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Middle Eastern food for the Seder

Well, this is my first post to the web site and I’m using it to try to entice some of our more experimental cooks to contribute to the Seder feast.

I’m researching Middle Eastern Cuisine so that I can recommend some recipes, and I came upon this easy appetizer. The only problem is, I couldn’t figure out how one is supposed to eat it. Do you put it on a cracker? Wouldn’t the chickpeas roll off? Maybe it could be scooped into little leaves of endive and eaten.

I’m not entirely sure how you eat it, but it looks like it would be very tasty and easy to make if you double the recipe and use a whole 19 oz can of chickpeas. (I mean really, who has the time to soak dried chickpeas and cook them for 2 ½ hours anyway?)

It doesn’t have to be this recipe - maybe you have one that you think is good - AND you may know how to serve and eat it also.

We will also need Dolmas - (stuffed grape leaves.) When I lived in NY it was easy to find really large cans with about 25 or so Dolmas packed in olive oil. I haven’t seen them here. Does anyone know of a good source for finding them in bulk?

I will try to enter new Middle Eastern recipes daily up until the Seder. See if one grabs you and let me know.

Chickpea and Olive Appetizer

Serves 4 to 6.

1 cup dried chickpeas, washed and soaked overnight in 8 cups water

1/2 cup black olives, chopped

1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place the chickpeas with their water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for about 2-1/2 hours, or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain; then place the chickpeas in a salad bowl and allow to cool. (Or, substitute half a 19 oz. can of chickpeas, drained.) Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

From "From the Lands of Figs and Olives" by Habeeb Salloum and James Peters

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