Dinner Through Procrastination...


So like a lot of us, when I have something I have to do but don’t really feel like doing it I busy myself (procrastinate) with something else, and for someone who has cooked their entire adult life the diversion often manifests as a meal. This is what I had for dinner last night; leftovers for lunch this afternoon. From left-to-right (beginning at 9 o’clock and going clockwise)...Fish Kibbeh (fish and bulgur wheat patties), batata harra (spicy potatoes), Roast red pepper taratoor (tahini sauce), avocado with raw onion and sumac, flatbread leavened with a 22 year old starter, roast peppers from the garden, and labneh (strained yogurt) sprinkled with smoked paprika. Recipes below...

Fish Kibbeh
(Kebbet Samak)

Makes about 8 small patties.

½ cup bulgur wheat #2
8 ounces fish, diced
1 egg
¼ bunch cilantro, washed and minced
¼ bunch flatleaf parsley, washed and minced
½ small onion, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
flour for shaping
oil for pan-frying

Soak the bulgur in water for about 10 minutes, then drain and squeeze it dry. Place the fish and egg in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer the soaked bulgur and pureed fish to a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Knead together with the back of a spoon until homogeneous. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Scoop the raw kibbeh onto a floured tray and shape into patties. Heat about ¼ inch oil in a skillet and fry the patties a few minutes on each side, or until thoroughly cooked.

 Batata Harra
(Spicy Potatoes)
Serves Two

2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon (or more) crushed hot pepper
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
½ bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
½ bunch parsley, washed and chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a small pot, cover them with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook them for about 5 minutes, or until they are nearly cooked. Drain them and transfer to a plate with an absorbent towel.

Heat the oil in a heavy non-stick skillet (I prefer cast iron), then add the cooked potato. Cook and shake the potatoes for about five minutes in the hot oil, until they begin to brown. Then add the chopped garlic and cook a few more minutes until the garlic begins to brown.

Stir in the hot pepper, cook for another minute, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the cilantro, parley, salt, and lemon. Toss to coat. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Spicy Red Pepper Taratoor

Makes about 3 cups

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup tahini
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat then add the copped pepper and garlic. Saute the pepper and garlic until it begins to brown. Lower the heat then add the smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir the spices for just a few seconds to bring out their flavor, then remove the skillet from the heat and add the water. Stir the water to loosen any spices stuck to the bottom of the pan, then transfer the contents of the pan to a blender along with the remaining ingredients (lemon juice, tahini, and salt). Process until a smooth puree.