Salads, Sandwiches

Lebanese Lamb Kufta Kebabs and Tabbouleh Salad

Lebanese Lamb Kafta Kebabs and Tabbouleh Salad1 (2)

I grew up with a Lebanese Mother who loved to cook.  Her Lebanese feast ranks #1 on my “If I was stranded on a deserted island with one meal, what meal would it be?” list. So, with that in mind, go grab plenty of parsley and lamb and let’s get crackin’ on a few key components of that “#1 – stranded on an deserted island” meal.

(Side note: I just got an idea for a silly/cool drawing. Me on an empty tropical beach. A giant Lebanese feast sitting on a beach towel in front of me. Me smiling.)

I’ve tried many different tabbouleh recipes. Here’s my favorite, (meaning it’s obviously the best).  This refreshing parsley salad is made with bulgur wheat, fresh mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, and scallions. It’s dressed with a lemony vinaigrette. I prefer my tabbouleh salad heavier on the parsley and lighter on the mint.

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For those unfamiliar, kufta refers to kebabs made with ground meat rather than cubed. In this dish, I’m showcasing the traditional Lebanese kufta recipe that my family makes at home. Extremely easy to prepare, it makes one hell of crowd pleasing dinner staple. I make it quite often. I prefer to stuff my kufta in a warm pita along with homemade tabbouleh salad, hummus or tzatziki (or both), red onion, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. I guess I also prefer to occasionally imagine myself eating this on a tiny tropical island.

Lebanese Lamb Kafta Kebabs and Tabbouleh Salad2Lebanese Lamb Kafta Kebabs and Tabbouleh Salad1 (2)Lebanese Lamb Kafta Kebabs and Tabbouleh Salad3

LAMB KUFTA KEBABS:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground lamb (or ground beef or chicken)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced (I use a garlic press)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, sometimes I also add fresh mint if I have on hand
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (leave out if you do not like spice)
  • 25 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Directions:

Mix the lamb, garlic, salt, pepper, onion, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and cayenne pepper in a bowl until combined. Be mindful not to over mix. Form the mixture into 25 balls. Form each ball around the tip of a skewer, flattening into a 2 -3 inch tube.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium heat, and lightly oil grate/pan. Cook the skewers 6-8 minutes rotating when necessary.

Serve in a pita (or on a bed of rice pilaf). Serve with tzatziki sauce and/or hummus, red onion, kalamata olives, feta cheese and tabbouleh salad (recipe below).

TABBOULEH SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I use a garlic press)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups flat-leaf parsley (2-3 bunches), finely chopped -remove stems and pulse in a food processor
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3-4 tomatoes on the vine, seeds removed and diced
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

Combine water and bulgur in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce to simmer, and cover for 12 minutes (OR according to package directions).  If any water remains, drain. Transfer bulgur to a large bowl and let cool for 30 minutes.

Combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, and scallions to the bulgur wheat. Add the dressing and toss.

Note:  Sometimes I add 1 cup of chickpeas to the salad to bulk up the protein.  Tabbouleh is best served the same day it is made.

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Sandwiches

Pressed Italian Sandwich

Pressed Italian Sandwich

 

Food tastes better when eaten outdoors.  That’s just a universally known scientific fact.

Some of my fondest memories have involved food being enjoyed outdoors.  Whether gathered around my dad’s grill listening to the sizzle of his famous chicken or ribs, twirling spaghetti on the patio of my favorite restaurant, or the simple pleasure of a homemade sandwich and a glass of wine on a blanket in the park.

Pressed Italian Sandwich

 

This beautiful sandwich is absurdly easy to make.  Simple assembly of high-quality ingredients is the name of the game.  No cooking required. Start with a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread.  Ciabatta is crusty on the outside, and soft and pillowey on the inside.  A great sandwich bread.  Cut the ciabatta in half horizontally and slather both sides with homemade pesto.  Next, layer on salami, soppressata, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, asiago cheese, and fresh basil leaves.

Turning this delicious sandwich into a delicious PRESSED sandwich involves wrapping the whole loaf tightly with plastic wrap, and then weighing it down in the refrigerator overnight.  This compresses all the ingredients together and infuses the flavors.  The next day, trim the edges, wrap in parchment paper, and tie with a cute string (don’t ever skip that last step).  You now have a gorgeous, scrumptious, perfectly mess-free picnic/outdoor sandwich.  Fond food memories await.

Pressed Italian SandwichPressed Italian SandwichPressed Italian Sandwich

〈 These boys gobbled them right up! 〉

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 cup homemade pesto, you can use store-bought if you would like
  • 8 slices of salami*
  • 8 slices of soppressata*
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
  • 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained, and sliced
  • 2 balls of fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 8 thin slices of provolone cheese
  • 8 thin slices of asiago cheese
  • 12 basil leaves

*My slices were very large, if you are using smaller slices, double the amount.

Directions: Slather pesto on both sides of the bread.  Lightly coat the bottom half to prevent the bread from becoming soggy.  Using the bottom half as the base, build the sandwich by layering salami, soppressata, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, provolone cheese, asiago cheese, and fresh basil leaves.  Top the sandwich with the upper half of the ciabatta.  Tightly wrap the sandwich in saran wrap.  Place on a tray large enough to hold the sandwich, (I used a cookie sheet).  Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator and weigh it town with a heavy object.  I used a large cast iron grill pan topped with a dutch oven.  Allow sandwich to compress overnight.  The following day, remove sandwich from the refrigerator and cut off about 1/2 inch of sandwich from all sides.  I cut the edges while the sandwich was still wrapped in the saran wrap.  This kept the sandwich together while cutting.  Cut whole sandwich into 4 separate/evenly sized large sandwiches, or 8 small sandwiches.  Wrap in parchment paper, and tie with a cute string.  Refrigerate until you are ready to pack up your picnic or serve the sandwiches.

Sandwiches

Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef Sandwich with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef Sandwich with Horseradish Cream Sauce

 

So, here’s what I did with the leftovers from my Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef.  The obvious move is to pile these delicious leftovers on a sandwich.  Just a few simple steps will give you this top notch deli style sandwich…right at home.

Roast beef, lettuce, and horseradish cream sauce placed beautify (yes, it’s a thing of beauty) between a toasted demi baguette.  The horseradish cream sauce is thick, creamy, and spicy.  Adjust the amount of horseradish in the recipe to suit your preference.  I like mine to pack a punch!

Add kettle chips and a pickle along side to complete the delicious home deli sandwich experience.

Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef Sandwich with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef Sandwich with Horseradish Cream Sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 demi baguette, sliced in half, or your choice of bread
  • 3 pieces of romain lettuce, washed, and torn into pieces
  • 3 tbsp horseradish cream sauce, recipe below
  • Several slices of Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef

Directions:

Toast demi baguette, or your bread of choice.  Slather bread with horseradish cream sauce, top with crisp lettuce, and thin slices of Rosemary and Garlic Roast Beef.  Serve with extra horseradish cream sauce on side.

Horseradish Cream Sauce:  In a food processor or blender, combine 3/4 cup light sour cream, 1-2 tbsp prepared horseradish (depending on your taste, start with 1 tbsp and gradually add more), 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, freshly cracked black pepper.  Pulse until well incorporated and smooth.

Note: Horseradish cream sauce will last up to 3 days in your refrigerator.