Parsley salad

Parsley’s potential as a vegetable has always been acknowledged by the cultures of the Levant. It’s used in a variety of ingenious ways. It’s the prime ingredient for tabouli, holding forth over bulgur wheat. And most Persians, Armenians, Arabs, Israelis, Ottomans, Zoroastrians, Coptics and Kurds have home versions of parsley cucumber salads. Over there it gets its true due. They treat it not just as a sprig that is seen and not eaten, but as a mature vegetable worthy of critical attention.

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Cauliflower with Harissa

Treating a cauliflower to a two-hour roast is a fair way to go. But, If you don’t have two to spare, yet, you have a cauliflower, and, perhaps, a jar of harissa in the fridge, you have the makings of a beautiful side dish — or with a parsley salad, a light meal in itself. Add some lamb chops or a plate of merguez sausage and you’re approaching mini feast. Continue reading “Cauliflower with Harissa”



This simple North African condiment should be a part of everyone’s culinary closet. Like an exotic scarf dangling from a hook waiting to be coiled around your neck, you can accessorize with harissa and add a splash of color, spice and mystery to the dullest of meals.

It should hang with your condiments in the fridge waiting and ready for anything that might come its way. It goes with most of what I have, with everything that I love and it’s easy to make. Continue reading “Harissa”

Gentleman’s Relish

Breathe your inner dragon.

A couple of weeks ago, I was roused from my bed by a recipe for anchovy butter penned by Sam Sifton of the New York Times. It brought back memories of a breakfast I once had in London in a depressing hotel in Earls Court. I was in transit— on my way to look for a job in Spain. It’s amazing how the memory of a meal, a bleak one at that, can linger dormant under the skin for years and then flare up with the stroke of a journalist’s pen.

The dining room had the remains of former splendor. It had been divided and subtracted more than once and was reduced to a cramped, damp room with four or five tables. It had a stained ceiling, peeling cornices and a bricked up fireplace. An electric fire buzzed in the corner. Nobody spoke. The pale server was decked out in black and white from shoe to hat. Continue reading “Gentleman’s Relish”