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My "Breakfast Biblical Burrito"

    When I was doing field research for my book, Mediterranean Grains & Greens, in that part of the Turkish countryside along the Euphrates where so much of the Bible is set, I noticed that often when I visited homes the hostess wouldn't have any time to really sit down and eat. She was too busy cooking and tending her children.

    However, in one house, when we were all supposed to be napping, I saw my hostess take a whole onion, throw it into some hot embers, then later remove it, smash it, then put it on a heated round of flat bread. She spread on some hot red pepper paste thinned with olive oil and a sprinkling of dried mint, then rolled it up and sat quietly eating it with gusto.

     When she caught me watching her, she beckoned me, took my arm in hers, then stuffed a piece of the rolled bread into my mouth. It was wonderful!

    "You can also add tomato and cheese to this dürüm," she told me in sign language. (In Southern Turkey, dürüm is the word for a round flat bread made with hard wheat flour; in other parts of the country it's called sikma).

  Such was the inspiration for what I have dubbed my "breakfast biblical burrito"...which I've been eating on and off for breakfast the past five years. A secondary inspiration was the classic Israeli kibbutz breakfast of fresh tomatoes, onions, greens, peppers.

     At home in the U.S., I use an old-fashioned flat toaster grid over my gas stove top to gently heat either the flat semolina bread, a flour tortilla or a fresh piece of lavash. Once heated, I slip in several chopped up cherry tomatoes; a seeded, cored and diced jalapeno; a little chopped green pepper; some parsley, mint and crumbled feta cheese. I add a trickle of olive oil and a pinch of salt for flavor, then roll my "burrito" up and eat it along with a cup of coffee. Yes, it's messy...but very good!

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©1999—2006 Paula Wolfert