Grape molasses cookies

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour 1 cup of cream of wheat (farina) or fine semolina 1/4 cup milk (more if needed) 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. white pepper, 1/4 tsp. of ginger, 1 tsp. of mahlab 2 tsp. of baking powder 1/2 cup of grape-seed oil (can substitute...
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Date spread

This was a successful attempt at recycling some leftover dates; the dates were so dry, it was painful to chew them and I seriously contemplated tossing them in the garbage. Then I remembered how I used to soften dates by cooking them in orange juice and decided to try this...
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Halvah-chocolate brownies

Halvah or haleweh as it is called in Lebanon is the equivalent of peanut butter in popularity in the US. I was told that even in the Lebanese Army, conscripts eat it for breakfast. I have been experiencing a regain of interest for it since I have been here, maybe...
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Chocolate raspberry roll

My son Nick was turning thirty; (I think I was more shaken by the news than he was). I was told by his wife Chelsea that he really liked red velvet cake. Well, here is what I came-up with. Its relatively easy and fast but best to make over a...
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Olives in a pepper and tomato sauce

A plate of olives is a must on a Lebanese table to start any meal. Olives are called “poor man’s meat” (al-zeytoon lahem al-fakeer). Olives are consumed with bread for breakfast, olives are nibbled on at lunch before the main dish and at dinner with a slice of cheese for...
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Middle-Eastern cheesecake

This is a recipe from one of my favorite Lebanese chefs, Chef Marlene Matar. I had tried it several years ago, and this time tried it again, albeit with some minor modifications. The semolina cooks in the milk, and provides a sturdy support for the cheese. This cheesecake is made...
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Lentils with herbs stew

This lentil dish is made using a combination of techniques and flavors from the Lebanese, Syrian and Iranian kitchens. I had a bag of ghormeh sabzi mix in my pantry and used it; I had leftover pomegranate molasses and used it; I had some rice and used it. I used...
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Armenian/Turkish meat pies

This is my version of the Armenian meat pies I used to get in Burj Hammoud (the Armenian neighborhood) in Beirut. A quick and easy version; I used refrigerated biscuits for the dough instead of making my own (laziness) and it worked great. The most time-consuming part is getting the...
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Fish and rice pilaf

A glorious dish my grandmother used to make on some Fridays or special occasions whenever she’d spot a freshly-caught grouper from the fishmonger. This recipe is from Beirut, whereas it can be made differently in other coastal cities like Saida. The Beirut version flavors the rice pilaf with caramelized onions...
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