Because Pasadena, CA (where I used to live) has a large Armenian population, there are several excellent Middle Eastern restaurants within a 5 mile radius. I ate at a couple of them regularly. Since moving away from Pasadena, the things I have missed most (and been unable to find) are even passable falafel, tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghannouj and baklava.
The absence of good middle eastern cuisine forced me to learn how to make my own. Part of the learning process has been trying out healthier versions of these standards. I have actually gotten pretty good at it, even if I do say so. I now make oven baked falafel, oil-free hummus and baba ghannouj and gluten-free tabbouleh. The only thing I haven’t bothered with is baklava for obvious reasons. (more…)