Man, I need to gripe. I really love a lot of things. Like, spending all this time at the grocery store getting everything you need for a while, only to come home and realize you forgot a key ingredient for one meal you were particularly excited about, oh, just the one that you happen to be about to write a blog post about! And like, trying to dig around in your literal mountain of spice jars, baggies, and all other manner of spice housings to try to find a suitable substitute for the key ingredient you forgot with spices going flying all over the kitchen floor. I also really love things like getting ready to start making lovely spice-substituted kebabs and noticing that your camera is angrily flashing its battery light at you. Then, coming to realize that there happen to only be two skewers when you were positive that there were like 6! Or even 8! And it’s really, really awesome when, because you’re a meat idiot, you really suck at forming ground meat patties and they nearly all crumble and fall through the grill grates.
The one positive thing in my life this weekend was finally, FINALLY, getting enough dirt to fill that f-ing raised bed garden. But I didn’t even have enough time to plant anything. And don’t you even think for a minute that, “well it’s okay Julie, your little seedlings will do okay for another week in their egg cartons”, because I KILLED THEM. I TOLD YOU I WOULD. I HATE MYSELF. I had been growing them outside during the day and then taking them in at night so I wouldn’t really have to harden them. But then we got some snow a couple weeks ago and I took them in and forgot to put them back outside for a few days after. During that indoor time they really started growing, so when I finally brought them back outside they were pretty much Scorching Colorado Sun newbies. Shit.
I guess another positive is that these little crumbly kebabs were really wonderful. And I grilled some vegetables to go along and despite the fact that I almost forgot about them, and they easily could have turned to ash, they turned out perfect! I don’t think I’ve crammed more crap into one day in my whole life like I did on Sunday. Probably not true, but felt like it. I’ve been working extra hours to try to make up for this blasted Grand Canyon trip I seem to be so excited about. So I worked late on the weekdays and all day on Saturday and I’m doing it this coming week, too. Poor, poor me, right? Yeah, I should be happy that my boss is letting me do that, but bleh I’m stressed. And crabby, can you tell? My friend said I should start making a podcast, in addition to all the other crap I cram on my plate. Har har. I should just buy the domain name http://www.crankykitchen.com. Now don’t you all click that. Some troll will buy it and squat on it until I come crying to him for it, at which point he’ll demand $2 million dollars for it. I should become a domain name squatter.
Partially the problem with the kebabs was that since I only had those two stupid skewers, I tried to pack on a lot of beef onto them. They were a little beef heavy. I ended up making burgers with the leftover beef anyway, so I should have just stuck to putting just a small amount on the skewers like I knew I should have. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, you can substitute with other ground red peppers. A 3:1 paprika to cayenne ratio would be good, as would mixing in some ground ancho peppers, or other red chili peppers. Just don’t go crazy with the cayenne or you might die. When grating the onion for this beef, be smart and choose to use your handy food processor with grating attachment. I grated my onion by hand because my food processor was dirty and I was too lazy to wash it. So, when the first wave of blinding onion fumes hit my eyes, I proceeded to grate the rest of the onion with my eyes closed. Smart. I only nearly lost my finger tips like 6 times. No biggie.
lebanese beef kebabs
adapted from Saveur, serves 4 – 6
1/4 cup Aleppo pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (if dried, simmer for a few minutes to soften)
3/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon fresh or dried mint (finely chopped if fresh)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 medium onion, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1. Preheat a grill on medium high.
2. Mix together the first 11 ingredients (all but the beef) in a large bowl. Add beef and mash around to mix.
3. Form about 2 tablespoons of beef around metal skewers, packing tightly to maintain form.
4. Grill, turning once until charred on the outside, about 4 minutes or so.
Alternatively, you could just make patties. But skewers are so much more fun. Provided you have more than two and they don’t cause you to drop the beef down the grates.
I’ve spoken of my love for savory yogurt sauces before. Please make one for these kebabs. It’s so, so simple. Whole milk yogurt, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, olive oil. Ratios to taste, but I like it real garlicky and lemony. Like a cup and a half of yogurt, juice of one lemon, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, tablespoon of olive oil. YUMMMMM.