I recently acquired a lot of meyer lemons from my neighbor's tree. I can only drink so much lemonade, eat so many lemon pies, and make so much marmalade! So I decided to make preserved lemons, and it was ridiculously easy. Now I have several jars of preserved lemons that I can use in Middle Eastern recipes.
Earlier this week, we highlighted one of the latest additions to our spice cupboard, anardana, or dried pomegranate seeds. Experimenting with the souring ingredient led to this recipe for warmly spiced chickpeas with a touch of sweet tartness. Served with grains or tossed in a salad, they make a zestful and wholesome vegetarian meal.
Recipe: Cilbir (Turkish Poached Eggs over Yogurt)
How long does it take? 20 minutes
Why is it a favorite meal? Yogurt sauce and poached eggs are two of my favorite quick dishes. Together... heaven.
I've always loved dolmas - they're such a healthy and delicious finger food to take to a picnic or to add to a collection of mezedhes spread around the table. In the past, I used to just grab a plastic container of pre-made dolmas at the grocery store. One day I looked at them and realized three things; one, these are pretty expensive. Two, I could probably make my own rather easily at a much lower cost. Three, homemade ones probably taste much better. I was right, and I've been making my own dolmas ever since.
Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli
How long does it take? 20-30 minutes
Why is it a favorite meal? Fast, but still healthy and delicious. Quinoa cooks faster than brown rice, but is even better for you!
Last week I made a list of small bite meals around the world. One item on this list was meze, which is a collection of finger foods. A meze is a big part of the dining experience in Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Arab countries. The word "meze" means "taste" and/or "snack." The concept is very similar to the tapas of Spain, but with different ingredients.
Often a part of meze spreads in Middle Eastern and Arabic countries, fattoush is a simple salad made with fresh vegetables and toasted pita bread. It's a good way to use up stale pita bread and the unique flavoring in the seasoning comes from the addition of sumac.
As we learned recently, we're not the only fans of gorgeous, fragrant rose water. This is our very favorite use for it – Persian ice, or faloodeh, a splendidly refreshing combination of rose water, lime juice, sugar, and noodles. Yes, noodles!
Dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend of toasted nuts and seeds, has become a international favorite over the past few years, thanks to its popularity first in Australian restaurants and then among home cooks and food blogs. The warm, aromatic mixture is addictive when served as a dip with bread and olive oil. We've also been sprinkling it on everything else lately – roasted vegetables, pasta, feta cheese, and even peaches.