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Roasted Red Pepper and Tahini Meze

Roasted Red Pepper with Tahini, Garlic and Parsley

Roasted Red Pepper with Tahini, Garlic and Parsley

I spent 3 magnificent weeks in Turkey and Greece this summer and want to share some of the delicious mezes with you. These are small plates of foods eaten before or instead of the main dish. Similar to the Spanish style tapas, mezes are served on small plates which can be shared or eaten in any number, hot or cold.

The Roasted Red Pepper with Tahini is surprising and very tasty. Tahini is ground sesame seeds and usually is a small ingredient when making hummus, but in this meze it is more predominant. You can add these ingredients to your own taste, but here is my interpretation.

In a small bowl place:

2 cups roasted red peppers, diced (bottled and preserved in water or fresh made)

In an even smaller bowl combine:

1/2 cup tahini

1 clove garlic, minced (not too much)

1/2 cup minced flat leafed parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Add the tahini mix to the peppers and serve at room temperature. Make ahead if you need.

You can eat this plain or place it on French style bread. The Turkish bread is called Naan.  It is an oval shaped bread similar to pita or a tortilla. When it is freshly made it is presented at the table puffy and full of air. It soon collapses and can be torn to eat with your food. I am not enclosing the Naan recipe here, but someday I will try it! Here are some pics though 🙂

You can buy Naan at many grocery store delis. 

Puffy Naan, straight from the very hot oven

Puffy Naan, straight from the very hot oven

Naan ready to eat!

Naan ready to eat!

Kale Tahini Lemon Salad

Kale Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

Kale Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

kale tahini lemon salad2

Kale Salad with Dressing

Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that can be baked, roasted, sautéed and stir fried.  It can be tough and bitter when eaten as a salad. Massaging the kale breaks down the cellulose structure, turning it silky and a darker green color. After thoroughly rinsing the kale I shake it and then wrap it in paper towels. Massaging is like drying it really well. Spend a few minutes at it and you’ll have a softer leaf. Remove the stems and cut the kale into thin strips and its ready to go!

I love this salad dressing combination! Just whisk it together in a small bowl and then toss it with the prepared kale.

1 Tablespoon tahini

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon water

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons lower sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Authentic Hummus

My friend Zeina is from Syria. This hummus was made with her expert guidance.
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans also known as chickpeas, drain and then rinse under cold running water a minute or so

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Cayenne pepper, a Dash – 1/8 teaspoon, as desired

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup tahini/sesame paste

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water, use the cooking liquid from the garbanzos.

Serve with Arab bread, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and/or red pepper strips.

You can garnish the hummus with olive oil, paprika, cucumber slices, pine nuts or whole chickpea. Parsley too!

The hummus taste best and have the smoothest texture if you rinse the beans in water and heat them before adding the other ingredients. 

  • Drain the garbonzos in a collander. Run cold water over them for 1 minute and toss or stir a few times.
  •  Then, place the garbonzos in a small saucepan, cover with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. 
  • Lower heat and simmer 3 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the liquid.
  • Place the prepared garbanzos in a food processor or powerful Ninja type blender and add the remaining ingredients. Process until very smooth; at least 3 minutes. If it is too thick, add more of the garbanzo bean water.
  •  Pour the hummus into a flat bowl and swirl in a pattern with your spoon. Then drizzle in some olive oil and sprinkle with paprika or cayenne pepper. 
  •  Serve hummus with torn pieces of Arab bread, Naan, either soft or toasted and sprigs of parsley (for cleansing the breath after eating the garlicky dip). I like the crunch with fresh vegetables like carrots, cukes and red bell pepper. Your choice!