Archive | June, 2011

Dining out: al-Falaha Restaurant in Ein Areek

5 Jun

Another special place to eat outside of the “big city” of Ramallah is al-Falaha Restaurant. It is a traditional place specializing in one meal — musakhan. Musakhan is a Palestinian dish featuring roast chicken.

It is placed on hearty flatbread with caramelized onions and lots of red sumac, a lemon-flavored grated spice.

Part of what makes al-Falaha worth the trip is the landscape it is situated in. Located in the village of Ein Areek, the restaurant is nestled between the road and terraces of olive trees and wildflowers.

Though it does get blazingly hot in the peak of summer, ceiling fans and Palestinian-made Taybeh beers served in frosted mugs help moderate the heat.

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Learning to Cook

2 Jun

This book excerpt from Mark Bittman captures a lot of what I enjoy about cooking and reflects some of the process I am going through as I learn to cook. I probably am bouncing between levels 3 and 4, depending on my familiarity and confidence with a cuisine or technique, though I still do often follow recipes slavishly the first time I prepare a new type of dish.

I did learn to cook from my family as I grew up. This was similar to what Bittman describes — very rarely did I get explicit lessons on what to do and measurements of ingredients. It was more about my parents putting meals together and my watching their daily example.

It seems like cooking is more of a deliberate activity now, seen as something to do because you particularly like food or saw something interesting on the Food Network (or its Arabic-language equivalent, Fatafeat.) But that seems to change once you become responsible for feeding others. At this point, I’m enjoying the cooking and the eating, especially as it is an opportunity to explore the environment and community I live in and to find ways to make favorites far from home.