Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tomato, Herb and Bulgur Wheat Salad (Tabbouleh) Recipe

Tomato, Herb and Bulgur Wheat Salad (Tabbouleh)


In Lebanese culture, there is no gathering or meal that doesn't feature a big bowl of this refreshing salad of finely chopped vegetables, herbs and bulgur wheat on the table. Although you can eat it with a spoon or fork, I always serve it the traditional way: with fresh romaine hearts to scoop it up.

Swap option: You can use cooked, cooled quinoa instead of bulgur wheat.


3 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fine bulgur wheat
4 firm, ripe tomatoes, finely diced
6 scallions, ends trimmed, green and white parts thinly sliced
3/4 to 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons sea salt
Hearts of romaine leaves, for serving


1. At least 30 minutes before preparing the tabbouleh, thoroughly wash the parsley and mint leaves in cold water to remove dirt or debris. Shake out any excess water and drain in a colander, stem sides down. If you have a salad spinner, you can dry the herbs in that way or lay out on paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth to air dry; just make sure they are very dry before you chop them.

2. Place the bulgur wheat into a bowl and cover with 3 cups of cold water. Set aside to soak and soften, about 20 minutes.

3. Combine the tomatoes, scallions and herbs in a large mixing bowl.

4. By now, the bulgur wheat should have softened. To test, squeeze some of the grains between your fingertips, it should squish and be completely soft. Soak the bulgur longer if needed.

5. Using your hands, squeeze out the soaked bulgur, removing as much excess water as possible.

6. Sprinkle the bulgur on top of the fresh herbs and vegetables in the bowl. Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil, and season with the salt. Toss all the ingredients together (preferably with your hands); it should be juicy but not soggy. Taste and add salt as needed.

7. Serve the salad as soon as possible with fresh, crisp romaine lettuce hearts for scooping.

Hummus Dip Recipe

Hummus Dip


1 19 oz can of chick peas, drained (540 ml)

2 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh (30 ml)

¼ cup vegetable broth (50 ml)

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (15 ml)

2 clove garlic, minced

⅓ cup tahini

1 tsp ground cumin (5 ml)

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (2 ml)

1 tsp coarse salt (5 ml)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (15 ml)

hot pepper flakes, optional, for garnish


1. Process chick peas, lemon juice, vegetable broth, vinegar, garlic, tahini, cumin, cayenne, salt and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. If mixture appears dry, add vegetable broth until desired smoothness is achieved.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lebanese Savory Lamb Fatayer Recipe

Lebanese Savory Lamb Fatayer

Try a simple and exotic Lebanese lamb fatayer with a simple dough and an incredible spice mixture. This is a Lebanese version of a calzone and will be a family favorite and fun to make too!

Course Main dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 4  pieces


1 3/4 cup flour all purpose
3/4 cup warm water (about 100'F)
2 tsp yeast rapid rise
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt

8 oz lamb ground
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion dices
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Roma tomato cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp zatar
1 Tbsp curly parsley chopped for garnish
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash
1/2 tsp nigella seeds for sprinkling


  1. In a large bowl place flour and salt and mix well.
  2. In a small bowl place the warm water (the water should be between 100-110'F)). Add the yeast and sugar, stir lightly and let it sit until frothy ( this will take about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and blend well until a soft dough forms.
  4. Rub a deep bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside the oven. Cover and let it sit until double in size (between 1-2 hours).
  5. Preheat oven to 400'F
  6. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Punch down and knead for about 5 minutes.
  7. Roll dough into the shape of a cylinder, and cut into 6 equal parts.
  8. To make the filling, heat the oil in a non stick skillet and saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the tomatoes, and the ground lamb.
  9. Use a spatula to break lamb into small pieces, and sprinkle in the salt, allspice and zatar.
  10. Cook completely.
  11. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, and roll out each part into a 9" x 3" oval.
  12. Place filling down the center of the oval and then brush around the edges with the egg wash.
  13. Pinch the top and bottom of the oval to create a boat shape, and fold sides inwards.
  14. Place individual fatayer on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle each individual fatayer with nigella seeds.
  15. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until fatayer appears golden and crispy. Garnish each fatayer with chopped parsley.

Easy to Make Lebanese Baklava Rolls Recipe

Easy to Make Lebanese Baklava Rolls

Our Lebanese Baklava Rolls recipe is very easy to prepare at home and it yields delicious authentic Baklava fingers.

Baklava Rolls Ingredients (12 servings)

1 pack of Fillo Dough, thawed
1 cup of coarsely grinded walnuts*
1/3 cup of finely grinded pistachio
7 drops of Orange Blossom Essence**
1/3 lb of sweet/unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons of sugar
optional: A tiny hint of nutmeg powder, ground cloves and ground cardamom
* You can substitute walnuts with pine nuts, pistachio, cashew or your favorite nuts ** You can substitute Orange Blossom Essence with twice the quantity of Orange Blossom Water

Baklava Sugar Syrup Ingredients

1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of  Orange Blossom Water
Brush Butter on Fillo Dough
Add Nuts to Fillo Dough
Roll Into a 3/4 Inch Thick Dough
Cut Into 2-inch Pieces and Place in Tray
Bake For 30 Minutes at 350F
Add Syrup and Decorate With Pistachio

Preparation Method

Baklava Stuffing: Mix the ground walnuts or your favorite nuts with 2 teaspoons of sugar and a few drops of Orange Blossom Essence. Alternatively, you could use 1 teaspoon of regular Orange Blossom Water.

Baklava Rolls: Place one sheet of thawed fillo dough on a cutting board then lightly brush it with melted butter. Repeat the process by placing 3 more fillo dough sheets on top of one another while buttering each sheet prior to placing the next one. Add 4-5 teaspoons of the Baklava Stuffing along the width of the dough. Roll tightly until the thickness of the roll is about 3/4th of an inch. Cut along the roll to separate it from the leftover fillo dough sheet, which could be used for another roll. Cut the Baklava roll into a few pieces, a couple of inches each then place in a buttered baking tray and brush rolls one last time with a bit of butter. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. The color of a perfectly cooked baklava dough should be light brown/golden, but not too dark as the taste can change.

Preparing the Simple Sugar Syrup: While the Baklava is baking, mix 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of water, place in a pot on medium heat stirring occasionally. Once it starts to boil add the lemon juice then lower the heat to the min and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once done, add the Orange Blossom Water at the end and let it rest and cool down. In our case and since we like to avoid bleached products, we used brown sugar in preparing the syrup which yielded the dark brown color. However you can make it with white sugar which would yield a transparent syrup with a lighter flavor.

Soaking the Baklava: After the Baklava is baked and while it’s still hot, immediately pour a few tablespoons of simple sugar syrup all over the rolls and let the dough absorb it. Sprinkle a bit of pistachio on each piece for decoration and let rest for 45-60 minutes prior to serving. Baklava can be stored at room temperature (in an air-tight container) for 2-3 weeks.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 12
Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern

Source: Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Irene's Middle Eastern Knafeh with Orange Blossom Syrup Recipe

Irene's Middle Eastern Knafeh with Orange Blossom Syrup

Author Notes: I was fortunate enough to learn this recipe from a wonderful Lebanese woman named Irene. This delicious dessert is made of shredded phyllo soaked in butter with a creamy cheese center and a drizzling of orange blossom simple syrup. It's a sweet enjoyed all over the Middle East: Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, and even northern Egypt. Traditionally, the cheese used is nabulsi, a soft white cheese, but Irene substitutes mozzarella because it's much easier to find! (less) —Anna Francese Gass

Serves 6 to 8

For the pastry:

1 pound kataifi, shredded phyllo dough
1/2 pound unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
1 pound shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place the kataifi in a large bowl and pour the melted butter over top. Work the butter through the threads until all of the Kataifi is coated and moist. Be sure to pull the threads apart as you work.

Remove half of the kataifi to another bowl.

Grease a 9- by 13-inch glass dish and add half of the kataifi. Spread it so that it covers the bottom.

Distribute the mozzarella over the kataifi to create an even layer of cheese.

Spread the heavy cream over the mozzarella carefully to create a third layer.

Cover the cheese and heavy cream with the other half of the Kataifi.

Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is a crisp, golden, brown.

Remove from oven and drizzle the syrup over the top of the dessert.

Serve immediately.

For the orange blossom syrup:

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water

In small saucepan, heat sugar and water over low heat until sugar is fully dissolved and liquid begins to thicken, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add orange blossom water. Mix to incorporate.

Mujadara, Lebanese lentils with caramelized onions recipe

Mujadara, Lebanese lentils with caramelized onions

This earthy Lebanese dish has a rock-star following, and with good reason. The healthy quotient is as high as it could be, rivaled only by mujadara's super-delicious flavors. Cracked wheat can be used in place of the rice, and happens to be my favorite way to eat mujadara. There is some question as to how far the onions should be taken in the caramelization process. They must be dark, very dark golden brown. Some of the onions will verge on burnt. But entirely burnt onions will produce a bitter mujadara and the onions won’t ‘melt’ into the lentils and rice as they should when they are soft. Mujadara is good eaten with labne, flatbread, a green salad, and if you want to get fancy, some crispy fried onions strings on top. Maureen Abood

Serves 6

For the Lentils

1 cup whole brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
4 cups diced yellow onion (1/2-inch)
1 cup long grain white rice OR bulghur wheat (#3 coarse grade)
Salt and Pepper to taste
High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Place lentils in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are par-cooked, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Be careful not to overcook here; the idea is to par-cook the lentils.

In a large, heavy sauté or sauce pan (with a lid), heat the canola or grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt as the onions cook.

Take the onions off the heat and add 2 cups of water. Place back on the heat and boil, over high heat, for five minutes. The liquid will take on the deep golden color of the onions and the onions will continue to soften.

Add the rice and par-cooked lentils to the onion mixture. Cover and bring to a boil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are cooked through. The texture of the rice and lentils is somewhat al dente. Take care not to overcook or the mixture will become mushy. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature drizzled with olive oil.

For Fried Onion Strings

1 large onion, cut into very thin rounds
Canola oil for frying
Salt to taste

For fried onion garnish, heat canola oil over high heat in a small saucepan (the small saucepan reduces the amount of oil needed for depth). When a small piece of onion dropped into the oil floats to the top and bubbles vigorously, the oil is ready. Fry the onion rings in batches until golden brown, reducing heat as needed to prevent burning. Remove and drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Place the onions on top of the mujadara on a serving platter or individual plates.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Your Guide to the Best Hummus You Can Make or Eat!


Serves: about 6


2 cups cooked skinless chickpeas
1 garlic clove, green sprout removed then minced
½ cup tahini, well-stirred before measuring
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Chickpea cooking liquid, cold, or cold water, as needed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
Sumac, for finishing


In the bowl of a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic until a thick paste forms. Give this a couple of minutes (longer than you'd think). With the machine running, add the tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Slowly add cooking liquid or water, a tablespoon at a time, until the hummus is very smooth and light but still thick (again, process a little longer than usual). Taste and adjust with salt and lemon juice as needed.

Spoon the hummus onto a six small plates, spreading the hummus with the back of a spoon to form a well in the center. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac, and serve immediately.
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