August 28, 2012
If I had to guess which pantry item I use with the most frequency and enthusiasm, it would be either tahini or chickpea flour.
Tahini is an obvious choice for someone who lived in the Middle East and loved the food. I use it in traditional ways—hummus, tahina, moutabbal, chicken fatteh—but also in some pretty unusual concoctions that arose, as all great ideas have, from desperation.
My favorite thing to use tahini for is salad dressing. I mix the tahini with lemon juice or vinegar (it thickens to a paste), and then thin it with water and more vinegar if necessary to make a very flavorful, creamy dressing that’s perfect on a number of salads. Sometimes I’ll add chopped herbs, like parsley or cilantro, or spices, like coriander and cumin. Always salt and pepper. Any type of vinegar is fine—I’ve used apple cider, red wine, and rice wine. If you ever find yourself out of olive oil and need to make a dressing, this is a great solution. But I suppose I’m the only person who runs out of olive oil before tahini. Continue reading
August 10, 2012
This week we have another guest post from Dr. Ingrid Nelson. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the story and recipe as much as I did! Ingrid’s composed salad lends itself to both creativity and the use of leftovers. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach! -Chloe
The best fish I have ever eaten was a trout simply fried served on a white plate under a tree on the roof of a restaurant overlooking a cerulean blue river from where the trout had been plucked. The flesh was firm and tasted of cold snowpack water, bright sun, and deep misty valleys planted with walnut trees. In short, it tasted of where it came from—high in the Dinaric Alps of Albania.
When traveling, I have noticed that the best foods taste like where they come from. I wasn’t a big fan of figs—mushy and sickly sweet was my opinion—until I picked one off of a tree in Montenegro and popped it whole into my mouth. It literally exploded with delicately flavored nectar, soft flesh, and crisp little seeds that crackled when I bit into them. I looked around the garden I was standing in. There was hot sunshine and a cool salt breeze off the ocean scented by the flowering shrubs that grew around the fig tree. My fig tasted exactly like this. Since then, I have searched the specialty shops of Manhattan for an even vaguely similar experience, but without luck. I guess it’s back to Montenegro for my next fig! Continue reading
August 4, 2012
The foundation of American culture and government is the inalienable rights of the individual. Isn’t it the greatest twist of irony, then, that rampant individualism seems these days to be bringing about the downfall of our economy and society?
It’s a crisis of individualism.
The most obvious example of this is the current economic situation. Despite disagreement among economists over what caused the recession, we can all agree there is one common thread: greed. The Wall Street crisis, the subprime mortgage crisis, the debt crisis—all brought about because of people wanting to make and spend money using money they don’t have and didn’t earn. Americans seem to have bought into (no pun intended) this irrational idea that they have a right to purchase whatever they want, eat whatever they want, and use as much energy as they want without consequences for themselves or others. Continue reading
July 6, 2012
In September of 2009, I spent two weeks in Thailand. My friend and I flew to Bangkok, took the overnight train to Chiang Mai, and then flew to the south, stopping in Khao Sok and Ko Samui before returning to Bangkok. Here’s a list of my 10 favorite activities, sites, places to stay, and things to eat in the places I visited, along with a recipe for my favorite Thai dish, som tam.
June 22, 2012
Today’s post is a short story I wrote titled “Love and Agami.” The recipe that accompanies it is for the Egyptian version of moussaka, or masa’a, which is vegan when served as street food but sometimes made with ground beef or béchamel at home. Enjoy!
One summer we ate moussaka in Agami. The summer before love’s slow march of defeat, we ate moussaka between pockets of chewy pita as we took in the backhoes and foreboding black flags lining the beach of this off-season Mediterranean town.
Plump bites of eggplant burst in our mouths and oily tomato sauce dribbled down our chins. We ate while we walked, unable to restrain ourselves until we reached our rented villa. The strong sun made our hash-addled heads feel light. Magenta bushes lined the empty dirt roads that led nowhere. Stray dogs fought for authority in the dusty recesses.