HELLO!!! This is so funny...I was looking up recipes for syrian sleek & just happen to come upon your original bolg (way back in 2001) saying you moved from Oakland-Pgh to Oakland-CA & you miss all the Syrian restaurants here in Pittsburgh....! I am from Khalil's Restaurant in Pittsburgh- we just celebrated our 35 anniversary few years ago. We have the very BEST sleek in the world (have you ever eaten at our place?) but since we always had it available, it was never one of those things I bothered perfecting on my own...my sleek is great, mind you, but not like my dads! So I was browzing to see how other people make it, just out of curiousity, and I found you! Did you ever find a good Syrian restaurant? A few tips about sleek- the authentic, mountain-peasant- folks dish that my father is so well known for (many Pgh Post-gazette reviews and articles on his sleek)- Traditionally, it is a pretty basic dish- no garlic, no zaatar, no sumac...just salt & pepper. Use dried black eyed beans- soaked & rinsed of course- and boil them WITH the chopped kale (you want to keep as much nutrients as possible in the mixture)...then add the bulgar at the end, when the kale & bean mixture is draining in a big colander. Set aside (can be frozen in ziplocks once thoroughly drained) & when you want to eat, sautee onions (LOTS) in a wok with olive oil till carmalized, and throw in the greens/peas. Many steps, simple concept, but undoubtedly one of the healthiest, most complete dish on earth!! Never use canned blackeyed peas & frozen or canned kale (doesnt work well- too wet- one of the secrets is to let the greens drain til almost dry so the dish doesnt get soggy when fried with the onions.
This reply is so long after yoour original inquiry & blog, I dont know if you will ever read this. But if you do, I hope you are doing well in your new life in CA, and best wishes from a fellow sleek lover in PGH. (and yes, we are blessed to have so many Syrian restaurants here...most of them are relatives!!). Let me know if you have ever eaten at our place..we know most of our clientele and think of them as friends!