’t know if we are atypical or just reflect an era (military, moves, oversea travels, wars, etc…) but some of my most vivid food memories are as much of harissa, Berber couscous and papaya with lime juice as they are of cassoulet and Bouillabaisse.

In that regard, the book completely appeals to me. The way Ottolenghi and Tamimi look at culinary traditions and influences. Understanding that one dish may have the same root but different interpretations in neighboring cultures, civilizations or countries. They understood that cooking is honoring ones traditions as well as sharing common flavors, differences in interpretations. Food travels. It is not one to be of only one people and one culture. It is alive. It reflects peoples, generations and history. It is humanity.

Pecan Crusted Rack Of Lamb

I get that. Especially when sitting down at the dinner table around a plate of Pistachio Crusted Lamb and a side or Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad. (recipes after the jump). I get the sharing, the cultural influences, and the roots. The history that brought this plate and the chatter about it, in front of me. I happily grab my fork and ask my mother for one more story about my grandmother. About her own childhood. About mine with her.

Only a few more days and they will be heading back to France. A few more days to revel in the memories and the times we are living in the present. I am grateful for the love and time they give me these few short weeks. It’s been quite nice, indeed…

I hope you all have a wonderful week too!

Pistachio & Cumin Crusted Rack Of Lamb, slightly modified from Southern Living.

Serves 8


3/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

1/2 cup pistachios

1 tablespoon ground cumin

4 (4-rib) lamb rib roasts (12 to 16 ounces each), trimmed

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon Harissa

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil


Process the first 3 ingredients in food processor until
finely ground. Transfer crumb mixture to a shallow dish.

In small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard and Harissa and
brush all over the lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Roll in crumb mixture,
coating well and chill for at least 2 hours.

Cook lamb, in batches, in hot oil in a large skillet over
medium-high heat 1 minute on each side or until light brown. Transfer to 2 (13-
x 9-inch) lightly greased baking dishes.

Bake lamb at 350° for 24 minutes or until a meat thermometer
inserted into thickest portion registers 135° (medium-rare), or bake 30 to 35
minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers
145° (medium).

Remove from oven; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let
stand 5 minutes or until thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare) or 160°
(medium). Cut into chops and serve with the roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad.


Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad, very slightly modified from "Jerusalem" by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.

Serves 4 to 6


1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 large celery stalk, cut into small pieces

5 tablespoons hazelnuts, skin on

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup radish sprouts (optional)

3 cloves roasted garlic, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1/2 teaspoon Zatar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon honey

salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 425F and position a rack in the middle.

In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower with 3 tablespoons olive oil,  1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread the mixture in a roasting pan and roast for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.Set aside to cool.

Lower the oven temperature to 325F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then chop them coarsely and add to the cauliflower, along with all the remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve at room temperature.

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Alexandra Skrebtsova January 14, 2013 um 1:43 pm

Oh, and i've just received 'Plenty' – it is amazing too! And it is purely vegetarian! Love it.
And a separate huge 'Thank you' for your book 'Plate to Pixel'. It was a great use as i've just started learning food photography.

Andrea @ LetLooseLittell January 14, 2013 um 2:43 pm

Sounds like such a nice, long cozy visit. I bought Jerusalem for a family member this year and hated to wrap it up and give it away. The pictures are so engaging and although I only read a small bit, I wanted to read more and more. Hopefully I will catch it after they are done but until then, i will enjoy this recipe you shared. Enjoy the day

carol January 14, 2013 um 4:08 pm

can't help but smile at how you & your parents are discovering your 'new' city together now and thinking to myself, 'how sweet!'…long after they have returned to france, whenever you return to the shops, cafes, walking routes ~ you now have these wonderful memories with you… what a comforting thought that they have lived your new surroundings with you, a sharedness that warms the heart!! so happy for you that you all enjoyed such a wonderful holiday together!!

now for a "thank you!" for making our holiday & festive gatherings so special ~ four different occasions i prepared the poached pears with mascarpone sauce & each time it was met with delight, eyes popping in surprise & happiness, and best of all – it is so light that even after a hearty meal, it goes down so deliciously smooth! thank you!! 😉

dervla @ The Curator January 14, 2013 um 6:50 pm

oooh this looks incredible. Putting it on my "to make" list now! Glad you had a lovely beach visit.

Rose from Magpies Recipes January 14, 2013 um 7:20 pm

Helene you are always such an inspiration and such a great teacher. Your book has helped me improve my photography by leaps and bounds. I just love looking at it, so it stays on my bedside table 🙂 Thank you for the gift of helping me learn to capture beauty! Wishing you and family have an even more wonderful 2013 🙂

SkinnyMommy January 14, 2013 um 8:01 pm

What a GORGEOUS meal!

Medeja- CranberryJam January 14, 2013 um 11:21 pm

Everything looks incredibly delicious!

Unknown January 15, 2013 um 2:12 am


Danielle Acken January 15, 2013 um 2:31 am

I miss that board!!!

Ellie January 15, 2013 um 6:18 am

Mmmm this looks and sounds so amazing. And I just loved the way you described your special time with your mom, it's so warm and comforting!

Cinta January 15, 2013 um 7:17 am

Beautiful writing, so inspiring and so warming… Best wishes, Cinta.

Amber @ Slim Pickins Kitchen January 15, 2013 um 3:17 pm

Most of my favorite memories are cooking in the kitchen with my mother, grandmother, and aunts. We always have such a great time catching up and listening to music. I also always tend to remember meals when I travel more than anything else! I'm in a new place too, and I can't wait for my parents to come visit me. I'm lonely without all my friends and family!

Katie @ Blonde Ambition January 15, 2013 um 9:01 pm

That salad looks and sounds phenomenal. And how special to be able to have spent that time cooking with your mom!

SunriseKate January 15, 2013 um 9:47 pm

"It reflects peoples, generations and history." – you're absolutely right on that. What a beautiful way to describe the connections that food gives us across generations. I was just discussing the "secrets" to my Grandmother's Christmas ham with her the other day and whenever she makes it, I close my eyes and am five years old again. Food takes you back!

Rocky Mountain Woman January 16, 2013 um 10:00 pm

I need to try this, it's almost time for spring lamb here…


Geo January 20, 2013 um 5:28 am

I also have fallen in love with 'Jerusalem' It is virtually impossible not to cook anything you open the page to! ps. I received your plate to pixel as a gift and it is truly FANTASTIC – it has really helped me out with my own food photography! So thank you!

Pink Peppercorn and Paprika January 20, 2013 um 3:36 pm

you have such a skill for beautiful photography!

Unknown January 22, 2013 um 5:37 am

I am always inspired by your recipes and photo. This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Liz @

Lexi {Whisking It} January 22, 2013 um 8:30 am

The roasted cauliflower and hazlenut salad looks just to die for. I also can't wait to try the pistachio & cumin leg of lamb… How decadent!
Please post again soon! Been checking back here every day!

Yoanna January 22, 2013 um 10:03 am

This rack of lamb and garlic look amazing!

Libera January 22, 2013 um 5:42 pm

Mmmmmm, delicious!

Unknown January 23, 2013 um 5:49 pm

One day… One day I will make one of your wonderful dishes and you will be SOOO proud of me!

mild January 25, 2013 um 9:05 am

i need some of that!:D

Unknown January 25, 2013 um 4:00 pm

I only recently discovered your blog through Pinterest and fell in love on the spot. I adore your style of photography and your recipies are just mouthwatering. I can't wait to try one and I am so looking forward to seeing more of your amazing work.

Ayumi January 28, 2013 um 6:36 pm

The lamb looks amazing and your pics are awesome! I really liked that you have so much passion for cooking and for traditions! I live in Peru but I'm japanese descendent so I know that cooking changes all the time and it reflects many different influences and stories. Thanks for sharing!

Weekend Cowgirl February 2, 2013 um 9:44 pm

The salad looks really good. I may have to head to grocery…

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