You’re vegetarian; what will you eat in Dubai?
When we visited Chile with Alfredo’s UCLA classmates in 2008, we went to a Resort & Spa and had a large BBQ / roast pig & chicken & steak feast—BBQs & rows of tables tucked under a lush canopy of trees. There were 4 vegetarians in our group of 50. A server came up to me, holding a plate piled with colorful roasted & raw vegetables, fresh fruit, breads, rice, etc etc., and she asked, Are you vegetable woman? Yes— yes, I am vegetable woman.
I am the salad.
There are lots of vegetarian options here. Favorites include Lebanese restaurants with their za’atar & breads & muhammara — below is the recipe I’ve used. [If you want more recipes, and/or want to share recipes, email me and I’ll add you to my recipe library, so you can edit & contribute to it, please.]
There are many British pubs, meaning greasy chips, hold the fish, and mushy peas. When we traveled to Venice for our honeymoon, we had a quick layover at the Heathrow airport where we ordered a large dish of mushy peas. Joss Stone was playing over the restaurant’s speakers. Every time I hear Fell in Love with a Boy I crave mushy peas. Every time I eat mushy peas, I crave Joss Stone.
Two nights ago, I was on a 10:45pm grocery run in search of molasses for a friend who wanted to add it to his birthday chili dinner. Found honey, brown sugar & BBQ sauce/mostly molasses. At the checkout: Do you sell molasses? What’s that? It’s sort of a liquid brown sugar. Did you find any? No. Then we don’t sell it.
There was a British man in line. Do you sell pickled eggs? What that? Well, they’re eggs…that are pickled. Did you find any? No. Then we don’t sell it. I can’t find them anywhere in Dubai. I said, you could make them. Give me your card & I’ll experiment. (post to write: Can you drink in Dubai?) I’m going to make my millions here selling pickled eggs to British expats.
What is found everywhere: freshly squeezed fruit juices & smoothies (beet & celery juice is big here—hard to get excited about that when there’s fresh orange, pineapple, apple, pomegranate, strawberry, peach, blackberry–separate or combination). Lots of vegetarian Indian & Thai curries, quinoa salads, and many desserts–thank you, France: crepes, waffles, croissants, pastries, cakes…
On April 13, I went to the art galleries (my favorite exhibition: Discovering Visions Within a Trapped Memory—(a post to write: my day at the art district), I had this afternoon snack at the Lime Tree Cafe: blackberry & lime juice with a ginger cake. Once Lime Tree Cafe sets up their wi-fi, I will live there.
Finally purchased things for the kitchen and have been able to start cooking again. Been enjoying going to the various grocery stores and wandering the aisles, looking for the familiar and not. Good avocados are the most difficult & expensive thing to find. Overheard an American on his cell/mobile at TECOM’s Park n Shop: “Honey, none of the avocados are ripe for tonight. What should I do?”
A lot of produce is imported from Australia and Holland. The organic carrots, bell peppers (capsicum), & sweet potatoes I bought the other day all came from California.
Oh, California. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see at least one person—usually 2 or 3— walking by wearing a t-shirt printed with some variation of CALIFORNIA. This was the main display at one of the stores in the Mall of the Emirates (MOE):
Los Angeles AND San Francisco’s Sunset district. You tease. You taunt. You make me a touch homesick. (A post to write: Where are you from?) How disappointed would everyone be to know that the Sunset district is one of the most fog-socked sections of The City? California is such a brand that everyone buys—thank you ad men, Mad Men: “California has loomed over the show like a smiling threat.” I’m excited the new season started. But I digress.
Except to say, I like truthful love best heart beautiful imagine the advertisements here in Dubai. Look for a full post on ads. Probably many posts. It’s a feast of abstract nouns. I savor each dish. Delicious.
Alfredo keeps talking about growing a new starter, so he can make bread. I can’t wait for that, so I can make this:
From Pure Vegan; Joseph Shuldiner; Chronicle Books, 2012; pg 68
½ cup raw walnuts (2 ounces)
¼ cup raw pine nuts (1 ounce)
3 red bell peppers (roasted) or 1 jar drained roasted peppers
¾ cup dried bread crumbs
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbs pomegranate molasses
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs Aleppo pepper (or substitute: 2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika + 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper)
1 tsp ground cumin
⅓ cup EVOO
freshly ground black pepper
In a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts and pine nuts, shaking the pan frequently, until fragrant, about 5 min.
Roast peppers or drain jar.
In food processor, combine lemon juice, roasted peppers, nuts, bread crumbs, garlic, pomegranate molasses, Aleppo pepper, and cumin. Process until smooth, scrape sides. Add EVOO and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Season with salt & pepper, pulse once more to combine.
Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with extra olive oil or lemon juice and whole pine nuts.
Serve with warm bread—preferably Alfredo’s.
Soundrack: Tom Waits, Grapefruit Moon