Stuffed grape leaves

Stuffed Grape leaves in Mexican chile salsa

I LOVE Mexican cuisine (as much as I LOVE Lebanese cuisine) and I have always been interested in the idea of fusing the two in a harmonious way. Here I am making our classic stuffed grape leaves the traditional way, but am adding some Mexican homemade salsa in the broth...
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Orange maamoul

Orange Maamoul

  Maamoul filled with orange, specifically Seville orange or bousfeyr (bitter orange), was not known in Lebanon when I grew up. The maamoul varieties made by my grandmother and countless other tétas throughout Lebanon were filled either with crushed almonds, pistachios, walnuts or date.  Maamoul with bitter orange paste is...
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Pumpkin/Sweet potatoes kibbeh balls

These kibbeh have an exquisite faintly sweet taste;  they are a bit challenging to make from scratch simply because the pumpkin is mostly water and to obtain a kibbeh dough suitable to be shaped into balls you would need to  use a LOT of bulgur and in doing so, the...
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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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