Mezze - It's What's for Dinner
|The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.|
This month's Daring Cook's challenge brought a whole new culture into my life. I've never eaten ANYTHING Middle Eastern before, although my sister loves it and has been telling me for months that I need to try it. I have to admit, Middle Eastern fare, never really thrilled me because when I think of that kind of food, I think of beans. *shudder* Chickpeas, lentils, black beans.. all of those lil pasty tastin' legumes. If you're new to this here lil blog, then you might not know of my strong dislike of beans. Frankly, I'd rather eat live bees. ;)
But I am happy to say that I was completely wrong, which is nothing new. :P Yes, Middle Eastern food does contain beans, but there is so much of a variety of other foods - I had no idea! I wanted my Mezze to be special, so I called upon my home girls. My G's, if you will. June, Blimey & Amy - 3 of my favorite people in alla world. As per usual, they were up for it and all agreed to find a Middle Eastern recipe to bring to the party. Yay!
I decided to make a cold Lebanese carrot salad, green beans (one of the few that I'll eat) Lebanese style, Kalamata olive tapenade as well as the mandatory hummus and pita bread. June brought a delicious Tabouli and Amy brought a refreshing and really delicious cucumber Raita. Unfortunately, Blimey got sick so she couldn't join us, and we missed her tremendously.
We piled everything onto the kitchen table and started eating immediately. SO GOOD! My absolute favorite was the green beans Lebanese style. Holy cow, I could eat that daily. I wouldn't even share much of the left overs with the gals because I HAD. TO. HAVE. IT. the next night with a roasted chicken. Delish! I really enjoyed the small bites of everything.. and liked to combine different dishes to see what went best with what. My favorite combo was a lil Kalamata tapenade on some pita followed with a lil dab of cucumber Raita. Salty with a nice tang. *slurp*
As for cooking this feast - no problems really at all. I got a lil nervous when my pita didn't balloon up like Audax's and it didn't really brown up on top. The bottoms browned up nicely though. And although parts were flat and parts were bubbly it was really good pita. June was the resident Middle Eastern connoisseur and she said the pita was excellent and she loved the other dishes as well. Score! I know it was good food because I realized afterward that we had no meat and didn't even miss it! It wasn't consciously planned that way, but since it happened, I'm going to say we dedicated our vegetarian dinner to Michele. :D
Eating this way is definitely fun - true party food. Next I want to do a Tapas night and then a dim sum night.. I'm looking forward!
Michele, thanks so much for turning me on to this delicious food and showing me how easy it is to make pita bread! I'll definitely be making it again! You did an excellent job hosting! Love you!
Check out all the rest of the amazing Mezze feasts from our Daring Cook troops! Just seeing what they've uploaded to the forums makes me all kinds of hungry for Mezze all over again! ;)