Posts tagged ‘Middle Eastern’

June 7, 2016

Tahini Spaetzle with Olives, Chickpeas and Cauliflower

Tahini Spaeztle

See how nice that spaetzle looks? I promise it tastes even better. But I know when you start reading the recipe to make it for yourself, you’re going to try to ruin it.

You’ll look at the ingredient list and start thinking about how you can cut a few corners. “What ridiculously named olive does he want me to use?” you’ll ask. “Can I just use a regular lemon?” you’ll wonder. “I can just cook up some dried pasta, right?” you’ll reason.

Do. Not. Give. In.

Castelvetrano olives are available in most grocery stores, in jars if not fresh. Preserved lemons can be found at any middle-eastern specialty shop – or you can easily make your own. And while making your own spaetzle might seem intimidating (many recipes tell you to press the dough through a colander) it really doesn’t have to be. Just use thumb and pointer finger to pinch off small bits of dough. A bit messy, but not challenging.

The extra effort is worth it, I promise you. This dish is a sublime blend of tangy, salty, and creamy that nonetheless defies expectations of being too rich or heavy. The castelvetranos are meaty and buttery, spaetzle is nutty, and the preserved lemons are packed with concentrated zest and just the right tartness.

Do it right. Treat yo self.

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May 19, 2014

Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad

Fennel Falafel

My girlfriend Maggie and I recently celebrated two years of dating by heading up to Vancouver, BC for a long weekend getaway. We had a blast stroll through downtown and Granville Island, biking around Stanley Park, and taking in all the beautiful scenery. It’s a really wonderful area, absolutely worth a trip if you haven’t visited already.

We kind of overdid it on the food though.

We had a ton of great food while we were there, from organic farm-to-table at Fable to sublimely good Indian food at Vij’s. But a decadent multi-course meal at Wildebeest – which specializes in some of the most succulent meat you’ll ever taste – left us both a little bit of a food hangover at the end of our trip.

So when I got back, I decide to do a week of vegetarian eating to balance things it. It was in interesting experience – not one I’ll likely repeat again soon – but it did broaden my repitoire of recipes – including this falafel dish.

Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, falafel is now found in many different regional cuisines, leading to many styles and interpretations. The version in this recipe is definitely less traditional and more Greek-inspired with the addition of fresh oregano and fennel. The pair gives these falafel a more refreshing and simple flavor profile than you would find at most restaurants.

Stacked atop a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and vinegar, this dish makes for a perfect light summer meal!

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March 16, 2014

Lamb Kofta with Sweet Tahini Sauce

Lamb Kofta

And just like that, the legislative session is over!

As I mentioned in the last few posts, I have been working down in the state capitol since the beginning of the year. But on Thursday the legislature adjourned Sine Die (Latin for “without day”) and finished its work for the year. That means I’m back in Seattle – and catching up on blogging all the iron-chef style dinners that my coworkers and I did over the past few weeks!

I posted the first challenge of the year a few weeks back: a Moroccan eggplant wrap with chorizo and pickled mangoes. This time around the three ingredients were ground lamb, eggs, and sweet condensed milk – which resulted in this delicious fusion dish that incorporates a cuisines from across the Mediterranean.

The kofta is really the star of this recipe. These middle eastern-style meatballs are crispy on the outside but tender on the inside, and packed full of flavor throughout. The slightly gamey lamb is balanced with a rich gravy reduction and accented with Moroccan spices and pine nuts. Meanwhile the rest of the pita is full of earthy garbanzo beans, robust cherry tomatoes and a silky, slightly sweet tahini sauce.

These pitas are wonderfully bite sized, so you can serve them as heavy appetizers or in groups of two or three as an entree. Either way, they’ll impress friends, family, or simply your own stomach.

Look for more culinary challenges from the past few weeks coming soon!

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