Weekend Eats :: Shrimp & Summer Veg Kebabs

To continue my ode to the wonders of Turkish feasting and flavors, here's the next recipe from my latest Rue column.  If you're hitting the grill this weekend, this one's a sure-fired winner.  Bon weekend and bon appetit!

Turkish Shrimp & Vegetable Kebabs :: with Cacik & Toasted Za'atar Pita

Serves :: 4



1 1/2 lbs large wild-caught shrimp, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Turkish baharat kebab spice blend *you can find special blends at Middle Eastern specialty shops or online retailers like Kalustyan's, Penzey's or Zamouri Spices
1 zucchini, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced into thick half-moons
8-10 button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
additional olive oil for brushing
8 to 10 metal or bamboo skewers *soak bamboo skewers first so they don't burn


5 oz 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cucumber, finely grated

Toasted Pita with Za'atar 

4 pitas
extra virgin olive oil for brushing
za’atar spice *za'atar is a ubiquitous Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seeds that can be used on virtually anything and everything from pita, vegetables, fish, poultry and more.  You can find it at specialty stores or online at Kalustyans and Penzeys




In two separate bowls, marinate shrimp with olive oil and spice blend for 20-30 minutes. Skewer shrimp in a 'C' shape, alternating with zucchini, onion and mushrooms, about 3 shrimp per skewer.
Place kebabs on a heated grill. Brush skewers with olive oil and cook about 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp is pink.


Stir up those ingredients and viola!

Toasted Pita with Za'atar

Preheat an oven at 325 degrees or toss pitas on a grill for 4-6 minutes to warm.  Brush pitas with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar.   

Images via :: Jen Altman

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posted: 07.29.11


Rue Issue 6 :: Wanderlust & Spice

And, we have lift off!  The rockstar team over at Rue has churned out another drop-dead stunning issue, their sixth to be exact.  I think this one's their strongest yet.  Incredible international home tours from Brazil to Stockholm to Iceland and Singapore.  Not to mention some inspired dishes from Turkey.  Check out my spread and some delish summertime fare and get the full load of recipes here.  I'll be posting all the recipes here on the blog as well over the next few days - starting with the first course, a summery grilled watermelon salad with feta (see recipe below).  

All this Turkey talking makes you just want to pack your bags and grab your passport, doesn't it?

A huge thanks to foodie photographer and stylist extraordinaire, Jen Altman, for being nothing less than amazing, as usual.


Grilled Watermelon Salad :: with Cucumber, Feta and Mint

Serves :: 4


½ watermelon, cut into triangular wedges, rind discarded
1 cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces Greek or Bulgarian feta cheese
¼ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
½ hot red chili, thinly sliced, *if desired
extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
sumac for sprinkling  *sumac is a Mediterranean spice with purple-reddish hue and a tangy, lemony flavor.



Heat a grill or grill pan on medium-high.  Grill watermelon triangles for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until light grill marks appear. 
Arrange slices on a platter.  Mix remaining ingredients together in a mixing bowl and spoon over top watermelon.  Sprinkle salad with sumac. 

Images via :: Jen Altman and Rue

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TAGS: travel, dessert, kebabs

posted: 07.28.11

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To Do List :: A Few Good Links

In an attempt to hideout for part of the weekend and escape the miserable heat and humidity that hit the East Coast last week, I took to my cozy couch yesterday and caught up on some work, a stack of food mags and some overdue web surfing (not nearly as cool as the real thing, but without a body of water nearby, it's second best).  Anyhow, here are few good links to kickstart your week with.  Happy surfing!

*Mark Bittman strikes again.  Very smart NY Times Op-Ed column yesterday on subsidizing vegetables and taxing junk food and soda - which could generate $13.2 billion in federal tax dollars and cover about 8% of medical costs associated with obesity.  Total estimated U.S. obesity cost for 2012: $166.2 billion!

*In other nutrition news, NY Times contributor, Jane Brody also strikes again.  Great column on how new research finds that counting calories as an effective method of losing weight may be passe -- I vote a big YES to that one.  Check out her column here.  Stay tuned, more to come on this one...

*JCrew enters the world of blogging & Tumblr!  L.O.V.E.

*Amazing new online mag (aka guide for small gatherings) devoted entirely to entertaining, food & widespread inspiration (see above photo for proof).  Can't wait for the 2nd run of Kinfolk.

*Eyeing this for a new greenmarket tote.

*Photography retreat meets Marrakesh via polaroid & food photography goddess, Jen Altman. Instant Love.

*Package-free grocery shopping.  In.gredients brings a sustainable micro-grocery store to Austin, TX.  Awesomeness.

*Looking forward to my batch of jalapenos budding on my balcony.  First born, see below.  Guide to an herb/veg garden of your own, click here.

*Dance party brunch this past Saturday outside in 100 degree heat.  Great concept, mother nature made a bit challenging to execute.    Thankfully there were water balloons on hand and CityGrit NYC has some great upcoming dinners once the weather cools.

*Rue Issue 6 goes live this evening!  Keep your eye's peeled for some far-off foodie wanderlust with my column.

*Perfect healthy treat to beat the heat.  DIY popsicles!

Images via: NY Times, Kinfolk, Will Leather Goods, Instant Love

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