Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daring Cooks - February - Mezze

The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

A few weeks ago, the fondest memories of last January came back: Mezze in Kuwait. For whatever reason, last year I found myself in the middle of the desert with a scarf in my hair, looking to explore. Exploring isn't easy for a woman alone in the Middle East. I was miserable. Our hotel was in the middle of nowhere and the internet connection was ridiculously slow. There was one thing that had me excited: having dinner in one of these private tents.

The food was fantastic. I have no idea what it was but it was great. Warm weather (for someone who lives in Germany), bright sun, a couple of camels & mezze. The only thing that made me really want to leave was a glass of wine and a slice of Spanish ham (neither of which are allowed in Kuwait).

When Michelle posted her challenge, I knew this would be a chance to taste those middle eastern memories. I planned to make the hummus with a roasted red pepper. I started to knead the dough for pita bread. Something came up, I had to put the dough in the fridge overnight. I took it out the next day, rolled it out & placed it in a hot oven. At this point, I should note that I've never been able to make bread. Bread never really rises in the oven when I make it. One of my pitas puffed up, but not really. I left them in a little longer, hoping they just needed more time. The result: pita chips. Oh well, not bad.

The hummus was divine, the olives I had just bought from the market were great, and I have this supermarket around the corner that sells fresh pita bread. As wonderful as the smell of freshly baked bread is, as long as I live close to good bakeries, I'm going to outsource the task of baking.


Jo said...

Great job on this month's challenge and your hummus looks delicious.

Amanda said...

Looks like a wonderful little platter! Although you didn't intend on chips, I think they look great.

I share your fear in baking bread. It seems so complicated. Why try when I can buy it from talented folks at the market?

Mary said...

You did a wonderful job with the challenge. Your mezze look delicious and your photography perfectly captures the dishes you chose to make. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Wic said...

stunning presentation of delicious looking food.
great work with this post.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Wasn't this a great challenge? I loved it too - especially tasting all those wonderful flavours in the middle of our winter here....

Michele said...

Thank you so much for cooking along with me this month! Your food looks so delicious. I love hearing about your memories of Kuwait. I've travelled quite a bit (mostly alone) and I am always fascinated by other peoples experiences. Travelling alone as a woman can be a challenge.

I am not a bread baking expert by any means, but if you ever need a recipe or anything just let me know.

Kitchen Masochist said...

My dad was assigned to Kuwait in the 80's and we lived there as expats for 7 years. My mom went crazy too. She couldn't go out on her own because of all the cat calls and the stares from the local men. And she wore conservative clothes as required by most Muslim countries. So I really know how hard it is for foreign women over there. I thought it would have improved though.

Before I forget, Kuwaiti food is pretty good. Not a good place to live in if you love pork meat though.

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