How to use Rose Water

Rose Water with pink raspberry buttercream

Find out more about how to use  rose water in cooking and baking! We love this  special Lebanese culinary tradition. Find pure imported flower waters in my shop here. We just HAVE to kick off February and spring with an ode to the beautiful Lebanese tradition of baking with flower waters. Their  flavor is iconic,…

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How to Choose an Eggplant

Purple eggplant in a footed dish on a marble countertop, Maureen Abood

Follow these few simple tips to selecting beautiful eggplant, for fabulous Lebanese and other favorite dishes. Why we love eggplant. The deep purple hue and voluptuous shape of eggplant put it in the upper echelons of truly gorgeous produce. Of course there’s plenty of competition everywhere you turn at the farmer’s market. But purple is…

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Why Great Olive Oil Should Always be on the Menu

Olive oil mashed potatoes

Someone asked me recently, what are my top three pantry items? The first was easy: great extra virgin olive oil. The second: infused extra virgin olive oil. The third: kosher salt. We cook and drizzle and bake and drizzle some more with olive oil, every single day and even more when we’re cooking for a…

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What is Za’atar, and How to Cook with Za’atar

Za'atar on the counter in white apilco dijon jar

Za’atar spice is a special blend of wild thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. Za’atar, a word that itself means “thyme” in Arabic, is pronounced with the emphasis on the first half of the word: ZA-tar. Za’atar, like any spice blend from throughout the Mediterranean, different regions and even different families in the same region…

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Introducing Maureen Abood Market, Lebanese Ingredients to love

Peeled Chickpeas, Maureen Abood Market

For my dad growing up, working at Aboods Food Market meant missing plenty of good fun. Saturdays and any day school was out, he and his brothers were expected to show up in one place and one place only: the market. Shelves needed stocking, butchery needed butchering, and customers needed a smile—with quality, quality, quality.…

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Favorite Things: Coconut Extract (the real deal)

When you love coconut, you want to taste coconut. It took me years to understand that my coconut cream pies were just okay, and tasted more like vanilla custard pie with a little bit of coconutty chew rather than like truly tropical coconut cream. With all of the time I’ve spent in Florida (read: piña…

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Ingredient: Fava Beans

What, can I ask, is wrong with the Lebanese that we so dearly love the very beans that require such painstaking attention? The chickpea is a wonder bean, but that little sucker is most often nothing until it is properly free of its skin. The fava is no different. My position as a bottom-feeder at…

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Ingredient: Edible Dried Lavender

Last summer, when I was intoxicated with the beauty, scent, and flavor of the fresh lavender from Lavender Hill Farms up north here, I thought of this very February day. When seasons are so defined, so distinct, deep, and determined as they are in these parts, the pleasure and wonder of any of them is…

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Michigan apples, comfort me

  It was the kind of fall morning that Michigan does best: mist rising off the bay, sun just up over the horizon, leaves on the cusp of their burning beauty. The day promised sunshine, warmth, and apples. Lots of apples. My friend Bill Sherman has been telling me about his family business, and invited…

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