"Ben-Hur" Themed Dinner – Part I
The winter in Pennsylvania brings tasteless fruits and vegetables, and it is about this time of the year I begin counting the days down until asparagus and strawberry seasons start. Probably about eight more weeks until I will get any type of local-ish produce. Therefore, since I cannot blog about the wonderful things coming out of my garden, I decided to make some theme meals. First up – "Ben Hur".
I am sure many of my readers are asking what possessed me to choose "Ben Hur" to do a themed meal about. Honestly, it is based on AFI’s top 100 movies from 2007. My husband and I decided to try to watch all the movies we have not seen and ones we have not watched for a long time. Number 100 on the list is "Ben-Hur" and that is how I have a two part themed meal for this movie. The move is a little over four hours, so we watched it over two nights and I have two meals to write about.
Part one of this themed meal is based on where the meal takes place. The film takes place is Judea, which is in current day Israel. I based all the food for this meal on Israeli food (I cannot promise the food is authentic to Israel). First, I made an Israeli couscous salad. This recipe I altered from Smitten Kitchen. It was easy, a little time consuming because of roasting tomatoes and waiting for the couscous to cool, but I did things in between. This recipe was really nice because even though tomatoes are tasteless this time of year, roasting them gave the tomatoes tons of flavor. I would recommend this recipe to anyone looking for something to make for a family dinner or to take to a party. It is really flavorful.
Secondly, I rubbed chicken with a bunch of different spices and grilled it. I combined half-sharp paprika, salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, and sweet paprika. I mixed the spices, rubbed it into the chicken, and grilled the meat. It was a wonderful meal for a cold winter night.
During these cold days of winter, it is nice to use creativity in the kitchen to create wholesome, comfort food. The nice thing about these two dishes is nothing was processed, it was all fresh and natural.