The Vibrant Flavors Of A Colorful Cuisine

What makes Middle Eastern cuisine so celebrated are some of the unique preparation methods and ingredients native to the Fertile Crescent area. Some representative tastes of the cuisine include cooling, tangy, slightly spicy, and herbal. These flavors are derived from ingredients such as yogurt, garlic, red pepper, and oregano that tantalize the taste buds with each bite. With the variety of flavors that Middle Eastern foods have to offer, it’s no wonder they are starting to gain popularity in retail and foodservice channels. They are poised for even further success when seen as a “better for you” option.

From a preparation method perspective, Middle Eastern foods, especially meats, are traditionally grilled, braised, or roasted. Roasting meat on a vertical spit is one of the more unique cooking methods that originated from the region. Grains, legumes, spices, and vegetables are typically blended, puréed or fermented to enhance the natural flavors of the ingredients, which create unusual yet delicious condiments for proteins, vegetables and breads.

One such condiment that is growing in prominence in the western hemisphere is harissa. This chili paste is made from a blend of smoked Tunisian baklouti and serrano peppers, garlic, coriander, and tomatoes. Another notable item is tahini, which is a paste of sesame seeds often used in falafel wraps. Both of these have seen growth on menus over the last four years, harissa (+78.8%) while tahini went up (+53.3%). A few emerging condiments from the region include muhammara and Yemeni green z’hug. Muhammara is a mixture of puréed roasted red peppers, walnuts, garlic, and lemon juice blended with the tangy sweetness of pomegranate molasses. Yemeni green z’hug has been described as the Arabic version of pesto, only spicier. Z’hug is typically made with green hot peppers, cilantro, coriander, garlic, parsley and various other spices such as caraway seeds. Both muhammara and Yemeni green z’hug are relatively new to American menus and grocery shelves, but as consumers with adventurous palates continue seeking new flavors, these interesting, bright, bold and tangy offerings just might be what they are craving.

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Tahini Brownies

With this recipe we let our chefs stray away from the traditional or expected and they came up with a warm gooey brownie, with buttery tahini sauce inside and on top. It’s along the lines of a chocolate peanut butter brownie but without the peanut allergens.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter, salted
4 ounces chocolate (bittersweet), chopped
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs (large)
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¾ cup tahini
⅓ cup flour (all purpose)

Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8” square baking pan with foil, and lightly coat with butter.
    2. Melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and pour over cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Whisk to combine.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Then whisk in tahini. Fold in the flour. RESERVE ½ cup of the tahini mixture for top garnish.
    4. Combine the remaining tahini mixture with the melted butter and chocolate to form brownie batter. Pour into buttered baking pan.
    5. Using reserved tahini mixture, evenly place dollops (approx. 6) across the whole pan, leaving some brownie batter showing.
    6. Cut or swirl into batter with a butter knife or fork to create a marbled effect. Be careful not to overwork it.
    7. Place into oven, bake at 350°F for about 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
    8. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

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Feta & Olive Salad (Flatbread/Sandwich Topper)

Try this easy to share flatbread idea as an hors d’oeuvre at your next party. The recipe comes directly from our culinary staff here at Newly Weds Foods so you can be sure it’s authentic and delicious.

Ingredients:
⅓ cup kalamata olives, cut in half
¼ cup green olives, rough chopped
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, medium dice
⅓ cup feta cheese (seasoned in oil and pepper/herbs), small dice
1 tablespoon red onions, small dice
¼ teaspoon za’atar seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together. Stir well to ensure even distribution of ingredients.
  • Cover and set aside.
  • Place on top of za’atar seasoned flatbread or sandwich.

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Chicken Tenders, Bacon & Egg Sandwich

Sandwich Build

1 Newly Weds Foods English muffin, toasted or grilled
1 tablespoon Feta Cream Cheese Spread
1 tablespoon Harissa mayo
2 strips bacon, cooked
2 breaded chicken tenders
¼ teaspoon Newly Weds Foods Moroccan seasoning blend
1 Roma or Campari tomato, sliced
1 fried egg, sunny side up

Feta Cream Cheese Spread

4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
2 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons chervil, chopped
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons capers

Harissa Mayonnaise Spread

½ cup full fat mayonnaise
¼ cup harissa sauce

  • Place all ingredients for cream cheese spread into a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with paddle attachment for about 2-3 minutes, or until all ingredients come together.
  • Place into container and place into cooler until ready to use.
  • Place mayonnaise and harissa sauce into a mixing bowl. Mix together using a whisk.
  • Place sauce into container, cover, and store in cooler until needed.
  • Fry or bake chicken tenders. After cooking, toss with Moroccan seasoning.
  • Place about 1 Tbsp of harissa mayonnaise spread on top half on English muffin. Place 1 Tbsp of feta cream cheese spread on bottom half of English muffin.
  • Place 2 strips of crispy bacon, 2 pieces of chicken tenders, 3 tomato slices and 1 egg over feta cream cheese spread. Top with top half of English muffin.

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Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Banana Open Face English Muffin

1 Newly Weds Foods English muffin, toasted or grilled
¼ cup peanut butter
2 slices bacon, cooked
1 banana, sliced
2 teaspoons honey

  • Spread 2 Tbsp peanut butter over one half of toasted English muffin. Break one piece of bacon in half and place on muffin on top of peanut butter.
  • Place 7 slices of banana in a circular pattern over bacon slices.
  • Drizzle about 1 tsp of honey in a zig zag pattern over top of sandwich.
  • Use remaining ingredients to repeat the process for the second half of English muffin.

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Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, Poached Egg & Chervil

Sandwich Build

1 Newly Weds Foods English muffin, toasted or grilled
2 tablespoons Feta Cream Cheese Spread
8 spears asparagus, grilled
2 slices cracked pepper dill smoked salmon
2 eggs, poached
2 teaspoons red onion, finely diced
Pinch of cracked black pepper
Pinch of sea salt

Feta Cream Cheese Spread

4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
2 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons chervil, chopped
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons capers

  • Place all ingredients for cream cheese spread into a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with paddle attachment for about 2-3 minutes, or until all ingredients come together.
  • Place into container and place into cooler until ready to use.
  • Place 1 Tbsp of feta cream cheese spread over top of entire top surface of one half of toasted English muffin. Place 4 asparagus pieces over cheese spread, followed by 1 slice of salmon, 1 poached egg, and 1 tsp of red onions.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over top of the eggs.
  • Use remaining ingredients to repeat the process for the second half of English muffin.

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Steak & Eggs

1 Newly Weds Foods English muffin, toasted or grilled
3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato spread
¼ cup arugula lettuce
3 to 4 slices of skirt steak, marinated
1 fried egg, sunny side up
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of cracked black pepper

  • Place skirt steak onto hot grill and cook to desired doneness.
  • Place 1 ½ Tbsp of sun-dried tomato spread on each half of toasted English muffin.
  • On bottom half of muffin, place arugula followed by grilled skirt steak.
  • Place sunny side up egg over steak and top with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Top with second half of toasted muffin.

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Fried Onion Ring, Scrambled Eggs, Pico de Gallo

1 Newly Weds Foods English muffin, toasted or grilled
3 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
¼ cup colby & cheddar cheese, shredded
2 breaded onion rings
2 tablespoons pico de gallo
2 teaspoon hot sauce

  • Fry or bake onion rings and set aside until ready to assemble.
  • Place one Tbsp of butter into a medium hot sauté pan. Add eggs and cheese to pan. Scramble eggs until done. Remove pan from heat and set eggs aside until ready to assemble.
  • Spread 1 Tbsp of butter onto top of English muffin. Place one onion ring onto muffin.
  • Place half the scrambled eggs batch into the center of onion ring. Top eggs with one Tbsp of pico de gallo and about one tsp of hot sauce.
  • Use remaining ingredients to repeat the process for the second half of English muffin.

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Bacon & Brie Cheese Stratta

Stratta

2/3 cup Newly Weds Foods English muffins, toasted or grilled, cubed
1 slice bacon, cooked and chopped
2 tablespoons caramelized red onions, diced
2 ounces brie cheese, cubed
2 green onions, chopped
7 ounces egg custard mixture

Egg Custard Mixture

20 ounces eggs, liquid or whole
10 ounces half & half cream
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • Place all egg custard ingredients into a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, mix all ingredients together until well blended.
  • Place into cooler until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Prepare ramekins by lightly greasing bottom and sides of pan.
  • Place 1/3 cup of prepared English muffins into bottom of pan, followed by 1 ½ Tbsp bacon, 1 Tbsp onions, 1 ounce Brie cheese and 1 Tbsp green onions. Repeat for the second portion.
  • Using a measuring cup, pour 3 ½ ounces egg mixture into ramekins. Use a tooth pick or a wooden skewer to lightly mix ingredients in baking cup.
  • Place ramekins into preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until custard is set. Remove from oven and cool slightly before removing from baking pan.

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Roasted Pear & Gorgonzola Stratta

Stratta

2/3 cup Newly Weds Foods English muffins, toasted or grilled, cubed
1 slice bacon, cooked and chopped
½ cup roasted pears, diced
3 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, small dice
7 ounces egg custard mixture

Egg Custard Mixture

20 ounces eggs, liquid or whole
10 ounces half & half cream
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • Place all custard ingredients into a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, mix all ingredients together until well blended.
  • Place into cooler until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Prepare ramekins by lightly greasing bottom and sides of pan.
  • Place 1/3 cup of prepared English muffins into the bottom of the ramekin, followed by 1 ½ Tbsp bacon, ¼ cup roasted pears, 1 ½ Tbsp Gorgonzola cheese and 1 Tbsp roasted red peppers. Repeat for the second portion.
  • Using a measuring cup, pour 3 ½ ounces egg mixture into each ramekin. Use a toothpick or a wooden skewer to lightly mix ingredients in a baking cup.
  • Place ramekins into preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until custard is set. Remove from oven and cool slightly before removing from baking pan.

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