Monday, June 28, 2010

A Mediterranean Feast

Joe and I were on the rooftop of the Met cerca 5 30pm when I threw out hummus as a dinner plan.  Then, the dinner menu turned into the pages of a children's book.  Because if you tempt Joe with hummus, he's going to want a pita to go along with it.  And if you suggest baking pita, he'll remember that he also fancies babaganoush on pita bread.  And with tabbouleh on the side.

And so, that is the beginning of a two hour journey to a Mediterranean Feast (Printable Recipes): Whole Wheat Pita, Lemon-Garlic Hummus, Babaganoush, and Tabbouleh.

Whole Wheat Pocketless but Puffy Pita Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Yields 8-10 pitas

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
3/4 cup garbanzo flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten

Combine the yeast, water, and honey.  Allow the yeast 10 minutes to bubble.  During this time, measure and mix the dry ingredients (except for the salt) in a large mixing bowl.  Then, add the salt and olive oil to the yeast.  Mix together slowly.  If it becomes to tough to stir, turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead gently.  I added about another 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour as I kneaded.  Place it into a oiled bowl and turn to coat evenly.  Let it be for about 50 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Punch the dough down and divide it into 8-10 pieces.  Preheat the oven and baking stone to 475°F and roll the dough into disks no thicker than 1/4 inch.  Let them rest for 5-10 minutes and then bake for about 12 minutes until puffed and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cover with a dish towel to help them deflate.

Lemon-Garlic Hummus
Prep time about 20 minutes if you are skinning the peas
Yields about 12 healthy servings

1 can chick peas
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 can of reserved chick pea water or tap water
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons garbanzo flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic
salt and parsley to taste

Remove the skins and rinse the chick peas*.
Blend it all together.  Serve garnished with parsley.
*The skins are the part that make you fart.  So, removing them makes your digestive system quieter and the hummus creamier.  If you like the farting or just want to save time, leave them on.

Or babagannouj
Or roasted eggplant dip
Total prep time about an hour and a half
Yields about 10 servings

1 medium sized eggplant
1/4 cup tahini
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 clove raw garlic
salt, pepper, and parsley to taste

Quarter the eggplant and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast the eggplant and whole garlic cloves for about 30 minutes.  Let it cool for at least 15 minutes.  Plop it all into the blender along with tahini, water, a little more oil, a raw clove of garlic and some parsley.  Blend until smooth.

Traditionally I've had tabbouleh with cous cous but in doing some light reading it is usually served with bulgar and lots of mint.  So, turns out what we made is a variation of a tabbouleh, but I can assure you that it was delicious nonetheless.  Without the grain, this dish is more of an Israeli salad and awesome.  Options include: diced red pepper, a clove of garlic, dash of cinnamon, coriander and mint.

1 cup (uncooked) quinoa
1 large cucumber
1 large (home grown) tomato
1/4 of your favorite type of onion
as much parsley as you can handle
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Start the quinoa in 2 cups of water.  Some leave the quinoa out until the water comes to a boil, some throw it in from the get go.  Either way, when your water is boiling and your quinoa is in there, turn down the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until all the water is gone.  It cooks very similarly to rice.
While the quinoa is cooking, chop your vegetables and juice your lemon.  Put everything into a big bowl.
Make sure the quinoa is cool before you stir it into the vegetables.  Season and serve!

And so that is how we got from 5 30pm at the Met to 9pm eating a Mediterranean feast!

I have some research to do on Pita pockets... I'll get back to you on that one.  With shakshuka and falafel and stuffed grape leaves.  Mediterranean feast round two is definitely on the to do list.  But first we need a break so that we don't turn into garbanzos.
- Sarah

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