Fresh Mint Hummus

Fresh Mint Hummus is so fresh and flavorful, we may not ever eat hummus any other way…. Use the same simple hummus ingredients of skinless chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini with a big handful of fresh mint and basil for a hummus that tastes as beautiful as it looks. Finish fresh mint hummus with…

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Lebanese Sfouf Cake

Lebanese Sfouf cake with turmeric

Lebanese sfouf cake is a very simple, oil-based yellow cake, given its technicolor with turmeric–sfouf is beloved by the Lebanese, to enjoy with coffee or tea (not, at least according this dessert-eater, for dessert…). Sfouf cake includes a short list of ingredients and is egg-free.  The most typical, classic of Lebanese cakes seem to include…

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Sauteed Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts

Satueed spinach with pine nuts,

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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Cucumber Bites with Labneh and Olives

Cucumber bites with Labneh and Olives,

When Oscar time rolled around back when I was living in Chicago, I took it as a great excuse to eat a bunch of rich food and drink wine, while lounging in sweats, with my favorite pals. I always pulled out the stops not with Lebanese recipes, but what I considered Oscar-worthy guacamole. I like…

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Lebanese Meat Pies (fatayar). The raw and the cooked.

How to make fatayar

As I have discovered in the short time I’ve been married, even among the Lebanese there are differences in the ways families make their Lebanese recipes. As my teacher in culinary school used to say: likes and dislikes have a lot to do with expectations. Take the meat fatayar (pronounced fuh-TIE-yuh). The proper preparation of…

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Hummus with Lamb and Sumac.

Hummus with lamb, hummus kwarma on a blue plate

Hummus with lamb and sumac is a luscious, healthy way to change-up your hummus fix by adding marinated, sauteed lamb atop smooth hummus. For some, texture is important because it bothers them. They say of their aversion to eating raw oysters that “it’s a texture thing.” For me, I love eating raw oysters, and yes…

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How to toast sesame seeds

  I have never met a seed, nut, or–I’ll say it–bread that I didn’t want to toast immediately. We’ve had some good long talks about toasted nuts, deep golden brown toasted nuts that I keep (in little jars) in my refrigerator, ready to jazz up salads and pilafs and my mid-day need for yum. Toasted…

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Pine Nuts

In a small village in the northern mountains of Lebanon some 60 years ago, a young girl made her father’s dinner for the first time. Her dish of choice was mujadara, and the caramelized onion and lentils did just what she’d hoped: they won her father’s praise. Nothing like a father’s adoration to get a…

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Technique: How to toast nuts perfectly every time

I was surprised the other day when discussing almonds with a friend. She said she prefers to eat them blanched, no skins, white as can be. I guess I just assumed that everyone else shares my taste for toasted nuts of any kind, yet there is a purist taste for the blanched almond that I…

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