Lamb ShiskabobI roomed with a talented Architectural student, Ardishir Bahar (now a successful architec) in College at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA, who was here from Persia (Iran), and who was an excellent cook. This was before I started as the only fry cook for 1,600 at lunch in the Poly cafeteria, but I too had already cooked for many years. We alternated with the occasional meal cooked in our small apartment, and I learned to love middle eastern dishes. Lamb, of course, is a staple in the middle east. As is yogurt. He taught me this delicious dish, which I’ve modified somewhat. Serves four.

2 Lbs lamb (shoulder or leg, fat trimmed) in 1 1/2 inch cubes.

2 Cups buttermilk

1 Cup plain yogurt

1 Tsp ground cumin

1 Tsp ground pepper

1 Medium white or yellow onion

1 Tsp garlic powder

2 Large yellow or white sweet onions

1 Each red, green, and yellow bell pepper

8 Ounce package of button mushrooms

Mix all ingredients other than veges and marinate overnight. If you really want marinade to permiate the meat, vaccum seal using a FoodSaver. I cook these on the BBQ on skewers (if you use wood make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes) but they can be done in the oven. Skewer meat on four or more skewers. One of the difficult parts of cooking shish kabob is getting everything properly cooked. So I don’t skewer the vegetables, or if I do it’s just for presentation, and it’s after they’re cooked. Onions, for example, take far longer than tomatoes (20 minutes or so). I like to use one of those perforated BBQ pans and start with onions, then add bell peppers ten minutes later, and finally tomatoes and mushrooms, which only need five or six minutes until the tomato skins begin to loosen. The meat goes on about the time I add the bell peppers. As with most red meats, I like lamb medium rare, but cook to your preference. As you can see in the picture I serve this with wild rice with pine nuts added. I also offer a Persian cucumber/onion salad on the side, again with yogurt and buttermilk dressing. Enjoy.