Guess what I got in the mail today!! Obvious-hint: it’s food-related. Okay, okay, I’ll just tell you – I finally got my copy of THE FLAVOR BIBLE in the mail!! If you haven’t heard of this magnum opus, it’s basically a treasure chest of information for cooks/foodies, containing a comprehensive list of ingredients, cuisines, and methodologies and their subsequent combinations. It is, really, everything you could want in a book about cookery.
This arrival comes at a fortuitous time, as I’m really trying to step up my knowledge of cooking and food in general. I’ve really been diving deep into this field and have been loving every minute it – just learning about different spices and herbs, cultural significance of dishes, and the like. It’s definitely been a positive occupancy in my mind, as I’m trying to stay hopeful about my current situation with work and life in general.
I know I’ve spoken on this subject before, but I really never tire of discussing the cultural significance of food and its unifying properties. Every country, region, and subculture in the world has their own cuisine, and it’s such an amazing way to learn about a given culture. But what’s even more intriguing are the similarities between cuisines that may, at first glance, seem completely different. My favorite example is pesto vs. chimichurri – Italian and Argentinian, respectively, these two sauces are made with shredded herbs (basil vs. parsley), and combined with olive oil, garlic, and an acid (with other add-ins). Two countries, thousands of miles away from each other, and geopolitically separated at that, have somehow found the same technique of shredding herbs into a lovely green sauce with garlic, oil, and an acid. And that’s not even bringing up chermoula, pistou, green harissa, salsa verde, and all the different types of chutneys. To me it’s just so cool how many variations there are on a single theme!
In this bowl, I featured za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that is deliciously lemony and savory. You can get it at Whole Foods and some other grocery stores (I’ve seen it here and there), or on Amazon. But once you try it, I think it will be a regular staple in your pantry! Its flavor is subtle enough to add to a variety of dishes, but flavorful enough to really enhance a recipe.
- 12-14 Small-ish Purple Potatoes
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 2 Tsp Za'atar
- ⅓ Cup Tahini
- ⅙ Cup Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice
- ¼ Tsp Smoked Paprika
- ⅙ Cup Water
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- Fresh Greens
- Sesame Seeds
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Wash and dry the purple potatoes. Cut into halves or fourths, depending on the size of the potato.
- In a bowl, mix potatoes with olive oil, salt, and za'atar. Depending on the type of za'atar you use, you may need to adjust the amount. Taste as you go.
- On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake potatoes for about 20-30 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges.
- In a blender, combine tahini, lemon juice, paprika, water, and salt. Taste and adjust if needed.
- Fill Bowls with greens, and top with potatoes. Drizzle potatoes with tahini sauce, and sprinkle sesame seeds over everything.
Song of the Day
Begin – Wailin’ Jennys