My Israeli Couscous Almandine is a very popular dish for a potluck or large gathering. Today, however, I am making it just for the three of us. I cut my recipe in half, simplifies it slightly, and switched out pine nuts for the slivered almonds. Wife Jan is on the Noom Program, so she objects to dense starchy dishes. To please her, I make a salad that is mostly vegetables and fruit with just a bit of Israeli couscous.
Tag Archives: Middle Eastern cuisine
When I asked wife Jan what she wanted for Mother’s Day dinner she looked at the list of Noom recipes she had given me. One of the few that she listed that I have not already done was chicken skewers. Looking at the Prevention recipe—Most, if not all, of Noom’s recipes are direct links to the Prevention site—it struck me as under-seasoned and dry. Jan suggested that she really liked za’atar, so I went with that. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of thyme, oregano, marjoram mixed with toasted sesame seeds, salt, and frequently sumac—although each country, from Morocco to Iran, has their own distinctive blend.
Covid19 has restricted my buying habits to a great extent—I can no longer shop multiple ethnic stores to get just the right ingredients. As a result, I have been making mostly “old favorites” that have easily obtained ingredients. This dish has become an almost weekly meal in my house—and not just because it takes only about ten minutes to put on the table. This dish is not so much a recipe, but an assembly of ingredients—the only “cooking” required is a few minutes in the microwave to soften the pita bread and to warm up the falafel balls.
I made Kūbide meatloaf for a weeknight dinner, but I had run out of pita bread to go with it. Instead of making another store run I decided to make some Middle Eastern rice as my starchy side dish. I sought inspiration on-line and a found a recipe for garlicy turmeric rice—I then went on to almost completely change it.
Wildly adapted from a Delish recipe
Sometimes a recipe comes from a cascade of little events. Today, I bought some soft pita bread for my wife—she has two temporary crowns and her usual pita chips would be too had for her to chew. Later, she decided—since we had pita bread—that what she really wanted for dinner was chicken shawarma. “Real” shawarma is roasted on a vertical spit, which is device that is out of the range of most home cooks. The meat for shawarma is also usually marinated for at least a day. How was I going to satisfy my wife in less than an afternoon?
Since daughter Miriam became sick with something that gives her a lot of food restrictions Sunday dinners have become a challenge. Trying to find/create recipes that do not include garlic, onions (or anything else in the leek family), peppers (of any kind), and light on tomatoes is almost unimaginable. Fortunately these are still a lot of herbs and spices that she can still eat.
One thing was requested by many for our Labor Day barbecue was corn on the cob. I am making koobideh hamburgers, so I though some za’atar sprinkled on the corn would fit the Fusion Middle Eastern theme. Since I am less fond of corn, I break the ears into smaller pieces—they are easier to eat and everyone knows that two small pieces have fewer calories than one big piece.
I decided to do a Middle Eastern chicken to go with my tabbouleh. Bahārāt (which is Arabic for spices) is a common spice blend in many Middle Eastern countries, but every country makes it a different way. The recipe I decided to use made way too much for four little chicken thighs, so I reduced the amounts to my needs.