Thursday, February 24, 2011


On its own, skewered meat is pretty tasty as well as playfully portable.  Accompanied by a flavorful dipping sauce, skewered meat can be straight up awesome.  Two recent dinners happened to involve this combo; both were out-of-my-normal-box and seriously yummy.

The first was from Turkey and married the flavors of pomegranate, pistachios, tahini, and Baharat seasoning - a blend of cumin, mint and oregano.  Well, it would have included this precise seasoning blend if I could have found it anywhere.  Instead, I just threw together my own version with cumin, fresh mint, dried oregano, and an added pinch of optimism.  This recipe combines four, very different elements, which together yield splendid flavor as well as texture.  Smoky chicken plus a sweet, nutty and fresh relish plus savory tahini yogurt sauce plus a subtle whole wheat pita backdrop equals yum.  Superb work, Bon Appetit Mag!  By the way, the recipe suggests to broil the kabobs.  Since it had been a cool two days since the grill was fired up, Hub insisted we go that route.  I complied.

Turkish-Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate Relish and Tahini Yogurt

Unless you're a Rachael-Ray-esque multi-tasker, I'd suggest saving this recipe for a weekend given the multiple prep steps.  The relish component, shown below, took especially long for me given the two little birdies perched at my ankles devouring the pistachios faster than I could hull them.  I had an "aha" moment grasping how my dad must have felt the countless times my sisters and I hovered over him as he labored, shelling pistachios, his very favorite treat, only to have them stolen by our miniature thieving hands. 

Aside from improvising the seasoning blend, my only other tweak was to brighten the tahini yogurt sauce with an extra squeeze of lemon.  It seemed just slightly flat, and a hint of acid can cure that in a second!

Skewered Greek Meatballs with Dipping Sauce

I'm nuts about Greek food.  We've embarked on a mission to taste-test the Greek joints around Richmond, and what fun it has been.  The idea of anything dipped in zippy Tzaziki sauce just never gets old to me.  As the Greek yogurt-based sauce below lacks garlic, it's a different experience than Tzaziki.  But it's still a fresh and delicious accompaniment to these meatballs - that, by the way, have crumbles of feta speckled inside offering a surprise punch of flavor!

I found the recipe for the side, Couscous Salad with Grapes and Feta, in Real Simple quite a while before the meatball skewer recipe came across my radar.  I was subconsciously waiting for the right opportunity to give it a whirl, and these skewers seemed to be an ideal partner. The sweetness of the grapes - that brilliantly fooled my children into partaking - plays nicely off of the salty feta and fresh parsley.  As with chicken skewer dish above, I thought the couscous "dressing" needed a bit more pizazz than the lemon offered alone; fittingly, I browsed my vinegar collection, selected the subtle white wine variety and splashed it on.


Shawty said...

Em! Do you have a recipe for the yogurt tahini sauce? I have a ton of tahini and I'm going turn in to a big mound of hummus if I don't find something else to do with it.

Do you prefer Tzaziki with or without garlic?

Emily said...

Hey Shawty - Click on the recipe link, and it's in there! I can't say I've ever had Tzaziki that wasn't completely garlicky! I mean that in a good way. :)

Jodie said...

You are such a rockstar. I can't believe you work full time, raise two small kids, and manage to cook like this. Seriously, your husband is one lucky duck. I aspire to be you....

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