Hand pies with labneh and zaatar

A traditional Lebanese breakfast? Pinching off pieces of pita bread and scooping up some zaatar (marinating in olive oil) and labneh. Adding a bit of tomatoes and mint. Well, here it is, a hand pie containing the zaatar in olive oil and the labneh. I like to serve this with fresh...
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Wild zaatar salad

  A couple of friends in our mountain village of  Deir el-Qamar  told me that it was time to go forage for zaatar. This is a variety of zaatar that is made into a salad, not dried and ground into a powder:  Lots of onion, tomatoes and olives and fresh...
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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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