Resolving the Sharp Edge with Naan & Meyer Lemon Zahtar

fresh zahtar topped naan bread

fresh zahtar topped naan bread 
This is my entry to the photo contest

By the lack of comments on my last blog post I truly made you all uncomfortable with my “angry” post. It’s OK. I get it. Anger is socially unacceptable. No one wants to deal with an angry individual. Please understand: for anyone who has suffered a loss, especially of a child, anger will be a strong component of their grief process. Don’t abandon them. Help them work through it. Here are a few tips to assist in sorting out the feelings.

  • Understand that the griever may be feeling betrayed by their God
  • Understand that the griever may feel responsible for not being able to save and protect their loved one
  • Understand that something was stolen from them and they will never get it back
  • Understand the injustice of random acts and not needing to find blame

    zahtar ingredients

    zahtar ingredients

Kneading dough, I am told helps release aggression, but, I am all about “not kneading” when it comes to homemade bread. Naan is a traditional no-knead Indian flat-bread baked in a special brick oven called a tandoor. A heavy skillet is a fine substitute for the more authentic tandoor. Shallow fried golden and light, naan can not only be used to scoop up delicious curries, but also makes a perfect pizza crust or base for a sandwich. Here I top it with a zesty zahtar made with my homegrown Meyer lemons slice into strips for an unexpected appetizer.

Meyer Lemon Zahtar

1 Meyer lemon, grated zest and juice

1 clove garlic, mashed and minced

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon fleur de sel (or kosher salt)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon dried sumac, optional

Combine all ingredients; cover and set aside.

fresh meyer lemon zahtar

fresh meyer lemon zahtar

Naan Bread

¼ cup hot tap water

1-tablespoon sugar

1-teaspoon active dry yeast

3 cups all purpose flour

1-cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup warm milk

1-cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup olive oil

In 1-cup measure combine water, sugar and yeast, stirring, until yeast dissolves. Let yeast proof for 10 minutes or until mixture looks foamy. In large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In medium bowl, whisk milk, yogurt and yeast mixture until blended. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture; mix by hand until dough comes together into a slightly sticky ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 1 hour or as long as overnight in the refrigerator. Divide dough into 12 balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into an oval shape about ¼-inch thick. Heat a heavy skillet, over medium heat. Brush both sides of dough lightly with olive oil and place in skillet. Cover and cook for 1 minute or until brown and dough begins to bubble up. Flip bread over. Spread some zahtar over top. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bread is cooked through. To serve: cut on the diagonal into strips.

naan bread

love the colors matching the cutting board


11 thoughts on “Resolving the Sharp Edge with Naan & Meyer Lemon Zahtar

  1. I can’t imagine that anyone would not have anger after losing a child. I really admire how you can also still feel joy and show joy to others after going through this ordeal. Great bread! I love middle eastern spices. I buy already made Dukkah from Trader Joe’s. I usually mix it with olive oil to dip bread in but I am sure this is much better. looking forward to seeing you soon!

  2. Yeah I had no idea how to react to the “anger” post. But agree its better to release the anger rather than bottle it up.
    Naan is one of those items I’ll leave to real cooks. 😄

    • I am sure the thought of your sister being angry makes you sad and fearful. No worries I am dealing just fine, but just trying to educate and embrace the normalcy of it.

  3. I can’t imagine that anyone could not have anger after losing a child. I really admire you for being able to feel joy and show joy to others. Love this bread! I buy a spice blend called Dukkah from Trader Joe’s which is somewhat similar to Zatar. I mix it with olive oil and then dip it in bread but I am sure your homemade bread is much better. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

    • Thanks for stopping by jerseygirlcooks—gotta love a girl from Jersey since that is my home state!I have never tried Dukkah, but I will check it out at Trader Joe’s. Zahtar comes in a dried version (I get it from Penzey’s) and is also very good sprinkled on top of the bread after a nice coating of olive oil. Yes, losing a child defies the law of nature which in itself causes anger. It just is not the way life is supposed to turn out.

  4. You know … it never occurred for me to comment about your last post because .. well, because it seemed so straightforward and simply and obviously correct that I think that it needed affirmation (though clearly it deserved it)!

    I will add, however, that I have tried (probably not successfully) in the last 11 months NOT to redirect my anger over Meghan’s loss at the wrong people, though I admit I have let lose some anger at or more often about certain institutions (my former insurance company, certain billing agencies for health care providers come to mind first, a couple of companies that sought to use Meghan’s death as a source of indirect advertising for their services … and trust me, I am not exaggerating) who were insensitive in matters that required a higher level of professional care than they provided. I also know there were times when my anger was aimed at unintended targets.

    Bottom line: anger is needed, anger is healthy, when facing grief … but the grieving person who benefits from it the most is the one who can somehow manage to direct it at the right recipient and not at well-meaning family and friends. Misdirected anger doesn’t just remain unresolved, it also is likely to add a layer of guilt onto the person who is grieving. And that guilt get just slow the healing process.

    But acknowledging and accepting one’s anger? A necessary part of the healing process.

    • Thank you for another insightful response. I hope you did not feel my anger was directed at my readers as that was never the intent. The “no comments” comment was more to illustrate that we need to see ourselves as others see us. How difficult it is to be on either side of the fence. For them, not knowing sometimes what to say or do is normal and okay and for us, to say it is okay to be angry and alone at times….my advice in all that was simple…..for them….on occasion make your presence known and for us…. if you can’t work through your anger get help.

  5. Your last blog came on the heels on what would have been Aidan’s 13th birthday. Quite frankly, spending the day trying not to kick down a wall was exhausting. When I read your post Monday I actually felt better knowing that I wasn’t the only angry Mom(parent) in the world. One of the greatest gifts I received was when a friend told me if I was angry I could take it out on her because she loved me enough to know that it was not her, but I needed a “safe” place to direct my anger. She even offered to let me “kick her butt”. I didn’t, and quite frankly, knowing she was willing helped to dissipate some of the feelings. I am lucky to have a select group of friends that allow me to share my overwhelming sadness and anger.

    On a happier note, we were joined by great friends and family to help us commemorate Aidan’s birthday. I used the Penzey spices to make wings. They were delicious and I’m sure Aidan would have loved them. We spent his twelfth birthday at a restaurant where the chef gave him a tour and made him a special dessert. He was beside himself with joy. I know he’s happy we tried to incorporate some good food into his special day this year.

    Thank you for your wise words

    • Good morning, Krista and to that wonderful friend of yours. What a blessing to know someone so selfless and loving and knowing <3. And I love the way you celebrate Aidan. It shows how thankful you are to have had him for 12 years. It is this time of year I am simply thankful to have had a son like William….always wish it could have been longer, but thankful for the time I did get. The Kindness box of spices could not have gone to a more deserving mom. Please continue to share more Aidan stories here. I am enjoying getting to know that budding chef.

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