Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Turkish Delights

Beef Kofta, Veggie Couscous and Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

It is hottt. Hot with, like, nine "t"s. I wanted some tasty summer food. Conveniently, my roommate went berry picking and I returned home to find her sorting through a huge pile of strawberries. I also visited the Persian store recently, and picked up a new ingredient...

Ingredient of the Day: Sumac

Sumac is a popular seasoning in Middle Eastern cuisine. It's made from the crushed dried berries of a tree, and has a pleasant tanginess with a hint of fruitiness that works especially well with ground meats. If you eat at a kebab restaurant, you might find a jar of it on the table. I like it on my couscous, too. Do try to find it at an ethnic grocer, where I got 3 oz for $1.79, as opposed to the fancy herb catalogue that sold a .5 oz jar for nearly four bucks.

Broiled Beef Kofta

1 lb ground beef
2 egg whites
3 shallots, chopped
1 tbsp sumac
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Mix meat and seasonings, then roll into cylinders about the size of a sausage and place on a rack inside a metal pan. Broil for 10-12 minutes, turning at intervals to get all sides browned.

Veggie Couscous

1 tsp garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
Pepper (black, or Aleppo pepper)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Sautee garlic and chopped veggies in oil until lightly browned. Add couscous, broth and seasonings, lower heat to lowest setting and cover, cooking for 5 minutes. Add black pepper and lemon juice at the end when couscous is cooked. Stir and fluff before serving.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

3-4 strawberries, chopped
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh black pepper

I poured this over my salad, and then found I liked it on the meat even better. It's best if you can use a sweet, thick brand of balsamic. If yours does not fit that description, add a teaspoon of sugar to the mix.

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