Tag Archives: bread

Challah

Bread!  I love to bake it almost as much as I love to eat it.

This month, Saveur took me to Eastern Europe to reveal the origins of beloved staples of Jewish delicatessens around the world.  Challah, a Jewish braided egg bread, was one of the featured items.  I have eaten Challah on numerous occasions but had never attempted to make it myself.

I then made a quick trip over to Wikipedia and discovered entirely too much information about this tasty treat.  The bread is rich in custom, history and symbolism.  But to me, it is just delicious egg bread enjoyed in sandwiches, with soup, as French toast, or just by itself.

All in all, it was a relatively easy task, with minor difficulty points for the braiding.

Challah.  Holla! Here is the recipe

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Filed under Breads, Savory

Turkish Coffee and Zaatar

Our dear friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law, Gail, sent us the most lovely gift from the Middle East – ground Turkish coffee, an ibrik (special Turkish coffee pot) and a baggie full of a spice combination called zaatar.

I have only had real Turkish coffee once, at a restaurant in New York.  My not-so-funny dining companion (you know who you are)  instructed me to give it a good stir before I drank it.  Luckily, he called off the prank because that is not how you drink Turkish coffee.  More on this later.

Turkish coffee is derived from the Arabica bean and is ground to a very fine powder.  Cardamom pods are sometimes added to the beans as they are being ground (ours was of this variety and …delicious).  Gail suggested that we visit YouTube and check out a video by Mustafa Arat on how to make this tasty concoction before we went any further.

I watched this a couple of times and made my first, and definitely not last, pot of Turkish coffee.  Important note!  There will be a lot of undissolved, leftover sludgy stuff in the bottom of your cup.  Do not drink it!

Now, what about this zataar?

Gail let us know that zaatar contains oregano, basil, thyme, savory and sesame seeds and is used on everything – from Greek yogurt with olive oil to bread to meats.  I thought we should try it on bread first and used it on the remaining flatbread dough from when I made the coca mentioned in an earlier post.

The ibrik, coffee, and zaatar (also spelled zaa’tar) can all be found in New York at Kalustyan’s, a gold mine for hard-to-find ingredients and an amazing place to kill a couple of hours.  Luckily, they also have a website with online ordering.

The Turks have a saying that “one cup of coffee is worth forty years of friendship.”  Thanks, Gail.  We look forward to it.

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Filed under Beverages, Breads, Non-alcoholic, Savory

Cuckoo for Coca

Onion, red pepper, and eggplant coca

I mentioned that we had a Meditteranean coca with our controversial tuna and cinnamon meatballs.  It turned out so wonderfully and was such a pleasant surprise that I have decided to share the recipe here.

The recipe is from another of our many (and favorite) cookbooks, Moro East by Sam and Sam Clark, the husband and wife team behind the acclaimed Moro Restaurant in London, known for its award-winning Moorish cuisine.  Traveling and books play a vital role in their menus and I love that they often read about a dish in a book, and then travel to that particular country to find someone to show them how to make it.  I want to do that.

Moro East follows a year that the couple spent on their first allotment at Manor Garden.  I wasn’t exactly sure what an allotment was so I did a little research and here’s what I found out about the Manor Garden Allotments.

They were established in 1900 by philanthropist Arthur Villiers to provide small parcels of land for deprived locals to grow vegetables and occupied 4.5 acres between the River Lea and the Channelsea River in Hackney Wick, East London.  In keeping with conditions of Villiers’ bequeath that the allotments be maintained in perpetuity, the 80 individual plots have been tended for over a century by a tight-knit and diverse multicultural community of Londoners.

Here is a video I found on youtube in which the Clarks talk about their allotment experience.

The saddest part?  The Manor Garden Allotments were demolished in October 2007 to make way for landscaping for the 2012 London Olympics Park.  The good news?  The allotments will be reinstated on the original site once the Olympics are over.

Now, on to the coca.

Coca is pizza from the Catalonia region of Spain.  It is thin, crisp, chewy and amazing.  There are many variations of coca – I made the onion, red pepper and eggplant version.  Flatbread dough is used as the base.  Although I have included the Clarks’ recipe, I made a few small changes.

1) I substituted all-purpose flour for bread flour.  This seemed to work just fine.

2) I did not knead the flatbread dough by hand.  I used the dough hook and our awesome Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.

3) I changed the word aubergine to eggplant.  OK, not such a big change.  I just brought that aubergine across the pond.

4) I used less olive oil than what the recipe calls for.

Here are the recipes…

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Filed under Breads, Savory