Hummus Elite
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Glatt Kosher Middle Eastern / Mediterranean Cuisine
Is Kosher Food Better?
In recent years, consumption of kosher food by non-Jews in the United States has risen. The reason is health consciousness and a general perception among the American public that kosher is healthier and is in some way "better" than non-kosher food. This movement is helped by the recent trends toward greener, cleaner eating among Americans. Click here to learn more.
Eating Kosher for Health Reasons
Recent trends show that many Americans are going kosher. The switch, however, is not religiously motivated. Instead, many people are finding their way to kosher eating because of the health consciousness that it promotes. According to a survey done in 2008, of those who buy kosher regularly, 62% buy kosher for its quality, and 51% do so out of a desire to purchase healthier food. Click here to learn more.
About Kosher Certification
Kosher is a term that refers to the suitability of a food product for consumption by observant Jews. The concept of kosher comes from the Torrah, which states that anyone who consumes non-kosher food is infected by an unclean spirit.
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Kosher Gaining Popularity in the United States
Jewish laws called the Kashrut provide instructions regarding what foods are acceptable to include in a Jewish diet as well as how to prepare these foods according to the Kashrut. Food cannot be made kosher by having a rabbi simply bless the food. Instead, meats, fruits and vegetables have to be grown or prepared a certain way and remain clean of contaminating elements, such as insects and blood. Click here to learn more.
A Brief Overview of Kosher Food
Jewish laws called the Kashrut provide instructions regarding what foods are acceptable to include in a Jewish diet as well as how to prepare these foods according to the Kashrut. Food cannot be made kosher by having a rabbi simply bless the food. Instead, meats, fruits and vegetables have to be grown or prepared a certain way and remain clean of contaminating elements, such as insects and blood. Click here to learn more.
What Is Tahini Sauce?
Middle Eastern tahini sauce or paste differs from Asian tahini sauce due to using only the inner part of the sesame seed, or "husked" part, instead of the whole sesame seed. The slightly nutty, bitter flavor with which it provides a variety of dishes is culled from soaking sesame seeds is water, crushing the seeds and then soaking them in salt water. This forces the kernels to separate from the seeds and float to the surface, where they are gathered, ground and toasted to make an oily, creamy paste or sauce. Click here to learn more.
Top 10 Middle Eastern Spices
The Middle East is famous for its spicy, flavorful dishes mainly because Arabian spice traders once monopolized the market on spices and provided that region with access to just about every spice available. Spices were highly prized in the Middle Ages because food spoiled so quickly due to poor hygiene standards and appalling food preservation methods. Hundreds of years ago, spices helped to mask the flavor of foods that were less than fresh and made them more palatable. Some spices even helped prevent food from deteriorating so quickly in the hot summer months. Click here to learn more.
Four Classic Ways to Eat Pita Bread
Made with leavened wheat bread, water, salt and baked as a round piece of bread containing a pocket, pita bread is a staple of many Balkan, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. Pita bread gets its famous "pocket" when raw pita bread is baked and subjected to a steaming process that causes the dough to puff up in the middle of the bread. Eventually, it begins to flatten as it cools, leaving the famous pocket behind into which all kinds of foods are placed and eaten as a sandwich-type meal.
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Types of Kebab
Originally invented in Turkey and later spreading into Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine, kebab is now a favoritedish of peoples all over the world. However, the meaning of kebab in North America is different than Middle Eastern kebab, with American kebab referring specifically to shish kebab, or mainly meat chunks cooked and served while still attached to a skewer. Middle Eastern definitions of kebab include meat dishes that are roasted, stewed or grilled and served in bowls, on plates or as a sandwich. Meat traditionally used in Turkish kebab is lamb, with ethnic and local differences substituting seafood, goat, pork, beef, fish and chicken for lamb. Click here to learn more.
What is Glatt Kosher?
The Yiddish and German definition of glatt is “smooth”, but when used in reference to kosher cattle meat, glatt kosher indicates meat that is unblemished and defect-free due to the excellent condition of the animal's lungs. Sephardic Jews say animals that are not kosher exhibit lungs scarred with lesions or scabs (treif). Alternatively, Ashkenazic Jews hold the view that although defective lungs may be found, meat may still be considered kosher if lesions are removable and the lungs remain airtight. However, technically defined “glatt” animal lungs must pass the strict requirements established by Sephardic law in order for the meat to be genuinely considered “glatt kosher”. Click here to learn more.
What is Israeli Vegetable Salad?
Traditionally called salat yerakot yisraeli, this national dish of Israel is made of finely chopped lettuce, unpeeled cucumbers, red or green peppers, parsley, onions and tomatoes. Commonly used dressing ingredients include black pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Israeli vegetable salad, or just Israeli salad, is famous for using only the freshest of vegetables and chopping them into the finest, tiniest pieces possible. Distinguished kibbutz cooks are revered for their ability to chop vegetables, especially the cucumbers and tomatoes, into perfectly diced pieces. Click here to learn more.
Pita Bread in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Cuisine
Pita bread is a round piece of bread with a pocket created by puffs of steam during the baking process. This unique bread is widely consumed in the Middle East and the Mediterranean countries as well as Turkey, India and the Arabian Peninsula. Traditionally baked in very hot brick ovens, pita bread (Arabian name khubz), is made from wheat and slightly leavened, which allows the bread to create the hole for which it is famous. Written evidence of Arabs making khubz dates back to the 10th century and is found in a cookbook called the Kitab al-Tabikh. Click here to learn more.
Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet
Inhabitants of countries adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Albania, Italy, France, Turkey and Israel, traditionally consume a healthy diet rich in vegetables, seafood, herbs and fruits. Referred to as the Mediterranean Diet, these foods comprising the daily meals of those living in these nearby countries are naturally low in fat and calories, high in protein and contain lesser amounts of saturated fat than the typical Western diet. Click here to learn more.
  What is Kosher Food?
Foods considered “kosher” are foods that abide by the Jewish Halakhic laws, which describe foods permitted to be eaten by members of the Jewish faith according to statements found in Leviticus 11:1-47. Food considered “nonkosher” include meat taken from animals that were not properly (ritualistically) killed, along with any combination of milk, meat or grape juice (wine) that was not manufactured according to Halakhic laws. Click here to learn more.
  FAQs About Middle Eastern Cuisine
People living in Middle Eastern and West Asian countries consume a “Middle East” cuisine, a unique diet comprised primarily of hummus, falafel, tahini, tabouleh, baklava, pita bread, baba ghannouj, foul mudammes and lokum. Various meats and vegetables are also included in this diet which incorporates heavy use of olive oil and a diverse variety of pungent spices.
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  What is Hummus?
Favored in Middle Eastern countries as a delectable spread or dip for a variety of foods, hummus is made from chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) that have been cooked until tender and then mashed. Additional flavorings of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and tahini (ground sesame seed paste) are later added to the hummus as well. Click here to learn more.
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