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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Eating In: A wide world of flavors dress up homemade meals, sandwiches and snacks

A pinch or two of a crushed red pepper named after the embattled city of Aleppo, Syria, where my parents were born, can elevate fish and egg dishes, such as this breakfast of organic eggs with Chinese broccoli, and leftover organic whole-wheat pasta with a ragu of sardines and anchovies.
Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto from Costco Wholesale brings the flavors of Italy (imported basil, grated cheese, extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts) to fresh wild cod from Iceland, served here with organic quinoa and a medley of vegetables. The refrigerated pesto also is terrific as a sandwich spread.


-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Crushed red Aleppo pepper, a fragrant pesto made from basil or mint, a fiery Mexican hot sauce; and za'atar, a dried thyme mixture, are some of the flavors from around the world I love to use in my meatless cooking, sandwiches and snacks.

A pinch or two of the mildly spicy Aleppo pepper can elevate any fish or egg dish, and you can sprinkle it over a hummus made with plenty of lemon and garlic. 

My source for Aleppo pepper and canned hummus from Lebanon is Fattal's at 975 Main St. in Paterson, a Syrian bakery, grocery and butcher shop with its own parking lot.

See this video for a falafel sandwich that reveals multiple layers of flavor as you eat more and more of it:





I've been on a no-bread, no-pizza diet for years, but an occasional guilty pleasure is the toasted end of a loaf of Dave's Killer Bread, an organic loaf with 21 grains or seeds sold at Costco, spread with a homemade mint pesto.
A small Za'atar Bread from Fattal's Cafe is another guilty pleasure. I had the bread in the freezer, but warmed it up in the oven and drizzled olive oil over the dried mixture: thyme, sour-tasting sumac, sesame seeds and salt.
Kimbap (seaweed-and-rice rolls) and Cabbage Kimchi add a spicy Korean accent to a simple egg-white omelet.
My wife rubbed a Jamaican Jerk Sauce into antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed chicken wings from ShopRite, and roasted them until they were a golden brown. The chicken is sold under the Wholesome Pantry label.
Greek extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Italy are all the dressing I need on my almost nightly salad of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix with hothouse cucumbers and Campari Tomatoes, all from Costco.
Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce from Guadalajara, Mexico, is a modestly priced sauce that doesn't obliterate the taste of your food, if used sparingly (the "extra hot" version has a black label).
I like to use Valentina with the Jamaican national dish, Ackee and Salt Fish, which combines salted cod with hot and sweet peppers, a bland fruit called ackee and a side of boiled and mashed green bananas.