Inaugural Cookout 2011

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

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.)

Baba Ghannouj

Salatet Fassoulia (White Bean Salad – Even better the day after and the day after that!)

Tzatziki (Amazing. Recipe from La Tartine Gourmande)

Roasted Tomatoes


And for lunch the next day:

Leftovers and Cucumber and Feta Salad (Recipe from David Lebovitz)

L to R: Baba Ghannouj, Salatet Fassoulia, Cucumber and Feta Salad

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  • Kathleen

    Wow – hamburgers and hot dogs don’t hold water compared to this!!!! You amaze me…I’m still stuck on making kimchi!

    • AMY

      These dishes are definitely easier to make than kimchi. You should give it a try!

  • jkwon

    Kubideh was delicious. All you need now is a huge stone vessel and a fire pit installed in your backyard to make home-made pita.

    • AMY

      thanks. and yes, the fire pit will go right next to the brick oven for our pizzas…

  • Jun Belen

    Now I wish we were neighbors! Well, I’m assuming that if we were you would invite us over for your cookouts. Your menu sounds incredibly delicious. And yes, flat metal skewers are the way to go. I have to try that Cucumber and Feta Salad.

    • AMY

      neighbor or no neighbor, you are welcome anytime! i’m doing korean kalbi next saturday! :-)

      you will not be disappointed with the salad!

  • Joanne Choi

    oh … looks…sooooo yummy.

  • Mariko

    That looks absolutely amazing. I love this kind of food. I could eat it every day.
    Well, that and Japanese food. Can’t take that away from me.
    I will have to try the white bean salad. I’ve never had that.

  • Sommer J

    I can totally understand being too hungry to take photos! Just seeing the kebabs, pushed my hunger scale to the max! Glad there was a good time by all, and everyone got their drink on 😉 Your menu sounds incredible!

  • Ling

    So happy that the weather is finally cooperating and it’s starting to get warmer for cookouts! This looks fantastic. Need to try the feta cucumber salad with my leftover cheese..

  • Rachel

    Amy, you are hilarious. love your lead in…