pine nuts

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Eggplant casserole (Fattet betenjan)


Hardly any dish in the Middle-East is more finger-licking or easier to prepare. Layer a food with fried pita croutons and a  yogurt sauce flavored with tahini and a touch of garlic; oh, and a sprinkling of butter-fried nuts to top it off.

Above is a diet version of the eggplant fatteh which is poor […]

By |October 24th, 2012|Salty|12 Comments
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Eggplant with yogurt sauce (Fattet al-Makdoos)


In what city in the world can you get this meal delivered to your door? That is what happened today when I called my caterer/friend/neighbor, Rima @RimRam Gourmet and asked her to help me out. 

Rima, whose is a true Beiruti, specializes in many traditional dishes and cooks herself once a month at Tawlet, Kamal […]

By |March 28th, 2012|Salty|27 Comments
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Swiss chard and tahini beoreg


The Armenian community in Lebanon has always fascinated me; I had Armenian friends in school, an Armenian dentist, knew Armenian musicians, carpenters, artists; we lived side by side, yet they spoke their own language and wrote in Armenian, a language that seemed mysterious, with letters that could not be deciphered even for someone fluent […]

By |July 22nd, 2011|Salty|20 Comments
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Meat pies, Lebanese-style (Sfeeha)

If there is one pastry item that deserves a standing ovation from the Lebanese kitchen, it is sfeeha (pronounced s-f-ee-ha with the “a” like apple).

What is sfeeha? A little meat pie; made extraordinary by the folks in Baalbeck (the number one tourist destination in Lebanon, site of incredible Roman temples).

Why extraordinary? The meat […]

By |May 19th, 2011|Salty|56 Comments
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Fattet al-betenjane (eggplant casserole)


I am surprised that this dish (and its many variations) is not more popular in the US and abroad; I consider it the signature dish of all Middle-Eastern cooking. It apparently goes back centuries to the Abbassid period.

Well, never mind, today I am presenting fatteh, in the eggplant and minced lamb version. Fatteh is […]

By |March 22nd, 2011|Salty|39 Comments
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I saw chef Adèle Hugot cook pasta this way (and call it pastato), I thought “it really is not that much different from what we have been doing with vermicelli and rice in the Lebanese kitchen”. She coats the pasta in olive oil in a wok, then adds the white wine and stock (or […]

By |March 21st, 2011|Salty|34 Comments
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Potato croquettes (Batata chap)


I wrote a post about our family trip to Iraq and the Marsh Lands a few monthsago and included a recipe for a traditional Iraqi dish, batata chap (batata means potato in Arabic).

A reader of this blog, Samir, was having trouble with the recipe (the potatoes not holding their shape). When I posted  the […]

By |January 10th, 2011|Salty|46 Comments
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Mussakhan (Palestinian chicken wrap with onions and sumac)


This dish is inspired by the classic Palestinian dish called mussakhan (pronounce moo-ssa-khann), which is Arabic for “heated up”.

A thin bread encases chicken and rings of caramelized onions fragrant with sumac.

I like to use a Lebanese flatbread called markook for this dish, although a large pita (or several small ones) will do just fine […]

By |December 14th, 2010|Salty|49 Comments
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Banana Bread


I have tried probably hundreds of banana bread recipes over the years; this is the last one I tried, a recipe I read on the inside cover of a Reynolds parchment paper box and adapted to my own taste.

As a result this banana bread is not very sweet and, while rich, a bit rustic; […]

By |December 1st, 2010|Sweets|39 Comments
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Fattet Hummus


This is a traditional dish and I believe it is specific to the Sunni communities in Beirut.

While living in California, I became friends with  a Lebanese man. He and I  worked in the same building. His relatives threw a dinner party and invited me. This is the dish I remembered from dozens on […]

By |September 22nd, 2010|Others|36 Comments