Tonight my Anth 215 professor is hosting a Bedouin Mansef at her cabin in Heber. It'll be a little weird to hang out with these people outside of class, even though we all spend so much time together (most of them are in at least 3/4 of my classes). I'll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, here are two recipes for you:
Arabic Pocket Bread (Kuhbz Arabi)
From some book of Dr Finlayson's
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 (1/4-oz) pkgs active dry yeast (or 2 T)
1 T salt
About 6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted -I only needed 5 cups...though I'm not sure why
2 T vegetable oil -I used olive oil. It just seems healthier or something.
Pour warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water. Stir until dissolved. Add salt. Gradually add 6 cups of flour and oil, kneading constantly, until dough is smooth and elastic. If dough sticks to your hands, add more flour.
Place in a large greased bowl (I just used more oil). Turn dough to grease all sides. Cover with a dry cloth towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Now might be a good time to cook your eggplant if you want to use the oven to do so, and you're making Baba Ghannouj.
Punch down gently. Preheat oven to 375F. Divide dough into 24 equal portions; or, if larger pockets are desired, 12 portions. Mine only made 17 small portions, probably because I only used 5 cups of flour. Shape each portion into a smooth ball. Place on a floured surface. Sprinkle tops lightly with flour and cover with dry cloth towel. Let rest 15 minutes.
Grease baking sheets (Again, I just used some oil). Roll out each portion of dough to a six-inch circle or 14-inch for large. Place on prepared baking sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes for small pocket breads, and 12 to 15 minutes for large pocket breads or until bread puffs. If desired, place pale-side up under broiler to brown slightly (I didn't do this-- it seemed irrelevant) Place hot bread immediately in a plastic bag (Actually, I highly recommend you DO NOT do this. I put my first two directly in there and it melted the plastic. Yikes. Just let them cool a few minutes first, then put them in the bag. Or use tupperware or something, its more durable.)
Serve warm, or cool in bag and refrigerate.
Eggplant-Sesame Dip (Baba Ghannouj)
From some book of Dr Finlayson's
1 large eggplant
1/2 cup sesame-seed paste (tahini paste -don't confuse it with tsatsiki, they're completely different)
2 T vegetable oil or olive oil
Juice of two lemons (or 6 T)
2 garlic cloves, cut in halves
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Chopped parsley or pomegranate seeds, if desired (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 400F. Use a fork to pierce eggplant in several places. Place pierced eggplant on oven rack and bake for 1 hour or until soft. If using microwave oven, bake pierced eggplant at full power (HIGH) 5 minutes or until soft. Cool (it sort of takes a while, but if you don't mind burning your hands a little, you don't have to wait until it's completely cooled). Peel. Dice pulp into a blender or food processor. Add sesame-seed paste, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Process until mixture is smooth and pale. Spoon into a serving bowl. Garnish with parsley or pomegranate seeds, if desired. Makes about 2 cups.