Monday, December 3, 2007
A Snowy day / Un jour Enneigé
Snowy, chilly Sundays have a baffling effect on me. I spend endless minutes starring at the window, thinking about today’s schedule, how I hate my new haircut (and the woman who did this to my hair), how I’m craving dark chocolate right now and when I should start baking cookies and coconut domes for the gift baskets. Thoughts crowded in my head in such confusion and excitement that I end up getting up of bed all dizzy and wobbly.
Still in my pajamas and my Pooh the bear slippers, I go to the kitchen to find my dear and sweet hubby already lining up the breakfast on the table, and my daughter holding her bottle of milk and playing with her soccer ball.
I eat my granola and wonder how my hubby finds all this energy to talk in the morning. He takes advantage of my still-in-the-moon state of mind to talk politics and ask me some mathematic equations. I am all wobbly again.
By the time we get up of the table, it’s already eleven. My daughter takes her nap and I am back to the kitchen to start, or at least try to start my day. I look at the window and it’s snowing. I look at my fruit basket and find my ripe and ready to be eaten plantains pushed to the wall by apples and tangerines. They look so sad. I am so cold. We need each other. And since it’s Sunday and cooking easy meals on Sundays is my motto, fried plantains with a mix of spices were going to be our appetizer.
The mix of spices that I used here is called Zahtar (which means in Arabic Thyme). Zahtar is popular in The Middle East (especially Lebanon and Turkey) and in North Africa. It has a woody, warm and slightly bitter taste. It’s basically a mix of lightly toasted white sesame seeds, dried thyme and fennel seeds. Some might add chili flakes for the heat, sumac, dried oregano and cumin. You can also add some olive oil to the spice mixture to form a paste, spread on a pita bread, and toast until crisp. Zahtar is also a magnificent spice mixture for chicken and fish. Just rub and grill.
I can only imagine how wonderful it might be as a gift in your Christmas gift basket.
My hubby said it was the best plantains he has ever had. Oh! He knows how to melt my heart. The dish was supposed to be served as an appetizer, but we gulped it all down for our snack because it was a snowy and chilly Sunday.
- 2 ripe plantains
- Canola oil for deep-frying
For the zahtar:
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp sumac
- ¼ tsp chili flakes (or more to suite your taste)
- Kosher salt
In a shallow bowl, mix all the ingredients of the zahtar (excluding the salt) and set aside. Peel the plantains and cut them into fairly thick slices (1/2 inch). Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep pan to 350F, or until a cube of bread browns in 30-40 seconds.
Fry the plantains slices in batches, without crowding the pan and stirring so that they don’t stick together until golden brown. Drain on a double layer of kitchen paper.
While still warm, season them lightly with salt and place them in the zahtar bowl. Toss them thoroughly and serve immediately.
Bananes Plantains au Zahtar
In francais please:
- 2 banane plantain, bien mûres
- Huile végétale pour la friture
Pour le zahtar:
- 1 c.s graines de sésames, légerement grilles
- 1 c.s thym séché
- ½ c.c graines de fenouil
- ½ c.c sumac
- ¼ de flocon de chili (ou plus selon le goût
Dans un bol peu profound, mélanger tous les ingredients (sauf le sel) et mettre de côté.
Eplucher les bananes plantains et les couper en tranches relativement épaisses (1 cm). Faites chauffer l’huile de la friture dans une poêle assez profonde, jusqu’à ce qu’elle atteigne 180C, ou jusqu’à ce qu’un crouton, jeté dedans soit doré en 30-40 secondes.
Frire les bananas plantains par petites quantités a la fois, tout en mélangeant pour qu’elles ne collent pas les unes aux autres. Jusqu’a devenir bien dorées.
Faites bien égoutter les plantains sur du papier absorbant double. Continuer avec le reste des plantains
Alors que les plantains sont encore chaude, assaisonner légerement de sel et mettre dans le bol de zahtar. Mélanger le tout pour bien répartir les épices. Servir tout de suite.