Enjoy a Flavorful Taste of the Warm, Bright and Complex Flavors of the Middle East with Villa Jerada
March 2023 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Recipes, Information and Photography provided by Villa Jerada
When it comes to eating healthier, creating flavor and delicious food is the key to success. While it’s easy to fall back on your tried-and-true recipes, exploring spices and sauces from around the world can lead to tantalizing tastes of fabulous flavors created from years of love, family and culinary tradition.
One such flavorful taste can be found right here in the U.S.—Villa Jerada. Based in the Seattle area, Villa Jerada is the creation of Mehdi Boujrada, who drew upon his Moroccan heritage to develop an award-winning line of artisanal pantry items, like spices, condiments, spreads, and oils. Classics of the Moroccan and Levantine repertoire are well represented and offer up the warm, bright, and complex flavors of the Middle East.
Mehdi’s memory of a favorite tuna sandwich he ate throughout his childhood in Casablanca sums up his passion for food. “Those who know it, live for it. A bite brings a smile to their face, a reminder of warm, sunny Moroccan days. I love watching people try it for the first time—the textures, the flavors, the history.”
Experiences such as these are exactly what Mehdi set out to capture with Villa Jerada—a nod to the past with their feet firmly in the present. Their spreads, sauces, and spices honor traditions that have been woven through centuries of Moroccan and Levantine cooking and are made from the highest quality, most painstakingly sustainable ingredients. The Villa Jerada products, in essence, are Mehdi’s love letters to the flavors of the Levantine region, a place in the world that he says “is so much richer and more beautiful than many in the West know.” He encourages people to read his letters “in the form of bright chermoula, rich and luscious tahini, indispensable dukkah, and a ras el hanout that will warm your heart and turn a tough day around.”
The terms may be unfamiliar, but the flavors will speak for themselves in the universal language of deliciousness. When you visit www.villajerada.com you will find descriptions of each item, it’s flavor and texture profile, as well as suggestions on how to use it, not to mention a plethora of great recipes. For anyone moving towards a healthier Mediterranean diet—and we all should be—or just those who love preparing and enjoying fabulous flavorful food, these spices and condiments will become your favorite pantry essentials.
You can find the delicious line of Villa Jerada locally at Fetch Mkt., located at 231 Hazzard Creek Village, Ste 5, Ridgeland. (On Hwy. 170 near Callawassie). Be sure to tell them Pink Magazine sent you!
Honey & Harissa Roasted Carrots
2-3 Tbsps Villa Jerada Buckwheat Honey
2 Tbsps Butter
1/8 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsps Villa Jerada Harissa
1-2 Tbsps Villa Jerada Dukkah
1 bunch of Carrots
Pinch Sea salt
Pinch Black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Mix olive oil, honey and harissa together, along with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside a couple tablespoons for glazing. Pour remaining mixture over carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Roast for 15 minutes then remove foil and pour the rest of the glaze and add butter over the top. Roast the carrots another 5 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle dukkah and more salt and pepper to finish
Optional: Serve with Greek yogurt mixed with 1-2 Tbsps of Honey
1 Tbsp Tomato paste
2-3 Tomatoes, chopped
1 Yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Villa Jerada Harissa
3 Tbsps Olive oil
1 cup Water
1 Tbsp Villa Jerada Kefta rub
Parsley, to taste
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste Naan or bread, for serving
In a tagine or large skillet, sweat onions in olive oil on a light heat for about 15 minutes, until translucent. Add tomato, tomato paste, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, Harissa, Kefta Rub, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and water. Cook until the tomato has broken down and the mixture has thickened to a sauce-like consistency. Use a spoon to make an egg-sized hole in the shakshuka. Crack one of the eggs into the hole. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the eggs reach desired doneness. Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt. To garnish, scatter whole cilantro leaves and drizzle olive oil over the dish. Serve while hot.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Tahini and Nigella
1 large Delicata squash
2 Tbsps Olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 Red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Villa Jerada Nigella Seeds
Honey Tahini Dressing:
3 Tbsps Villa Jerada Tahini
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsps Villa Jerada Buckwheat Honey
1/2 cup cold Water
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut Delicata squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and cut into 1/4 inch circles. Place squash on parchment, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 30 minutes until soft and nicely browned on the bottom.
Mix tahini, honey, olive oil, and water in a small bowl and stir with a fork until well combined. Add more water and whisk vigorously if you prefer a thinner dressing.
On a serving platter arrange the thinly sliced onions, the delicata slices and drizzle the dressing on top. Sprinkle top with nigella seeds to finish.
Chermoula Steak Bites
1 lb. Ribeye steak, cut into square pieces
2 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp Villa Jerada Kefta Rub
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Villa Jerada Buckwheat Honey
1/4 cup Water
2-4 Tbsps Villa Jerada Chermoula
1 head Romaine lettuce
Salt, to taste
In a bowl, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, Kefta Rub and meat pieces. Rub until well coated and let rest for 1-2 hours in the fridge or overnight, if possible. In a hot sizzling pan, add remaining olive oil then immediately toss in the meat. Cook for few minutes until it is nicely cooked to medium and starts to char, then remove the meat.
Reduced the heat to medium-low and add the leeks and garlic to the pan, and cook for about a minute or until softened, making sure to stir regularly to avoid burning. Increase the heat to medium and add water to create a reduction. Turn off the heat and add honey while stirring. Add the meat back in and coat the meat with the sauce.
On a serving platter present the meat in the middle with a dollop of the Chermoula next to several leaves of Romaine. Assemble the lettuce wraps by adding in some Chermoula and steak.
4 Tbsps Olive oil 1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail-off
1 Garlic clove, minced 1 tsp Villa Jerada Harissa
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 cup Water 2 Tbsps Tomato paste
Salt, to taste Naan or Bread, for serving
Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add tomato paste, and spread out using a spatula. Cook for 1 minute making sure not to let it burn. Add garlic and cook for another minute stirring constantly. Add water and stir to create a thick sauce. Cook 3-5 minutes until it turns into a thicker saucy texture. (If the sauce is too dry, add more water. If the sauce is too watery, cook longer to reduce or add more tomato paste to get the right consistency.)
Once the sauce is at the right consistency, add the Harissa and cook for another minute. Add the shrimp and cook about 1 minute on each side. Toss in cilantro and parsley and stir. Remove from heat and finish off with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with warm bread.
2 lbs Mussels
1/2 Shallot, finely chopped
1 cup White wine
1 tsp Villa Jerada Aleppo Pepper
3 Tbsps Olive oil
10 parsley sprigs + more for garnish
Bread, for serving
1 Tbsp Villa Jerada Harissa (add more at the end for more heat)
Scrub each mussel and rinse well. Pull the beard off the mussel and place all cleaned mussels in a bowl filled with cold water. In a pot, bring olive oil, shallots, wine, harissa, parsley, salt and pepper to a boil. Allow to reduce slightly, about 4-5 minutes. Use your hands to remove the mussels from the water and rinse them well in a colander. Add the mussels and close lid on the pot. Let cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels all open. (Remove any mussels that didn’t open.) Add the aleppo pepper just before removing from heat. Toss gently. To Serve: Place mussels in bowls, add the broth on top. Garnish with parsley and serve with your favorite bread.
Note: Pairs well with Harissa Potatoes. Recipe available at www.villajerada.com.
Chef Emily Crawford Dann
Green Goddess Tahini Dressing
1 clove Garlic 6 Green onion tops
¼ cup fresh Mint leaves
¼ cup fresh Dill leaves and stems
¼ cup fresh Tarragon
¼ cup Cilantro, leaves and stems
¼ cup Villa Jerada Tahini
¼ cup Olive oil
juice of 2 Lemons
½ - 1 cup cold Water
1 tsp Kosher salt
In the bowl of a food processor, blend garlic, green onion tops and herbs until finely chopped. Add tahini, lemon juice and salt and continue to blend.
With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil. (The mixture will separate but will quickly come back together once the water is added.) Then slowly add the water while running until smooth and creamy. Depending on what you are using the dressing for will determine how much water you use. If it’s to dress a salad, use more water to make it thinner. If it’s to be used as a dip, add less water so it is thicker.
Cucumber Aleppo Salad
Cucumber salad is all the rage right now...
and this one is no exception. Healthy and delicious!
4 Persian Cucumbers, cubed
2 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp of Aleppo Pepper
1 Tbsp Lemon or Lime Juice
Salt, to taste
Mix the lemon juice, salt and Aleppo pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and mix well. Toss in the cucumbers and your salad is ready to serve.
Dates with Tahini & Greek Yogurt
2 cups Medjool dates
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup Villa Jerada Tahini
2 Tbsps Sesame seeds
2 Tbsps Villa Jerada Buckwheat Honey
Note: This is a simple, yet rich dessert. Quite frankly, this recipe is more about how much you want to indulge and eye-balling it. For instance, yogurt can be replaced by a fresh ricotta, mascarpone, or even ice cream.
Begin by slicing dates in half and spreading them over the plate. Drizzle about 1 cup of tahini over the dates and top with a few heaping spoons of Greek yogurt, honey and sesame seeds. Et Viola!