Posts tagged ‘za’atar’

April 14, 2013

Za’atar Chickpea and Grain Salad

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I always seem to be carrying too much stuff.

I take public transport to work, so everything I need to make my day comfortable, I have to carry on my shoulders. I’ve begun to consider a backpack but there’s part of me that’s too vain to do that. It’s the part of me that used to work at a fashion magazine. She feels shame from even thinking about a backpack.

The other part of me is all, girl, get yourself a backpack and stop complaining!

For now, I’m still rocking my awkward too-heavy leather handbag and extra tote bag combo because I still need all of the things every day.

I need entertainment, so there’s usually a book (please don’t start talking tablets – I like my books with tangible and sometimes pre-owned paper pages.) I need to be protected from the elements and office air conditioning, so there’s always a cardigan and/or scarf, sunglasses and sometimes an umbrella. I need to be hydrated during my 50 minute commute, so there’s usually a water bottle an occasionally a coffee thermos.

And, of course, I need to be well-fed. There are a few decent lunch options around the office, but I prefer to bring my own most days. And snacks. I need the snacks.

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Sometimes organizing a lunch to bring can be annoying in the evening when all I want to do is plant myself on the couch and eat popcorn by the fist full. But most often, I like to see it as an opportunity to get creative with new spices and combinations of vegetables, grains, cooking methods and textures.

This salad was one of those finer combinations. I made a big batch of it on a Sunday night. We had it as a side dish with baked snapper that evening and I had it for lunch the following two days. It held up perfectly.

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April 25, 2012

Lunch Today: Wheat Berry Sweet Potato Salad

with Za’atar and Roasted Garlic Dressing

A full 24 hours of travel awaits me and I couldn’t be more excited.

Flying over an ocean and a whole country to get to the people I love the most, is a small price to pay.

Not to brag or anything, but I’m a good flyer. I kind of love it. I mean, I don’t loooove sitting in the same spot for 12 hours. But I like airports, buying new books and magazines and in-flight entertainment. I like the excitement of going somewhere. Somewhere new or old. Loved or unknown. It’s a thrill.

And going back to New York tomorrow might be one of my biggest thrills yet. We moved to the other side of the world 8 months ago and I’ve missed my side every minute since. Missed my people, mostly.

And now I am bursting with happiness in anticipation of touching down in JFK.

New York or bust.

Za’atar and Roasted Garlic Dressing
– 4-6 cloves roasted garlic (I used 4 abnormally large cloves)
– salt
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 tablespoon za’atar
– 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

To roast garlic: Heat oven to 200 C/ 400 F. Chop off the woody bottom of a head of garlic and place on an oiled piece of foil. Wrap the foil around the head of garlic and roast for 30-40 minutes until the cloves are golden and soft.

Squeeze garlic out of the husks and mash up with a pinch of salt. Place olive oil in a small pan over a medium-low heat. Heat until oil is warm but don’t boil. Stir in za’atar and mashed garlic, remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes and pour in a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar.

Wheat Berry Sweet Potato Salad
(serves 2)
– 1 medium sweet potato
– 1 tablespoon za’atar
– olive oil
– 1 1/2 cups wheat berries, cooked
– 1 cup kale, shredded finely
– 2 tablespoons feta
– 1-2 tablespoons dried cranberries
– 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, roughly chopped
– 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Cook wheat berries: Place 3/4 cup dry wheat berries in a sauce pan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40-45 minutes until wheat berries are soft but with a chewy, al dente bite to them. Place wheat berries in a colander over the sink to dry.

Roast sweet potato: preheat oven to 220 C/425 F. Cut sweet potato into 1 inch/2.5 cm chunks. Toss with olive oil and za’atar. Cook for 20-25 minutes until sweet potato is soft.

Mix wheat berries, sweet potato, kale, feta and cranberries together with the dressing, tossing well to combine. Top with chopped almonds and sesame seeds. Serve warm, at room temp or cold.

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