Monday Meal Review: Jordan

 

THE SCENE

I had a lot of time to think while caramelizing the four giant onions for the mujadddara.

Ninety minutes, to be exact. My eyes were puffy and red from the sharp fumes. The scent clung to my hair and clothes.

As the onions burned hotter and hotter, they released their juices until they were swallowed up in their own bubbling oniony swimming pool. It took at least 45 minutes for the liquid to steam off. I thought they would never start browning.

As I stood there, stirring the soupy mess, my mind ran over and over the the last few months.

One thing kept popping back up.

About how I haven’t told you yet.

How I’ve shied away from being real with you, my dear, trusting friends (and I’m so glad you’re here).

As the onions finally dried out enough to begin caramelizing, I promised myself to to tell you.

And not just part of the truth. The whole thing. Because that’s life. It’s real.

So, here goes.

Keith’s 21 year-old son is going to have a baby.

We found out on Facebook when he tagged a boy Kaiden as his son and people began writing congratulations on his wall. It took weeks for the shock to settle in and to move past the initial hurt of how we found out.

We were our own variety of soggy, soupy onions. We needed some time to let the steam dissipate on the matter.

But here’s the thing. If you sit with something long enough – if you really consider it with love in your heart – some amazing things begin to happen.

You begin to realize that what  initially seemed like a personal slight was simply a young person frozen in fear.

A young person not knowing the right words.

A young person communicating within the digital world – a safe place where one can hide behind a screen – instead of the real world. Because the real world is just too hard to deal with sometimes.

It’s a sign of the times.

Eventually we embraced the situation. Life. Family.

We found the joy that can only come with the promise of new life.

After all, the baby will be here at the end of October.

That’s reality.

A baby!

A beautiful baby boy.

Now that the emotions have simmered down, they are nicely caramelizing.

Case in point?

We’ve officially moved on to worrying about what names we should go by. And, of course, the health of the baby, mom, and dad to be.

So, please, join me in sending them sweet wishes for their success.

And remember to always choose love. Every chance you get.

THE FOOD

Jordanian Inspired Spiced & Grilled Chicken [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

There are nights I’m exhausted but I still need to get something on the table. This simple chicken dish is a good contender. I can make it up one day and serve it that night or the next day. The longer it marinates the better. If you’re not into grinding up the onion, just mix the spices with some olive oil and toss the chicken with that. You can fry up some onions separately.

What I liked least about this dish:

I’m a little bit over plain ‘ol chicken breasts. Next time I’ll go for dark meat or kabobs with happy chunk of pepper and tomato.

Mujaddara (Lentil & Bulgur Pilaf) [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

This recipe makes a lot of pilaf. The flavor is simple – plain even – but this is nice because it goes with any dish you can think of. The caramelized onions take it totally over the edge – they are the real star of the show. Ava had never tried a caramelized onion before this dish – now she no longer picks them out of her other food! Yay! I’ll definitely be making this one again.

What I liked least about this dish:

It takes a long, long time to caramelize that many onions. If you don’t have any deep, troubling family matters to think about, perhaps you can get some other things done around the kitchen – perhaps a top to bottom scrubbing?

A Jordanian Snack [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Did you notice… everything about this snack is triangle-eriffic. At the end of the day, while I didn’t expect to like the salty cheese with the sweet fruit, this was a fun and refreshing snack. I’m all about bringing this to the park for Ava to snack on.

What I liked least about this dish:

I wish I could have eaten it in Jordan!

Arabian Cardamom Coffee [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Adding a few seeds from cardamom pods is a super quick way to add authentic Arabian flavor to coffee. If you don’t grind your own coffee you could also just add powdered cardamom to ground coffee.

What I liked least about this dish:

Nothing.

Ava’s Corner:

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Comments

  1. Sharisse Steber says:

    we’ll be looking forward to Kaiden and Ava videos soon. The more cute babies the better. Everything always works out in the end. :)

  2. That chicken looks good. i have most of the stuff to try it and since Cliff don’t like chicken anyway he will get over it fast, lol

    Ava is getting so big. she is still as adorable as ever.

  3. Congratulations!! What names are in the running? Anything from your heritage? I am going to try the chicken very soon!

  4. Collette— we can try the chicken together!

  5. Jessica Bennett says:

    First of all- great meal as always. Second, I think it’s wonderful you were able to look beyond your hurt and see things from Keith’s son’s perspective- not many people can do that. Are the people in the picture his son and wife (girlfriend)? Do they live close by? If so, I hope they get to be a part of your global table often. Sharing a global experience is a great way for people to bond and make memories.

  6. Eileen Roberts says:

    In addition to the wonderful meals, it has been fun to watch Ava growing up! And expanding the extended family ends up being a good thing – just stir in lots of love!

  7. The crockpot is great for caramelizing onions without having to expend much effort!

    http://islandvittles.com/2011/02/17/crock-pot-caramelized-onions/

  8. Mujaddara is on the menu every August during 4th session at Antiochian Village Camp (in Western PA) where my sons went to camp for two weeks every summer. I love it, my Lebanese/American mother-in-law makes it with rice (not bulgur) and caramelized onions and serves the warm dish over cold salad. Yum! Best wishes for a healthy arrival for the new little one!

  9. Sasha Martin says:

    Thanks everyone! The names are probably just going to be grandma and grandpa… although I wouldn’t mind gram… although I’m not sure that’s even a name lol.

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