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We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: All you have to do for dinner tonight is chop and toss. (Oh yeah, and there's a crumb topping involved, too.)
Sometimes you want to make a meal that requires putting on an apron, facing sputtering oil, and taking the immersion blender out of retirement. But when the commute home leaves you dampened with sweat and slightly out of breath, chances are high that you'd rather make a meal that requires you to do as little work as possible.
Before you start making dinner tonight, unbind your feet from your too-tight shoes and put on your laziest clothes. Then chop a few things, toss them together in a bowl, and make the easiest crumb topping to ever grace the world with its presence. If you're in need of some protein (in addition to the vanilla ice cream for the crumble, that is), serve the extra pita from the fattoush with hummus (we won't tell if it's store-bought) or fried or sautéed chickpeas.
4 pieces of good-quality pita bread
1 1/2 teaspoons sumac, divided
2 big heirloom tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 or 4 Middle Eastern cucumbers
1/4 red onion
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried mint
6 to 8 ripe peaches
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
Vanilla ice cream, optional
We assume you have olive oil, salt, pepper, two lemons, flour, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, 1 stick of butter, and maple syrup in your kitchen. If not, add those to the list, too.
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Slice open the pita if it’s pocket-style, then put it on a baking sheet in a single layer, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sumac plus salt and pepper to taste. Remove the toasted pita from the oven (but keep the oven on) and break them into uneven bite-sized pieces.
2. Rinse and dry the heirloom tomatoes. Halve them, then slice each half into small wedges. As you slice, save the collected juice and transfer it to a bowl. Then halve the cherry tomatoes. Transfer all of the tomatoes to a large, shallow bowl or a serving platter. Halve the cucumbers and slice them into chunks, thinly slice the red onion, roughly chop 1/4 cup each of mint and parsley, slice the scallions, and add everything to the bowl with the tomatoes. Incorporate without smushing the tomatoes, then add the pita chips on top. (If you want them to stay crunchy, reserve them until right before serving.)
3. In the bowl with the reserved tomato juices, combine the juice of half a lemon with the pomegranate syrup, the dried mint, 1/2 teaspoon of sumac, salt, and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil in a slow stream, whisking to emulsify. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing every 10.
4. Meanwhile, pit and slice the peaches. Using your hands, work together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, the pecans, and 1 stick of cold butter that’s cut into pea-sized chunks until the mixture is crumbly.
5. Next, mix together the almond extract and bourbon with the juice of a lemon and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and combine it with the peaches. Pour the peaches into a baking dish and top them with the crumb topping, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Eat the fattoush; we recommend serving it alongside hummus and leftover pita that’s been warmed in the oven or on the stovetop. By the time dinner is finished, the peach crumble will be ready. Eat it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Photos by James Ransom