Baklava with cream

  These pastries are very popular in Beirut and Damascus, where they are called warbate or shaybyate. These warbate (the word refers to the gesture of folding the phyllo dough to enclose the filling) can be filled with two things: Ashta which is a clotted cream or nuts (usually pistachios) chopped coarsely and  held...
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Kabuli pulao

I am a big fan of Persian cuisine with their refined pilafs and stews but I was always curious about the cuisine of their neighbor, Afghanistan, of which I knew nothing. The opportunity came up one day in Dallas, when an Afghani restaurant opened up not far from where I...
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Halal meatballs

Halal Meatballs with tahini dressing

Here is a delicious meal that can be prepared in a short amount of time and (although rich) is very healthy. The classic Lebanese Kafta is shaped into meatballs, quickly pan-fried and smothered in a tahini sauce (aka tarator in Lebanon) and served with a traditional rice pilaf made with...
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Beet Hummus

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...
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Sweet and savory 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...
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Apricots with cheese stuffing

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...
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chicken meatballs

Chicken meatballs with dipping sauces

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...
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Batersh

Batersh

This recipe is an ode to Syria, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, home of wonderful, kind, hospitable, refined people. So much has been published about Syria the last few years, all of it depressing and tragic, but the real Syria is a glorious land, filled with...
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Vegan chocolate cake

This was a cake made for a neighbor who was needing a vegan cake. I told her I would make it with tahini and she liked the idea (and loved the cake). I used tahini, grape molasses (to add sweetness) and some semi-sweet chocolate chips. I topped the cake with...
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