I don’t mess around when it comes to national food holidays. Maybe it comes from growing up in a town that hosts an annual Catfish Festival at the height of summer — I figure if a bunch of sweaty coonasses can come together for a weekend to partake of the flesh of a lowly bottom feeder, I can do a lot better for National Something on a Stick Day than serve up corndogs. And so Gil and I feasted on kofta kebabs over the weekend in observance of this celebration of finger food.
After a bit of web research, I decided to adapt two recipes from Food Network into my own. (I know, I know, really keeping it traditional, there.) It had a pretty formidable list of ingredients, but I’m lucky to work near Kalustyan’s, so picking up the few extra spices not already in my cupboard was easy enough. And let me tell you, if you’re going to make these, definitely do what it takes to find sumac. I had a taste before adding it to the lamb and instantly realized that it’s the spice I’ve been missing all this time. It’s delicious and zingy and really boosts the flavor, but I suppose substituting lemon zest might be ok per Jamie Oliver’s recommendation. Dude knows more about this stuff than I do.
(And allow me to take a moment to apologize for the above photo. If I were a better photographer, you’d have something more beautiful to look at than Mr. Hankey in a yogurt bath, but I suck and really, it’s a brown log and not photogenic at all.)
We had tzatziki, mache, and whole wheat pitas to complete the sandwich portion of our meal, as well as foul moudammas, olive oil, and Syrian za’atar on the side. Overall, the meal was a little brown, but seriously delicious and pretty easy to make. These will be on the menu again just as soon as it warms up enough to take the grilling outdoors. I can’t wait.
recipes after the jump