...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mediterranean Meatballs/Kebabs

Because we have a new Mediterranean/Levantine/Middle Eastern supermarket 5 minutes from our house with fresh meat, herbs and real yogurt, and because this is just too good not to share:

1.5-2 lbs. of ground lamb, goat or beef (it's good from all three, or a mix or them)
1 large (and I mean LARGE) yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

The following herbs, finely chopped:
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
2 tpsp. fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. fresh mint

1/2 tsp. hot paprika
1 stp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper or crushed red chilies
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl with your hands. Mix long, until it is uniform and, for the lack of a better word, mushy. Imagine you are kneading dough, or just playing in the moist sea sand. It will take some time to achieve consistency. You COULD do it in the food processor as most cookbooks recommend, but then you'd miss out on the experience. Besides, most cooks preparing this through the centuries did not have a Cuisinart either.
Once you got the mushiness down to an art form, cover the bowl with clingwrap, and place in refrigerator for at least an hour, for longer if you can: overnight produces excellent results.

Now you can proceed two ways: if you have an outdoor grill, and a suitable male who knows how to use it AND HE'S WILLING, supply him with enough beer/beverage of choice, and set him to prepare the fire for you. While that happens, form little finger-sized kebobs from the mix and brush with olive oil; then form neat rows on a large plate and wait until the suitable male announces that the fire is ready. At that point, hand him the plate and tell him you want them well done. Add beer if necessary. While he is busy grilling, prepare condiments bowls as will be listed below.

If you don't have the grilling option (no male around, it's winter, there is a fire ban etc.), then do what I did this week: Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into heavy skillet, heat over medium high heat until hot. Form either finger-size kebobs or little meatballs (about 1-1.5 inches diameter) and fry in oil for about 5 minutes each side, turning & checking after the first 5 minutes.

warm flatbread (lavash, pita or pide)
torn up lettuce
cherry tomatoes, halved; or sliced tomatoes
cubed real feta cheese
cracked spicy olives
yogurt sauce: Mix 4 tbsp of real yogurt with 2-3 crushed garlic cloves; add some black pepper and Aleppo pepper if desired.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Alive and Kicking

Well, I am still alive....just some fairly intense weeks at work and home prevented me from much blogging.
Spring continues to progress...we finally got to yard maintenance, did the rounds of fertilizing and bed praparation last weekend and planted some tomatoes and herbs. This weekend, as we GOT RAIN... (yay!)...I got peppers and one more tomato (last year we loved the little Yellow Pear tomatoes, so I got one of those), plus more herbs. Also got some beneficial nematodes to spray around the yard to keep all kinds of pests (including fire ants) under control (not to mention fleas)...and planning by next weekend to get ladybugs and some praying mantis eggs to distribute to control more bad bugs. By thyen temperatures will be sufficiently warm so that they'll stay in the garden. With the ladybugs of course, the prerequisite will be if I actually get aphids on my roses this year: last spring's infection was amazingly weak and quickly disappeared thanks to the litle predators.
Gardening is always fun at this time of the year: the trick is how to keep eveything alive once the 100 degree scorchers hit us.