Summer Cooking ~ Middle East Style!

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One thing about living in the Middle East was always eating healthy without even realizing it. We have fast foods there, but they are different than here. There are fresh juice stands everywhere, and they are inexpensive and quick – just stop and order yourself an orange, apple and banana cocktail and in one minute you have it.  The same thing goes for sandwiches – they are usually thin pita bread with either beef or lamb or chicken that is roasted, a sauce or maybe something filled with spinach, cheese or cook
ed eggs.  There are nut stalls almost on every other corner, and they sell fresh roasted and hot nuts.

Nothing processed and pre-packaged!

We are starting the new season off at Caravan-Serai by sharing some of our favorite recipes for the summer.

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So let us start with a salad:

1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions

1 lb. tomatoes 1/2-inch-diced

1 cucumber, halved lengthwise diced- if you can find the small Persian cucumbers those are the best- really have a nice flavor- or the smaller pickling cukes

1-2 cans or 3 c. of cooked garbanzo beans drained

1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley

¼ c. chopped fresh mint

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1/4 c. lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1 T. minced garlic (3 cloves)

1/2 t. salt

1/4 c. olive oil

8 oz. feta cheese, diced

Place the onions, tomatoes, cucumber, garbanzo beans, parsley, and mint in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Slowly add the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix together. Add the feta, salt, to taste, if needed. Serve the salad with pita bread.

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I remember a time that lettuce was in season and a cousin who had a farm would come to visit and bring a huge box of romaine.  Since it doesn’t last long we would clean it – wash away all the dirt and then put it in a big container and take it out to the garden.  When the guest would come instead of serving them desserts we would serve them a nice cool drink or maybe some tea and then each person would grab a whole lettuce and start to tear off a leaf and eat it.  We would all do this and the remaining piece would be thrown by the seat we were sitting on and they would be picked up at the end of the evening and thrown away.  I remember the first time I saw this I kept thinking that we all looked like a bunch of rabbits. And then seeing the pile on the ground made it more so, but it tasted so good and it was so good for you.  We would go through about 10 kilos of lettuce each evening depending on the number of guests that would come by.” ~Rita

 

 

 

 

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