I’ve had an exciting month at work with trips to Uganda, Ethiopia and back to the US. After successful launches of our program in Uganda and New York, I’m thrilled to finally be back home. Part of what calms me after being away, especially after a month in a suitcase, and makes me feel back home again is cooking. There is something about cooking an elaborate meal and pouring over a new recipe that soothes me. My family and friends, as evidenced by this blog, are all obsessed with food and it’s really how we show our love. When Naomi came and visited me, she left us with a bounty of goodies because she’s an amazing guest and friend, but one of the most exciting items she left us was a cook book called “Modern Flavours of Arabia” by Suzanne Husseini. Middle Eastern food is usually not in my repertoire despite or perhaps because of my Morocco stint with Cat (parasite anyone?).
I am coming around and I do LOVE the flavors. So here is a whole Middle Eastern dinner menu, which I adapted from Huseini’s book, that served as a great home coming for me on Friday when I was jet lagged, exhausted, but absolutely happy to finally be home and cooking. Thanks Naomi!
Bulgur Pilaf (great cold as a salad as well)
– Olive Oil
– 1 Onion chopped
– 2 cups of bulgur (I’ve never cooked this, but LOVE it)
– 3 cups of chicken stock
– 1 tsp allspice
– 1 orange for zest and juice
– 1 pomegranate
– 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
– 1/2 cup of almonds
Heat olive oil and saute onion on medium heat. Once browned add in bulgur and toast slightly. Then add chicken stock, allspice, orange zest and squeeze orange in it. Once the liquid boils, turn it to low and simmer until all the liquid is gone (15-20min). Remove from heat and add pomegranate seeds, parsley, and almonds as well as season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip – the best way to take out the pomegranate seeds is by placing it in a bowl of water and breaking the skin. The seeds will sink and all the white bits will float up, which you can pick out.
– 4 red or yellow capsicums (or peppers…the former sounds so fancy!)
– 2 cups of basmati (cook it before you stuff…my mistake)
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 2 tsp allspice
– 3 garlic cloves minced
– 1/4 cup of fresh mint – chopped
– 250 g minced lamb
– 1/4 cup of olive oil
– Slices of tomato
– 4 garlic cloves
– 6 tomatoes – peeled (boil them in hot water and peel the skin)
– 1 cup chicken stock
– 4 tbs tomato paste
– 1/2 cup mint – chopped
– 1/4 cup parsley – chopped
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp all spice
Cut the top of the pepper carefully like a jack-o-lantern and hole out the pepper.
Mix the rice, cinnamon, all-spice, mint, lamb and oil together. Stuff the peppers and place the sliced tomato on the top. Place in a baking dish.
– Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the garlic. During this time put the tomatoes, mint and parsley in a food processor. Once garlic is browned add the tomatoes, mint, parsley, and chicken stock. Then add the tomato paste, cinnamon and all spice. Cook everything for 10 min then pour over the peppers and dish.
Cook everything in the oven for 45 minutes or until the peppers are roasted/cooked.
Yogurt and Tahini Sauce
– 1/2 cup of yogurt
– 1/2 cucumber chopped
– 3 tbs of tahini
– Sumac, salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together