I have a peculiar hobby – I compulsively buy fancy / fun / funky condiments. And then I have to make up recipes to use them with. I am a complete sucker for the condiments on offer at the local farmer’s market and love the challenge of creating new dishes or spicing up old ones with the treasures I pick up.
My Pepper Jelly Slaw came into being because I had some Inferno Sauce (like red pepper jelly) from one of my favorite vendors at the Tomball Farmers’ Market, Just Pure Flavors, and I wanted to use it for a spicy slaw. I love throwing together a quick slaw, especially for a quick summer side dish, and seldom do it the same way twice. But writing a cookbook requires a little more consistency, so today I’m capturing the Inferno Sauce / pepper jelly version of my throw-down slaw.
4 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup chopped multi-colored peppers (bell, banana, whatever you’ve got, even jalapeño if you like it spicy)
1/4 finely chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 red pepper jelly, jalapeño jelly or my favorite the Inferno Sauce from Just Pure Flavors
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage, red onion and peppers. In a small bowl, whisk together the pepper jelly, cider vinegar, salt and pepper, then add the cilantro and whisk again. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss, then refrigerate for a half hour. Toss again before serving.
Serving tip: this slaw is a fantastic side dish with grilled meat or fish.
I found a recipe recently for grilled Middle Eastern lamb patties, which I shared with you here. They were really good, and I started wondering if the really-goodness was about the ground lamb, or if it was the spices and preparation. So I started experimenting and concocted a turkey version that we like even better. More Southwestern than Middle Eastern, these grilled turkey patties pack a wallop of fiery flavors and are nestled in a soft pita with bright, fresh garnishes and a cooling avocado-yogurt sauce.
We loved them so much that I made them three times in two weeks. They’re that good.
What’s in a Name?
I struggled with what to name this recipe, though. “Patties” just didn’t sound right to me – that word is synonymous with burgers and their customary round shape. My ground turkey delights, like the predecessor lamb version, are shaped like a fat cigar, a short sausage or a lumpy hot dog. What to call them??? Kebabs? No, because kebab signifies a skewer. Sausages? Dogs? Not quite right.
Cafe Pita Introduced Us to Cevap
The Grill-Meister rose to the naming challenge and came up with the winner, Turkey Cevap. Brilliant! We first learned of cevap when we found a marvelous Bosnian restaurant in Houston a few years ago. It had been featured on the TV Food Network’s show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and the host Guy Fieri was a big fan.
The dish that wowed Guy, the Grill-Meister and I was the beef cevap on lepinja bread. The Cafe Pita segment is worth watching. Cafe Pita is worth a visit, too, if you are in Houston. Yum!
The Grill-Meister was right. Cevap is the right name for our little turkey pieces, although the traditional minced or ground meats are beef, lamb or pork. Click here to read about the history of cevap, or cevapi, which has its roots in the Ottoman Empire (1300s) and is considered the national dish of Bosnia. I like to think that our turkey version honors those roots, with a Glover Gardens twist.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
3 lbs ground turkey (relatively lean is best)
5 large garlic cloves, pressed (use more if you are mincing; the garlic is important)
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground dried chili pepper or cayenne (if you like it spicy like we do; if not use 1 teaspoon the first time you make it, then ratchet it up)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 large, ripe avocado
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
5 large mint leaves, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup lowfat plain greek yogurt
salt to taste
12 whole wheat or white pita breads
Garnishes: chopped or torn mint, cilantro, sliced fresh jalapeño, red onion, halved grape tomatoes
Mix together the salt and spices for the cevap in a small bowl, then add to the ground turkey in a large bowl along with the garlic and cilantro, and mix with your hands. Shape into 12 sausage-shaped patties, about 4-5 inches long.
Refrigerate the sausages for 30 minutes while the grill is heating up.
To make the avocado sauce, blend all ingredients except the salt in a mini-processor or blender briefly, then add salt to taste. You can also just mash the avocado and combine with the other ingredients in a bowl if you a prefer a sauce that is chunky rather than smooth.
Grill the cevap sausages until they are done, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and cover with foil. Briefly grill the pita to warm it, then serve the cevap on the pita with the garnishes and sauce.
I can’t emphasize enough how quick, easy and absolutely stellar this dish is – absolutely perfect for summer outdoor entertaining when you want to spend more time chatting with your guests than preparing and serving the meal. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
OK, Dear Reader, I acknowledge the skeptics among you, those of you who are pretty sure other humans would just as soon sell you down the river as validate your humanity. But – you know what? – there aren’t that many of those folks! A few bad apples may indeed spoil the barrel, but most people are pretty darn amazing. Most people want to work with you and find a win/win situation. Most people are pretty happy for you to be right, if they can be right, too.
Most people would cheer for you when you are striving to succeed. And you would cheer for them, too, I am convinced.
My latest realization of how great others are is the cacophony of responses to my post about aging and attitudes (click “The Older You Are, The More You Live in the Past”. I read this provocative statement by a smart guy who should know what he’s talking about, but it seemed so generic, so pablum-like, so give-up-ish, and I wanted to hear from you.
And here’s what I got in response (you people are brilliant!):
“I look forward far more than backward … and that has not always been the case! So I would vote ‘depends on the individual and the circumstances in that individual life’. Good point to ponder – thanks for posting and nudging me to make today one of the forward-looking ones.”
“Of course, the more we age the more experiences we have and it is normal to reflect on those experiences as we live each day…but, if you remain busy in this life it would be silly to live for the past since the present and the future are more exciting. There is a question missing which says, do older people use their experiences of the past to enhance the present and future?”
“I agree that some individuals live in the past more and some do not. I think maybe those of us living with regrets may have a more difficult time being present as our bodies and minds begin to age. I think when we learn to follow our intuition and live with no regrets, we are able to be more present, because we have selected our choices wisely and our moments are more congruent. I think our souls want what is rightfully theirs, true happiness which comes from following our dreams and passions. When we are able to right our wrongs as they happen and reach for our dreams, we can age gracefully, without regret, this makes room for us to be present for our experiences.”
“Yes, I agree everyone will have their own perspective on life. It’s been my experience that those who live in the past are most often those who are unhappy with today. My philosophy is to take from the past what I need for today and plan loosely for the future but roll with the joy of whatever comes.”
These comments are from intelligent strangers, mostly, with one from my Dad. And wow, I think we are receiving the wisdom of the universe and the Almighty here. Serendipity. Blessings. Humanity.
I’m getting more and more interested in the balance – or trade-offs – between wisdom, aging and the desire and ability to embrace new concepts and experiences. I launched a poll in a recent post to find out what you think about whether or not people tend to live in the past as they age – here are the not-surprising results. It depends. (If you’d like to take the poll, please visit the post, The Older You Are, the More You Live in the Past.)
Soon afterward, serendipitously, coincidentally, I received a wonderful email from an octogenarian in my life. It was a short little essay about his day. I loved it! This gentleman is definitely not living in the past. I wrote to him: “Seriously, it reads like a poem. I hope you are writing more of this kind of thing. Maybe you should start a blog. I would read it!” “You flatter me,” he said. “I just meant this as a piece of foolishness.”
This “foolishness” is a great example of one older person living in the moment, not the past. Here’s his essay, Today, shared with permission.
This morning I went out for a late breakfast.
I left the restaurant without paying my check.
I went to the supermarket.
Half finished shopping, I reached in my pocket for my shopping list.
Instead I pulled out the restaurant check.
After I finished shopping, I went back to the restaurant and paid my check with apologies.
When I got home, I rested a bit.
Then, at 3:00 PM I arrived at a homeowner association meeting.
As the last speaker on the agenda, I made a ten minutes presentation with controversial overtones to a gathering of about fifty senior citizens.
I received many plaudits for my presentation (from those who agreed with me of course).
Afterwards I went out and bought a bottle of Scotch.
When I got home, I sat out on the deck with Eileen and a Scotch, on the rocks.
It was a beautiful afternoon to sit on the deck.
Just another day in the life of an 85 year old retiree.