When I was thinking about what to make for Z in my experiment of cooking with new things for Vegan MoFo, there was really only one option - za'atar.
Admittedly, there was really only one option as much because za'atar sounded delicious as because I couldn't think of anything else beginning with z.
Za'atar, for the uninitiated, is a mix of herbs and spices - typically involving sumac, sesame seeds, thyme and salt, as well as whatever else the person who's making it might have at the back of the cupboard at the time. According to Wikipedia, za'atar is Arabic in origin, and according to a lovely description on Serious Eats, it's "a spice blend, a wild herb, a dip, a condiment, and a snacking equivalent of popcorn, it's an ancient cultural institution, a symbol of national identity, and a personal watermark."
For my personal watermark, it was an almost mix of thyme, oregano, roasted sesame seeds and sumac, with a sprinkling of salt.
To keep with the Arabic theme, I sprinkled it on some hummus as well as on some roasted veggies. Success - it's delicious! Sumac isn't something I've used an awful lot - oh alright, let's stop being coy, it's something I've almost never used at all - and I loved the citrusy, floral tang it gave the za'atar.
Hummus, lovely though it is, can sometimes get a little samey, and the za'atar gave it a lovely new twist.
After I'd finished sprinkling it all over hummus and the veggies, I still had a few teaspoons left. I did the sensible thing and turned my personal watermark, spice blend, what have you, back into a snack and scarfed the whole lot down.
And with that, I'm done for MoFo. I've cooked a truckload of stuff, read another truckload of blogs old and new, won a MoFo competition and enjoyed the hell out of it all.
Roll on next October - I'm ready for you!