Hi readers! We’re excited to introduce a new Kitchen Council member, Meg van der Kruik of This Mess is Ours. Every day, Meg shares tales from her modern family table on her site and we know you are going to love her inventive approach to cooking meals for her family. Her “mess” is in making meals where food allergies and dietary preferences all work at the same table, and like every mom out there, must do so in as little time as possible. Meg’s first Stem blog post tackles a hot food trend for 2018 – Middle Eastern cuisine. We can’t wait to bite into this one, and hope you’ll enjoy it too.
Having two school-aged kids at home makes traveling the world to try new flavors and cultural experiences a bit difficult for us. However, I can easily turn our family table into a worldly affair any night of the week! Case in point, last week we shared a delicious dinner of Apple and Halloumi Flatbreads that really showcased some delicious Middle Eastern flavors that everyone at our table went nuts for.
These flatbreads practically touch on every flavor and texture note you could ask for in a meal, and have a few new-to-us Middle Eastern-inspired ingredients my family was super excited to try. Let’s break them down, shall we?
Salty: One of my favorite ingredients in these Apple, Halloumi, and Labneh Flatbreads is the pan-seared halloumi cheese. Halloumi is a salty, semi-hard goat and sheep milk cheese popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a high melting point that makes it suitable for grilling or pan frying, and cooks up in less than three minutes which means this meal hits the table in a flash.
Sweet: I chose Stemilt’s Piñata® Apples for these flatbreads because they’re a flavor explosion for the taste buds. They have a bit of a sweet meets tart tropical vibe to them that we just love. And they bring a much needed crispness to these flatbreads.
Tart: Greek yogurt is pretty much a staple in our home. But, did you know that you can easily transform Greek yogurt into the popular Middle Eastern dish labneh simply by straining it through cheesecloth in your fridge for a few days? This process turns it into a super thick, creamy spread that has more of the consistency of cream cheese rather than yogurt. In a pinch though, I bet these flatbreads would be pretty delish with Greek yogurt straight from the tub as-is too!
Bitter: When it comes to the bitter bite arugula brings to these flatbreads, either you’re a fan or you aren’t. Our kid’s palettes aren’t quite ready for arugula yet, so they skipped this ingredient on their flatbreads, but my husband and I loved it paired with Stemilt’s sweet Piñata® Apples. Not a fan of bitter flavor notes? You can replace the arugula with baby spinach instead.
Sour: Pomegranate is often used in Middle Eastern cuisine and we’re big fans of its one-two punch of sweet and sour flavors. Those little bursts of flavor really come through in each bite of these flatbreads.
Spice: Don’t let the vibrant red hue of those Aleppo pepper sprinkles fool ya, this popular Middle Eastern pepper isn’t really that hot at all. It just adds the aroma and essence of a spicy pepper without going overboard on the Scoville units. Our kids were even into it and didn’t run screaming for a glass of milk after they took a bite!
If the flavor profiles in these Apple, Halloumi, and Labneh Flatbreads don’t entice you to try them for yourself maybe the prep time will…not counting the process to make the labneh, these babies take less than 15 minutes to put together which means you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the family table with your loved ones.