Fattoush Salad

At the popular Middle Eastern place a few blocks from my place, they make a really good Fattoush salad.  Fattoush consists of day-old pitas which are no longer good fresh turned into pita chips, plus chopped romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, za’atar spice mixture, parsley, and a lemony dressing.  It makes for a nice bowl of differing textures and tangy flavour from the za’atar and lemon.  Plus, it’s easy.

Fattoush
Makes 2 large salads
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped into 1-2″ pieces
1/2 cup chopped and destemmed parsley
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup cucumber chunks
2 pitas, cut or torn into bite size pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
Dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
Za’atar spice mixture for sprinkling on salads
Salt to taste
Bring your pan with olive oil up to medium-high heat.  Dump the cut pita pieces in and fry, turning frequently, until golden brown on both sides.  When sufficiently browned and crispy, put on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra oil.
Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until completely blended.
Toss the lettuce, parsley, tomato and cucumber together in a large bowl.  Add pita chips and toss some more.  Add a few pinches of za’atar and salt.  Add dressing, and with tongs, ensure everything gets evenly coated.
And done.  Eat!
Oh, and this local vegan bakery, Organic Works, finally opened a storefront.  We went there and got cinnamon buns this week:

Yum!  I still prefer mine, which are more gooey and cinnamony; this was more of a drier bun with about 2 tsp of drizzle.  Still really good, though!  Just not as decadent as mine, more of a breakfast thing.  
– Crystal

Mujaddara

Have we ever told you about mujaddara? You have to try it. Its a popular middle eastern dish consisting of lentils, rice, and sweet caramelized onions. Guess what? Its usually vegan, so look for it at your favorite middle eastern place. Or you can make it yourself. We’ve tried a few recipes, but the one we like the best is from Veganomicon.
You just roast sliced onions in oil for half an hour, while cooking the rice and lentils on the stove with cumin and cinnamon. Combine it all when its done, and serve it with some pita chips and salad. This dish also pairs nicely with and assortment of other middle eastern side dishes like hummus, falafel, grape leaves, etc.
We served it with a side of sauteed kale, and some fresh veggies. Check out those tomatoes! We grew those on our balcony.

– Trevor

Lebanese Moussaka

Unlike the Greek moussaka which is a casserole, Lebanese style is more like a thick stew.  This delicious and comes together in a snap.  We love the smoky flavour of eggplant and that flavour really shines in this.  This is really great warm or at room temperature.

Recipe is at Messy Vegetarian Cook.

Note:  This recipe calls for pomegranate molasses which I have never been able to find, so I just substitute with a touch more lemon juice and a teeny drizzle of agave syrup.

– Crystal

Middle Eastern Cuisine

The Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario features food from around the world; Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Polish, Serbian, and Middle Eastern, to name a few. This weekend we stopped at Nate’s for the falafel plate (as seen below) and a side order of vine leaves, or grape leaves (pictured above). This ended up being way too much food for us to eat.
For the unfamiliar, the grape leaves are stuffed with rice and spices. Weird spices, too. There has to be some mint in there. They are then marinated in a brine, and eaten warm. They are delicious, but definitely an acquired taste for the Western palette. The falafel plate includes not only deep fried falafel, but some garlic hummus, roasted potatoes, and a lentil dish which we think was Mujadarra. Delicious lunch.

-Trevor