November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Kitchen Caravan


Excerpts below are reproduced in cooperation
with Kitchen Caravan. For more delightful
and exotic recipes and cultural insights, visit


Summer 2010

By Emma Piper Burket

THE IRAQI SEED PROJECT                                           VOLUME 3, SUMMER 2010

In the days of yore a farmer gave (these) instructions to his son… Your implements should be ready. The parts of your yoke should be assembled. Your new whip should hang from a nail — the bindings of the handle of your old whip should be repaired by artisans. The adze, drill and saw, your tools and your strength, should be in good order. Let braided thongs, straps, leather wrappings and whips be attached securely. Let your sowing basket be checked, and its sides made strong. What you need for the field should be at hand. Inspect your work carefully.         – from “the first farmer’s almanac,” an ancient tablet from 1500 BCE found in Nippur, Iraq in 1949

Your gardens and local farmer’s markets are likely in full bloom as we enjoy the last weeks of summer; look around at some of the bounty: cucumbers, melons, apricots, grapes, peas, onions, okra… these crops have been growing in Iraq for thousands of years.  Maybe when you take your next bite you will think of the farmers in Iraq who are enjoying similar tastes and textures so far away.


• Editing begins: Since returning from our June filming trip, we have been editing and organizing footage, photographs and audio files. We hope to share some of the material with you soon… To do this we need to build our website’s library: You can help!

Seeds of Kurdistan: We are happy to announce the launching of our latest initiative. This website celebrates the agricultural traditions of Iraqi Kurdistan and will also provide training materials for the region’s farmers.

• Facebook- you can now keep track of the latest news of agricultural activities in Iraq as well as what’s happening at The Iraqi Seed Project by following us on facebook.


The Tiziano Project just wrapped up a summer workshop in Erbil, training local journalists in new media skills. Watch the video Zana Mamundy, one of their students, produced about grain growers in Mahkmour.

Wheat Fleet: August 19-21st we are floating a portion of the Willamette River to promote local grain growing in Oregon. 

• In June we visited the Farmer Kamal outside of Erbil, after a tour of his farm he invited us for a delicious home-grown lunch. Here is a very simple recipe for bulgur, or cracked wheat, prepared the way farmer Kamal makes it:

-2 cups bulgur

-1 onion

-olive oil or ghee

-4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

-salt, and seasonings to taste

Chop the onions and sauté them in oil with a heavy bottomed pot, add the bulgur and seasonings, pour over the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until broth is nearly absorbed. Turn off heat and allow to steam for 5 minutes.


This Fall The Iraqi Seed Project is going on tour, collecting messages for Iraqi farmers and offering a sneak peak of our film; contact us about scheduling a farm visit, rough cut screening or fundraising event at a community center or school in your area. Check the website for upcoming dates in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington DC.


As you know, we are in the process of editing and building The Iraqi Seed Project‘s library on our website. We are currently operating with zero funding. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation through Arts Engine, our fiscal sponsor, so that we may continue our work!


And of course… we are still collecting images, articles, essays, videos and links for the library— remember you don’t have to be an expert to participate. Be part of our knowledge exchange and share what you know about Iraq, sustainable agriculture, seed saving, biodiversity, or home gardening.





On the road to BAGHDAD


Website is up and running for The Iraqi Seed Project — Visit to learn more about what Emma & friends are up to and ways you can get involved.

• Ready to go: The team left the first week of June for a filming trip to Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Internet reports will be a bit spotty, but whenever possible, they will post notes and photos on the Field Journal section of the website — so check there for updates. We will be spending our time in Northern Iraq with the Kurdish Ministry of Agriculture, on small farms in the area, and visiting some USDA project sites around Baghdad.


Mint Julep en Rose

Adapted from The Gentleman’s Companion: An Exotic Drinking Book

6 sprigs of mint
1 teaspoon sugar + 1 teaspoon rose syrup


2 teaspoons sugar + 1 tablespoon rose water

1 ounce bourbon

Juice of ½ lime

Garnish: Marachino cherry and/or edible flowers

Muddle 2 sprigs of the mint, the sugar, and rose syrup or rose water in a martini shaker. Make sure you muddle well to get the essence of the mint extracted. Add in a good amount of ice. Pour over the bourbon and add 2 more sprigs of mint (unbruised) and the lime juice. Shake it up really well and pour into a glass filled with ice and top with the remaining 2 sprigs of mint and a colorful edible flower.

Serves 1.



March April





Freekeh and Garbanzo Pilaf

This is a very healthy vegetarian dish that is high in fiber and full of Mediterranean flavor.  Freekeh is wheat that has been harvested while still very young, and thus is very high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.  It has a slightly smoky flavor due to the way the wheat is processed after harvest, so it pairs well with mellow flavors, such as beans and chicken.  This recipe calls for cooking the beans from scratch, but feel free to use canned garbanzos for a faster version.  The “Short” sauce is a light pesto that adds a zing of herbs and lemon to sharpen the taste of the dish at the end.

For the Garbanzos:

½ cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked at least 4 hours
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic
1 sprig thyme
a few black peppercorns

For the Pilaf:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup yellow onion, small dice
¼ cup carrot, peeled, small dice
¼ cup fennel, small dice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch of cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup freekeh, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes
cups vegetable broth

Short Sauce:

1 ½ cups fresh cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 cup parsley, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 sprig mint, leaves roughly chopped
½ cup pinenuts, lightly toasted
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste (about ¼ teaspoon)

For the Garbanzos:

Drain the garbanzos of their soaking liquid.

Place in a medium sized pot and cover with about 3 cups fresh water.  Add the rest of the ingredients (you can place them in a bouquet garni bag if you want) and bring the water up to a boil.  Simmer until the garbanzos are cooked through.  Drain, remove the aromatics, and set aside.

To Prepare the Pilaf:

Heat up the olive oil in a medium sized pot.  Sweat the onion, carrot, fennel, and garlic until the onion and fennel appear translucent.  Add the spices and a pinch of salt, and stir for another minute or two.  Drain the freekeh of its soaking liquid and add it to the pot.  Stir everything together so that the freekeh is well integrated, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring gently.  Pour over the broth and bring to a simmer.  Cover the pot and let cook for 30 minutes.  Add the garbanzos and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the wheat is cooked through.  Keep in mind that these are wheat berries, so they will have a slightly chewy texture and will not be completely soft.

Make the short sauce by blending all of the ingredients together until coarsely chopped, you do not want a smooth puree.  Spoon a bit of the sauce into the pot and stir to combine.  Serve while warm.


For more recipes from around the world, visit
Kitchen Caravan on-line.

Kitchen Caravan was started by Sophia Brittan and Emma Piper-Burket  in January of 2007 to provide an online resource for healthy eating and cultural education with quality content and a valuable learning experience.
Check it out. Archives explore foods from around the world.