While cooking, listen to this: White Flag - Gorillaz
There is a bakery on the corner of Dizengoff and Hamelekh George in Tel Aviv that I am convinced is run by wizards. It is nothing more than a bakery case and a counter at which to order, super easy to miss, which would be a shame because it houses some of the most amazing baked goods in the area. I used to live 45 seconds away from this place, and the day my roommates discovered it was a blessed day.
Coming back from class at the university, two of them came home with unassuming brown paper bags.
"Oh my effing god, you guys - the most amazing bakery is down the street."
They then pulled out the contents of the bags, and I don't remember what was in them exactly because I think I blacked out from the sheer deliciousness, but I'm almost positive they contained pitas with za'atar. They smelled heavenly, and one roommate offered me a bite of hers. I immediately went out and got my own, for fear that I would lock myself in my room with hers and devour it.
We went to that bakery multiple times a week after class for more za'atar pitas, bourekas, pita pizzas and more. I think about that bakery all of the time, and it's one of the 7,592,348 things I miss about living in Tel Aviv. Recipes that remind me of that time in my life fill me with joy and comfort in a way that nothing else can.
Alyssa just got back from a family trip to Israel and brought some amazing ingredients home (which is why you'll see a bunch of Middle Eastern recipes the next couple weeks). Included in these treats was a big plastic container filled with za'atar from Jordan. One hefty whiff and I was instantly transported to that bakery in Tel Aviv. I wanted to make something with it immediately, something that was easy and would let the za'atar shine through. Za'atar popcorn to the rescue!
A note about za'atar: za'atar is basically dried thyme, sumac (a delicious lemony spice) and sesame seeds and it is DOPE. It also, well, it looks like weed. Like, could be mistaken for weed if you squint really hard. There are actually some amazing pictures of people on Israel trips through Birthright or their high schools making their own za'atar, and it looks like they're grinding up their very own green. But it doesn't taste like weed at all! It's earthy and oregano-like and you should put it on everything you love.
This popcorn takes 30 seconds to make. Literally. It's kind of laughable to call it a recipe, but here we are. All you do is put some popcorn in a bowl, add some olive oil, za'atar and salt and then stuff it into your face. Voila! Best snack ever. And apparently it's good for you, too!
Love and meows, Rina
Yield: 8 cups
Total Cook Time: 30 seconds (literally)
Category: Snacks, Mediterranean, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Note: if you can't find za'atar, mix together equal parts dried thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, and add salt to taste.
8 cups popped popcorn
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons za'atar
Salt, to taste
Add popcorn to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle on za'atar and salt and toss to coat. Done!
To keep: this will keep in a tightly sealed zippered bag for a couple of days.