Have you met the quince? You might have come across it in a market and passed it by. It’s yellow, but not yielding like an apple. It looks like a bumpy pear. Raw, it’s inedible. What do you do with it? The simple answer is: cook it. Quinces under heat become sweet and tender, with[.....]
What’s vegewarian, anyway? Answer: it’s selecting sustainable dishes based on non-meat foods at least once weekly. Halloumi is said to have originated long ago in Cyprus. Cheesemakers spread the Halloumi technique abroad of compacting milk fresh curds and curing them in brine, and now many Middle Eastern countries produce the cheese. It may be made[.....]
The best aromatics appear in Middle Eastern markets after the first rains. Agricultural wisdom in the Middle East says that olives and citrus fruit are best harvested after it’s rained. Olive season is just about over, although if you’re lucky you can still find some raw to pickle at home. But citrus have responded to[.....]
Sderot’s dusty streets and woeful aspect come naturally after enduring years of rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. In this Western Negev town in Israel, all bus stops are small bomb shelters. A traffic roundabout represents the town center, with a pizzeria, a stationary store, and some tired-looking clothing shops around it. The young,[.....]
Don’t have a garden? You can still own a fruiting olive tree, grown in a container. A sunny balcony and the right climate are the essential things; that, and time.
A liquid formula that goes down easy and provides you enough nutrients for the day. Would you ever start eating soylent?
I stood in a golden wheat field some five miles north of Acre in Israel. Paul Nirens of the Galileat organization had arranged a demonstration with a local farmer, to show us how the Druze traditionally roast green wheat for freekeh.
Those jars and honey bears full of golden liquid are mostly not honey at all. It’s just syrup that tastes something like the real thing.
In the Galilee’s Arab, Jewish, and Druze communities, life has a rural rhythm, slower than in big towns. You can tell that people like to stop and sniff the roses, as each garden displays roses and other lovingly tended fragrant bushes. And the old foodways are still alive in the Galilee, preserved by middle-aged housewives.
It looks like aliens took over the broccoli patch, doesn’t it? Romanesco broccoli is a unique vegetable that looks like a cauliflower gone crazy but has an intense broccoli flavor. It was first grown in Italy and is now available in more European countries, the US, and in Israel.
It’s easy to make your own butter. All it takes is double cream and some salt. The most basic equipment will do: a mixer, a pair of sturdy wooden spoons, some cheesecloth or a sieve, and a couple of bowls.
Ah…a cold glass of orange juice, first thing in the morning. Gives you energy, vitamin C and zest to start the day. Right? Is that glass of juice really good for you?
The Jewish holiday of Purim begins this coming Saturday night, the 15th of March, and continues through Sunday. In Jerusalem and other ancient walled cities, the holiday is called Shushan Purim and occurs on Sunday night, the 16th, through Monday.
Nomads of the Caucasus Mountains attribute their long, vigorous lives to a natural diet, plenty of outdoor exercise – and kefir. Kefir is fermented milk, something like yogurt. Its taste ranges from mildly sour to cheeselike, depending on how long the milk ferments. It has lots of probiotics and proven anti-bacterial power.
There are usually no great surprises at the major wine festivals, which are held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. You tend to bump into the same winemakers over and over again. Some stands represent not wineries, but fruit-based liqueurs, or beer. At the Wine Jerusalem festival held last week, I was surprised to find a new twist[.....]
It’s still chilly in the Middle East – still the season for comfort food. Try driving the cold away with msemmen, a flexible, square-shaped skillet cake, easily pulled apart into layers so you can stuff it.
There’s a huge new movement in Israel. Not politics. Food. Specifically, veganism. Of a country totalling eight million people, an estimated 200,000 are now declared vegans (see Karin’s post about the growing movement here). That’s roughly 2.5 percent of the population.
Why would anyone want to eat plants that sting? And raw nettles do sting. But nettles are a tasty, nutrient-dense food. People have been eating them since antiquity, and probably since pre-history. Their easily-metabolized iron content is so high that nettles tea is a natural remedy for anemia.
I’ve been cooking nonstop out of Nawal Nasrallah’s majestic cookbook, Delights From The Garden of Eden. And my family loves it, because every recipe yields a delicious dish. Like this one.
When I think of a meal based on a light protein – something quick to make and yet satisfying – I think of fish. Have you ever considered fish luxuriously drizzled with tahini?
See the images: These very rare textiles were found in the Wadi Murabba’at caves south of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Why is this ancient find so exciting for the Jews?
For more than 3000 years, Jews dreamed of recovering a lost blue dye called techelet. Using clues laid down over 100 years ago by one rabbi in Poland, and another in Israel, Ptil Techelet, the Association for the Promotion and Distribution of Tekhelet, has succeeded in tracking down the dye’s source and reviving it.
Frankly, we’re hoping that the above image of holiday shoppers makes you a tad uncomfortable. To enjoy holidays as greenly as possible, buy or make meaningful gifts that add to joy, not more trash to landfills. Here are 10 ways you can reduce the inevitable waste that accumulates after the last gifts are unwrapped.
One advantage of eating vegan is that you probably have all ingredients for home-cooked meals in your pantry, all the time. Another advantage, especially in freezing winter times like now, is how filling and warming vegan foods are, based as they are on grains, like lupini beans, which deserve to be better known, and lots[.....]
Want to get close to Iraqi food traditions and culture? This cook book is for you. Lyrical memoirs of Nawal Nasrallah’s childhood in Iraq, and the place that food had in that culture, drift through the pages, pausing for sidebars that offer tidbits like four paragraphs on ancient wives in ancient kitchens. Or samples from a[.....]
It’s that frying time of the year again. Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights which lasts for eight days. The holiday commemorates the victory of the Jewish people against Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 165 B.C, and the restoration of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been ransacked and desecrated. The light in the Temple,[.....]
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Gaza has set up a project addressing Gaza’s food insecurity, reports The Star. Where a buffer zone now stands on former agricultural land, farming has disappeared.
With the Middle Eastern olive season in full swing, it’s natural to think of cooking with those fleshy, savory olive morsels. If you’ve been lucky enough to get olives pickled on the farm, as I did at the Olive Branch Festival in Israel, most of your work has been done for you.
Artisinal olive oil. It has an attractive ring, but think what “artisinal” means. You associate it with ancient traditions that living people continue to maintain – with the material products of those traditions.
“Middle Eastern food” is a catch-phrase that embraces the cuisines of so many countries, and ethnic streams inside those countries, that a list of 60 essential ingredients can’t cover everything. But if you love the flavors of the Middle East…
Truffles -the delicious tubers- have been a topic in food literature throughout the ages, from neo-Sumerian inscriptions in the 20th century BCE, to the writings of 19th-century chef Brilliant Savarin, to the joyful greediness of contemporary author Peter Mayle. But if you think that good truffles come exclusively from Italy and France…
There’s nothing like homemade falafel when you’re in the mood for those savory, crunchy chickpea balls packed into a fluffy pita. We teach you how to make whole-wheat pita here. Making your own falafel, you decide exactly which fixings go into your package of chickpea goodness.
Khameer, a round flatbread of humble Beduin origins, once fell out of favor with the upscale eaters of the United Arab Emirates. But the tender round bread with its golden top is enjoying a comeback. We show you how to make it. Gently slit open, the puffy top separates from the flexible bottom layer to make[.....]
If someone offered you camel bourguignon or a camel-burger on a gold-leaf bun, would you think they were kidding? We offered you an affordable recipe for camel burgers in this post. Now The Daily Star reports that in the Abu Dhabi Emirates Palace Hotel, the humble camel has been elevated into the new ulra-gourmet meat.
Gnocchi or kofteh? I’d always thought of kofteh as meatballs of one kind or another. But in this recipe, I discovered that a dumpling may go by that name too. And how delicious the dumplings – gnocchi – or kofteh are.
In the Middle East, date palms are a natural element of the landscape. The towering trees adorn streets and march down road medians. They sprout out of private gardens and public parks. Come late summer, their gracefully swaying green heads send forth sturdy branches laden with heavy fruit clusters.
The Jewish New Year 5774 starts at sundown tonight, Wednesday September 4th, and ends on the night of Thursday the 5th. On the first night, families sit together and enjoy a meal rich in delicious symbolism, as we explained in this post. Carrots are a more interesting vegetable than one would suspect. They’re also one[.....]
Rice is the standard “background” dish in many Middle Eastern menus. It’s often cooked quite plain, as a foil to the intense colors and pungent flavors of fresh vegetables and meat. Or it might appear all dressed up with spices and protein-rich grains, as in majadra, a typical lentil and rice dish. This recipe of[.....]
There are two good reasons for cooking with turmeric. The first one is that the spice’s attractive yellow color and pungent flavor satisfy the sense of having eaten real food. The second, as folk wisdom has always known, is that it’s good for you. Our previous post on turmeric vs. arthritis offers a wide view[.....]
Fourteen picturesque Druze communities huddle in the shelter of Israel’s Galilee mountains. Although they flow freely in and out of Israeli society, the Druze stay close to home, marrying only other Druze and adhering to an Islam-based religion that they don’t discuss with outsiders. I have often wanted to know more about the Druze, to[.....]
Summertime is watermelon time, and time to enjoy the pleasant contrast between the fruit’s hot red color and cool sweetness. Mark Bittman of the New York Times writes a variety of recipes featuring watermelon. In case you need convincing, here are 5 good reasons to eat watermelon this summer. We’ve taken three of Mr. Bittman’s[.....]
The ruins of a fortified complex at Khirbet Qeiyafa, west of Jerusalem, are the remains of one of King David’s palaces, says Dr. Yossi Garfinkel, archeologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Working together with Saar Ganor of Israel’s Antiquities Authority, Garfinkel has worked to uncover the site for the past seven years. According to[.....]
When I first thought of arsenic in my food, I remembered “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a movie from the 1940s where two old ladies nonchalantly poison their elderly suitors with a little arsenic in their elderflower tea. We’re not keeling over from the levels of arsenic in our food – yet – but the concern[.....]
Experienced cooks know that vegetables that come into season together often cook up well together. A perfect example for July produce is tomatoes and eggplants. Both have been available throughout the spring and early summer, but it’s right now that you can find the baladi (heirloom) varieties. See our baba ganoush recipe with a baladi[.....]
Umm…remind me, what’s vegewarian again? It’s enjoying plenty of sustainable, local, and delicious vegetarian foods, with meat dishes only once in a while. As summer climbs towards its peak hot weather, hefty eggplants and tomatoes make a natural partnership in savory dishes like this one. Using the blender, the sauce takes little effort, and[.....]
Lady’s Fingers – a poetic name for a day-to-day vegetable, also known as okra. Maybe the lovely pale yellow flower sheds a little poetry over the seed pod that grows out of its heart, and which we eat as a vegetable. In the Middle East, we call it bameeyah.
Does a vision of rich, creamy, sweet and cheesy dessert with a crunchy topping totally seduce you? Well, it seduces people with a sweet tooth everywhere in the Levant. In Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Greece and Turkey, good housewives make knafeh, the most luxurious dairy dessert.
Give a microscopic vegetable the right conditions of sunshine and water, and you can home-farm what some say is the world’s most nutritious food: spirulina.
Now that the sun is out in full force, and you’ve tried this recipe for sugar wax, it’s time to up the ante and make a paraban-free, organic, and skin-nourishing sunscreen.
With the hot days, the desire to spend time cooking in the kitchen dwindles, although the desire to eat remains. This past salad recipe works for hot summer days.
Green Prophet’s editor Karin plucks mulberry leaves from her backyard and serves them to her family. Long ago, mulberry trees were planted all over the Middle East to feed silkworms. The cottage silk industries have died out, but many ancient mulberry trees remain. Strolling with Karin in her garden recently in Jaffa, I remarked that[.....]
Summer’s arrival brings out all kinds of fruit to simmer up into jam – including tomatoes. Tomatoes as jam? Yes, indeed, and delicious it is, too. I love to make up small batches of tomato jam when lots of different tomato varieties appear in the markets. In the full swing of summer’s harvest, when prices[.....]