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Thanks for visiting our blog. Please bear with us while we restructure our various sites and pages. We'll be posting stuff as regularly as possible while we continue to work on it.

You've stumbled upon my blog which is the companion to my website Ishah 'El. This site is intended to track my progress in starting a new multi-cultural theatre arts company and bring updates to devoted supporters and curious by standers. Check here regularly for posts on what I’m up to and how it all is faring, and you can join me by posting comments & encouragement. With that I invite you to become friends and enter into my world of art, faith, life & passion. Shalom.

P.s.- This is actually 4 blogs rolled into 1... why? I don't really know. Some sort of strange urge to make it multi-dimensional caused me to lay it out this way, yet people seem to never realize that there is an index at the right which will take you to other interconnected pages. Feel free to explore and share with others!

Monday, July 23, 2007

gyro'ing up for summertime goodness

I'll state up front that this is a thinly veiled advert for my spices. You may choose to read on or be successfully subliminally compelled to go directly to my site where you can buy an armful of spices. That would be mountain of spices at There now- wasn't that subtle, pleasant & agreeable?

Saturday night we made gyros. I used a greek seasoning blend with chicken breasts. A little extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the breasts so that a small but goodly amount of spices will stay in place- about a table spoon sprinkled over the surface with some kosher salt, cracked black pepper & smoked paprika. I let it set for a couple hours at room temperature in a covered pyrex dish so that the chicken will absorb the spice seasoning & since I planned to grill the chicken I used a little extra of the seasoning to make sure that it wouldn't be burnt off by the fire.

While the chicken marinated I made some Tzatziki sauce to go with it. I modified an online recipe & came up with this variation:

1 cup plain yoghurt
1 large clove fresh garlic, minced (we get ours fresh from the fields at our farm share)
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
3 tb chopped scallions
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh dill
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (approximately)
1 tsp white blasamic vinegar (approximately)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of black pepper
dash of salt

Mix it up & let sit. No, I didn't actually measure any of the ingredients I used & I'm only guessing at approximates here, but it should keep you in the ballpark of tastiness. Tzatziki traditionally has mint in it but, since my seasoning mix already has some mint in it I opted for fresh oregano, thyme & dill. You can add mint as well. Go ahead. It will be OK.

I bought pre-made pizza dough for the gyro wrap from our local store. You can make it fresh, of course, but you would have to do that all way before everything else. I rolled it out into plate size rounds & coated them lightly with olive oil. After grilling the chicken, while the coals were cooler, I grilled the bread quickly on both sides to firm it up. Cooking pizza dough on a hot grill is tricky but it can be done. Just be careful of the hot spots & don't leave the bread over them for too long.

We sliced the grilled chicken breasts into bite size strips & placed them on the grilled bread with a generous amount of Tzatziki sauce, added sliced cucumbers, sliced kalamata olives, mixed greens (arugula compliments it wonderfully), crumbled gorgonzola cheese & sprinkled some Zatar over it. Unfortunately I forgot about Cheryl's pickled vegetables, which would have been great as a side, but Cheryl did make some wonderful lemonade to go with it. It was a great outdoor summertime meal that I hope to repeat again while the weather remains inviting. Give it a try & tell me how it was.

Monday, July 09, 2007

mondo spices

I've recently jumped into the grand venture of selling spices on a small level of semi-mass production. After much coaxing from friends who are great fans of my spice blends I've begun selling them on line & considering offering them locally at farm share stores. This all began almost two years ago when our church, the northampton vineyard, held a seasonal craft fair just before Christmas. Cheryl made several items from her broad scope of expertise - cards, bath salts, journals & cat nip mice (you'll find some of her wonderful wares available HERE) - while I provided spice blends that I made up myself. These days the house smells like a spice caravan in passing & there is much sneezing from the clouds of spiced dust wafting about the kitchen while I am grinding them. Cheryl complains of how teasing the whole process is: "The house smells incredible but there's nothing there to eat! It's unfair!"

But I do use the spice blends regularly to cook & season with, so it isn't all cruel torture for her. Come on over to the Etsy site HERE & check them out.

Currently I have six blends to choose from: Green Thai Curry (my favorite), Moroccan Tajine, Ethiopian Berbère, Tandoori, Cajun Seasoning & Greek Seasoning. Off the site are a few others I've made up which I could probably be persuaded to make available: African Malayan Curry, Carribean Curry & Persian spice blend. More where those came from. Oh, so many, many more!
If you love spices you'll love these. You do love spices, don't you?