***July 2009 COTM*** Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean by Ana Sortun
Hi there! Welcome to the links thread for the **July 2009 Cookbook of the Month** -- Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean by Ana Sortun. You may wish to bookmark this thread for future reference, as it contains links to all the other threads for this book.
We will use this thread for general commentary, recipe planning, links, and any other goodies related to this COTM.
To best honor the spirit of the book, I have followed Ana Sortun's method of organization for our links here at COTM, grouping dishes together by featured herbs or spices. This way, we are following her chapter system, hopefully meaning less confusion when we post individual reports. Plus, I believe this will allow us to explore and discuss individual herbs and spices on the individual links featuring them. SO -- here are the links for the threads for the full length recipe reviews:
Chapter One: Cumin, Coriander, and Cardamom
Chapter Two: Saffron, Ginger, and Vanilla
Chapter Three: Sumac, Citrus, and Fennel Seed
Chapter Four: Allspice, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg
Chapter Five: Favorite Chilies (Aleppo, Urfa, and Paprika
Chapter Six: Three Seeds -- Poppy, Nigella, and Sesame
Chapter Seven: Curry Powder, Turmeric, and Fenugreek
Chapter Eight: Mint, Oregano, and Za’atar
Chapter Nine: Parsley, Mint, Dill, and Sweet Basil
Chapter Ten: Oregano, Summer Savory, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme
Chapter Eleven: Flower Power (Nasturtium, Orange Blossom, Rose, Chamomile, Lavender, and Jasmine
Chapter Twelve: Nuts, Yogurt, and Cheese
Happy spicing! Yum yum! Enjoy! ♥
Whipped Feta with Sweet and Hot Peppers
Chopped Romaine and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing
Trout Spanakopitta with Avocado and Salmon Roe
Künefe with Champagne-Cardamom Syrup
Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Spicy Feta Sauce
Caramelized Onion Tart With Poppy Seeds, Bacon And Dates
Spinach Falafel With Tahini Sauce
Ground Beef And Pistachio Kebabs
Circassian Pilav for Dolma
Spicy Carrot Purée
Fried Mussels With Almond-Garlic Sauce
Frozen Almond Cream With Sugared Almonds (Cremolata
Flatbreads With Spiced Chicken, Pistachios and Roasted Peppers
Heirloom Tomato Kibbeh
Moroccan Spiced Radishes
Paopao Cocktail (p. 36) and Sliced Summer Tomatoes with Walnut and Basil Tabouleh (p. 258)
From Food and Wine (though not all are in the book - maybe we can include online recipes too?).
Kalustyan sells big bags of Aleppo (used to be sold as Mideast Pepper) along with Urfa, the turkish maras biber, smoked mild paprika and every other sort you can imagine. I am very fond of Aleppo and its deep oily flavor (I think these chiles are somewhat fermented) and use it a lot but would not necessarily sub it in in all the cuisines that Sortun suggests.
Thanks, greedygirl! Yes, I think we can go ahead and include any of her recipes.
That spicy carrot puree looks good, and quite simple to prepare. I have made my own version before with Aleppo and smoky paprika, roasting the carrots instead of boiling with a little red onion. It is soooo good with crackers. Her version has a couple of Tablespoons of vinegar -- interesting.
re: foxy fairy
Reposting that Food and Wine link (one above didn't work for me):
Glad we can use all the online recipes too! I planned on making baklava this month. The one in the book calls for black walnuts, but I want to try the one in the Food and Wine - chocolate and hazelnut baklava.
Sooo -- I'm paging through Spice and wondering -- What are people looking forward to making this July?
Prior to the official start of this COTM, way back in fall 2007, I made the whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers page 149, the lentil koftas & pomegranate salsa page 12, and hot buttery hommus with basturma page 200 All outstanding.
But I confess that, gulp, I must be feeling less energized than normal because as I'm looking at the steps for the dishes that appeal to me, I'm kind of thinking Wow. That seems like a lot of fuss. For example -- the crispy chicken with za'atar page 245-- I just can't see myself standing over the stove for an hour and a half while the lemons cook down into jam! Maybe I'll try that one in the fall. It does look delicious. I don't have any terra-cotta bricks "like those found at a garden store" either.
So I might go for some of the salads. Chopped romaine and cucumber salad with yogurt dressing page 256 might not be as exciting as the chicken crisped under bricks, but it's about my speed in July, apparently. Plus, that salad "is one of the most requested recipes at Oleana" (Sortun's restaurant).
I remember a Top Chef contestant pulling out a potato risotto -- I think Martha Stewart was judging?
re: foxy fairy
I tried that Crispy Lemon Chicken with Za'atar pre-COTM and was underwhelmed. It wasn't that is was so much fuss as that it wasn't worth whatever amount of fuss it took. I had some problems with the timing of the lemon confit and it ended up being bitter, even though I tried to follow the instructions. I've made chicken-under-a-brick often, and this just didn't seem like a very good version of it. (And I didn't think the deboning necessary, either, usually I just remove the breastbone, and I think that would have been fine here, too.) For starters, it wasn't very crispy. My notes say, “Too many other chicken recipes I like better, most with not so much added fat.”
Don't mean to discourage you from trying it. In fact, I'd be happy to hear that my attempt was just one of those everything-goes-wrong experiences.
re: foxy fairy
I admit, every time I pick up the book, and leaf through the recipes I marked with a post-it note, I put it back down. Sometimes, I am missing a key ingredient, sometimes a key ingredient is on the 'someone in the family won't eat' list. Or, I have a fresh piece of fish, or peas from the farmer's market, and I can't find the ingredient in the index.
I have bought the za'tar and pomegranate molasses, so there is hope that I will eventually just dive in.
Now that I have the book, I'm a little overwhelmed too, mostly for the reasons smtucker mentioned. The first source I tried, talumba.com (for a meat called basturma) no longer lists that ingredient. (I hate to start substituting, might as well not make the recipe.)
But I'll press on, just a tiny bit more focus and discipline needed!
re: foxy fairy
Some of the recipes I have marked (hmmm..but now not quite sure about the Lemon Chicken):
Chicken Lamejun with Roasted Peaches, Pistachios and Sumac
Grilled Skirt Steak with Tomato, Caramelized Butter, and Cumin
Halibut Cakes with Olive Oil-Lemon Sauce
Chicken and Walnut Pate with Smoky Paprika
Salt Cod Fritters
Crispy Lemon Chicken with Za'atar
Caramelized Onion Tart with Poppy Seeds, Bacon, and Dates
Chopped Romaine and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt
I'm one of those laggard Spice-voters who hasn't yet participated, but I hope to make up for it starting today!
I slipped off the COTM bandwagon & Chowhound for the past month. It's summer. I have a huge quantity of CSA produce that drives my meals -- requires discipline and stamina! And I'm obstinate and don't want to purchase any produce. But I did have to buy oregano for Spice recipe today because my plant withered.
I was also waiting to get the book back from the library but now that I have it I realize it made no sense to wait. The organization of the book makes one (me!) want to pull their hair! Organized by seeds. Indeed.
Nevertheless, with the help of the index, I have decided to embark upon:
roasted beets w/ orange aioli, pork, pureed carrots, corn cakes and zucchini fritters.
re: foxy fairy
A lot of the meat dishes do seem to be a lot of fuss so I'm being drawn to the dips, salads, sides and breads. I want to try the carrot puree, the walnut tabbouli, muhammara, lentil kofte, whipped feta, avocado hummus, buttery hummus...
I think I'll pull this book back out in 4-5 months and try the wintry main course dishes then.
I made a spice trip yesterday to stock my pantry. I bought: Sumac, Urfa pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper flakes (even though I haven't understood why everybody likes it so much), Sumac, Zaatar (Jordanian), nutmeg along with pomogranate molasses. I was also looking for black walnuts to make the baklava, but they did not have it.
Some of the recipes I bookmarked to start with:
Ricotta and bread dumpling with porcini
Persimmon pudding cake
Flatbread with zaatar
Ground beef and pistachip kebab