Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Middle Eastern Taste Buds

More evidence that I was the by-product of my mother’s secret affair with the Middle Eastern mailman stems from my preferred versions of breads and spreads. Even though I grew up in a family as American as could be (meaning our traditional breakfast consisted of egg and onion bagels spread thick with cream cheese and sliced green olives), my taste buds have preferred since birth the odd concoctions that filter between tart, sweet and spicy from the Middle Eastern countries. I am convinced that in another life I was a Ukranian slave girl who seduced an Ottoman Emperor, the ruler of my own Grecian marble columned promenade by the sea, a pomegranate roof-top carpet lounging Persian matriarch or a snake wearing, belly dancing concubine because my palate prefers the flavors and textures from the cradle of our world’s art and cultural seeds.

So today in my home, my cabinets are stocked with an odd assortment of mysterious things and I enjoy finding new additions wherever I can. The Farmer’s Markets in L.A. are rich with traditional fare like goat’s milk cheeses, jars of exotic spices, homemade meat pies, sundried tomato spreads and eggplant mixtures. But my current object of utter lust has been a sweet jalapeno jelly from East and West Gourmet Afghanistan, which is sold for $4 a jar to use mainly on bolani, which is a baked, vegan flatbread.

My breakfast for the past two weeks since this purchase has consisted of slices of toasted organic, sprouted Ezekiel bread spread with labne (a Mediterranean strained yogurt cheese), and heaping spoonfuls of the jam. Needless to say the jar disappeared rather quickly save for the tiny bit in the fridge that I couldn’t seem to use until I found more.

And then I discovered East and West’s online storefront, which is going to sate my appetite until I can find a way to recreate the recipe on my own.   

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