Have you ever met someone for the first time and just instantly clicked and knew you’d be easy, fast friends?! Well that’s what happened on the day I met Sumaya. She’s a smart, driven, and fashionable pharmacist that I have the pleasure of working with each week. We instantly bonded over our mutual love (obsession) with fashion and style. We have the same favorite designers and she never hesitates to support a shopping splurge of mine. Everyone needs a friend like that!
Also, can we talk about how absolutely gorgeous she is!? I assure you her beauty is matched 10-fold by her kind heart. She is an amazing role model and inspiration.
This week, Sumaya asked me to participate in a day-long fast with her in honor of Ramadan. Ramadan is the Holy month during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Not only do they sacrifice food and water during daylight hours, but they are encouraged to be better people and give back to the community. During the entire month they are reminded and humbled by what it is like to not have food or drink available at all times like the underprivileged in communities around the world.
Sumaya told me that each year she encourages a new friend to participate in a fast with her, ending with a delicious traditional Arabic meal cooked by her and her husband, Jamil. Though it was definitely a challenge to go just one day without eating or drinking, the delicious reward and cultural appreciation that came at the end of the day made it worthwhile.
It’s tradition to break your Ramadan fast with a date. Let me tell you, that first bite at 8:45pm was wonderful and sweet. It is also Ramadan tradition to try to feed as many people (including and especially underprivileged). I was so honored that Sumaya and Jamil were willing to share this sacred time with my husband Patrick and I.
Here is what was on the dinner menu:
• Fresh Dates • Lentil Soup (recipe below) • Tabbouli Salad (parsley, tomatoes, wheat germ, and dressing) • Sparkling Cider • Rice • Rosemary Lamb and Potato • Hummus and Pita Bread •
SUMAYA’S SIMPLE LENTIL SOUP RECIPE
• 2 cups orange lentils, washed
• 2 chicken bouillon cubes
• 1 tsp cumin
• Juice from 1 whole lemon
Boil lentils in water with bouillon cubes
As lentils boil, add more water as needed as the lentils absorb. Use an immersion blender to cream cooked lentils.
(Consistency should be more like a cream based soup than a water based one.)
Add in cumin powder, lemon juice, and salt to taste. For garnish, sauté an onion, and add a small amount along with some fresh chopped parsley. Serve with more lemon on the side to add to taste.
Guys, this soup is SO good and SO perfect for summer. It’s flavorful and simple and the lemon gives it the freshest summery taste.
For dessert, Sumaya made Black Tea with cardamom pods and fresh mint leaves when serving custard with fresh strawberry and pistachio. This girl knows her way around a tea pot. It was the best I’ve ever had.
I hope you enjoyed this very special post featuring Sumaya. I can assure you she will definitely be back on the blog again soon. I encourage you all to try something new this week and appreciate a beautiful new aspect of another culture. This world would be a better place if we embraced the little amazing things that make each of us unique.