Tastes

Flavors: Chocolate Date Torte

Flavors: Chocolate Date Torte

This see-through date is also known as “the translucent;” in Arabic, noor means light. Not long ago, at a long, lazy lunch, I enjoyed delicious North African—inspired date and prune torte enrobed in smooth chocolate, not unlike this one.
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Five Centuries of Jerusalem Soup

Five Centuries of Jerusalem Soup

Nearly 470 years ago, the wife of the Ottoman sultan founded this soup kitchen as an endowed religious charity. Ever since, its cooks have arrived before dawn to begin simmering soup to ladle out later to all who come looking for a warm lunch.
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Spice Migrations: Ginger

Spice Migrations: Ginger

Native to lands across Southeast Asia, ginger has long been used there and across the Middle East and North Africa in savory dishes, while Europeans and Americans have more recently popularized it in sweets. In Detroit, Michigan, chef Warda Bouguettaya does both.
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Spice Migrations: Cumin

Spice Migrations: Cumin

Aromatically sharp, earthy and haylike, cumin is essential in cuisines from Asia to Latin America. It is also one of the world’s oldest spices, one that has served as a remedy, a seasoning and a commodity for nearly 4,000 years.
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Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

In a time before the convenience of julienne slicers and store-bought peeled and slivered nuts, kabuli palaw was time-consuming and elaborate to prepare and was reserved primarily for ceremonial events. These days, although it takes less time to make, it still commands reverence. The delicate blend of spices and a crowning glory of glistening carrots, raisins and nuts give kabuli palaw pride of place among Afghan rice dishes.
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Spice Migrations: Cloves

Spice Migrations: Cloves

Stems like tacks, buds like gems and scented so richly that their sweet redolence wafted far out to sea, cloves have come to the kitchen from the island of Ambon, the archipelago of Zanzibar, and many places between and beyond.
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Flavors: Spinach and Ginger Salad

Flavors: Spinach and Ginger Salad

I have childhood memories of my mother making this for me and telling me about its beneficial health effects!

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Spice Migrations: Nutmeg

Spice Migrations: Nutmeg

In the Banda Islands, picking, peeling, drying and selling nutmeg to Arab and other traders was an aromatic business for centuries until the Dutch arrived. Nutmeg’s early fans used it more for health than cooking, but today it’s a kitchen staple, used in the West mainly in desserts but elsewhere in both sweet and savory dishes.

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Flavors: Fresh Thyme Pie (Za'tar Akhdar)

Flavors: Fresh Thyme Pie (Za'tar Akhdar)

Spreading the toppings evenly across the dough takes practice. Too much or too little of the topping makes a big difference. I found that the best way to spread the toppings on different pies is with your hands.
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