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Smash! Pound! Grind! Thwack! Forget “if you can read, you can cook.” These recipes are all about bringing some brawn to bear. So get out the brick, the mallet, the rolling pin. Your dinner (and your biceps) will be the better for it.

By Susan Spungen

2. Put potatoes through a ricer, and return to cooking pot. Add the hot milk, and stir to combine. Stir in the crème fraîche, olive oil and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in olives, and add more milk if needed to achieve a creamy consistency. Serve immediately.

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves 4

4 4-ounce portions beef tenderloin
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces haricots verts or green beans
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tomato, cored, seeded and
thinly sliced lengthwise
4 cups baby arugula
Fresh Parmesan for garnish

1. Rub a piece of beef with a little bit of the olive oil, and place between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound until about 1⁄8 inch thick using a meat mallet or pounder. Repeat with remaining beef. Refrigerate.

2. Slice the beans lengthwise (French cut), then briefly blanch in salted boiling water, and refresh in ice water. Drain well, and pat dry. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, shallot, salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil while whisking. Toss beans and tomato together with the vinaigrette. Divide arugula among four plates, and top with bean salad.

3. Drizzle the beef with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Heat grill or grill pan over high heat. Grill beef 1 minute per side. Serve alongside bean salad, topped with shaved Parmesan.

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 small dried red árbol chile
(or ¼ teaspoon crushed
red pepper flakes)
1¾ pounds top round of lamb,

cut into 16 1½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cucumber Salad
12 ounces fat-free or 2% Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Pinch of freshly ground black
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded
and cut into matchsticks
8 leaves Boston lettuce
Carrot ribbons, for garnish

1. To make the lamb: Combine the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a small dry pan. Toast over medium heat until fragrant and slightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar. Add the peppercorns and red chile. Grind with a pestle to make a coarse powder.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the lamb with the ground spices, ginger, salt, oil, and lemon juice. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours (or at least 30 minutes).

3. To make the cucumber salad: Whisk together the yogurt, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Stir in cilantro, and toss with cucumber.

4. Skewer cubes of lamb onto each of 4 skewers. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

5. Place 2 lettuce leaves on each of 4 plates. Top with the cucumber salad and a skewer, and garnish with carrot ribbons.

First Published April 18, 2011

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