Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cacik








Turkish Cucumber Salad!  Or soup!
  
     Turkish cucumber mint salad is a refreshing summer appetizer.  Turkish cacik is similar to Grecian tzatziki.  Cacik is usually thinner and "soupier" than tzatziki.  Tsatziki is meant to be a sauce that clings.
     Cacik can be served thin like a soup.  Cacik can be served as a salad or as a dip for bread.  This recipe is very simple to make.  Cacik can have a chopped cucumber texture or it can be made like a refined smooth puree.
  
     Cacik:
     For this recipe, the seeds are left in the cucumber.  The watery seed section adds to the refreshing qualities of cacik.  A food processor can be used to puree the cucumber and mint, if a smooth texture is preferred.
     Place 2 cups of finely chopped peeled cucumber in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add enough goat milk yogurt to thoroughly coat and cover the chopped cucumber.
     Add 3 tablespoons of finely chopped mint.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of sea salt.
     Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Add enough water thin the yogurt to a milk consistency.
     Place the cacik into a shallow serving dish.
     Garnish the rim of the dish with mixed baby lettuce leaves.
     Set the cacik dish on a serving platter.
     Heat a pita bread in an oven.
     Cut the pita bread into small triangles.
     Place the pita bread triangles next to the dish of cacik on the platter.
  
     Cacik has one of the best "I gotta have more of this!" kind of warm weather refreshing flavors!  Yum!  ...  Shawna    

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roulades of Flounder Duxelle with Scallion Vin Blanc Creme










     Flounder is a popular species of flat fish.  Flounder meat is very white and clean tasting like sole or fluke.  The fresher the flounder is, the more translucent the raw meat will be.  The top side of a flounder has thick filets and the bottom side of a flounder has thin small filets.  The small thin flounder filets are best for this recipe.
     In recent years, there was plenty of criticism about how fish mongers and chefs sold cheap flatfish filets like fluke or flounder, as a more expensive flatfish like dover sole.  This caused officials to monitor sales more than they used to.  Fish mongers used to sell just about any flatfish that was not dover sole, as lemon sole.
     Lemon sole comes from northern europe, so how does a Gulf of Mexico fishing boat unload a catch of lemon sole at a fishery located at a port in Tampa?  The answer is, lemon sole are not really sole.  They are another breed of flatfish.  Fishermen, fish mongers and chefs all take advantage of situations like this.  Lemon sole is cheap, because it really is not sole.  Since lemon sole is not sole, any flatfish was eligible to be called lemon sole.  Regulations have since stopped this practice and lemon sole is almost never seen on American menus any more.
     A different situation now presents a problem for flatfish fans.  Sustainability is a key issue.  Recently the chef of the century raved about how nice a fish dish cooked by one of his chefs looked.  My eyes are not like a deer's eyes focused on headlights.  The first thing that I noticed was that the flatfish that was raved about was not a sustainable species of fish.  In fact, it was on the endangered species list.  Nobody mentioned this fact, but I noticed and I lost a lot of respect for that chef.
     It just goes to show, paying attention to the list of what is currently rated as sustainable seafood does pay off.  A chef will never lose respect by selling sustainable fish.  Neither will a home cook!  Links for seafood sustainability are on the information page and the seafood page in this food site.  If people can read my recipes, they can also check the sustainability status.        
     Duxelle stuffing is a sauteed and reduced mixture of minced mushrooms, shallot and seasonal herbs.  Duxelle is cooked, till it becomes dry and pasty.  There are three major variations of duxelle stuffing.  This flounder recipe uses a duxelle that is meant for stuffed vegetables.  Duxelle for vegetables is nice with fish.  Bread crumbs, white wine and a dab of half glaze are part of this duxelle.  
     The mushrooms for a duxelle should be a mixture of wild strong flavored mushrooms and mild domestic or field mushrooms.  
     The cream sauce is very easy to make.  Bechamel sauce is the base of this sauce.  The light flavor of green onion in the white wine cream sauce compliments the flavor of the flounder and duxelle stuffing.
     The plate in the pictures looked good enough as it was.  Traditionally, going up the ladder of fine dining meant garnishes were of less important, but that has changed in the last two decades.  Now it seems like the presentation of an entree is more important than the basic quality of the entree.
     Usually a parsley sprig signifies that a chef claims the entree to be no more than a single star presentation.  You see many parsley sprigs on entrees in my blog  Complicated presentations have a way of scaring viewers away!  The fanciest recipes in this blog attract very few views, because not many people want to tackle a recipe that is difficult or time consuming.    
  
     Duxelle Seche:
     First a basic dry duxelle must be made (duxelle seche).  For a small amount of duxelle, it is not necessary to press the water out of the mushrooms.  
     You can use any combination of mushrooms, mushroom trimming and peelings that you prefer.  The mushroom mixture for the entree in the pictures was:  1 part chanterelle, 1 part cepe and 1 part portabella.  Dried mushrooms must be soaked overnight, till they become tender.  
     Heat a small saute pan over medium low heat.  
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.  
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced shallot.  
     Add 1 cup of finely minced mushroom scraps and stems.  
     Saute the mushrooms and shallots. 
     Stir the mixture often, so it does not scorch.  
     When the moisture in the is nearly evaporated, add sea salt and white pepper.  
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.  
     Add 1 pinch of finely chopped parsley.  The duxelle is ready when nearly all the moisture has evaporated from the mushrooms and the mushrooms look dry.  
  
     Duxelle Pour Legumes Farci (Duxelle for stuffed vegetables):  
     If no demi glace is on hand, then just add a small splash of brown roux thickened rich beef stock or glace viande is okay.  Here is a link for these recipes:  Demi Glace.  The choice of herbs should always benefit the flavor of the item being stuffed.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of demi glace to the dry duxelle seche in the pan.
     Add 2 teaspoons of tomato puree.  
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.  
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.  
     Simmer till the mixture reduces by half.
     Add 1 tablespoon of fine plain French bread crumbs while stirring.
     Add 1 pinch of chervil.  
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Stir the duxelle as it thickens.  
     When the duxelle becomes moist, but not wet, set the duxelle aside to cool.
  
     Roulade of Flounder Duxelle:
     Place 2 thin small 3 ounce to 4 ounce filets of flounder on a cutting board with the side that the skin was attached to facing up.  
     Spread a thin even 3/16" layer of the duxelle stuffing over the flounder filets.  
     Gently roll the flounder and duxelle stuffing, so it becomes a round roulade (pinwheel) shape.  
     Brush a baking pan with melted unsalted butter.  
     Place the flounder roulades on the baking pan and brush the roulades with melted unsalted butter.  
     Season the roulades with sea salt and black pepper.  
     Bake the roulades in a 325º oven.  
     When the roulades become about halfway cooked, add a small splash water to the pan to prevent scorching.  
     The roulades are finished baking when the fish becomes fully cooked and the stuffing becomes hot.  
  
     Scallion Vin Blanc Creme:
     Bechamel does not always require a pincer of onion, clove and bay leaf.  The original Italian besciamella only required milk and roux.
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.  
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.  
     Add an equal amount of flour while stirring.  
     Stir till the roux becomes a white color.
     Add 1/2 cup of milk. 
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.  
     Add sea salt and white pepper.  
     Stir the sauce with a whisk as it thickens.  
     Add 1/3 cup of dry white wine.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat. 
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.  
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  
     Add half of a very thin bias sliced green onion 3 minutes before serving.
  
     Roulades of Flounder Duxelle with Scallion Vin Blanc Creme:
     Place the flounder duxelle roulades on a plate.
     Place a potato and vegetables of your choice on the plate. 
     Spoon the Scallion Vin Blanc Creme over the roulades.  
     No garnish is necessary!
     A blanched broccoli spear, braised parsnips and buttered boiled red bliss potatoes are the vegetables in the pictures.
     
     The flavor of the duxelle rich.  The light flavor of the green onion white wine cream sauce accents the flavor of the duxelle and flounder.  Lemon would add too much bite to the sauce.  Lemon also changes the flavor of a duxelle in a negative way.  This is a nice refined flounder entree that is rewarding to make!  Yum!  ...  Shawna                                

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bucatini e Broccoli Siciliana









Complex flavors!
  
        Sicily looks like a small island on a map.  There are so many different mediterranean cuisine influences and and Italian cuisine variations in Sicily, that one would swear that Sicily was a large continent!  There are Arabic cuisine influences in many Sicilian recipes.  Agra dolce is a good example.  The sauce for this pasta has an agra dolce sweet sour flavor.
     The recipe for pasta with broccoli Siciliana varies.  Some recipes call for tomato and some do not.  Anchovies are required in some recipes.  Many broccoli Siciliana recipes call for saffron.   
     The base ingredients for pasta with broccoli Siciliana seem to be olive oil, garlic, onion, raisons, pine nuts and red wine vinegar.  The list of the rest of the ingredients for this recipe have many variations.
     Sicilian chefs create ingenious flavor combinations.  My first Italian apprenticeship was working for an award winning Sicilian chef.  One might say that the Sicilian chef taught flavor education!
  
     Raison Preparation:
     Place 3 tablespoons of  minced raisons in a small bowl.
     Add just enough water to cover the raisons.
     Let the raisons soak, till they become tender.

     Bread Crumb Topping:
     Many chefs have forgotten about this nice traditional touch, but then again, many modern chefs disregard anything that is traditional.  Bread crumbs were used as a topping for some Sicilian pastas many years ago.  A sprinkle of seasoned bread crumbs on a semi sweet pasta has nearly become a relic of the past.
     Heat a small saute pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Saute till the garlic becomes a golden color.
     Add just enough Italian fine ground plain bread crumbs to soak up the oil.  (About 4 or 5 tablespoons.)
     Stir constantly, the bread crumbs become lightly toasted.
     Place the garlic bread crumb topping aside on a dish and let it cool.
  
     Toasted Pine Nuts:
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of pine nuts.
     Shake the pan as the pine nuts toast.
     Only toast the pine nuts till they turn a light golden color.
     Set the pine nuts aside in a small bowl.
  
     Bucatini e Broccoli Siciliana:
     Cook 1 portion of bucatini pasta in boiling water over high heat, till it becomes cooked al dente.
     The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks!
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Saute till the onions and garlic become a light golden brown color.
     Add 2 chopped importen Italian anchovy filets.
     Add 1 cup of chopped broccoli florets.
     Saute the broccoli for about 1 minute.
     Add the reserved soaked raisons and the soaking liquid.
     Add 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar.
     Add 3/4 cup of water.
     Add  pinch of crushed red pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of saffron or 3 pinches of safflower saffron.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped Italian parsley.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till only about 1/3 cup of liquid remains in the pan.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     When the pasta is almost cooked al dente, place the pan with the sauce over medium low heat.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the bucatini pasta to the sauce.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Toss the pasta with the sauce.
     Use a long tine carving fork to mound the the pasta on the plate.
     Pour any sauce that remains in the pan over the bucatini pasta.  (The pasta should not be flooded with sauce!  The sauce should only coat the pasta with flavor.)
     Sprinkle some freshly grated pecorino romano cheese over the pasta.
     Sprinkle some of the the toasted garlic bread crumbs over the pasta.
     Garnish the pasta with an Italian parsley sprig.
  
     This is a great tasting pasta!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna    

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Karnibahar Kizartmasi









Turkish Fried Cauliflower with Garlic Yogurt and Red Pepper Dill Butter!
  
     Karnibahar Kizartmasi is a nice Turkish cauliflower recipe that is easy to make.  The flavor of this recipe is light and exotic.
     It seems like American cauliflower recipes are limited to buttered cauliflower or cauliflower with cheese sauce.  The most popular French cauliflower topping is polonaise.  I posted a polonaise recipe a few months ago.  Sicily has many great cauliflower recipes to choose from.  Persian, Arabian and North African cuisines all offer hundreds of great cauliflower recipes.
     Turkey is one of the great food capitols of the world.  Turkish cuisine has been revered as great tasting food since ancient times.  This cuisine definitely has no shortage of great flavor!  There are many traditional finger food recipes and small cafe snack food is popular in the afternoon.
     Today's Turkish Karnibahar Kizartmasi recipe is perfect for a nice afternoon snack, light meal or side dish.
 
     Garlic Goat Milk Yogurt:
     Greek style yogurt is goat milk yogurt.  Goat milk yogurt is traditionally used in mediterranean and Turkish cooking.  Goat milk yogurt is the healthiest yogurt, because it is fat free.
     Place 3 tablespoons of goat milk yogurt in small bowl.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time, while stirring, till the yogurt becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Set the garlic yogurt sauce aside for at least 10 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     
     Turkish Style Fried Cauliflower:
     Cut 1/2 of a head of cauliflower into medium size florets.
     Boil enough water in a sauce pot over high heat to cover the cauliflower florets.
     Add the cauliflower.
     Poach the cauliflower, till it becomes tender, but not soft.
     Drain the water off of the cauliflower and set the florets aside to cool.
     Place 2 eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add enough flour, while whisking, to form a thick batter.  The batter should be thicker than pancake batter and it should slowly drip from a spoon.
     Heat about 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided sauce pot to 360º.
     Place a few of the tender cauliflower florets in the thick egg batter.
     Completely coat the cauliflower florets.
     Drop one floret at a time into the hot frying oil.  (Try to keep the florets separate, so they do not stick to each other!)
     Stir the florets in the hot oil occasionally, so they fry evenly.
     Fry the florets till they become a golden color.
     Use a fryer net to remove the golden fried florets from the hot oil and set them on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
     Repeat these steps till all the florets are fried.
     Keep the cauliflower warm on a stove top.
  
     Red Pepper and Dill Butter:
     Spiced hot clarified butter (ghee) is often used as a finishing touch for many Turkish recipes.
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Gently boil the butter, till the water and milk fats evaporate.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed red pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Turkish style harissa sauce.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 3 pinches of dill weed.
     Keep the butter sauce warm over very low heat.
  
     Karnibahar Kizartmasi:
     Place the fried cauliflower florets in a shallow soup bowl or small casserole dish.
     Spoon the garlic yogurt sauce over the cauliflower.
     Drizzle the red pepper dill butter over the garlic yogurt.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of dill over the cauliflower.
  
     The tart flavor of goat milk yogurt and garlic is delicious with fried cauliflower.  The spicy red pepper and dill butter really adds a spicy accent.  This is a tasty Turkish fried cauliflower recipe that is well worth trying!  Yum!  ...  Shawna    

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rhineland Himmel Unde Erde with Jalapeno Chicken Bratwurst, Smoked Bacon and Onion








Heaven and Earth!
  
     Himmel Unde Erde is a classic German recipe that is hearty and delicious.  Himmel unde erde is a traditional winter recipe.  This entree will keep a person warm and comfy in harsh cold weather.  Himmel unde erde translates to heaven and earth.  Apples represent heaven and potatoes represent earth.
     Traditionally, either fresh apples are cooked with the potatoes or apple sauce is added to the mashed potatoes.  Fresh made apple sauce or fresh apples cooked with the potatoes is a better choice, than adding a pre-made sugar free apple sauce product.  Himmel unde erde is best when the apples and the potatoes are only partially mashed, but many people like a smooth himmel unde erde texture.  Any kind of starchy potato can be used for this recipe.  I chose red bliss potatoes and I left the skins on the potatoes for more color.  The apples should be semi sweet or tart.  Gala apples or granny smith apples are a good choice.
     Any kind of bratwurst or German sausage is nice with himmel unde erde.  I found some chicken and jalapeno bratwurst sausages that looked quite nice at the market today.  Chicken sausages have become popular, because of the health food trend.
      There are a few traditional recipe variations for himmel and erde.  Pears take the place of apples in some recipes.  Rhineland himmel unde erde is served with blutwurst (blood sausage).  I had some blutwurst on hand.  Sometimes the warm blood sausage is sliced and set next to the himmel unde erde or a small slice of blood sausage is pan fried till it crumbles, then the crumbled blood sausage is placed on top of the himmel unde erde.  A little bit of blood sausage goes a long way, because blood sausage has a strong flavor.
     Sauteed bacon and onion is another traditional accompaniment for himmel unde erde.  Today's recipe is basically a himmel unde erde with the works!
 
     Himmel Unde Erde:
     This recipe makes 1 large serving!  While the apples and potatoes are cooking, the rest of the ingredients can be prepared.  
     Peel and core 1 granny smith green apple or a gala apple.
     Cut the apple into fourths.
     Place the apple into a sauce pot.
     Add 8 to 10 ounces of red bliss potatoes that are cut in half.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients with 1" of extra liquid.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Boil the apples and potatoes over medium high heat, till the apples and potatoes become soft.
     Drain the water off of the potatoes and apple.
     Return the sauce pot with the apple and potatoes to very low heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 pinches of nutmeg.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Use a heavy wire whisk or a potato masher to mash the mixture.
     Keep the himmel unde erde warm on a stove top.
   
     Smoked Bacon and Onion:
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 strip of smoked bacon into 1 inch long pieces.
     Pan fry the smoked bacon pieces, till they just begin to lightly brown.
     Add 1 cup of chopped onion.
     Saute the onions and smoked bacon, till the onions become lightly caramelized.
     Keep the smoked bacon and onions warm on a stove top.
   
     Blutwurst:
     Heat a saute pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 ounce piece of blood sausage.
     Grill the blood sausage, till it crumbles apart and till it becomes lightly browned.
     Place the blutwurst on a dish and and keep it warm on a stove top.
  
     Jalapeno Chicken Bratwurst:
     Heat a saute pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 jalapeno chicken sausages that weigh 4 to 5 ounces apiece.
     Turn the sausages often, so they cook evenly.
     Grill the sausages, till they become browned and fully cooked.
     Keep the jalapeno bratwurst warm on a stove top.

     Rhineland Himmel Unde Erde with Jalapeno Chicken Bratwurst, Smoked Bacon and Onions:
     Mound the himmel unde erde in a shallow soup bowl or casserole dish.
     Place the crumbled blutwurst on top of the himmel unde erde.
     Use a slotted spoon to place the grilled bacon and onions around the edge of the himmel unde erde.
     Place 2 jalapeno bratwurst on top of the himmel unde erde.
 
     Viola!  A classic himmel unde erde version with a modern spicy chicken bratwurst.

Minestra di indivia e basilico con Midolline Pasta






Minestra di Indivia e Basilico al Pasta Midolline!  Italian Endive, Basil and Melon Seed Pasta Soup!
  
     Endive has a mild bitter flavor that mellows when it is cooked.  The combination of fresh basil and lemon adds a very unique flavor to the broth.  Midolline is melon seed shaped pasta.  Midolline is perfect for soups.  This is a great tasting Venetian style vegetarian soup that is perfect for summer!
  
     Minestra of Endive and Basil with Midolline Pasta:
     This recipe makes 1 large serving of soup!  Many Italian soups are a la minute (cooked to order).  This soup should be made shortly before serving and it should not kept kept warm in a soup warmer. 
     Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.  
     Saute the garlic, till it becomes a golden color.  
     Add 3 tablespoons of diced carrot.  
     Add 2 tablespoons chopped portobello mushroom.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion.  
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.  
     Add 1 cup of coarsely chopped endive lettuce.  
     Saute till the endive starts to wilt.  
     Add 8 whole fresh large basil leaves.  
     Saute till the basil leaves wilt.  
     Add 2 3/4 cups of light vegetable broth.  
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.  
     Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the soup to a boil.  
     Add 1/4 cup of midolline pasta.  
     Stir the soup occasionally as the pasta cooks.  
     Boil till the pasta becomes cooked al dente.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice.   
     Remove the bay leaf.  
     Ladle the soup into a shallow soup bowl.  
     Float a thin slice of lemon on the surface of the soup.  
     Place a basil sprig against the rim of the soup bowl as a garnish.  
  
     The midolline pasta does look like mellon seeds in this soup.  The small amount of onion and carrot helps to "sweeten" the broth.  No celery is needed for the soffritto vegetable mixture in this soup.  The broth has such a refreshing light flavor!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna         

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kangaroo Kufta Kebab









Kangaroo gone Arabic street vendor style food!
  
     Minced lamb or beef kufta kebabs are popular street vendor food in the middle east.  Minced meat is highly seasoned with traditional spice mixtures.  The minced meat is then shaped on a skewer.  The minced meat can be pressed into fancy shapes like balls, conical or like the plain cylinder shape in the pictures above.  The minced meat kufta kebabs are often oven roasted before being placed on a char grill.  They can be cooked on a flat top grill or directly on a char grill without being roasted in an oven first.
     Gourmet street vendor food has been the rave in Las Vegas and other trendy cities for a couple of years.  Kufta is a gourmet item on its own.  Kufta meatballs are among the greatest tasting meatballs in the world.  I have posted a few recipes for kufta style meatballs in my blog so far.
     I have never heard of anybody making kufta with kangaroo meat.  Kangaroo meat has become popular in the last few years.  The flavor of the meat is about as strong as lamb or mutton and the flavor is appealing.  Kangaroo only contains 2% fat.  Since it is such a lean meat, it is recommended that it should be cooked rare to medium at the most.  Kufta kebabs are always fully cooked.  The basic kufta recipe has to be modified for the lean kangaroo meat.
     A lamb kufta kebab requires about 15% fat.  I thought of adding ground lamb or beef to the kangaroo to increase the amount of fat, but that would defeat the goal of cooking a low fat kufta meal.  Pork fat was out of the question, since this is an Arabic style kebab.  Many kufta recipes call for rice, millet or cracked wheat.  Many chefs compare kufta to meat loaf and gyro meatloaf actually is a Lebanese kufta recipe.  The ground kangaroo kufta is best when soft basmati rice is added to the mixture.  A small amount of egg and flour helps to hold the very lean ground kangaroo meat together.  Olive oil takes the place of meat fat in this recipe.  Butter or ghee could be used if you prefer a richer flavor.
     Pre-made kufta spice mix is available in Persian and Arabic markets.  If you have never tasted kufta, then a pre-made kufta spice mix is a good choice.  Kufta spice mixes are sometimes closely guarded secrets, just like old family za'atar spice mix recipes.  There are many regional variations to kufta spice mix and the mixture can vary from home to home.
     I went to the local Persian Arabic market today to do some shopping.  At this market, they cook kufta, pastries and several other nice items.  The aroma in that market is mouthwatering!  I bought some very nice quality Persian pickle products, freshly made khubz arabi (pita bread) and a few other items.
     The Iranian lady behind the counter at the Persian market offered the freshly cooked kitchen items to me as I was checking out.  I said "No thank you.  I am cooking kufta tonight!"  She smiled and we chatted for a minute.  I asked if she had ever eaten kangaroo.  She looked at me and said "No, no, no..." while shaking her head and laughing!  Kangaroos are funny animals and the thought of eating kangaroo causes many people to smile and laugh.  I mentioned that kangaroo tastes kind of like lamb and that I was making my kufta with ground kangaroo meat.  She had an "interested" look on her face, but she was still laughing hysterically about the thought of a kangaroo!  It was a funny moment!
     In the Persian and Arabic countries, pork is taboo.  One of the reasons that pork is taboo is because pork carries disease and it cannot be eaten raw, so the ancient people banned the consumption of pork.  Kangaroo is disease free and it can be eaten raw.  I hope that the wild game kangaroo meat does not fall into that same category of being taboo to eat like pork in the middle east.  Wild game has always been eaten in the middle east and the hunt is cherished by all.
     In modern times, the gourmet and wealthy folk in the middle east have acquired a taste for the exotic, just like chefs in Las Vegas.  Wild game is commonly found on menus in gourmet Las Vegas restaurants.  This kangaroo kufta kebab could bounce right into the limelight!
  
     Kangaroo Kufta Kebab:
     This recipe makes enough kangaroo kufta mix ture for 2 kebabs.  The rice requires some extra water in the recipe, so the rice will cook very soft.  Use the extra rice to stuff some grape leaves.
     Boil 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 3/4 cup of basmati rice.
     Boil the rice for a few minutes.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer the rice, till it becomes fully cooked, soft and mushy.  There should be no excess water left in the pan.
     Add 3 or 4 drops of rose water.  (Bottled rose water is available in Persian Arabic markets.)
     Set the rice aside and let it cool.
     Place 6 ounces of ground kangaroo meat in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely minced onion.
     Add 2 pinches of fenugreek.
     Add 4 pinches of coriander.
     Add 3 pinches of cumin.
     Add 2 pinches of sumac berry spice.
     Add 2 pinches of black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of ground fennel.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
     Add 2 pinches of minced mint leaves.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped Italian parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of the mushy basmati rice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
     Add 1 tablespoon of whisked egg.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Add just enough fine bread crumbs or chick pea flour, while mixing, to thicken the mixture to a firm stiff consistency.  The mixture should be smooth, slightly sticky and it should hold its shape when rolled into a ball shape.
     Refrigerate the kangaroo kufta mixture for 1 hour.
     Place the kufta mixture on a cutting board.
     Divide the mixture into 2 equal size portions.
     Roll a portion of the kufta into a long cylinder shape that is about 3/4" wide.
     Press a water soaked bamboo skewer lengthwise into kufta.
     Roll the kufta and skewer together till the skewer is sealed in the middle of the kufta.
     Repeat these steps for the second kufta skewer.
     Brush a baking pan with olive oil.
     Place the kufta skewers on the baking pan.
     Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the kufta skewers.
     Roast the kangaroo kufta skewers in a 325º oven.
     When the skewers become fully cooked, use a spatula the carefully free the skewers from the pan.
     Roll the skewers over.
     Return the skewers to the oven and roast them till they become lightly browned.
     Keep the skewers warm on a stove top.
  
     Rose Water Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves:
     Cut the stem and thick end of the vein off of 5 or 6 pickled grape leaves.
     Place a small dab of the extra rose water basmati rice on each of the grape leaves.
     Fold the edges of the leaves over the rice.
     Roll the grape leaves, so the rice is completely sealed in.
     Brush a small baking pan with olive oil.
     Place the stuffed grape leaves in the the pan.
     Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the stuffed grape leaves.
     Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the stuffed grape leaves.
     Bake the stuffed grape leaves in the 325º degree oven for about 4 minutes, till they become hot.  (Bake these while the kufta kebab is in the oven.)
     Keep the stuffed grape leaves warm on a stove top.
  
     Za'atar Khubz Arabi:  
     Za'atar spice mix is available in Persian Arabic markets.  Za'atar has a high proportion of ground toasted sesame seed, wild thyme, sumac berry and several other spices.
     Brush a pita bread (Khubz Arabi) with olive oil.
     Sprinkle a generous amount of za'atar spice mix on the pita bread.
     Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the za'atar on the pita bread.
     Gently rub the za'atar on the pita bread.
     Place the za'atar khubz in the 325º degree oven.
     Bake till the pita bread becomes hot and lightly toasted.  (Bake while the stuffed grape leaves and kangaroo kufta kebabs are in the oven.)
     Remove the za'atar khubz from the oven and cut it into triangle shaped pieces.
  
     Kangaroo Kufta Kebab Presentation:
     Place the triangle shaped za'atar khubz pieces across a plate as a bed for the kebab.
     Place the roasted kangaroo kufta kebab on the za'atar khubz.
     Place the rose water rice stuffed grape leaves on the plate.
     Place a few Italian parsley sprigs on the plate.
     Place some persian pickles and olives on the parsley sprigs.
     Persian pickled wild cucumber, pink pickled turnip, scratched green olives and a rolled up piece of roasted red bell pepper are the pickles in the pictures.
  
     The complex mixture of kufta spices, garlic and ginger are good tasting with the flavor of kangaroo.  Because of the heavy spicing, there is no gamey flavor in the kangaroo meat.  Because the kangaroo meat is so lean, it will cook to a lighter color than ground beef or ground lamb.
     This is a great tasting casual exotic wild game kangaroo kefta kebab platter!  Much of Persian and Arabic food is fun casual social finger food.  This is a fun meal to eat!  Boing, Boing Boing!