Take for instance this month’s Daring Cooks challenge….
The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.
The mandatory recipes for this challenge were to make pita bread and hummus. Additional options, including recipes for cucumber raita, falafel, and preserved lemons, were also given. My mezze consisted of pita, hummus, falafel, baked kale chips, and preserved lemon.
Seemingly simple, made-from-scratch pita bread and hummus. Sure, lots of home cooks have done this already, but actually, I’ve never. Years ago I clipped a magazine recipe to make homemade pita, but I’ve never gotten around to making it. Sure, I make hummus all time, usually per request of my sister at family gatherings, but I’ve never made it using dried beans; always, they come from a can. Finally, I’ve never, ever tasted a preserved lemon, let alone preserved one myself. Until now. Thanks to this challenge, I can check a few more “I never’s” off the list. I'm actually kinda proud of my ingenuous naïveté. For if I’ve done it all (in the kitchen and in other aspects of life), then I'll no longer be adventuresome and youthful. And THAT (in spite of my calendar age) is surely something I plan to hang on to for quite some time.
2 tsp regular dry yeast, not instant
2½ cups lukewarm water
1 TBS table salt
2 TBS olive oil
1½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt
4 TBS tahini (sesame paste)
1 TBS cumin
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
½ large onion (roughly chopped, about 1 cup)
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
2 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
4 TBS all-purpose flour
tasteless oil for frying (vegetable, canola, peanut, soybean, etc.), you will need enough so that the oil is three inches deep in whatever pan you are using for frying
¼ cup salt
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
5 to 6 coriander seeds
3 to 4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
freshly squeezed lemon juice, if needed for volume