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25 March 2011 Dinner News – Syria

 

Kofta

Start dinner with a Mezze that includes Kofta

The Meal

Mezze

This can be an elaborate spread of forty or fifty hors d’oeuvres or simply a salad and a bowl of nuts. But it is always a social occasion when friends and family gather to enjoy appetizers and conversation before lunch and dinner.

The Wikipedia article provides a good list of dishes that may be served at mezze.

Over on Food.com they provide recipes for Hot Spiced Cheese Goreme, Fattoush Salad, Lamb Koftas, and Warm Roasted Olives with Preserved Lemons.

Entree

Rishta – Noodles, lentils and tomato (this will be our dinner tonight and the play-by-play will be a future post)

Sambusak – Triangle filled turnovers.  This recipe provides both options for chickpeas and meat filling.

Chicken Shawarma – Like a gyro… like a taco… folded bread, meat and veggies with a variety of spices. Lamb would also be a common option.

Sujuk – two-part video recipe showing how to make these sausages without casing.

Dessert

Ba’lawaBaklava – This is Alton Brown’s version, I have made it several times and it is easy to make. Browse through the travel photo links below to see amazing piles of different shaped versions.

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Posted by on 25 March 2011 in Syria

 

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18 March 2011 Dinner News – Yemen

Looking past the Demonstrations and Bloodshed

 

Even if not traveling to the city of Moka (also spelled Mocha) you are surely familiar with the drink of choice – coffee!  The coffee of Yemen is unlike anything you will find in Europe or the United States and has a wonderful history and lore.

Qishr – Ginger coffee, but an explanation of the steeped version can be found at the end of The land where coffee began…

Qahwa – Saffron and cardamon coffee.

The Meal

Here are some suggestions for soothing beverages and a wonderful meal to celebrate the culture of Yemen:

Beverage

Naqe’e Al Zabib (Cold Raisin drink), and Diba’a (Squash nectar) are cited in Wikipedia, but recipes could be found on the internet… have you had these?  Please leave a comment and share these dishes.

Entree

Saltah – The national dish is made in 3 parts more by final taste than a strict recipe.

Lamb or Beef Stew
Zhug – hot sauce added to taste
Hubla – Green fenugreek paste added on top of the stew before serving.

The National Dish – Description of how a busy restaurant prepares the dish and recipe for their version.
How to eat Salta
– set of photos showing lunch at a restaurant in Yeman.

Hawayil –  Spice mix used in many dishes.

Yemen Fatah – Spicy lamb or beef dish served over couscous.

Lamb Thareed – Spicy chickpea based stew

Side Dish

Meals are often served with different kinds of flat bread such as Malooga and Laxoox which are used as an eating utensil.

Aseed – Dumpling in tamarind and tomato gravy with a warning to have strong helpers.

There are many other side dishes attributed to Yemen, but formal recipes are difficult to come by:

Fahsa,Samak Mofa, Fahsa, Fattah, Rashoosh, Osahra, Kudam, Fateer, and Khamira.

Dessert

Bint-al-sahn – Honey Cake made with many layers stacked together and served with honey or butter.  Some recipes suggest spinach or meat filling for special occasions, but this explanation and picture describe the process clearly.

The View

Dar al-Hajr - The Rock Castle

There are several ancient sites and some modern adventures that can be toured from your computer to help learn about the culture and geography of this beautiful country:

World Heritage Sites – photo tours of Zabid, Sana’a and Shibam

Wadi Dhahr: Rock Palace

Surfing in Yemen

Road Trip Yemen: Bura’a and Back

 

 

 

 

 

The Chatter

Political unrest is common in this portion of Asia. Formerly Ottamans occupied the North and British claimed the South. The current Yemeni nation was formed in 1990 and brought an uneasy peace to the relationship between the tribes of Hashid and Bakeel.

The news today has been dominated by an ugly turn in demonstrations:

Yemen troops shoot protesters dead (Guardian.co.uk)
Yemeni Government Snipers Open Fire on Protesters, Killing Dozens (Fox News)
Protest security committee investigates alleged sniper, thug attacks (Yemin Times)

 

 

(200612_Yemen-212 photo is the work of Ai@ce while the Dar al-Hajr is the work of Island Spice and is used under Creative Commons License)

 
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Posted by on 18 March 2011 in Yemen

 

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16 March 2011 Dinner News – East Coast of Libya

Battle Wages On
Explanations Become Tough

Hraimeh and Rice

Enjoy the spices and creativity of Libya with Hraimeh and rice

The Meal

With all of this diversity there are many options for celebrating the culture of the eastern coast at your dinner table.  Restaurants in this area offer fantastic classic Italian and Turkish cuisine while lamb is the protein of choice with couscous the national side and dates for a sweet dessert :

Entree

Charouf bil Pisselli o Chedra – Lamb with Kishke and Peas

Couscous bil Hoot – Couscous with fish

Hraimeh – Fish poached in a spicy gravy

Side Dish

Kara’a – Spiced Pumpkin Dip

Lentil and Spinach Salad With Onion, Cumin and Garlic

Shakshuka – Eggs poached in tomato, a dish claimed by many cultures and explained in the opening of this post.

Dessert

Safra – Sweet semolina and date cake.

Zemmeetah – Boiled and roasted barley served with sugar and or dates.

Halawah bil-Fawaak – MIxed fruit with honey.

Al Batheeth – Date Candy

The View

The 8 March 2011 Dinner News post covered some of the culture and food of Southern Libya. The beautiful coastal region provides a window to a rich past:

Ajdabiya

Take a virtual tour of the ancient Fatimid palace, mosque, and fortress, along with the colonial buildings built by the Italians during their occupation:

Ajdabiya’s Tourist FAQ (Word 66 Travel Guide)
Story of a Building, A History of a City (Ajdabiya.com) Story of Fatimid Palace

Cyrene

Travel farther back in time to the ruins of the Greeks at the base of the Akhdar mountains:

Galen R Frysinger’s Photo Tour
The Stunning Greek Ruins (Look Lex)

Benghazi

A cosmopolitan city of one million with a vibrant afternoon scene… there is no drinking in Libya after all… where the food of both Italy and Turkey are well represented both in town and around the lagoon:

Benghazi Restaurants (Virtual Tourist)
Benghazi Beach (Travel Pod Photo Tour)

The Chatter

Reports from Within Ajdabiya, Libya

Many battles along the coast rage on.

While the world watches and prays for Japan the people of Libya continue to battle toward freedom.  The government of the western sections is making in roads along the eastern coast with each day being more bloody than the next:

Libyan Rebels Battle to Hold Ajdabiya (The Street)
Qaddafi Forces Vow to ‘Cleanse’ Rebel-Held City of ‘Armed Gangs’ (Fox News)
Battles rage on two fronts in Libya (UPI)


 
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Posted by on 16 March 2011 in Libya

 

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14 March 2011 Dinner News – Pi Day

 

Pi Plate for sale on Amazon

Amazon.com has the perfect plate for the day

Celebrations

Exploratorium (San Fransisco, CA) – The birthplace of the holiday
Geek Freak Weekend (Princeton, NJ) – The birthplace of Einstein
Pi Across America – word problems and suggested classroom activities
Morton Seakhouse – Key Lime Pie for $3.14 today, normally $10.50

Detractors

Happy Half Tau Day! – Radius’ have their fans too… they use Tau instead… competing merchandise is available… but no recipes.
On Pi Day, is ‘pi’ under attack? (CNN.com) – Link to the “What pi sounds like” video.

Collections of Recipes

Celebrating The Pies Of March (NPR) – Pizza on a pie crust anyone?
10 Delicious Pies For Pi Day! (YumSugar.com) – including a breakfast pie.
Pi Day: Ten Fave Vegan Pies! (Babble.com) – Fruit, custard, cream, and mousse goodies.
Science Blog 2010 Pie Day Contest Winners

Try some of these options to celebrate Pi all day long:

Entree

Greek Lamb Pie (Food.com)
Shrimp Pie (RealCajunCooking.com)
Cupcake Tin Pork Pie (Epicurious.com)
Vegan Seven Layer Tortilla Pie (VeganCoach.com)

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Posted by on 14 March 2011 in Holidays Away from Home

 

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13 March 2011 – Bahrain

An Island in Protest

The focus on protests in Bahrain has come and gone in the last month, but today the activities turned violent:

Guardian Headline on Bahrain Protests

World watches as Bahrain continues to churn.

Many news outlets covered the ongoing tensions between the royal family, the citizens, and growing interest from the government of Saudi Arabia:

Bahrain unrest: Manama erupts in violence (BBC)
Bahrain protesters block roads, royals push for talks (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
More than 800 injured in Bahrain political clashes (USA Today)
Bahrain protests reignited (Guardian UK)

Bahrain is a sharply divided country.  It is the playground for the rich, but currently has a high unemployment rate.  The majority of the country is Muslim with a Sunni royal family ruling over ~66% Shia population (Wikipedia).  To help discuss this island nation here are some recipes of common dishes you might find in restaurants in the capital of Manama:

Entree

Machboos – Rice and protein dish with saffron and spices. Some are saucier while others have stuffing.

Kuwaiti Machboos Lahem Ma’a Dakkous (Lamb, Food.com)
Chicken & Brown Rice Machboos Recipe (Livestrong.com)
Traditional Shrimp Machboos (shahiya.com)

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Posted by on 13 March 2011 in Bahrain

 

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