Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ezme For the New Year

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend filled with great barbecues and such. I actually never ate a single piece of grilled food. Instead I spent the weekend with my horses, staying at nearby resort. I did lots of riding, along with swimming and jumping off of cliffs into freezing water, and yoga, and eating meals at fun restaurants like The Homestead Rest and my much-beloved Iron Forge Inn

I survived the weekend intact. I’ve been riding Mom’s young Chincoteague pony, Riddle lately and this weekend I learned just how hard she can buck.
Don’t let that sweet face fool you. I think she’s up to something!

So now that one holiday is over, we have another upon us - Rosh Hoshanna . We have a new year coming. It makes sense for there to be a new year now. We have a new school year after all.

I am trying to make a tradition for the holiday, so last year, you may recall I perfected a chicken recipe for the occasion. Since the holiday is all about making the new year sweeter and apples and honey are traditional foods, I came up with the Meshugge Skiksa’s New Year Chicken, made with cider, wine, ginger, cinnamon, and apricots.

I made it again this year as I want it to be my new traditional recipe. I think this year’s version was even better than last year’s for some reason. I’m not sure what I did differently (other than cut the apricots in small pieces) but it was really, seriously good this year. Oh yeah. I left out the garlic this time. Think that made a difference?

What I did that was new was my side dish. Remember how I fell hard for Ezme in the local Turkish restaurant? Well, I really had to try it for myself. It’s just the most delicious way to prepare tomatoes and cucumbers. I never got the recipe from my neighbor, but I took what I could from what I ate in the restaurant, and what I found about ezme online. I was fortunate enough to obtain some nice garden cucumbers and hot peppers from a friend this weekend as well. I mixed that with tomato, pomegranate juice, onion, lemon, and mint (I picked the mint wild at the barn).

The chicken was yummy, as mentioned earlier. The salad was also really tasty, although not as good as the ezme at Turkish Meze. I accidentally bought the pomegranate-kiwi version of POM instead of the plain pomegranate. I don’t think it ruined the salad.

I don’t know if this is weird or not, but I mix my onions and peppers into my dressing and let it sit while I mix up the rest of the salad. That keeps the onions from being too strong. I’m not a fan of raw onion, but letting it sit in something acidic helps cut that linger-on-the-breath sharpness tremendously.

I used a food processor to chop my salad in small pieces. When I’m at the restaurant, it looks as if a very patient chef has diced the veggies fine himself. It makes for a prettier, more uniform salad. I have neither the knife skills nor the patience for that, so I just use a food processor.

Ezme My Way

1 cup pomegranate juice
½ Red onion, finely diced
1 small hot pepper, seeded and finely diced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon paprika
½ tsp salt
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 handful fresh mint, finely chopped
8 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped

In a small saucepan gently boil the pomegranate juice until reduced by half.

Mix the pomegranate juice, lemon juice, paprika, salt and olive oil. Add in chopped onions and hot pepper and the mint.

Place the cucumber and tomato in a food processor. Pulse into small pieces. Don’t let it go too long. You are making a salad, not a paste.

Place the tomato cucumber mixture in a bowl and mix the dressing into it.


Robyn said...

I just saw your comment on SUGAR PLUM's site and laughed when I saw the Meshugge Shiksa's New Year's chicken. I just had to drop by and check it out. Looks yummy!

Happy (non)Rosh Hashana

bellini valli said...

This is the first time I have geard of Ezme, but as you know I am always up for truing new things.

The Blonde Duck said...

I was making you a pie. That's what took me so long to appear.

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The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Robyn - Thanks so much for stopping by. Glad you like my recipe title!

Val - It's recipe worth trying. I got addicted.

Duckie - Well, you would be doing something sweet like that.


The Blonde Duck said...

I hope you had a good weekend!

Emily said...

Oh man, I would love ezme. It sounds sooo good. I love that it has pomegranate juice in it. Yum.

Sue said...

That dressing sounds absolutely delicious.