For the second week, I am getting through without smoking.
Memories from the last time I tried this made me believe that the task will be more difficult this time. On the one hand it’s encouraging, but then I think to myself that it really is not that complicated. What is the urgency in quitting? Why not smoke again?
Luckily I can transfer these lecherous thoughts to the kitchen. Today I am thinking about a traditional Middle Eastern dish of seasoned ground meat baked with tahini sauce. Before we begin I should make one thing clear: Sinaia is entirely about the quality of the meat and the grinding. There is no choice but to grind it at home. I asked my wife if she would be able to stop by the best butcher we know to buy some meat.
For the meat mixture:
- 1/2 pound of beef (rib eye steak is best) or lamb (shanks), finely ground
- 1 medium onion
- 1 chili pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Baharat (mix 1 teaspoon each of dry mint, oregano, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and nutmeg)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds
- 1 cup minced parsley
- Finely chop the onion, chili pepper, and garlic. Fry in some olive oil until slightly golden.
- Place the ground meat in a bowl. Add the sauteed onion, chili pepper, and garlic. Season with chili, cinnamon, Baharat, and salt.
- Add the fresh parsley and pine nuts or chopped almonds and mix.
- Spread the meat mixture in an oven-safe casserole.
- Place the casserole in a hot (500 degree Fahrenheit) oven for about twenty minutes.
For the tahini mixture:
- 1 cup raw tahini paste
- 1 lemon
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup water
- Mix the tahini paste with the juice of one lemon, and minced garlic. Add the water slowly until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Remove the casserole from the oven. Pour the tahini over the meat and return to the oven for another fifteen minutes.
- Serve hot with chopped Israel salad, hummus, and fresh, warm pita bread.