Ingredient: Cracked wheat, or bulghur

When I was in cooking school, we spent a multi-week session on grains. Our chef instructor, Frances, has a love affair with grains (as she does, not surprisingly, with ingredients of all kinds) that’s contagious, and her enthusiasm got me thinking. Mostly about the dearth of grains in my diet, and how I was going…

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Technique: How to thicken yogurt for Labne

In Lebanese cuisine, labne is a thick yogurt spread served drizzled with olive oil as part of maza (many small plates) and used as a condiment with savory dishes. My Sitto ate her own labne every single morning, spread with the back of her spoon on two slices of buttered toast. She wasn’t so concerned…

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Pickled Turnips, and an introduction to Aunt Hilda

One of the first recipes posted here, Lebanese turnip pickles, or lift, are always on the table as a piquant addition to Lebanese breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Lebanese turnip pickles are very simple to make and can be adjusted to suit your taste–spicy, garlicky, or not! The Abood sisters, my aunts, had talents. Helen sang…

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Stuffed Koosa. Are you a Koosa?

Stuffed Koosa is a traditional dish of light green summer squash stuffed with a meat and rice mixture, cooked in deeply savory tomato broth. Can’t find koosa? That’s just fine; use zucchini or yellow squash for delicious results. Many of us at some point or another have called a small child “pumpkin.” Sweet little thing…

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Technique: How to core coosa, or summer squash

To make stuffed squash, or coosa mehshee (MEH-she), the squash has to be hollowed out. A special tool is used for this, and it’s typically called a zucchini corer. My search for a high-quality corer with the right-sized handle and sharp metal corer landed on making my own–that is, with an artisan from northern Michigan,…

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Ingredient: Summer Squash, or Coosa

A thrilling experience I had when I was living in Chicago was discovering Lebanese coosa at the Green City Market (I’m easily thrilled). This variety of summer squash was dubbed “Korean” squash by the wonderful Green Acres Farm, but it is one and the same as the small, pale green Lebanese squash I hadn’t seen…

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Yogurt Cucumber Salad with Mint

Laban khiyar, or yogurt-cucumber salad, is a healthy, cool and refreshing Lebanese favorite — perfect with kibbeh, grilled meats and vegetables, tomato salad . . . or simply on its own. This is one of the first posts made on this blog, with a recipe that is integral to the Lebanese table. When I’ve envisioned…

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Ingredient: Mint, or Na’na

Na’na (pronounced NAH-nuh), or spearmint, is an herb used in lots of savory ways in Lebanese cooking—we’ll be using it later this week in an absolutely delicious Lebanese salad. You can find mint at the farmer’s market now and in the grocery store throughout the year. Don’t worry about whether or not the mint you’re…

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Porch time: Strawberry Rose Lemonade (Part II)

This post and story about Strawberry Rose Lemonade was the first on my blog years ago! Click here for Part 1. Thank you to my special assistant John. Enjoy! If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s that for every joy there is a sorrow. The Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran’s “On Joy and…

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Strawberry Rose Lemonade

Strawberries for lemonade

This was my very first blog post here! I wrote it in two installments…the recipe for my Strawberry Rose Lemonade is HERE! Hello and welcome! Since this blog is named for two of my favorite flavors in Lebanese cuisine—the essence of roses and orange blossoms, distilled in water—it seems only fitting that we kick things…

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