2018 Bahrain GP Preview
Inspired by the mix of cultures and cuisines popular in Bahrain, I plan to make a Mezze Platter style meal. Starting with hummus and homemade pita, I'm also thinking falafel, eggplant dip, and fresh feta and herbs. A meal is never complete without dessert so we'll also venture into making some baklava! Many of these dishes, though not indigenous to Bahrain, are well loved there, and coincidentally are a few of my favorites too.
If you're brave enough to make your'e own cheese, feta is a great first crack. My courage will be used up burning eggplants and making bread! But if you go for it, let me know, I'd love some encouragement.
As for the race, Bahrain is a gorgeous setting. Night races add an extra bit of glitz, glamor, and excitement. Let's see if Vettel can pull it off again and beat Hamilton to the finish line for the second race, and year, running.
Recipes for Bahrain Mezze Platter
Recipe and excellent direction from Inspired Taste
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water
Dash ground paprika, for serving
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.
2. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.
3. Open, drain, and rinse the chickpeas. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.
Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until you reach the perfect consistency.
4. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.
From Serious Eats
1 cup (8 ounces) water, 105–110°F
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1. Mix water, oil, sugar, yeast, salt, and whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth. Stir in all-purpose flour until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mass.
2. Using clean hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and very elastic, adding only very small amounts of extra flour if dough is extremely sticky (see note). Alternatively, knead dough at low speed in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment until dough is very elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place the dough inside, then rub oiled hands over the top of the dough. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, place a baking stone on the top oven rack and preheat oven to 500°F. Line a plate with a large, clean kitchen towel and set aside.
5. Punch down the dough, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into 6 even pieces. Form each dough piece into an even ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
6. Roll each piece of dough into a 7-inch circle, no more than 1/4 inch thick, taking care not to tear dough and keeping the thickness even all around. Place dough disks on a lightly floured surface, cover with a damp towel, and let proof until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.
7. Working with as many pitas as will fit on the stone at once, pick up each pita and place onto the stone top side down. Immediately close the oven door and bake until pitas have puffed and are slightly golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. Place baked pitas onto towel-lined plate and wrap with the overhanging towel. Repeat with any remaining pitas.
8. Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat until smoking. Working with one pita at a time, briefly heat each side until charred in a few spots, about 30 seconds. Return pita to towel and cover. Repeat with remaining pitas and serve immediately.
Burnt Eggplant Dip
serves 4 as an appetizer
4 large eggplants
3 cloves garlic, minced
grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped mint
seeds of 1/2 large pomegranate
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a large baking pan (or two, if necessary) with aluminum foil.
2. Using a sharp pairing knife, make deep gashes throughout the eggplant. Place the eggplants on the baking pans.
3. Roast in the oven for an hour (rotating every 20 minutes) or until the eggplant skin has burnt evenly throughout.
4. Remove the eggplant and let cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, peel away the skin and, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the eggplant, transporting to a mixing bowl.
5. Place eggplant into a colander and let sit for at least an hour, or until it has drained most of its liquid. Once this is done, transfer back to the mixing bowl.
6. Mash the eggplant with a fork. Mix in the garlic, lemon zest and juice. Stir in the olive oil and tahini. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes to let it develop its flavor.
7. Remove from the refrigerator. Mix in 3/4 of the parsley, 3/4 of the mint, and 3/4 of the pomegranate seeds. Season with smoked paprika, salt and freshly ground pepper.
8. Garnish with remaining pomegranate seeds, mint, parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita bread.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375ºF in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
6. Serve with toum (recipe below), chopped tomatoes, onion, and green pepper.
Toum (Garlic Sauce)
From Bon Apetit
1 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/3 cup garlic cloves (6–8)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Chill oil in freezer 30 minutes (this helps the sauce emulsify).
2. Pulse garlic in a blender with lemon juice, ¼ cup cold oil, and 1 Tbsp. ice water until smooth. With motor running, very gradually and steadily stream in ½ cup oil (you don’t want to risk having the emulsion split). Scrape down sides and continue to blend, slowly adding remaining ¼ cup oil, until a slightly thick sauce forms (it should cling to a spoon). Add 1 more Tbsp. ice water, season with kosher salt, and pulse again to combine. This whole process will occupy 8–10 minutes. Take your time!