Sunday, February 14, 2010

DC Challenge - Mezze Dinner

Why is Catty eating chick peas?
1-What can I say? My baby has a discriminating palate.
2- She thought the can said "chickseys". Never! She wouldn't eat chicks!
OR (drum roll)
Number 3.......

It's time for another Daring Cook's Challenge!
blog check in line:
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

Nom nom! Mmmm chick peas! She was convinced they were tuna. I opened the can and they *kind of* smelled like tuna. Catty came running and ate two. Crazy cat!

OK This was a really fun, tasty, mind-expanding, awesome, taste-expanding challenge!
It led me down a totally new cooking path to some great recipes.
In fact, because of this challenge I made the *BEST JAM EVER*, but I have to save that for a different post.
Different group - 'ya know the Can Jammers.
But back to the Daring Cook's.....
I used a lot of chick peas in these recipes.
Thank goodness Catty has a small appetite.

Also, as a side note before we get started, this whole meal only took me 1 1/2 or maybe 2 hours (tops) to make. From start (walking in the door with grocery bags) to finish (sitting down at my parent's house to eat it).
I made the meal at home and then transported everything (in a BLIZZARD) to my parent's house. We baked the pitas together.
They have a baking stone.
I don't.
And it was fun.
First I made hummus.
Chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, roasted garlic paste , salt.

Finished hummus.

Next I made baba ghanoush.
Roasted eggplant (from last year's garden- planting more this year-it was thaw, dump and whirr, easy!), tahini, more roasted garlic paste, lemon juice, cumin, salt.
I found the recipe here.

Food processor power!

Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parsley. I added Turkish olives when I served it. The olives have thyme in the brine.

Next: Cucumber Raita.
Cucumber, mint, salt, greek yogurt, roasted garlic paste, cumin, cayenne pepper.
I didn't salt and drain my cucumber, so it was a little runny.
I added some feta cheese. Mmmm yum!

Next on the menu.

Chick peas, roasted onion, parsley, cilantro, salt, cayenne pepper, roasted garlic paste, baking powder, flour (and I added an egg to the recipe - everything needs an egg).

I baked them.

They were good. A little dry.
I love my Mom's flat cookie sheet. *hint, hint Mom*

Next: I roasted some more onions.
To add to Lentil Tagine. Recipe here.

I used dried apricots and walnuts. A bay leaf from my bay tree.
And some yellow tomato sauce I home canned last summer from my tomatoes.
Plus the other stuff in the recipe. It's a looooong recipe.

This is a great stew. It is sweet, but not in a gross way.
In a delicious, mmm-can-I-have-some-more? way.

I put raisins in there too and a little cooked bulghur.
I'm still using the bulghur I bought for this challenge.

Next: Pita Bread

This is the way I made the pita bread. Remember, I didn't have very much time to make this meal AND a few people were having trouble with the recipe SO I made them this way:
3 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp baking powder (helps pitas puff)
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
2 Tbs oil
Mix it up and let it rest for 1 hour. Heat oven to 500F degrees. Roll dough out into circles. Let each dough circle rest 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 5 mins.

The dough is gorgeous! So easy to work with!

Don't roll the circles out too thin.
I did a little experiment.

I rolled some out super, super thin.

Then I did a few thicker.

I baked a thick one and a thin one at the same time.
The thick one puffed waaaaay up.
And the thin one?
Just puffy.

It still tasted good, but it couldn't be used for a pita pocket sandwich.

Mezze Dinner

Roasted red peppers and mozzarella balls.

Lentil Tagine with grape tomatoes.

Closer. Closer. Eat me.


Cucumber Raita. This would make a wonderful salad dressing. It was so cool and creamy with a minty kick.

Not too garlicy.
Just perfect.
Roasting the garlic makes such a difference.

Baba Ganoush.
This was good too.

The start of a pita sandwich.

Pita sandwich another way.

Mom's way.

My way.

Dad's way.

Big pita mouth.

Now for dessert.
First: Halvah.
I found this in the cheese case. It's ground up seasame seeds with chocolate pressed into a square. Tastes like solid grease to me, but it was interesting to try.

Next up: Turkish Delight.
Well, you can't sneak eat these. They leave a trail of powdered sugar every where!
They were OK, but I would rather have a Cadbury Turkish Delight. Mmmmmm purple jelly........
All in all a WONDERFUL meal!
It was fun to make and eat.
Great to spend time with my Mom and Dad too!
And I discovered a new love: Rose water........but that's for another blog post.


  1. Really nice mezze platter! I also baked my falafels. I thought they were heavenly dipped into the raita I made. Thanks for the hint with the thin and thick rolled out pita dough. Some of mine were balooning up, some weren't. It really might be that I rolled out some of them thinner than the others. I'm making pita bread again tonight and will roll them out thick - hopefully they will all puff up!

  2. Ciao ! I wish I was around that evening !!!

  3. This was a great challenge. The taste of the pita bread was wonderful

    Our cats wouldn't have gone near the chick peas either. LOL

  4. Looks like a feast for a King!! My mouth is watering now!!
    Love Jane xxx

  5. It looks like you had a lot of fun with this challenge. You did a great job. The Lentil Tangine is very intriguing.

  6. wow, everything looks great. i love the fact that a lot of the vegetables came from your garden :)

  7. awesome! i've made all of these things at one time or another (exept the tagine) but never all together. that sounds like so much fun, and your pitas are beautiful!

  8. What a fantastic post! I love all the photos. Thank you so much for cooking along with me this month. Your food is gorgeous and just looks really tasty.

    Your filled pita sandwiches are making me hungry. Yum!

    I also think that chickpeas smell a tiny bit like tuna, and my cats are always curious about them as well!

  9. What a gorgeous photo and I would have loved to dine with you! Falafel is one of my all time favorites too!

    I had a cat that loved Lima Beans!

  10. OMG..what a spread and your photos are spectacular! LOVE your puddytat eating chickpeas, and LOVE that you used roasted garlic in your hummus. I feel it really makes a differnce! Now, excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard lol

  11. ohh that looks absolutely delicious. I am compelled to try chickpeas out on my kitties now. :D

  12. What a delicious looking spread! If you ever make a meze dinner again and want new dessert options there is a recipe for knafe in Arabesque that is simply amazing -- its a middle eastern pastry with cheese and syrup... and its super easy, unless, as a daring cook you feel compelled to make your own mozarella and your own phyllo pastry!
    i just signed up for daring cooks so am looking forward to tomorrow to see what is in store for next month!

  13. Thanks all for the nice comments! :)

    ap269 - Hope your pitas turned out! I had fun reading the post on your blog

    natalia - Thanks!

    JDeQ - Cats are funny aren't they?

    aromatic - Thanks! LOL

    Sarah - The lentil tagine was really good!

    chef_d - I really try to use things from my garden when I cook. After all its just sitting in my freezer!

    Elle Ross - Thanks! The pitas were yummy!

    Michele - This was a FUN challenge!

    Michelle - Thank you! Cats are so funny!

    Lisa Michelle - LOL I LOVE your comment! Thank you!

    melissa - Try it! It's funny to watch them taste the chick peas!

    innbrooklyn - That sounds super yummy!

  14. I love the baba ghanoush!! You made a real feast - boy all that food looks delicious.

  15. Wow, I always love your posts and this one is great - you covered almost every Greek food I've always wanted to make but never quite knew how... the photos are sooo nice, they make it seem less daunting somehow. :) Thanks so much for sharing like you do!

  16. Annarasa- Mmmm yeah baba ghanoush is great!

    phishlady - That is so sweet! You made my day with your kind words - thank you! :)

  17. Magnificent spread, the eggplant dip Yummmy.