There is no good reason to suffer through chewing tough store-bought pita bread when making it yourself is this good and this easy. Try this recipe and see what you’ve been missing!
Danielle’s Perfect Pita Bread Recipe
1¼ cups (10 oz by WT) filtered warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
(I like Fleishman’s brand. Always check the expiration date before purchasing yeast.)
1 cup (4 1/2 oz by WT) organic whole wheat bread flour
2 cups (9 oz by WT) organic unbleached bread flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
1 teaspoon good quality olive oil (optional)
Notes: You can omit the oil. I rarely use oil in cooking but in this case it does help prevent a skin from forming on the dough and makes it a little easier to manipulate. It is such a minute amount per pita I feel it is insignificant, though others may disagree.
It is always better to weigh ingredients rather than use volume measurements. Depending on how densely packed your flour is, you can come up with measurements that are not very reliable. Even measuring cups can vary slightly, so it is best to weigh everything if you can, even water.
Don’t let either the name or the location fool you; this South Florida suburban strip mall dining establishment is far from your average neighborhood fare. When I say far, I mean Falafel Bistro & Wine Bar (FB) takes your palate on a journey to remote destinations along the Mediterranean, brimming with exotic herbs, spices, flavors and textures. FB is conveniently located in Coral Springs, FLorida, just off the Sawgrass Expressway (869), at 5677 Coral Ridge Dr., in the Heron Lakes Plaza. Hungry patrons come from near and far to immerse themselves in this sophisticated, multi-sensory atmosphere created by chef/owner and culinary genius, Ilan Cohen. But be forewarned, once you sample his fare, you will undoubtedly become addicted!
Step into Mooney’s off of fourth street in Winston-Salem and the first thing you’ll notice is the chic interior for such a quaint little café. Actually, if you’re there during the middle of lunch, like my dining partner and I, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s jam-packed and you’ll worry about your chances of getting a table. Luckily we snagged one of two vacant ones in the house; business is bustling and turnover is fast during lunch, where mostly business people from downtown are on their lunch breaks.
During lunch, customers order at the counter from the menu above it written in chalk on a blackboard. With tons of options–vegan, vegetarian, and meaty, too–in small handwriting and the long line that was moving fast, I didn’t have long to deliberate and quickly picked something that sounded vegan and delicious: the Tempeh Pita.
During my lengthy conversation with owner Ameen David, I learned that my wrap was developed by a strict vegan employee, Stephen (minus his consumption of two eggs a week per doctor’s orders, Ameen recalls). The Tempeh Pita isn’t the only menu item developed by his employees. Leah, one of Mooney’s servers, and her boyfriend, a chef at a neighboring downtown restaurant, suggested that Ameen start using olive oil rather than butter in the couscous when they became vegan. He listened. And every time his wife saw him, Ameen says, he was eating this sandwich that wasn’t on the menu. “What is that?” she asked. Thus the Falafel Burger, the brainchild of an employee named Scott, was born.
Grand Mart International Food is a mecca of exotic fruits and vegetables. I didn’t see anything in the way of organics but they certainly had a wide variety of unusual produce, much of which I was entirely unfamiliar. What I did recognize were the isles of ethnic foods and spices. Most prevalent were the spice blends which comes in handy when you are experimenting with various cuisines and would like to sample the flavors of a region without investing in all the individual herbs and spices contained in particular regional blends. Available were also rices, beans, noodles and other fare native to many regional cuisines, including Asian, Indian and Hispanic to mention only a few.
A very interesting couple owns this cafe. Nova and Mike Nelson, whom I believe is the chef, seem to love creating new restaurants which combine marvelous fusions of cultures and flavors with very healthy eating, always with vegetarian and vegan options.
The first of their restaurants, at least that we’ve experienced, was called Angelica’s. You could fine Asian-style nori rolls, Cajun red beans and rice and wonderful Italian pastas. Once this restaurant became a huge success, they sold it and moved to another location across town where they founded The Coyote Kitchen. I’ll talk about this restaurant in depth later as it still exists under new management. Coyote Kitchen quickly became our favorite restaurant in Boone with its creative fusions of Caribbean and Southwestern cuisines. Once this was up and running full tilt, they again sold their restaurant and opened a Thai restaurant in yet another area of town. (I did not make it to this restaurant and can not reliably comment on it.) The next thing we knew, they were back at the Angelica’s location with still another restaurant which they call the Hob Nob Farm Cafe. It is marvelous! I’ve never had a bad meal there.
Rich and I discovered this restaurant a few years ago, when we were still unenlightened carnivores. Adopting a whole foods plant-based lifestyle dramatically reduced the number of decent restaurants we could enjoy. Babylon is a friendly family owned mediterranean restaurant. We had to include this as our first post for Veggin’ Out and About. Babylon is not fancy but the food is delicious. Friday is the best day to go as most of the specials then are vegan.
On Fridays they serve eggplant and potato stew and vegetables stuffed with a tasty tomato-rice concoction. Most days one can purchase a vegan lentil stew, Falafel (fried vegetable balls), and eggplant salad with pickles, Tabouleh (parsley, tomato and bulgur salad) and hummus (pureed chickpeas with spices). Everything is served with generous portions of flatbread, which is wonderful.