No, I'm not mad about anything. And the 'time' in my title is actually 'thyme'.
I just came back from L.A. where I helped a friend create a grand Middle Eastern feast for my old wine group. To help us decide what to cook, we ran around to a the various middle eastern/Mediterranean markets in her area to see what enticingly exotic ingredients we might have to work with. One of our most inspiring stops was a little Persian market in Thousand Oaks at which we found the following:
A jar of sour grapes--pickled, immature green grapes--some of which I ended up mixing with harissa, oil and and vinegar to dress some roasted eggplant with. I'm rather unclear what else one would do with them, though I believe they're added sparingly to stews.
Pickled thyme--this I brought home with me, having not found a way of working it into any of our dishes that wouldn't have been gratuitous. I haven't even tasted it, not wanting to compromise the seal and create a leaker. Has anyone here ever used this product?
Katafa, I think it was spelled, pastry was a great find. It's a phyllo product, but rather than sheets it's a brick of thin strands about the diameter of angel hair pasta. We used it in a recipe for a Syrian cheesecake made with ricotta to which we decided to add dried sour cherries that we'd picked up at Trader Joe's just in case they might be useful, and a honeyed syrup which we customized with orange blossom water. The result was as delicious as it was beautiful, and one of our proudest creations.
Fresh green almonds: we googled around looking for a way to use these since they were available, and it appeared that the primary thing would have been to halve them and include them in a stew. We were only making two dishes they might have gone into, a chicken with preserved lemons and olives and a dish of lightly stewed prunes, beans and onions into which spinach would be added at the last minute, but neither dish needed another focal point so we didn't buy, but later kind of wished we had just to say we'd cooked green almonds. Has anyone here ever worked with this ingredient?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov