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Middle East groceries


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#1 andiesenji

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:08 PM

Earlier today I made a run to the Middle Eastern store here in Lancaster to pick up some needed supplies.

Here's a photo of some of the goodies.
Middle East groceries.JPG

The cucumbers are "Israeli" cucumbers and I think they are very similar to the ones Hassouni pictured in his blog photos.
There is also Feta cheese(Greek) and Haloumi cheese, za'atar, Aleppo pepper andd ground caraway in the photo.
(I bought a few other things but nothing special among them.

I have some lovely hothouse romaine, grown by a friend who has a huge greenhouse and is currently "drowning" in green stuff - I am happy to take it off his hands. (He has to clear out some room for more seedlings for veggie plants.)

Now I'm going to comb through my recipes and see what I can do with these things.

(The za'atar is Jordanian as they were sold out of the Lebanese. They had Syrian but I was told this one was closer to the Lebanese recipe and suggested I add some additional thyme.)

Edited by andiesenji, 19 March 2012 - 06:12 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#2 patrickamory

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:28 PM

Hi Andie, tell me more about Aleppo pepper.

I'im intrigued.

#3 janeer

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:49 PM

I see that big bag of Aleppo pepper. I am obsessed with the stuff. I do like Haloummi, too.

#4 andiesenji

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:10 PM

I began using Aleppo pepper back in the mid-1980s when I lived across the street from a "blended" family from Cyprus/Turkey, and it was very difficult to find, I would go on shopping excursions with them to stores in ethnic enclaves.

I was given a few recipes and taught how to make a version of mahammara in which to dip pita or crudites, or ??? they made soft pretzels for dipping.
I explored more recipes when I got Paula Wolfert's book about Eastern Mediterranean foods (1994).

It's not as hot as the common crushed red pepper flakes and the seeds are removed before the treated and dried peppers are ground - it tastes a little bit salty/sweet, with a hint of smoke and if you use enough, there is a lemony aftertaste - I think lemon juice is used in the curing with salt. But I'm not totally sure.

I decided to stock up because of the problems in Syria, which much of it is produced, although this is sourced from Turkey - the shop owner believes prices are going to go up soon on it and other commodities from that area.

It can be used any where you would use red pepper flakes, if you like eggplant, you will not believe what a little of this pepper, cooked briefly in oil, can do to it. Better than candy. (I love eggplant.)

It's wonderful on cheese, in omelets or just on eggs, mix with oil and rub all over chicken pieces before cooking in the oven, use less salt, because this is just a bit salty.
It also does wonders for bean, both fresh green and dried - or any pulse.

Perhaps it's not correct in that part of the world, but I like it on pork - in pork gravy, made after frying pork chops. It is also a great spice for homemade sausage.

P.S.
I wondered why the light on my camera was blinking and just realized I had not downloaded the other photo - of some olives and a package of "Sweet Cheese" - the latter made in Sun Valley, CA by the Karoun Dairy.

The owner insisted on giving me samples of all the olives - 8 or 9 bulk varieties and suggested I would really enjoy these. They are huge and very tasty, not too briny as some of the others were. Lots of good flavor.
Middle East groceries2.JPG

Edited by andiesenji, 19 March 2012 - 09:35 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#5 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:30 AM

My husband's Greek. One of his favorite things to make with feta is a delicious salad, perfect as a main course for an unbearably hot day. It is simplicity itself -- onions and tomatoes with oil and vinegar, bit of oregano, salt and pepper. Just before serving add a fair amount of crumbled feta. Find a shady place with a glass of wine and some good bread and feel relief from the heat.

The other thing is to make a salad with all the vegetables, then make a feta omelet and serve with some Greek pita (thicker and breadier than most Arab pita) which has been rubbed with olive oil and heated on the grill on both sides for just a minute.

#6 patrickamory

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:29 AM

Thanks Andie. I love eggplant too. Will see whether Kalustyan stocks these.

#7 Hassouni

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:35 AM

All right! Look at those cucumbers!

So, apart from its use with labne, za'tar (Jordanian is often considered the highest quality, by the way), can be put into meat marinades, sprinkled on salads, or put into baked goods.

Tomatoes look good too. With those and the cheeses you have the makings of a killer Lebanese breakfast.

Also, Aleppo pepper, such as its called, is ubiquitous in Turkey, where it's called pul biber or Urfa biber, and is all domestically produced. For those without Middle Eastern stores, it's almost identical to coarse Korean gochugaru

#8 andiesenji

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:34 PM

So far I made a version of fattoush - already tossed the salad first with some of the za'atar (with a smidge of Aleppo pepper, then with part of the dressing, made with oil, garlic, lemon juice, sumac, salt, and now it's ready to add the toasted pita and some crumbled cheese. It's red because of the sumac.

Fattoush.JPG

Bread and cheese applied. Not pretty but my guest assures me it tastes great.
HPIM4599.JPG

I'm serving it on romaine leaves.

Edited by andiesenji, 20 March 2012 - 04:59 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#9 Hassouni

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:20 PM

That looks awesome. The cucumbers and tomatoes are particularly drool-producing.

#10 patrickamory

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:36 PM

It looks delicious to me andie!

I know Moroccan is not the same Lebanese, but there are more tagines coming in my life... just sauteed some garlic, cayenne and paprika in olive oil and added to olives with lemon juice and lemon zest to marinate for an olive and potato tagine.

#11 andiesenji

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:30 PM

There was no leftover salad. I grilled some trout and steamed some fingerling potatoes which were just tossed with butter, salt and pepper (a little of the Aleppo pepper too).
I forgot to get the olives out but no matter, they weren't missed and will certainly be eaten soon.

Patrick, I love tagines too. I also purchased packages of "sausage spices" and "kibbeh spices" that I have found are lovely for flavoring tagines with chicken, duck or turkey.

The latter is a mixture of pepper, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, nutmeg and rose.

I know I could mix the spices myself but this mixture just seems to be perfectly balanced, especially for poultry.
To be honest, I usually buy guinea fowl at the Mexican market for tagines because the meat has much more flavor and does not lose texture with prolonged cooking.

The Seville oranges I put up in salt (like preserved lemons) should be done in a couple of days and I'll be preparing a tagine using them.

I've got to make another run to the ME market because they had some lovely little globe-shaped eggplants, stripey white and lavender with a bit of green and some orange and green "Turkish" eggplants and I want to make an eggplant pie. I thought I was going to be away this weekend so didn't buy them, but now I don't have to drive up north, so will be cooking.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#12 andiesenji

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:27 PM

Didn't get to the market today because a friend dropped in to show me some clothes she designed and make.

I made a batch of hummus for a late lunch for me and a snack for her. We both like garlic so I added sufficient that neither of us need to worry about being attacked by vampires any time soon.

I dressed it with argan oil - bottle in first photo - very nice flavor, buttery, a bit of a change from olive oil.
Hummus 1.JPG

with the flatbread.
Hummus 2.JPG
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#13 patrickamory

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:02 PM

Oh wow that hummus looks so good!

I'm curious about that spice mixture Andie. It's an intriguing combination. I have rose petals and rosewater - maybe I'll experiment a bit.

#14 andiesenji

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 12:23 PM

I visited the Middle East Grocery store again today.
I specifically went to buy little eggplants. Sadly, they were sold out of the Turkish eggplants (orange and green) but they still had these the little egg-shaped purple and white type.
Also bought some "frying" peppers - slightly spicy yellow-green peppers.
HPIM4619.JPG
HPIM4620.JPG

Bought some dried figs (I use a lot of figs) and a box of lakhoum that was on sale for $1.99.
HPIM4623.JPG

Can of "Hommos" bag of chickpea flour and jar of "Mild Pepper Paste" or Sade Ev Tipi Biber Salcasi. Product of Turkey
HPIM4622.JPG

Some plain large pita and a package of "Oregano & Thyme Foccacia" I think they are using the term "foccacia" because of marketing to people who don't recognize the true name.
pita small.jpg
Detail of label.
Avo\'s \

Also bought a "sweet web melon" and three giant globe onions.
HPIM4624.JPG
The largest onion weighs 1 pound, 5.5 ounces.

I also bought more little cucumbers, tomatoes and some lovely little bananas that are extremely sweet and flavorful - obviously not the ubiquitous "Cavandish" that is the standard fare.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#15 andiesenji

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:40 PM

I tried the "oregano and thyme foccacia" for lunch today.
Heated in the oven just till it began to crisp.
HPIM4625.JPG

Added some of the "Mild Pepper Paste" from Turkey
HPIM4626.JPG

Then finished with some homemade labneh - the yogurt I make with half & half which is thick without needing to strain.
HPIM4627.JPG

Delicious!

Edited by andiesenji, 30 March 2012 - 03:40 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#16 patrickamory

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 02:20 PM

Mmmmm that looks mouthwatering Andie.

#17 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:11 PM

Love that Turkish red pepper paste. It's nice to have on hand for quick appetizers when people show up unexpectedly (it seems to keep forever in the fridge) and it's different and healthy. Good with bread, crackers or raw veggies.

#18 andiesenji

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 04:12 PM

Remember the pretty little baby eggplants I bought? And the peppers and tomatoes jumbo onions and etc.

Today I prepared a dish that combined the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes baked in the oven and then finished with stovetop caramelized onions and garlic with a little white wine and butter added to make a sauce that was added just before plating.
Eggplant:pepper:tomato dish.jpg

A close up of the pre-baked layers, eggplants cut in half and placed cut-side-down in the bottom, then a layer of the peppers (sweet Italian "frying" peppers) and topped by the sliced paste type tomatoes.
Eggplant-pepper-tomato dish 2:.jpg

After an hour in the oven at 300° F.
Eggplant:pepper:tomato dish3.JPG

Forgot to take a photo after adding the onions and garlic to the whole dish.

Plated.
I like it plain but my guest added some grated Asiago cheese.
Plated.JPG
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#19 Catherine Iino

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:29 PM

I bought some lovely fresh green chickpeas in their pods yesterday at a Syrian grocery store in Paterson, New Jersey. Any recommendations for what to do with them?

Edited by Catherine Iino, 21 April 2012 - 06:32 PM.


#20 patrickamory

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:41 AM

Are you sure they're chickpeas and not almonds?

#21 Catherine Iino

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:07 AM

Absolutely. I have found a few recipes on the Web, for salads, hummus, and edamame-style snacks. Just wondered if any egulleteers had thoughts.

#22 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:06 AM

Are you sure they're chickpeas and not almonds?



Almonds dont come in pods. You can buy green chickpeas shelled or in pods fresh or frozen at some Indian and other stores...

http://www.mylifeasa...0/03/chickpeas/
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#23 Catherine Iino

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:14 AM

I think I was not clear in my last post: what I bought were absolutely not almonds. Actually, the store had green almonds as well. Inside the pods I did buy are green . . . chickpeas. No question about it.

#24 andiesenji

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:16 AM

I treat them exactly like garden peas - shell them (I wear gloves because the green "dye" in the pods does not easily scrub off)

I drop them into boiling water for 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of the batch (10 -15 ounces shelled) pour into a colander in the sink and rinse briefly with cold water.

If serving hot, back into the pot in which they were cooked, add oil and Italian seasoning or Italian dressing, or you can add butter, salt, pepper, or you can toss them with caramelized onions, red pepper flakes, crumbled crisp bacon.

Any of the above can be tossed with rice, pasta, mixed cooked grains. An Italian friend tosses the garbanzos with cooked barley, chills it and serves on a bed of lettuce as a luncheon salad.
They grow their own so they are always quite fresh.
She also makes a soup with the fresh chickpeas that is similar to a fresh garden pea soup.

Any recipe that uses fresh garden peas or English peas for that matter, can work for these.

Edited by andiesenji, 22 April 2012 - 10:17 AM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#25 nolafoodie

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:34 PM

Oooooooohhhhhhh, green chickpeas. They're one of my favorite snacks.

Clean them, and place them on a sheet pan in a hot oven. Roast, turning occasionally, until charred on the edges/sides. Munch to your heart's content (just pop them out of the pods and eat -- they should be partially browned and kind of chewy). Enjoy!

#26 Catherine Iino

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:50 AM

Bumping this up: I bought this beautiful jar of "honey nuts" at a Lebanese grocery recently. Can anyone tell me how these would traditionally be served?photo.JPG

#27 Nicolai

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 02:43 PM

Nice jar.

They are mainly touristic and the only way to eat them is to scoop out on a plate and.......eat the!
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