New Cooking Group Explores the Facets of Middle Eastern Cuisine Through a Cookbook

Longtime friends create a virtual space where people can learn and cook together

Beth Lee and Sarene Wallace are lifelong friends who love to cook. They live a few hours apart in California, and both of them express their culinary creativity through different outlets; Lee writes the blog OMG! Yummy and Wallace is a freelance food journalist for 805 Living Magazine. Each of them writes on a daily basis about what foods they’re cooking, what new recipes they’re trying, and what restaurants they’ve recently visited, and now, they’re joining their interests and working together by launching a virtual cooking group called Tasting Jerusalem.

Beginning in January 2013, the group will collectively explore Middle Eastern cuisine through Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook, published by Ten Speed Press in October 2012. Each month, Lee and Wallace will pick a new topic or ingredient from the cookbook, and they invite you to join them as they tackle the new culinary subject matter. Anyone from anywhere is welcome to join, whether a blogger, a writer, or just an avid cook with a camera, just so long as you’re eager and willing to try and cook new things. Lee and Wallache encourage group members to comment, ask questions, and post photos of their culinary adventures with Jerusalem, and to actively participate with the group through its Facebook page and the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter. Other than that, just a copy of the cookbook and a working kitchen will instantly give you a new group of friends that you can share your culinary adventures with.

This month, they’ve chosen sumac as their main ingredient, and are discovering the ingredient through a few different recipes from the book: hummus, spinach salad with dates and almonds, fattoush, kohlrabi salad, braised eggs with lamb, and turkey and zucchini burgers.

Six recipes, plenty of time, and endless possibilities to share and discuss your experiences with Middle Eastern cuisine make the perfect platform for bringing passionate and avid cooks together. Join #TastingJrslm to learn more about the exotic cuisine through the lens of Ottolenghi and Tamimi and maybe make some lifelong friends, too.

Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce

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