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


Separation & Meyer Lemon Pie

meyer lemon meringue pie

meyer lemon meringue pie

If you are grieving and in need of a New Year’s Resolution I’d recommend choosing a diversion. Something that gives you a sense of control and accomplishment. Going back to work, planning a garden, starting a new exercise routine. Anything that will take your mind off your pain and give it a rest, even for a little while, is part of good grief. While one must go through the pain in order to heal it is also necessary to channel a more positive energy, even for an hour, in order to not be consumed and exhausted by it. Sometimes you just need a break.

Besides dealing with the pain what is also difficult is dealing with the separation from the person you loved. Even though my son was not living at home I did not really feel his absence. Today, technology keeps us soooooo connected. Skype, facetime, cell phones, instant messages…we are all but a click apart. William was such an integral part of my life and now I must learn how to be in a world without him. I am glad the holidays are over. The reality that he will never be home for Christmas or Easter or his birthday again is slowly sinking in. It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of separation anxiety.

By now you all know that my idea of a diversion is getting into the kitchen and banging a few pots and pans together or in this recipe breaking and separating some eggs. When Caitlin and Sam asked for help in making a lemon meringue pie I was all in.  This recipe was a winner in the  contest. Meyer lemons are in season, but if you can’t find them substitute a mixture of fresh tangerine and regular lemon juice.

meyer lemon meringue pie

meyer lemon meringue pie

As I watched Caitlin and Sam making this pie together I couldn’t help but be happy. I thought about how separating the eggs into yolks and whites completely transforms the egg into something new and different. Kind of like what I need to do with myself.

Meyer Lemon Lattice Meringue Pie


1 ½ cups (6 oz) all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar plus additional for pie edge

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (4 oz) vegetable shortening, cold

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold water

1 egg white

Meyer Lemon Filling

2 eggs

7 egg yolks

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup meyer lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1 tablespoon meyer lemon zest

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Lattice Topping**

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

For the crust combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl; cut in shortening. Add water and mix until just combined. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill 15 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Decorate edge with pastry cut-outs. Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and weigh down with dry beans or pie weights. Place pie dish on a baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Lightly brush edge of crust with egg white; sprinkle with sugar. Return crust to oven and bake 10 minutes more or until a light golden brown.  Reduce oven temperature to 325F.  Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Add butter and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and reaches 170F. on an instant read thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in heavy cream. Pour filling into warm pie shell.  For lattice topping, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar and vanilla beating to stiff peaks. Pipe meringue over pie in a lattice pattern. Bake 20 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool and chill pie before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*ready made pie crust can be substituted for home made crust

**double the lattice topping ingredients if you want to skip the lattice and cover the   whole pie with meringue