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Mashed potato fritters


In chef Marlene Mattar’s latest cookbook Maedat Marlene men Halab, she mentions that these Aleppian potato fritters were traditionally made  in a dish such as the one pictured above; lucky lady who got to spend time in Aleppo before the tragic mayhem; since Aleppo has the well-deserved reputation for exquisite gastronomy, I was dying to […]

By |January 22nd, 2014|Salty|18 Comments
  • dupl-kafta-stew

Kafta stew

 Today, thousands of people from 104 countries took part in the Beirut Marathon, a fantastic and uplifting event. 

In preparing this dish, there are shortcuts; getting frozen meatballs, for one; or making them in advance; ditto for the potatoes. The rice and vermicelli pilaf is a traditional stew side dish but can be simply bread […]

By |November 10th, 2013|Salty|13 Comments
  • potatoes-with-tahini-sauce

Potatoes in tahini sauce (Batata bel-theeneh)


Tahini is our Middle- Eastern butter or mayo; it goes in just about everything; unlike butter, it is  vegan as it is simply sesame seed paste; add to it some fresh lemon juice and a touch of garlic and you’ve got tarator sauce. Add some oranges and clementines, and you’ve got arnabiyeh sauce. Mix […]

By |November 7th, 2013|Salty|15 Comments
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Kafta patties topped with potatoes and tomatoes (Kafta bel-saniyeh)


Can’t get any more down home than this! I have seen this pan not only at home growing up but on the table of all my schoolmates. It is cafeteria food, Lebanese-style. Kafta patties (a meat mix with chopped parsley and onion) are topped with sliced potatoes and tomatoes and baked. Simple, but satisfying. 


By |June 1st, 2013|Salty|27 Comments
  • fries-from-Aleppo

French fries, Aleppo-style



To say that Aleppo’s cuisine is famous in the Middle-East would be stating the obvious. In fact, one of Lebanon’s premier chef, Mrs.  Marlene Mattar, has recently published a cookbook devoted to the cuisine of this wonderful city, Maedat Marlene men Halab.

This recipe for French fries, Aleppo-style, is one of many I tried from […]

By |January 23rd, 2013|Salty|13 Comments
  • ma-favorite1

Braided sole with pistachio pesto


This sole does not have to be braided; it can be served as a standard fillet; it is just more fun to braid it. The pistachio pesto lends itself well to the delicate taste of the sole, but any white fish fillet will work just fine.

Making the pistachio pesto is a bit more […]

By |August 9th, 2011|Salty|15 Comments
  • Potato-kibbeh-pie-21

Potato kibbeh pie


This is the easiest kibbeh pie you will ever make. No stress is involved here: just pick your favorite potatoes, boil them and mash them and mix them with some bulgur (added protein!) and herbs. Make a separate filling such as a ground beef with onion and bell peppers and spices, and the assembly […]

By |May 21st, 2011|Salty|27 Comments
  • kafta-burgers-with-tomato1-550x366

Potato Kafta

This potato kafta is a delicious twist on the usual kafta: The potatoes are boiled then mixed with the meat and flavored with a garlicky cilantro pesto.
The kaftas are shaped like burgers and can be pan-fried, grilled or baked with a slice of onion and tomato on top.


1 pound of lean (95%) ground beef […]

By |May 1st, 2011|Salty|38 Comments
  • Brandade-de-cod-et-yams-2-550x359

Puree of potatoes and cod


I  lived in France with my family for a few years while the war was raging in Lebanon and these circumstances allowed us all to become very well acquainted with French food: This dish comes from the south of France and  is called a brandade; I was never crazy about it because it uses […]

By |April 7th, 2011|Salty|21 Comments
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Spring soup


I lived in Aix-en-Provence for six months after finishing up high school; Aix is a beautiful town in the South of France filled with picturesque courtyards outfitted with ancient fountains and majestic old mansions. I was supposed to be studying political sciences at the university, but I found the courses too depressing and spent […]

By |March 26th, 2011|Salty|33 Comments