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*September 2010 COTM: tNBoEF - Vegetables

Our cookbooks for September 2010 are THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD
ARABESQUE: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon by Claudia Roden.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the chapter Vegetables from THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Batata Harra (Sauteed Potatoes with Garlic, Chilies and Cilantro), Variation, Pg. 298

    This was absolutely wonderful. I chose the variation because of the one pot method and because it was stated to be more spicy than the standard. Not terribly spicy but certainly zippy depending on how many chilies or crushed red pepper flakes one uses.

    After washing a pound of baby potatoes (I usd new fingerlings) are put into a saucepan with oilve oil and 5 whole garlic cloves. A bit of water just to cover is added with S & P, paprika, RPF or chilies, ground cumin and ground coriander. This is simmered till potatoes are tender. If there is any liquid in the pan it's reduced over high heat. Chopped cilantro is then sprinkled over. We loved this!
    Served with our much loved Turkey Kebabs on pg. 104 of Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking... and a salad, of course.

    1. Arnabeet bel Lamoun (Cauliflower with Olive Oil and Lemon) , Pg. 295

      We made this in the waning days of the Complete Asian book before I had reviewed many recipes from The New Book. But, as we had a cauliflower to use up this was perfect.

      Cauliflower, garlic, sugar, EVOO (or vegetable oil), fresh lemon juice and S & P are the ingredients. I steamed the cauliflower after cutting it into florets. When tender, EVOO is heated and crushed garlic is added. Next lemon juice and S & P are added and the cauliflower is turned over in the mix. Very nice... the cauliflower absorbs all the juices. Yummy. This is an Arab recipe.

      Served with Tarator bi Tahina on pg. 65, Minced Meat with Peas on pg. 62 of Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking and corn on the cob since it was in our CSA and.. well, you know.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        I'm very excited to see a recipe for deep-fried cauliflower, which is one of my favourite dishes in the little restaurant we like to frequent in the small place we go to in Turkey. Cauliflower never tasted so good!

        1. re: Gio

          We made this recipe last night and liked it quite a bit. Although I did like the tarator bi tahini, I prefer the cauliflower without it. I wonder if this recipe would work with broccoli too.

        2. Jazar bi Zeit (Carrots in Oil) p. 296

          Simmer sliced carrots in salted water and then season with garlic, dried mint and olive oil. I used a small sauce pan and what I thought was a small amount of water. After the carrots were done, I had too much water left in the and ended up pouring most of it out to finish the dish. Had I tried to let the liquid reduce as indicated, I would have had carrot mush. We liked this dish and would make it again for a quick side.

          Roasted tomatoes p.292 I have had a surfeit of tomatoes the last few weeks. I have been making tomato sauces, sofritos, roasting, and eating them plain. I thought I'd try this version of roasted tomatoes to compare. Tomatoes are seasoned with salt and pepper, and sugar and roasted at 275 for 3.5-4 hours. I made half a recipe (4 romas) which called for 1 T of sugar. As I was putting the sugar on the tomatoes, I began feeling very guilty for doing so and the 1T of sugar seemed to be a lot of sugar so I didn't add it all (I probably added about 1/2 T of sugar total). The roasted tomatoes were delicious and sweet, and in fairness to the author, I did not follow the recipe and the tomatoes might have even been more amazing, but I will probably stick to my regular roasting method.

          2 Replies
          1. re: BigSal

            Carrots in Oil
            I made this tonight - had the same problem with the water. I also found there was too much water in her cold green bean recipe. Need to watch for that. I think I must have bought the wrong kind of dried mint because this was basically inedible - tasted like mint tea (and not in a good way). I recall having enjoyed using dried mint in the past so I must look out for something better

            1. re: ctbrit

              I find that spearmint works better in recipes calling for dried mint. Much better than peppermint... or other varieties.

          2. Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts, Pg. 284, 2000 Edition

            Very easy prep and very quick cook. Spinach, chopped onion, EVOO, S & P and pine nuts - which I had to omit because of dietary restrictions. Too bad, too, cuz I like them and think they would have added just the right contrast flavor to the spinach. But as it was the finished dish was quite tasty. Instead of using two pans, one for the spinach and one for the onions we simply used one large skillet. It worked out fine.

            In the intro notes Ms Roden says, "The Arabs brought it all the way to Spain and Italy." And that's exactly why it was so familiar to me. I served it with a lovely lamb and potato dish from Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking" and M. Ruhlman's Baked Buttered Corn. The corn dish was a nice sweet compliment to the spinach.

            1. Green Beans in Tomato Sauce, Pg. 294, 2000 Edition

              Nice dish, especially when served cold which is what we did as suggested by Ms Roden. Very much like a salad..

              A chopped onion is fried till golden then chopped garlic (6 cloves) is added and fried. Add the trimmed beans and chopped tomatoes (plums), S & P, lemon juice and sugar. Simmer till beans are tender and the sauce is somewhat reduced. It was served with Lentils and Bulgar with Caramelized Onions on pg. 96

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                I made this dish over the weekend and really enjoyed it. We ate it warm, so I left out the lemon juice and sugar. The onion and garlic were sweet enough that I didn't miss the sugar, and Ms Roden suggested not using lemon juice if serving warm. I thought it made a very nice variation on what tends to be a typical side at my home (green beans). I'm planning to try the similar recipe with okra on the next page.

                I only wish my CSA was still producing tomatoes! Seems like that will be a challenge with a lot of recipes in the book. I'm planning to scour farmer's markets this week to see if any of the other farms are still producing them.

                We served it with a variation on the Braised Beef Short Ribs with Vanilla Glazed Carrots from Spice by Ana Sortun (the butcher didn't have short ribs, so we used a tri-tip roast).

                1. re: Abby0105

                  This is very similar to the green bean recipe I tried - on p92, except for the higher tomato content, the sugar and lemon juice. I found the earlier recipe a bit boring - I think that the lemon juice probably made all of the different - interesting that the recipe's are so similar.
                  I'll have to try this one if my CSA has beans next week (already ate this weeks)

              2. Sabanekh bel Hummus (Spinach with Chickpeas), Variation p. 285

                This was really good. I had some tomatoes from the farmers market to use up, so used the variation. Reading the recipe and variation, I'm not sure I did exactly what I was supposed to (I thought the variation description was a little vague and now that I read it again it seems like when she says "stir in the cooked spinach and chickpeas" maybe she means to stir in the previously completed recipe. Not sure, but I cooked everything together.) Basically, I sauted onion, garlic and ground coriander in olive oil. Add chopped up tomatoes ( I didn't peel, although you are supposed to) and reduce. Then stir in spinach and chickpeas. I used defrosted and squeezed out frozen spinach instead of fresh due to convenience and I think it would have been even better with fresh spinach, but as it was, this was really yummy (and healthy!). 17 month old ate it up, too, although my 3 and a half year old wouldn't touch it. (or more accurately ate one tiny spoonful under durress and cried about the injustice of having to do so). Oh well, our veggie war continues, no fault of the dish.

                I served this with meat patties of our own invention. The recipes for kofta seemed a little bland-sounding to me, so I mixed ground bison with onions, garlic and mint that had been chopped fine in the food processor. Then mixed in salt, pepper, ground coriander and ground cumin and pan fried with olive oil. Thought those turned out great, too. Served with pita, cacik and hummus left over from yesterday and the spinach and chickpeas and felt like we ate like kings.

                2 Replies
                1. re: greeneggsnham

                  Sounds like a wonderful meal. Thanks for reporting back. I like your ground bison invention.


                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                    I made this with both variations, adding onion and tomato and substituting white beans for chickpeas (I used canellini).

                    I did cook the two parts separately: Chopped garlic and ground coriander in olive oil, then washed and shaken spinach leaves added, the pan covered, and the spinach allowed to wilt. Add beans, and cook a few minutes more. She suggests turning the heat up to cook off any extra liquid, but that actually resulted in more liquid from the spinach, and I ultimately lifted it out with a slotted spoon. In another pan, I cooked the onions and tomatoes until reduced, and I stirred it all together in the serving dish.

                    Very nice.

                  2. Spinach with Garlic and Preserved Lemon p.286 2000 edition

                    I served this with the Tagine of chicken with preserved lemon and olives from Arabesque and plain couscous. It was probably an overload of preserved lemons but I liked it. The spinach was very easy - chopped garlic, fried in olive oil, spinach added to pan, lid on until wilted. Chopped preserved lemon added, warm though and serve. Should also have been some chili powder but skipped that since I was cooking for kids.

                    1. Kousa Makh (Fried Zucchini Slices), Pg. 288, 2000 Edition

                      You have NO idea how many times over the years I've made fried zucchini slices. Somehow each time they taste just a little different and this recipe was no exception. There are various suggestions for using chopped garlic, chopped mint, dredging the slices in flour, etc. but I chose to play it straight. I sliced the zucchini in half crosswise, then in half lengthwise then very thinly lengthwise again. I know I should have used the mandolin but that danged thing scares me to distraction. The slices are fried in vegetable oil till golden and cooked through. They are seasoned with S & P and served. Nice clean fresh taste especially good along with the stuffing from the roast chicken stuffed with fruit.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Gio

                        Kiusa Makh, Pg. 288

                        Made this recipe again but used 3 medium size summer squash instead of the zucchini. This time I sliced the squash in rounds and included chopped garlic, dried mint, S & P and a large pinch of cayenne....finished with a sprinkle of Maldon salt. Good way to spice up a rather tastless late summer yellow squash. I Love that Maldon salt!

                        1. re: Gio

                          Kousa Makli [Fried Zucchini Slices] pg 288

                          I was moved to buy zucchini this week at the farmer's market in response to seeing a huge reduction in the number of green items on the tables. I carefully sliced each zucchini into 1/3" slices. Fried in Sunflower Oil. Salted as they came out of the pan. We dipped the slices into Salsat al Banadoura [[tomato sauce] as recommended.

                          Served with merguez sausage I made last week which was sauteed and cooked to finish in the tomato sauce, over some oven-made polenta.

                        2. Stuffed Peppers (pg. 317)
                          Meat Filling (pg. 306)

                          I had an over abundance of green peppers in my fridge and an under abundance of enthusiasm for eating them. So, I decided to try stuffed peppers to see if it would change my mind on the whole green pepper issue. It didn't really do it for me. But, I also really am not a fan of green peppers. C really enjoyed this though.

                          I decided to stuff the green peppers with meat only. The meat and rice filling looked more appealing to me but I really wanted to have a side of bulger and thought that the double starch would be too much.

                          The meat filling is really easy but a bit plain. Saute onions and then add 3/4 lb lamb and 1/4 t of allspice. Thinking that 1/4 t wasn't enough, I doubled that and added several shakes of aleppo pepper into the mix. Remove the meat and saute up some pine nuts. The meat mixture had a nice enough flavor but next time, I would saute a hot pepper into the onion mix.

                          Also, my meat threw off a lot of fat so I just poured it off. She had you add a bit of water to the meat while it cooked which I did. But there was too much liquid in it. I didn't want to stuff the peppers with that much liquid. Maybe I was supposed to.

                          Then you stuff the peppers and bake for almost an hour.

                          The green peppers softened up nicely and the dinner was fine. I don't think I would repeat it though. Green peppers could be the bane of my summer CSA.

                          ETA: the recipes called for 6 green peppers or about 2 lbs. worth. I had 5 inc. one giant pepper. The weight was about 2 lbs. There was enough meat mixture to mostly fill the peppers but I also used the optional onion and pine nuts. I also assumed that the filling would expand and didn't want to overstuff.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: beetlebug

                            Good to read your report. beetlebug, as I was going to make this recipe before the month is over. I made a note of the liquid amount. Did you use lamb or beef/ I love lamb so I read the recipe with that in mind, and... thought I'd use red bells.

                            1. re: Gio

                              I used ground lamb. I think the lamb would taste better inside the green pepper. Also, maybe look at the spices on the lamb meatballs (I think there was also cumin in there) and maybe add those as well.

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                Thanks ! We love cumin so that's a great suggestion. As for those pappers...we only got them once in our CSA. but peaches have been our over-abandant bane. Two dozen this week and just about for the past 3 weeks.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Now I am not often jealous of CSA bounty, but too many peaches? I didn't even know that was possible! On the voting thread, Rubee is pushing the Contessa's mango chutney. Maybe that is a "solution" for you with a simple substitution!

                                  1. re: smtucker

                                    I've got a whole tree of them waving at me through the kitchen window. I'm going to make the Duck Sauce recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook and can it. Only problem is that the recipe calls for a clove of garlic, which presents a Botulism risk. Am not having any luck on trying to figure out if garlic powder is an acceptable substitute....

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    DO you have Jean Anderson cooks? Somewhere in another thread buttertart recommended the peach souffle out of that book...


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      SMT, Clams, and TDQ...! Y'All are wonderful. This is why I love the COTM group.

                                      In my mother's garden there were 4 peach trees: 2 freestone, 1 white and 1 elberta. I really do love peaches and have gone through my repertoire from peach chutney, peach salsa, peach cobbler, peach "easy cake", to peach salad. Mum used to preserve them for winter feasting but I don't can any longer. I would have gladly taken any vegetable instead of another 2 doz. peaches on Saturday...(I won't memtion the 20 apples last week or the week before)

                                      Many thanks for your suggestions. They are much appreciated.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        of course, smtucker, mirage and I could come over and take those peaches and apples out of your hands. hahaha.

                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          Don't laugh. That's a distinct possibility! Tonight I'm going to roast the peaches and serve them tomorrow as a side dish with the stuffed pumpkin from TNBoMEC. I've roasted apples in the past and they're scrumptious so why not peaches. The apples will go into yet another apple crisp.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Roasted peaches are delicious. At the end, brush on a little balsamic and black pepper. I've done it on a grill and it's a great side dish.

                                          2. re: beetlebug

                                            Yes, I am willing to be the peach fairy. :-)

                                          3. re: Gio

                                            My Mother-in-Law [the Georgia one] peeled peaches, and then did small wedges and threw them in the freezer. She might have stewed them a bit with some sugar. These bags of peaches equalled one peach pie. Do you know how lovely it is to have a fresh peach pie in January?

                                            She had a whole orchard to process!

                                            1. re: smtucker

                                              Great ideas both of you...! Thank you. Will do each one of them.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Also, Gourmet Today has some interesting recipes. One is proscuitto wrapped peaches. The other is a peach curry relish, or something like that.

                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                  I was thinking of GT also -- I think it's a jerk pork with curry peaches (don't have the book in front of me). Good luck with your embarassment of peachy riches!

                                            2. re: Gio

                                              I would kill to get my hands on some Elbertas, what flavor. Why not more widely grown, I wonder? Not appealing to the peaches must be mainly red crowd?

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                And then there's Bellini. Made a green tomato and peach relish tonight. More later...

                                    2. re: beetlebug

                                      Peppers Stuffed with Rice Variation, Pg. 317, 2000 Edition

                                      Although this dish is served cold the variation is a stuffing with minced meat and rice and served hot which is what I did. I had 2 large yellow bell peppers and 2 large red peppers so doubled the recipe in order to fill them. They looked festive on the platter since they're cooked with the "caps" and had a subtle but pleasant flavor. The Meat and Rice Stuffing recipe is on pg. 306.

                                      An onion is fried in vegetable oil then the meat is added and cooked till "it changes color." Into the pan goes short grained rice, chopped tomato, chopped parsley, cinnamon, S & P. I included Aleppo pepper, cayenne, cumin. A bit of water is added and the whole is simmered for about 20 minutes.

                                      The peppers are prepared by cutting out a circle on top, saving the cap with stalk attached and cleaning out the inside removing ribs and seeds. Fill the peppers with the cooked stuffing, replace caps, place in a baking dish, pour some water around the peppers, bake for about an hour.

                                      I served this with Tamatern bel Bassal (Tomato Salad with Onions), pg. 75 Altogether a very nice meal, although it did take a bit longer than our usual weekday dinners.

                                    3. Mahshi Qarah (Stuffed Pumpkin), Pg. 325, 2000 Edition

                                      We loved this! Not terribly time consuming to prep but the pumpkin bakes for one hour.
                                      In last Saturday's CSA there was a cute little sugar pumpkin so I knew immediately what I was going to do. Although the recipe calls for a 9" diameter pumpkin my little cutie worked very well.

                                      First, cut around the stalk to create a lid, remove and save. Scrape out the inside and take out the seeds and fibers. For the filling a chopped onion is fried till soft, minced meat is added and cooked till all pink is gone. I used minced lamb. Cooked rice, raisins, pine nuts (omitted), S & P, cinnamon are added and mixed in. I included cumin and cayenne. Pumpkin is filled with this mixture, lid replaced, and baked in a pre-heated 375F oven for 1 hour. I put the extra filling into a covered baking dish and put it in the oven during the last half hour. Our pumpkin was not quite soft after an hour but it was getting late so we took it out, let it sit for a bit and it was fine. I served it with the Michoteta (Feta and Cucumber Salad), pg. 71

                                      I doubled the filling recipe so there's a lot left over. Tonight I plan to remove the skin of the cooked pumpkin, chop up the flesh and sauté it. I'll add it to the leftover mince and use this as a layer for the sliced eggplant with pasta on pg. 388.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Wow, Gio, your leftover plan sounds insanely good! These most recent reports are really tempting me in the direction of TNBoMF.

                                        1. re: mebby

                                          Thanks Mebby. I'm really liking this book. Life just got a little more complicated so we just don't have as much time to cook at least one COTM each night. But the week-ends are chock full of ideas. DH reminded me a little while ago that *I* loved the stuffed pumpkin, he simply thought it was OK. So, when I sauté it tonight I'll season it aggressively with S & P and either add some cayenne or Aleppo pepper. That should help satisfy his spice tooth.

                                        2. re: Gio

                                          Mahshi Qarah (Stuffed Pumpkin), Pg. 325

                                          Loved, loved, loved this. Not much to add, other than that I had the cutest little sugar pumpkin and the hour baking time was just about perfect. I also had extra filling because I added a green pepper (these are becoming the bane of my existence) and I added more rice to the filling to even everything out. I also upped the allspice and added cumin, cayenne and aleppo to the mixture. I omitted the raisins and added more pine nuts.

                                          My one minor error is that I should have salted and peppered the interior of the pumpkin. A bit of sugar (per her suggestion) wouldn't have hurt either. The pumpkin was a bit bland so you had to take a bit of the filling with the pumpkin to give it flavor.

                                          So delicious and I plan on using the leftover stuffing to fill an acorn squash.

                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                            So, it was more of a savory filling? Sounds really good!


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Yes. very very savory. And, now that I'm thinking about it, it's a different version of the afghani dish, kaddo.

                                        3. Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Raisins, Pg. 299, 2000 Editiion

                                          This could probably made with eyes closed. Peeled, chopped sweet potatoes boiled till soft. Drained, mashed, seasoned with butter, S & P, ginger, cinnamon then whisked. Add golden raisins. Serve. It was a nice side dish to the lamb pliaf on pg. 350. I have 3 butternut squashes just waiting for this treatment.

                                          1. Pumpkin and Chickpeas p 294
                                            We're trying to eat more Vegetarian dishes and this seemed ideal, especially after we got a pumpkin in the CSA box. However I was really disappointed, this had very little depth of flavor - some heat from the harissa but that was about it. I think that the pumpkin would really have benefited from a different cooking method - roasting or similar.
                                            The recipe; peel pumpkin and cut into pieces, fry onion in oil until golden, add tomatoes, sugar, S&P, harissa, chickpeas and pumpkin. Add a little water and simmer with the lid on until the pumpkin is cooked adding parsley towards the end. Add more water if necessary

                                            Sounds like I should have made the stuffed pumpkin instead!

                                            1. Green Beans in Tomato Sauce (pg. 294)

                                              These were ok nothing special. I thought they would be a bit more saucy but they weren't. It's a pretty dish though.

                                              Essentially, you fry an onion until golden. Then you add garlic, the peeled and chopped tomatoes and green beans. Season with salt, pepper and sugar and simmer for about 15 minutes.

                                              My sauce never really reduced and it was a bit bland. But, they were end of the season tomatoes so they weren't at their finest. Canned tomatoes may have been better. maybe.

                                              1. Loubia bi Zeit (Green Beans in Olive Oil), Pg. 92

                                                Every time I cook from this book I think, "This is why I love this book." The recipes are precise, instructions clear, finished dish is very good indeed. I'll be using this book during the next week. I like to celebrate seasons of the year and the coming week allows me to play into that since all the recipes come from an area of the world where major events occured long ago.

                                                The green bean dish is a very simple one but a satisfying one, too. Wash and trim the beans then slice in half. Chop a large onion then fry in EVOO in a saucepan. Next add some chopped garlic and after a few minutes throw in a few chopped tomatoes and the beans, seasoning with S & P. Add water to the height of the vegetables and simmer uncovered till beans are tender.

                                                Directions say to serve cold but I served it at room temperature since it was a side dish for Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote from Around My French Table, page 302. Altogether a very tasty dinner.

                                                1. Chickpeas with Turmeric, page 332

                                                  I made some merguez sausage from a leg of lamb and needed some sides. This recipe called to me.

                                                  Sautee an onion in olive oil until brown then add garlic and cook for just a moment. Then add the chickpeas, the spices, and cover with water. Cook until tender. When ready, add freshly chopped herbs.

                                                  For the spices I used cumin and cayenne pepper, one of her suggestions. Instead of onion, I used shallots. I used instead water instead of stock. I also added freshly squeezed lemon juice with the herbs. I didn't decide to make this soon enough in the day to use dried chickpeas. Instead, I used one can of rinsed Goya.

                                                  Wow! Such a simple little recipe and so completely delicious. I love chickpeas in most forms, but this was beyond the pedantic. It will get a favorite marking on EYB.

                                                  Served with merguez sausages and plain bulgur pilaf, page 367. There is enough of everything leftover for tomorrow's lunch. Can't wait.