Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sundays With Marlena Spieler - Bulgarian Cucumber Salad and...

Bulgarian Cucumber and Toasted Pine Nut Appetizer (click on photos to enlarge)
My husband is a bread making machine...Challah!
Kofta Kebabs
Daves Delish Pumpernickel
Sour Dough Rye

It is another lovely Sunday with Marlena and my blogger gal pals, Shankari and Eileen. Be sure to check out their blog posts for today...links to their sites will be at the bottom of this page. We continue cooking our way thru Jewish Cooking. By the way, everybody around here is reading about Jewish cooking! My FIL Bill bought a book about it and my husband learned that challah should have 12 knots in it..representing the 12 tribes. Who knew?

I am figuring out that my ancestors were Ashkenazim Jews who fled to the Rhine Valley over centuries, eventually ending up in Eastern Europe. I crave anything pickled, I always have cabbage in my fridge, and I've had a love affair with potatoes, grains, and beans since forever. I put saurkraut on hot dogs and for a snack, I just like to eat a bowl of it. I like those "cold weather foods" the best. Like Marlena often says of herself, "I'm a savory girl."

I started out making *Bulgarian Cucumber and Walnut Appetizer.. but I switched it up a bit:

Ingredients: serves 4 - 6

1 large cucumber (I used not peel it)
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup Fage (thick) Yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup double cream
plus 1 cup Fage (thick) Yogurt
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
4 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts (or use walnuts)
sprig of fresh dill for garnish
the juice of half a fresh lemon (had to add it)
1/2 teaspoon of salt..or to taste
finely chopped chives or green onion ends.. on top

So dice the cuke up ..small pieces and throw them in a bowl. Add the garlic, yogurt/cream, dill, salt, and lemon juice. Mix and then chill in fridge. When you serve it, sprinkle with the pine nuts and garnish with the dill. It is much like Greek tzatziki or Indian raita.

It is tangy, fresh, crisp, thick, and so very delicious. My husband ate a bunch of it on challah and pumpernickel. I think a little hot sauce would be nice in it...and it was! I want to try it on salmon..or mixed with hard- boiled eggs on sourdough rye.

I was craving some lamb, and I wanted to use the *BCW on it, so I made my version of Marlena's Kofta Kebabs.

Ingredients: serves 4

1 lb of ground lamb
about 3/4 cup matzo meal
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
a pinch of allspice, turmeric, and ground cumin
1 tablespoon of tomato paste ( I use the tubed paste)
salt and pepper to taste
3 shakes of hot sauce
1 egg

Mix it all together in a bowl..I used my hands. Wet your hands and make 4-5 large patties, or 7-8 smaller ones. I like em big. I heated a cast iron skillet, added about 3 tablespoons or so of canola oil. I turned twice, until browned and med rare in the middle. You can cook yours longer if you want to. I served mine with flour tortilla shells, as pictured. I would also served it rolled in a flat bread or in a pita pocket. I put some of the appetizer on it.

It was a Jewish gyro..sort of. The aromatic herbs and spices give a wonderful kick to the lamb..and my mouth was very happy. My husband was too. It would be great with onions sprinkled with some sumac. I can't stop thinking about it.

If you make any of the recipes, take a photo and send it to me..along with a little info. I will post them on my blog next week! BTW...I am not posting the bread recipes because I didn't make it, and Dave wouldn't do I mean. Maybe I can sweet-talk him into it...but I'm savory so probably not.

Please check out Eileen's blog and Shankari's blog for their Sunday's With Marlena recipes!


shankari said...

Everything looks so beautiful. My favorite are the kabobs :)

Eileen said...

That all looks wonderful! Dave's pumpernickel sure looks a heck of lot more delicious than the stuff I bought at the store (threw it out).

Hahn at Home said...

Nothing like fresh bread, of any type. And, I loved the kebabs. Maybe I'll need to go out and get that book after all.

Headed over to see the other gals' offerings now.

Tara said...

I, too, am a savory gal! It all looks soooo delicious!

I love pickled things - they don't love me. :-(