Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Veal Kofta Extravaganza

So I imagined I'd start up this blog a little sooner, but better late than never. Happy 2010 everybody! To forewarn you, my plating and photography skills leave much to be desired, but I contend that it doesn't matter what it looks like as long as it tastes good.

...or at least that's what I tell myself after every spectacular plating failure.

Anyway, let's get to the grub!

The other night I prepared an all-out feast for myself and my boy. A few of the items are ones that I've perfected through years and years of dedicated eating, the others I co-opted and made my own. I like to think of the meal as an ode to North Africa, along with those who raped and pillaged it (big ups to France and Italy! England, your food sucked).

White Bean Bisque (courtesy of Serious Eats)

I made a few changes to Kerry Saretsky's recipe. For starters, I forgot to buy a shallot, so that went out the window. Also, garlic chips didn't excite me, so they didn't get made. I used mascarpone instead of butter - I do that in recipes because somehow it seems healthier to me (although it's entirely possible that's all a delusion). However, to counter any (real or imaginary) health benefits, I decided to use a little pancetta. Although I'm not the biggest fan of swine (what good daughter of a muslim could be? oh, that's right, the daughter of a muslim who likes mortadella), my boyfriend is a fiend for the pig and he appreciates it anywhere, in anything. I also used half and half in lieu of heavy cream.

All in all, the bisque was much more flavorful than I had imagined. I think the pancetta gave it just enough smokey goodness. It was a relatively elegant way to start our feast. (Pssst...after eating leftovers for a few days, I grew tired of elegance and threw some hot sauce on that shit. It was good. I swear!).


My tabbouleh was simple and traditional. Bulgur, parsley, mint, salt, pepper, onions, tomatoes, olive oil and a ton of lemon juice. This dish is on my list of foods I'd ask for while eating my last death-row meal.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Chickpeas, glorious chickpeas. Why anybody would buy the store-bought stuff when hummus is so easy (and kinda fun) to make is beyond me. I season the heck out of my hummus - cumin, coriander, just a little five spice, paprika, cayenne, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Olive oil, tahini and lemon juice galore. If you stop there you have a really delicious basic hummus (with a lot of kick - if you love cayenne as much as I do). When I'm making veal kofta, I like to add roasted red pepper into the equation, inserting flavors that are traditionally Italian into something otherwise very N-African/Middle Eastern (*insert crude joke about my conception and/or current dating choices here*).

Veal Kofta (making a meal)

Kofta, for those of you who don't know, is what happens when a meatball and kebab have a baby. Chopped meat (usually lamb or beef) is mixed with rice or bulgur, eggs and spices. My version was made of veal and breadcrumbs, but spiced with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, parsley, garlic and onion. And yes, hot sauce (preferably Mamoun's, but, truthfully, I've never met a hot sauce I didn't like). Nestled in each was a few golden raisins because I like to counter the spiciness. I fried them in olive oil and served them alongside the tabbouleh and hummus. My boyfriend chose to have his in a sandwich with (just decent, inauthentic) aish, the tabbouleh and hummus piled atop. Yeah, you can see a bottle of hot sauce in the background. I told you...

Grilled Pears a la Mode (also from Serious Eats)

It was Curious George approved. Don't ask. The bf's a weirdo. By now I was totally stuffed, but who could pass up such ooey-gooey goodness? I adhered to the recipe this time, save for the use of my George Foreman grill. Don't hate - it did the job. I also opted for vanilla bean because the little black specks make a difference, damnit.

And then I lapsed into a food coma - the true mark of success.

1 comment:

  1. This muthafucka seriously needs to marry yo ass if he hasn't already. I so easily could have made a Single Ladies joke here, but I suspect, if you're like me, that you are sick to death of that Whuh Uh Oh (waves hand in face) shit.

    PS: Now I'm HONGRY! Damn you.