Friday, September 26, 2014

Foreign Food Friday: Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

my leash was caught on the camera tripod 

Yesterday morning I met Leah. She emailed me a few months ago from the contact form on this blog and asked if I'd teach her surfing. At first I was worried I was too busy and that I didn't live anywhere near her home in Seal Beach, but she was persistent and I was persuaded. Of course, I'm so glad. She has a good energy and helped me remember how much fun it is to teach about the beginning phase of surfing. Leah is actually from Vietnam, but fell in love with surfing here in California in April. She told me she had never felt "stoked" before she tried surfing. I love that. 

After my surf session with Leah, I went over to the skatepark for a minute. I met this guy named Mario. He was 53 years old and the first Skateboarding World Champ from Brazil. He could do 50-50s and ollies in the bowl. He told me I need to extend my legs and push my board above me and against the walls more when I'm skating because I'm loosing all my speed. I think it might take me a little while to understand what he meant, but I'm excited when I think about practicing it. It was kinda cool I got to teach and learn in the same morning. 

Lately, I haven't been as excited to cook. I think my tastebuds are getting a little bored with my usual recipes and concoctions and I'm thinking making foods from other parts of the world might be the solution. I should have asked Leah and Mario if they had any recipes from their home countries, but I did find the one above from my Ina Garten cookbook when I got home. It's from the Middle East. Scott and I had it for dinner and I had the leftovers for lunch atop microwaved rice cakes with parmesan cheese and soy sauce. I know, that part's kind of weird, but my taste buds were happy. 

Serves: 3-4 
(Ina says 4-6, but we eat a lot, I guess)

citrus + herbs = new and interesting flavor combinations


10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes, diced

1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
1 can or jar (12 to 16 ounces) chickpeas,  drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (~4 lemons)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
8 ounces feta cheese, 1/2-inch-diced
Toasted pita bread, for serving


Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.


In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Serve the salad with the toasted pita bread.

What makes you excited to cook?
Do you guys have any vegetarian-friendly recipes from other cultures and countries that you could share with me? I'd really appreciate it! I might start making this a regular thing called "Foreign Food Friday" (or something better, if I think of it). Have a good weekend!


  1. I've been in a food rut for a little while as well. It's like my cooking is so predictable I'm bored just thinking about eating the same dishes again and again.

    Some vegetarian recipes we cook on a regular basis in the family (I'm French) are ratatouille, caponata (similar idea to a ratatouille but using tomatoes, celery, eggplant, black olives and capers) and tian (similar to this but with aubergine slices as well Or gratins - lots and lots of gratins! Happy to email you some recipes if you'd like; they're all pretty straightforward dishes but I've found weird recipes online in the past that turn them into something a lot more complicated to make.

    1. Adeline, thank you! I'd love to try some French cuisine! I've never made gratins. Here's my email: devonkh at gmail .com I'd love to try your recipes.

  2. gorgeous photos!

  3. Sounds delicious, I know what you mean about a food rut though, I get stuck in them from time to time. How lovely that you taught someone else some surfing. Have a good weekend Devon. CJ xx

    1. The new season should hopefully help me get more excited about different and more seasonal foods. Hope you have a good weekend too CJ!

  4. Would you be interested in Indian cuisine?

  5. That looks so good! I will have to add this to this week's menu.


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