Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Foods that cry out for each other

Eggs, sunny-side up, frying in a pan.Image via Wikipedia
Break those yolks over rice or pasta -- and go to town.

If you listen carefully enough, you'll hear some of the foods in your refrigerator and cupboard pleading with you to eat them together and elevate every day into the sublime.

Here are some terrific flavor combinations:

  • An Italian-Korean salad of small, soft balls of marinated mozzarella cheese from Costco Wholesale and spicy, crunchy Arirang-brand cabbage kimchi from Gaboh Inc. in Englewood.
  • Peanut butter, preserves and sliced, skin-on cucumber for crunch -- laid on thick on 100% whole grain toast from Costco.
  • A yolk -- from an egg fried sunny side up or softly boiled in a Korean tofu stew -- eaten over steamed rice.
  • A variation: Two eggs fried sunny side up and eaten over any kind of pasta or kimchi friend rice.
  • The bland Jamaican fruit called ackee with salted cod or pollock, and sweet and hot peppers -- considered the Caribbean island's national dish.
  • Boiled potatoes, mixed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs, bound together by mayonnaise -- Jamaican potato salad.
  • White pizza, made with ricotta cheese, then layered with arugula and prosciutto. If you don't eat meat, any pizza topped with large quantities of fresh, wilted spinach.
  • Bibimbap, a one-dish wonder, is a Korean entree in a hot stone bowl with steamed rice, several marinated raw vegetables and greens, a little ground beef, a raw or cooked egg on top, and spicy red-pepper paste. It's just as good without  meat. You stir everything up and eat it with a spoon.
  • Wild salmon baked or grilled with fresh herbs and ripe mango or peach slices.
  • Fried eggs, fish or hummus sprinkled with mildly spicy Aleppo red pepper.
  • Anything eaten in fresh Syrian pocket bread, such as the soupy fava-bean stew and salad I enjoyed today at Aleppo Restaurant in Paterson.
  •  Please fill in your favorite food pairings.

Chasing sardines

The 99-cent cans of sardines from Morocco have been hard to find recently.

Last week, I dropped into Sahara Fine Foods on South Summit Avenue in Hackensack, only to find Al Shark-brand skinless-and-boneless sardines, at $1.49 a can. The merchant said he couldn't get the cheaper ones in spicy or regular oil.

At Fattal's Syrian Bakery on Main Street in Paterson today, there was a large empty space on the canned-fish shelf, and the cashier said the distributor promised the 99-cents sardines would return in a couple of weeks.

At Brothers Produce on East Railway Avenue in the Paterson Farmers' Market, I finally found another brand of Moroccan sardines, Sultan, in vegetable oil with chili pepper for 99 cents a can or with spicy olive oil for $1.29.

I bought 10 cans of the former, and I'm looking forward to pasta with sardines in red sauce or eating these mighty little fish over a salad.

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  1. I have always been a fan of burghul that is cooked using tomato paste and very finely chopped onion and spiced with allspice, Aleppo pepper and salt.

  2. There are a whole bunch of Syrian foods I can't get enough of:

    My mother's meat egge with Jersey beefsteak tomato in fresh Syrian bread -- nothing else needed.

    Biting off the end of a big, fried torpedo kibbe and adding hummus, then eating them together.

    Riz and hamoud -- rice and sour sauce with small meatballs.

    A pastry we used to call mwaara -- a triangle of crispy filo dough stuffed with hot melted cheese.

    Lentil, rice and yogurt with cucumber.

  3. Victor I wish I could taste your mother's egge with meat, I have never had it that way.

    We used to have a dish called kibbe douzma I believe, it was like a stew with little kibbe balls and chunks of lamb in a simple broth. We would top it with finely chopped scallions. I have not had it for years. There was also a similar version with a sour sauce as well, it was yogurt based I believe.

    We also used to have this one uncooked kibbe that was bright orange (from tomato paste), it was shaped like small patties and eaten with scrambled eggs. This is what it looked like.


    I also loved the lamb shish kebabs made with cuts of lamb and seasoned simply with salt, Aleppo pepper and marinated in raw onions. I believe when I was a young boy they would made this very traditional with cuts of lamb fat in between each cut of lamb meat on the metal skewer. This would be eaten with a finely diced salad of cucumbers, onions, parsley and tomato that was dressed with Aleppo pepper, olive oil and lemon juice with a pinch of salt.

  4. This is another one of my all time favorites, it is a potato kebab dish, slices of potato are fried in butter and then coupled with lamb/beef mixture of meat that contains only parsley, allspice, salt and Aleppo pepper as seasoning. You alternate one piece of potato with one patty of meat in a pan and cover the entire thing with a thin tomato sauce that is made from tomato paste and water. It is eaten with Syrian bread, raw onion and either Cubanelle pepers or Red Bell peppers.

    It is somewhat similar to this dish


  5. My mouth is watering.

    It seems egge with meat is a Sephardic dish. Most Syrians I mention it to say egge is made with parsley or something else, never meat.

    My mother also made egge with brains -- I hated it -- but it looked like meat, and a couple of times I popped it into my mouth, only to spit it out.


Please try to stay on topic.