Potluck Dinner Club: Middle Eastern Night (with bonus ‘sexy cabbage’ recipe)

middle eastern potluck 1It’s been awhile since I did a potluck post. The reality is that while we are entering year three of our monthly potlucks I myself do not always have the chance to attend them. I was happy however to attend last night’s Middle Eastern Potluck though, which was one of our last outdoor hurrahs of the season. It was one of our biggest events ever, with almost 20 attendees, and the food was spectacular!

We kept the theme pretty lax, both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine were considered appropriate since the two styles are so similar and intermingled. The focus was on BBQ foods or accompaniments, and the menu was extensive:

Grilled: Chicken Schwarma, Shish Kabobs, and Grilled Halloumi
Sauces: Homemade Garlic sauce and yogurt sauce
Mezzes (aka small plates): Giant Mediterranean marinated white beans, dates, olives, feta, skordalia (greek mashed potatoes with garlic), spicy crunchy chickpeas, greek caviar.
Sides and Salads: Two styles of baba ganoush paired with pita and crackers, Spinach rice with feta and chickpeas, Rice with lentils and caramelized onions, Israeli salad, Acorn squash with tahini dressing, Quinoa tabbouleh, ‘Sexy cabbage’, and greek salad.

Drinks: Black tea with cinnamon sticks and mint.

Middle Eastern food is a satisfying balance of intense seasoning and fresh ingredients, and is typically gluten free with little to no modification. The only two items NOT gluten free at this potluck were the pita and crackers. Just two pointer though: be sure your spices are gluten free (most companies will have a statement on their website or will know if they are) and if you are using a grill at a park or one you are not familiar with be sure to grill on tin foil or your own metal grill cover.

The group decided the recipe to share was that of the ‘Sexy Cabbage’, which is from a book I reviewed a few years ago called A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey. This recipe claims to make cabbage tolerable to even the biggest cabbage hater out there, and it definitely did, so here it is:

Sexy Cabbage (Guzel Lahana)
1 small white cabbage (approximately 2 cups) sliced thinly
1 onion sliced thinly
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 medium sized tomatoes skinned and diced
salt to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil for frying (this will also make the dressing
1. Steam the cabbage until it’s soft.
2. Fry the onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil until soft.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and juice, salt, and paprika, stirring well.
4. drain the cabbage and add to the pan of ingredients.  Mix everything together and cover with a lid. Cook for ten minutes on a low heat.
5. Serve hot or cold. Who knew cabbage could taste so delicious!?

Serves 4 as a meze (small meal)

Check out Sibel Hodge’s full website, including access to her book, here.

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