grilled lamb kebabs + tzatziki

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Yogurt-Marinated Lamb Kebabs
Adapted, barely, from Ina Garten

The yogurt-marinated lamb kebabs were ridiculously juicy and tangy and the tzatziki was, hands down, the best I have ever eaten. Throw in some Mediterranean Pepper Salad, Spanakopita and Homemade Pitas and you will never, ever get rid of me. Thus, you’ve been warned.

1 pound plain yogurt (regular or lowfat)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
5 tablespoons fresh whole rosemary leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds top round lamb
1 red onion

Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large, non-reactive bowl. Cut the lamb in 1 1/2-inch cubes (you’ll have about 20) and add it to the yogurt, making sure it is covered with the marinade. Cover the mixture plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to two days.

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Spread the coals in one tight layer on the grill. Cut the red onion in 8 pieces and separate each piece into three or four sections. Loosely thread three or four pieces of lamb onto skewers alternately with sections of onion. Sprinkle both sides of the lamb cubes with salt and pepper. Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning two or three times, until the lamb is medium-rare.

Serve with salad, grilled pitas and tzatziki (below).

Tzatziki
Almost exactly as Ina Garten makes it, because it is perfect (even if sour cream and vinegar might make it a tad less traditional)

14 ounces Greek yogurt (Ina recommends Fage Total; I recommend whatever you like best, and yes, I use full fat, always)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Grate the cucumber on a box grater (or in your food processor, if you like to get things done in one hundreth of the time!) and squeeze the grated cucumber with your hand to remove some of the liquid. (Pressing it in mesh sieve with a spoon to extract the extra water or wringing it in cheesecloth also work well.) Add it to the yogurt along with the sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt and pepper and stir. Serve with grilled pita wedges.


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