Cranberry Sauce with Rose Water & Pistachios

Cranberry sauce with rose water, MaureenAbood.com

Cranberry sauce is such a natural with rose water, which brings out the cran-flavor and balances the sweet-tart beautifully. Be sure to use the rose water with restraint! We had a trial-run of Thanksgiving dinner recently, making good on what we say every year on Thanksgiving—which is: why don’t we eat this delicious meal more…

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts

Roasted brussels sprouts with red onion, toasted hazelnuts, and mulberry syrup, MaureenAbood.com

Roasted Brussels sprouts with mulberry syrup and toasted nuts are a knockout on your holiday menu. Use any toasted nut you like. I love roasted, salted hazelnuts, a great balance with the tangy fruitiness of the mulberry syrup (or pomegranate molasses). I find it shocking when I hear, usually from one of the nieces or…

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Mom’s Special Lebanese Rice

Lebanese rice with pine nuts and mushrooms in a blue bowl

Lebanese rice is such an essential part of our table that I’m sheepish that I haven’t shared it here before…. My mom’s version is so special and delicious that it’s as at home on your weeknight menu as it is the holiday table. The attributes my mom has passed on to me are legion. Among…

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Lebanese Eggplant Boats, another Sheik al Mehsheh

Lebanese eggplant boats in tomato sauce topped with cheese and pine nuts, in a white casserole, Maureen Abood

Lebanese eggplant boats are the traditional way to make Sheik al mehsheh, a meal “fit for a king”! Serve the eggplant over a bed of cinnamon-scented rice with a crisp, lemony romaine salad on the side. This dish is easily made ahead, as well as casserole-style. For some reason, our Lebanese eggplant, or Sheik al…

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Ka’ik Biscuit Cookies

Ka'ik Anise Biscuits, MaureenAbood.com

There are many different versions of Lebanese ka’ik. These biscotti-like crunchy Ka’ik Biscuit Cookies are flavored with anise, rose water and turmeric. There’s a great divide here, as I’m sure there must be where you are, over the flavor of black licorice. This is anise, a flavor that brings intense joy to the face and…

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Sauteed Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts

Satueed spinach with pine nuts, MaureenAbood.com

Whether I’m baking the baklawa, or browning the butter, or toasting the nuts, the question is always there. That question: how dark should the baklawa/butter/nuts be? Actually, this isn’t my question at all. It’s the question of those around me. (Dan.) For me, Deep Golden Brown (DGB) is a given. It’s a fundamental need that…

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Apricot and Mulberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies

These gem-like jam thumbprint cookies are fun to make and so tender and beautiful. Use a combination of preserves like apricot and mulberry for color and flavor interest. This one will brighten up the cookie plates. It’s a beauty. That’s what mom said when she tasted the thumbprint cookies I’ve been making with our gorgeous…

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Lebanese Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas and Kale

Vegetable soup Lebanese style in a bowl

This vegetable soup with chickpeas and kale is hearty with sweet butternut squash, tomatoes, and a hit of cayenne. So warming, healthy, and simple to make–which we do, weekly! Vegan and gluten-free. One frigid, snowy day last winter when Dan was down and out with a cold, his sister Trisha brought over a big tunjura…

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Sumac Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sumac roasted sweet potatoes are a natural! The bright, citrusy flavor of the sumac balances the sweetness of the potatoes perfectly. When I think about what makes the Thanksgiving plate so mouthwatering-good, it doesn’t take much for me to realize that it’s driven by sweet. Oh, and fat. Yes, there is the salty tenderness (brine…

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