Category Archives: Sausage

Kefta Kebabs for the Harem’s Picknick

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“We would arrive on the farm in mid-morning, equipped with dozens of carpets and light sofas and khanonns. Once the carpets had been unfolded, the light sofas would be spread out, the charcoal fires lit, and the shish kebabs grilled. The teakettles would sing along with the birds.”  from Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi

This is a wonderful memoir that explores the life of a young girl growing up in a harem in Fez, Morocco in the 1940s.  I have been astonished by many of the things that I’ve read in the text.  Mostly the idea, embarrassing to admit, that my only notion of a harem was that the term referred quite specifically to the many wives of one man.  In fact, it refers to the part of the home where women live.  In this case, each man of the house only has one wife, but all the women: wives, children, maiden and divorced aunts, and a stern, proud grandmother live together in the same women’s space.  This space does is not left behind with the walls.  The harem, as it is explained to young Fatima, is carried around in the minds of those who believe it is sacrosanct.  Thus, they take the harem with them to the movie theater and buy out a whole row of seats for the Mernissi women, and they also buy out the rows in front and behind so that no one may approach the harem.  In the above excerpt, the women are treated to rare moment of relative freedom in the open air: a picnic on an uncle’s farm that occurs just once a year.  Most days, they are not permitted to leave the walls of their home.

Kefta Kabob

1 lb ground beef

1lb ground lamb

1 yellow onion, finely minced 

About 1/4 cup each of fresh parsley and fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2-3 tbsp mint, roughly chopped

Generous 1 tbsp each of cinnamon, cumin, and sweet paprika

1/4 tsp each of nutmeg and cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

 Pre-soak your skewers in water, if they are wooden (a few hours should do the trick).  Preheat the broiler.  Mix all the ingredients into the meat.  Shape the meat into sausages around the skewers.  Broil for about 10 minutes total, flipping at least once to brown on all sides.  Try not to overcook them as they will dry out.  

I am dumb.  I forgot the salt.  Never forget to salt your ground meat.  It dries out.  Still, with a little table-side salting, these made a tasty dinner served with some roasted pepper and tomato salad (look for that recipe tomorrow).  Of course, I agree with the women of the harem when I say, they would have been much better grilled outdoors rather than in the oven, but that’s city living for you.


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Filed under Books, Cooking and Reading, Food, Moroccan Food, Sausage

Toad in the Hole and Sausage Will Never Cure His Heartache

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“The alcohol would warm his insides, and at the same time blur his thougths until they were no longer a danger to him.  The seedy public house was half empty.  A strong smell of sausages and bacon coming from the kithcen made his stomach churn, and he secluded himself in the corner farthest from the stoves and ordered a bottle of wine.  He was forced to place a handful of coins on the table in order to persuade the waiter to serve him.”  From The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

Our hero (it turns out, he’s only a part-one hero) has found himself in yet another seedy Whitehall pub after failing to rescue his lady love prostitute from Jack the Ripper.  He finds consolation in the wine, but he’s still repulsed by the sausages.

Toad in the Hole

1 lb small breakfast sausages

3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

1 tbsp water

2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 450.

Beat all the ingredients together until smooth.  Chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.  While the Yorkshire pudding (because that’s just what you just made!) is chilling, brown the sausages in a frying pan until they’re cooked through.  

Reserve some of the fat from the pan to spread on the bottom of a small casserole dish.  Arrange the sausages on the bottom of the casserole and pour the Yorkshire pudding mixture over the top while everything is still quite hot.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until the batter has risen and turned a nice golden brown.  Serve immediately from the casserole dish.  

Well, in this instance, I can agree with our hero Andrew that this is not a wealthy man’s dish.  I would have added some rosemary or some tasty herb to the batter, and I definitely would use Italian sausage instead of breakfast sausage.  But, in the words of my dinner guest, “it wasn’t bad.”  I would reprise my opinion with a take on the leftovers, but I have discovered a mouse in my house and for fear of nibbling, I tossed the whole lot out.  Essentially, if you’ve ever had a popover, you’ve had Yorkshire pudding, and if you like pigs in blankets, this dish is for you.  It was a little bland, (British food? No way!) but it was tasty, and with a few tweaks and a few additions, I would definitely make it again.

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