Kids not camping Compensate with these cookout meals

On any given holiday or long weekend, Israelis head for the hills. The forests and deserts are dotted with campsites with clouds of smoke emanating from a barbeque grill.

Israelis love to cook in the woods, whether camping for a week or just an afternoon picnic. It is a national pastime that spares no one.

Although meat has never been Israel’s strong point as far as quality, it has gotten better over the years and is now perfect for the grill, particularly when served in the form of kabobs, ground meat laced with fragrant spices. Sashlik, small pieces of marinated meat threaded on skewers, are also popular. Both of these cookout delights, accompanied by portable salads, make a perfect campsite meal.

Shish Kabobs | Serves 6

3/4 lb. ground beef
3/4 lb. ground lamb
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients. Take generous spoonfuls of the mixture and form into sausage shapes. Thread onto flat skewers and grill until they sizzle and begin to brown. Turn and cook other side. Serve with pita and salad.

Shashlik | Serves 6

3 lbs. lamb, cut from leg
2 small onions, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tbs. parsley, freshly chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, unsweetened
4 Tbs. corn or olive oil
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Trim away all fat from meat. Cut into 2-inch chunks. Place in small bowl together with onion, garlic, shallot, parsley, cayenne pepper and pomegranate juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Skewer the meat, using four substantial skewers. Brush with oil. Grill over very high heat, turning often until done.
For a slightly pink meat, grill for 12 minutes. Well done will take about 20 minutes. Remove from skewers and serve with pita bread and salad.

Eggplant and Pepper Salad | Serves 6 (makes about 3 cups)

1 large eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Roast eggplant in a 375-degree oven until it collapses. Let cool. Meanwhile heat 2 Tbs. oil in large skillet. Saute onion, pepper and garlic about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and pepper flakes and cook another minute until fragrant. Let cool.
Place all ingredients in food processor with remaining oil and lemon juice. Process until you have a chunky mixture. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in parsley by hand. Keep tightly sealed and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Tabbouleh Salad | Serves 6 (makes about 3 cups)

1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
4 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs. chopped mint
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, diced
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper
Soak bulgur in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain in fine sieve, squeezing out excess moisture. In a large salad bowl combine bulgur with remaining ingredients and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].