Turkey shawarma & tamarind cocktails

Recently I was a passenger in a car for over 9 hours. During that time I ate a lot of McDonald's food, participated in some Invisible Marker adventures, sang Cole Porter songs and handed around granola bars. I also read several issues of bon appetit cover to cover. Here's what happened:

My recipe-reading exploded into a rash of recipe-making when I got home again. For one, I made Tamarind and Vodka Cocktails. Mine were a lot darker than the pretty pitcherful in the recipe. (It was one of those slightly annoying articles where fabulously earthy yet tasteful people give an amazing outdoor dinner party, including one or 2 slightly famous guests who just happen to be their buds, and yay-here-are-all-the-recipes-they-made!) Tamarind concentrate is not something I'd ever purchased before. I was pleased to find it's only $1.99 at the local Indian grocery. Tamarind looks like treacle and tastes like sour. In the end, I liked the tamarind cocktail base a lot better in a different drink of my own devising. I'm calling it the Twisted Tamara Palmer, because... it's like an Arnold Palmer except with tamarind instead of iced tea, plus there's vodka. Refreshing.

I also made Turkey Shawarma with Tomato Relish and Tahini Sauce. This was a big success. It involves several different stages of assembly (sauces, rub, marinating, grilling, slicing, wrapping), but is not too hard to pull off on a weekend afternoon. Above are 2 turkey cutlets grilling, plus onions along with some summer squash that needed to join the party. The idea of the Shawarma recipe is that you can try to replicate the taste of one of those Middle Eastern donair/dolma thingies where the meat is piled onto a rotating vertical spit and then sliced off. For this recipe you grill turkey cutlets, then stack them up and slice to approximate the real thing.

Here are most of the ingredients--dill pickle slices (added a great crunch and kick), sliced grilled turkey, grilled onion (you're supposed to slice up large ones, but I used small halved farmer's market ones instead), pita, plus the 2 titular sauces.

The shawarma is assembled.

And ready to eat. Very very good. The spice rub for the turkey tasted
quite "authentic" in my opinion.

Thanks bon appetit for some inspiring reading in the July 2009 "BBQ Issue." Other earmarked pages are the Chickpea Pizza, Lemon Cheesecake Squares with Fresh Berries ('cept I'd just make mini cheesecakes), Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas Barbecue Sauce (OMG!) and just about everything in the "Seoul Food" article (shrimp-scallion pancakes, beef bbq, white kimchi).

What magazines or beloved recipes have been inspiring you lately?

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