Making Mediterranean Food.

On day 5 of International Cuisine we traveled to Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East!  Mediterranean food is thought to be some of the healthiest in the world, and the Mediterranean food pyramid is often recommended to those in need of a diet overhaul.  In my opinion, it is also some of the TASTIEST food in the world!

I was totally pumped when we got our recipe assignments today – my group scored hummus, baba ganoush, and falafels – three vegetarian recipes and three of my favorite things ever.  We started with the hummus…

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We used the Robo Coup food processor to puree chickpeas, tahini, water, olive oil, salad, oil, cumin, coriander, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, and salt.  It whirrrrrred until it was smooth and tasty.  Sampled on a pita – delicious!

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To make the baba ganoush, my group mates roasted two eggplants for 45 minutes or so, until the eggplants were collapsed and could be scraped out of their skins.

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The final product was a tasty roasted eggplant dip – so good with both the pita and the falafels.

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While we worked on our dips, another group was making spanikopita.  Chef Pearson showed us how to cut the phyllo dough, stuff the filling, and roll the pieces into tiny triangles. 

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The finished product was buttery and flaky!

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After the dips were finished, Beth and I got to work on our main project for the day – the chickpea falafels.  We gathered all of our mis en place…

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And then processed it into a mashed chickpea filling.  Off the top of my head, we used chickpeas, tahini, coriander, cumin, parsley, onions, garlic, baking soda, salt, eggs, and a little bit of oil. 

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And then we got all set up to bread, shake, roll, and fry!

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Yummy falafel balls, ready for a trip to the deep-fryer…

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And after!  Golden crunchy balls of deliciousness.  I had one of these at lunch and they were really good.  I was proud!

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Other dishes created around the classroom were…various beef and chicken kebabs.

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GRILLED OCTOPUS!  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

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Braised artichoke hearts crusted in parmesan cheese, mmmmmm.

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Israeli couscous with fresh spinach, peas, and lemon…

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And we had two soups today.  The first was called avgolemono – and was a chicken and orzo soup.  Looked delicious!

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Soup #2 was called chorba – spinach in beef broth that also smelled amazing.  I LOVE SOUP, and was bummed that they were all meat based.

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At the end of lunch, the Baking & Pastry crew brought in a tray of éclairs with three different types of filling – chocolate, almond, and orange zest.  They looked and smelled delicious, but I resisted.  I reminded myself of how hard I worked on yesterday’s run, and how I’d like to see that hard work help me lose the few extra pounds I gained over winter. 

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Before we left, Chef Pearson was nice enough to tell me and Beth that we could take our leftover dips home rather than throw them away – score!  There is a giant styrofoam cup of hummus now making itself at home in my fridge.  I can’t wait for Casey to try it!

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Time for me to get some homework and housework done until Casey gets home.  I have NO idea what to make for dinner tonight.  As far as fresh produce goes, right now we have spinach, kale, eggplant, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.  Does anyone have any tasty recipes or recommendations?