Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'll take that in a gallon size, please

A few friends and I were eating at a creperie in NYC and mounted on the wall, like a prize buck, was a gallon sized jar of Nutella. This of course made me wonder, "If you could have one over sized pantry item, what would it be?" Joe went with the Nutella. I can't remember what Rachel picked. Mine? Tahini. I'm not sure it would be my all-time, definitive answer, though thinking about it now, I can't think of what I'd rather choose. It's strange I should pick tahini because I'm not very knowledgeable about Middle Eastern food, but the few things I've had it in I could eat daily, my favorite being tarator to go on things like kibbe, shwarma, and just about anything other poor vegetable or meat that happens to be helplessly trapped in my fridge.

Yesterday, during my first trip to a Lebanese bakery and market I came across this...

Do you know what that is? It's Tahini. In a BUCKET!!! And if I wasn't on such a minuscule budget, I might have brought it home. (Forgive the pixelated stock photo. I couldn't bring myself to embarrass my poor friend by whipping out a camera in the middle of the tiny market, though the thought did cross my mind.) I was a good girl and only brought home a little jar, some Arabic bread and a spice packet of sumac, which I have no idea how I'll use, but it was such a gorgeous red I couldn't resist.

Tonight I put the tahini and Arabic bread right to use, along with the shwarma seasoning that's been taunting me from my spice cabinet the last few months and made a (non authentic, but at least in the ballpark) chicken shwarma wrap, along with asparagus and roasted potatoes with a garlic-cilantro pesto. I don't think shawarma is supposed to be grilled, but it was an unseasonably warm night, and L surprised me with supplies for a bonafide cocktail hour so there was no way I was going to spend the evening's waning light inside.

I marinated the chicken for 4 hours in a 1/2 c. of malt vinegar, a few tablespoons of oil, 1/4 cup of sour cream (because I didn't have plain yogurt,) a few tablespoons of shwarma seasoning, a teaspoon or so of allspice, and a few pinches of sumac and cardamom. Oh, and of course a little salt.

The potatoes came from a site a friend recently turned me on to... Taste of Beirut, which I haven't had a chance to properly explore, but will, especially since I now know how to get to both Lebanese markets.

Link to the potato recipe.

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