Mmmmm Kefta Kebob. I first discovered this dish going to Reza's Restaurant in Chicago. My brother and I were always big fans of the "Sultani Platter": Seasoned Ground Beef Kabob and a Thin Cut of Filet Mignon Kabob. After numerous trips to the restaurant and countless times of ordering the same meal, we both realized that the Filet Mignon Kebob, was really a waste of our time. It was not the filet we were after, it was the ground beef kebob. So we started ordering the "Koubideh Kebob": a seasoned ground beef kebob. Whether you call it "Koubideh" like the Persians or "Kefta" like the Iranians and Lebanese, it is a wonderful treat. There are many different recipes, however they all share a few signature ingredients: beef, parsley, onions and sumac. The best flavor comes from chargrilling the kebobs, unfortunately it is winter here in Chicago and the only option I have is my oven. The flavors still come out really delicious and other than the char markings from the grill, they get nicely caramelized.
Onto the rice...It sounds easy...but it's not. Many a times have I messed it up. Instead of getting perfect, individual rice grains...I ended up with mushy rice pudding. The problem: improper measuring. I added more liquid than necessary and ended up with a basmati mush. I tried to cover it up with dill and it somewhat helped distract the eye, but once I put in my mouth, there was no covering up the disaster. I had messed up rice! RICE! One of the basic components in most middle eastern cultures...a dish that 10 year old girls can make...I had FAILED at! And much to my disappointment I had no more Basmati rice left! NONE! With 13 different things cooking on the stove, I was not about to run out to Trader Joe's and get more. Plus I hate wasting food, so I used it. Fortunately, my fiance could not tell the difference! Yeay for me!
I recalled my birthday party 2 years ago where I made a huge Middle Eastern feast. I remember that my Basmati Dill rice was perfect, in fact I remember everyone asking me if "Reza's Restaurant" had catered it. So clearly I was capable of making a perfect Basmati Rice. I found the recipe I used last time and I swear by the end of this week...I will make perfect Basmati Rice...
1. In a food processor, shred parsley and onion together until it is smooth. 2. Add to ground beef along with all spices. 3. Shape meat with hands into sausage like shape. 4. Place in a 450-degree oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
Years ago, I followed my dreams and went to culinary school. I went to culinary school to continue the dream that my mother and I always shared: to open up a deli or cafe somewhere and call it our own. Whether that cafe will ever open is still up in the air...but my cooking and my love for food I owe to my mother...and in a way this blog is dedicated to her...I only hope that I can inspire other women with this blog the way my mother inspired me...With her love for food passed onto me, I quickly became a food snob after culinary school. Today, a house, a husband' (and his stomach),and an up and coming business keeps me busy enough without all my gourmet concoctions! But, no matter how busy I am, I still go to my kitchen and cook to retain my sanity. Prehaps this is a way I connect to my mother...but cooking is the only thing that truely soothes my soul. My recent transformation has led me to belive that sometimes you just have to Keep It Simple Stupid...and Cook!
I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. ~Woody Allen
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~Mark Twain
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want. ~Gael Greene
Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are. ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
And, of course, the funniest food of all, kumquats. ~George Carlin
Avoid fruit and nuts. You are what you eat. ~Jim Davis
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~George Miller
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet van Horne
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson
I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. ~Anonymous
But those aren't the flavors. That'd make too much sense. Apple and pear, according to Dr. Phil, are body types the bars are made for. Hey, I've got some advice. If you look like an apple or a pear, eat an apple or a pear! [On Dr. Phil's energy bars. ~Lewis Black