The weather today is horrible: frighteningly high winds and freezing cold weather. Something got knocked over outside and it scared the hell out of me. The windows are rattling and cold air is managing its way through, despite the rope caulk and other weatherizing measures. Very unsettling.
Given the unfriendly weather, I decided to finish off my week of Middle Eastern food from that fabulous cookbook I was talking about earlier: “From the Lands of Figs and Olives.” Right now we’re the land of skeleton trees, gale-force winds and ice, so I figured that figs and olives would go a long way towards warming things up.
I couldn’t have asked for a tastier repast. In addition to the leftovers I also made a fava bean-egg dish and little breads topped with a combination of olive oil and an herb mixture called Za’atar. The recipe for za’atar is variable, but frequently includes thyme and sumac. Za’atar goes with everything. Try rubbing it on chicken before you bake it. I combined it with black olives earlier in the week. Tasty. Very tasty.
I made these using refrigerated pizza dough. I just rolled the dough into little balls, let it sit for a while and then topped them with an olive oil-za’atar mixture before putting them into a 350 degree oven. They came out 20 minutes later.
The bean dish was pretty easy, too. Equal parts olive oil and lemon juice, cumin and coriander, salt and pepper. Open a can of fava beans (known as Ful in Middle Eastern groceries) and stir it in, then let it sit for a while. Meanwhile, hard-boil and peel some eggs and chop a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro.
Chop up the eggs and combine them with the marinated beans. Then sprinkle on the cilantro. Enjoy with pita bread, or with the za’atar bread. Awesome, and beautiful in the dish. I’m told variations of this dish are frequently served for breakfast in Egypt.
We had a wonderful dinner, with the above recipes plus black olives with za’atar, red-leaf lettuce, marinated chickpeas and lentil soup with rice. Comfort food at its tasty best. Here’s the cookbook:
My copy came in the mail today. I went onto Amazon.com and paid all of $6.00 for a used, good-condition copy. I haven’t had a bad recipe from this book yet. Thank you, Habib and James!