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Mujadarah: food for the masses

This dish is Palestinian comfort food at its best.  It’s great for a big crowd.  I cooked it for two couchsurfers and a friend, and we finished every bite!

1 cup rice
1 cup brown lentils (soaked beforehand)
3 cups water
3 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
4 large onions
3 TBSP butter or olive oil

Pre-soak the lentils. Add rice and lentils with spices to 3 cups water. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked and lentils are soft.

While rice and lentils are cooking, brown sliced onions in butter or olive oil. Add this on top of the finished rice and lentils.

Serve with yogurt (plain) and a salad.

To get’em talking, feed’em

A great way to stimulate conversation and get strangers to bond, is to feed them! This meal is for vegetarians (but not vegans – it’s cheesy). It’s an American-ish meal with a splash of the Middle East. Perfect for ex-pats who crave something familiar.

Served with Palestinian Taybeh beer and Eid cookies for dessert.

Salad (make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge):
3 avocados
9 small cucumbers
1/2 onion
5 tomatos
1 TBSP fresh mint, minced
juice of 1 lemon
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 minced onion
4 minced garlic cloves
3 TBPS butter
2 cans of cream (about 1 pint)
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (fresh nutmeg makes such a difference)
2 bags of pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

While pasta is boiling, saute onion and garlic in butter. Once the onion is translucent, add the cream and stir. It will thicken slightly, but not much. Add nutmeg and salt/pepper to taste. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and add the cream sauce.

Garlic Pita-bread
Butter the top of 4 pitas. Spread 1/2 clove of minced garlic over each pita. Bake in oven while making the cream sauce. Cut each pita in half and you have enough for everyone.

A Ramadan dinner in Nablus

I met Abu Fadi when I was mailing a package to the U.S. for a friend.  He was abundantly helpful and welcoming, even during this short business transaction.  Awhile later, I stopped by his office just to say hi, and he invited me to his home for a Ramadan dinner.  He and his wife cooked together and cracked jokes, while I chopped vegetables for a salad.  After a delicious meal, we sat on the porch drinking coffee and chatting about Ramadan.

Here are some of the things we talked about.

Local farmer discusses life in Iraq Burin

Abu Moammar is a farmer in Iraq Burin who has faced much loss. He told us about life as a farmer in the village.

Watch a video of Abu Moammar discussing life in Iraq Burin (English with Arabic subtitles).

Farming family relies on new sources of income

Photo by Cat Rabenstine

Abu Nasser is a farmer, but his children must seek other forms of employment. He spoke to us at his beautiful home, describing interactions with Israeli soldiers.

Photo by Cat Rabenstine

Abu Nasser at home

In the below video, Abu Nasser describes being asked by Israeli soldiers to leave his land.