Baby Got Baklava!
This summer we undertook a Middle Eastern feast!
Check out our special foodscapes page for close-up images of some of our favorite ingredients.
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Always ready to try another dumpling, this time we tackled Fatayer Sbanikh, delicious baked pastries filed with spinach, pine nuts, and onion, and spiced delicately with sumac - a purplish-reddish acidic-tasting spice common in the Mediterranean (and related only distantly to the Poison Sumac we were taught to fear at summer camp). You can find the recipe we used here. Below, from top left: the filling mixture up close; Stephen verifies the thickness of our pastry with a tape measure; enclosing the filling in dough; and ready for baking!
If you have a food processor, making hummus or this roasted red pepper spread is a snap - and so much tastier than store-bought!
Hummus, clockwise from top: chickpeas (from a can, rinsed and drained); olive oil; lemon juice; garlic; tahini; cumin.
Whir until the mixture is smooth and serve with flatbreads, crackers, or anything that can use a spread!
Roasted Red Pepper Spread, clockwise from top: olive oil; roasted red bell peppers topped with lemon zest; walnuts; salt and red pepper flakes; lemon juice; cumin and garlic (center).
We opted to purchase jarred red peppers, in lieu of roasting our own (they were cheaper and saved some time and effort).
Baklava is so decadent, but really not difficult to make! Two people make the work of brushing melted butter on every layer of phyllo quicker and more managable. Our recipe from Cooks Illustrated called for cutting the baklava pre-baking, and then pouring the sugar syrup into the cracks when the pan came out of the oven to minimize gooeyness. Well worth the effort!