We've got a new partnership with Padma Lakshmi! The host of the Emmy-winning Top Chef, writer, and designer started Padma Lakshmi , a social-networking site that celebrates our favorite topics including food adventures, recipes, and party planning. She'll be dishing up goodies for us here on YumSugar monthly. Today Padma makes a compelling point for why all of us should keep za'atar powder in our pantries .
Za'atar  is a Middle Eastern spice powder that is mainly used in Syria and parts of Armenia and Turkey. It contains oregano, thyme, and sesame seeds as well as sumac. It's an excellent seasoning to rub on freshly baked breads — especially flatbreads, as they do in the Middle East. Like sumac, za'atar powder will keep for ages in your pantry. I always keep it in mine to help me literally make something out of almost nothing.
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More on what to do with za'atar, after the break.
photo: Chico's Kitchen
You can make a lovely yogurt dip for crudités and flatbreads or chips by simply mixing some za'atar and fresh herbs into the yogurt. Use two teaspoons of za'atar for every cup of plain yogurt or sour cream, and add whatever tender fresh herbs you have in the fridge. Chives, cilantro, and especially mint go splendidly well with this dip, but dill and even tarragon are fine. Add two tablespoons of chopped fresh mint or cilantro, and just one tablespoon of chives, as they are more strongly flavored. Adjust the salt, if needed, and garnish with a sprinkle of sumac.
You can also add za'atar to sandwiches and roasts, as well as garnish potato salads with it. The possibilities are endless.
Have you ever tried this delicious Middle Eastern blend of herbs and spices?
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