Recently I had the pleasure of attending an incredible Syrian feast hosted by the food and travel online publication Roads & Kingdoms, as the latest in their Banned Countries dinner series. These gatherings feature food from the countries on the current administration’s attempted travel ban, and serve as a way to celebrate cuisine and culture.
The evening was completely magical: a stunning setting, a wonderfully diverse array of dining companions, impeccable service and mouth-wateringly good food.
I’m so lucky to participate in events like this — just one of the many reasons I love this multi-cultural city of mine.
I came home inspired to try a little DIY Middle Eastern cuisine, so out came the Mark Bittman How To Cook Everything tome, turned to the recipe for pita bread.
Turns out pita bread is pretty simple to make. The most important components are a food processor, time, a good rolling pin, and a hot-enough oven.
I mixed the ingredients (just flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, and water) in the food processor for all of 45 seconds and then let it rise for a couple of hours. I sub-divided the ball of dough into about a dozen smaller balls and then rolled out each ball.
The recipe stressed that any creases or seams in the disc would prevent proper pockets from forming, so I went to town with my rolling pin. It turned into quite the workout, especially as my oven was heating up to a rip-roaring 500 degrees.
The effort paid off, though, because all it took was two to three minutes for each pita to puff up just beautifully.
So proud! The egg salad that I made to accompany the pita bread wasn’t photo worthy (I mixed in avocado to add some creaminess so it was actually downright hideous looking), but it did complement the bread pretty nicely.
I probably won’t be baking anything at 500 degrees anytime soon now that it’s properly summer, but when the weather starts cooling off again it’ll be time for more homemade pita.