So why hasn’t MusicalChef been posting any new recipes?
Weeeellll, because I need to learn how to cook! Since moving to Jordan, I feel like I’m starting from scratch in that department. The tools are different, and the ingredients available are different. And I don’t know enough Arabic to ask the shopkeepers for some things I can’t find. You saw the post about the oven I had in my previous apartment. I had to ask my neighbor how to light it. I had to ask the previous tenant how to light the one in the new apartment. This one seems easier and safer, though. Before I figured out how to use it, I tried to make a batch of brownies in the toaster oven and burned the whole batch! I had a good excuse for not keeping an eye on them – I was writing the last two paragraphs of my thesis! :-)
So I got something last week that LOOKED like cornmeal. Of course it wasn’t labeled. I tried to make polenta with it. Well, it wasn’t cornmeal. I still don’t know what it was but it tasted ok. And I went to the makhbaz (bread-seller), and they were making these pancakes outside. They smelled good, and I was hungry by then, so I thought, “Great! Pancakes for sahur!” So I stopped by and picked up some syrup (could only get 2% maple), and we had them the next morning. They were pretty good, but we were wondering why they were so sticky and chewy on one side. Then I found out you’re supposed to stuff something in the middle and fold them into a half moon, fry them, and soak them in syrup! They are called kata’if and are really delicious. So that’s why they’re sticky on one side. I still like them as pancakes, too.
It seems many of the locals buy canned hummus and “dress it up” at home with garlic, lemon, and tahini. I’ve always made my own hummus with the beans, but I gave the can a try since I haven’t gotten a food processor yet. One brand was horrible. Another was pretty good. I can’t believe I’m using canned hummus.
Broccoli’s hard to get here, and that’s my favorite. It’s available, but it’s expensive. I’m having a hard time getting spinach, too. Our local veggie vendor doesn’t have it, and we don’t make it to the big grocery stores too often. I need to learn to cook some new vegetables. The problem is I don’t like them. I’m a picky eater. It’s not something I’m proud of, and I’m trying to change that, and get used to new things, but that’s what I’m working with right now. I’ve never liked eggplants, which are popular here, although I don’t mind Baba Ghanoush in small quantities. Not too crazy about bell peppers either, unlike Chairman Kaga. I love potatoes but I know they’re not AS good for you as other veggies. Tomatoes aren’t the main veggie in a dish. Zucchini’s ok…fried. Bad! Oh, and in zucchini bread which I’m not going to attempt here anytime soon. What else is there in the small greengrocers? Since we’re not big meat eaters, vegetables are a must! And I really have never liked beans. I know I should like them since they’re so healthy, and I’m trying! I’ll start with chana pulao (rice pilaf with chickpeas). I sometimes make adas (lentil soup).
Good thing there’s always a 25 qirsh (about 35-40 cents) falafel sandwich waiting for me if I mess up!