I wanted Middle Eastern food so here’s the menu I came up with: Shish Kabob with Tzatziki Sauce, Baba Ganoush and Tabbouleh. Chopping and prep takes a while, but the results are awesome.
Shish Kabob Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
(sautéed mushrooms on the side)
1 large eggplant
1/4 cup tahini
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 pinch ground cumin
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1 cup bulghur wheat or couscous
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium peeled or unpeeled cucumber
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (from 6-oz container)
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint (optional)
These are the easiest to make. Cut top-round beef into 2 inch cubes. For the Shish Kabob Marinade, mix ingredients together, let kabob meat marinate for at least 2 hours.
My pattern was green pepper, meat, onion, meat, green pepper. I got 4 pieces of meat on one skewer.
I cooked them on the grill for about 10 minutes – flipping them over at 5 minutes – then I put the whole lot in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
It is tricky to cook eggplant just right so that it is soft, fully cooked, and not spongy. I had to play with it a little to get the right consistency. After cooking in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes I put the uncooked pieces into the microwave to soften them up.
Remove eggplant from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste.
Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
I think I used 3/4 cup of tahini and quite a bit of salt to balance out the lemon. In the end it came out a little chunky, but it tasted fresh and good.
This recipe is the most time consuming: I cut the green onion, parsley and mint with kitchen sheers.
Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.
This recipe taught me a new technique to make fine-chopped cucumber: cut cucumber in half, quarter halves length wise, cut out the seed patches, slice the pieces length wise (2 or 3 slices), then chop the slices (perpendicular) into small pieces.
Mix ingredients together and season to taste. I added celery salt and dill and dash of sugar (the celery salt was too spicy).