Every so often, I’ll catch myself, and realize that it’s been a few days since I’ve had a good, solid, salad. I may have had some vegetables – I certainly love my sweet potatoes and butternut squash – but for some reason, a head of lettuce is not one of my staple purchases. So, whenever I come to this realization, I go for a Greek Salad.
I think there’s something about the saltiness in the feta that drives my love for the Greek Salad. Or maybe the soft taste of the sliced red onions, given a pickled quality by the vinegar. Or maybe the sharp taste Continue reading
There is a certain joy to the art of discovery.
Four years ago, I rarely, if ever cooked. But then I discovered that it was something I really enjoyed, and that it could bring me pleasure. I found cooking to be fun and relaxing, irrespective of the process or outcome.
And cooking is only one example. We all have those moments of individual discovery, of learning of a new love or skill, place or interest. Scanning the radio and stumbling upon an artist that inspires. Picking up a paint brush and finding an innate command of the canvas. Walking along the street and feeling the vivacity and charms of a heretofore undiscovered neighborhood.
Most recently, I discovered books on tape. I have always enjoyed fiction and reading. I have pleasant memories of lying awake, in bed, reading – at various times Continue reading
The Palouse region along the Idaho-Washington border is lentil country. In field after field, the tiny, green-coated legume covers the land.
The Palouse region counts roughly 200 miles of land, and is home to over 3,000 family farms. Between them, these farms account for nearly 90 percent of the lentils grown in this country. But sadly, few of these lentils ever find their way onto American plates or palates. Nearly the entire lentil crop is exported – to countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, and India - countries that appreciate the culinary qualities of the lentil.
And the lentil is worthy of appreciation. Unlike beans, lentils cook quickly and do not require soaking. They pair with almost any dish, and Continue reading
Baklava stresses me out.
As soon as I open the plastic packaging and roll out the cold sheets of phyllo dough, I feel like I’m in a race against time. I can picture the sand streaming down the hour glass, announcing the moment that the phyllo dough will become parched and unworkable, as if your potter’s wheel could only spin for so long. Time is of the essence, but working quickly is not necessarily the solution. Move too carelessly and too quickly, and the thin sheets will tear and break into equally unworkable pieces.
I’ve tried covering the sheets with cold towels, or keeping half the sheets in the refrigerator, but have not noticed any real difference. If I am going to work with phyllo dough, I am going to have to work quickly and carefully. And that stresses me out. Continue reading
When it’s not ripping and breaking, or tearing and fraying, phyllo dough can be quite a treat.
Phyllo dough is paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough, most typically found in Mediterranean cuisine. Indeed, the dough is most often associated with spanakopita and baklava – but little else. Which is perhaps why one of the leading producers of the dough has a running contest involving phyllo.
Always a sucker for a good recipe contest, Continue reading
Try as I might, I’m slow in the kitchen. For me, prep times are not so much the letter of the law, as they are guidelines, or helpful recommendations. A ten-minute prep time is, before I know it, the better part of a half-hour. Where the prep time is an hour or more, I remember to set aside my morning or afternoon.
For that reason, I’m always looking for a quicker way of doing things. A way to save time without necessarily cutting corners or sacrificing in taste or flavor. But sometimes, the slow way is the only way.
The first time I made this hummus, I cooked the garbanzo beans for over an hour, before processing them. And the hummus was fantastic! The second time around, I decided to see if I couldn’t save myself 90 minutes of cooking. I could not. The uncooked garbanzo beans produced a hummus with a granular and fibrous taste. It was not to be. Sometimes, it seems, the slow way Continue reading
Like chips with salsa, sun dried tomato hummus requires warm pita chips. These pita chips are delicious and can satisfy a crowd. Best of all, they are easy to make and Continue reading
During my senior year of high school, I got my first laptop. By today’s standards, it was slow and it was heavy. It hardly had any memory and it couldn’t even play a movie. But it had an ethernet port, and so, it had potential.
When I got to college, Firestone library was only a few hundred yards from my dorm room. But on a cold, wind-swept winter day, its collection and online database couldn’t have seemed farther. Fortunately, with a few keystrokes, and mouse clicks, its newspaper articles and scholarly journals were within reach. From the university network, I could also stream my Russian language files and download my French politics assignment. Early into freshman year, my laptop had become the epicenter of my college education.
Ten years later, Continue reading
This yogurt and cucumber sauce is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine. It can be served with pita bread, as an appetizer, or accompany falafel or meat, as part of hearty meal. To reduce the water content, tzatziki sauce is traditionally made with strained yogurt. Fortunately, most grocery stores now sell Greek-style yogurt, which is already strained, meaning you can prepare homemade tzatziki sauce Continue reading
Couscous is not a grain, as you might think, but a semolina paste. In fact, couscous is made from the same wheat semolina flour used to make commercial spaghetti.
Couscous originated in the Maghreb, today’s North Africa, and owes its origins to the Berbers, an indigenous people of the region. The Saracen conquest of Europe in the 7th and 8th Centuries is believed to have introduced the dish to the Western world.
Owing to its origins, couscous is often served Continue reading