SERIES •• THE MIDDLE EAST FEAST // ENTRY 1
Travel inspires me. When creativity is a central part of your job, it can be hard to drum up original and inspired ideas on demand. But when I travel, I break the mundanity. I come across new ideas with speed and ease by osmosis- by simply surrounding myself with new people, perspectives, rituals, flavors. The exciting melting pot of newness provides me with a never ending source of ideas- new dishes that I dream up (literally and metaphorically), new projects to begin, new conversations to have.
My husband and I just returned from a 10 day stint in Israel. I’ve been there dozens of time and even lived there after high school. But this trip was different. I packed my bags and boarded the many planes that got me there with an explicit intention- to take in each experience with an open heart and open eyes, and allow myself to get inspired. In many ways this trip wasn’t very different from trips past. We visited friend and family. We went to the dead sea. We went on hikes. But this time I was awake, present in each moment and aware of the potential for each and every experience to become of point of supply for ideas.
Most importantly, I’ve become inspired by the food. Food in Israel is complicated. In some cases, it’s a single unifier among communities in contention, a centerpiece around conversations between persons divided. More commonly though, it’s axiomatic of the Conflict at large- a symbol of cultural appropriation, friction, historical dispute, and discord. But politics aside, food in the middle east is like a tapestry, each thread coming together towards a greater whole, each ingredient coming together to create culinary brilliance. One of the most exciting dishes that I had on my trip was a Dukkah spiced hummus – a plate that celebrates the culinary traditions of Arab Israelites and Palestinians and their Egyptian neighbors.
Like food in Israel, I strive to create recipes here that embrace the AND, the fusion of culinary heritages, unlikely flavor combinations, and complimentary textures.
Herby Salad:: This is the first entry of The Middle East Feast series. I will be posting 4 recipes that each have been influenced by my trip in Israel, featuring endemic ingredients that celebrate the Place, and stories that celebrate the Spirit. I had this salad at my cousins wedding in Ashdod and was found so much beauty in the simplicity of flavors and ingredients. Every flavor was identifiable, and each ingredient existed in harmony with the rest. Herbs are an important part of Middle Eastern cuisine, and so in a way this salad is like Israel in a bowl.
- 2 cups of parsley chopped, include stems
- 1 cup of mint chopped, include stems
- 1 cup of scallions copped
- ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup of sesame oil
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbs of maple syrup
- 1 tsp of salt
Chop the herbs. Place in bowl with pumpkin seeds. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour of salad. Betavon.