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Taiwanese Steamed Bun Tacos

Taiwanese Steamed Bun Tacos

It was many years ago when I first encountered what is called siao pao (show pow). I immediately fell in love with these. They are basically steamed buns filled with a meat mixture. It is the bun portion that I fell in love with however. […]

Quick and Delicious Chip Dip

Quick and Delicious Chip Dip

Almost every time I go to a party there is the standard chips and dips sitting out on a table or counter and almost everyone swipes a chip into this store bought dip, and repeats. What always surprises me is that it is always store […]

Cevapi – Southeast European Kebab

Cevapi – Southeast European Kebab

I had a craving for something different lately. I think it could have been the idea of a flatbread, or maybe it was hummus, or something to eat with ajvar that I had recently made. I know we all get this way at times, and we need to fill that craving pretty immediately. Fortunately, I was able to have a little patience, think things through, and come up with what is known a cevapi. Pronounced “chevapi” as I later found out by a lady from Kosovo.

Cevapi Recipe

Many of us who our not from southeastern Europe probably have no idea, nor heard of cevapi. That is one of the reasons I am going to introduce it to you today. Cevapi, in my opinion, are like grilled kebabs that look dense in texture, but are extremely light and airy. Not only that but they are packed with some great flavor. They are found in the southestern parts of Europe. Think Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia. To me, this is their kebob, and one similar to kofta. After all, it cannot be just the Italians that make some sort of meatball right?

Let’s get started on this wonderful southeastern Europe style kebab.

Ingredients: (serves eight)

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup of Italian leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup warm water mixed with 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

Serve with:

  • Naan bread, warmed
  • Ajvar (optional)
  • tzatziki (optional)

If you have never added baking soda to any of your meat mixtures, you might be missing out. The baking soda builds that pillow texture, that airiness you get in this kebob. Remember that when you are biting into the final product. Take all of your ingredients, throw them in a bowl, and mix well with your hands. Mix like you are making meatballs, or a meatloaf.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let this sit overnight if you can, if not, at least 4-6 hours.

Next, form the cevapi into thick finger likc shapes, if you will. They do not have to be perfect. They should be about the length of your index finger, an inch or so thick.

Southeastern European Meatball

Let these rest while you fire up your grill. I highly recommend cooking over charcoal if you have that opportunity as the charcoal give this kebobs that smoky flavor. Well, let’s admit, charcoal or wood should be used when grilling. I will admit that I have not used the gas grill all summer long since my cousin was kind enough to hand down his charcoal grills to me.

Once the coals are hot, add the cevapi to the grill, cooking a few minutes per side. These do not take very long to cook. You should get nice sear marks on the outside of the kebabs, while going for a medium, to medium well on the inside.

Once your cevapi are off the grill, you have some options in plating.

My personal favorite is to plate the cevapi on a nice plate. To another plate, stack the warm naan or pita bread. Then in two separate bowls, add the ajvar and the tzatziki.

Ajvar Recipe

Build your cevapi by spreading ajvar on the bottom of the bread, top with the cevapi, and drizzle some tzatziki sauce on top. Wrap and bite into it. The result is something out of this world. Tender bites of the kebab that are so well balanced by the slightly spicy ajvar sauce then cooled by the tzatziki sauce. This southeastern Europe kebab known as the cevapi is hard to be. So if you are looking for something new to try, and get your family or guests questioning at the dinner table, this one might just do that. Enjoy!

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Craisin and Cheddar Bratwurst

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Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Like most weekends, I tend to make barbecue. The low and slow barbecue. Not the throw things on a grill and take it off within twelve minutes. Whether it is ribs, chicken, pork shoulder, or heck, even sausages, there is always something cooking in my smoke barrel. As much as I love barbecue, I also enjoy many of the sides that go along with the great low and slow flavors of barbecue. My summertime standards are typically corn on the cob, and usually a nice coleslaw to go with it.

Some times you just want something different from those standard side dishes. This is where a classic macaroni salad came into play. I did not necessarily do this for myself, rather, I wanted to surprise my wife with something new, and I think I did just that.

Classic American Salad Recipe

This classic macaroni salad has everything you would expect in flavor and texture. A nice light dressing along with the great crunch from fresh celery, made this macaroni salad go great with the barbecue. So whether you are making chicken, pork, beef, or something in between, skip the bland deli style salads that you would typically pick up from the grocery store and try this one before summer ends. You will be happy you did.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of macaroni pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup of celery, small dice
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, small dice
  • 1 small roma tomato, small dice
  • 1/2 cup of light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Italian leaf parsley, chopped

Begin by boiling your pasta in salted water. While the pasta is boiling, prepare your ingredients, chopping all of the vegetables. When the vegetables have been chopped, make the dressing.

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, sugar, and sour cream to a small mixing bowl. Do just that, mix well until you have a nice and thin dressing.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain, and rinse with cold water to cool the pasta. Drain well.

Classic American Salad Recipe

To a large mixing bowl, add the pasta, chopped veggies, and top with half of the dressing. I say half because depending on the pasta, you want to make sure the sauce stays nice and light, not too much sauce. Mix to incorporate everything until you have the desired about of consistency with the dressing.

Taste. Adjust any salt and pepper to your liking. When you are ready to serve, transfer the macaroni salad to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve cold, or at room temperature. Enjoy.