Food stylists’ job description sometimes involve foraging (for this sumac) ,recipe writing (see my recipe for these lamb kebabs with sumac as pictured, below), with a bit of sleuthing (for this cake). Lincoln  wanted to pair unusual food with their uniquely positioned product; it certainly made for impressive results, and one of my all-time favourite projects to date. Who knew premium cars could go with food?

With mid-Summer sumac ripening, I’m reminded it’s almost a year since we worked on these ads with Y & R and {uber} art director Pearce Cacalda for The Lincoln Motor Company, shot by incredible photographer Rob Fiocca.

Sometimes, you just need to know who to call, as in pastry chef/owners Jenny & Sandor Dosman. She crafts these beautiful “Kransenkage” cakes for Danish weddings from their Kokken Village Cafe/ bakery in St. Jacobs, Ont. , after taking two years to perfect the recipe and technique….so it was worth me driving to pick them up (and yes, we ate every delicious morsel). Crabapples, Sumac and wild grape garnishes? Foraged from my nearby sidreroads here in Prince Edward County.



Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Sumac

 Sumac is a key ingredient in this zesty spice blend with Middle eastern roots. Used here to marinate meat for grilling on skewers, it’s also delicious sprinkled on cooked vegetables, to season rice dishes, and as a savoury topping for flatbreads.


2 Tbsp                  toasted sesame seeds                                                      15 mL

1/4 cup                 ground dried sumac                                                           60 mL

2 Tbsp                  EACH  dried thyme, oregano and marjoram         30 mL

1 tsp                     coarse sea salt                                                                             5 mL


3 lb                        boneless leg of lamb                                                              1.5 kg

(or about 5 lbs/  2.25 kg bone-in leg of lamb, deboned)


3 Tbsp                  olive oil                                                                                         45 mL

1                           onion, finely grated

1                           lemon, juiced

3 cloves               garlic, finely minced

2  Tbsp                 za’atar                                                                                          30 mL

2 tsp                     ground cumin                                                                           10 mL

1 tsp                     coarse sea salt                                                                             5 mL

for Za’tar: Place sesame seeds in mortar and pestle (or food processor); coarsely grind. Add sumac, thyme, oregano, marjoram and sea salt; mix well.

Makes  2/3 cups/ 150 mL .Store in airtight  container, in cool dry place, for up to 6 months.

Trim off excess fat from lamb; cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces.

In large bowl, combine olive oil, onion, lemon juice, garlic, and za’atar.  Add lamb pieces and combine evenly; marinate overnight in refrigerator (or for at least 2 hours).

Place meat on skewers. Preheat charcoal grill or gas barbecue. Cook skewers for 5 minutes. Turn, cooking for about 4-5 minutes more until still slightly pink inside or to preferred doneness. Sprinkle with additional pinches of za’atar, and fresh mint; serve with grilled vegetables, saffron rice, yogurt with minted cucumber salad.

serves 6        prep time  10  minutes         cooking time   10 minutes

Tip: Ground dried sumac can be purchased from Middle Eastern food stores.


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