Soom Premium Tahini
Many supermarket tahinis are over-roasted, which gives them an unpleasant, bitter flavor. They are also too thick and hard to stir into a creamy blend. Soom's tahini has a full, nutty flavor as well as a pourable and well-balanced texture, made from single-origin white sesame seeds from northwestern Ethiopia that have an ideal oil-to-protein ratio.
Try it in our ultra-smooth Israeli Hummus or baba ghanoush. We also mix it into yogurt with a handful of herbs and a pinch of salt for a quick dip or sandwich spread—this Beet Tahini Dip we tried in Egypt is also a must. Or use tahini in our Cauliflower with Tahini, or brush over mixed grilled vegetables—peppers, onions, eggplant—with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice before serving.
On the sweet side, try tahini drizzled over vanilla ice cream with honey, or swapped out for peanut butter with your favorite jam on whole-grain bread. We like tahini best with apricot or raspberry jam, where the acidity sharpens the sesame flavor. Stir it into oatmeal or cream of wheat and sprinkle with brown sugar and cardamom or cinnamon. Tahini’s bittersweet flavor perfectly balances chocolate; try our Tahini Swirl Brownies or quick Chocolate-Sesame Pudding.
Casablanca Market Preserved Lemons from Morocco
A fundamental flavoring in North African cooking, Casablanca Market's preserved lemons have a bright, balanced flavor, and they aren't overly salty or bitter like some brands. They are prepared from aromatic beldi lemons grown in Taroudant, a town in southern Morocco, by a community-based and women-run business. We like that they add a bold, piquant kick to dishes without being too sour, and their tender texture is perfect for chopping finely and incorporating into recipes.
Traditionally, preserved lemon is added to Moroccan stews, like our Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Butternut Squash and Spinach or Lemon-Saffron Chicken (Tangia). For both of these recipes, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of minced peel 10 minutes before the dish is done. They're also great for enhancing bean dishes, like a quick chickpea salad or our Turkish Red Lentil Soup flavored with cumin and paprika. Follow the recipe, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of finely chopped rind to the dish during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Preserved lemon’s piquancy helps cut through starchy grains. Chop up and fold a spoonful into bulgur or couscous. Try adding 1 tablespoon of chopped peel to our Herb and Pistachio Couscous Salad instead of the recipe’s minced jalapeño peppers.
If you want to improvise with preserved lemon, remember that the pulp and peel should be used separately. The soft pulp can be mashed and stirred into soups, stews, dressings and sauces. The firmer, stronger-flavored rind should be either minced very fine so it's not overpowering, or diced and cooked for a bit in dishes to soften its texture and disperse its flavor.
- Net Weight: 7 ounces
- Ingredients: Beldi lemons, water, sea salt
- Place of Origin: Morocco
Milk Street Za'atar Blend
We like to think there are few dishes za’atar can’t improve. Our rendition of this Middle Eastern herb-and-sesame spice blend is punched up with Aleppo-style pepper, sumac and garlic for a complete one-stop seasoning. Dust it over chicken, fish or vegetables and layer it thickly over Greek yogurt drizzled with fruity olive oil for an instant dip. It’s also the perfect savory addition to your morning avocado toast, fried eggs or even a bagel smeared with cream cheese.
Mymouné Pomegranate Molasses
Twenty years ago when John Willoughby, the former executive editor of Gourmet magazine, sang the praises of pomegranate molasses, I, of course, made fun of him for suggesting yet another hard-to-find ingredient. As usual, I was wrong and he was right. I now use this simple ingredient every week, adding it to soups, stews, salad dressings—just about anything that could use a hit of sweet and sour. I discovered this version from Mymouné through a Cambridge restaurant in Cambridge called Moona; the Lebanese company makes all of its products by hand in small batches, and their pomegranate molasses is the sharpest and brightest I have ever tasted. The bottle will last a long time, and it is so much better than the sweeter, less balanced supermarket products. It's a a powerhouse ingredient used throughout the cooking of the Middle East and the Caucasus region that I guarantee you'll love.
We like to blend pomegranate molasses into simple olive oil vinaigrettes or drizzling over roasted vegetables; it's also an essential dressing for Bulgur-Tomato Pilaf with Herbs, our version of Armenian eetch, and tastes great with grain salads. Or try making our Lentils with Swiss Chard and Turkish Beans with Pickled Tomatoes. On the sweet side, try sharpening your oatmeal—or any hot cereal—with a spoonful of pomegranate molasses, plus dried cherries and either pistachios or almonds. Drizzle over ice cream, sorbet or even fruit salad. It can boost apple pie filling or intensify the flavor of plums or peaches in any dessert. And don’t forget cocktail hour—think of pomegranate molasses as a lighter, brighter grenadine. Mix with vodka and seltzer water—or skip the booze and add pomegranate to ginger beer or iced tea with a squeeze of lime.
- Net Volume: 250 milliliters
- Ingredients: Pomegranate
- Place of Origin: Lebanon
Villa Jerada Harissa
Villa Jerada’s Harissa No. 1 is our favorite version of this red pepper paste—native to North Africa—for its bright, complex flavor. While many store-bought varieties have a one-dimensional spicy flavor, this harissa layers acidity and fruitiness with preserved lemons, a touch of vinegar and tomato paste for a lively, tangy condiment. Moroccan-born Mehdi Boujrada, founder of Villa Jerada, based this product on his mother’s recipe; in addition to a spicy kick, the harissa balances smoky cumin and fresh mint for a complex sauce. Villa Jerada uses just enough high-quality Moroccan olive oil to make the harissa spreadable and smooth without diluting its flavor, as opposed to conventional brands that contain a high proportion of water and vegetable oil.
Use Villa Jerada’s Harissa No. 1 in sauces for a spicy accent or enjoy its complexity as a standalone sauce; in our opinion, there is very little it won’t improve. Add a spoonful to your marinara sauce, or squirt a bit into your hamburger or meatball mix for instant depth. Slather harissa on the inside of a grilled cheese made with a mild Monterey Jack or pepper jack—add a little crumbled feta if you have it. One of our favorite ways to use harissa is in our take on a North African classic, Harissa Shakshuka with Grape Tomatoes —the poached eggs are a great counterpoint to harissa’s chili heat. Mix three parts butter with one part harissa for a delicious compound butter to accompany our Yogurt Flatbreads with Flavored Butter or to put on resting steaks, chops or roast chicken, where it can mix with the meat’s juices for an instant sauce. For easy dips with just the right level of spice, try our Greek Yogurt-Harissa Dip or Spicy Harissa Dipping Sauce. You can also mix with mayonnaise for sandwiches (perfect with turkey) or egg or tuna salads. Or add a squirt to deviled egg filling or dollop on top for a contrast to the creamy filling. Top with chopped cilantro or diced pickled jalapeños.
- Net weight: 6 oz.
- Ingredients: Dried chili peppers, water, olive oil, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, preserved lemons, mint, caraway seed, tomato paste, vinegar, salt.
- Place of origin: Morocco
Maalouf Authentic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Buying good extra virgin olive oil always feels like a gamble. There are countless varieties from multiple countries, and it's impossible to gauge what they taste like without committing to a bottle (which may be expensive—and not very good). Frankly, all we want is an all-purpose, fresh-flavored olive oil to use for salads, drizzling over cooked meats and vegetables, swirling into thick Greek yogurt for dips and swiping our bread. A good olive oil can be a sauce onto itself. We found exactly what we wanted in the stellar oil from Maalouf, a small producer in North Lebanon. Stone-milled exclusively from a single grove of small, slender Souri olives grown in North Lebanon, this early-harvest oil possesses a potent green color and a buttery, rich flavor with hints of green apple and artichoke. It has a subtle peppery kick and addictively long, nutty finish. This is truly an all-purpose, extra-virgin olive oil without the overpowering bitterness that mars many other brands. We have a very limited inventory of this small-batch oil; once we're sold out, we can't get more until next year's olive harvest.
- Net Volume: 500 milliliters
- Ingredients: Souri olives
- Place of Origin: Koura, Lebanon
MORE PRODUCT EXPECTED MARCH 2021
Villa Jerada Aleppo Pepper
Fruity, subtly cumin flavored and only moderately spicy, coarse-ground Aleppo pepper is used throughout Middle Eastern cooking. We use it frequently and consider it a valuable flavoring for all manner of dishes that benefit from a little spark of heat. Villa Jerada’s sourcing is impeccable as these flakes are particularly moist and richly flavored. Keep a small bowl on the table alongside your flaky salt for seasoning during dinner, dust over soups or roasted vegetables, or heat a spoonful in oil until bubbling for a quick flavored (and ruddy colored) oil to drizzle over soups, stews, salads, beans—you name it. It’s an essential element of our Turkish Red Lentil Soup mentioned above with the ras el hanout. If you like the flavor of dried chilies, but not the spiciness, Aleppo pepper is for you.
- Net weight: 60 grams
- Ingredients: Aleppo Pepper
- Place of Origin: Morocco
Mymouné Apricot Preserves
Unlike many apricot jams that taste mostly of corn syrup, Mymouné's apricot preserve is bursting with real apricot flavor. The Lebanese company uses local apricots that are grown without irrigation, which ensures they have a more concentrated flavor, and cooks the fruit whole down until thick and syrupy. Tasting this bright jam reminds us of fruit just picked off a tree at the end of a warm, summer day. Stir it into yogurt, or pair it with a drizzle of earthy tahini on a bowl of oatmeal. Matthew Card, our food editor, thinks it makes the best PB&J, especially on a nutty whole-grain bread. For desserts, Mymouné Apricot Jam is great as a cookie filling or, when warmed up and combined with an optional touch of bourbon, as a glaze for a pound cake. The fruity intensity of these preserves works with savory foods, too: Try blending it with equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper to toss with roasted carrots, sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
Straight out of the town of Ain el Kabou, Lebanon, at the foot of Mount Sannine, family-run company Mymouné has been producing its award-winning artisanal fruit preserves and specialties for 30 years. Started by two sisters during the Lebanese Civil War as an effort to support their home village, the company makes all of its products completely by hand using traditional methods, from cooking fresh local fruit in small batches to hand-filling jars of preserves. You'll never get any artificial colors or preservatives from Mymouné—just the pure, vibrant flavors of the Middle East.
- Net Weight: 350 grams
- Ingredients: Apricots, sugar, and fresh lemon juice
- Place of Origin: Lebanon
Soom Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread
You can think of this chocolate tahini spread as the bittersweet, dark-chocolate sister of Nutella. Similar to how adding espresso powder to brownies brings out the chocolate flavor, the nutty and pleasantly bitter notes of toasted sesame are a wonderful counterpoint to the chocolate in this spreadable halva. Pressed fresh every six to eight weeks and sourced from Israel, Soom's tahini is made from single-origin white sesame seeds from northwestern Ethiopia that have an ideal oil-to-protein ratio and result in a creamy, pourable texture.
Slather it on toast or pound cake and drizzle over oatmeal or fruit. Its bittersweet depth is perfect for our Tahini Swirl Brownies or quick and easy Chocolate-Sesame Pudding. And for the world’s best banana split, use scoops of dulce de leche or salted caramel ice cream, layer with sliced banana and top with a thick drizzle of chocolate tahini (skip the cherry on this one).
- Net Weight: 12 ounces
- Ingredients: Ground sesame seeds, powdered pure cane sugar, cocoa powder
- Allergens: Contains sesame seeds. Free of peanuts, dairy and gluten.
- Certifications: Women-owned, kosher, vegan