~ About Luma ~
I grew up in Amman, Jordan surrounded by a politically rowdy Palestinian family. My father was an engineer, a political activist and hyper social. Our house was constantly ebbing and flowing with swarms of politicians, friends and relatives. My mother’s cooking was the focal point of every one of these occasions. Every part of our lives revolved around her food.
I am the fourth of five siblings. Two of us are exceptionally clumsy; a trait inherited from our father and one of the reasons why you will not see pictures of my hands. Just like my mother, I have no impulse control and I am impatient except when I Make. Give me time and space, and intriguing things will happen: warm knits, freaky jewelry, lopsided pots, and food.
American dorm food was the incentive for me to learn how to cook from my mother, who has her own measuring units. Mama is a fearless eater who gives a new meaning to slow cooking. She creates in a vast kitchen and takes her sweet time: 4 hours to be precise, to cook lunch, the biggest meal of the day.
It was in her kitchen that at age 4 I staged a strike on meat. Mama, an unrelenting carnivore, seamlessly took on the challenge and modified recipes so I would eat. Until this day, whenever I visit, stuffed squashes marked with toothpicks bob around with their meat stuffed sisters in tangy Jameed broth, Palestinian Tortellinis, Shushbarak, are stuffed with truffles and pine nuts instead of lamb — and the list goes on.
Now across the Atlantic from where I grew up, I cook in a tiny “Lego yellow” kitchen, in a green house on a heavily wooded lot. I scheme in a high-energy household with my inventive husband Shawn, our adventurous 3-year-old son Musa, and our two cats.
Please note that I use an electric stove with a glass top, you might want to adjust your cooking time accordingly. Geographic location, sketchy house history and the kid who is very interested in touching, make having a gas stove a not so good idea.
~About This Blog ~
The purpose of this space is for vegetarians like myself to explore traditionally meaty dishes. I will look for hearty traditionally meaty recipes from around the world and transform them into vegetarian, vegan and sometimes gluten free recipes. Please feel free to send me suggestions.
I am a big fan of simple and nutritious vegetarian recipes gracing beautiful food blogs out there. This blog is not one of those. This is a chance for us to use most of the spices and herbs that we’ve collected over the years, and be introduced to new ones. I want us to cause some major spice collisions and flavor transformations, to let the food cook and simmer. We will stuff every vegetable we can get our hands on. It is worth the trouble. I am going to convince you that the scent escaping from your kitchen and filling your home is something to savor and be proud of. We will create vegetarian gravies, bountiful stews and creamy curries with an aromatic nimbus that will emanate from your every pore.
~ About Raphanous ~
\ˈra-fə-nəs\ sounds like Ravenous and is the genus for the red radish.
After 20 years of living in the U.S., I still say English is my second language, Shawn disagrees. I have not written beyond snippets since my son was born, so some of what I write will sound a bit off. I would like to explore writing with this project, so excuse me if I sometimes sound like a robot.
And so with this minor handicap I pay homage to an obscure but fantastic Palestinian tradition that is not assigned a culinary term, yet. It is a tradition of taking a bite out of a head of red radish with each spoonful of stew or soup.
Striking red candy drops hiding the coldest of whites roll on a plate waiting their turn, ready to complement the luscious collaboration of fauna, flora, and spice. Raphanous tempts you with her red and spark. A dimpled spherical trickster bites but its sharpness fades quickly.