We have a surfeit of cherry tomatoes coming out of our summer garden. I have actually taken to dehydrating them.
The texture of the dehydrated tomatoes really ends up depending on the temperature you choose to dry them at.
- Dry them at 130° to 135° F and you would end up with a crisp dried tomato
- Between 115° and 125°F you end up leaving a little bit of moisture to give it a slightly chewy texture
To actually process them, wash the tomatoes first and then halve them. If you want to sprinkle lightly with fine ground sea salt (personally I have done them with and without so I can pick and choose depending on the application).
Arrange them on your dehydrator racks without the pieces touching each other. Set to the appropriate temperature and turn on. Generally it takes about 12 hours. If you have multiple racks swap their order to even out the drying among the layers in the dehydrator.
After the drying process is complete, cool them at room temperature for a few minutes and then put them in a sealed ziplock bag for storage. I tend to store them in the freezer since we have absolutely no preservative in it.
The slightly chewy ones as a condiment on top of salads is spectacular. Also add them to omelets for that burst of acidity and sweetness. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back on what you can use the little flavour nuggets.
A lot of the Middle eastern and North African cuisines produce Kebobs from ground meats; lamb mostly but occasionally goat. Beef is a completely acceptable substitute. This version is made with Ground beef and if I had to pin it to any one of the countries of the region, I would probably pin it to Morocco since I am serving it with Cous Cous.
There are really multiple parts to this dish. The Cous Cous, the kebobs themselves, the chermoula and the yogurt raita or tadziki, whatever you want to call it. I will post the Chermoula separately since it is a dressing that is useful across many many dishes and link it here
Ground Beef Kebobs
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- ½ cup finely minced red onion
- 2 Tablespoons nonfat powdered milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil
- Mix the Ingredients with the ground beef. Do not over mix but get them mixed throughly to distribute the spices and herbs into the meat
- Chill in the refrigerator for an hour to set up
- Divide into eight and shape each in the form of a log. I make them with flat sides so it is easy to turn them to cook
- Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat and brush with olive oil
- Brush the kebobs with olive oil and cook them without crowding on the pan. You can cook over medium low with a partial cover on it so as to over cook the outside but be careful of moisture exuded from the kebobs. You DO NOT want to poach the meat.
- Make sure they are completely cooked.
Ingredients & Directions
- 1 cup Cous Cous
- 2 cups water (Use the ratio recommended for your brand of Cous Cous)
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Place all the ingredients except the water in a flat pan
- Bring the water to a boil and immediately add to the tray and mix it well with a fork
- Wait for the cousin cousin to absorb all of the water
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the tray and fluff to mix it in completely. Use a fork if you are squeamish but I tend to don gloves and rub it between my fingers and palm
- Let it rest for five minutes and repeat twice more with a tablespoon of olive oil each time
- Reheat just before serving in a microwave
Raita … or Tadziki with a twist
Ingredients & Directions
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt, Plain
- 1 tablespoon of minced fresh Mint
- ½ teaspoon ground Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 medium English Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced fine
- Mix all the ingredients together
- Taste and adjust salt and acidity(use lemon juice as needed)
- Rest an hour in the fridge before using
Serve the kebobs on a bed of heated Couscous dressed with the Chermoula. Serve the raita as the side
Chermoula is a dressing or condiment that spans across continents. Another name for essentially the same thing is Chimichurri. Chermoula is North African and Chimichurri is Argentinian.
Can’t you tell the North Africans were in Spain for a while….
My version hews closer to the North African version. The Argentinians tend to make theirs a little less aromatic and do not use cumin and sometimes add in roasted red peppers. This one has the cumin and some cayenne instead of red pepper flakes and I have used them interchangeably.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix them well and let it sit. The flavours take awhile to blend together. An hour or two is good, but it gets better the next day. An aside here is that I have used lemon juice in this rendition but feel free to substitute with red wine vinegar. In fact if I am going to use it as a condiment with a steak, the sharper flavor of red wine vinegar is better