Category Archives: Spices and Pantry items

Rosewater, homemade

Rosewater in Lebanon is homemade in the villages with a certain type of rose, called ward joury (Rosa Damascena); the sweetest and most delicate rose ever! The traditional procedure is to use a distiller (karaké). I just wanted to see if i could make some rosewater without having to buy or borrow a distiller. I […]

Kibbeh mortar (Jurn)

Not so long ago, every Lebanese home had one of those in the kitchen; called a jeren, this mortar was cut out of solid rock and weighed at least a hundred pounds. We had one;  my mother was fortunate enough to be able to enlist a cook (with adequate girth) named Apple (Teffaha) to pound the […]

Red chili paste

Can anybody live without some kind of red chili paste in the pantry? I know I can’t!! I   simply seeded them, puréed them with olive oil and some coarse salt; fast and easy. I am keeping them in the freezer in small 2-ounce plastic bags.  ½ lb red chili peppers 1 tsp salt Olive […]

Making zaatar

  Making one’s own zaatar spice mix is the ultimate slow-food activity in Lebanon;  I had been toying with the idea for years and wanted some pointers from local Lebanese mountain folks who could steer me away from the pitfalls. Everybody in the village forages and makes their own, of course; but this time, I was […]

Walnut and red pepper paste (Muhammara)

My favorite condiment. Muhammara (which means “made-red” in reference to the red chili peppers in it), is  versatile and quick and easy to prepare. The key is to use good walnuts and red pepper paste. If these conditions are met, it will take 3 minutes to make with a food processor. The red peppers can be mild […]