za’atar sandwich

This is nice quick snack if you have a loaf of Syrian bread to use up – not pita, but thick loaves called talamee. We get some from Tete about once a month…actually, it’s very easy to make, I’m not sure why we don’t do it ourselves. That’s for another post.

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Halve the bread lengthwise…

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and place the two pieces cut side up on aluminum foil (or use a baking sheet if you don’t want to be wasteful). Drizzle with olive oil,

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sprinkle on the za’atar. Oh, you’ve never heard of za’atar?

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Well, it’s a simple blend of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt, sometimes with other spices like oregano. You can find it any Middle Eastern market. Interestingly this one claims to be homemade, I wonder if a little Jordanian grandmother mixed it up in her kitchen.
Anyway. Place it under the broiler on the low setting until…

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the bread gets a nice golden brown color around the edges, and the sesame seeds look nice and toasted. You can eat it warm or at room temp.

Even easier: if you have pita bread and don’t feel like using the oven, you can just dip the bread in oil, then dip in the za’atar. I first had this while visiting a friend in California, his dad told us it was “brain food.” According to Wikipedia, though, “In the Levant, there is a belief that za’atar makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za’atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam or before school. This, however, is also believed to be a myth fabricated during the Lebanese civil war to encourage eating of za’atar, as provisions were low at the time and za’atar was of abundance.”

Oh well, it’s a nice thought. And it’s pretty high in iron and calcium, so maybe your brain will be happy with you for making a wise snack choice.

crispy nori snack

So last week, for the first time ever, I made a purchase at Walmart. Ick, I know. Actually, I was expecting a People of Walmart-type experience, but it wasn’t that bad. Anyway. I was there to get a new passport picture, and while I waited for it to print I did some browsing.

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I found this little snack for a mere 75 cents.

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This is basically the same as the nori used to make sushi, but it’s flavored.

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I ate it plain. It might take some getting used to if you’ve never had sushi before, but I loved it. It has that fishy kind of taste all seaweed has, but it’s also sweet and a little salty. You’d probably have to eat 10 packages to get full, but it makes a nice snack. Recommended : )

lenten snack with a trio of mustards

Okay, once in a while I have to post something super simple and very lenten for my Orthodox friends. My sister has been known to eat packets of mustard during Lent, so this is almost gourmet in comparison. Kind of.

The bread is just something I made with scraps from the prosphora we made earlier today. You could also use those cheap soft pretzels you buy frozen and nuke in the microwave, most of those are vegan and oil free. So are most flavors of Thomas bagels. With just plain mustard it would be great, but to make it extra special I also had Dijon & spicy brown mustard. And that was dinner! I didn’t even have to use a plate, perfect for today’s feast.

Popcorn! with Nutritional Yeast

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Popcorn is my favorite snack ever. I’ve been known to eat it twice a day on occasion, usually at home, but I also have a refillable bucket from the movie theater that allows me to get up to two refills a day – and I don’t even have to buy a movie ticket! Anyway. I figure Before & After pictures should be good enough for this one:

I use an air popper. Usually my bowl is so full I have to put half the popcorn in a separate bowl at first so I can mix it. I drizzle it with olive oil and stir to coat, then sprinkle it with nutritional yeast, salt, garlic…sometimes that’s it, but tonight I also added chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and onion powder. It’s important not to put too much oil, but if you don’t put enough, the spices won’t stick.

P.S. I realize the whole point of using the air popper is supposed to be to make low fat popcorn, but I just use it because it’s faster than popping it in a pan!

fourmis adultes sur un bois

I don’t do a whole lot of cooking on weekends. Saturday I got the All You Can Eat special at a local Ethiopian restaurant, last night I went to a Chinese buffet. Today I went to the monastery for confession and the nuns prepared a nice pasta meal for lunch. I just wanted a light snack when I got home, so I went with a variation of the classic Ants on a Log. I guess it’s like “adult” mac n cheese…adult ants on a log.


I filled the celery with my cashew spread. From the top, the ants are:
Green onions & romaine lettuce, raisins & pistachios, pistachios & green onions

Oh, and on the way back from the monastery we stopped and picked about 100 grape leaves. I think I’m going to have to make some soon.