Sesame seeds, a Lebanese favorite

The sesame seed is to the Lebanese what parmesan cheese is to the Italians: a must-have, an essential essential, a favorite flavor-maker. The seed has been one of the most important summer crops in the Middle East for thousands of years, which explains why sesame is everywhere in our cooking, from savory to sweet. Sesame…

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Lebanese cucumbers

My fascination with cucumbers, the small ones, has gone on for some time. As has my fascination with the English language. I was sitting in the backseat of my mom’s Custom Cruiser, probably circa 1975, when we were driving along M-119 Up North, and I saw a roadside sign that made no sense. Mom, what…

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Michigan’s Tart Cherries. So Proud.

When the harvests are in full swing in Michigan, I’m like a proud parent busting at the seams. I want to show Michigan off as though she is mine, as though I did something to make her all that she is. I suppose I love my state the way some love their sports teams; they…

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Ingredient: Lavender

I was driving along highway 31 on the way back from Charlevoix, where I went to forage morels from the first outdoor farm market there back in May (that’s the extent of my foraging prowess…). Thank heavens for the stretch of road where the all-consuming lake view was blocked by pine trees, because in that…

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Morel Mushrooms (and lilacs).

The problem could well have been the lilacs. Anytime a bundle of fragrant, just-unfurled lilacs enter the room, the rest of us may as well be invisible. And if that’s true for you and me, it’s doubly true for a mushroom. Never mind that these sweet morsels, the lilacs, were stolen from the neighbor’s yard.…

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Orange Blossom Simple Syrup

Orange Blossom Simple Syrup, MaureenAbood.com

Orange blossom simple syrup is an essential part of many Lebanese pastries. For many pastries, it is important to pour cold syrup over the hot pastry when it comes out of the oven, so this syrup is best made in advance. And it lasts forever in an airtight container! What is Simple Syrup? So many…

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White Asparagus with Pistachio Oil & Lemon

When the weather was frigid this past winter, all I could think of was the thick, dark drinking chocolate I drank when I traveled in Spain years ago. But now that it’s spring, and winter is trying (not hard enough) to take her leave, my mind is inspired by another of the Spanish delights I…

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Ingredient: Kumquats

The Lebanese, we love citrus. If there is anything less than an extra-large bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter at all times, we start to get uneasy. Wouldn’t want to run out. Oranges are our little pets too, especially when it comes to candied peel. Any bitterness is leached away by boiling water, and…

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