Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sooo, let's talk about food.

Food in here is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! You can literally eat your way around the world in Dubai.

There are all kinds of restaurants, specializing in all sorts of cuisines - as a result we have an enormous amount of yummy options. Personally, right now i'm hooked on lebanese food; it's scrumptious, healthy and somewhat light.

Lebanese use lots of fresh veggies, EVOO (shout out to Rachel Ray, who, coincidentally, has middle eastern Granma) and loads of garlic.

There is one particular salad, that seems to be the bone of contention among the lebanese restaurants - it's really delish, loaded with all kinds of vitamins and rather easy to prepare. To boot it all, it also has the most adorable name!

It's called "Fattoush" [F-UH-TT-OO-SH, not FAT Tush]!

In each restaurant we went, waiters claimed their fattoush was the best ever in the universe. One guy told us, that fattoush in his place was the "stuff legends were made of". Another restaurant's waiter declared that their fattoush put his mother's fattoush to shame!

I know that some of my fellow americans are rather apprehensive when it comes to trying middle eastern fare, but believe me, you'll love this one!
So next time, when you find yourself facing yet another sad little tomato slice, floating lonesomely in the ubiquitous puddle of ranch dressing, try fixin' yourself some fattoush.
It's really easy. Promise.

Here is what you'll need:

couple of tomatoes
a cucumber
half or so of green bell pepper
few leaves of romaine lettuce
a few of fresh mint leaves
a half-bunch of parsley
1 or 2 springs of green onions
few radishes (optional)
a carrot (optional too)
couple of garlic cloves

couple of lemons
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
toasted pita bread (take a pita bread, tear it to bite-size pieces and toast in the oven till crunchy)
salt and pepper

Now, get yourself a nice size bowl and chop first 10 ingredients into it.
It doesn't have to be fancy kinda chopping, unless you are entertaining the Queen of Jordan (she is beautiful, btw!). Just chop it approx. bite size.

Then, squeeze lemons right into a bowl and add as much EVOO as you like.

Add some S&P.

Mix all that goodness in your bowl, taste it and adjust the dressing to your liking.

Throw some toasted pita bread in the bowl (or if you're lazy - open a bag of croutons and dump some in the salad).
Mix again.

Ta-daa! You're done!

Now, if you feel especially adventurous that particular day, here is what you do:
Stroll gamely into any ethnic food store, like it ain't no thang.
Walk up boldly to a cashier or shelf-stocking person and ask casually for sumac. [S-OO-M-A-K].
Pretend like you know what you're talking about.
Sumac is basically ground up barbaris (kind of berry); it's dark purple in colour and hella sour. But in a good way.

A pinch or two (or three, in my case) of sumac does wonders to many-many things - meat in your empanadas will be yummier, salads will pop with an extra flavour, etc.
So, throw a pinch of sumac in your fattoush and pretend your are cruising on the Mediterranean!

P.S. The pic above is by Marina Oliphant. I'm sure she is a groovy lady and won't sue me for using it.


sanaenver said...

Wow - great salad and cute blog

i.r. said...

i'm glad you liked it!

Alex said...

big fan of this's like a whole meal

i.r. said...

Alex, darling, nice to see you, ezizim!
I like the salad too, but i always pick the bread out of it :)

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