I’m addicted to Dukkah. It’s a funny name, no? Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mixture made of roasted, coarsely ground nuts (hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios) and fragrant spices (coriander, sesame seeds, cumin, chili pepper, etc.)
Different variations of this mixture is found all over the Middle East and North Africa. While I’m not an expert in their foods, I have a feeling that each family has their own signature concoction of Dukkah, varying in the type of spices or nuts used. I was introduced to this aromatic condiment by my good friend and amazingly talented Chef Jeremy of Cork Restaurant in Sarasota. BTW, if you haven’t been to Cork – it is the best new restaurant in town and you simply must go. Chef Mac & Jeremy perform magic and go to the utmost extreme to make sure you have an amazing meal.
Jeremy generously gave me a huge canister of the spice mixture.I begged, bribed and pleaded for the recipe, but no recipe. So I simply asked his lovely wife Jules to nag the crap out of him until he released his secret. It worked. And I’m sharing it with you. By the way, Jules is a professional opera singer. One of her past gigs was playing Maria (Julie Andrews) in the National Tour of Sound of Music. Let me just take a moment to tell you how frickin’ talented this woman is. I had her over at my house when Sound of Music was playing on TV – and HOLY WHISKERS ON KITTENS! it was like having Maria herself sitting next to me on the couch singing!.
Ok. back to Dukkah.
I’ve installed another new feature on the blog, called Smell-a-Blog. Just put your nose really close to the screen and sniff. It will instantly transport you on a spice trail to Egypt. Don’t worry about looking stupid…nobody’s watching. I promise…just breathe it in:
Roast your nuts in 350F for about 15 minutes or until fragrant. Watch the nuts – don’t burn! After cooling, rub as much of the skins off as possible. Rough chop the nuts in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse the food processor until they are fully incorporated. Cool, store in container with tight lid on countertop. I promise it won’t last long – you’ll use it on everything! Try sprinkling on salads, steamed vegetables, roasted chicken, fish or shrimp, topping for a roasted garlic & broccoli soup,
Notes: I have never used Malden salt, which is large, flaky and light. Since I can’t find at stores here nearby, I’d substitute sea salt. I haven’t had time to do research on Malden salt – does anyone know much about it – and how much sea salt to substitute with? In the meantime, I’d start with 1/2oz of sea salt, taste and then adjust.
Here are two of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy this condiment:
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Trim cauliflower florets. Toss with olive oil
2. Roast for 15-20 minutes until top edges are golden brown. Season with just a bit of sea salt. Just before serving, sprinkle with Dukkah.
Take a piece of pita, naan or bread, dip in beautiful olive oil and then touch the nut/spice mixture.
By the way, this is a Baby No Knead Wheat Bread with 1/2c whole wheat + 2 1/2c bread flour. After its little nap, I divided the dough in half. One part was wrapped and frozen, the other was baked for 25 minutes covered, 12 minutes uncovered.
I can finally see! Today’s post-op checkup was A-OK and I now have 20/20 vision.
More details, you ask?
Ok. I’m only going to warn you ONCE. If you’ve got shitty eyes and are thinking about Lasik surgery. DO NOT READ ON. Go suck on a lollipop or something but don’t read any further.
DUUUDE. I told you not to read on. Second warning, ok? If you are as blind as Britney Spears’ wardrobe designer, then just RUN. GO AWAY. GO SKIN A DONKEY. RECITE THE ALPHABET. BACKWARDS. WHILE SKYDIVING.
DO NOT CLICK ANYWHERE. THERE IS NO NEXT PAGE.
(pssst…all you 20/20 guys…click here)
Ok, so the surgery went really well. However, if someone sat me down and told me a play-by-play…I might have chickened out. My husband, Scott, had it done years and years ago, and he told me, “Oh, its SO easy. Just a look at the blinky light and (zap) a little tiny laser does its job. A few seconds and you’re done.” Boy, I can do that! In fact, my brother and I used to play with those laser pens and point at each others eyes all the time! (oh. um. maybe that’s why my vision tanked)
Great! Ok, so surgery set. What made even more appealing was that they gave me some happy pills 15 minutes before I was scheduled to go under the laser. Happy! Pills! Yeah! Yippee! Puppies! Butterflies! Creme Brulee!
No fear. Piece of cake….that is…until….the machine decided to go bezerk. Doc had to re-calibrate the machine again, which took an HOUR. But by then, my happy pills wore off.
WTF?!? Re-calibrate….what does that mean? Did a part fall off? Got infected with spyware or virus? Who the fuck was surfing porn again on the Lasik machine?
Great Mother of Buddha. breathe. suck in. 1 2 3 blow out. suck in. 1 2 3 blow out. Someone get me an epidural!!!
Cheerful nurse: “Ok! All fixed! Machine’s cookin’ again!”
Me: happy thoughts. happy thoughts. suck in. 1 2 3 blow out.
Doc: “Just relax. It’s fine.” He gives me one of those small stress ball for my hands – as if THAT little ball would prevent me from FLIPPING OUT while my eyelids were held hostage, eyeball sliced open and a laser “cooked” my cornea!!
In the end….it was fine….but only after I made myself breathe through my mouth so I wouldn’t experience the distinct smell of my own burning eyeballs. And Scott was right, it was only a few seconds. Doc gave me more happy pills and I went home. Plus, I got cool goggles to wear for 24 hours!
Don’t I look just stylin’??? I think I need to wear these when I cook on TV next.
You all KNOW I’m a drama queen – so even if you are looking to do Lasik and still clicked though (even though I told you not to) – it really was painless and easy. About 20 seconds total of laser time. The doc who performed the Lasik totally ROCKS. I’d totally recommend him anyday. In fact, I’m going to convince my brother to come get his eyes done by Dr. F when he comes to visit me next year. If you’d like to know who performed my Lasik, just comment below and I’ll email you back his info. I just didn’t want to “OUT” him on the blog without his consent! Oh…um…like I outed Jeremy and Jules in this post. Oooops!!!
Other great recipes: