Lessons in fattoush

I love the fattoush salad served in Mediterranean restaurants, but have never been able to perfect the combination of ingredients to get the right flavor at home. My dad recommended this recipe to me and sent me home with the ingredients I was missing. He really wanted me to try it.

I tried it that night, and followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except I added Feta cheese (the recipe didn’t call for cheese of any kind). When I was putting in the mint, Jan looked over my shoulder and said, “that’s a lot of mint,” to which I repied, “It’s in the recipe!”

Well, when it was time to eat the salad, he was right. The salad probably would have been much better with less mint, or, without any of it, which I think I’ll probably do next time.

The dressing, however, was amazing, and I had never used Sumac before (Dad sent me home with a little bag of it). I’m now convinced it must be the secret ingredient to get the authentic taste I was missing in earlier attempts.

Here’s the recipe for the dressing:

Sumac salad dressing

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Sumac

1/4 cup olive oil


Use a garlic press or finely chop the garlic, then mash with the salt in a bowl with the back of a spoon. Add the lemon juice, Sumac, and olive oil and whisk together. Store until ready to serve.

Filet mignon and trials in blue cheese dressing

Blue cheese dressing and filet mignonBlue cheese is a bit too smelly for me, but I love blue cheese dressing. I don’t buy blue cheese dressing. It’s one of those things like Rocky Road ice cream that just doesn’t live in our freezer/refrigerator out of fear that it would get eaten in one afternoon. I only have it when going to a restaurant, ordering a salad, and getting it brought to me on the side.

So when Jan brought home a wedge of blue cheese from Fresh & Easy, explaining that it was marked way down due to its impending expiration date, I had an idea. I combined the blue cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and garlic chives from the garden. It passed the taste-taste with a carrot stick, so I put it in the refrigerator to marinate a few hours before dinner.

When it was time to serve, it was still too thick to serve as a dressing, so I added milk to it, even though the recipes I borrowed from online didn’t call for any. Reviews were mixed: Jan said it was still too “blob-ey,” maybe something I could improve with some more milk, or by putting the dressing in the food processor. There is still some of the cheese wedge left, so I may try again. But on another note, the filet mignon (also nearing expiration date and marked way down at the store) was delicious.