Interfaith Encounter Association's Jewish-Arab Initiative
By way of emails from the Middle East sent by Dr. Yehuda Stolov, I found out about an intriguing cooking workshop held by the women. These Interfaith Association Arabs and Israelis have special retreats, activities such as exchange of their "identity cards" and play opportunities for their children, field trips such as to Jerusalem's Holocaust museum and singing together in both Hebrew and Arabic "in order for their hearts to come together when seeing common bonds." Their gatherings have food and discussions about similarities and differences such as in raising children. They study the Torah, the Koran and the Bible (the Torah being the Bible's Old Testament) and choose topics such as how Abraham is meaningful in their traditions, how mourning customs compare and the mysticism of Moslem Sufism and Jewish Kabbalah.
The cooking workshop centered on the classic Arabic dishes, Majedra (pictured at right) and Zalabie, and the recipe I share here was for the Israeli salad, Burghul with Green Beans and Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Serves 4):
one cup burghul
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut into cubes (2cm X 2cm)
salt, black pepper
one cup frozen green beans
1 Tb. honey
2 Tb. finely chopped mint leaves (nana)
yoghurt as side dish
Cook the burghul until soft (2 C water for 1 C burghul).
Cover sweet potato cubes with salt, pepper and olive oil in a Pyrex dish.
Roast for 15 minutes or until done. Let potatoes cool at room temperature.
Cook the frozen beans in the microwave according to the pkg. instructions.
Mix 4 Tbs. olive oil with lemon juice, honey and mint until you get a smooth dressing.
Mix burghul, sweet potatoes and green beans and add the dressing.
Adjust spices to taste.
Serve with fresh yoghurt or labane.
Recipe by Evelyne Savir