Exploring Middle Eastern Culinary Delights from Pennswood’s Dining Room
Photos by Nicole Jones
Pennswood residents celebrated August birthdays, Middle Eastern style, with an intriguing international exploration experienced from their own dining room. This event was a festive and flavorful mix of good friends and diverse cuisines including Arab, Persian, Israeli, Kurdish, Armenian, Georgian and Turkish foods.
There was chatter, big smiles and clinking of glasses as diners sampled Chef Steve’s authentic menu developed through his research of the many cultures represented. Through their combined efforts, residents indulged in intriguingly tantalizing tastes from fresh mint and rich cheeses, to creamy yogurt sauce and sweet honey.
One resident contributed to this rich culinary adventure by lending a Tassajara cookbook, the inspiration for a robust medley of cheeses, herbs and vegetables under a light, flaky pastry crust.
Aromatic scents and an energetic buzz rose from the Lobby and Penn Hall Lounge as the evening kicked off with butlered hors d’oeuvres—delightful stuffed grape leaves and creamy baba ghanoush.
It was just the start of the food-filled celebration, followed by an Israeli salad with bright, assorted vegetables sprinkled with dill and set on a bed of crisp greens. Those who preferred enjoyed a fresh tossed garden salad.
Complementing the abundance of unique Middle Eastern vegetables, including honey-glazed carrots with dates and delicately seasoned onions, were equally authentic meats and seafood. Turkish lamb meatballs, a succulent Israeli chicken dish and Moroccan sea bass all scored for their intriguing flavor.
Pastry Chef Bobby brought a sweet close to the evening with about half a dozen dessert choices. Some residents had no trouble picking one favorite, while others sampled a few. Desserts included Namoura, a cake with hints of orange, raspberry coulis and topped with fresh raspberries, and The Nights of Lebanon, a refreshing parfait, among others.