Fake it Till You Make It

I made pita bread for the first time. As I mentioned before, bread is easy. The thing that distinguishes pita from other breads is that it is a tad flatter (you still use yeast) and after it cools, each pita should have a wonderful pocket in the middle for you to stuff full of wonderful things. The recipe I used came from, you guessed it, “How to Bake” by Paul Hollywood.

One lone pita with a HUGE pocket

All of the pitas had a small pocket, but this one lone pita was really overachieving. I do nothing consistently, so I really have no idea what got into this little guy. Maybe it’s the one I rolled flatter? Thicker? I’ll pay closer attention next time. I promise.

I think the trick to getting a nice pocket in your pita, if it doesn’t happen in the oven, is to cool them on a flat surface, covered with a dish towel. This holds the steam in and allows it to magically expand the inside of your bread, giving you pockets!

I think I just came up with a great idea for women’s clothes…

What to stuff it with?

We are having our kitchen remodeled in about a month, so I am trying to use up as much as I can, especially from the fridge. Here is what I found…

Cucumber

Cherry tomatoes

Mini sweet peppers

Cilantro

Lettuce

Onion

Feta cheese

Pomegranate

I’m thinking tabbouleh, but I have no bulgur wheat. But I do have quinoa. Decision made!

I found a tabbouleh recipe in this beautiful cookbook, “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi. I am pretty good at improvising when I don’t have all of the ingredients, but this recipe called for baharat seasoning. I KNOW I don’t have any of that lying around. But alas, this cookbook also provides a recipe for making your own. Well, I still did not have the exact ingredients, so I improvised. Here’s what I came up with.

Baharat Spice Mix (improvised)

I adapted this mixture from the recipe in "Jerusalem: A Cookbook." I think I achieved the spirit of it.
Cuisine Mediterranean

Equipment

  • 1 Coffee grinder

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tsp Black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Dried cilantro use coriander (aka cilantro seeds) if you have them
  • 1 tsb Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients in a coffee grinder and grind until peppercorns are completely ground and the mixture is, well, mixed.
  • Place mixture in a sealed container.

Notes

This wonderful, aromatic blend of seasonings can be used in a tabbouleh or as a rub for meat. I used just one teaspoon in a huge bowl of tabbouleh, and it added such a wonderful flavor. 
Keyword Seasoning, Spice

The results were amazing. I also made a quick cucumber dip with greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I am so glad there are leftovers!

Traditionally, tabbouleh does not have chopped lettuce in it, but if you have some you need to use up, this is a great option
This accompanied my plentifully pocketed pita breads

What about the hummus?

I know! I have been raving about this hummus all over social media. I had to get myself some tahini before I could attempt the wonderful hummus recipe in this cookbook. It was well worth the wait, and here is what I have learned about making hummus…

  1. Cook the chickpeas, even if they are canned. If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them. Then add them to a pan with 1 t baking soda (for two cans). Cook them, stirring for about a minute and then cover with water and bring to a boil. You can skim the skins that rise to the top off, but don’t worry, you don’t have to discard the skins. Boil canned chickpeas for about 5 minutes or until they smash easily.
  2. Don’t skimp on the tahini. I used to think I didn’t like hummus with too much tahini, but I was wrong. I considered cutting back the tahini but decided to follow the rules, for once.
  3. Add ice cold water at the end. After you have your chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice going in the food processor for a good while (almost 5 minutes), slowly add a few tablespoons of ice cold water. MAGIC! This hummus is so good I can eat it with a spoon.

HAPPY COOKING!

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