BABA'S HERBY KAFTA BURGERS or SKEWERS
So let me tell you about my teenage Sunday mornings. Pretty much every week, our family was up by 7:30 and out the door and off to church by 9 in time for my brothers to make their alkalite call. I can't say this didn't happen without a grumble or two from the teenager peanut gallery. But now, I really cherish the reasons behind this weekly rhythm which still beats in my brothers and me today.
From about 6 pm on Saturday, Baba would remind us that the next morning we'd be getting ourselves and the house "brim a brober, bright and early" because we just never knew who'd show up at church. Baba always has had trouble pronouncing his "p's". Our home's doors would be open for post-liturgical lunch and good long visits.
Baba's friends from the old country had kids studying at universities in LA. They'd be welcome and well-fed.
My parents' besties, Auntie Evette and Uncle Walter- a sweet Lebanese couple from Brazil might want to stop by for a bite and a chat.
Or maybe the priest and his wife and kids could come over for an afternoon coffee.
And sometimes it was just the 5 of us and Taita who lived next door to the church in the Senior Center. She'd come home to suburbia with us on Sundays and stay 'til dad drove her back to her apartment a few days later.
And on most sunny Sunday afternoons in LA, the grill would flip open and Baba would be revved to cook up the flavors that lived in his memory. His specialty... Kafta and Djej (chicken) on the grill. To this day, he tells us the trick is in the quality of the spices you use.
I now realize... it's about the meal because it is simply delicious, yes. But more importantly, it is that Sunday afternoons are set aside for fellowship, family and community. It's about the after worship visits. Under the shade of the trellaced grapevine. Just as we did in our backyard in the foothills outside of LA, Sunday after Sunday. And just as it is back home in Dar'aoun Village at our dear friends, Frannie and Alexi's place ... with a majestic view of the Mediterranean and the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon.
This rhythm ... it's this.
Ancestry. Food. Love.
Sahtain! To you Health and to Hope!
2 lbs ground beef
½ lb ground lamb (optional)
½ cup finely chopped or grated onion
¼ cup finely minced parsley
¼ cup finely minced mint
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp Soul Roots Kafta Spice
1 tsp Soul Roots Sumac
10 medium skewers if making KaftaDirections:
Mix all ingredients well and form into hamburger patties or kafta kebabs on pre-soaked bamboo or metal skewers. Chill for 1 hour before grilling. Brush meat with olive oil. Place on a hot grill and cook well to desired level. Serve burgers on buns or pita with the works including Laban bil Khiar, fresh green salad and roasted potatoes.