fattoush salad

I’ve had a recent obsession with Mediterranean/Lebanese/Israeli/Levantine cuisines lately. I cannot be stopped. My favorite restaurant? Zankou Chicken. (Trying Ta’eem next!)  My favorite cookbook? Modern Flavors of Arabia. My favorite lunch? This fattoush salad.

Fattoush salad (for those of you who aren’t familiar) is a bread salad made with greens and vegetables and fried pita bread. This version is so flavorful – and colorful – from sweet tomatoes, persian cucumbers, fresh lemon juice and bright herbs. I took a shortcut by buying pre-fried pita chips, but you could also use baked ones from the store. Just don’t skip the pita chips – they truly make this salad!

Serve the salad alongside some chicken shawarma or a slab of feta and fresh olives for a true feast.

 

 

 

Fattoush Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: entree salad

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

For the Dressing

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • salt & pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1 lb. persian cucumbers, halved and sliced
  • 1 lb. grape tomatoes, halved and sliced
  • 3/4 oz fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 oz fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup crushed fried pita chips

Instructions

For the Dressing

Mince garlic or leave whole and smash to remove later.

Whisk together all ingredients.

For the Salad

Mix all ingredients but pita chips.

Toss with dressing.

Top with pita chips.

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roasted pepper relish

I had always been a bit apprehensive of roasting my own peppers so I continued to pay a ton for them at the store.

Then I had three peppers that needed to be used and I decided to just try roasting my own. Its easy to do right in the broiler! Heat the broiler on high, place peppers on a pan and essentially let them burn, turning to burn all sides. (Everyone can burn food, right?) Once you let the peppers cool you can easily the remove peel and seeds.

That’s it!

This relish can be used for just about anything. Try it with grilled steak or fish. Put it on pizza. Eat it with slices of bread and some melted cheese. Try it with eggs or just plain on its own.

Whatever you do with it, it’s sure to make any food look good and add delicious roasted pepper flavor to every bite.

 

Roasted Pepper Relish

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: appetizer entree gluten-free low-carb vegan vegetarian

 

Ingredients (2-3 cups relish)

  • 3 peppers (I used yellow, orange and red)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 Tbsp chiffonade fresh parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Preheat broiler to high.

Place peppers on a baking sheet on top rack, closest to the broiler.

Cook for about 15 minutes, rotating the peppers every few minutes when the skin gets dark.

Let peppers cool.

Remove seeds and skin. The skin should peel off pretty easily.

Thinly slice the peppers and blot with a paper towel.

Toss with olives and parsley, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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italian pressed sandwich

Last weekend I saw Liza Minnelli at the Hollywood Bowl.

I had no idea what she sang, did, etc. but I knew it had to be a good show and I was really excited for it.

The Hollywood Bowl is an LA institution and for good reason – you picnic, drink wine out of plastic (we have fancy plastic wine glasses), laugh with friends and see a show under the stars.

We were meeting up with some friends before the show started and I found a picnic-friendly pressed sandwich from Martha and knew it would be the perfect thing to bring. A pressed sandwich is essentially a smushed sandwich. You scoop out the middle of a flat loaf of bread like ciabatta, fill it with an array of delicious fillings and press is together with a weight. (Or in my case a full water pitcher).

The sandwich was delicious and flavorful, the show was very entertaining and I learned that Liza is Judy Garland’s daughter…horrifying everyone around me when I fessed up to my lack of pop culture knowledge.

Italian Pressed Sandwich

by Emily Dingmann

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: bread entree sandwich summer

 

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 4 oz olive tapenade
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 4 oz marinated artichokes, chopped
  • 6 oz roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 4 oz prosciutto
  • 4 oz salami
  • olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper

Instructions

Slice loaf of bread down the middle horizontally.

Scoop out middle of loaf.

Spread tapenade and goat cheese on the bottom side of bread, topping with artichokes, peppers, prosciutto and salami.

Season top of loaf with olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.

Wrap in aluminum foil and weight sandwich down with a brick, cans, etc.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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daily eats: 6.13.12

On my last daily eats post, I asked if you would rather see a juice fast/cleanse or a day from Jillian Michael’s Making the Cut plan. Making the Cut was the clear winner and is a “30-day diet and fitness plan for the strongest, sexiest you!” It is a book I’ve had for quite some time and I’ve tried a recipe or two, but that was really the extent of it. I thought it would be fun to revisit the book!

The premise is that you take a quiz (At dinner you prefer to eat: a. chicken, b. no preference – choice varies daily, c. heavier, fatty foods – pastas, steak, potatoes) and then you use the answers to determine your “metabolic type.” I am a balanced oxidizer, and so the suggested macro nutrient ratio is 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. I would definitely agree that my body does best on a similar way of eating. I’m not, however, really a fan of the “fake” foods she recommends such as low carb yogurt, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and fat-free dairy products.

It is a pretty strict plan and is for those who are moderately fit and don’t need to lose more than 20 pounds. A few of the rules: no alcohol, stick to your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) caloric amount (mine was at 1400), no skipping meals, no processed foods, write everything down in a food journal, etc.

There are of course, also workouts included – lots of strength training and interval cardio work.

Daily Eats: 6.13.12 – Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels

Coffee: coffee + a mix of 1/2 & 1/2 + coconut creamer

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs + 1 serving kashi go lean + almond milk

This was a great breakfast and something I need to have more often – it was filling, full of protein and quick! 

Workout: 45 minutes spin

Lunch: artichoke, fennel & tomato salad + a chicken breast (x2 on the salad – I was still hungry)

This lunch was great and the salad was delicious, I’ll definitely be making it again. It would be perfect to take to work. 

Snack: 1 slice sprouted bread + 1 Tbsp peanut butter

This is a filling and satisfying snack! Must add to the rotation. 

Dinner: brisket + garlic green beans + (more) artichoke salad

 

Brisket was not technically one of the dinners listed for my oxidizer type, but beef is permitted so I figured it was ok. 

And…a few pieces of chocolate for dessert. Definitely not Jillian approved but definitely necessary. :)

Thoughts on the Day: The meals were filling, but it did kind of feel like something was missing. My macro nutrient ratio was a little off – 49% fat, 28% carbohydrate and 23% protein. I certainly wouldn’t be able to last 30 days on a plan this strict, especially because I went way over the calorie limit that she suggested but I think it is definitely the way to look your best quick – lots of lean protein, smart carbs and nothing processed.