My family has developed a tradition of going out for Middle Eastern food at a certain place in Portland that keeps hot, fresh-from-the-oven pita coming to the table. Every time we go, we order nothing but the mezze, because who needs an entree when you can tons of amazing tabouli, hummus, and baba ghannouj (scooped up with that fresh, amazing pita)?!

If I had known that it would be pouring and freezing during my 10 mile run today, I probably would have planned a different dinner that involved something warm and comforting like soup, but mezze was on the calendar and all the ingredients were ready, so I went with it.

By the way, it’s not very fun to run into the rain with a strong head wind in the dark (just in case you were wondering) but Mike and I powered through it in an hour and 24 minutes and then I was ready to get into the kitchen!

First up was pita.

Step 1: water + yeast + sugar = foamy goodness

Step 2: Mix with flour and salt…it will make a nice smooth dough

Step 3: Let it rise for an hour.
Step 4: Divide up into small pieces and roll them out on a floured surface.

Step 5: Bake on a pizza stone. Get excited when it puffs up!

Also involved: Tabouli (I added some diced cucumber), hummus, and Baba Ganouj, which is fun because you get to char an eggplant under the broiler until it’s nice and shriveled. It gets all soft and smoky-tasting…mmmm.

Last time I made this I cooked the eggplant directly over a gas burner, but I definitely prefer the broiler method. You just put the eggplant in a pan and flip it every 10 minutes or so. I pricked the skin with a fork because it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m not sure it’s essential.

I garnished the hummus with a little olive oil and some sumac. I LOVE sumac for it’s pretty color and almost lemony flavor!

Mezze is served!

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