Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Part II: My Favorite Recipes from these Cookbooks

Carrot Purée with Caraway and Feta

This would make a great pre-eating (as my friend Sam says) experience for Thanksgiving.

1¾ pound carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, roughly ground in a mortar, optional
Note: I haven’t used these because the carrots by themselves are so good. Of course, this presumes really tasty carrots.
¼-½ cup feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish
2 tablespoons chiffonade of mint, for garnish (See my October 23, 2009 blog for explanation of chiffonade.)
5 rounds of pita bread or squares of lahvash

1. Slice the carrots into ¾-inch rounds, toss with half the olive oil and some salt and pepper, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with foil and roast at 400ºF for about 30 minutes or until they are completely tender. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until they are golden.
2. Cool a little before puréeing in a food processor or mashing by hand. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the optional caraway, the remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. If the purée is too thick to spread, thin it out with a little water.
3. To serve, put the purée in a shallow bowl, crumble the feta on top, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with the mint.
4. Serve with toasted pita bread which you make by cutting each circle into 8 pieces (or the lahvash cut in 3-inch squares), arranging them on a baking sheet and toasting under the broil for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully. They burn in a flash, especially if guests arrive as they are toasting.

6-8 servings as an appetizer
Adapted from Sam and Sam Clark’s Casa Moro

Red Pepper Soup with Olives, Lemon Zest, and Yogurt

Great comfort food. Gorgeous colors.

4 red bell peppers or 5 red gypsy peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded (catching the liquid), and chopped
Note: I seed the tomatoes over a sieve placed over a bowl. The seeds drop into the sieve and the liquid falls into the bowl. Periodically I swish the seeds around to release more tomato liquid.
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup thick yogurt
Note: If all you can find is soupy yogurt, line a sieve with two layers or paper towels, place the sieve over a bowl, and pour the yogurt into the sieve. Let it drain until the consistency is as thick as you like it. See photo on my May 17, 2009 blog.
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or smoked or regular paprika
1/3 cup pitted black olives, slivered in quarters
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon rosemary [the original recipe calls for this], very finely chopped, but I prefer finely chopped thyme.
A drizzle of olive oil

1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange the peppers in a single layer. Broil on high, turning the peppers, until the skin has darkened all the way around and the peppers are soft.
2. Place the peppers in a bowl. Cover and let them sit for 10 minutes. Peel the skins and remove the seeds. Don’t worry if some black remains or if you miss some seeds. Sometimes I peel them while they are still hot and puffy.
3. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and sauté the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture begins to bubble. Tear up the peppers as you add them to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add 3 cups water, or a combination of the tomato liquid (from seeding the tomatoes), the liquid released by the broiled peppers and enough water to make 3 cups. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and purée in a food processor. Return the soup to the soup pot and add the Aleppo pepper. The soup should be fairly thick: if it seems too thin, simmer uncovered for a while longer; if it is too thick, add more liquid. You can let it sit at this point until you’re ready to serve it.
6. Before serving, reheat gently. Check the seasoning and serve the soup hot with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkling of the olives, lemon zest, rosemary or thyme, and a drizzle of olive oil.

4 servings
Adapted from Tessa Kiros’s Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

Eggplant Slices with Pomegranate, Yogurt and Tahini

This is superb. I'm having it for Thanksgiving, along with everything else.

2 globe eggplants, or as many eggplants as it takes to make about 2½ pounds
Olive oil
1½ tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1½ tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt, drained if it is very soupy (see instructions above)
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons tahini
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

1. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 5/8-inch slices. Place them on an oiled sheet of foil on a rimmed baking pan. Brush both sides of the eggplant with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
2. Place in a very hot 475ºF oven for about 30-40 minutes, until they are soft and browned, turning the slices once mid-way through cooking.
3. Mix together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, and 2 tablespoon olive oil. Brush the eggplant slices with the dressing and arrange them on a large platter. You may have some dressing left over; use your discretion as to the amount the eggplant can absorb.
4. Whisk the yogurt with the garlic and tahini and pour over the slices. Fry the pine nuts very briefly in ½ tablespoon of olive oil or toast them in your toaster oven, watching them carefully, until they are light brown. Sprinkle the pine nuts and the pomegranate seeds over the yogurt. Serve at room temperature.

4 servings as a side dish
Adapted from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon

1 comment:

Ruth S. said...

Hi Catherine,
I'm browsing some of your recipes on the intrigued by the Eggplant one adapted from Claudia Rosen...where do you find pomegranite molasses??? What would you do for a quick substitute if I'm curious to try the dish (I've got roasted eggplant in the frig and tahini...) but can't get the pom molasses?

I just bought some tamarind paste...mix that with molasses??? Could be awful..or interesting.
Hope you're well,