Our blog has been listed by the Guide of Culinary Schools as among the best “Middle Eastern Cuisine Blogs.” I really think this is very flattering and very exciting especially as most of the other top blogs are by folks seriously into Middle Eastern food and not academic, egg-head foodies like some folk who will remain nameless!

Here is the link:

http://www.guidetoculinaryschools.com/library/best-middle-eastern-cuisine-blogs

That said, this blog will be periodically updated as Prof. Sheehi will replant a summer and fall garden for the Green Quad but also a Winter garden for the next Culture of Arab Food class, which will be in the SPRING 2012.

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Spring Time Update

April 21, 2011

The garden flourished throughout the winter and has been giving its bounty for some time. Many of the winter crops were not  indigenous to Southwest Asia or North Africa. For example, the boc choy and broccoli were planted b/c they did fantastically well and can act as a spinach replacement for  Mediterranean spinach dishes. Currently the two kinds of broccoli and the boc choy are bolting. I will be harvesting their seeds soon for next winter. They produced A LOT  of greens this winter as well as feeding the class in the late Fall. The kale is still a superstar. We experimented with plant density in planting the kale and we thinned it out periodically throughout the winter and early spring. These harvests provided many good meals for members of the Green Quad, faculty and students of the class.

A picture of kale mixed with mustard green is below.

That said, other plants indigenous to Southwest Asia and North Africa were quite loyal and very successful. The beats did famously and I harvested them today! In the Arab world, we boil them and eat them with sugar but we will just boil them and eat them without anything as they are so sweet. (Easter’s coming so we’ll have some egg dye too! Any one have a borscht recipe?)

The garlic are cooking away. They look fantastic and will be ready to harvest in late June probably. The herbs (oregano, thyme, mint, and  rosemary) are doing very well although the oregano certainly has stolen the show (a picture below is just a small sampling of a handful of oregano that I am drying).

The fava beans are king however. Just as last year, they looked gnarly after getting beans kicked out of them in the harsh winter. But as soon as the weather turned, they exploded with their beautiful black and white snapper like flowers and have been giving great amounts of fava beans. The beans are eaten raw, right off the stalk as a snack in the Arab world. But they have to be perfectly ripe, not too early or too late when they start to become woody. We also blanch them, then sautee them in oil, garlic and cilantro. Of course, we also dry them. In Egypt, especially, we make “foul,” the best peasant home dish, comfort food.