Monthly Archives: April 2010

  • spaghetti-cake-550x402

Spaghetti cake with Kashkaval cheese (Macaroni bel-furn)


“AAh…Fotini’s macaroni…” This is what my dad  says  every time a plate of baked pasta is  set in front of him. I have heard this woman mentioned throughout my childhood, and even now, her name still  pops up every  time. (Then he lets out a sigh)

My mom  would remain  placid and the meal would […]

By |April 30th, 2010|Salty|103 Comments
  • MG_8959-550x367

Loquat (Akedenya)


The highlight of this month of April in Lebanon for us kids  was getting a crate of loquats; they would be gone in a couple of days!

When I moved to Southern California in the eighties,  I used to see these loquat trees everywhere; yet nobody seemed to care and the fruits would fall on […]

By |April 29th, 2010|Others|42 Comments
  • MG_9000-550x388

Strawberry and Raspberry jam with agar-agar in 10 minutes

Agar-agar is the latest darling of French chefs; chef  Stéphane Bour was doing a demo on a tarte and he said this about agar-agar: it allows you to make a very speedy jam that will retain the flavor of the fruit, so you won’t get that cookedtaste.

That’s all I needed to know.

What is agar-agar? […]

By |April 28th, 2010|Sweets|55 Comments
  • MG_88941-550x376

Frog legs with garlic and cilantro


Yesterday, I had a vision of my grandmother and I sitting down in her favorite hotel in Chtaura, a town in the Bekaa Valley, eating frog legs with garlic and cilantro.

I wanted to relive that moment; what better way than  to find some frog legs and prepare them?

In Beirut, one can go […]

By |April 27th, 2010|Salty|55 Comments
  • MG_6110-523x550

Eggplant dip (Baba Ghannouj)


I attended a French high school in Lebanon, Lycée Franco-Libanais and in France as well. Literature was an important portion of the curriculum and we studied all the French authors, from Rabelais to Molière (every single play) to Balzac and Zola and Flaubert; we did’n’t bother with Shakespeare. However, we did touch on the […]

By |April 25th, 2010|Salty|81 Comments
  • carrot-salad-550x391

Carrot and fresh almonds salad


Have you ever had fresh almonds? They are super crunchy and inside, the nut is soft and moist. We used to eat them doused in salt as a snack  out of school, buying  paper cone bags  from cart vendors.

The middle-eastern store is displaying mounds of these fresh almonds; Chef Marlene Mattar incorporated them […]

By |April 24th, 2010|Salads|72 Comments
  • datebars-550x366

Date Bars


I saw a cookie recipe on that really got my attention; why? it listed orange rind, orange juice and mastic in the dough. Mastic is used a lot in Lebanese  puddings, breads, ice-cream, and even in lamb shawarma! I just had never seen mastic and fresh orange combined!

I made this cookie and […]

By |April 23rd, 2010|Sweets|45 Comments
  • Kishkeh-Khadra

Bulgur, yogurt and walnut salad (Kishke Khadra)

About a year ago, my son Nick announced he was going vegetarian. I thought  sure you are; someone who ingests triple-decker cheese and bacon  burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner? he was serious. He turned into a health and nutrition nut and lost  a ton of extra  fast-food pounds.

To make his visits home […]

By |April 22nd, 2010|Salads|48 Comments
  • kellage-550x376

Cheese sandwich (Kellage)


This  simple and delicious sandwich is one I associate with summers in Lebanon, sitting  by the pool with my friends Jacqueline and Anne-Marie Bassoul and the rest of the gang;  we would order it every single  day after a swim. Crispy and gooey with the softened white cheese inside, our Lebanese quesadillas!

What type […]

By |April 21st, 2010|Salty|52 Comments
  • ottolenghi-big-bowl-550x366

Three-rice and chicken salad, from Ottolenghi’s cookbook


I have a brother in San Fransisco, another brother in Singapore and my parents live in Beirut; we are used to being very far apart from each other, but when something important strikes, we are quick to connect; well,  it happened this weekend when my brother Jean, who lives in Singapore, got my attention […]

By |April 19th, 2010|Salty|66 Comments