It’s Cook the Books Club time and we’re back with another food-centric novel!
I like reading memoirs because they stretch me as a reader, but they are almost never my personal book of choice, so I’m always excited when a foodie novel comes my way!
Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran is an interesting concept. It follows 3 Iranian sisters who have fled Iran and are attempting to start a new life (and café) in Ireland.
The book was an ok read. I enjoyed the Irish characters to some extent, but eventually, they began to feel like buffoonish caricatures. The three sisters were compelling, but the flashbacks to tell their history dragged on for far too long (and even then was confusing). Finally, there was just the lightest touch of magic. Too light, in fact. It wasn’t enough to suspend reality to completely buy into the magic.
I’ve discussed this before in relation to books – I prefer that authors stay realistic (which despite the caricatures and too-long history was compelling) or go full on Harry Potter magic. The magic was meant to be lightly woven into the story, but instead felt forced and out of place.
Despite my heavy criticism, the book was good enough and I loved that the author included recipes at the end of each chapter.
I decided to make a Lavash, using the recipe directly from the book. The Lavash was delicious, the recipe instructions…not so much, so if you have a copy of the original, you’ll see my changes below.
The Lavash recipe was well worth reading the book. The kids went crazy over the Lavash, begging me to make more.
I used my favorite spice mix in this recipe (Everything Bagel), because I knew my family would love it.
This bread is best enjoyed hot and fresh from the oven.
Adapted from Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
½ cup warm water (around 110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon quick rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups all purpose flour
Seasoning mixture (I used everything bagel mix)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside until foamy; 5-10 minutes.
Add the olive oil, milk, salt, and flour. Stir with a dough hook until the dough comes together to form a smooth ball.
Divide the dough into three equal portions. Cover and set aside to rise for 30 minutes or until the dough is workable.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and place a baking stone in the oven to heat.
Roll a dough ball into a circle, as thin as possible. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Dust a pizza peel with corn meal. Transfer the dough circle to the pizza peel. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with seasonings. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough thinner yet and to press the spices into the dough.
Use a fork to make many divots into dough to prevent bubbling.
Transfer the dough to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until browned.
If desired, top with Havarti cheese and broil for 1 minute, then serve.