Saturday, June 16, 2007

A very tasty dinner

A very tasty dinner
Originally uploaded by laurelfactorial
Here we go, the first in what will no doubt become a popular feature: easy and delicious meals using ingredients from Trader Joe's.

You will need:
-Tomatoes (I went with the high lycopene on the vine little ones)
-Sour cream
-Beef (I went with a small amount of sirloin)
-Jasmine rice (1 cup uncooked)
-Chicken broth (1.5 - 2 cups)
-Olive oil
-Saffron (to taste)
-Garlic (proportional to the amount of meat you have)
-Onions (proportional to the amount of meat you have)
-Cumin (to taste)
-Pepper (to taste)
-Salt (to taste -- you don't need much at all!)
-Sumac (very little, it has quite a punch) (okay okay so you can't get this one at Trader Joe's)
-Some kind of bread -- you can make pita, or I bought this lavosh stuff.

Chop the tomatoes roughly and set aside. Chop your onions and garlic very finely. I used a little food processor. Slice the beef into fairly thin strips, and mix together the raw beef, onions and garlic, pepper, salt, cumin, and sumac. While this is getting acquainted, make your rice. In a very small saucepan, bring the rice and broth to a boil. (The more broth you use the softer the rice will be. This is a matter of personal taste, but be warned that it is very easy to end up with mushy and gross rice.) Turn down the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand. Cook the beef in the olive oil on moderately high heat. This will work out better in a large pan where you can get the beef fully spread out (you want to sear it, not stew it). To serve, put a little pile of rice on your bread, and spread the beef and tomatoes over this. Top with sour cream. Roll up like a super trendy oh my Gods I can't believe I'm writing these words wrap, and stuff your face.

For maximum effect, serve with mint tea in a room decorated with Orientalism prints whilst wearing a Ghawazee coat and playing a bellydancing CD.

(If you live in Portland, you might recognize this for what it is: an attempt to recreate or at least echo my favorite dish at a certain very good Lebanese restaurant. You should also know that it's not as good as their version.)

Not to sound all Food Network, but this makes a really great weeknight dinner (definitely less than an hour start to finish), and the leftovers are easy to take to work for lunch. It's also pretty enough that I think you could serve it to company (certain company) -- try making a nice cucumber salad to go with, and maybe some hummus; buy some baklava for dessert.

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