Ramadan delicacies [Archives:2006/989/Last Page]
– 2 pita breads
– 8 leaves lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
– one chopped onion (if available, use two green onions instead)
– 2 chopped cucumbers
– 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
– 1 chopped green pepper
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
– 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
– 2 tablespoons sumac powder
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1. Toast pitas 5 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until crisp. Remove from heat, and break into bite size pieces. You could fry the bread instead but it is healthier to use the oven
2. In a large bowl, toss together toasted pita pieces, lettuce, green onions, cucumber, green pepper, and tomatoes.
3. In a small bowl, mix the parsley, garlic, sumac powder, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and mint. Pour over the pita mixture, and toss just before serving.
You can add many spices to this according to your tastes. Some people like to add chick peas for a heartier salad. Some people add red chilies to the dressing.
– 3 white potatoes, chopped
– 1/2 yellow onion, cut into eigths
– 4 carrots, sliced
– 1 clove garlic, crushed
– 1 celery stalk, sliced
– 1/4 cup fresh parsely, finely chopped
– 1/2 cup fresh string beans or canned
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon cumin
– 1/8 teaspoon ginger
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 4 cups water
– 3 cups canned tomato sauce
– 1 8oz can tomato paste
In a large saucepan, combine water, tomato sauce and paste on medium heat. Stir well to make a good soup base. Add water or more tomato sauce as desired. Add vegetables and spices.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low-medium (about 3 on an electric range).
Simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Serve with pita bread or crackers.
Sometimes, I like to add or omit vegetables depending on my craving. Fresh or frozen okra really goes well with the tomato base in this soup. You can add corn, peas, and even small macaroni noodles for a variation. The great thing about Middle Eastern cooking is that it's all about what you have on hand. You don't have to follow a recipe exactly and it really allows you to be creative.
Qamar Al-Din, apricot juice
This is a traditional juice made especially in Ramdan.
The main ingredient is readily available in the market as a layer or dried apricot called Qamar Al-Din. The juice is made by soaking Qamar Al-Din in water for a few hours then mixing it in a blender and adding sugar according to taste.
Fatoush is a popular salad, especially in Lebanon. The great thing about fattoush is that you can add and delete veggies from the recipe according to taste. Instead of pita bread, you can also use French or Italian bread. It adds no cholesterol and is very healthy because it contains fresh vegetables. The dressing is especially healthy because it has olive oil, lemon juice and sumac powder. Sumac is a Mediterranean herb collected during autumn, dried and is found all year long. It is effective in treating diarrhea and soar throat.
Nutrients in apricots can help protect the heart and eyes, as well as provide the disease-fighting effects of fiber. The high beta-carotene and lycopene activity of apricots makes them important heart health foods. Both beta-carotene and lycopene protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent heart disease.
Apricots contain nutrients such as vitamin A that promote good vision. Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. Free radical damage can injure the eyes' lenses.