Sabih was never going to be something I just thought, "Oh, how about Sabih tonight?" Yes, if I'd had the chance to bond further with my Croatian born grandfather, perhaps a food trip or two would have been in order (I happen to know he loved food as much as my father did and as much as I do)--I may have encountered something akin to this dish on one of our excursions. But perhaps not. This is, according to my cookbook Jerusalem, a dish not from Jerusalem, but "developed by Iraqi Jews settling in the 1950s in the city of Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv". Who knew? Ottolenghi says this eggplant/pita (yes I made my own spelt pitas to go with this) with yummy filling is "exciting street food". Well, for me, this dish is seasonal and super flavorful and exciting vegan dinner food. Made with eggplants I bought local-- because I can't get an eggplant to grow to save my life--combined with the other components (pictured below) and the husband and I were smitten throughout the entire meal. Here's a link to the full recipe. I added some left over vegan meatballs to this, just in case you wondered what that other non-eggplant looking item on the pita was. They, by the way, made a devilishly good addition to the sabih. In most instances the dish is served with hard boiled eggs.
Not only am I taking a journey every time I cook from Jerusalem (no one pays me to say this, I am simply saying so because I have not had a bad moment when I recipe-try with this cookbook) I'm forced to get the G-maps app out and pinpoint exactly where it is the food I'm making originated, plus I get a history lesson--not my favorite subject btw. If I ever make it to London, Ottolenghi will be one of my first stops. Forget all that royalty stuff, show me the food. The second stop would be to visit one of Jamie Oliver's places.
Meet Zhough. It's known as the Israeli national chile paste, again, according to THE cookbook. What is it exactly? It's so simple: cilantro, parsley, jalapeno, garlic, olive oil, cumin, cardamom, cloves. Aromatic and divine served over the sabih, and even better served right now over my salad I'm having for lunch. I'll whip up a larger batch of this to keep on hand for whatever we throw in a wrap for lunch on the weekend. In fact, I don't think I ever want to not have some of this on hand. I don't know how I lived without it for this long. It is that good.
Served with a simple salad of my own fresh garden tomatoes, and my own cucumbers, parsley, green onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Again, super simple. Delish.
Tahini sauce. I was completely blown away by how much impact and flavor tahini imparts as a sauce. Sure, I've had it before, but paired with the pita and eggplant, wow. The usual appearance for tahini in our house is in my hummus. This sauce is as simple as can be, and will be kept on hand for other uses: tahini, garlic, water and lemon juice. That's it! I added a few tablespoons of vegan yogurt to kick it up a bit. Incredibly easy. I'm making more of this, so as to have on hand. Actually, I liked it straight off my spoon.
So Saturday was the book fair here in St. Louis. I'd missed it last year. I think I was just too spent from the heat wave and drought and irritable and whatnot. This year, while reading the paper and having breakfast, the HUSBAND asked if I would be interested in going? Would I? I was needing a book fix. And for fifty cents here and a buck there, here's a picture of some of what we came home with.
Yes, I missed reading Hillary's memoir. Plus, I believe in my gut we will be seeing much "more" of her in a few short months. So the Hillary memoir was in my pile.
The Katharine Graham memoir, Personal History I had somehow missed reading when it came out. Now that the Washington Post (her family's newspaper) has been sold to Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, now is as good a time as any to delve into her story. I'm a newspaper junkie and would die a thousand deaths if we lost the newspaper altogether. In fact, I'd venture to guess it'd be the end of civilized society as we know it. I'm worried enough about our future as it is. (Here's an article you might find interesting on the matter of the Post sale and the family's reaction/reason for selling.)
An Elizabeth David tribute book, South Wind Through the Kitchen. Elizabeth David defined food writing. She was at the helm of everything all of us try to do today as food bloggers or simply as writers in general. I was tickled pink to come across this collection. How no one else had grabbed it before me is a mystery.
And then, there's another wonderful book, Bert Greene on Grains. Well, it's actually called The Grains Cookbook. Already, I've tried two recipes from this book. Both with huge success. Tucked inside the pages of the Grains cookbook, was this:
How precious, right? Written in penmanship similar to my grandmother's, I was tickled when this fell out of the pages of the book. Someone had taken the time to go page-by-page through the book, then carefully hand write each recipe down they wished to try noting the page number for each. After trying the recipe, I'm assuming, a red line was drawn through to indicate the "try" had occurred. No other markings other than the strange double circle appears. Fascinating. So I'm using this list as my go-to guide to jumping in and finding recipes I'll now try.
This is why I love old books and hunting for old books. I do love my Kindle, but there is never going to be a moment like this in the K-Universe. Ever.