My inspiration after our dinner at Oleana persisted even after making my collage of Mediterranean colors shown in the last post. I took the chef, Ana Sortun's book Spice out of our local library and chose a few recipes to try yesterday.
I decided to make sweet potato bisteeya and a fatoush salad. I chose those recipes based on what my family likes (specifically my daughter who is quite picky but likes sweet potatoes and pie!) and on what I have in the fridge and storage. We still had some watermelon radish and savoy cabbage from our CSA (the farmer is the chef's husband). The recipe for the fatoush salad in the book was summer variety, but was easily adapted to ingredients I had on hand and found available locally.
Usually I make rather simple but tasty dishes, but these had lots of steps and ingredients.
The bisteeya required boiling of potatoes, sauteing onions and spices, and adding chopped herbs to make the filling.
The filling went into layers of filo dough stacked with a toasted pine nut mixture.
Together they looked like this.
Prior to baking like this.
The fatoush involved lots of washing, peeling and chopping vegetables, then making a vinegrette and a yogurt sauce.
Finally after what seemed like many, many hours of cooking, I plated up the dishes and called the family.
Alas, my son thought it was "OK." He's not really a sweet potato fan. He always likes salad, but didn't necessarily find this one unusual. My daughter wouldn't eat the pie. There were too many things she couldn't identify. My husband liked everything, but he likes my meals that take a lot less effort too. I enjoyed the complex flavors and light texture of the pie. The salad was bright and tasty. But, I certainly can understand why this is restaurant food. I would have enjoyed it more if I had a sous chef to help with the preparation and someone to wash the pots and utensils.
Happily, I invited a friend to join me for a lunch of the leftovers today. She was very appreciative, and I enjoyed the meal even more when I only had to do a little reheating a plating. YUM.