I am blessed to have grown up with so many cultures being present in my home. My father is half Assyrian and half Norwegian. My mother is mostly German, English and Irish. That makes me a certified mut.
Two of the five heritages, Assyrian and German, were introduced to me and celebrated through food. Poor me, right. Now as a mom, I am introducing these cultures to my kids, and my husband is introducing their Mexican and Irish side to them through food. Their palates are culturally diversified.
My Assyrian grandparents lived 7 hours away from me in Turlock, California. I despised that car trip, but loved the prize at the end of it, grandparents and delicious food.
After the hugs and kisses were given out I always ventured to the kitchen to see what my grandma Helen had started for whatever meal came next. There were two things about Grandma Helen that were constant. She loved her chocolate (hid it all over the house) and she was always in the kitchen making something. I can say with certainty that I have adopted those traits, and carry them on proudly. Miss you grandma.
Their home was always filled with the smell of middle eastern spices, pickles and olives were served at every meal. Because they held tight onto the notion that their traditions should be passed onto my generation, I grew up eating what they did. Lamb dulma, baked long grain rice (riza), meat stews, shish-kebabs, and Cadeh were staples in their home during any celebration. Jajic, was a dip/spread that was served on occasion, and devoured quickly. If we were lucky, my grandma would save some in another container to spread on toast in the morning. I loved that morning treat.
Jajic is simple; cottage cheese, cream cheese, fresh dill, fresh cilantro, and green onions. You can buy the full fat versions of the cheese or save the calories by purchasing the reduced fat versions. This is one instance where extra ingredients are not added to compensate for the lack of fat, but always read the labels to double-check.
I’ve talked about how great this dip is, but I haven’t even told you about the all the amazing health benefits. The fresh dill protects against free radicals and carcinogens, is an antibacterial, and helps prevent bone loss. Cilantro controls blood sugar, free radicals, and cholesterol. The dairy adds tons of protein, to keep you fuller longer and build muscles.
Spread it on whole wheat toast, lavasha, dip celery or other veggies in, or use a multi-grain cracker as a vessel to get this protein packed dip tantalizing your taste buds. Whatever means you choose, make a lot. You have to have some left for the morning. It’s tradition, and you can’t go breaking tradition.
2 lb. container of cottage cheese ( I use 1%)
1 8 oz. container of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped finely
1/4 cup green onions, chopped finely
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely
a pinch of sea salt and white pepper to taste
Mix all of the ingredients together. Chill for 4 hours.