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Tag Archives | Pita Bread

How to host a Meze party

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 


MezeArab music, lots of pillows spread around the room, a few chairs and stools, friends invited, and of course, prepare some eastern Mediterranean Meze. The dishes are easy to assemble and you can buy up the ingredients at any supermarket. These rustic dishes are seasoned with a mild warmth of spices and textures from countries nestled around the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea; Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Greece.

Hummus – Chick pea bean dip mixed with tahini, green onions, cumin and pureed until smooth and creamy. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter a few whole chick peas on top. Serve with torn pita bread.

Baba GhannoujBaba Ghannouj – A Middle Eastern eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice and regional spices, it’s a smoky, creamy vegetable dish scooped up with toasted pita bread wedges or crisp pita chips.

Falafel – Golden brown chick pea balls made with tahini, onion and spices served with tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Souvlaki – Pork chunks or strips laced on skewers after marinating in mint, oregano, red wine vinegar and olive oil, then grilled and served with Tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Tzatziki – Mint, oregano, garlic, lemon, red wine vinegar and yogurt for dipping Falafel and Souvlaki.

Dip Pita in LabnehLabneh – Thickened yogurt dip with a hint of lemon; it’s seasoned with za’atar and drizzled with olive oil.

Pita Bread – Home baked then grilled, torn pieces of this Middle Eastern flat bread are dipping vehicles for Hummus, Baba Ghonnouj and Labneh. Or you can roll up some Falafel or fill them with Souvlaki and Tzatziki sauce.

Mixed Olives and Pickled Peppers – Find mixed olives at your local olive bar and serve with pickled or stuffed peppers.

Garnishes – Assemble lemon slices, mint leaves, parsley, chick peas, sliced scallions, drizzled olive oil, and radishes or other crisp vegetables.

Also choose from Tzatziki Feta Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, Crispy Chickpeas, Cannellini Hummus.
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Recipe Tester for the Washington Post
Photographs and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: June 1, 2014

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Middle Eastern Pita Bread

Home baked then grilled, Middle Eastern pita bread.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

Binge baking

Kneading over and

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over again until the dough was elastic and smooth. Baking each batch in an extremely hot oven, approaching 500 degrees. I’m finally well satisfied with the result. It all started when I got fed up with pita bread purchased at grocery stores. Honestly it’s not the real deal, not even close.

I’d recently eaten at Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda, Maryland and loved tearing off pieces of their grilled pita and scooping up hummus. Then a few weeks later I had a delicious, more textured pita at Mazza in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had a Pita on Cooling Rackcraving to make warm pita in my home kitchen that became my charter. What texture and taste will my final version become?

Audrey, my daughter, speaks Arabic so she hunted down some Middle Eastern food websites and translated several pita recipes. These were Arab Egyptian and Palestinian recipes in their native tongue.

I made many editions of pita bread. One week I turned out 4 batches in 6 days. Some were thicker and spongier like Greek pita, some almost cracker like. Each one had a slightly different balance of ingredients; flour, salt, yeast, sugar, water, oil, reaching for the right texture. Adjusting, tweaking, testing quantities. Working on nuances I experimented; all-purpose or bread flour, active or instant yeast, olive or vegetable oil, sugar or honey.

Rising and resting time is another variable. Recipes greatly varied. I tried rising after kneading, resting after portioning, and rising after rolling. By the time I arrived at this recipe I discovered my favorite was 30 minute dough rise, then roll and bake. Happily it cut the start to finish time almost in half.

Stacked Pita BreadMy taste testers were troopers through the thick and thin of it, literally. We tested them plain on their own merit, then with accompaniments like hummus, falafel with tzatziki sauce and feta cheese dip. They shared feedback, concerns and celebrated successes. I arrived at a version that is a little chewy, thin enough to tear and dip, but still pliable enough to wrap around fresh falafel. To make the absolute perfect, puffy, golden brown pita rounds, crank the oven to 475 degrees, bake on a heated baking sheet on the bottom oven rack, and then flash grill for striped char flavor.

You might also enjoy Hummus, Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce, Baba Ghannouj, Feta Tzatziki Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti, and Creamy Italian Feta.

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Recipe: Middle Eastern Pita Bread

Prep Time: 20 Min | Inactive Time: 30 Min | Cook Time: 30 Min | Yield: 12 Pitas | Level: Moderate

flour, yeast, sugar, salt

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water

Special Equipment – baking sheet

1 Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, water and stir into flour mixture until mostly together.

Rising Dough2 Dump onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes working in the balance of the flour and creating a smooth elastic dough. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

3 Meanwhile half way through the rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven on the bottom rack set at the lowest position.

4 Divide dough into 12 small balls. Cover with a cloth. One at a time roll them into 1/8-inch thick circles. Take the

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hot baking sheet out of the Divide Doughoven and spray with cooking spray. Once you have 3 dough circles, lay them on the hot baking sheet and place in the oven on the bottom rack. Bake for 5 minutes until golden and puffy. Remove from the oven and place on a rack. Repeat until all the dough is baked.

5 Heat a grill pan on high heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Grill both sides of the pitas just until they sustain char strips, about 30-60 Cutting Pita Breadseconds. Serve warm.

Bake pita bread earlier in the day for dinner or a party. Grill pita just before serving.

Try baking pita bread on a pizza stone.

Cut in 6 wedges and serve with Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Tzatziki Feta Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Htipiti and Creamy Italian Feta Dip.

Wrap around falafel with diced tomatoes, cucumber raita and shredded lettuce.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange sugar for honey.
  • Exchange vegetable oil for 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: June 9, 2013

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Baba Ghannouj

Roasted eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice and spices.

The Sauce: Baba Ghannouj – A Middle Eastern eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice and regional spices. The smoky, creamy vegetarian dish is scooped up with toasted pita bread wedges or crisp pita chips.


Weaving middle eastern mezza dishes

Middle Eastern Mezza or Meze is like Spanish Tappas, small varied dishes of meat, beans, vegetables and grains with rich regional flavors. Often served for lunch, before the main dinner course or for appetizers at a party, everyone can spoon morsels onto their small plate or dip with pita bread or chips. This is the third edition in a Eggplantcontinuing thread of interlacing meze recipes. The first two are Hummus and Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce.

Baba Ghannouj is made with roasted eggplant, a royal purple vegetable with light yellow flesh. Roasted along with the eggplant, the aromatic garlic becomes mellow, golden and easily melds into the dipping sauce. The smoky flavor and rustic color invites the eyes and the palette with a traditional garnish of pomegranate seeds.

2011 AniversaRecipe – Frosted Maple Spice Cookies and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Recipe: Baba Ghannouj

Prep Time: 10 Min | Inactive

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Time: 45 Min | Cook Time: 1 Hour 40 Min | Yield: 2 1/2 Cups | Level: Easy


  • 3 lbs eggplant, about 2 large
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • pomegranate seeds

1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Poking-holes-in-eggplant-skin2 Using a fork, poke lots of holes in the eggplant skin and place on a baking sheet lined with a rack.

3 Slice the top off the garlic bulb and place on a small sheet of foil. Drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and wrap so the steam won’t escape. Place on the rack with the eggplant.

Roasting-Garlic4 Roast in the oven for 60 minutes. Turn the eggplant over and take the garlic out to cool. Continue roasting the eggplant for 40 more minutes. Let cool for 20 or more minutes until cool enough to peel.

5 With a mesh strainer placed over a bowl, begin peeling the eggplant with your fingers placing the flesh in the strainer. Allow to strain the liquid for 20-30 minutes.

Peel-and-strain-eggplant6 Place the flesh in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins into the food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

7 Place in a bowl with the remaining drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve with pita bread or chips.

Poking the eggplant in multiple places helps prevent it from exploding. Make sure the eggplant is cooked until very Japanese-eggplanttender. Straining the flesh helps keep the texture thick enough for dipping consistency.

Spell it ghanoush, ghanoush or other local variations, it’s perfect alone our served in a bevy of mezza dishes.

Serve with other mezza dishes like hummus and falafel with tzatziki.

Dish Designer

Inspiration – Saucy Cuisine Kitchen
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: November 1, 2012

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