Hummus

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Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Time: 15 minutes with precooked chickpeas

The Middle Eastern classic has become daily fare for many Americans, whether as a dip or a sandwich spread. Make it as garlicky, lemony, or spicy as you like (try it with smoked pimentón or Aleppo or other mild Middle Eastern pepper); I love it with lots of lemon juice.

If you’re serving it as a dip, you may need to add more bean-cooking liquid, water, olive oil, or lemon juice to thin it. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

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Posted in Middle Eastern, Recipes

Dinner with Bittman: Roasted Chickpeas

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Roasted Chickpeas

Makes: 4 servings

Time: Less than 30 minutes with cooked chickpeas

When you cook chickpeas long enough, whether on the stovetop or in the oven, their exterior becomes crisp. These are equally good as a side dish or finger food.

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Posted in Middle Eastern, Recipes

Dinner with Bittman: Warm Chickpea Salad with Arugula

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Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Warm Chickpea Salad with Arugula

Makes: 4 side- or 2 main-dish servings

Time: 20 minutes with precooked beans

Chickpeas frequently get the salad treatment throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. My version is a panorama of these recipes that includes ginger, garlic, and cumin. After the seasonings are cooked and the beans warmed, the dressing is finished in the pan and tossed with arugula leaves, which wilts them just slightly. Serve small portions as a side salad or appetizer or add the optional hard-cooked egg and make this a light meal.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups cooked or drained canned chickpeas

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

4 cups arugula leaves

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

4 hard-cooked eggs, quartered (optional)

1. Put the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ginger, garlic, and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and the ginger and garlic are soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then stir in the chickpeas until hot and coated in the oil and seasonings, about 3 minutes more.

2. Remove from heat and with a fork, stir in the vinegar, honey, and 1 tablespoon water. Mash a few of the chickpeas as you stir to add texture to the dressing. Put the arugula and red onion in a large bowl and toss with the warm chickpea dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with hard-cooked eggs if you like.

 

Posted in Middle Eastern, Produce

London’s Most Exclusive Couscous

There’s nothing new about couscous with tomatoes and, perhaps, herbs, served either cold as a salad or hot as a side dish. So I was a little surprised at my delight when I had a particularly delicious version the other day. I guess I was surprised mainly because this was at a private club in London, one of those leather-bound places that began to admit women as members only ten minutes (or fifteen years) ago. Clubs like this aren’t supposed to serve decent food, only excellent booze, including ancient Bordeaux at less-than-liquor-store prices. I won’t mention its name, because if I do a notice will appear on the bulletin board, beginning “Members are reminded….” Not that I’m a member, but one must play the game.

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Posted in Middle Eastern

Sunday Supper: Sweet Couscous

I know, it’s not a supper, but somehow a simple, light dessert just seems to fit the bill this week. Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Sweet Couscous with Pistachios

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 15 minutes

A quick, simple,  fat- free dessert that really can’t go wrong; the couscous is cooked the same way you make it for dinner, but with some sugar in the water. You can dress it up even more by using warm milk or cream. And you can vary the seasonings any way you like, from the traditional  cinnamon- nutmeg combination to ground chiles or fresh ginger.

Cooking the couscous in juice is great way to add loads of flavor and sweetness without adding more sugar.

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup regular or whole wheat couscous

2 teaspoons grated or finely minced lemon or orange zest

1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 or 2 teaspoons rose water (optional)

1. Put 1 1/2 cups water and the sugar in a pot and bring to a boil; add the couscous, zest, pistachios, and cardamom; cover and continue to cook for a minute, then turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Fluff the couscous with a fork and sprinkle on the rose water if you’re using it. Serve warm or room temperature with a sauce (see headnote) or some milk or cream drizzled over the top.

 

Posted in Middle Eastern, Recipes