Did you know there’s a whole holiday devoted to paying it forward? That’s right, long before that movie taught everyone the phrase, the Muslim holiday Eid-al-Adha (or the Festival of Sacrifice) was encouraging people to celebrate sacrifice and accomplishment for the common good. Starting on the evening of September 12th and ending the evening of September 13th, celebrants around the world will spend the day in lively celebration of their accomplishments, and the joy of sharing their success with everyone around them.
It is said that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, at God’s request – although God stepped in and prevented it, replacing Isaac with a lamb. Eid-al-Adha celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice for God’s plan, and it is a tradition to re-create the event on this holiday. Muslims who can afford it humanely sacrifice an animal, and no part of it goes to waste. Usually, the animals owners keep one-third of the meat for themselves, offer one-third as a gift to family and friends, then give the final third away to those in need. When those who can afford it give back, no one can go hungry.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to give back on Eid-al-Adha if you don’t happen to live on or near a farm, and one of the best ways is with other kinds of delicious foods! To help you get in the spirit of giving back, we’ve put together 3 recipes that are easy to make in bulk so you can cook up enough food to share with your friends, family, and the less fortunate.
First, an easy to customize Granola! This a great treat to have on hand for a quick breakfast, or a light snack. Make a batch to share at the office. You can also keep a baggie or two in your purse or car in case you see someone on the street looking for a helping hand. Giving out money can be a bit risky, but handing out a delicious snack is a safe and easy way to make sure that at least today that person got fed.
What you’ll need:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup cashews
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup dried fruit of choice (I like ½ sliced dried apricots and ½ raisins)
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ Teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (148 Celsius). As the oven is preheating, mix the oats, nuts, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the oils and salt, make sure they blend well. Pour the oil mixture over the oats and nuts, then stir them making sure to get everything evenly coated.
Spread the mixture out over at least 2 non-stick sheet pans. The key here is to make sure there is one thin, even layer so the ingredients can dry out and bake properly. Place the trays in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure you stir the mixture every 15 minutes or so it browns evenly.
Once the mixture is browned, remove it from the oven and put it into a large bowl. Now mix in your dried fruit until it is evenly distributed. You can enjoy it right away for a warm and delicious treat, or add it to ice-cream or yogurt for something extra decadent.
For sharing, make sure the granola is cool before putting it into separate zip-lock bags (or mason jars). This granola will keep for about a month if kept dry and properly sealed.
The next recipe is a delicious Flatbread. This is a great go-to recipe for large family dinners, as you can easily make a tray of meats and cheeses to go on top of it.
What you’ll need:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
First whisk together the salt, sugar, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Let this mixture sit until it begins to froth and bubble, then slowly add the flour and mix until it is fully combined. If you notice the dough is very dry you can add a little more water, but make sure to add it very slowly as the dough should be moist but not sticky. Once it feels right, cover and let it rise on the counter for an hour.
For the best results you’ll want to grill this bread either on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan. It provides a crispy and unique outer texture, while allowing the bread to rise to a delicious light, fluffy texture inside. While the dough is rising, preheat your grill of choice. If you are using an outdoor grill make sure you move the rack so it is a few inches off of the flame.
When the dough has risen, move it onto a well-floured surface and knead until it is soft and smooth. Then, cut the dough into manageable portions (I recommend 8-10) and roll each one out until it is a good size for your grill pan (no more than 6 or so inches in diameter). Brush one side with olive oil and place it on the grill; as that side cooks make sure to brush the other side with olive oil. You can put more than one piece on your grill (or grill pan) but make sure not to crowd them too much as they will puff up. When the bread is a nice light brown and begins to puff up, flip it. When the second side is browned remove from the grill and get ready to enjoy!
You can enjoy this bread all on its own, or with delicious toppings. I recommend tomatoes and herbs with a light drizzle of olive oil.
The last recipe is a delicious spin on an overlooked food: Crunch Roasted Chickpeas with Za’atar! Za’atar is a delicious Middle Eastern spice mixture that is quickly catching on around the world as a spice blend to dip snacks in. You can easily find it at most ethnic food markets, or make it yourself at home.
What you’ll need:
2 cups cooked chickpeas if they are canned make sure to rinse them well
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons za’atar
½ teaspoon salt
The most important step is to spread your chickpeas out onto a paper towel. Pat them dry, and let them continue to air dry for an hour. Then, heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) and line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
Spread the chickpeas evenly over the pan and bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, or until crunchy. Make sure to rotate every 10 minutes, and keep in mind that if they aren’t completely crunchy they will continue to dry out some as they cool.
Put the hot chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, za’atar, and salt. Enjoy right away, or when cool. Make sure to only store completely cooled leftovers in an airtight container. Will keep up to a week.
Image #3 by Maggie Hoffman
For more Middle Eastern Recipes please go here.
To send a gift to any Middle Eastern country or worldwide please visit www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com