July 09, 2009

Have you ever longed for food that connects you with amomentous experience? Lately I’ve been craving tastes of the Middle East, amouthwatering cuisine consisting of simple ingredients with a whimsicalcollaboration of bold spices.

A couple of years ago I backpacked through Egypt with a fewclose friends. We explored the pyramids in Cairo, traveled to Dahab, and hikedMt. Sinai where Moses wrote the Ten Commandments, went scuba diving in the RedSea and trekked to the Lighthouse of Alexandria, all in seven days. Yes, myactive agenda worked up a huge appetite and my taste buds were overlycompliant

The Egyptian people were warm with hospitality and the foodis never to be forgotten. I keep a colorful Egyptian tapestry in my cubicle to brighten up my drab khaki walls, but also to remember how the food was served, shared and experienced. It’s very humbling when acomplete stranger serves you food, and it’s a pleasure when you can leave adinner table with a full belly and new friend.

Since I'm a newbie in this specific regional cooking, I have started with the bare basics. Learning a new cuisine is almost like learning a new language. Get the basic phrases down then expand from that.  My first phase is executing one Middle Eastern dinner successfully.

Here's my simple starter meal that won't break the bank when shopping for new ingredients (Many of these spices are very common cupboard items):

Baba Ghanoush

Traditional Hummus

I cheated and went with store bought pita bread to dip.

Spicy Kofte

Tabbouleh

For more inspiration check out our collection of Middles Eastern Recipes.



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