I left the house today at 2PM; I knew that Elie, owner of the internet café closes shop till 5PM due to lunch and siesta. I got in the car and drove the winding mountain roads, hoping for a lit internet sign somewhere.
I am now sitting in a restaurant in a village in the Chouf; eating a grilled kafta plate and drinking Almaza beer; the only other customer is a Frenchman, sitting across from me with his laptop; I can hear him speaking audibly in French on his cellphone; he seems to have a bit of an attitude; on his table all the Lebanese goodies: a bottle of arak, an array of mezze plates; the waiter told me apologetically that he had no clue how to connect to their network; so I had to ask the French man.
The restaurant is large with a canopied terrace, overlooks the valley and the food is freshly grilled on charcoal. The waiter is so sweet and attentive. When it comes time to pay, he refuses payment in the typical gracious mountain fashion, repeats ” It is on us”, until he finally agrees to bring me the bill.
Last night, we had a get-together with more second and third cousins; picked up some goodies at Souk el-Tayeb.
I grabbed a dozen spinach fatayers (turnovers) at Georgina‘s stand and was tempted by a dish called madfoonet (meaning buried) al-koossa or zucchini; it is a moist pilaf of bulgur with onions and tomatoes with chunks of zucchini and green beans “buried” in it.
Georgina, a warm and effusive lady, told me about her village in Northern Lebanon, the stream nearby, their olive groves and the upcoming fall season: their olive oil will be extracted in the ancient stone press. Told her I would not miss a chance to see this; anyone interested? (it will be in October)
- 1 cup of coarse bulgur
- 1 cup of water (or broth)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 or 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup of zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup of green beans, cut in one-inch sticks
- olive oil, as needed
- Heat some olive oil and fry the onions for a while; add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have given up some juice.
- Meanwhile, soak the bulgur for 15 minutes and then drain well. Add the bulgur to the skillet, coating the grains with oil and juice for a few minutes.
- Add the zucchini and green beans, previously blanched or steamed and the water; cook the mixture, covered, adding some salt and pepper and a dash of cinnamon and allspice, until the bulgur is cooked well and soft. Serve hot, lukewarm or cold.
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