July 2014 Challenge - Middle East

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by genemachine, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Well, here we go again - time for another round. This time, I'd like to propose

    The Middle East

    as a theme. Hot spices, cooling yogurths, a wide variety of styles from Bedouine cooking to the culinary melting pot of Israel - I hope we all have fun with a nice bit of summer cooking (with apologies to the southern hemisphere).

    Prepare the feasts!

     
    eastshores likes this.
  2. butzy

    butzy

    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    439
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Well, i just bought a middle eastern cookbook (on kindle), so we will just have to start experimenting....
    Not my normal cooking style, but thats what I like about these challenges
     
  3. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    491
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Yep, out of my comfort zone here, we'll see what happens. I'll probably start with with something that has lamb and lemon involved.

    mjb.
     
  4. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    491
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Greece isn't included here, is it?  Shucks.
     
  5. millionsknives

    millionsknives

    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    480
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    My friend gave me some saffron recently.  I was thinking up uses for it.  A persian saffron rice ehhhh?
     
  6. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    The region is notoriously hard to define geographically, but I really can't see a way to fit Greece in...  Let's go with the most common definition - from Iran in the east to Egypt in the southwest and Turkey in the northwest, including all of the Levant and the Arabic peninsula.

    Looking forward to your contributions - this is not my main area of experience either, but I am rather curious about the cuisine and have started experimenting with it a bit lately.
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    645
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I don't think you can include Greece though a Greek is right at home with some of these flavor profiles. Some Greek foods have origins in the Middle East but not vice versa.

    With my computer down I can't access my awesome pictures when I made matlouh so that means I'll have to make it again soon.
     
  8. ordo

    ordo

    Messages:
    2,462
    Likes Received:
    251
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Stuffed eggplants

    Scratch the eggplants, pour a little EVOO on top and bake until colored.


    Mix egg and parmesan
     


    Take appart the eggplants 'meat' 


    Prepare a ragu (i'm using my last ragu) and the minced eggplant


    Sautée and make a first layer of filling 
     


    Second layer of the egg-cheese mix


    Bake

     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
    nicko and wildchef like this.
  9. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Well, if we count Cyprus as part of the Levant, there would be a backdoor for something greek, come to think of it....
    And we got a nice start there - I am expecting lots of eggplants this month!

    I tried my hand at some Shakshuka today - eggs in tomato sauce:

    Fry onions, garlic and bell peppers in olive oil, add tomatoes, season with bay leaf, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and brown sugar, let it simmer for a while, then drop in the eggs and finish at low heat.



    Transferring it to plates was a bit of a mess. If I ever serve it for guests, I gonna prepare individual portions in small cast iron serving pans and serve it right in the pan....

     
    wildchef likes this.
  10. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    349
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    ordo and Gene, where are your dishes from?

    maybe everyone could state the country of origin with their posts?

    that would be most helpful, mahalo, thank you
     
  11. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Very good idea, kgirl!

    Shakshuka probably originates outside of the Middle Easter proper, most likely it is originally from Tunisia. These days, it can be found all over North Africa and the Middle East and became especially popular in Israel.
     
  12. butzy

    butzy

    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    439
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Ok, my chickpeas are soaking.......
    Not sure yet, might become humous, maybe soup. Got some hours to decide.

    Nice first entries Gene and ordo!
     
  13. ordo

    ordo

    Messages:
    2,462
    Likes Received:
    251
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    From my grandmother, Lebanese, born in Beirut, a great woman who raised 9 children. A stupendous cook too. She came to Argentina very young. This lady:


    You will find inifite eggplants recipes in this Middle East zone. Check this step by step i posted in Recipes:
     
  14. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,646
    Likes Received:
    558
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Halloumi is traditionally Cypriot, but the enjoyment of it has spread through Turkey and the Levant so I'll include it here.


    I like it cut 3/16 inch thick. 1/8th is too thin, 1/4 too thick. Sear it off  on both sides in a cast iron, carbon steel or other pan that releases well.


    give it a light drizzle of good olive oil, a little fresh lemon, a touch of Za'atar and enjoy. I'm having it with some pita and hummus.

     
  15. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    349
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    @ordo  eggplant is not welcome in my home, but my mother is a huge fan

    (we had a small garden when I was young and one year my father planted way too much  eggplant, so we ate it in so many different was, for EVERY meal, I grew to dislike it after that)

    I will be sharing this with her.  At her new home in California, she has found a compadre who also loves eggplant.

    In fact, she called me last night to tell me about her small dinner party on the patio of eggplant parm with angel hair pasta, she was over the moon /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif
     
  16. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,646
    Likes Received:
    558
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Baba Ghanoush is the only eggplant preparation I've ever liked and I like Baba Ghanoush.
     
  17. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    491
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I really like Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, may have to see if I can find something similar for this challenge.

    mjb.
     
  18. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    645
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    This is an enigmatic statement
     
  19. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    What is this? No love for eggplants? I could eat them all day!

    Halloumi is nice, too, though.Never used Za'atar with it, I'll have to try that.

    I made some mujadarah today. That dish is all over the middle east, in thousand varieties. Originally, it is probably from Iraq. In its simplest form, it's just rice, lentils and onions with spices, I added some beef and pine nuts. Coat onion rings in flour, salt and fry them until crisp. Roast cumin and coriander, add garlic and the beef, then the rice, stir and coat with the oil. Add the cooked lentils, water or broth and season with turmeric, allspice, cinnamon and a bit of sugar, simmer for 15 minutes and let it rest for 10 more minutes. Serve with yogurth and the onion rings.


     
  20. ordo

    ordo

    Messages:
    2,462
    Likes Received:
    251
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Nice one Gene. Yogurt is an important ingredient in this cuisine. May be somebody can teach us how to make a superb yogurt.

    I've been lurking in youtube for some Middle East regions and recipes. Would you consider OK to post some videos? We could learn something.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014