Beet Hummus

October 25, 2021  •  Category: ,

This is not technically hummus, since in Lebanon hummus is the word for chickpeas and this dish does not contain one gram/ounce of chickpeas; it is just the Americanized title, that I am adopting here, instead of the more authentic name mtabbal al shmandar.

Mr Kameel Abu Hatoom, a gentleman I met in Beirut  gave me this recipe AND a facetious nickname for it, coining it mama dallou3a; the nickname means “cuddly mamma” and is meant as a counter for baba ghannouj meaning sugar daddy! So both dips should be served at the same time and named Mama dallou3a and baba ghannouj~

This is also a mezze dish;  it is lighter than a classic hummus with chickpeas provided one goes easy on the tahini (which adds calories and heaviness). The other great advantage of this dish is the fact that one can savor the beet juice as well, which is simply the beet-infused water in which the beets have been boiled. It is sweet, and very nutritious, and super healthy as well.

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Sweet and savory spinach stew

October 17, 2021  •  Category: ,

Spinach stew

Juggling with different cuisines is not a bad thing. You always end up with ideas that may not come to the mind of someone who is always cooking from one specific register. Here, I am using an ingredient that one finds in Persian/Iranian cuisine, and inserting it into our Lebanese spinach stew effortlessly (and happily).

The ingredient in question is named zereshk aka barberries. I had some leftover from making some Iranian rice pilaf and thought their tangy and sweet-fruity flavor would go well with my quick and easy spinach stew. It did!! I just had to prep them a bit and add them to the stew.

 

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Apricots with cheese stuffing

October 10, 2021  •  Category: ,

I first tasted these as a guest of one of the best cooks in Lebanon, Mrs. Mimi Arab, who told me she got the idea from her daughter, who is also the best gourmet cook I have ever had the privilege to meet there. Hers were stuffed with blue cheese and walnut, and I thought the idea was brilliant and so easy.

I used two types of cheeses (blue cheese and Mexican farmer’s cheese) and some Mexican crema to bind the mixture. However, you can switch to any cheeses, as long as it is not too hard or dry. Another combo that would work could be feta cheese with cream cheese or double crème, or Boursin and labneh.  Anything works as long as it is spreadable (not too runny and not too thick). I did not use walnuts, but I may add them next time around. What is yummy is the sweet/salty combo of the apricots and the cheese. Nuts would add extra crunch but are not absolutely necessary.

 

 

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Chicken meatballs with dipping sauces

September 25, 2021  •  Category: , ,

I was checking the fridge and freezer and noticed a few ingredients that needed to be turned into ..something, and that something was a dipping sauce. And rather than buy bags of chips, I decided to make some meatballs with chicken breast meat. One sauce is a simple version of muhammara, and the other is an avocado/jalapeño/tomatillo Mexican sauce. The tomatillos and Mexican veggies and cheeses are found in all supermarkets here in Texas, but can be substituted. I would use green tomatoes instead of the tomatillos, for instance. If interested, there is another recipe in this blog for some chicken meatballs using fresh basil and some mozzarella cheese.

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