Diva Tasting: Middle Eastern Apps….

Here are a few of my favorites and a couple of new I found.  Enjoy…Namaste The Queen Cronista
A Few Middle Eastern Appetizers
Baba Ghannouj
Is A Popular Middle Eastern Dip Made From Eggplant
1 Large Eggplant
1 Clove Garlic
1/4 To 1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (depending On Taste)
4 Tablespoons Tahini
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
For The Garnish:
2 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut eggplant in half and place on sprayed foil on baking sheet. Place eggplant directly on the middle oven rack and roast for 30 minutes, or until the outside is crisp and the inside is soft. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes. (Removing the excess liquid helps to eliminate bitter flavor.)
Place the eggplant flesh in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the 1 tablespoon olive oil and mash together until the eggplant becomes paste-like. Alternatively, you can also use a food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes.
Slowly add the olive oil and mix quickly and thoroughly to make sure it emulsifies along with the rest of the ingredients. If using a food processor, turn it on low as you pour the olive oil through the feed tube.
Place the eggplant dip in a serving bowl and top with the garnish of lemon juice and olive oil. Add other garnishes according to taste.
Serve with warm or toasted pita or flatbread. Enjoy!
Carrot Humus
1 Pound Carrots (peeled And Cut Into 1-Inch Pieces)
3 Cloves Garlic (unpeeled)
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
Salt And Pepper
1 (15-ounce) Can Chickpeas (rinsed And Drained)
1 1/2 Cups vegetable Broth or Water
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Tahini
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (fresh)
2 Teaspoons Honey (or Maple Syrup)
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Up To 1/4 Cup Cold Water
Garnish: Fresh Parsley And/Or Cilantro, Sesame Seeds, Olive Oil
For Serving: Pita Bread Or Chips
  • Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Add the carrots and garlic cloves to a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil, toss, and bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until tender and browned. Let cool for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the chickpeas, broth or water, and baking soda to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until the beans are very tender and the peels are falling off. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water to cool off.
  • Once cool enough to handle, peel the garlic. Add it to the bowl of a food processor along with the roasted carrots, drained chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, honey or maple syrup, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Process until smooth and scrape down the sides. With the food processor running, drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil followed by 2 tablespoons of cold water. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of cold water to achieve a creamy texture and process until very smooth and creamy.
  • Add to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and sesame seeds. Serve with warm pita or pita chips.
Turkish Fava Bean Puree
Makes a Delicious Savory Appetizer
2 1/2 Cups Beans (dry Fava Beans)
8 Cups Water
1 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
2 Pinches Sugar
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Garnish: Chopped Fresh Dill Weed
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil in a covered saucepan. Add the dry fava beans, reduce the heat and cover. Let the mixture simmer slowly until the fava beans are very soft and falling apart and the water is reduced, about 20 minutes.
  • Once the beans are soft enough to fall apart when you touch them with a wooden spoon, add the salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil to the pan and stir until combined.
  • Place a large, fine wire strainer over another pan or large bowl. Pour some of the pasty bean mixture into the strainer and press it through using a wooden spoon. Repeat until you’ve pressed through all the mixture. Don’t forget to remove the extra from the bottom of the strainer.
  • You should have a thick, pasty but smooth mixture with no lumps. If your paste seems too thick and dry, stir in about 1 tablespoon more olive oil.
  • While the paste is still warm, spoon it into a shallow rectangular, square or circle-shaped serving dish about 3 inches deep. Glass works best. We like to use a 9-inch round glass oven dish. Smooth the top of the paste with the bottom of a spoon. Set it aside to cool and set.
  • Once it’s cooled down to room temperature, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours.
  • When you remove it from the refrigerator, the paste should have set and be firm enough to cut. Wet the blade of a sharp knife and cut the fava into squares or diamonds. Make sure to re-wet the blade often to prevent sticking.
  • Remove the blocks of fava gently and arrange them on your serving plate. Drizzle them with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle the chopped, fresh dill weed over the top.
Spinach Ricotta Pie
1 Pound Spinach (cleaned And Washed)
1 Bunch Asparagus Spears (trimmed And Cut On The Bias Into Bite-Sized Pieces)
2 Tablespoons Butter (or Olive Oil, Or A Combination Of The Two)
2 Leeks (or 1 Large Sweet Onion) Diced and Sauteed
1 Pound Organic Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup Grated Parmiggiano Reggiano (Parmesan) Cheese
1 Small Package Cremini or Shiitake
3 Extra Large Free-Range Eggs
Sea Salt (to Taste)
Freshly Ground Pepper (to Taste)
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Blanch the spinach leaves until just wilted, and shock in cold water. Blanch the asparagus for 30 to 60 seconds, until it turns bright green. Drop the asparagus into cold water.
  • Squeeze the spinach out thoroughly and chop it.
  • Pat the asparagus dry.
  • Heat the butter or oil in a sauté pan over medium flame, and cook the leeks or onions until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add cremini or shiitake mushrooms. Add them to the leeks or onions, and cook until the mushrooms are browning nicely and all moisture has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Fold the Leeks and mushrooms into the ricotta mixture and bake as directed.
  • Mix together the ricotta, Parmiggiano, eggs, spinach, asparagus, and cooked leeks.
  • Season with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  • Generously grease a 9-inch glass pie pan or ceramic tart pan. Spread the spinach and ricotta mixture in the pan and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, until it is slightly puffy and set in the center.

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