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My Kusa challenge

In 2010 I set myself several food "challenges"--attempts at recipes that are a bit more difficult than usual or that I'd just resolved to try sometime SOON. I think it's time for the 2013 edition! Here's what I tried during the first round of challenges:

January 2010: Banh Mi
February 2010: Kouign Amann
March 2010: Croque Monsieur
April 2010: Sourdough bread
May 2010: Chop
June 2010: Samosas

My first challenge of 2013 is Kusa! This is a Lebanese squash dish to which I have added lamb. The story of this new challenge starts in part with an article from Bon Appétit. "The Vegetable Butcher" is about René Redzepi, who is the chef at Noma, currently considered the best restaurant in the world (it's in Copenhagen). Redzepi thinks vegetables are the most important part of a meal, and recommends finding what is fresh and attractive and then improvising to bring out the complex and delicious qualities of our plant friends. The article blew my mind. I am someone who has often said, "Salad is what food eats." Yet I was inspired to start buying lots of different vegetables--beets, butternut squash, baby bok choy, kale, chard, jalapeños--that weren't even on my shopping list. I just waited to be inspired, and it worked.

Last week I grabbed two yellow crookneck squash, and they sat in my fridge languishing. I finally decided to try another kusa, something I last made in January 2010. Sarkis Market on Elliot Street is the other part of my kusa inspiration. It closed a while ago (I think they still sell wholesale), but I still want to eat their food!

Ingredients
  • 2 yellow crookneck squash
  • ghee/olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced into strips
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • generous shake of ground allspice
  • generous shake of ground cinnamon
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • water to almost cover
  • salt


Assembly, told in pictures







Also I added the garlic powder at this point.




Cook for about an hour.

Here it is Paleo Style with cauliflower rice! Also great with normal rice.

Notes: This was a savory treat, so good and so easy. The smidges of cinnamon and allspice are a nice twist, and you can't go wrong with ground lamb. Lamb is SO DELICIOUS. If you like lamb, adding a bunch of summer squash is really a great way to stretch it out without any compromise on flavor or richness. Kusa!

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