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Fried Halloumi Cheese #Vegetarian #Palestine #Recipe 11/03/2012

Posted by vegetariancooking in Appetizers, Breakfast Dishes, Side Dish, Snacks.
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Fried Halloumi Cheese #Vegetarian #Palestine #Recipe

create:
olive oil (for frying)
300 g halloumi cheese (see NOTE below)
plain flour, for dusting (all purpose)
fresh mint leaves
Directions:

Dry the cheese with paper towels and slice into 8.

Heat the oil over medium heat.

Dust the cheese slices in the flour and fry for 1 minute a side or until golden.

Serve immediately, garnished with mint leaves.

NOTE:
Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goats’ and sheep milk, and sometimes also cows’ milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Halloumi is set with rennet and is unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacterium is used in its preparation.
The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella and has a salty flavour. It is stored in its natural juices with salt-water and can keep for up to a year if frozen.
The cheese is often used in cooking and can be fried until brown without melting, owing to its higher-than-normal melting point. This makes it an excellent cheese for frying or grilling (e.g. in saganaki) or fried and served with vegetables, as an ingredient in salads.
Many people in Palestine also like halloumi that has been aged; kept in its own brine, it is much drier, much stronger and much saltier. This cheese is very different from the milder halloumi that Western chefs use as an ingredient.
It is often garnished with mint to add to the taste. Traditionally, the mint leaves were used as a preservative, this practice arising from the serendipitous discovery that Halloumi kept better and was fresher and more flavoursome when wrapped with mint leaves. In accordance with this tradition, many packages of halloumi contain fragments of mint leaves on the surface of the cheese.

Vegetarian Breakfast in Palestine & the Story of Lifta 05/15/2012

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Enjoy this story after you eat this voluptuous Palestinian breakfast.

Lifta to be Razed for Israeli Vacation Homes

Palestine’s Last Village Faces Bulldozers

by JONATHAN COOK

Lifta.

On a rocky slope dropping steeply away from the busy main road at the entrance to West Jerusalem is to be found a scattering of ancient stone houses, empty and clinging precariously to terraces hewn from the hillside centuries ago.

Although most Israeli drivers barely notice the buildings, this small ghost town — neglected for the past six decades — is at the centre of a legal battle fuelling nationalist sentiments on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

Picking his way through the cluster of 55 surviving houses, their stone walls invaded by weeds and shrubs, Yacoub Odeh, 71, slipped easily into reminiscences about the halcyon days in Lifta.

He was only eight years old in January 1948 when the advancing Jewish forces put his family and the 3,000 other Palestinian villagers to flight.

Over the coming months, as the Jewish state was born, they would be joined by 750,000 others forced into exile in an event that is known by Palestinians as the “nakba”, or catastrophe.

Despite the passage of time, Lifta’s chief landmarks are still clear to Mr Odeh: the remains of his own family’s home, an olive press, the village oven, a spring, the mosque, the cemetery and the courtyard where the villagers once congregated.

“Life was wonderful for a small child here,” he said, closing his eyes. “We were like one large family. We played in the spring’s waters, we picked the delicious strawberries growing next to the pool.

“I can still remember the taste of the bread freshly baked by my mother and coated with olive oil and thyme.”

The village not only occupies a unique place in Mr Odeh’s affections. It has also come to symbolise a hope of eventual return for many of the nearly five million Palestinian refugees around the world.

In the words of Ghada Karmi, a British academic whose own family was forced from their home close by, in the Jerusalem suburb of Katamon, Lifta “remains a physical memorial of injustice and survival”.

The reason is that Lifta is the last deserted village from 1948 still standing in modern-day Israel.

More than 400 other villages seized by Israel war were razed during and after the war of 1948 in what historians have described as a systematic plan to make sure the refugees had no homes to return to.

Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian who examined the 1948 war in his book the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, has termed the villages’ destruction an act of “memoricide” — erasing for Israelis all troubling reminders of an earlier Palestinian presence.

The destroyed villages’ lands were used by the new state either to build communities for Jewish immigrants or to plant national forests, said Eitan Bronstein, spokesman for Zochrot, an Israeli group dedicated to teaching Israelis about the nakba.

A handful of other Palestinian communities, such as the old city of Jaffa and Ein Hod near Haifa, survived the wave of demolitions but were quickly passed on to new Jewish owners to be reinvented as artists’ colonies.

Only Lifta was neither destroyed nor reinhabited, its homes standing as a solitary, silent testament to a vanished way of life, said Mr Bronstein.

But even that small legacy is under imminent threat from the bulldozers.

In January the Israel Lands Authority, a government body responsible for Lifta’s lands, announced a plan to build a luxury housing project over the village, including more than 200 apartments, a hotel and shops.

The project, said Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem city councillor, would be targeted at wealthy foreign Jews, mainly from the United States and France, looking for summer vacation homes in Israel.

The developers have promised to incorporate some of the old buildings into the complex, although most observers — including leading architects — say that little of the orginal Palestinian village will be recognisable after the project is completed.

Instead, according to Mr Bronstein, Lifta will belatedly suffer the same fate as the hundreds of villages destroyed by Israel decades ago. “The message is that we are finishing what we started in 1948,” he said.

Esther Zandberg, a commentator on architecture for the Israeli Haaretz daily, agreed: “Although it is termed a preservation effort, it is in effect, paradoxically, an erasure of all memory of the original village.”

Critics have been joined by Shmuel Groag, one of the project’s original architects, who has accused the developers of failing to respect the basic rules of conservation in their treatment of Lifta.

Lifta’s families, backed by several Israeli groups, including Rabbis for Human Rights, petitioned the courts to stop the project, saying the site should be preserved in its existing state.

The Jerusalem district court temporarily froze the development in March, and is expected to issue a ruling in the coming days.

The families have also appealed to Unesco, the United Nations organisation in charge of educational, scientific and cultural matters, to declare Lifta a world heritage site.

The development, however, is backed by the leading conservation bodies in Israel, including the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Council for the Preservation of Historic Sites. The council’s director, Isaac Shewky, said the costs of a proper restoration would be “astronomical”.

Unlike most of the other 20,000 refugees and their descendants from Lifta, many of whom live in the West Bank and Jordan, Mr Odeh is able to visit his former village because he lives a few kilometres away in East Jerusalem.

He said he would ultimately like to see the families offered a chance to reclaim their former homes. “We will never forget Lifta. Our dream is to come back.”

Few observers expect such a scenario in the current political climate. The Palestinian right of return is widely seen by Israeli Jews as spelling doom for Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state.

That fear was only accentuated by the images of refugees in Syria storming border fences in the Golan Heights in May and June, in what was widely seen in Israel as an attempted return to their former homes.

Mr Bronstein said: “Lifta poses such a threat to Israelis because it offers a starting point for imagining how the right of return might be implemented. It offers a model for the refugees.”

Mr Odeh, who offers guided tours of Lifta, has to share the site with many Israeli visitors. Young religious boys have turned the still-functioning village pool into a mikveh, or ritual immersion bath. Other Israelis use the site as a favourite hiking spot. And in the evenings, drug-users take shelter in the homes.

Lifta is also facing rapid encroachment from West Jerusalem. It is ringed by major roads linking Jerusalem to the West Bank settlements; on the ridge above, a high-speed rail link to Tel Aviv is being built; and in the valley below a military complex is believed to house the government’s underground nuclear bunker.

Jonathan Cook won this year’s Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/07/05/palestine-s-last-village-faces-bulldozers/

Palestinian easter Tradition: Bread rings with sesame seeds and mahlab (ka’ak) 04/04/2012

Posted by vegetariancooking in Breakfast Dishes, Easter Traditions, Snacks, Sweets.
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Bread rings with sesame seeds and mahlab (ka’ak)INGREDIENTS:3 1/3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup of water

2 teaspoons of yeast

2 teaspoons of sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of mahlab (optional) Note below on substitutes

METHOD:

Place the flour and salt and mahlab in a mixing bowl. Combine the dry ingredients for a few seconds.
Proof the yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water and the sugar for a few minutes.
Add the oil to the flour mixture and combine well until the flour particles are moistened.
Add the yeast mixture, add the warm milk, mix with the dough hook or by hand until you get a firm ball.
Let it rest covered for 15 minutes. Knead again 2 minutes then let it rise in a bowl that has been covered with a thin film of oil; cover the dough with a film of oil as well. Set it in a warm place to rise for at least one hour, until doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl, fold it like an envelope and let it rise again, covering it with a towel.
When the dough has doubled in volume, form into 20 balls. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise.
Form each ball into a long rope. Cut into smaller ropes and press the ends to form a ring. Brush some egg on each ring and sprinkle sesame seeds on the rings. Cover with a wet (but squeezed dry) towel and let them rest and rise for 45 minutes.
Bake in a 375F oven for about 15 minutes till golden. Then reduce the oven to 175F and let them dry out for another 30 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped with a knife.
NOTE:

You can order mahlab online through a number of purveyors, including penzey’s. www.penzeys.com

Mahlab can be found in Greek stores. You can substitute one of these: ground fennel seeds, ground cardamom, or ground Chinese almonds. OR, grind one 2-inch cinnamon stick with three cloves and one bay leaf . greekfood.about.com/od/herbsspices/p/mahlap.htm

 — at Palestine .

Vegan Palestine Hummus: Dress it up the right way! 01/06/2012

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You may not own a hand etched brass platter, but you do have what it takes to make your Palestinian Hummus simply gorgeous!  Drizzle your extra-virgin olive oil from fair trade over your Palestinian hummus, toss on a few chick peas, paprika, and parsley…add that Arab bread, and its going to become your basic staple energy pick-up!

Breakfast Nablus Palestine 12/01/2011

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All Vegetarian Palestinian Breakfast 12/01/2011

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Breakfast for the Vegetarian 12/01/2011

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Breakfast in Palestine 12/01/2011

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Hummus – Palestine 12/01/2011

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Palestine…Breakfast for Vegetarian Terrorists & Others 12/01/2011

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