Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Za'atar / Zaatar - A Pleasant and Flexible Middle Eastern Spice Mix

Za'atar is a very tasty and easy-to-use Middle Eastern spice mix. There are a number of variants; e.g., Palestinian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Egyptian, and Israeli. Za'atar typically includes some or all of the following spices and herbs - thyme, sumac, oregano, roasted sesame seeds, salt, and roasted wheat. You can buy it already made or you can make it yourself. Za'atar is available at,, Middle Eastern grocery stores, etc. Recipes are easy to find on the Internet.

When I was a child, my mother used to mix it with olive oil and spread it on pita bread.

I recently decided to use it in various dishes I was preparing. I bought a 1 pound bag of Ziyad Brand Green Za'atar at Oasis Cafe in Sarasota for $4.99. This version contains roasted wheat, roasted thyme, ground sumac, and salt.  I have used it in three ways - as a rub on a rib eye steak, on roasted chicken thighs, and on grilled sweet peppers. Each time, I mixed it with olive oil. Each time, it was very tasty and very easy to use. The next time I use it, I will probably add oregano. 

One of the ways I intend to use it is on green beans.

I will probably also try it on pita bread soon. The Ziyad package has the following recipe for use on two pieces of pita bread - sprinkle 2 tbsp of za'atar on the bread, drizzle olive oil on the bread, then bake the bread at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

By the way, the pita bread typically sold in supermarkets does not begin to compare to the pita sold at good Middle Eastern stores. There is a world of difference.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sauteed Green Beans - Tasty & Super Easy

It never ceases to amaze me how many very easy delicious dishes there are. I recently used this ( sauteed green beans recipe as a side dish for a New York Strip Steak. The two dishes paired very well, and with the Chateau de la Huste Bordeaux Fronsac I served.

The only change I made was to use fresh green beans instead of frozen.


- 1 package (9 ounces) frozen cut green beans, thawed. I used fresh green beans, which I trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes


In a large skillet, sautée beans in butter for 4-5 minutes.

Add the onion and seasonings. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until heated through.

While this is supposed to yield 4 servings, it was so good, the two of us finished it off.