Oven-Baked Beef Kebab with Eggplant

 

Enjoy this personal twist on a traditional family dish that’s fun to assemble and easy to bake! They’ll come out moist and flavorful every time!

Ingredients

 

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 eggplants
  • 18-20 fingerling potatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo red pepper
  • 1 tsp. mint
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bulgur #1
  • 4-5 mini bell peppers
  • 1 bunch fresh mint for garnish

Sauce

  • 1 tsp . Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tbls. tomato paste
  • 1 tbls. red pepper paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. dried mint
  • 2 cups water

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the eggplant (I prefer Japanese eggplants) in just three sections (don’t need to peel the entire skin)
  3. Cut the eggplants just over an inch wide
  4. Optional: Lightly season eggplant slices with salt and grill. You may also fry them or simply add them to the dish raw.
  5. Chop half the onion (the other half will be used for the sauce).
  6. Add the chopped onion to the ground beef in a large bowl
  7. Add bulger, salt, Aleppo pepper and dried mint to the beef
  8. Mix all ingredients well by hand
  9. Chop the other half of the onion
  10. Heat very little oil to a frying pan and add the chopped onion
  11.  Add salt, tomato paste, red pepper paste, dried mint, water and sugar
  12. Whisk all ingredients together, when sauce starts bubbling, remove from heat
  13.  Cut the edges of the fingerling potatoes so that they are the same length as the slices of eggplants.
  14. Assemble the dish by layering the bottom of the baking dish with some of the sauce (Just enough to cover the bottom).
  15. Make small meat balls with the beef mixture and place around the pan, alternating between beef, eggplant and potatoes.
  16. Add the remainder of the sauce on top of the diesh
  17. Slice the baby bell peppers and add to the top of the dish.
  18. Cover with foil, bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
  19. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.
  20. Garnish with fresh mint and serve!

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

 

Recipe: Fourth of July Caprese Salad

A fun twist to a classic Italian salad.

Supplies

  • star shaped cookie cut out set (You can find it at Michael’s or Amazon)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 blue basil stems
  • 1/2 block Karoun Nabulsi Cheese

 

Directions

    1. Start by slicing the tomatoes into halves and transfer it to a bowl.
    2. The cheese is one-inch thick. Cut it in half to make it 1/2 an inch thick. Use different sized star shaped cookie cutters to cut stars
      out of the cheese slices. Add the cheese stars to the tomatoes.
    3. Add blue basil.
    4. Dice your cucumbers in a diagonal. Use the smallest size star shaped cookie cutter to cut stars out of your cucumber slices. Add the slices to the salad. 
    5. Drizzle olive oil on top of your salad and enjoy! 

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

Recipe: Watermelon Salad

Try this easy, refreshing and fun salad. A perfect activity to do with your kids!

 

Supplies

  • star shaped cookie cut out set (You can find it at Michael’s or Amazon)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 2 ounces of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 4 to 5 stems of mint
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey

 

 

Dressing

  1. Whisk your lemon juice and honey together.

 

 

Directions

  1. Cut the watermelon in 1/2 inch thick slices. Use different sized star shaped cookie cutters to cut stars out of the watermelon slices. Place your cut out watermelon pieces in a large bowl.
  2. Add blueberries, crumbled feta cheese and mint.
  3. Drizzle your dressing on top of your salad and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

 

 

 

Recipe: Natural Easter Eggs

Try this creative, all-natural way of decorating Easter eggs!

Materials:

  • Large Pot
  • Nude nylon

 

Ingredients:

  • White room-temperature eggs
  • Room-temperature water
  • White distilled vinegar (one tablespoon per egg)
  • Cooking oil (any)
  • Herbs (cilantro, parsley dill)
  • Onion skin (one onion per egg)

 

Directions:

  1. Choose an herb and pick the leaves with the shapes of your choosing.
  2. Nip the stem off the herb.
  3. Wet the egg holding the narrow side up.
  4. Place the leaf on top of the egg. Make sure the leaf sticks as much as possible because this placement will determine the imprint on the eggs.
  5. Cut the end of the nylon to remove the stitching.
  6. Grab the egg with the nylon, coving it completely.
  7. Pull back the slack and twist the nylon as tightly as possible without letting go of the egg.
  8. Without letting go of the egg, use your middle finger as a hook and wrap the thread around the twisted nylon 20 times.
  9. Cut the extra nylon and thread.
  10. Peel off the onion skin and place them in a large pot. Fill 1/5-3/4ths of the pot.
  11. Carefully add one layer of eggs to the pot, and cover them with some of the onion skin.
  12. Slowly add water to the pot until the eggs are covered. You can add 1/2-1 inch water.
  13. Place the pot on the stove, bringing the water to a boil (5-10 minutes).
  14. Add one tablespoon of vinegar for every egg in the pot to the boiled water.
  15. Lower the fire to medium heat, and let the pot simmer (15-20 minutes).
  16. Remove the pot from the stove and check the coloring of the eggs. The eggs should be a dark burgundy. For lighter colors, boil the eggs for less time with less vinegar.
  17. Place the eggs on a plate. Using scissors, carefully cut the nylon from the eggs.
  18. Slowly rub the herb leaf off the egg. Use a wet paper towel to wipe the egg.
  19. Use a paper towel to coat the eggs in oil, covering them completely.

 

Visit my Youtube channel to watch the tutorial video, or click here!

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

Recipe: Panna Cotta

Try this classic recipe of a traditional Italian dessert. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Panna Cotta

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin (.28oz )
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • red food coloring (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan. Once it comes to a boil and the sugar is dissolved remove from heat and add the vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the gelatin and skim milk together until it is dissolved.
  3. Pour the gelatin and skim milk mixture over the warm Panna Cotta mixture and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  4. Add the red food coloring one drop at a time while whisking until you have a bright pink color. (pink color should be accomplished with 2-3 drops.)
  5. Lightly oil four 8 oz. ramekins (or similar vessels)
  6. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours ( preferably overnight)
  7. Once the Panna Cotta has settled run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta. Dip the ramekins in a hot bath for 15-20 seconds and you are ready to unfold it into the serving plate.

If you don’t have the time to plate the Panna Cotta you may pour the mixture into a wine goblet or a glass container to serve them without unfolding.

 

Sauce

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Directions

  1. Use a blender to mix frozen strawberries and sugar together and heat the mixture in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the corn starch and cold water together until it is dissolved.
  3. Pour the corn starch and water mixture over the warm strawberry sauce and stir until it is completely dissolved.
  4. Strain your mixture to remove any seeds and refrigerate.

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.