Middle Eastern CuisineMiddle East Feast
We’ve done our share of traveling. Without seeming too, well, "been there, done that," it’s not our first rodeo. Gushing is never attractive; however, we don’t think it’s over the top to describe dining in the desert under a star-filled sky as impressive. The quiet makes anything seem possible. Lounging next to the Arabian Sea, with dunes at your back and miles of sand in either direction, maybe it is. Our menu, a Middle Eastern mix, will hopefully bring back that taste of the impossible.
Find yourself a bit parched, surrounded by desert sand, silky as it may be? Relief is only a few shakes away, thanks to this gin and juice combo.
Yield: 1 cocktail
Add sugar, water, ginger, and cardamom to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Shut off heat, and set aside for 1 hour. Strain, and refrigerate in an airtight container until thoroughly chilled.
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add 1/2 oz simple syrup, gin, grapefruit and lemon juices. Shake vigorously, and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of grapefruit.
Eggplant can be tricky to prepare – either too greasy or too mushy or just plain dry. This technique is an easy fix, and healthy, too, since it’s light on the oil.
Yield: 4–6 servings
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise, and place skin-side down on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Make 7 (1 1/2-inch) slices in each half of eggplant.
Add oil to a sauté pan on medium-low heat. Add garlic and za’atar, and cook until garlic is lightly browned. Add lemon juice, and mix. Take a spoonful of garlic-oil mixture, and stuff inside where eggplant is sliced. Repeat process until each slice is stuffed with garlic-oil mixture. Brush top of eggplant with remaining oil from pan, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until eggplant is very soft and lightly browned, about 40–50 minutes.
Oman’s scorching temps suppress the appetite, but passing on this refined salad is like saying “no” to an upgrade from a suite to a villa – it’s just not possible.
Yield: 4 servings
Add grapefruit and lime juices, mustard, honey and shallots to a bowl. Whisk, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add lobster to a bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over lobster, and mix. Add parsley and chives, and mix.
Bring vinegar, sugar, water, peppercorns and mustard seeds to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat. Add mushrooms to an airtight container. Pour vinegar mixture over mushrooms, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.