The scene was brutal. Charred bamboo sticks strewn everywhere, paper plates stacked high, empty juice boxes, and discarded plastic cups filled with wine-soaked bits of fruit, evidence that there was drinking at the scene. I could smell the charred meat in the air, but no hints of foul play.
A crime scene? A bad screenplay? No, just the aftermath of my inaugural cookout. I completely forgot to document the bountiful spread. Shame on me. I was enjoying the company, the cooking, and the drinking…and some more drinking. And in my hazy starved state, taking photos was the last thing on my mind. Regardless, guests enjoyed a meal of Middle Eastern dishes. I have been craving Persian kebabs, so decided to make a whole spread to satisfy this craving and invite a few folks over.
Many of the recipes were culled from Saveur online. I’m also including a recipe for feta and cucumber salad that I made to accompany the leftovers. This is the way feta salad should be!
The dishes that I chose were super easy to make and so flavorful. I prepared all the dishes the eve of the cookout and was able to enjoy my Saturday morning. The freshness and the explosion of flavors of the tabbouleh, baba ghannouj and tzatziki were incomparable to any store-bought version. I also made my sister hunt down some sumac in Brooklyn. The subtle lemony tartness of this spice complimented the oniony and garlicky flavors in all the dishes. I’m definitely making these dishes again. And I’m definitely investing in some flat metal kebab skewers.
Here’s what we had:
Kebab Kubideh (Persian Ground Meat and Onion Kebabs)
Kebab Jujeh (I made a few adjustments to the recipe. I used lemon juice instead of lime and opted for chicken breast. In my haste, I forgot to make the baste. Regardless, I’m going to try this recipe again with chicken thighs. Recipe from CHOW.com)
Chelo (Persian Steamed Rice – Didn’t quite get the golden crust…)
Tabbouleh (I doubled the amount of bulgur wheat and used boiling water versus the warm water that the recipe calls for to prepare the grain.)
Salatet Fassoulia (White Bean Salad – Even better the day after and the day after that!)
Tzatziki (Amazing. Recipe from La Tartine Gourmande)
And for lunch the next day:
Leftovers and Cucumber and Feta Salad (Recipe from David Lebovitz)