Mid-Winter and Lebanese Pizza

One of the things I enjoy about living in the northeast is our distinct seasons. Winter, for example, can be difficult for me at times, but it can also be a season of awe and beauty. I was in the backyard today splitting a few logs for the evening's heat when I glanced at my grapevine. It caught me off guard...I was looking at the barren vine coming out of the snow and remembering planting it a few years ago. This past summer there were far more grapes on it than I could possibly consume, but to look at it now it looked as if it would never grow a single leaf, let alone a bushel of grapes. Then I remembered this quote about Brother Lawrence:

"The first time I saw Brother Lawrence was on the 3rd of August, 1666. He told me that God had done him a singular favor in his conversion at the age of eighteen. During that winter, upon seeing a tree stripped of its leaves and considering that, within a little time, the leaves would be renewed and, after that, the flowers and fruit appear; Brother Lawrence received a high view of the providence and power of God which has never since been effaced from his soul."

Brother Lawrence, ironically (I suppose) was a cook in a monastery. You can read, download, and print his entire book here.

Here's a picture of what the now-barren vine looked like last summer; it will even be more full and robust this summer...something to look forward to.

On a different note: For dinner I had a Lebanese Pizza. It's a standard dough topped with za'atar seasoning, labna, olive oil, and onions. The za'atar and labna give it a sort of tart-and-salty flavor...it is (was) truly delicious. You can use the same method for the dough as this one (or the actual dough, if you want to make it a little more interesting). For a recipe for homemade yogurt and how to make labna (and other fermented foods), click here.


JGH said…
I'm encouraged to see that your grapevine is doing well against a chain link fence! I need to move mine and have plenty of chain link around my property - are those concords? Wishing you lots of bountiful harvests in 09.
Anonymous said…
Hadn't read your blog in a month so was heppy to read your most recent ones. I love fritatta and Zatar. The first thing I ewver had at the Falafel Bar had zatar in it and I was hooked! Always enjoy your recipes, writing and pictures.

Catherine Faust
Anonymous said…
sorry about the typos. I'm a terrible typist.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the link. We're working on the rest of the simple lifestyle over the next year, so I'll be back for ideas...
Doug said…
I just saw your comment about Zatar and agree completely about its tasty nature. I usually make my own dough for Zatar, but I was recently in a NYC shop (Kalustyan's) where they were taking all the day old Naan upstairs and smearing it with Zatar seasoning + olive oil.

I bought a pack myself (10 Naan for $2.50) and tried the same thing at home. The results were great - perhaps not as good as homemade dough, but still delicious. I usually up the percentage of sesame seeds and add a sprinkling of sea salt. I haven't tried onion, but I will on my next batch.