Well, after quite a journey, that’s how! Believe it or not, it all started with my contribution to the Peko Peko Charity Cookbook. I was asked to contribute a dish, something simple that most of us could actually make for our families and I had recently seen something I thought perfect; some Sweet Potato French Fries that were seasoned with Furikake. FuriWhatkee was my first thought. But my friend Rachael, the infamous LaFujimama said I could find some at an Asian market. I was on Google within moments and discovered an H Mart was within 15 minutes of my home and I was on my way!
Fast forward 2 months. In the interim I’ve been to the H Mart a couple of times. A second time with my friend Karen of Eat, Drink, Washup where I discovered that the pork belly I had looked EVERYWHERE for in order to make Maple Bourbon Bacon was readily available and in a variety of cuts! Then again last weekend after a meeting of Front Range Food Bloggers at my home. Karen is a part of the group and was supposed to get home to help her husband and son paint their deck. But say the magic words ‘H Mart’ and those plans were quickly waylaid. We pulled the arm of Andrea (ever so slightly I might add) with Fork Fingers Chopsticks and were soon off. Yes, we bought more pork belly and other assorted goodies and then, as we were leaving, Karen wondered if we wanted to also visit the Arash International Market directly across the street. Of course we did!
What a find! Spices galore only previously located at specialty spice stores. Sumac which I have previously only used for a favorite olive oil dipping sauce, Pomegranate Molasses which I had only seen before at a local spice shop at a ridiculously high price, some fabulous pita bread recommended by Karen and some Tahini, which is basically ground sesame seeds and a necessary part of hummus which I wanted to try making.
Beyond the fresh plums and the dried fruit mix I also bought, I mostly did a lot of meandering around to check things out. So many wonderful new things to try that I knew would help to expand my repertoire of dishes I had previously avoided, assuming they would simply take too much time in the search for their unique ingredients. I was excited; this was a mere 10 minutes from my home!! One of the things I had noticed in the butcher case was goat, available either as whole goat legs or cut in cubes for stew meat (or I am now thinking, kabobs?!!). I had never seen goat offered anywhere, never, ever, so although I did not buy any, it made an impression.
It was fortuitous that a day or two later, I saw the blogger behind Kayln’s Kitchen tout a blog she had found and loved called Taste of Beirut. I went to check it out and lo and behold, the first dish I saw required in addition to ground beef – pomegranate molasses, tahini, sumac and pita bread. Didn’t it seem that fate was calling me to make this dish?
So I did! I have to admit…grinding up ground beef in my processor to make a paste…that alone was unique. I imagined that 7 spice was simply Chinese 5 spice with a couple more spices (wrong!). And I didn’t have yogurt cheese but had some queso cheese that Andrea had left behind from our blogger meeting. Why not? Mild and firm, I imagined it would be fine. And it was. Simple, yes. Delicious? That too. So delicious that I’m having it again this week when I’ve got some friends dropping by. Wish me luck…this time it’s going on the grill!
What’s with the Goat Tripping?
I’m going to share the recipe for Sfeeha on Pita, I promise but first; what does this all have to do with goat? Well, I mentioned on Twitter a couple of days later about my trip to the market and that I had seen goat meat for the first time. Who should be the first person to tweet back and tell me goat meat is delicious? Well, my friend Rachael; her of all things Japanese so that was unexpected. And then someone else got in on how good it was. And someone else and before days end, Rachael and I decided to do a ‘Goat Challenge’ which we’re calling ‘Goaterie’ – a name coined by a group of goat enthusiasts on Twitter; a play on the word ‘coterie.’ We are challenging anyone who wants to join us to try something from the goat. For me it will be to cook goat meat for the first time. For others, it might mean a dish which incorporates goat cheese or goat milk.
In the July 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, the subject of goat is brought up in a question sent in by a reader and the answer includes a mention of a book just published in April, called Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough and says that “If in five years we’re all eating goat burgers and goat chili, it’ll be because of this book.” Jacqueline Church (@LDGourmet) has some interesting information in an article she did for Nourish Network about Old World meats including goat. It’s a very sustainable meat that is eaten by over 60% of the world’s population. Not as widely available as other red meats, goat meat is becoming more and more well known. Let’s further that cause. Join Us!
We’ll be hosting two Twitter Chats where we can discuss and learn from each other and our knowledgeable panelists, including Mark Scarbrough, Jacqueline Church and Rachel Riggs, the proprietor of TheFromagette.
The first chat will be on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 at 9pm EST. We’ll be learning about various aspects of the goat farming industry, tips and tricks for cooking with goat products, helping inspire you to think of ways to cook with goat, etc!
The second chat will be on Monday, August 1st, 2011 at 9pm EST. We’ll be sharing our experiences, talking about the things we’ve learned, etc.
Make sure you follow the hashtag #goaterie for both events and throughout the month for ongoing goat discussion.
So really, goat tripping? Well, I’ve discovered in this new quest that a herd of goats is called a ‘Trip’ so look for Rachael and I to find multiple ways to promote this event by totally mangling a combination of goat and trip as often as possible!
We’ve lined up some great prizes that we’ll award to winners picked at random.org on August 2, 2011. Our thanks to:
- Cypress Grove Chevre who will provide a goat cheese gift.
- ManPans who have generously contributed a 10″ Saute Pan.
- Two prizes for two different participants, the books HAM: An Obsession with the Hindquarter and GOAT: Meat, Milk, Cheese, from one of our resident experts, Mark Scarbrough, and his publisher.
- Meyenberg Goat Milk Products will donate a sampler of gourmet specialty products that include European Style Goat Butter, Valley Goat Cheddar, “Beyond Traditional” Creme de Chevre and Galic & Chive Creme de Chevre.
- We would LOVE it if you would include the ‘Goaterie’ badge on your site with a link to this post in hopes that we can get more folks involved. Love it but not required!
- Publish your post(s) throughout the month of July; all posts using goat qualify; meat, cheese and milk. Multiple posts equate to multiple entries for prizes.
- After you post each dish, add your link to the InLinkz Tool at the end of this post; include the name of the dish and in the field for a URL; be sure to include the permalink address to your post, not just a link to the home page of your blog. You only need to include it on one of our blogs, it will display on both this one and Rachael’s.
- It’s most important that you remember to include your post in the InLinkz Tool. Not only does that give everyone a chance to see what others are making, but it will let us know who has participated in the challenge (we need that to award prizes).
- The contest links close midnight Eastern time, 8/1/11. We’ll select prize winners on 8/2/11 using random.org.
- Anyone can participate but prizes are limited to US residents only.
It’s all about the goat. Meat, cheese or milk. We’re tripping!
And finally, as promised…THE recipe!
Pita, ground beef and a salad all in one make this a most unusual but fabulous dish.
For the Arabic Spice Mixture
- 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1/2 Tbsp1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 1/ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the Beef
- 1 pound of ground beef (98% fat free, if possible)
- 4 ounces of chopped onion
- 1/2 cup of minced Italian parsley
- 3 Tbsp of tahini
- 1 tsp of minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp of pomegranate molasses
- 2 Tbsp of tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp of labneh (yogurt cheese) (I had no idea what this is, so I used queso fresco, a firm, white cheese)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of Arabic seven-spice (I made my own from spices on hand; recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon of sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more, to taste) of dried chili flakes or chili powder
For the Salad Mixture
- 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups of chopped Italian parsley
- 1 cup of chopped onion or green onion
- 1 cup of pomegranate seeds (I did not have any pomegranate seeds but I am dying to try it with them!)
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp of sumac
- 1 tsp of salt
- a dash of allspice
- Mix all of the spice ingredients together. This will be more than you need but you will be making this again!
- Chop the onion fine and combine with some salt; place it on a sieve lined with a paper towel and let the onion drain its juice for 30 minutes or so.
- Place the meat, spices, drained onion, chopped parsley, tahini, pomegranate molasses, labneh (for me, queso) and minced garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 2 minutes or until the mixture turns pasty. Transfer to a bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line a few baking sheets with foil. Place a pita on the foil and slather about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the meat mixture (depending on the size of the pita) on the pita, using a spatula to spread it as evenly as possible. Continue with the rest of the pitas.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, checking halfway through. When the meat looks cooked, remove from the oven.
- Mix the salad ingredients together; add the dressing and serve on top of the warm pita.
NOTE: I thought the author's dish looked adorable all folded up and with the top edges held together with toothpicks. I have great toothpicks so was excited about doing the same thing. Not so fast...no way was that pita going to bend without breaking after it's time in the oven. So I might try it sometime before it goes in the oven, but now see there is no need either; this I can live without experiencing. I think. 🙂
Adapted from A Taste of Beirut – and not very much I might add…this was new territory and I’m not going to stray too far off course until I get a better feel for how much leeway I have!