Welcome to FOOD & FELLOWSHIP: Old & New Recipes from the Green Acre Kitchen. Each week we will share three recipes, both old and new. When the day comes—and it will—that we can sit at a table and break bread together again, perhaps we will all have a few new dishes to share.
Our episode this week profiles three popular sauces of the Mediterranean. All three are versatile and can be used on a variety of vegetables, fish and meat as well as salads and sandwiches. Having sauces handy is a quick way to liven up a meal.
Yields: 1 ½ cups
Tzatziki works well served with grilled veggies, gyros, falafel, lentil, tabbouleh and chickpea salads, a topping for sandwiches or even as a dip with veggies, hummus and pita.
½ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt, and additional pinch
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
½ teaspoon dried mint, optional
Place the peeled, seeded and grated cucumber in a sieve. Mix in a pinch of salt and let drain for at least one hours. Dry the cucumber gently on a towel and gently squeeze out a bit of the excess water.
In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, dill, and mint, if using. Chill until ready to use.
Yields: 2 cups
Harissa is chili pepper condiment popular throughout the Maghreb of North Africa. It originated in Tunisia where peppers were first introduced in the 1500’s. Traditionally harissa is made with the dried and smoked Baklouti pepper. Our recipe from renowned chef Yotam Ottolenghi uses ancho and guajillio peppers. Guajillos are slightly hot while anchos can be considered medium to mild in heat intensity. You can change the types of peppers used for a hotter or milder version. Kashmiri, a mild pepper can be switched or mixed with the guajillos. Yotam adds a floral flavor dimension with the inclusion of rose water and dried rose petals. Harissa is a versatile condiment that can perk up any roasted or grilled protein plus it is great in stews, soups and sandwiches.
Rose petals and rose water can be found at many Middle Eastern specialty markets.
40 grams (approx. 1.5 ounce) dried guajillo peppers
25 grams (approx. 1 ounce) dried ancho peppers
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 ½ teaspoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried rose petals
1 ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rosewater, divided
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon salt
In a stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium high heat toast the chilies and the garlic until the garlic is lightly charred. Remove garlic and place chilies in a bowl, cover with boiling water and weigh down with a small plate. After 30 minutes remove chilies and rough chop. If you want a milder harissa, remove the seeds from chilies before chopping.
In the same skillet, toast the seeds for 2 to 3 minutes stirring or flipping frequently. Transfer the seeds to a pestle and roughly crush. Add all the solid ingredients into processor and pulse a few times. Add lemon juice, half the rosewater, vinegar and salt and pulse until a coarse paste. Stir in remaining oil and rosewater. When storing cover top with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation.
Yields: 2 cups
Tahini sauce is a simple quick sauce that can complement sandwiches, salads, vegetables, meats and seafood. One of the most popular uses is drizzled over hot pita sandwiches such as shawarma or falafel. Tahini is made from hulled and roasted sesame seeds that have processed to a thick paste. Tahini has its roots in the Levant region of the Middle East but found throughout the Mediterranean. As a paste, tahini is the foundation of hummus and baba ghanoush as well as sweets and baked goods. Our recipe is from award winning chef Michael Solomonov by way of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and uses an entire head of unpeeled garlic that has been soaked in lemon juice.
1 whole head garlic, broken in individual unpeeled cloves
⅔ cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 generous cup tahini paste
Ice cold water
Combine garlic and lemon juice in a blender. Pulse until a pulpy puree is formed. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press out liquid using a rubber spatula. Discard solids.
Add cumin and tahini paste to the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in cold water, whisking until a smooth light sauce is formed. Season with salt. Refrigerate for up to 1 ½ weeks. You can control the desired thickness of the sauce by the amount of water added. A thinner sauce can be used to drizzle over sandwiches while other uses may require a thicker version.