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Day 88: Greek Lamb Kebabs with Tzatziki, and Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Squares


Happy Food on a Stick Day! In honor of this beloved holiday (honestly, who comes up with these? and to what panel do they apply for approval?) we did all sorts of food on a stick this morning at CBC. The favorite were the lamb kebabs. (OK, the bacon wrapped peroghies on a stick were probably the favorite, but the lamb was well-received too.)

I made sure there was some left over. These are really just a meatball mixture made with ground lamb instead of beef (although you could use beef, or half and half) and spiced with cumin, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, with currants and crumbled feta stirred in. You could turn it into meatballs if you like, or take a small handful and shape it into a sort of log around a bamboo skewer. Grill them, broil them, or cook them in a skillet in a little olive oil – awkward, but the only option when you’re working on a hot plate set on a file cabinet outside a studio.

Either way, they’re perfect to dip into garlicky tzatziki, or to stuff a pita along with chopped tomato, cucumber, purple onion, and a big glop of tzatziki.

Greek Lamb Kebabs
1 lb. ground lamb or lean ground beef (or half and half)
1 small onion, peeled and grated
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (about 1 slice of bread), bulgur or couscous
1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large egg
2-4 Tbsp. currants or chopped raisins
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

olive or canola oil, for brushing
Preheat oven to 400° F. Soak some bamboo skewers in water for at least 10 minutes to prevent them from burning when you cook the kebabs.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Shape handfuls of the meat mixture into flattened sausages about 3” long around the ends of the skewers. Place on a rimmed cookie sheet, brush with olive oil and roast, turning often, until cooked through.
Makes 12 kebabs. 
Per kebab: 112 calories, 4.2 g total fat (1.4 g saturated fat, 1.6 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 13.3 g protein, 4.5 g carbohydrate, 65 mg cholesterol, 0.2 g fiber. 34% calories from fat

Regular plain yogurt, preferably thick Greek yogurt, is far superior to the runny low fat or fat free varieties, many of which depend on gelatin as a stabilizer. Even full-fat Greek yogurt is fairly low in fat, especially when compared to mayo or sour cream.

1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled
1 – 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups good quality plain yogurt, preferably Greek or Balkan-style
salt & pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
drizzle of olive oil (optional)
Grate the cucumber with a box grater onto a double thickness of paper towel. Gather up the cucumber in the towel and squeeze out as much excess water as you can. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber, garlic, yogurt, salt and pepper. If you like, add a squeeze of lemon and/or drizzle of olive oil. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight; the garlic flavor will intensify the longer it sits. Makes 2 1/2 – 3 cups.

Per 1/3 cup: 45 calories, 1 g total fat (0.6 g saturated fat, 0.3 g monounsaturated fat, 0.1 g polyunsaturated fat), 3.5 g protein, 5.6 g carbohydrate, 3.7 mg cholesterol, 0.3 g fiber. 20% calories from fat

These squares I made just because I wanted to do something other than make smoothies with the bag of tiny frozen wild blueberries in the freezer, and because I have a baby shower to go to on Sunday; it’s always a good idea for me to have reason to pawn off the leftovers.

(Low Fat) Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Squares

These are perfect to make ahead and stash in the freezer; slicing them frozen will ensure a clean cut.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 scant cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
pinch salt

1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or cranberries
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
icing sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add flour and salt and stir until well combined and crumbly.

Press into the bottom of an 8” x 8” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden around the edges.

In the same bowl (no need to wash it), combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add egg, egg white and lemon juice and stir until well blended and smooth.

Sprinkle the berries and coconut evenly over the base, and pour the lemon filling over top. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden and set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting or freezing. If you like, sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. Makes 16 squares.

Per Square: 130 calories, 3.3 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 0.2 g polyunsaturated fat), 24 g carbohydrates, 21 mg cholesterol, 1.6 g protein, 0.7 g fiber. 23% calories from fat


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6 comments on “Day 88: Greek Lamb Kebabs with Tzatziki, and Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Squares

  1. twomittens
    March 28, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    I can’t believe how much you cook! This looks amazing. And fancy. And yummy.

  2. joan w
    April 7, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Julie,
    I saw your greek kebabs recipe in the Edmonton Journal and made it tonight served with brown rice and tzatziki sauce. My 3 kids and husband ate the entire recipe. No leftovers. They started out tentatively, but the 2 teenage boys went back for a third helping each. We loved it, and it will definitely be made again.

    Thank you!

    Joan W

  3. Alex Barker
    September 28, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    I used the lamb Kabob recipe for a High School assignment and it was pretty easy for me, even though I’ve never cooked before.

    Thanks very much.

  4. Colleen
    December 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    The squares are absolutely delicious! I used saskatoons that I had picked from my yard and stashed i the freezer. The lemon makes it so fresh- I love the combination of tart and sweet! Thanks for the awesome recipe Julie…I am taking it to a dinner party tonight!

  5. wanda
    September 5, 2009 at 6:00 am

    i think this fod above me is so qood i am makinq it for my cookout

  6. angela
    July 10, 2010 at 11:23 am

    the squares are super yum. I used spelt flour and sucanat (natural sugar cane, granulated) and it was delish. Totally didn’t need the full cup of sugar in the topping. I could have used 1/2 cup and it still would have been bangin. Thanks for the recipe Julie!

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