22 April 2012

Getting Inspired...

I stopped into a small Mediterranean Market last week.  (For those of you in the local area, it's on the corner of Ellsworth and Stone School in Ann Arbor)  I go there often for homemade pitas, hummus, spinach pies and more as it is all homemade in the shop.  I'm planning on making Shish Tawook sandwiches for tonight.  (Recipe will follow tomorrow) Of course while awaiting my goods to be packaged and weighed, I poke around the treasure trove of middle eastern goods.  I am always surprised and fascinated by something unexpected and unusual.  Here were my surprises for the week;

CHICKPEA FLOUR;  I'm going to make a pita recipe using the chickpea flour and deep fry them in a bit of canola oil.  We first tried this in southern Italy with sundried tomato pesto and olives as an appetizer!  The pitas are quite delicate and melt in your mouth!  Also great if you're needing a gluten free alternative.

ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER;  I've been keeping this stocked in my kitchen for baking and cocktails.

POMEGRANATE MOLASSES;  I have NO idea what I'm doing with this yet, but I just read a feature (I think Fine Cooking or Saveur) on it and thought $3.99 was worth the discovery.

WHOLE SLICED COCONUT;  What a weird bag of coconut slices containing the woody husk/shell too!  I'm not sure what I'll do yet with this either, but it's so beautiful, I could always toss some on a plate with a new coconut shortbread recipe I'm playing with!

GREEN ALMONDS;  Another memory of Italy and pulling green almonds off the tree in the afternoon.  Dipped into a tiny pot of finely ground sea salt, it's a refreshing snack or lovely palate cleanser!  I shared them with my cooking class and everyone was quite surprised at how tasty the almonds were!  Similar to a fresh bean. 


GUAVAS; Since these are still a LOT green, I'm letting them ripen in the fridge and am planning a guava curd for next week.  I've never worked with fresh guava before, so this should prove interesting.

GREEN APRICOTS;  Huhn.  They were there at $2.99.  Searching frantically for recipes and ideas.  So far, NADA.  Worst case, I thought I would pickle them like peaches in a really sweet syrup and see what happens!

CANNED IMMATURE BLACK WALNUTS IN SYRUP;  I originally tasted these from an Armenian preserving company and sold them at the Boulevard Market.  These are from Greece, so I'm hoping they will be as delicious.  I also have a walnut tree and am going to try my hand at making my own this year...I foresee black fingernails for all involved.  And possibly an ugly argument or two about all of the weird junk I have hanging around.

I had my eye on dried tiny golden plums and barberries, and I usually buy a good supply of pistachios as they stock every style and they are really fresh.  But I have to leave a little something for next time!  John reminded me I still have a bag of dried whole lemons from about 3 years ago, that I've never been able to find a recipe to use them with! 

Any ideas and suggestions for these items would be greatly appreciated!!  I'll share the results as soon as possible!


  1. a quick google search and i now know that dried lemons (which are actually limes) is a staple in middle eastern dishes!


  2. I love that market too, and thanks for the great recommendations! I always have to buy their pita, tabbouleh, and I cannot get enough of their fresh baba ghanoush. They also have another great eggplant product; the label on the jar says "Russian Style Ikra (vegetable spread)". It's a fabulous roasted vegetable (eggplant, red pepper, and garlic) dip. Trader Joe's has something almost exactly the same, and they just call it Eggplant Garlic Dip, I think. Anyway, if you like eggplant, you have to try this stuff! It's wonderful on crackers and vegetables like baby carrots for a quick snack, and also great as a sauce for some tasty pita pizzas. Looking for more uses if you ever have any suggestions.