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Vaguely mediterranean

February 27, 2011

A couple of times a week at SmugMug HQ we have a menu that usually involves roasted chicken, roasted fish, some soup and a few salads. This time the sides were sort of mediterranean-ish. It feels very California to me to have these sorts of meals mostly consisting of vegetables prepared in interesting ways with influences from all over, but that might just be that I’ve lived in California for the past 11 years and that’s how I like to cook.

Hummus is so so tasty (especially mine, if I do say so myself. I use little if any oil, but plenty of tahini and lots of processing time, which makes for a very smooth and rich tasting hummus.) It’s not especially pretty, though. Think of it like a canvas of tan waiting for decoration:

Hummus with zatar, tahini and roasted chickpeas on top

Hummus with zatar, tahini and roasted chickpeas on top

It’s especially nice if your decorations are also delicious. The purply stuff on the hummus is zatar, an herb and sesame seed blend. Mine contains sumac (dried berries of an edible kind of sumac; the sumac we had in Minnesota when I was a kid caused rashes if you even touched it, so I wouldn’t want that on my hummus.) Sumac adds a nice lemony taste to things. I especially love it on pink lentil soup.

Pea shoots are a fun ingredient that I can get year round at our Whole Foods, in huge bags, I think maybe people use them for juicing. But I like to use them in salads:

Spinach and pea shoots with roasted mushrooms, radishes and mustard dressing

Spinach and pea shoots with roasted mushrooms, radishes and mustard dressing

They taste just like snap peas!

This green bean salad made me like green beans, which I usually find sort of unpleasantly textured. The key is barely cooking them at all, then making a nice sharp dressing and eating them cold, I love them like that:

Green beans, peas and snap peas with lemon-mustard seed dressing

Green beans, peas and snap peas with lemon-mustard seed dressing

This soup has a TON of garlic in it, but it’s cooked slowly for a nice long time so that it’s mellow and rich:

Garlic-saffron soup with harissa, greek yogurt and beans

Garlic-saffron soup with harissa, greek yogurt and beans

The saffron adds a nice bite, and the beans add something filing and meaty.

My jasmine vines are blooming, rhubarb is in the grocery stores and I saw daffodils blooming on the way to work Friday. Spring is here! Enjoy it with some fresh produce, let any cuisine influence you and play with your vegetables.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lee permalink
    February 27, 2011 3:22 pm

    The commentary here was that the soup looks like “a swamp with logs and a ghost holding a dinosaur”. I’ve never had dinosaur before, but i’m sure its delicious.

  2. March 4, 2011 1:38 pm

    Oh how I miss your cooking! I am planning a visit soon so I can indulge :)

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