Levant Summer Salad

Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, and Syria..  the Levant describes, traditionally, the Eastern Mediterranean at large, but can be used as a geographical term that denotes a large area in Western Asia formed by the lands bordering the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, roughly bounded on the north by the Taurus Mountains, on the south by the Arabian Desert, and on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, while on the east it extends towards the Zagros Mountains.

Roasted figs, dates, homemade labneh, toasted nuts, field greens, herbs, peas shoots and caramelized onion balsamic..


Levant Summer Salad

Levant Summer Salad


Make labneh (yoghurt cheese) by draining the whey from cultured, whole milk yoghurt.  Roll into balls, coat with za’atar or other spices and submerge in olive oil and store in a cool, dark place up to several months.

Caramelize onions in a heavy skillet.  Add balsamic, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.  Set aside

Split figs into quarters by cutting through the stem end, leaving connected at the base. Place a ball of seasoned labneh in the center and broil until the cheese is soft and the figs begin to caramelize.  Set aside.

Toast nuts (pistachios, almonds, etc.) in a dry skillet until golden brown.  Season with sea salt, break into pieces and set aside.

Split fresh dates into quarters, discarding the pits.

Rinse and dry such mixed field greens as are seasonally available.  I like to add arugula for its peppery bite and peas shoots for the added nutrition.

Lightly toss salad with cooled onion balsamic and mound on a dinner plate.  Top with broiled figs, date slices and nuts.

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesdays Blog Carnival

Arab Orange Blossom and Sumac Pancakes

Sprouted spelt flour, cardamom pods, sumac berries and a light citrus syrup..

Arab Orange Blossom and Sumac Pancakes

Arab Orange Blossom and Sumac Pancakes

(adapted from a recipe by Michal Haines)

For the pancakes

2 1/2 tablespoons organic dry active yeast (about 1 pkg.)
1 1/2 cups warm filtered water
1 teaspoon non-refined sugar
1 1/3 cups sprouted spelt flour, sifted
2 teaspoons ground sumac berries
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cardamom seeds

Combine the yeast with 3 oz of the warm water. Stir in the sugar and let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle in the flour, then add the remaining water, sumac and cardamom.  Whisk until combined.

Cover the bowl and allow to stand in a warm place for 1 hour.  The batter will be very thick and bubbly.

For the syrup

1/2 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange blossom water or 1/2 tablespoon dried orange peel
just enough honey or so that the syrup tastes neither particularly sweet nor tart

Bring the water to a boil, then add the lemon juice and sweetener and reduce to simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the orange blossom water and remove from the heat.

To assemble

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Spoon in about 2 tablespoons of batter for each pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Cook long enough so that the pancakes rise, but take care not to let them burn.

Dip the pancakes in the syrup and serve with strained yoghurt.  Garnish with toasted pistachios.

Herb & Nut Roasted Pork Tenderloin w/Bourbon Cream

Served with maple butter glazed sweet potatoes and sautéed haricots verts with shiitake mushrooms..


Trimmed pork tenderloin dredged in seasoned flour, dipped in egg wash with a little sweet sorghum syrup and cider vinegar then rolled in chopped pecans, walnuts, pistachios, almonds and fresh sage, rosemary and thyme.

Sorghum cooking at Sandhill Farm

Seal tightly, pressing nuts into the pork. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

To cook, unwrap pork and place in a 350 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees (mine took about 25 minutes).  Transfer meat to cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, deglaze the skillet with a little bourbon then add some stock and quickly reduce in volume by half.  Add heavy cream and continue to reduce until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in a spoonful of coarse mustard and finish with a knob of whole butter.

Arrange sliced pork tenderloin on a platter and dress with the bourbon sauce.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦