Re: [gardeners] Gourmet Magazine eggplant and fruits for Lon!

Ron Hay (
Sun, 08 Jul 2001 10:04:09 -0700

Good morning, Martha,

Thanks a bunch for that yummy recipe. It's interesting to see what
people all around the Mediterranean littoral do with the very same
ingredients, in different proportions.

The element that speaks to me as being Middle Eastern/Turkish is the use
of so much lemon juice: many peoples from the Eastern Mediterranean and
into the Caucusus and even into Persia/Iran use lemon juice or
pomegranate juice as a bit of a souring agent, to bring out the flavors
of other ingredients, and to balance tastes.

One of the great discoveries I have made, that has influenced my cooking
quite a bit, is the use of pomegranate molasses, which can be found in
any ME grocery store, or which can be obtained online through Sadaf or
many other distributors. (Just recently, we poured some, plain, over
barbecued pork and it was pure bliss. I know no Muslim would ever brook
such usage, but the Armenians, who are just as fiercely Christian as the
Arabs are Muslin, use pomegranate molasses in that way.)

What I have found to be the case when exploring the various cuisines of
the Eastern Mediterranean region (with the help of Claudia Rodin's and
Paula Wolfert's books, plus that of Ayla Alglar, among others, is that
many of the dishes, unlike Western dishes, are skewed toward the savory
taste spectrum, and not toward the sweet...with the obvious exception of

In finishing many tomato sauces, the Greeks, for example, throw in a
handfull of crushed mint leaves and a teaspoon or so of wine vinegar to
finish the sauce, and the Turks and peoples of the Caucusus throw in the
juice of one or more lemons, or pomegranate molasses.

It's a marvelous region to explore, and one I have thoroughly enjoyed
exploring over the course of the last year or so.

Thanks again,