All photos by
Nicky Garratt copyright 1999
Roasted Red Pepper
"A smart thing to do when you fire up the
barbecue is to plan for a number of dishes for the whole week or longer. I roast eggplants
for Baba Ghannouj and North Indian Smoked Eggplant, Acorn Squash for Moroccan soup, corn
to eat immediately and red peppers for salads."
Start off with squash, onions, parsnips, potatoes and
any other vegetables that take time to cook through, follow it with the eggplants and last
of all, when the heat is even, add corn and peppers.
Turn the peppers over the coals until they are completely blackened with no patches of
red showing, but do not let them burn through. After they cool a little rinse under cold
water easing off the blackened skin. Remove the stalk and seeds and cut the roasted
peppers into strips. They are now ready for adding to salads or an olive/pickle bowl. You
can refrigerate for a few days.
"My friend Ramsey (From AK Press), ushered me up to his
office to show me a green herb mixture which, at risk of life & limb, he smuggled out
of Lebanon rather like a drug dealer. "You can
only get this in the Lebanon" he claimed carefully measuring out a small portion from
the small white cotton draw string bag with mysterious Arabic writing on the side. The
mixture was Zaatar. Subsequently, I have located this herb at a number of stores in the
bay area at a very reasonable price, much to Ramsey's dismay. I even rubbed salt in his
wound by giving him some back in fake Safeway packaging. After some research, I found that in
Arabic Zaatar means Thyme. However, this mixture is powdered thyme, whole sesame seeds and
sumac (a powder made from ground sour berries). In Lebanon it is mixed with olive oil and
eaten with pita bread, but I found a couple of recipes in an old Lebanese cook book."
- 1 large Onion cut into fine half rings and
mixed with a half teaspoon of salt.
- 3 T. of Zaatar
Toss with 3 Tablespoons of Zaatar and 3 Tablespoons of
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and eat with pita bread. For non-Vegans, Zaatar can be simply
sprinkled on crumbled Feta Cheese, and I found it also makes an excellent salad dressing
when mixed with Olive Oil. The Sumac in the Zaatar cuts the oil instead of lemon juice.
"This hearty, filling bread is eaten at breakfast in
- Basic pie mixture.
- 5 T. of Zaatar
- 5 T. of extra virgin olive oil
Roll out basic pie mixture to form flat oval loaves around
3/4 of an inch thick and let stand covered with a cloth for half an hour. Pre-heat oven to
400 degrees. Make a paste with the Zaatar and oil and lightly coat the top of each loaf
before baking for around ten minutes.
"The quickest snack dip I know"
- 4 T Zaatar
- 6 T. of extra virgin olive
Mix to form paste eat as dip with pita bread