In some ways, I am unmistakably my father’s daughter. He and I shared a love of collecting. My father may have even qualified as a hoarder. I hope I’m not that bad. Alan and I, however, have managed to amass a collection of books that makes moving companies cringe.
In learning to make the kemia salads, I felt like I was starting another collection. Kemia is a combination of small plates presented on the table before the main meal. Restaurants in the Middle East often serve them free of charge to show off their good fortune. The greater the variety of kemia, the greater the wealth.
Most of my kemia recipes come from my father’s recipe cards. When I was last in Israel, I translated his cards into recipes with his sisters. Each day I spent walking from one aunt’s house to another, toting my All-Clad measuring cups and a black notebook. By the end of the trip I had completed all of my favorite kemia recipes.
Mazoura, a spicy carrot and caraway salad, was the first recipe I made. I worked on it with Hana, whom I lived with while finishing High School in Israel. Her kitchen is particularly special to me; it’s where I learned the basics of cooking, as well as the bulk of my French, and it’s where I learned so much about my family’s history. Hana’s kitchen defines home for me, and it always will.
8 carrots- peeled with ends cut
2 tbs canola oil
6 pieces of garlic- minced
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp harrisa
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbs of caraway seed- freshly ground is best
Boil the carrots in slightly salted water until soft. When cooked remove drain water and set aside until cool.
In a large bowl add the oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, harrisa, caraway and salt mix well.
When the carrots are cooled cut in 1/4 inch rounds on an angle and add to bowl with spices and oil, mix well. Add the vinegar at the end and mix well. It’s best to prepare this salad well in advance so that flavors macerate.