Back to Blogging

It took some doing to get me back into blogging. With inspiration from blogger colleagues @karensblog, @robinsbite, @theeverydayrd and so many others, I decided it was time to jump back in.

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist by training, a marketer by education, and a communicator by day (and night). Like my good friend Robyn Flipse, I also am a food explorer. I love to poke around sleuthing out foods and ingredients. New York’s Hudson Valley, where I live, is a treasure trove of restaurants, farmers markets, wineries, breweries, and artisanal food makers (all on the rise thanks to Taste NY) as well as fun food markets representing the many global communities that call the Hudson Valley home.

Here’s what I want to share through my blog – food shopping finds around the Hudson Valley, some locally sourced and some sourced by local residents; tips and ideas on cooking them; and delicious ways to explore food in my outside-of-the-box way.

Al Rayyan

I discovered Al Rayyan, a relatively new Middle Eastern food market and hookah store on Central Avenue in Yonkers, NY, filling my basket with random foods that caught my eye.

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In this photo, the front bowl has three different snacks, green wasabi peanuts, brown sesame peanuts, and “Jordan” chickpeas, like Jordan almonds but each with a chickpea inside. The chickpeas are so good – delicious and pretty too. (Lesson learned that wasabi nuts need their own bowl to avoid flavoring everything with wasabi)

Moving clockwise, amazingly good pickled vegetables flavored with nigella, or black onion seeds. We enjoyed them as a condiment and also used them in place of pickle relish in tuna salad.

Next, a one-quart container of za’atar, a seasoning made with a combination of hyssop, thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt, depending on the chef and country of origin. I stirred a generous tablespoon into a batch of homemade hummus and mixed it with oil as a topping for pita.
Sweet/sour pomegranate molasses is my secret ingredient in an unusual roasted eggplant dip, to which I also add almond butter instead of tahini. Cortas is my favorite brand by far!
We’ll use the big jar of tahini within a couple of months. Both Yotam Ottolenghi, of Jerusalem fame, and my friend Jacque use tahini with abandon in dips and on vegetables.

The honeyed nuts, with a hint of rosewater, would have made a lovely house gift for someone else, if I hadn’t opened the jar and added them to plain Greek yogurt. I also mixed them with lemon juice and more honey to glaze a Middle Eastern nut cake.

More finds to come!

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