In chapters focused on the distinctive flavors of the Middle East—bright, savory, spiced, nutty, and sweet—Christine Sahadi Whelan, culinary director of a storied New York City family-run grocery business, puts cooks at ease with staple ingredients such as harissa, pistachios, tahini, and halvah.
She notes, "I always know when the New York Times or Bon Appetit magazine has published a new Middle-Eastern inflected recipe because the store is inundated with customers clutching a clipping or peering at their phones as they peruse the shelves. looking for ras el hanout or orange blossom water. While I'm happy to sell them these trendy 'new' ingredients—most of which we have been carrying for decades—I know that once they have busted out that special dish for their next dinner party, these sought-after ingredients are likely to languish at the back of the pantry, forgotten and unused. I've lost count of the times I've been asked 'What can I do with the rest of the date molasses I bought?' or 'What else is Urfa pepper good for?'"
Flavors of the Sun is not a guide to classic dishes so much as it is a resource for making smart use of possibly unfamiliar ingredients in weeknight dishes, from winter squash with roasted pumpkin seeds to chicken with preserved lemon marinade. We give it points for practicality along with its imagination.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.