Archive 2008 - 2019

Day 186

by Sarah R. Commerford

If I had any resolve at all, I'd be finishing our taxes. But let's face it, when it comes to doing taxes, it takes very little to distract me from the pain. So, it's a good thing I happened on this A-mazing recipe for garlic, thyme and lemon pita bread from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), because one more minute of number crunching and sifting through piles of paper (hello, husband? thanks so much for the wad of gas receipts), would have done me in.

I will NEVER buy pita bread again. This was super easy - the whole process took about 45 minutes from start to finish. And, if I could only describe the combination of lemon, garlic, olive oil and thyme, you'd high-tail it to your kitchen to try. But I can't. Words fail me - it's that sublime. I had it for lunch with a dish of humus, topped with parsley, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil. And tomorrow morning, I'll toast it for breakfast. What taxes?


Map Courtesy of Lonely Planet

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a country in the South East part of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf. The country shares its borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia and its maritime borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iran. The UAE constitutes a federation of seven emirates, which are each governed by a hereditary emir and a single national president. The earliest human evidence dates back to 550 BC. Trade in this beautiful country mainly consisted of copper, then later camels, pearls and wares brought by seafaring merchants. Until gaining independence and a constitution in 1971, the country was ruled by the Portuguese, followed by Europeans until the UK formed the Trucial States in the 19 century. Now, a powerful and oil rich country, the UAE is home to a strong economy and plentiful natural resources, as well as resurgence of nearly extinct animals like the Arabian oryx, leopards, coastal fish and mammals. Islam is the country's official religion and Arabic the language.

Owing to the country's dry climate, vegetables are grown, but are not a significant part of the diet, which is a blend of Middle Eastern and Asian traditions. Meat, grains, dairy, sea food, chicken, goat, mutton and lamb are all enjoyed, usually in the form of stews or grilled meats and kebabs. Saffron, cardamom, turmeric, thyme are the primary spices that flavor the food. Delicious yeast breads, rice, cheese, dates and date syrup, eggs and sesame seeds as well as kabsa, falafel, shawarma, kebobs and tea are just a sampling of the rich and interesting culinary variety this country offers.











Garlic, Thyme and Lemon Pita Bread (Recipe Adapted from Celtnet)

Ingredients: 6 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
2 tsp dried thyme, ground to a powder
2 tbsp finely-grated lemon zest
4-4-1/4 cup white flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
4 tsp. dried, active, yeast
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 -1/2 warm water (about)

Fry the garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil until just browned then transfer the garlic and oil into your mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 425 F and place your baking tray in there to keep warm.
Mix all the dry ingredients together (including the yeast) and add to the bowl containing the fried garlic, along with the thyme and lemon zest.
Add the oil and half the water and mix together.
Now add just enough water so that the ingredients come together as a soft, pliable, dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for half an hour. Once the time is up, divide the dough into five balls. Use a rolling pin to roll each one of these into flat ovals about 1/8-inch thick (ie pita bread shapes).
Wrap any remaining dough in plastic wrap so they don't dry out.
Take the hot baking tray out of the oven, lie your two pita breads on the tray and immediately replace in the oven. Bake for about 4–5 minutes, or until risen and only just colored.
Immediately remove from the tray and leave to cool under a cloth (this prevents them from drying).
You can either freeze until later or re-heat that day to eat. Continue cooking the remaining pita breads until all six are done.