Tiny Baked Potatoes with Chickpeas

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Full of sweet, savory, creamy, and crunchy textures and flavors, this these potatoes with spiced chickpeas are kind of like loaded potatoes in appetizer form — if loaded potatoes were vaguely South Asian or Middle Eastern.

Ingredients:

3 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, halved (or quartered) to about 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Pepper
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Zest plus one teaspoon juice from one lemon
1 teaspoon honey
3 green onions
2/3 cup sour cream
2 to 3 tablespoons mango chutney

1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Toss potatoes with half the oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Season with salt and bake for 45 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through baking time.

2. Meanwhile, transfer the chickpeas into a bowl and pat dry. Toss chickpeas with remaining oil, cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon teaspoon of the nigella seeds, and the paprika. Season and spread on another baking sheet or roasting pan.

3. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Stir through the lemon zest and honey and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, until well-browned and crisp.

4. Chop half of the green onions and stir into sour cream with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Finely slice the remaining green onions and set aside.

5. Arrange potatoes on a large platter, and dollop 1 teaspoon of the green onion sour cream to each potato, with a little mango chutney. Scatter the chickpeas on top. Scatter the reserved green onions and remaining nigella seeds, plus a little more black pepper. Serve warm.

Ghalayet Kousa (Sauted Zucchini)

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Sorry guys, this is a zucchini blog now. Iranian ghaliyeh kadoo, meet your Palestinian cousin, ghaleyet kousa. Just as delicious a zucchini dish, ghalayet kousa is a little mintier, a little spicier, and sans turmeric. If you love zucchini like I do, you’ll be making this easy dish all summer long.

Ghalayet kousa

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
6 zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chili, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the zucchini and saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and let the zucchini cook down, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.

2. After about 10 minutes, add the mint and mix with the zucchini. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mutabal Kousa (Zucchini and Yogurt Dip)

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I first made this Palestinian zucchini, yogurt, and tahini dip last summer when we had way too much zucchini on our hands and didn’t know what to do with it. One bite of the creamy dip flecked with garlic, lemon, and mint, and I was hooked. So naturally, I ended up making this a hundred or so times last summer — and plan on doing the same this year, too. Like Iranian ghaliyeh kadoo, you can serve mutabal kousa with flatbread, or if you’re like me, you can eat it straight out of the bowl.

Mutabal kousa

Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil
4 or 5 zucchini, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 serrano chili, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt
Flatbread to serve

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute the zucchini with 1 teaspoon of salt, until golden grown. Remove from the heat.

2. Smash the zucchini in a bowl with a fork to achieve a chunky texture. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, yogurt, and salt, if needed.

3. Add the chili and dried mint and mix to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Ghaliyeh Kadoo (Iranian Simmered Zucchini)

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Ghalieh kadoo is one of those dishes whose sum is greater than its parts. This Iranian garlicy stewed zucchini never comes out 100% like my maman’s (does anything ever come out like our mamans’?) but it’s delicious nonetheless. Serve it with flatbread, or eat it plain like I do, because it’s really that good.

Ghaliyeh kadoo

Ingredients:

10 zucchini, diced
Salt
1 head garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
Pepper

1. Salt the zucchini in a colander for a couple of hours to release excess liquid.

2. In a saucepan, lightly sauté the garlic in the olive oil until just starting to turn golden. Add the turmeric, then add the zucchini. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until reduced, about 20 minutes.

3. Add pepper to taste, cover, and simmer on low, stirring every once in a while for another 10 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed to keep from scorching. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Artichoke-Spinach Dip

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The best spinach dip I’ve ever had is my mom’s: fresh and tangy and served in a sourdough boule to mop up all the good bits. This baked artichoke-spinach dip the cousin of that nostalgic Favorite Dip of All Time That I Can’t Stop Eating. Packed with loads of artichokes and spinach, the healthiness almost masks the generous amount of cheese. Say hello to your new favorite winter appetizer.

Artichoke-spinach dip

Ingredients:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
1/2 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped thawed frozen spinach, drained well
3/4 cup canned or frozen artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cayenne pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Crostini or crackers, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Stir together cream cheese, gouda, mozzarella, spinach, artichokes, green onions, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl until smooth. Spoon into a 1-quart baking dish; sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Serve with crostini or crackers.