Grind It Out
I’ve long been in love with kefta kebabs – the addictive combination of ground lamb or beef seasoned with aromatics such as onion, garlic, parsley and mint. I first truly fell in love with them at one of my most beloved spots in NYC, The Olive Tree Cafe. Aside from being the place where I went on my very first date with my now husband, it was a haunt that my friends and I would hit up back in college. The food was cheap and plentiful, the drinks strong, and if you couldn’t score a reservation to the Comedy Cellar below the restaurant for one of the stand-up shows, you could sit at a table right next to the same comedians working that night. The place has been in my life for years and years, and crazily enough, their charcoal-grilled kefta kebabs are a huge part of my love of the place. Continue reading Kefta Kebabs
For all the folks out there claiming that vegetarian and vegan food has to be boring, falafel is a giant nanny-nanny-boo-boo in their direction. These delicately spiced fritters made of chickpeas are toothsome and filling, leaving even the most dedicated meat eaters feeling as if they’ve got all that they need in front of them.
The name of this recipe came from my sister who demanded that I make a sandwich called a “Mother Stuffer.” In that she is a vegetarian (and most of the time a raw vegan at that), I had to make a concoction that proved that, much like her, veggies are non-stop fun. This pita is no exception – half the fun of falafel is assembling your pita yourself with your favorite toppings, so feel free to use any combination of pickles, peppers and hot sauce that you’d like. Food is ALWAYS more fun when you can make it your own. Continue reading Mother Stuffin’ Falafel Pita with Spicy Tahini Dressing
Ok, hold your panties for this one folks (and sorry to all of my many friends who have a problem with the word “panties” – just pretend it didn’t happen). This one is a middle east platter with flatbread for a plate. You just eat away until you get to the table top and then lick it clean. Kidding – use a plate, nasty. But I do give you permission to lick the plate clean. Fo sho.
This simple pizza is a riff off of the Lebanese treat, manaeesh, that’s like a pizza with ground meat and sumac. If you haven’t tried ground sumac before, it’s certainly worth a go – it’s very slightly smoky and earthy, and can be used in lamb and beef dishes for absolute fabulousness. Rather than marinara and sausage, you’ve got hummus and delicately spiced ground beef. Mozzarella meets the melty craving and feta adds salty goodness. Top it all off with cool, lemony tabouleh (which you can buy or make for yourself) and you are in business. It’s ah-MAY-zing. And oh so easy to prep for some random guests who decide to pop in. Because you know those good friends of yours are total randoms. It’s all good, though. They always bring good booze, so certainly feed them for their generosity.
Middle Eastern Flatbread Pizza
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sumac
pinch of allspice
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 c. of hummus
1/2 c. of tabouleh
2-3 tbs. of crumbled feta
1/2 c. of mozzarella cheese
2 large flatbreads (pita, naan or even 1 large piece of Afghan bread)
Begin by sauteeing the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain and return pan to heat. Mix in the salt, sumac, allspice, thyme and black pepper. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use a pizza stone) and put your flatbread on top. Spread the hummus on each of the flat breads and top with the ground beef. Crumble the feta on top and sprinkle the mozzarella over that. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
Remove from the oven and let hang out for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the tabouleh on top and cut into wedges. Serve.