That’s what this recipe will make you say. This time, you’re going to need to leave the house to get this recipe done, and you’re going to get to collaborate with your neighborhood baker. Bakers, especially the old ones, are the cool kids on the block. When you make proper-oven pastries and baked goods for a living, you can’t but beat a lot of people on the cool-scale. And to top that off, bakers get to see people in their most grumpy informal morning states: their morning cigarettes, their morning coffees, and their morning conversations. This recipe will grant you a new friend, so take notes.
One of the main reasons we’re collaborating with a baker, though, is practicality. To make dough as good as a baker would, you will go through living hell – potentially – without any guarantee that it’s going to work. Bakers, on the other hand, have their long-tried and tested dough and better ovens. Simple mathematics. They will even teach you how to make better fillings, which is the main topic of this post.
Let’s say your friends are coming over for movie night or just a gathering and some drinks, what would you serve? Nuts are bloating and somehow passé, and a couple good pizzas will be expensive. Make your own munchies. That would make more conversation. To gauge whether more conversation is a good thing or not, imagine your loved ones saying, “Yum! These are great!” Then you would say, “Well, I made them,” and BAM! Instant-splendor. So get to work, you’re going to have to explain what’s in them, and how some of the ingredients are from your herb garden, and all that jazz. We’re going to prepare three types of fillings: F1, F2 and F3.
In a bowl, mix pitted olives, chopped basil, olive oil, salt and sesame seeds in a bowl.
Cut 5 zucchinis into small cubes and fry them. In the meantime, dice one medium-sized onion and mix in a bowl with salt, cumin, oil and some lemon juice. Add the fried zucchinis to the mix once it’s done.
Cut 5 small eggplants into small cubes, and fry those the same way you did with the zucchinis. In a bowl, mix minced garlic with “Debs el Remmen” (pomegranate molasses,) some lemon juice, salt and “Habbet el Barakeh (black cumin.) Add the fried eggplants to the mix once it’s done.
Now, it’s time to leave the house. Take your bowls out for a walk and get to your nearest neighborhood baker. Make sure you put on a peaceful smile as you enter the bakery, if you look awkward, you will get treated awkwardly. Ask for the fills to be stuffed in “Fatayer.” Fatayer come in various shapes and forms. You can make big or small triangular ones or long sandwich-like ones. If your baker loves you, you can even make star-shaped ones. From now on, it’s between you and your baker. Make sure to let them taste what you’re doing. It’s nice. Don’t ask your baker for a certain number of pieces; he knows better. Make sure to store the Fatayer in the (turned off) oven when you get back home, better than storing them outside or in your fridge. When it’s time to serve, you can either serve them cold, or oven-heated. Don’t use the microwave for baked goods. They’ll get soggy.
If you want to go the extra mile with your gourmet service, you can make dips for your Fatayer. We will make three dips: D1, D2 and D3.
Remember the Shake-the-Bottle technique? Well, we’re using that same process to make a yoghurt dressing, with an extra ingredient: Tahini. We used that in one or two earlier recipes, and we will use it again. Garlic yogurt is a delicacy; play around with different textures for more variety. Add half a cup of water, 2 cups of yogurt, 2 tablespoons of Tahini, some garlic, some fried mint, salt and pepper in a bottle. Shake the bottle. You’re done. Remember to serve it in a bowl. The bottle is your own backstage prop. Always taste your mix before you serve it; you might want to add your final touches. Recipes are not to be trusted blindly.
Cut 3 tomatoes, 1 onion and one green bell pepper like your life depended on how small they would be. If you need to resort to crushing them, please do. Spice with chili pepper and salt. Mix with fresh coriander (or its evil cousin parsley) before serving.
Crumble some white Bulgarian Feta cheese in a bowl. Add some Aleppo thyme and generous amounts of olive oil to the mix. Sprinkle some sumac and mint and mix like a champ. Serve.
Now that you’ve salivated over the dips, you would enjoy the finale. Don’t just do the stuffed Fatayer at the baker’s; ask him to make you some traditional plain bread loafs. My baker offered to rub the loafs with some of his “Special Chili Paste” before baking them. I said yes.