backcountry roads

 

Forty years

Forty years they walked, they walked.

They had left, an impossible victory

an impossible freedom

but that was

nothing.

 

Nothing

that was, to them.

08.17.17 Never forget.

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Pita with Hummus, Shaved Cucumber, Harissa Fried Eggs, and Feta

Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained but save the liquid
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey, to taste
  • 1/2 c tahini
  1. In a food processor or powerful blender, add the garlic and lemon juice. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add tahini, honey, cumin, salt, and drained chickpeas. Add in half of the reserved bean liquid.
  3. Blend on high speed until as smooth as possible, add more of the bean liquid as needed to achieve a light, whippy consistency.
  4. Transfer to a sealable container. Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Harissa Fried Egg

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 tsp dry harissa
  1. In a non-stick skillet, fry the egg as you normally would on medium-high heat.
  2. When the egg is nearly done, tilt the skillet so the oil pools together. Add the harissa to the oil and spoon the harissa oil over the edges of the egg until crisp.

Shaved Cucumber Pea Shoot Salad

  • 1 medium spiny cucumber (persian cucumbers have too much water)
  • 1 handful young pea shoots
  • squeeze of lemon
  1. Cut off the ends of the cucumber. Slice lengthwise into thin, wide ribbons on a mandoline.
  2. Toss with the pea shoots and dress with a squeeze of lemon. Use immediately.

Assembly

  • 1 pita, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 c hummus
  • 1 harissa fried egg
  • shaved cucumber pea shoot salad
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Spread the hummus evenly on the pita.
  2. Add the egg and drizzle the harissa oil all over the hummus
  3. Arrange the cucumber salad on the pita around the egg, top with feta, za’atar, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy!

 

bless you, industrialization

Closely linked to and much like democracy, industrialization is also a protégé of Western politics. While I would probably say that democracy granted to developing countries is probably as bad as giving chocolate to a dog, it would be unfitting to say the same of industrialization. (Yes, hate to break it to you about democracy, but it’s sort of common sense. When you need to build a country and get stuff done, it’s better to have a single long-term vision than multiple parties putting on a talent show.)

Industrialization is sort of like pumping iron, it whips a nation into shape – it is impossible to achieve efficient production without order and discipline. For developed countries, it’s the tried-and-true steroid for jump-starting the economy.

Even for the average household, industrialization has worked its magic. That is, unless you still roast wild fish caught by wooden spears on scratch-made pit fires or, less appetizingly, bash the poor thing’s head on a rock then rip your teeth directly into the knocked-out animal’s less-than-tender flesh.

What we would call artisan or from-scratch today can hardly be achieved in the absence of industrialization.

Consider bread, the very edible incarnation of the word ‘rustic’. Made with yeast bred in incubators with machine-regulated humidity and temperature, and flour ground by furnace or electricity powered mills from commercially farmed wheat. Prior to industrialization, people sat around and waited for yeast to fall out of the sky (in the form of rain) into hollowed-out logs and grow into a usable amount.

As a student, oh my do I love industrialization for its gifts. Just think: no industrialization = no food processor = 3 hours to make hummus. I practically live off that stuff, and ain’t no UW student got the time to mash chickpeas for 3 hours a day.

Humans might have gotten many things wrong, perhaps more wrong than right, and industrialization in a hundred years may reveal itself as the dumbest crime man has ever committed,

but hey, it works handsomely right now.

Take millstones and grind flour.

Remove your veil,

strip off your robes,

bare your legs,

and wade through the rivers.

Isaiah 47:2

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If you’re any bit like me and simply cannot help but gloat at the sight of meatballs on a lush, creamy bed of polenta, then this is already, without a doubt, your next obsession. If you’re with me on the gloating despite your mild disapproval of polenta, then you my friend, have just found your next every-weeknight-dinner. Savoury spiced meatballs, caramelized with minimal effort right in the oven, nestled on a bed of buttery silken hummus, are finished off with an ingeniously vibrant and zesty parsley oil and plump sultana raisins. Make an extra batch of meatballs, freeze the extras, and you’ll have dinner served in under 20 minutes any day of the week.

Ingredients for the koftes, makes 24~30:

1 tsp each fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, oregano, and thyme

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

454 g ground lamb or free-range, grass-fed beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely diced

1 free range egg

1 tbsp olive oil

a generous helping of sea salt, to taste

To make the koftes, preheat the oven to 415 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Place the all of the spices in a spice/coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground. Put the spice mix in a large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix gently with your hands until the mixture comes together. Add a little cold water if the mixture seems too dry. Divide the mixture into 24~30 portions and shape them into balls. Place them on the prepared tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Ingredients for the hummus:

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and drained again

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juice only

3 tbsp tahini

1 tsp honey or agave

sea salt, to taste

To make the hummus, place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add a little water at a time with the motor running to adjust to a lusciously smooth consistency. It should be slightly thinner than regular hummus.

Ingredients for the parsley oil:

80 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 long strip lemon zest

To make the parsley oil, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. It is best used immediately, but will keep, covered and refrigerated, for two days.

To assemble, spoon a large dollop of hummus into small salad plates. Splatter a bit of the parsley oil on top, then add a few koftes/meatballs. Finish with a small handful of sultana raisins and a round or two of freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve with pitas, lavash, or seeded crackers.

Happy noshing!