My brother introduced my mother to halal street meat a while back, somewhere along the way. He works near the Famous Halal Guys at 53rd and 6th, and took to bringing home a platter for my mother every once in a while after work… so when her birthday came up recently, she requested this for dinner. Well… okay. I admit that I thought I liked street meat until I attended Street Meat Palooza 3, where I overwhelmed my palate with so many different spices and types of street meat, I haven’t eaten street meat since then. I was a little nervous about eating Famous Halal Guys – which was, of course, represented at SMP3 – but I figured I’d give it a shot.
I gave my brother my order of “lamb over rice” and he brought white sauce on the side for us all. One thing about street meat – I used to go to Michael’s downtown and loved that lamb over rice meant I’d get big chunks of whole lamb. Not so here – it’s ground lamb, or not even, I don’t really know – it tastes like it’s been cut from a lamb gyro spit and then ground down, almost – but whatever the case, this was actually really damn tasty. I surprised myself since I hadn’t loved it at SMP3, but this time, I found myself enjoying it greatly. Yum! I avoided the hot sauce because I knew I couldn’t handle it, but the white sauce mixed in with everything was really quite good. So now I know… I just can’t eat from 15 different platters in a short amount of time without wanting to scrape my tongue out…
What’s a birthday without cake? My brother asked me to pick up a cake, but I decided to go one better and made a cake instead. I am a product of my parenting, and my mother is picky as well – she doesn’t like chocolate that much (or at all, depending on when you talk to her), and she’s not much for sweets. I decided to flex my newfound baking confidence and picked out an orange cornmeal cake from the Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast (affiliate link), figuring it to be not overwhelmingly sweet, interesting texturally… and you know, fun to make.
I actually baked a test cake a few days before the day I needed it, and shared it with those who attended the ML HH that day. Everyone seemed to like it, so I went with it… too bad it’s so ugly! I’m still not entirely sure why it kept cracking up top – but I stuck some sliced kiwi on top to look like a bow and to cover the ‘test’ spot… and I guess my mom liked it? It definitely wasn’t too sweet.
My first cake not from a mix! 🙂
Orange-scented Cornmeal Cake, adapted from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast
posted online here – the only adjustment I made was to definitely use sanding sugar for the crunchy topping.