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To Shop and Cook Like Vered Guttman

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

YEKTA SUPERMARKET,1488-B Rockville Pike, Rockville (301-984-1190) -- for the array of packaged ingredients from all over the Middle East, and for fruits and vegetables such as small Israeli cucumbers and Iranian clementines.

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KOSHERMART,184 Rollins Ave. (301-468-4840) and 4860 Boiling Brook Pkwy. (301-468-0400), Rockville -- for all the delights "from home," she says: fresh white Israeli cheese, Israeli cottage cheese ("the best in the world"), spices, Palestinian tahini, chocolate bars for her children.

Her favorite special ingredients:

DATE MOLASSES (called silan in Israel): The consistency is close to that of a pureed fruit jam. Guttman uses it instead of honey in many dishes and for marinating kebabs. A current hit in Israel is vanilla ice cream topped with tahini and silan, she says.

LABNEH: She mixes this sour yogurt cheese into Mediterranean yogurt to add richness.

SUMAC: This is a sour spice with beautiful color. She uses it in fattoush-style salads and sprinkles it over chicken.

FAVA BEANS: The dried yellow favas have a deep, earthy flavor and no peel, making them easier to use. She uses the fresh, in-season beans for rice dishes and soups, and the dried beans in rich stews.

TAHINI (sesame paste): Guttman especially likes the Camel brand tahini available at KosherMart. She drizzles it over an Israeli salad (finely chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and parsley), in hummus, over ice cream, in cake batters and over fish and meat. She also combines tahini with lemon juice, water, garlic, salt and chopped parsley to make a sauce served with hummus.

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