October Unprocessed 2015: Ancient Ingredients For Modern Day Cooking

October Unprocessed 2015 - Use Ancient Ingredients - Za'atar, Sumac, Nigella Seeds - to inspire your modern day cooking

Za’atar (L), Sumac (UR), Nigella Seeds (LR) (Sumac and Za’atar photos by Stewart Putney, courtesy of Edible Silicon Valley.)

For the sixth year in a row, I am proud to be a guest blogger for Eating Rules October Unprocessed 2015 Food Challenge. Almost 5500 people have taken the pledge so far! This year I’m sharing three ancient ingredients — za’atar, sumac, and nigella seeds — that can transform your modern day cooking. Sometimes all you need to get out of your cooking rut is a little sprinkle of inspiration. I explain what these three ingredients are, how to cook with them, where to buy them, and share lots of ideas for recipes that incorporate them.

Head over to Andrew Wilder’s blog EatingRules to read the full post and spend some time browsing the rest of the site to find healthy unprocessed choices even for families with a fast-paced schedule. And if you missed my previous posts for October Unprocessed 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 you can find the links here: Family-Friendly Healthy Snacks, the Healing Properties of FoodMake-at-Home Fast FoodNew Cuisines, New Ingredients, How to Make Date Syrup.

Remember yummy, healthy, easy, and fast are not mutually exclusive adjectives in your kitchen!

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6 Responses to October Unprocessed 2015: Ancient Ingredients For Modern Day Cooking

  1. Little Cooking Tips October 25, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    It was so great seeing again your newsletter in our mailbox dear Beth!:) How are you? We read your wonderful article for the 3 spices! We actually never heard of za’atar before, which is a bit strange as many Middle-eastern spices are available in spices stores here in Athens. We’ll ask the store manager the next time we visit our favorite one.
    We’ve used sumac, mostly in ground meat blends in the past and you’re right, it’s exquisite! We actually call blends of ground beef/pork/lamb “kebap” here, to distinguish from the mpiftekia, soutzoukakia and other ground meat variations that we have in our cuisine:)
    We were surprised to see the “black cumin”, nigella in the post (since it’s rarely mentioned in recipes anymore). We call this μελάνθιον (melanthion), literally meaning black flower:) What is the Hebrew word for this (if you heard it in Hebrew)?
    Look at us, we’re writing and writing. We’ll stop here:)
    Have a BEAUTIFUL Sunday Beth!
    Lots of sunshine from Athens!
    Panos and Mirella

    • Beth Lee October 25, 2015 at 9:48 am #

      It’s so great to hear from you guys! You have made my day, my weekend, maybe my month! I feel bad that I’ve been unable to get any posts up since June – I’ve tried to keep up in social media but life has just been so hectic that I haven’t been able to focus long enough to get posts up. Nothing really bad, just a lot of things happening all at once. But I’ve been taking a lot of photos and keeping notes. Stay tuned in your inbox — I’m coming back!

      How is everything in Greece? You’ve certainly had plenty to deal with economically over there – hope you are getting through all of that without too much stress.

      So glad you enjoyed the 3 ingredients! You must get some za’atar – I know you will love it. As for the nigella seeds – I don’t know the Hebrew word but I think they are such a fun flavor to add to something as simple as some grilled naan or roasted vegetables. And if they are really that good for you, well all the better!

      Not much sunshine here yet today but we need rain so badly that I cannot complain about clouds – though they are only bringing colder temps and wind so far – no rain. Pray for us – the drought is really bad here in California.

      Thanks again for your warm and uplifting note! Greece is high on my list of places to visit – I hope we can meet in person when I finally get there!

      • Little Cooking Tips October 25, 2015 at 10:35 am #

        We were so glad to see your reply Beth! Of course it would be delightful to meet in person if you manage to visit Greece!:)
        As for the situation here, it’s actually horrific in economic terms, the crisis seems to be deepening more and more as the years go by, people are left unemployed for years and some of them even commit suicide (none of that usually reaches the media abroad). We don’t think the whole situation will improve any time soon, it seems that something radical must be done (either leaving the euro or at least delaying the debt payments for some years seems to be needed). Ourselves are among the lucky ones with relatively “safe” jobs at the moment, so we can more less live with dignity:)
        As for the few posts, we totally get it. We’re also in the process of looking out for a new place to move into, so we are constantly meeting with realtors, looking at ads etc. Add the office workload on top of that and you get the picture:)
        We hope the winter won’t be very harsh and you’ll get the rains that are so much needed. We actually had a tornado in Athens (!) last week (look in the web for videos of the past week). The weather seems to be getting crazy doesn’t it?:)
        Have a beautiful week dear Beth!

        • Beth Lee October 25, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

          And you as well Panos and Mirella.

          A tornado? OMG! I am a bit fearful of what our rain will be like when it finally comes but at this point, we just need rain.

          I am so sorry for the economic distress and truly hope Greece sees some relief soon. I am glad to hear that you are a bit insulated. Good luck with the house search and let’s stay in touch!

  2. Velva November 9, 2015 at 5:33 am #

    Hi Beth- I really enjoyed meeting you at the conference. I am looking forward to enjoying your blog.

    I have seen some fabulous recipes using sumac and had this on my list to try to find in my local area. These are wonderful Middle eastern spice blends which bring dishes to a new level. Thanks for sharing with you readers.


    • Beth Lee November 10, 2015 at 8:28 am #

      Hi Velva – thanks for stopping by – I really enjoyed meeting you as well – best part of the conference – seeing old friends and making new ones. I’m looking forward to enjoying your wisdom and recipes as well. Also – please order some sumac or find a local source – you’ll love it!

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