Things we introduced to our kitchen this week: Collard Greens, Harissa, Saffron, Semolina, Spaghetti Squash, Sumac, Tahini, Za’atar.
This week was a truly heart-singing one in our kitchen. I know that there are some people who hate cooking and some people who just suck at it. I’m lucky that Marcus likes to cook with me, and we’re even luckier that what ends up on our dinner table is so wonderfully delicious.
Sunday – Kubbeh Hamusta from Jerusalem
After trying this soup in Jerusalem, I knew that I had to re-create it at home if I was able to. Because even though Marcus and I get out to try new things, I had NEVER seen or heard of this soup prior to my trip to Israel.
Ottolenghi’s recipe is for a green kubbeh, which is different than the red/yellow/orange that our Israeli trip mates told us about. The green comes from the greens/celery base vs. a beet base.
You know, just in case you were wondering.
Our modifications: Instead of beef, we used turkey. Since Cub was out of Swiss Chard, The Internets informed me that Collard Greens would be a good replacement.
What I learned: Dumplings? Not so easy to make. If you can’t tell from the picture, most of mine turned out crescent-shaped or like logs. But what I lacked in form, I like to think that I made up for in enthusiasm.
The greatest part: Even though I very nearly had an anxiety attack after making the first two dumplings to fairly disastrous results, in the end it all turned out.
Tuesday – Na’ama’s Fattoush, Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin, Saffron Rice with Barberries, Pistachio & Mixed Herbs from Jerusalem
This was originally supposed to be our Valentine’s Day dinner. But I felt like it was going to make a lot of leftovers and being the lunch-strategist that I am, I wanted to make sure that we got to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
I am nothing, if not practical.
The fattoush was just lovely. We ended up passing on the torn-up naan bits (yes, I realize that the bread is kind of the point), but it was an excellent and extremely light foil for the rest of the meal.
The rice pilaf (complete with saffron, cranberries instead of barberries and pistachios) was a complete 180 from any other rice dish that we have made. Ever. Probably because a lot of the meals we action in this kitchen don’t lend themselves well to pilaf-type situations. The berries and the nuts provided a great texture contrast, even though Marcus is still waging a war against nuts in food.
Finally, the turkey burgers (more meatballs than burgers but who am I to judge?) had great flavor that came from a blend of cilantro, mint, green onion and cayenne which gave them just a hint of heat. They were dressed in a greek yogurt and sumac (it’s a dried, crushed berry) sauce that was zippy and cooling all at once.
Thursday – Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos with Queso Fresco from The Smitten Kitchen and Guacamole
What was good about this meal: my squash-hater of a husband enjoyed it.
What I didn’t tell him: I’ve never actually made spaghetti squash before. Fake it ’til you make it, right?
What was tricky about this meal: spaghetti squash is really, really, really moist. Deb did not include a provision on how to dry the whole situation out prior to serving and that left us with extremely wet tacos.
All of that aside, it was a lovely (and because of the squash) lighter Valentine’s Day dinner.
What did you have for Valentine’s Day dinner?