This is a Guest Post by Sweet Pillar Food Founder, Nadia Hubbi
The month of Ramadan may mean different things for different people, however at the end of the day, we can all agree that we are ready to feast! Growing up in a traditional Syrian household with an exceptionally great cook for a Mom, there was an endless array of mouth watering dishes every night for iftar. Now as I prepare the iftar for my family and friends, I try to emulate the delicious spread my Mom laid out when I was younger, but with my own innovative twists. Much in the same way, many children raised to immigrant parents try to uphold the traditions and values of their ancestors while also incorporating the positives of the society around them. The idea of a synergy between western and eastern cuisine brought to fruition in an easy accessible way was the inspiration behind my cooking style and ultimately the starting another branch of of my company, Sweet Pillar called Sweet Pillar Food. An Instagram page and blog to follow with inspirational Modern Middle Eastern cuisine.
While the taste of the food is of utmost importance, I am also a strong believer in a visually appealing food display and an aesthetic presentation. Incorporating “kitchen craft” to your iftar spread is a great and easy way to achieve a more personalized aesthetic. What I call kitchen crafts are the arts and crafts for food and includes food tags, menu print outs, name labels etc. The great thing about kitchen crafts is that they can be done ahead of time and there are a multitude of free printables online. They add such a special touch to any iftar and Eid dinner table but are unfortunately overlooked.
I also believe in experimenting with traditional recipes by tweaking some of the ingredients, usually to enhance different flavors or improve the nutritional content. This year, I played around with a traditional Arab dessert called Hareesay which is made using yogurt and semolina and yields a moist cake and topped with decedent honey syrup. With this recipe, I substituted flavored yogurt to add a slight fruit flavor. I also used greek yogurt to increase the protein content and decrease fat. After it was out of the oven, I printed out a mini lantern banner to place on top and I washed and cut stems from my garden flower bouquet to hang my lantern banner on. The result was a delicious dessert that evoked memories of my grandparents kitchen in Syria, with a fun modern twist that everyone loved.
As we approach the end of Ramadan and wonderful iftars, I challenge us all to think of using kitchen crafts this year for a more colorful and festive Eid! Follow my Instagram @sweetpillarfood for inspiration and tag you photos #sweetpillarfood to be featured! Inshallah a blessed Eid al Fitr to all of your family and friends.