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This is a very simple appetizer to have on your buffet in any occasion. Just pick any caviar kind you like, some toast, butter and cut some thin lemon slices. Spread the butter on the toast, then spread the caviar and top it with a lemon slice. Et Voila! Bon Appetit and Cheers!

I would like to thank Turkish Food Passion for this wonderful and cute award. I am flattered. Thank you very much. And I would like to send Christmas and New Year's greetings to all the fellow bloggers and readers. Sorry it's been a while since I posted new recipes, but I am in lebanon right now, Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lately I had multiple things going on all at the same time: New house, my husband switched jobs and he's overseas again now, me traveling to Lebanon for the holiday season and much, so it's been hectic!!!!!!!!!! But I promise that I will post new recipes very very soon!

Yields about a dozen or more depending on the size.

For the dough:
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3/4 of a teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of olive oil

for the filling:
About 2 cups of crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 small chopped onion (or half a big one)

- Mix the filling ingredients and set aside.
Mix all the dough ingredients together, cover and let the dough rest for about an hour in a warm place. Knead once. When it rises, roll the dough and flatten until it's medium thin. with a rounded cookie cutter (or a small drinking glass)cut the dough. Place about a small teaspoon inside each circle then bend the 4 sides and press on each corner to hold together. (Like the photo shows). Bake in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes or until golden on top.

This is a very simple recipe, serves as a quick meal and very good along with pita bread.

For the Eggs & Potato: (serves 1-2)
1 egg hard boiled
1 potato, boiled
Salt & pepper to taste
Seven spices (to sprinkle on top)
Olive oil (about a tablespoon)
- Mash the egg and the potato together and mix well, add salt & pepper. Sprinkle allspice or (7 spices) on top, and drizzle olive oil on the top too and serve hot or cold with pita bread and the salad.

For the Salad:
Few lettuce leaves (any kind you want or mixed greens)
4-5 marinated sundried tomatoes
About a handful of green olives sliced
1 fresh french endive chopped
about a handful of fresh flat parsley
2 green onions chopped
1 fresh tomato (optional)
- Mix them all together and add the dressing: 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard or any mustard you like, juice of one fresh lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, a bit of Herbes De Provence or Italian herbs, mix all together and add to the salad.

Freekeh is grilled or roasted wheat, harvested at early stages, dried and grilled and it has a green color. It is very healthy and it is used and cooked like rice and pasta. It is very famous all over the arab world and nowadays considered one of the healthiest cereals. Freekeh can be cooked in so many ways, and used in soups too. I decided to make it with chicken,. It can be prepared with both chicken and beef at the same time (or lamb), some people like to add bulgur to it too. But this is a simple and tasty recipe that I decided to make.

Serves 4-5
2 cups of Freekeh (found in middle eastern stores or online)
3 cups of chicken stock
1 medium onion chopped
1 whole chicken or any part of the chicken you like
2 cups of mixed raw nuts (pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, almonds, pecans)
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of allspice (or 7 spices)

For cooking the chicken:
1 carrot, 1 small onion, 1 cinnamon stick, some herbs ( I chose fresh thyme), 1/2 tsp of salt, 2 bay leaves, water to cover it.

Very important: Freekeh needs to be well cleaned by spreading it on a flat surface (like a tray and going through the grains with your fingers, in case there are any little stones, then soak it warm water for 15 to 30 mnts and wash several times using a strainer then let it drain)

In a pot, add the chicken and the herbs and vegetables and water and let it cook until done, removing the white foam whenever it comes up.
- In another pot, add 1 tbsp of butter, chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste, cook for a minute then add the freekeh and the allspice, mix all until the freekeh absorbs the butter, then add the 3 cups of chicken stock of your choice ( I like to remove the cooked chicken and use the water or stock that I prepared), once it comes to a boil, let it simmer until it absorbs the water and cook (just like rice).
- In a pan, add 1 tbsp of butter and the raw nuts and roast until brown.
Serve the freekeh with nuts and chicken on top. It's good with any salad.

Ok, I'm back to say that Summer posted freekeh few days ago and I just noticed it, so hers is really good too for those who didn't check it before (haha like me few minutes ago!).

I would like to thank dear blogger Kitchen Flavours/Yummy Food Blog, for passing this award to me and to 9 nine other fellow bloggers.
I myself would like to pass to 10 other blogs and they are:
- Culinary Couture
- Passionate about Baking
- Canary Girl
- Farida's Azerbaijani Cookbook
- Hooked On Heat
- Fig & Cherry
- Mimi Cooks
- Ya Salam Cooking
- The Left Over Queen
- Food Stories
And now the awarded bloggers can kindly pass it to 10 other blogs :)

PS; For some reason is not showing the links that I've added to the winning blogs. I guess it's a small problem that it might get fixed soon, however all these blogs and their links are on my list of favorites (right bottom of my blog) so the links are working from there. Sorry about that, hope it'll be fixed soon!

This is a very easy and healthy spinach recipe.

Serves 4-5

1 big bunch of fresh Spinach, chopped (or frozen, canned etc..)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 tsp allspice
Juice of a lemon
1 tsp tomato sauce
1 cup of lean minced meat
1 1/2 cups of water
Salt & pepper to taste

- In the cooking pot, add onions, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and cook for about a minute, then add the minced meat, salt, pepper & allspice. When the meat is cooked, add the spinach. Turn the heat to low and let the spinach cook for few minutes then add the water, tomato sauce and let it all slow cook for another 12 minutes. Add the lemon juice in the last 5 minutes. Serve with rice cooked with vermicelli (the rice recipe is already posted with the red beans/chilli recipe).

Stuffed Zucchini are usually accompanied by stuffed grape leaves, but since I already posted the stuffed grape leaves in tomato sauce, I've decided to give credit to the bellpepper this time ;)
Serves 4-5
1 pound of small zucchini
3 green bellpepper
1 can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon of butter
A couple of bay leaves and a couple of cinnamon sticks
About 4 cups of water

1 cup of white long or short grain rice
1/2 pound of minced meat
1 small tomato
1 onion
1 tablespoon allspice
1 teaspoon of salt

- Wash the rice and drain then put in a bowl. Dice the tomato and onion and add to the bowl, then add the minced meat and the spices as well as salt and mix the ingredients together.
- Cut the heads of the zucchini and empty them (there is a special tool that empties zucchini, usually dounf in middle eastern stores). Wash hem and turn them upside down to drain. Now, cut the in a way to make it look like having a lid (as it shows in the photo, don't completely detach the lid. Empty the inside, then wash them and let them drain too, then start stuffing the bellpepper and zucchini. Allow room for the rice to expand, so stuff them for about halfway each. Transfer the stuffed vegetables to the cooking pot adding the water, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Cook on medium-high for about 15 minutes, remove the white foam that comes out of them. When the water is half way evaporated, add the tomato sauce and the spoon of butter and reduce the heat and cook for about another 15 minutes. If you feel that the sauce needs to be more thickened, then stir 1 teaspoon of flour in a 1/3 of a cup of water and add while stirring the sauce. Serve with any king of salad or with plain yogurt. (Don't forget to remove the bay leaves and the cinnamon sticks before serving).

Finally I'm back!!!! Gosh it's been a long vacation, but now I'm back to cooking and blogging!
Fatteh is a dish that has fried or toasted bread in it, as well as plain yogurt (or as we call it: Laban). We have several kinds of Fatteh not only in Lebanon but in the Arab world too, like Eggplant Fatteh, Chicken Fatteh etc... This one that I choose today has no meat in it, it has whole chickpeas (or hommos as we call it).
This recipe serves 4-5
1 can of chickpeas (about 400g) (or soak chickpeas overnight then cook them)
1 container of plain yogurt (about 900g)
Flat bread (about 3)
Vegetable oil
2 handful of pine nuts
2 tablespoons of crushed fresh garlic
1 cup of fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

- Put some vegetable oil in the pan and fry the bread until it's golden, then remove and transfer to a paper towel to drain. (Another option for less calories, is to brush the bread with olive oil and toast it in the oven or microwave). Once the bread cools off, break it into medium pieces and place in the serving dish. Add the chickpeas on top. In a pan, place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic and pine nuts and roast them until brown, add salt & pepper to taste. Now add some salt to the yogurt and stir then add it on top of the toasted bread and the chickpeas. Then add the roasted garlic and pine nuts, then sprinkle the parsley on top and serve immediately while the bread is still crunchy.

Being in Lebanon for the last few weeks has been keeping me from posting recipes. Time just flies here and I am not cooking during my vacation, but I will cook and post some recipes very soon and while I'm still here. Meanwhile, here's a photo of a kind of Lebanese sweet that we were having the other night after dinner with some friends. It's called "KARABEEJ", these are pistachios stuffed cookies like "Maamoul" and you dip them with a specially prepared cream called "NATEF". This kind of dipping cream is not easy to make at home, I would say very difficult to get the main ingredient to prepare it called "soapwart", so everybody here buys this kind of dessert or sweet, or if the cookies are prepared at home, the cream can be bought seperately from the sweet shops or Patisseries. I found a recipe on the net they call it "Karabeej Aleppo" so maybe the origin of this dessert came from Syria. Here's the recipe link just in case anybody would like to give it a try, the site is Discover Lebanon

I want to thank "Ya Salam Cooking" blogger Noor for passing this award to me, and now I would like to pass it to seven other fantastic blogs and sites:
- Leftover Queen
- Farida's Azerbaijani Cookbook
- Canary Girl
- Culinary Couture
- Fig and Cherry
- Mediterranen Cooking in Alaska
Fellow awarded bloggers please pass it to 7 or more blogs or sites.

The recipe of preparing hommus is already listed among my previous recipe. Now for the meat and pine nuts topping you'll need:
- Lean minced meat (1 cup)
- Pine nuts (about 1/3 cup)
- Olive oil (or vegetabl oil, which ever you like, about 2 tablespoons
- Finely chopped onions, about 2 tablespoons
- Salt & pepper to taste, and a pinch of allspice (optional)
In a skillet on medium-high, add oil and pine nuts. when the pine nuts start to brown, add the onions, mix and cook for about a minute then add the minced meat and mix them all together and keep cooking until the meat is fully cooked. Serve over the hommus along with pita bread.

Meghli is a kind of Lebanese rice pudding prepared in special occasions especially when a baby is born. It is a tradition to serve it to guests and friends when they come to offer their congratulations. It is also served on Christmas Eve's dinner along with the Yule Log. Most people nowadays prepare it all the time not only on occasions.

Serves 7-8 (of the same size of the serving bowl shown in the photo)

1 cup of rice flour
1 cup of sugar
8 cups of water
1 tbsp of ground caraway seeds
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground anis seeds

For the topping:
Raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts and coconut flakes.

In the cooking pot, add the cups of water, rice flour, whisk or stirr until desolved, then add the sugar until it desolves too. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat. Add the spices: caraway, cinnamon, anis seeds. The pudding can easily stick so you can't leave it. Stirr until it thickens then transfer into the serving bowls and let it cool. Meanwhile, add water to the alomds and pistachios and let them sit until they soften (about half to an hour or so). Before serving the pudding, top it with coconut flakes, then almonds and pistachios then serve. Or you can decorate the bowls and leave them in the refrigerator.

This is my easy version of Siyyadiyeh. The traditional version is a little bit more complicated and requires using whole fish, where you bake it and then remove the head and bones and boil them with water and spices to obtain fish broth. In this version, I make it with fish fillets and use ready fish broth. Therefore, I don't deal with bones nor a longer cooking time.

Serves 4-5
1 pound of Whiting fish fillets (or Tilapia)
2 cups of white long rice
2 cups of fish broth (or any other broth you like)
2 onions, cut in half and sliced
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of allspice
1/2 cup of Olive oil
1/2 cup of vegetable oil (I prefer canola)
Salt & pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1 teaspoon of butter
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of flour
1 cup of fish broth
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste

Take the fish fillets and coat them with a mixture of flour, cumin and salt & pepper, set them aside. In a pan, add the vegetable oil and cook the fish on both sides and let drain the oil on a paper towel.
In another pan, add olive oil and the onions. Cook the onions until they are brown. remove from the oil and add the pine nuts to the oil until golden then also remove and transfer on a paper towel to drain the oil.
- In a pot, add the 2 cups of fish broth bring to a boil and then add the browned onions, cook on medium for a couple of minutes and then add the rice with 2 cups of water. Then add the cumin, allspice, salt & pepper, and let it simmer and cook.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce, in a sauce pan, add the butter, then the flour, mix until the flour obtain the roue, then add the broth, cumin, lemon juice, salt, pepper, stir and bring to a boil until it thickens.
Serve the cooked rice with pine nuts on top as well as the fish fillets and top them with the sauce. Any salad is good with it too.

PS: You also have the option to bake or broil the fish fillets but then you skip the flour and cumin coating and you spice them and drizzle some olive oil.

This is the Lebanese style of making Chili served over rice with vermicelli.

Serves 4-5
1 onion chopped
Half a pound of lean stew meat
4 sliced cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of butter
2 cups of tomato sauce
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 cup of fresh cilantro
1 cup of red beans soaked overnight and cooked
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

For the rice:
2 cups of white long grain rice
1/2 cup of vermicelli
1 teaspoon of butter
1 cup of meat stock or chicken bouillon (optional)

In a pan, add the chopped onions, butter, stew meat, salt and pepper. After the meat had browned and the onions cooked, add the garlic then cook for another few minutes then add 1 cup of water and the tomato sauce and slow cook the stew for 15 minutes. Add the beans and then the cilantro in addition to the lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the stew is cooking you can prepare the rice:
In another pan, add butter then the vermicelli until they turn brown, then add the rice and 3 cups of water and 1 cup of stock, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed. (Do not stir the rice more then twice so it doesn't get lumpy).

Serve the Chili with the rice.

I love dandelions! They are very healthy so when I see them at the store I can't help myself. The ones I found this time were very soft and not bitter at all so I decided to make a small fresh salad. This canm be served with pretty much any meal.

Ingredients (very simple):
Washed, drained and chopped dandelions, some chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, half a teaspoon of sumac spice, salt & pepper to taste.

Place the chopped dandelions in a bowl, then add the tomatoes. I add the sumac spice along with the salt to the onion and mix them all together then add them to the salad. Drizzle the mixed olive oil and lemon juice, then finally add the black pepper.

There's nothing better than a simple smoothie after a long hot day!

Serves 2-3

1 cup of ice
1 cup of frozen watermelon
1 cup of frozen papaya
1 cup of fresh strawberries
1 6oz fat free vanilla yogurt

Put all the ingredients in a smoothie maker or a mixer, once everything is pureed together, pour into glasses and voila!

This kind of Kibbeh is served as an appetizer, hot or room temperature. The ingredients are the same as the one I listed before the "baked Kibbeh". The difference is in the shape and the way they are cooked. These kibbeh balls are stuffed with meat, onions and pine nuts, same filling as the one listed in the "baked Kibbeh" recipe too. The kibbeh balls are fried and not baked. Deep fry them in vegetable oil until gold or brown, then set on a paper towel to drain for few minutes. Same way as frying Falafel.
They are very good with Hommus on the side. I personally like to dip them in Hommus.

Serves a crowd!
About a 3 pound roast (Lamb or beef)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1-2 big onions chopped
10 cloves of garlic, peeled only
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into medium cubes
1 celery stick, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks, 2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of allspice
1/3 cup of wine (optional)
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)

The vegetables need to be medium sized and not small or finely chopped because they need to cook with the roast and this will keep them from browning quickly and falling apart. And my technique is that I allow one minute between every ingredient, I don't like to dump everything all at once. So in a pot, add the oil, onions, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, celery and garlic add half the amount of salt and black pepper and cook for few minutes then add the roast, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.(I usually rub the roast with a bit of salt and black pepper and let it sit for few minutes before I cook it). Once you've added the roast you want it to brown from all sides and absorb all the flavors. Here you can add the wine. Turn the roast every now and then until the sides are browned then you add 2 to 3 cups of water. Once you've added the water, add the rest of the spices, bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and let it cook slowly. It would probably take about 2 hours maybe more depending on the meat.
Once the roast is cooked take it out of the pot and transfer into the cutting board. Now to obtain the gravy just put everything left in the pot in the mixer for a couple of minutes. I personally leave everything in the pot, take out the cinnamon sticks and the bay leaves and use the handy mixer for few minutes until all the chunks are gone. You'll obtain a thick gravy because of the potato and vegetables so no need to thicken it. After I obtain the gravy, I let it simmer for few minutes and then serve it with the roast.

Tips on how to serve this roast:
1- You can leave it as a whole on the cutting board and when it's time to eat, cut and serve with the gravy on the side.
2- Slice and put back in the sauce or gravy and simmer for few minutes and serve (I recommend this)
3- Slice some and serve on the side as cold cuts and put the rest in the gravy for variety.
4- Serve the roast with Basmati rice and nuts as shown in the photo or serve it with mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.

PS: Cooking the Basmati and toasting the nuts can be found in my previous recipes like the Chicken with rice recipe for example.

I would like to take the opportunity to thanks all the dear food bloggers who are recommending my blog and coming back and visiting it. You are all making my day. I would like to thank Jenn, The Leftover Queen, for recommending my blog in her Finest Foodie Friday, Frida from Farida’s Azerbaijani Cookbook, for the Arte Y Pico Award and Deeba from Passionate about Baking for the You Make my Day Award. Thank you very much, I love you all!!!

Makes around 24-25 (I prefer to eyeball or use as much as the filling makes)

This recipe can be served with a green salad and plain yogurt.

Grapes leaves (24 small or medium, half of that if the leaves are big cause you can cut in half)

1 cup of lean minced meat
1 cup of chopped onions or shallots
1/3 cup of small diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of plain white rice
1 teaspoon of allspice
Salt & pepper to taste

2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of flour to be mixed with some water. 2 Cinnamon sticks.

- In a bowl, add the minced meat, onions, tomatoes, wash the rice and drain and add to the bowl too, add the spices and mix the ingredients together.
- If the grape leaves are fresh, soak them in hot water for half an hour, then drain.
- If you are using the ones from the jar, soak in tab water for few minutes, then drain and use. To start filling, take the leaf and spread it on the surface you're using, cut the stem, take a teaspoon or less depending on the size of the leaf and place the filling a bit before the center, fold the sides toward the center and roll tight. In order for them to unravel and fall apart while cooking, I tie them up together. I place three stuffed grape leaves, then two on top, then another one or two like forming a triangle, I tie them up together with a string and place in the pan, add the water and tomato paste, cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil, add the flour mixed with a little bit of cold water then reduce the heat and let them cook slowly for half an hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard when serving the grape leaves.

PS: If you end up with extra filling, keep them in the freezer or stuff a bellpepper, tomato etc... ;)

In the Arab,Gulf, Levant countries it's Arabic coffee, in the Balkans it's Bosnian coffee, Serbian coffee etc.., in Turkey it's Turkish coffee, in Greece it's Greek coffee, in Cyprus it's Cypriot coffee and so on... Bottom line we all have something in common and we are all proud of it!

We make this coffee in Lebanon in a coffee pot called "Rakweh", found in Middle Eastern stores or online as well as the coffee, I've never tried just any fine coffee because I like the mix of beans that I find in the Middle Eastern store (which is called Najjar Coffee), I'm used to it. The ingredients are simple: Water, coffee, sugar (I personally don't drink coffee with sugar so I discard it and serve it on the side). Cardamom is an Arabic tradition but it's always optional.

- We eyeball the amount of coffee added to the water but the perfect way is the following:
Half a teaspoon for every small cup (like the one in the picture or an espresso cup).
So for example, if you want to make 5 espresso cups, you fill 5 of these cups with water and add to the pot then 5 half teaspoons of coffee.

Boil water in a coffee pot. After water boils add ground coffee into the boiling water, stir well and keep cooking it. Every time it comes to a boil move it away from the stove, stir bring back to boil or cook again, repeat 4-5 times, then serve. We do this process because once it starts boiling it goes all over the place, so you wanna avoid the mess. Medium to low heat is always recommended.

If you like cardamom add some to it or you can buy Arabic coffee with cardamom.
You add sugar after you serve, if some of your guests like it without sugar. If everybody wants sugar, you add the sugar with the coffee and boil or cook. You adjust the sugar quantity upon taste, little sugar, sweet etc...

If you don't have Arabic style coffee cups, any espresso cups work.

*I took this picture in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina last summer, after my husband and I had a wonderful lunch by the river. They served sugar on the side and a piece of Loukoum sweets. I love this handmade coffee set.

Lupini beans, we call them in Lebanon "Tormos", are one of my favorite snacks, I love them with beer. You can get them dry or you can get ready to eat in jars soaked in water and salt from Middle Eastern stores or online. They are highly nutritive and close to soy bean protein in content.
Soak Lupini Beans overnight in water (1 cup is enough for few people). Drain and add fresh water and simmer for one hour. Then drain off all the water and add fresh water at least twice a day. Keep changing and adding fresh water till bitterness disappears, which might take up to 5 days or more. Sounds difficult? Well yes it is, cause they are bitter and you have to get rid of all the bitterness until they are soft to chew on and edible. This is why I like to buy them ready to eat. And when they are ready to eat, you can keep them in the refrigerator soaked in water and some salt too, but you still have to change the water every now and then. To serve them, drain the water, sprinkle salt and serve. To eat them, you have to discard the skin and eat the bean only.

In this recipe I am not gonna give exact serving ingredients because it depends on the amount of dough made or the size of the pies. I made each pie size enough for 1 person this time, I made 3 big pies with this filling. If you have a crowd or a party it's better to make the pies smaller so they can be served as appetizers.

Ready dough mix (follow instructions on the box)
For the filling:
1 cup of onions, finely chopped
3 cups of chopped swiss chards leaves
4 tablespoons of olive oil
A handful of pine nuts
1 teaspoon of sumac spice (found in Middle Eastern stores or online)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste.

While the dough is rising, in a pan, add onions, olive oil and the pine nuts and cook for 1 minute then add the chards, once they start wilting, add the sumac spice, salt and pepper. After they cook, add the lemon juice and set aside to cool off.
When the dough is ready, roll to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds (the size you want) place the filling in the middle and fold 3 sides over the filling to obtain the shape of a triangle. Secure your triangle by pressing on the edges that you folded to secure the triangle from openings.
Bake in a 425 degrees oven until it's golden brown. They can be served hot or cold.

PS: You can substitute the chards with spinach. Also the sumac is optional if it can't be found. You can add more lemon juice in this case to substitute the taste.

Serves 4
1 pound/lb or about 500g of minced lean meat
2 cups of fine bulgur wheat
1 onion chopped/diced
1 teaspoon of allspice or 7 spices
Salt & pepper (about half a teaspoon of each)
1/3 cup of vegetable oil

For the filling:
2 cups of minced meat
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup of chopped onions
Olive oil

Prepare the filling and let it cool while layering the kibbeh, so in a pan, add some olive oil, onions and pine nuts, after 1 minute add the minced meat and the spices, salt and pepper and mix. when the meat is cooked, set the cooked filling aside.

Preparing the kibbeh:
Wash the bulgur and drain, mix with the lean meat, onions, spices, salt & pepper and place in the food processor on low until the ingredients get mixed up together then place in a bowl and divide into 2 equal portions. Damp your hands in cold water (keep a small container next to you while layering the kibbeh, cause wet hands help even layering the kibbeh in the tray). When you finish the first layer add the filling, distribute evenly, then add the second layer of kibbeh, even the layer with your wet hand. Add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil on the top, and bake in a 375 degrees F oven until it's golden and the meat is cooked. Before serving you can get rid of the excess of oil. Kibbeh needs to have enough oil to cook and brown otherwise the surface burns quickly. Serve with plain yogurt or a salad (or both :D like I do).

These are my favorite snacks: Green almonds. They can be found during a very short period in springtime, while they are still soft from the inside, so you can chew and eat the whole almond. They are a bit sour, they taste even better when they are dipped in a bit of salt. Serve along with drinks and some assorted nuts and kernels.
- Just wash them, drain them and serve. You eat the whole almond, no need to peel the skin or anything.

These green chickpeas are very healthy snacks and they are good with drinks. They are also very tasty in salads. They can be found in the produce section in Middle Eastern stores or in Korean grocery stores. You eat those raw, take off the skin or shell and eat the chickpea. Enjoy healthy snacking!

Serves 4
4 medium potatoes (any kind except sweet)
1/2 red onion
1 green onion
2 medium tomatoes
Half a bell pepper (if it's big otherwise 1 small)
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 cup of fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
Juice of a lemon
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
A dash of cayenne paper (optional)

Peel the potatoes and cut in medium cubes. In a pan, bring water to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt, add the potatoes and cook for 12 minutes or until cooked but you don't wanted them to fall apart. Drain and let cool. In the meantime, slice the onions and add to a bowl. Add the medium cut tomatoes, diced bell pepper, garlic, parsley, mint, thyme. Now add the potatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and all the spices and mix the salad and serve with a dash of cayenne pepper.

PS: You can skip the fresh mint and substitute the fresh thyme with dry thyme if not available during the season.

Serves 4

About 2 cups of minced meat
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 carrot diced (small)
1 onion chopped
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon of Italian spices
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (or dry)
1/2 teaspoon of chili pepper flakes or cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
1 cup of water
Salt & Pepper to taste
Pasta (of your choice) cooked and drained

In a pan, add olive oil, onions, carrot, Italian spices, pepper flakes, salt & pepper and cook for a minute then add the meat, allspice and cook for another minute then add the garlic and cook a bit until the juices are absorbed then add the tomatoes and basil, cover and cook on medium until the tomatoes are cooked, then add the tomato paste and water and let it simmer for 15 minutes, then add the parsley and mix and serve over the pasta of your choice.

*Before serving the sauce over the pasta: In a non-stick pan add the pasta add some olive oil or butter and some fresh chopped basil or parsley. It's a great way to heat the pasta and add more flavor to it. Some garlic powder also is good. Now I did not mention Parmesan cheese because it's always on the table ;)

Serves 4

For the kafta:
1/2 pound of minced lean meat
1 small chopped onion
1 small clove of garlic chopped
2 cups of fresh chopped parsley
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon allspice
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1 small onion
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/3 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon of chili pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the rice:
1 1/2 cup of rice
3 cups of water
1/2 tablespoon of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In the food processor, add: minced meat, parsley, onions, garlic, bread crumbs, allspice, salt and pepper for 1 minute or 2. When the ingredients are combined all together, transfer into a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for half an hour. After that, start making medium-small balls of the kafta. Heat a non-stick pan and start cooking the meatballs, turn them every 2 minutes until done. Set aside. In the same pan, if no juice is left from the cooked meat, you might wanna add a tablespoon of olive oil, then add the onions, allspice, chili flakes, salt and pepper, cook for about 3 minutes then add the tomatoes and let them cook on low for 10 minutes, then mix the tomato paste with the water and add it. Cook for another 5 minutes then add the meatballs and let all simmer for few minutes. (If you find the sauce thick you might wanna add a little bit more water.
Now for the rice: in another pan, add butter, then add the rice, fold them together until the rice absorbs the butter, add salt and pepper then the water and stir 1 time only. When it starts boiling, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Serve the rice with the meatballs and sauce on top.

Serves 4-6 (depending on the size of the dessert bowl)

1/3 cup white rice
3 1/2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of water
4 tablespoons of condensed sweetened milk (optional)
5 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon rosewater
A pinch of salt
Apricot marmelade for the topping

In a pan, add water, pinch of salt, then add the rice and cook for 30 minutes on low. Drain any water left if not all absorbed. In another pan, add milk, sugar, corn starch, condensed milk, vanilla, rosewater. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Add the cooked rice and stir. You need to keep an eye on that and keep stirring until it thickens. Also you need to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When it thickens, pour into the serving bowls and let it completely cool. After that, spread the marmelade on top then refrigerate until time to serve.

Serves 4

1 cup of lentils
1 cup of white rice
1 cup of olive oil
2 onions sliced (medium half circles)
1 tablespoon of allspice
1 tablespoon of cumin
Salt, pepper to taste
5 cups of water

In a pan, add the 5 cups of water and the lentils, cook on medium until the lentils are half way cooked, then add the rice then the allspice, cumin, salt and pepper. Let them cook on low. Meanwhile, in a skillet, add olive oil and the onions, season with some salt and pepper and let them brown but be careful not to burn them. After the onions are ready, drain the remaining olive oil and add it to the lentils and rice that are cooking. After the rice and lentils are cooked and the water is absorbed, transfer to the serving plate and add the onions on top. Serve with plain yogurt or a salad.

Serves 4 or more

1 cup of fine bulgur
1 diced tomato
1 small onion or shallot, diced
Lemon juice (1 big or 2 small)
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of tomato sauce mixed with 1/3 cup of water
1 teaspoon of allspice or 7 spices
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley to top it
Cabbage leaves (optional)

In a pan, add the tomato sauce and the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Once they start boiling, turn the heat off, and add the spices, bulgur, chopped onion and tomato, cover and let it sit for half and hour. Mix in the olive oil then transfer into the serving dish. Add the chopped parsley. If you like to add some fresh chopped onions and tomatoes, you also can, it will give it extra flavors. I like to serve in cabbage leaves boats or cabbage on the side. It goes well with it but it's optional.

This salad can be served warm or cold.

Serves 4 or more

1 cup of Fava beans
1 cup of Chickpeas
1 big clove of garlic minced (or 2 small)
1 lemon (juiced)
1/3 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Some chopped parsley

Radishes and green onion (optional)
Pita bread (optional)

Soak the beans for 12 hours or overnight, then cook by boiling them until done. (If you're in a hurry, get them in the can.) Drain, but keep a little bit of the water, then transfer them in a bowl. Add garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley on top. Serve this warm. Radishes, green onions and Pita bread go well with this dish.

Serves a lot! At least 9 sandwiches

For the falafel mix:
1 1/2 cups of dried fava beans (found in Middle Eastern stores, since I couldn't find it elsewhere)
1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas
1 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
1 cup of fresh chopped parsley
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of allspice
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (fined not whole ones)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Salt, pepper

For the tahini sauce:
Tahini paste, lemon juice, water, some chopped parsley

* Vegetable oil for frying the falafel patties

Soak the dried fava beans and chickpeas in water for 12 hours or overnight then drain. Put all the falafel mix ingredients (except the baking powder and baking soda) in the mixer until you obtain a paste. Then add the baking soda and powder, fold them all together and let the mix sit for an hour. Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce by adding about 3 tablespoons of tahini and 3 tablespoons of water, then the juice of a small lemon and a tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley. You might need to add more or less water, it depends really on the kind of tahini paste you have.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then with a tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop, take some of the falafel mix and drop in the hot oil, turn after two minutes, until golden on both sides then let them drain on a paper towel.

To make a falafel sandwich:
Put the falafel patties in pita bread, spread some tahini sauce on top, some fresh chopped parsley, sliced tomatoes and some pickled jalapenos. I like mine with Tabbouli on the side.

Another dandelion recipe. The previously published recipe shows how to cook the dandelion. So what I do, I usually take some of the cooked ones in water, drained and chopped, and in a bowl, I add a minced clove of garlic, some finely chopped onions, juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix them all together and serve with pita bread.

Serves 4

2 bunches of dandelion
2 big onions
1 cup of Olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
Juice of a big lemon
Salt and pepper.

Chop the 2 bunches of dandelion, clean very well by soaking them in water and some salt and then wash and drain. Add dandelion into a big pot of boiling water and let them cook until they're done, just like spinach. Drain them very well also like spinach then roughly chop them again. Slice the 2 big onions by cutting them into halves then slicing each half, sort of like obtaining medium thin half circles.
In a skillet, add olive oil, then the onions (leave about a handful aside). Now the onions need to cook until they become dark brown but not burned. When they're done, take them out of the skillet to a side plate, then in the same remaining oil add the the uncooked onions, cook them until golden then add the garlic, then the cilantro, cook for about one minute then add the dandelion, salt and pepper. Mix them all together and cook for about 10 minutes then add the lemon juice. If you feel that the dandelions absorbed all the olive oil while cooking, then you might wanna add another tablespoon.
To serve: Transfer the cooked dandelion into the serving plate and top with the dark browned onions. Serve with pita bread.

Serves about 8 people

1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup of shortening
2 1/2 cups of flour
Raw pistachios* (each cookie needs one pistachio)

In the mixer, add shortening then the sugar, mix well until all becomes fluffy, then add the flour gradually until you get the cookie dough ready. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. To make the shape of the cookies, take a small amount about the size of a small ball, roll it about 1/4 inch and then close it just like making a circle. Right where you attach this circleor where the two ends meet place a pistachio there (the photo shows the shape). Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes into a heated 275 or 300 degrees oven. Do not touch the cookies until they are completely cooled off. Sometimes the cookies might need more minutes depending on the oven's temperature.

* Raw pistachios can be found in Middle Eastern stores, or you can simply use almonds instead.

Serves 3

1 can of tuna in water
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of mixed frozen vegetables
1 cup of milk (or cream)
3 cups of cooked pasta (Penne or Fusilli)
1 small chopped onion
1 chopped clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Italian mixed herbs
1 tablespoon of fresh or dried basil
Some fresh chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

In a pan, add olive oil, onions and garlic, salt and pepper, let it cook for one minute then add the tomatoes, Italian herbs and basil then add the thawed frozen vegetables and let them cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the milk or cream and drained tuna. Meanwhile cook the pasta. When the vegetables are cooked toss the cooked pasta and mix all together. Serve with parmesan cheese on top and fresh cilantro.

About 4-6 servings

2 and a half chopped apples
1 cup of sugar
1/4 spoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg beaten
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup crushed walnut

Mix apples with sugar and let it sit for half an hour.
Mix the egg, oil, salt, spices, flour, baking soda, few drops of vanilla, nuts, then the apples. I used the regular baking pan that I use for banana bread or any cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, in a 350 degrees oven. You may serve with powdered sugar on top.
PS: It will stay a bit moist when it comes out of the oven until it completely cools.

Serves 2

2 eggs
1/2 cup of broccoli
1 small onion
1 small tomato
1/2 a bellpepper
1/4 cup of grated cheese (of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Salt & pepper

Dice all the vegetables, and in a non-stick pan start adding the olive oil, onions then the rest of the vegetables. Whisk the eggs then add, and mix them all together. Add the cumin, salt and pepper then the cheese.
Serve with pita bread.

Serves 3-4

1 eggplant
1 big onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 can of cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans
2 cups of canned cut tomatoes along with the juice
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cup of water
Olive oil
1 tablespoon of all spice (or 7 spices)
Salt and pepper

Take most of the skin of the eggplant by peeling it, leave some stripes and slice it into medium slices. Add salt and pepper, brush it with olive oil and bake it until it's half cooked. Meanwhile, cut the onion in half and slice it, medium slices too not too thin and add to a pan, sprinkle olive oil, some salt and pepper and let it cook until golden, then add the garlic and tomatoes. let all cook until tomatoes are tender then add the allspice, tomato paste and a cup of water and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Now add the chickpeas, mix all together then add the eggplant and let them simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Voila!

Tip: A lot of people still fry the eggplant (half way) and let them drain on a paper towel then add it to the mix. However, I bake them for less calories, but what I do also is after I take them out of the oven, in a non-stick pan I add some olive oil and add the eggplant to brown them a little bit. This gives them a wonderful flavor, color and texture.

For those who like to fry the eggplant, don't forget to sprinkle salt on those slices and let them drain their water half an hour at least before you fry them so they don't absorb a lot of oil.

Serve with any green salad.


authorHello, my name is MAG. I've been running this blog since 2007.
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