Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

Classic Tabbouleh


As I noted last post, I have been on a Jerusalem kick.  The flavors and ingredients of the Near East are exotic, yet delightful, offering a welcome change from some of the normal mid-week meals.  One such ingredient is tahini, a ground sesame paste, that is central to hummus, halvah, and other staples of middle eastern cuisine.  Another ingredient is bulgur, which is a critical component of kibbeh (a stuffed meatball) and tabbouleh.

In one recent dinner, a layered kibbeh pie, we had a mix of bulgur and tahini (along with ground beef, pine nuts, and plenty of chopped parsley).  Speaking of chopped parsley, tabbouleh can properly be seen as a vehicle for parsley and more parsley.  It is a parsley-heavy salad.  But it is also a cool Continue reading


Wild Rice with Spiced Chickpeas


I have been really enjoying Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem of late.  The book features recipes from the Israeli and Arab cultures of the region, with many vegetarian recipes highlighted.  Chickpeas, eggplants, and tahini are, predictably, staples of many of the items found in the book.  Many of the recipes are straight-forward and come together relatively quickly.  All of them have been delicious.

This Wild Rice and Spiced Chickpea Continue reading

Chicken Tagine with Fennel and Olives

Chicken TagineI enjoy cooking. I don’t find it to be either a chore or an obligation. And because I enjoy cooking, cookbooks and kitchen tools make successful gifts and presents. I’ve gotten carving knives, gourmet olive oils and vinegars, and blog- and New Orleans- themed cookbooks from friends and family. On my 30th birthday, Caitlin made me a doughnut cake, with the additional gift of the doughnut cake pans that helped to bake that cake.

More recently, I received a tagine, Continue reading

Sweet Potato Falafel

When Caitlin comes to Cincinnati, she often takes a flight right after work, which puts her into CVG around 8:40 P.M.  That means she’s hungry for dinner.  And since I’ve also been waiting until then to have my dinner, it’s imperative that I arrive at the airport with a strategy in hand.  I can be very slightly grumpy when I’m hungry.

One of the problems, though, is finding a fun place that is not winding down at that hour.  In a city like New York, Chicago, or the like, it’s certainly not a problem.  But in a smaller city like Cincinnati, a lot of restaurants are closing shop by 10:00 P.M.

One afternoon, as Caitlin was readying to leave, I spent a few minutes on Yelp, and found my answer.  The Senate Restaurant was open until 11:00 P.M.  Better yet, it was downtown, a convenient location coming from the airport.  And finally, scanning the menu, I knew it had something I would love.  After I sent the menu to Caitlin, she also agreed that it looked good.  We had a plan.

When we arrived at the Senate, Continue reading

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

Choosing a recipe can sometimes feel like putting together a baseball team.  It is the home chef as general manager.

In each field, the objective is the same — to please the folks at home by offering them a winning dish while remaining within the allotted budget.  The objective is straightforward.  As is the theory behind it:  acquire the best ingredients, assemble, and serve warm.

But this process is never as straight forward as it seems.  Expensive ingredients, like high-priced free agents, may Continue reading

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

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

Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)

In a country divided between twelve political parties, finding common ground can be no easy task.

Indeed, Israelis are as likely to disagree about politics as they are about food.  Ashkenazim (Jews of European ancestry) have their culinary traditions, and Sephardim (Jews of Spanish and Middle-Eastern ancestry) have theirs.  Even the origins of falafel and hummus have been bitterly debated, with Arabs and Jews alike claiming the food as their own.

Fortunately, all Israelis can rally around sufganiyot.  Sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts, are Continue reading