I remember one time walking out of Hamra street, a once vibrant street in Beirut, during the last days of winter and seeing a vendor with styrofoam boxes overflowing with lump-like things held together with clear tape.
The first time I saw these sandy-stone-like produce I thought they were the world prized truffles with the amazing flavor and the unique aroma. I made risotto and shaved* some of those on top. I even buried one in a jar of short grain rice to fragrance it for risotto.
*shaved, more like crumbled it on the box grater’s slicer side only to get grains of sand later with every bite because I didn’t clean them well
Only later did I learn that these truffles are not the same thing.
These beautiful spores are called Desert Truffles. They are harvested not using dogs or pigs like western truffles but by roaming the desert landscapes (not desert dunes, but bare lands with rare vegetation) looking for bumps and cracks in the land. They dig their hands down and pull out the sand hoping there’s a something worthy in there.
A couple of weekends ago, I had the chance to hide among the tall fava bean plants and dive deep to collect the long green pods.
I also kneeled down the search for the fresh pea pods hiding underneath barricades of pea vines. I stepped on numerous ones, despite being careful, attempting to reach a handful of pods sunbathing together in the open.
I go back to the archive and see what recipes should I make and add to keep a variety. I find that I should no longer post any salad recipe. But HOW CAN I? I LOVE SALADS
Mind you, when I say SALAD, I don’t mean lettuce and tomato and cucumber. This is a plain old [BORING] salad.
My salads are usually fun and exciting as I use ingredients that are not typical in restaurants. I love mixing between grains like lentils and freekeh, and big filling vegetables like zucchinis, carrots, peppers, and radishes, and leafy greens like the superfood spinach and rockets leaves and chards. All those are things you can easily get in the produce shops with an average price tag.
How many of you look up superfood recipes online dreaming of getting all this goodness and instantly becoming “healthy” after swiping that credit card to fill your trunk?
It’s not like that darling.
Having a cupboard full of chia seeds, flaxseeds, oats, maple syrup, agave, olive oil, quinoa, and kale doesn’t turn you into a fitness guru and doesn’t make you healthier.
We can see the rings around your belly; Your donut.
I see you storing those in the kitchen and lashing out on a jar of that hazelnut spread crap you all like. Oh yes I did! Sue me!!!