I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Middle Eastern Cuisine

We are really on a Middle Eastern food kick lately. This post comes courtesy of my wife. Enjoy!

Our San Marzano tomato plant has gone wild. We returned from a short weekend trip to Chicago to find about 40 ripe tomatoes waiting to be harvested. We needed to use them or lose them so we decided either Italian food or Mediterranean food would be practical and also healthy. We opted for Mediterranean food as we have prepared a lot of Italian meals recently and we wanted to avoid too many carbs in an effort to balance our outlandish vacation eating habits. A great cookbook with delicious Middle Eastern fare is The Arab Table by May S. Bsisu. Her recipes span several countries and are extremely tasty, yet easy to prepare. We decided to try a slightly different Jerusalem salad recipe from this book last night. The dressing is creamy with the addition of sesame tahini. This is how the salad is served in many Jordanian homes.

Jerusalem Salad

4-5 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

1 cucumber, finely chopped

5 scallions, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 packed cups hearts of romaine lettuce, finely chopped

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup sesame tahini

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine vegetables in a large bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss just before serving.

Shish Tawook (Chicken Kebabs)


10 cloves garlic, pressed

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2 T plain yogurt

1 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. white pepper

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 per person) cut into pieces

Marinate the chicken in a plastic bag for several hours in the refrigerator. Place on skewers and grill.

This eggplant recipe is one of our favorites and comes from a Turkish cookbook called The Sultan's Kitchen by Ozcan Ozan. It was delicious paired with the two previous dishes and even tastes good the next day cold.

Fried Eggplant and Grilled Peppers With Tomato and Garlic Yogurt Sauces
Slice 1 large eggplant. Place in a bowl of salted water and soak for 20 minutes. Remove and pat dry with paper towels. Fry in olive oil until browned on both sides. Cover and set aside. Grill the peppers and then cut into 2 inch pieces. Arrange with eggplant on a platter and drizzle sauces over the top. Voila!

Garlic Yogurt sauce

Combine 1 small container of plain yogurt, 1-2 cloves pressed garlic and salt to taste. Refrigerate.

Tomato sauce

Rub 6 plum tomatoes (or more for more sauce) against a box grater to remove the skins and core without having to go to much trouble. Heat a little olive oil in a sauce pan and sauté 3 cloves garlic for about one minute. Add the tomatoes which are already pureed from the grater. Cook for about 2-3 minutes covered. Set aside until ready to serve.