Sunday, June 27, 2010

Streets of Beirut

After ten days, two countries, four cities, one Ecuadorian Wedding, and a rather thorough drug search, compliments of airport security, we touched down in JFK; just in time for our first CSA delivery. And before I was able to upload photos from the trip, I was surrounded by radishes, apples, cherries, herbs, and more greens than I really knew what to do with. Not to mention purslane and dill, both of which are commonplace flavors in middle eastern cooking....count me excited.

Long before I knew it as a pseudonym for beer-pong, I had fallen in love with Beirut, and for that matter, the entirety of the Middle East. I'm not certain why, maybe because I was a nerdy little news junkie as a child in the 80s, or maybe because I have some sick fascination with hijabs, but I long to visit streets filled with hookahs and the smell of grilled lamb.

But while I wait for that dream trip to Beirut, I modeled the below with the sandy deserts of the fertile crescent in mind. Grilled chicken kabobs, rice, diced cucumber salad, and some dill yogurt, coupled with 93 degree temperatures, an oven heating pita, and an unplugged AC, it might as well have been the streets of Lebanon.

Chopped Cucumber Salad
Half a white onion; chopped
Two to three large radishes; chopped
One medium cucumber; seeded and chopped
One large tomato; diced
1C purslane; coarsely chopped
1C parsley; finely chopped
Juice of a large lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Combine the vegetables in a large bowl, cover with lemon juice and a few tbsp's of olive oil and toss, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dill Yogurt
8 oz unflavored yogurt
2-3 tbsp chopped dill
pinch of salt

Served with some grilled chicken, warmed pita bread, and rice, it's kinda like street meat....without the indigestion.

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