Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

I used the last of my CSA zucchini and squash in this dish. On one hand, I’m bummed out that the CSA is over for the year. On the other hand, I’m relieved about being able to shop for and plan for meals more effectively.

Our CSA gave us the option of Wednesday or Saturday pickups, but it seems like neither one is a good option for us. We picked Wednesday because we didn’t want to miss Saturday pickups if we were out of town for the weekend. Wednesday didn’t really work out either because of our Saturday meal planning/grocery shopping cycle. I really would have preferred a Friday pick-up.

Last weekend my brother came to visit so we haven’t done any grocery shopping at all in over a week. (Sorry G, we should have bought food before you arrived at least!) Needless to say, we have been having some interesting meals lately. This “squash hummus” was one of the most tasty creations stemming from our grocery shopping laziness.

Look for Squash Hummus and Black Bean Burritos soon! (Well, if they’re any good anyway!)

From Branny Boils Over.


  • 1 raw zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 2 raw yellow summer squash, peeled and chopped
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves elephant garlic
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c raw tahini
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 roasted almonds


  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth or to desired consistency.
  • Serve with veggies, crackers, or pita chips.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 104, Fat ~ 8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 7 g, Protein ~ 4 g

I really like grilled eggplant lately. Lucky for me, I keep getting eggplants in my CSA box. I don’t think that I have ever grilled one until this summer. I had tried making a variety of baked eggplant dishes, but I was never able to get the texture that I desired in the oven. My grilled eggplant seems to be a lot more firm. As an added bonus, it cooks much more quickly as well.

Enough about food. On to running. If you read my blog regularly, you have probably noticed that I have switch from running to biking for a little while because I hurt my foot. It is seriously driving me crazy. I did another spinning podcast today, which was really great – if you have biking in mind for your workout. I do not. (No offense cyclists, its just that I want to run!)

I think it is wearing on me a lot more in the past few days because this week I dropped out of the two races that I had left on my schedule this fall. That pretty much means that I will have to wait until March to race again. Very sad. The good news is that the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon race coordinator allowed me to transfer my entry to next year. I’m really thankful for that because at least I’m not out the entry fee and the race.

Hopefully I will be able to start running on grass soon. That’ll be fun. Picture me running hundreds of laps around the inside of a track somewhere for a few months. Yippee! (That was kind of sarcastic, kind of not.)

On the upside, my shoes will probably last for at least a month or two longer than I had originally anticipated.

From Epicurious.


  • Yogurt Mint Sauce
    • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
    • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tsp curry powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (The original recipe called for 1 tsp, which I found was a bit too spicy for me. I think that 1/2 tsp should be more than enough!)
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grilled Eggplant
    • 2 eggplants (each about 1 pound), cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 tbsp coriander seeds, cracked


  • Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices.
  • Place eggplant slices on a paper towel, lightly salt both sides of the eggplant and let it rest on the paper towel for 10-15 minutes until some of the juice has drained from the eggplant.
  • Mix the yogurt sauce ingredients in medium bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate yogurt sauce.
  • Heat a grill to a medium-high heat.
  • Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant with sesame oil.
  • Sprinkle the eggplant with coriander, salt, and pepper.
  • Grill until slightly charred, about 6 minutes per side. (To make fancy grill marks, rotate 90 degrees after about 3 minutes of cooking on each side.)
  • Serve the eggplant with yogurt-mint sauce.

Yogurt Sauce:
Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 57, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 9 g, Protein ~ 6 g

Grilled Eggplant:
Servings ~ 2 (As a meal, 4 as an appetizer.)
Calories ~ 177, Fat ~ 8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 27 g, Protein ~ 5 g

I did the unthinkable this morning. I decided what I wanted for dinner ahead of time.

Unfortunately, it was not early enough for me to take the tempeh that I wanted for dinner out of the freezer before I went to work. That’s ok though, I thought, I’ll take it out when I go home for lunch.

Yeah, not so much. You see I locked my keys in the car during lunch today. Brilliant, huh?

Needless to say, I didn’t make it home for lunch today. So my dinner plans were foiled.

Fortunately my CSA box saved the day by being packed with plenty of alternate dinner options. (Wait a minute, it was at the CSA that I locked the keys in the car…)

The most obvious dinner choice, to me at least, was eggplant. The next step would be to find a recipe that was healthy, quick, and that I owned all of the ingredients for. Duke’s House is kind of out there and there is no running back to the grocery store after you get home. Well, maybe if you decide that you want wine with dinner…

Just from reading this recipe, I could tell that it would be great! I ate my eggplant with some quinoa cooked with garlic in chicken broth on the side. Mmmm!

In case you are wondering, there was more okra in my CSA box! More okra recipes coming soon!

Adapted from Beyond Salmon.


  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove elephant garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Peel eggplant and slice into ½ inch thick rings.
  • Place eggplant slices on a sheet of paper towels and sprinkle it with salt on both sides. This will cause the eggplant to release a lot of liquid which will make it less watery when it is cooked.
  • Let the eggplant sit for 15 minutes, then dry both sides well with paper towels.
  • In a large bowl, mix the honey, garlic, paprika, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  • Dunk both sides of each eggplant slice into the marinade, then place the slices on a dish to take them to your grill.
  • Heat the grill to a high heat.
  • Using a grill brush, lightly oil the grill grate with olive oil.
  • Place the eggplant slices on the grill, close the lid, and turn down the heat to medium.
  • Grill for about 3 minutes until the eggplant has grill marks.
  • Turn the slices 90 degrees to make cross-hatch grill marks, then grill until marked, about 3 more minutes.
  • Brush the slices with remaining marinade, flip them, then repeat the grilling process on the other side. Be sure to regulate the heat so that the eggplant is browning, but not burning.
  • When the cross-hatch marks are complete, remove from grill and serve warm.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 133, Fat ~ 3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 28 g, Protein ~ 3 g

If you have ever joined a CSA, you know that it is very important to have a plan for each piece of produce that you are get or they can easily go to waste. When I first picked up my CSA vegetables last week, I was having a little trouble creating a “plan” for my eggplant.  

The first thing that came to mind was eggplant parmesan, but that didn’t strike my fancy. Who wants to eat a heavy, hot food in the middle of July. Certainly not me. Plus, that plan didn’t involve using any of the other veggies from my CSA box.

Finally it hit me – Baba Ganoush!

So obvious, or it should have been anyway, but it did not come to me right away. Now we have made it two times and it has yet to survive longer than 12 hours in our refrigerator. It is almost too good!

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan.


  • 1 large eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tsp ground cumin


  • Use a fork to poke several holes in the eggplant.
  • Grill eggplant over medium-high heat, rotating periodically until the skin is dark and the eggplant softens.
  • This will take about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool until you are able to peel it. I was able to do so right away using barbecue tongs and a long thin knife.
  • Peel the eggplant and put it in a food processor with the remaining ingredients.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Serve with pitas, raw vegetables, or crackers.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 58, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 10 g, Protein ~ 2 g

Update on “Mission Clean Out Duke’s Refrigerator”:

  • Dairy
    • 4 cups plain yogurt 3 cups plain yogurt
    • 8 cups cottage cheese 4 cups cottage cheese
    • 1 gallon of milk (well, most of it anyway)
    • 12 oz queso fresco
    • 1.25 cups sour cream
  • Fruits and Vegetables
    • 1 jalapeño
    • 3/4 of a green pepper
    • 1 bag scallions 1/2 bag scallions
    • 1/2 head cabbage
    • 1/2 lb. baby spinach
    • 5 apples 4 apples
    • 4 bananas 2 bananas
    • 1.5 cucumbers 1 cucumber
    • 2 plum tomatoes 1 plum tomato
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro
    • 2 avocados 1.5 avocados
    • 2 onions
    • 2 sweet potatoes
    • 1 bunch parsley (was not counted in original inventory) 1/2 bunch parsley

Chris and I both liked this meal. I am not sure if he was so hungry that he did not notice the raw tomatoes, if it tasted so good that the tomatoes did not matter, or what was going on, but he did not even mention them. Normally he calls them out and then make the ‘tomato face’. I’ll just roll with it.

This was a tasty and refreshing meal on a hot day (especially if you have broken air conditioning like we do). We both thought we would like to have it again, even not during refrigerator clean out week. If we had used Greek yogurt (or strained our yogurt to thicken it) this would be pretty good stuffed into a pita as well.


  • 1 cup (140 g dry) lentils
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used nonfat.)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 medium scallions, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar


  • Cook lentils according to instructions on package. Drain well and chill.
  • Combine yogurt and tahini.
  • Gently stir in cucumber, tomato, parsley, and scallions.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve lentils topped with yogurt mixture and a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 317, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 49 g, Protein ~ 21 g

What is even better than falafel in a pita? Falafel in a burrito of course! Everything is better in burrito form, or at least that’s what Chris and I seem to think.

Ingredients (per burrito):

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 4 falafel patties
  • 3 tbsp tzatziki sauce
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced


  • Break up falafel patties in small chunks.
  • Fill burrito with falafel, avocado slices, and tzatziki.
  • Enjoy!

We had falafel for breakfast this morning. Not quite a typical breakfast, but that’s ok. I don’t really care which meal we eat at which time of day and I don’t think Chris does either.

I have always liked falafel, but I had never made it before because I did not like that it is usually fried. A few days ago it occurred to me that baked falafel might be an option.

Google says: ‘Yes. Totally possible.”

Cool. Check it out.


Adapted from Jewish Recipes.


  • 1 medium potato, baked
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the baked potato into several large chunks.
  • Combine all ingredients in food processor until they are mixed into a chunky paste.
  • Form small patties on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until patties are firm.
  • Serve in a pita with tzatziki sauce.

Servings ~ 5
Calories ~ 190, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 30 g, Protein ~ 8 g

Tzatziki sauce is super easy to make and it is tasty on falafel, gyros, and almost any other kind of sandwich as well!


  • 1 cup nonfat yogurt (either Greek or regular that has been strained)
  • 1/2 cucumber diced and drained
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • Combine ingredients.
  • Serve cold.
  • To strain regular yogurt, I line a strainer with paper towels and let the yogurt drain over the sink for several minutes.

Servings ~ 5
Calories ~ 35, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 5 g, Protein ~ 3 g

After deciding to make samkeh harrah for dinner tonight, I needed to come up with a good side dish to go with it. I also needed to use up the giant head of cabbage that has been staring out of my refrigerator at me for days saying “Eat me soon, I will only wilt more and become less desirable from here.”

I bought the cabbage with the intention to make kimchi while Chris was out of town so he did not have to smell it. Chris has traumatic childhood memories of kimchi with its distinct aroma and his dislike for this Korean staple still lingers.

My childhood did not involve kimchi at all, let alone enough to develop a hatred for it, so perhaps that is why I was willing to try it out during a layover in Seoul a few years ago. I loved the unique flavor and I have been wanting to make it myself ever since.

Anyway, back to the dish at hand. Chris will be back any minute and this will be much more suitable as leftovers for him than the kimchi would have been.

Salatet Malfoof is a Middle Eastern take on cole slaw. We are not huge fans of mayonnaise based slaws at Duke’s House, but Chris and I both love a good vinegar slaw. This slaw with strong citrus flavors tops even the best vinegar slaw.


  • 1/2 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 cup olives


  • Thoroughly combine garlic and salt.
  • Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and mint to the garlic mixture.
  • Mix well.
  • Combine the vegetables with the lemon and oil dressing.
  • Toss well, then chill.
  • Top with olives and mint before serving. (Optional.)

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 134, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 17 g, Protein ~ 4 g

Just as I was thinking about how lame my dinner plans for this week were, my friend Rayna came to the rescue. “Do you want to try another Lebanese dish? Have you ever had Samkeh Harrah?’

No, I had not. In fact, I had never even heard of Samkeh Harrah, but I was immediately off to Google to learn about it.

Not only does this dish have a recommendation from a trusted source, but it sounds tasty, reasonably healthy, and we happen to own all of the ingredients commonly found in Samkeh Harrah recipes! Win!

What I learned from my research is that there are many varieties of Samkeh Harrah. Some versions include fish, usually red snapper, that has been stuffed and then fried whole. Other recipes more closely resemble a stew with vegetables, a sauce, and shredded fish mixed in.

Because of my aversion to fish heads (Fish with heads look too much like creatures that may have been happily living and swimming along at one point.) and because of Duke’s House Budget (Remember the 4 lbs. of tilapia I got on sale a few weeks ago?) I have opted to go with the stew variety.

I’m not sure what type of Samkeh Harrah Rayna made, but it might be fun to get her recipe and try it out for comparison sometime. I can’t picture her stuffing a fish, head and all, but she always surprises me.

This recipe is cobbled together based on the ingredients and proportions of many other recipes, then adjusted to scale back the fat and calorie content, i.e. less tahini than recommended.


  • 24 oz fried or grilled fish (red snapper is recommended, but I used tilapia) flaked
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbps coriander
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground chili (red pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • lemon wedges, toasted pine nuts, and parsley for garnish


  • Bake fish in a lightly greased dish at 375 degrees until the fish easily flakes with a fork. (My tilapia took about 10 minutes.)
  • Saute the onion and bell pepper until the pepper softens and the onion turns translucent.
  • Stir in spices, salt and ground almonds.
  • Pour sesame paste sauce over the mixture, stir constantly on medium heat until the mixture thickens.
  • Pour mixture in serving platter over the flaked fish. 
  • Garnish with lemon wedges, toasted pine nuts and some chopped parsley.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 237, Fat ~ 13 g, Carbohydrates ~ 7 g, Protein ~ 26 g