Since I spend most of the year complaining about the intolerable heat here in the UAE,it would only be fair to share the precious few days of good weather that we’re having at the moment.
I am in love with anything and everything that is even remotely winter-ish :

Beautiful clouds that the sun enjoys setting on fire every morning!
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The cold morning breeze that finally justifies owning a jacket in the UAE!

Cloud formations that the kids and I spend the way to school weaving stories about, imaginary creatures, giant elephants(yes my son is still in love with elephants) and of course, dragons!
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Today’s quinoa salad is quick and easy. It is actually one of my go to lunches lately  topped with some grilled chicken or shrimp. The recipe is actually a copycat recipe for a salad we love at one of the local restaurants. The combination of colors, textures and flavors is so refreshing!

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This Turkish dip happens to be one of my all time favorite mezza, right after homemade hummus! It is smoky , packs a real flavor punch with layers of  herbs, nutty walnuts, sweetness from the sundried tomatoes and smokiness from the pepper. I love this on pita bread or with pita chips, as a dip with baby carrots or cucumbers, it is heavenly with lavash crackers, you can also use it as a topping for pizza or manakeesh.

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This spread plays on the same flavor notes as Muhammara but the flavors here are more intense because there is no bread crumbs to dilute them . I also love the refreshing herb and spice notes in this Turkish spread that are missing or less pronounced in Muhammara

Last month when I shared the final Daring kitchen challenge, I told you that I was planning on taking on the challenges that I missed or the ones that had happened before I joined the daring kitchen. Once a month, I will make one of the old challenge recipes and post it on the 27th of the month for old times sake (because the 27th was our assigned reveal date when the daring kitchen was active)

If you’d like to join me on this daring adventure, leave me a comment or email me and we can agree on next month’s challenge 🙂 You don’t have to be a blogger or have a blog. You just need to be daring and into trying something new 🙂

As you already know from the title, I chose to make lavash crackers (Sep 2008 challenge). I am addicted to lavash crackers especially the rosemary and sea salt ones and the cinnamon sugar and spice ones. I always buy them whenever I find them (usually at the farmer’s market and sometimes at IKEA). They are always super expensive, especially considering the fact that the ingredients that go into them are so cheap and readily available.Seeds and rosemary lavash crackers.jpg

Whenever I buy lavash crackers, I promise myself to find a great recipe and start making these at home but I never seemed to find the time to do it, until this month! When I went through the extensive Daring kitchen archive to pick a recipe, I came across the lavash crackers challenge and knew that THIS IS THE ONE!

Before getting to today’s recipe, please allow me to thank you …

After last week’s post I received so many  comments, messages and emails and I am truly at a loss for words. The kindness, concern and compassion that you have all showed was heartwarming and I deeply appreciate it. I am fine. I know so many of you were concerned that I sounded depressed or worse yet, desperate but I really wasn’t. I was just venting and I really appreciate the fact that you listened. Thank you.

I have been trying to write this post for a week! I was determined to finish it tonight, yet I have been staring at my screen for a couple of hours trying to figure out how to put into words the feelings that have overwhelmed me ever since the 9th of Nov.

I usually pride myself in my ability to use the English language to express myself despite the fact that it is not my mother language but for the first time in my life, I find myself at a loss for words. Unable to translate my thoughts and emotions into meaningful sentences! Cecilia so eloquently expressed in her post” I am an immigrant” how anyone who has lived through the experience of being an immigrant or an expat can relate to the deep rooted feelings of fear that the results of the American elections have stirred.

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When I shared my tips on how to create a middle eastern antipasto platter I got quite a few questions about the crackers in the background. There were two types of crackers, the first is the  raincoast cracker and the other small square shaped ones are actually my favorite way to use up almond pulp. 

Lately my news feed has been flooded with cheese boards and antipasto platters! There seems to be a memo that I had somehow missed saying that Sept was the month for cheese boards!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love cheese boards and antipasto platters, there is so much room for creativity in terms of color combinations, flavors, and presentation and I am all for anything that allows creativity to run wild. Added to that, cheese platters and antipasto platters allow you to enjoy a little bit of everything without going overboard! A win win situation in my book.

So in the spirit of joining the fun, I thought it would be a good idea to share my tips and ideas on how to prepare the perfect Middle Eastern antipasto platter but before I do, I think I need to explain the last word in my post’s title: “Mezze”

In the middle east, breakfast and dinner (remember,Lunch is the main meal here) are usually served in a style called mezze which means a selection of small dishes that are meant for sharing.The word  mezze actually comes from the Turkish meze “taste, flavour, snack, relish”, borrowed from Persian مزه (mazze “taste, snack” < mazīdan “to taste”)

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