Ingredient: Kishk Powder

I can just imagine how kishk came to be, in the chill mountains of Lebanon where there was a need to store up nutrient-rich, delicious foodstuffs for the winter months (this is the Lebanese food preservation tradition known as mouneh). Like the ultra good-for-you lentil and rice combo in mujadara, powdered kishk is made from powerhouses…

Read More

Ingredient: Mahleb

Sour cherries are so delicious that I suppose it’s not so shocking that someone, somewhere deep in the past kept eating right past the bright red flesh and crunched away at the pit. There that adventurous eater discovered an almond-like flavor, a flavor reminiscent of the cherry but not precisely cherry, with a certain bitterness…

Read More

Ingredient: Rennet (yes, rennet)

All I can say to introduce rennet is if you have not cooked with it before, then great!, we are entering new territory together. The easy definition of rennet is this: it’s a little tablet that is used to turn milk to cheese. Just as you have to inoculate milk with yogurt to make yogurt,…

Read More

Ingredient: Coconut Chips

Its color is pure, white as the driven snow. Its flavor: delicate, fresh, natural…and hinting not of driven snow but of a tropical beach far, far from here. With sunshine, a big blue umbrella. Afternoon piña coladas. The sweets-lover in me, when I first tasted unsweetened coconut, thought something was missing. And it was—the sugar—but…

Read More

Ingredient: Chocolate, for dipping

If there is such a thing as the family chocolate, then ours has always been Hershey. It’s our version of a coat of arms. Hershey is what my grandfather liked and what he used in a business that has become legendary in family lore. Wherever you find his daughter, my mother, you’ll find a Hershey…

Read More

Homemade yogurt: a few tips about ingredients

How to make Yogurt, MaureenAbood.com

Once you get the hang of making your own yogurt (a.k.a.: laban), you will do it without thinking. You’ll do it as a matter of course, the same way you start the week off with all kinds of habits. While I’ve struggled to form many a habit, laban-making is not one of them. I love…

Read More

Ingredient: Pumpkins

Until I moved up north, the edible pumpkin was not at all on my radar. In Chicago, the effort to procure, lug home, and carve or just front-stoop a pumpkin happened infrequently. I remember pumpkin-ing in the first year or so after I moved there, then not again. Big pumpkins would wave from their little…

Read More

Ingredient: Mirepoix

Ground work must be laid, a foundation, before any house can be built. In the kitchen, the flavor foundation for so many dishes is found in the French mirepoix (meer-pwah), the holy trinity of aromatics: onion, carrot, and celery. Broths, and therefore soups, of every sort begin with the coaxing of flavor from a mirepoix.…

Read More

Ingredient: Apples

Here’s the thing about apples and me: we aren’t great friends. They try to get together in August and I refuse to return their calls. I once spouted off so vehemently about not eating apples in summer that a funny D.C. friend said I was appointed chair of the NAIS committee (No Apples In Summer).…

Read More

Ingredient: Red Bell Peppers

Back in August, I went to Bill’s Farm Market up here in search of red bell peppers. There weren’t any in Bill’s bins, so I asked after them. Won’t be for a good month, Bill said. You can go out in the fields and take some pictures then. He knows me by now. So I…

Read More