I typically cook on Sunday, simply because I get paid on Friday and buy my ingredients on Saturday. I usually bypass anything on my cooking Sundays, but this was one of those weekends where I actually had something scheduled on Sunday (I couldn’t miss my grandmother’s 95th birthday!). So, I ended up moving things around and cooking on Saturday, which totally threw me off of what day it was.
|So versatile, I'm keeping this recipe as my go-to pita recipe.|
As usual, I started with the bread: Markouk Bread. This bread is like a pita bread, something I haven’t made yet. I proofed my yeast by mixing a yeast packet and a tablespoon of sugar in ¼ c of warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then in a larger bowl, I mixed 3 ½ c of flour. I swear I had enough all-purpose flour, but I only had enough for about 2 cups, and that was topped off with the last bit of spelt flour. So I substituted 1 ½ c of whole wheat flour for the remaining portion along with ½ tsp of salt. Making a well in the center, I poured in 1 c of warm water and the yeast mixture and stirred until it came together as a dough. I dumped it out on my pastry mat and kneaded it a little more, using a little more flour to stop it from being so sticky. Then I poured in just a little bit of vegetable oil and coated the bowl, putting my dough ball inside and rolling it to coat it just a little. Luckily I still had a piece of cheesecloth left over, so I dampened it and placed it over the dough and let it rest for 2 hours. After it rested, I punched down the bread and pulled apart enough dough about the size of a billiards ball and flattened it out with my hand. Then I cooked these in a skillet with a little oil in it, turning when it browns. It puffed up, some more than others. I thought these were great; and actually, I kind of liked it the way I made it with the two different (technically, three) flours. I want to open it and stuff it with something later, but the ones for today were to go with the next dish.
|Who doesn't like chicken stew? Apparently my family.|
Which brings me to Chicken Threed, the main dish of the day. In seemingly typical Middle Eastern fashion, this meal has a ton of ingredients although I left out a couple. I cut up about 2 lbs of chicken breasts into smaller pieces and boiled it for about 15-20 minutes. In a larger pot, I sautéed my onions in the bottom of the pot, then I added in some minced garlic, ground ginger, tomato paste, diced potatoes, diced eggplant, diced tomatoes, green chilies, sliced limes (in lieu of dried lime), and stirred. I did leave out the baby marrows because I forgot to Google what this even is. After a few minutes, I threw in my chicken pieces, some of the chicken stock from boiling it earlier, a couple of bouillon cubes (I have to use the fake stuff because of the MSG in the others), bell pepper, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, curry powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, cardamom, crushed red pepper, and a little garam masala for good measure even though it wasn’t listed (I thought I still had some Baharat mix in the back of my cabinet but didn’t feel like digging it out). After letting it simmer for 10 minutes, I added in a handful of cilantro leaves and let it simmer for 10 more minutes. The potatoes should be soft at this point. To serve this, I laid out a piece of the Markouk bread and poured this on top of it. I really liked this, but no one else seemed to like it. I’m not even sure why. My husband said it tasted too “flowery” to him – probably the cinnamon and cardamom, but I wasn’t telling him that’s what it was. He’s so weird sometimes.
|As a first-time try, this was A+.|
Qatari Tabbouleh was my side dish I picked out. I wanted a cold side dish as a contrast, so I thought this would be great. And I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten it, much less made it. It was pretty easy. I bought red bulgur wheat and soaked ½ c of it in water (covering it completely) for 15 minutes. Then I mixed in lemon juice, minced garlic, and some salt and pepper and stirred, letting it rest for about a half hour. I added in some chopped parsley and mint, scallions, and diced tomatoes, and a tad bit of olive oil into it. I threw in a little more lemon juice and a little bit of garlic powder into it as well, and let it chill. I liked this, even though the mint was very noticeable. I thought it had a good flavor, but again, I think I was the only one with that opinion.
|This is a keeper. My husband thinks it needs gin. I would agree.|
I haven’t done a drink for a while, so I thought I’d give a go at a Lemon-lime mint drink. I squeezed 4 lemons and 3 limes into a pitcher, sifting out the seeds when I was done. Instead of making my own simple syrup, I just used some I bought at the store. I added in 1/3 c of simple syrup to my juices along with some chopped mint leaves. Then I poured the whole thing into my blender plus a bottle of water. I blended it until the mint leaves were about as small as they were going to get and it was a little frothy on top. Pouring this back into my pitcher, I added another 3 ½ bottles of water and stirred. It was still a little too sour for my taste, so I added in ½ c of baker’s sugar to it. My husband thought I should’ve added another ½ c, but I liked it the way it was. This one, however, was something everyone enjoyed. I thought it was quite refreshing.
|I thought this was fantastic. And my opinion counts as 4 opinions. Because I'm the mom.|
I’ve finally accepted the fact that there will be some meals not everyone enjoys (there will be no meal quite like the wine venison, though; that one lives in infamy). And even though I enjoyed it, I was in the minority on this one. And that’s ok. I guess. I realize that my tastes typically have a wider range than most people’s tastes are. I have such a wide palate that there’s not a restaurant out there I can’t find something good to eat at – I enjoy upscale cuisine and pub fare all the same.
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