Sunday, October 22, 2006


Sorry that I’ve been MIA for the last little bit. I’ve just completed my last flight as a flight attendant so I was away in Scotland. Leaving the gypsy life behind and doing something more sedentary which will definitely give me a lot more time to spend in the kitchen! I had a cute little omen in Glasgow on Saturday when I asked the “universe” for a sign that I was doing the right thing. I passed by LUSH and there was a sign in the window that said “There’s no place like Lush”…. I kind of thought that was close enough to “There’s no place like home”.

I started craving Lebanese food recently and it's pretty much all forbidden under the Pagano diet. One of my favorite dishes is a really bold and delicious salad called Fattoush. Now Fattoush normally has tomatoes, white vinegar and deep fried pita chips; forbidden ingredients which can actually be easily dealt with. The result is a salad that is very alkaline and has ingredients such as onions and lemon juice which are powerful detoxifiers and romaine lettuce which is very alkaline producing. Ever since I've "Paganofied" this dish I've been known to scare my friend Danika with random "MMM!!!!!!" FATTOUSH!!!" exclamations of joy whenever I refer to it. I've presented this salad in wrap form because it's never been done before (really.. I googled "Fattoush wrap" and came up with nothing!). If you'd like it in salad form just omit the pita and follow the directions for toasted pita chips. If you're on a Pagano diet and want to stick to every rule, omit the pita altogether; otherwise you're mixing citrus and grains in the same meal which is a minor rule of the program (I sometimes cheat with the small rules... whahahaah). I present here instructions for both forms of Fattoush.


1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
dash of salt

1 medium red onion (or half a big one) loosely chopped
half an English cucumber, cubed for salad - sliced for wrap
1/2-3/4 cup sliced black olives
1 heaping handful of parsley, finely chopped
3-4 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 head of organic romaine lettuce
1/2 or 1 whole wheat pita bread

Emulsify all the fattoush dressing ingredients.

If making a salad as opposed to a wrap, slice the pita in half and save the other half for another project. Slice the remaining pita into 1 inch squares, place them in a non stick pan over medium-high heat and toss around every few minutes until the pita chips become crunchy.

Wash the romaine lettuce and drain it in a salad spinner. Shred the lettuce with your hands and place into a large bowl. Add all the other salad ingredients and toss. To make a fattoush wrap, place some of the salad in a whole wheat pita bread and add a few spoonfuls of the dressing. To make a fattoush salad, place a serving into a bowl, add the dressing and top with toasted pita chips;

**Important note :: Do yourself a favor and don't go on a date after having this salad. Fattoush will conjure up a breath that will drive any potential mating partner away... but it's so yummy!


-toph. said...

your creativity is great! even if i don't make the recipes (although most i will), just the fact someone out there does makes me feel better!


aTxVegn said...

Hey, Ben. Welcome home. Career change, huh? What's the plan now?

I think the macrobiotic diet could use some of your creativity! From what I've read, it's pretty routine, the same elements every meal. I like the menu, but for me, the main drawback is no fruit which I would miss terribly. I do, however, feel really good after a macro meal.

I love almonds, and I love baking cookies. I think my toasted almonds taste like peanut butter, which is a good thing for me, unless you're trying NOT to eat cookies. Yeh, I'm glad that cookie recipe only made a dozen.

aTxVegn said...

I forgot to tell you your Fatoosh looks fabulous! Could you create a gluten free pita for me?

Candi said...

Hi Ben!
Congrats on your final flight in that career! No more gypsy-life, and Lush sure seems to think that you made the right move! :) I do envy the travel part though, but I can see why you'd want to finally create a "home."

So there's a Lush in Glasgow? Wow.

I love this Fattoush because it reminds me of my old-time favorite food: Greek salad pockets. I was so addicted to those. Since I don't eat the feta now and have been too lazy to make tofu-feta, I'm missing out. I think this recipe will be great. Such a pretty photo too! I saved the recipe and the photo with it. :)

Glad you're back and hope you create a new career that you love. I think you should be a Pagano chef!! :P

Nikk said...

Fattoush. Translated it means "food of the gods". Not really, but it really should, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I agree ! You should be a Pagano Chef !! People will go: "What ? A Pagan Chef ? How wonderfully sinful (and Decadent)!" LOL

Beautifully presented, as always :)

Ben Kaelan said...

toph : You're a sweetie! If you make some of my recipes I want to see pictures!!

Atxvegan: The plan now is to work as a travel agent whilst finishing my fine arts diploma. We'll see how that works out. I think there's a lot of things I can learn from the macro diet and incorporate into what I'm doing right now. Realistically... the macro diet is really akin to what I'm doing... just with a lot less grains. I found a gluten free pita recipe online. I don't think I could have made one up... I don't know much about gluten free baking. But thanks for having confidence in me hehe.

Candi: I'm going to miss the travel part too but the constant jet lag kind of puts you off at one point. There are Lush's all over the UK; it's where it started out. :) I don't think I've ever had greek salad pockets. Will have to investigate that :)

The Pagano chef thing is kind of funny because I bought the pagano cookbook and it was quite a let down as a vegan. The recipes were really uninspiring. I'm glad I got it though because I kind of got a feel for what was allowed and what wasn't (there were ingredients that were never mentionned in the first book that I didn't know were allowed such as ginger and soy sauce).

Gaia: I'd be an Atheist Pagano chef LOL. Thanks again for your nice complements.

Candi said...

Hi again!
Thanks so much for the idea on the spaghetti squash!! Yes, I do own "How it all Vegan" and will probably make that recipe you mentioned! :) Sounds really good!!!

Anonymous said...

yum looks so good, i cant wait to seemore of your recipes!