Big Girls Global Kitchens

This post begins and ends with muhammara. Muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip that’s rich, sweet, spicy, and tangy. I’m always looking for unusual dips, preferably one whose ingredients come from the pantry, and muhammara fits the bill.

Looking to other cultures is one of my tried-and-true ways of branching out in the kitchen. For dips, one of the most fertile culinary traditions has got to come from the Middle East.

Like: picture a mezze table, loaded with hummus, baba ganoush, oils, cheeses, herbs and try not to salivate.

Most of the ingredients in muhammara are everyday items: nuts, chile flakes, tomato paste, olive oil. But one – pomegranate molasses – is a little harder to find. I’ve seen it at some Whole Foods, but I traversed Atlantic Avenue and made a stop at Sahadi’s, a quintessential Brooklyn shopping experience. The pomegranate molasses lends the dip its signature sweetness as well as its tang. I can imagine using the rest of my bottle of pomegranate molasses in dressings and marinades.

My Peruvian Feasts

Posted by on Thursday Jan 12th, 2012

Two glorious weeks in Peru bridging 2011 and 2012 brought Alex and me into close contact with (in alphabetical order): alpaca meat, Arequipa, Cusco, Jenga, juice, La Mar, Machu Picchu, markets, not ordering cuy, overnight buses, pan con huevo y mantequilla, pollo a la brasa, potatoes galore, soup, steak, and trekking. We had adventures in about five different places, met nice Peruvians and adventurous backpackers, saw cities and small towns, hiked at high altitude, endured strong sun, pounding rain, and snow, and woke up more than once at the very crack of dawn.

Starting in Cusco, we took …

I never realized that my tendency to overbuy at the farmers’ market was a hereditary condition. If you open my mother’s refrigerator at any given time, you’ll probably find a bunch of chard, just waiting to be turned into a green soup. But just one bunch. Not three. It wasn’t until I visited my aunt and uncle in Los Angeles that I saw my own habits reflected in someone else’s refrigerator, and on their countertops.

Back in October, after Steph and Rodrigo’s Santa Barbara wedding, I decided to milk my West Coast trip for all it was worth, …

Chicken Tikka Masala

Posted by on Wednesday Oct 12th, 2011

OTHER INDIAN SPECIALTIES: Chana Bateta; Free-Form Samosas; Potato-Pea Masala with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

In high school, we had a few restaurant eating traditions. If we ventured below 14th Street, it was for pad thai at Republic or dragon bowls at Angelica’s Kitchen. If we went east, it was probably for an Americano Panini at Via Quadrono, before or after a visit to the Met. On the Upper West Side, a.k.a. my hood, the regular spots were more numerous, but if it was a big group of girls, we almost always ended up at Mughlai.

The Indian food at …

Gluten-free living is short on quick, portable lunches. It’s not like the corner deli can offer to put your sandwich filling inside an arepa. Luckily, in New York, for every corner deli, there is also a freakishly fragrant halal truck sitting right outside its door. As I mentioned in my guide to eating out gluten-free, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines are great go-to’s. It might not be quite as portable without the requisite pita pocket, but you can still easily pick up a plate of schwarma or halal with rice and condiments on a whim in Manhattan.

Falafel …

OTHER BGSK MOROCCAN FAVORITES: Merguez and Chard Tagine; Moroccan Chickpeas; Fish Tagine with Chermoula, Preserved Lemon and Mint

I have a bit of an obsession with Taim, a little hole-in-the-wall falafel place in the West Village. Their falafel might be the best in the whole city. They are also gluten-free, which is a huge win.

You can consider this a two-part ode to Taim. Next week, I’ll share a recipe for gluten-free spicy red falafel inspired by their kitchen. But today we’re focusing on my favorite category of food: condiments. And Taim happens to have condiments …

View from the ferry as we approach the tip of the Golfe de Calvi, our first stop in Corsica

If there is one thing I learned on my summer vacation, it is that the views in Corsica are cheap. The food, however, is not.

A month or so ago, on a whim, Josh and I decided to cash in some of his consulting miles—earned while toiling away on spreadsheets, on planes, for 3 years–and take a summer vacation. We booked our flight to Nice, and our ferry to Corsica, about a week before the New York Times published a piece