Ciao! Don't you love Mediterranean-Arabic Food? Italian, Greek, Lebanese, etc...
Our favorite Lebanese restaurant is YaHala in Portland. They serve authentic food--the hummus, pita bread, and tabbouleh are to die for. They have such a huge menu that we haven't tried a lot of their food, but they serve delicious 'Foul Mudamas' (a lemony garlicky fava bean dish), Falafels, stews, soups, zaatar, and other meals. We love how they mark which items are vegan.
We were craving Greek/Lebanese food so much that we attempted to make a Lebanese feast. Hummus (good authentic hummus has to have a lot of olive oil and tahini--extra creamy!), tabbouleh, and oaty pita bread.The tabbouleh was so refreshing and flavorful, it was nice to have leftovers for lunch. Fresh parsley and mint with local cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, olives and lemon! Yummy. We used a 6-grain porridge-type grain that cooked up similar to bulgur, and it worked perfectly.
We've figured out that we like a little cumin in our hummus. Our coworker loves hummus without cumin, but we found that the cumin enhanced the hummus' flavor slightly and gave it a richer flavor. What do you all prefer? Extra Virgin olive oil and tahini make this hummus taste exquisite, otherwise it's just another bean dip.
One important thing about Meditterranean food is that you must never forget the olive oil. Good for your health, delicious, and authentic. We love buying different olive oils each time and distinguishing their different tastes, depending on the location the olives came from! Buttery and delectable.
For our Italian fare, we had the opportunity to use a pasta machine and make homemade pasta! It was labor intensive but a lot of fun. We mostly made fettuccine-style noodles as well as ravioli, but we also made a few bow ties. All of them were 100% whole wheat. Next time it would be fun to try a pasta with spinach or tomato paste or herbs for a flavorful pasta.
Here we are putting the dough through the pasta machine -- it has to be repeatedly run through in order to thin down. It was hard to keep the noodles straight as we laid them down to dry, because they were so long!
The fetticcini was the best, we just drizzled extra virgin olive oil and served it with some sauteed garlicky greens. The raviolis we stuffed with a tofu spinach dip mixture and served them with homemade spaghetti sauce with lots of veggies. The raviolis were a bit messy (some disintegrated in the pot while cooking), but they were delicious.
My DIY Spice Blend
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