Mediterranean Meze

Lazy weeknights sometimes means going and grabbing some fresh pitas from the Lebanese place around the corner, whipping up a batch of hummus, adding a few other things and calling it dinner.  We call it meze to be fancy.

Really, any excuse to eat hummus, black olives, stuffed grape leaves, za’atar…good enough for me!

Kalamata olives, fresh pita, za’atar pita, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, cucumber and carrot.

Za’atar is a wonderful, flavourful Mediterranean spice blend; oregano, thyme, sumac, marjoram, sesame seeds, and sea salt.  It’s delicious on a pita that has been brushed with a fruity olive oil and popped in an oven until brown.

It took me years to try stuffed grape leaves (otherwise known as dolma) and now I love them!  These babies are stuffed with rice, mint and lemon and served warm.    

Hummmuuuussss.  Topped with smoked paprika.

As far as I’m concerned, the Veganomicon hummus recipe is the hummus recipe.  There’s no point in making another.

A Hummus Recipe
From Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup water, more or less for desired thickness
Pinch of ground cumin or ground coriander (optional)
Salt and pepper
Paprika (preferably Hungarian smoked paprika)
Place half the chickpeas and olive oil in a food processor.  Pulse several times, stopping to stir with a rubber spatula.  When the mixture is almost pureed and creamy, add the remaining chickpeas and oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin and a little salt.  Turn on your food processor and puree until creamy and light.  Season with salt and pepper; add more lemon juice to taste if necessary.
Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Best served with a sprinkle of paprika, a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped parsley.
– Crystal