Za’atar- known by many spellings and uses, is mostly used for a condiment made from the dried herbs, often Thyme, mixed together with sesame seeds, salt, as well as other spices. Used in Arab cuisine since medieval times, both the herb and spice mixture are popular throughout the Middle East and Levant still today.
I had received a box of goodies from MySpiceSage.com as a complimentary gift, and was given a choice of what I would like- Za’atar called out to me. Intrigued by the history, mixture of herbs, and the fact that most families have kept their own recipes secret for centuries, I knew I had to try it. I imagine the possibility of making my own version.
Not wanting to make it just as a condiment, although I did try a tiny batch that sat in warm olive oil with bread to try out its flavor components (a bit salty, so do not add additional), I decided to try it in a sauce and rub.
A local farm, Cherry Groves raises lamb and beef, so dinner was planned. Grilled Bacon Wrapped Fillets, Rack of Lamb with Za'atar and mustard rub, and Lobster Ravioli with a Za'atar Cream Sauce. I did add some dried parsley to the mix for this meal, and the element of mustard to the lamb rub. I patted down the steaks with EVO, and a little salt and pepper (the fillets are huge!).
A local pasta company here in Princeton, Lucy Ravioli Kitchen has the most amazing fresh pasta. I picked up some Lobster Ravioli for my Surf and Turf Turf meal. This meal might seem a bit over the top, but we do not eat meat except maybe once a week, if that. When hubby is traveling, I live on my new hot and sour noodle soup concoction, so we appreciate a meal like this when he is home. Did I just hear someone ask,"Where are the greens". A simple dark leafy green salad with oil and vinegar was our starter.
The meal was fantastic, and we had lots of leftovers for lunch the next day.
Hubby brings me back little gifts, and this made me think of how we must have eaten like sharks, an eating frenzy with a good Charles Creek Vineyard- Stagecoach 04, Cabernet took place!
"I experiment with Flavors"...
Elizabeth Stelling, hails from her home state of Texas and has been involved in the food industry via institutional, fast food, B&B's, ethnic eateries and other restaurants since she was fourteen. Now living n New Jersey she has ran her own cafe, teaches culinary classes, runs a small boutique catering and staffing business, restaurant consulting for NJWBO, is a personal chef and shares her love of cooking with local, organic, healthy, and natural ingredients with the community.
Chef E is a member of Slow Food and the American Wine Society, Princeton, New Jersey. She has published written works of poetry and media pieces, as well as ran Open Mics in the Princeton, NJ area.
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