Carrots stewed in butter and honey

July 25, 2021  •  Category:

This was how my mom used to cook carrots and I loved it for two reasons: It was yummy, and it was super easy. All it takes is throwing the carrots (peeled and cut) into the pot, adding a chunk of butter, a swirl of honey (or a dash of brown sugar), a dash of salt, a little water, covering the pot and letting it cook and steam. Eventually, the carrots will cook and caramelize.

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Potato kibbeh pie

June 24, 2021  •  Category: ,

This is a very rustic kibbeh found in the villages; I became acquainted with it when I lived in the Chouf Mountains and befriended local farmers like Oum Elias. She used potatoes, onions and walnuts from her field to make a similar pie, and would take portions of it to her husband and his fellow helpers who worked the land nearby. I never had it growing-up in Beirut, where our grandmother only made the classic meat kibbeh  with ground lamb. In the villages, this pie is called kibbet al-batata.

Another very popular vegan kibbeh pie I discovered while living in the Chouf Mountains is the pumpkin kibbeh pie. This is another quintessential rural kibbeh pie from the rural villages, using locally grown pumpkins; it is especially consumed during fasting days.

New kibbeh pies have been created since my childhood, such as this chicken kibbeh pie made with chicken breast or fish kibbeh pie, a specialty in Tripoli, the Northern city on the Mediterranean.

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Oatmeal cookies

March 30, 2021  •  Category: ,

This time of year, people are busy making maamoul in Lebanon (and outside Lebanon as well if you are Lebanese), the Easter/Eid cookie par excellence; this is a suggested cookie for those of us who are not able to set aside the hours needed to make maamoul ..

The photo was taken in my hometown of Deir el Qamar, in the town square. The town, former capital of Mount Lebanon, has one mosque, twelve churches and one synagogue.

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Kibbeh stuffed with shredded beef

March 2, 2021  •  Category: , ,

This type of kibbeh is called kibbeh sajeeyyeh in Lebanon.  The kibbeh is shaped like a saj , the concave cooking grill shaped like an inverted wok used in almost every corner bakery throughout Lebanon.

Oum Elias using a saj to bake bread in her garden using sticks from pine trees in the picture above.

There are two main advantages to this type of kibbeh; the first advantage is that the kibbeh is baked (after being coated with some oil) and the other advantage is that shaping the kibbeh is a lot easier that the kibbeh balls (which require solid practice and hours of work).

I decided to stuff these kibbeh with shredded beef instead of the usual ground beef or lamb, because I prefer the softer texture of the shredded meat, especially after cooking it in a flavorful broth. In this case, the sky’s the limit, and whatever strikes your creativity is game. Some recipes call for using muhammara as a stuffing, or a combo of this paste with ground meat, previously fried with onions and spices.

The only caveat is that you will need to figure on an extra day to get the meat ready. The ground meat filling can be done just thirty minutes before, so it depends on your time and preferences.

kibbeh sajiyyeh

 

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