Baba Gannouj (Batenjan Mtabbal) And Potato Wedges

My children always tell me “Mum, do you know why we love your food?” And their answer is always “because you cook with love”. I believe that we have to do everything with passion to succeed; doing something for duty’s sake alone will never make any real achievement. I always remember this while I am cooking, and I feel happy especially when I am making something I know that my children enjoy. This is why I made today two side plates with the salad beside the main dish, because my son loves my Batenjan Mtabbal and he is inviting a friend of his for dinner.

The eggplant with Tahini is a main late from our Lebanese Mezze and it is very appetizing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplant
  • 2 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • one lemon squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Some pomegranate seeds for decoration
  • olive oil

Preparation:

  • Grill the eggplants til it looks wrinkled and soft. Let them cool, then peel them and crush them
  • Add the crushed garlic and salt to the eggplant and mix well with the spoon
  • Add the Tahini and the lemon juice, mix and adjust the amounts to taste (if you like more salt and lemon)
  • Place the eggplants in a serving plate and decorate with the pomegranate seed and some olive oil

Potato Wedges are very popular all over the world there’s a million ways to make it. Today I prepared it with some extra spices than what I usually use, and it turned out quite good:

  • For 4 potatoes’ worth, I mix: 2 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of ground onion, 1 teaspoon of ground garlic, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, a pinch of black pepper and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • Marinate the potatoes in this mix for an hour in the fridge
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees then cook the potatoes for about 30 minutes

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT!

Spring Rice Salad

Today my son has a long day at University, which means I will have lunch by myself. Cooking for myself alone is not very tempting. This is why I decided to make a salad as a one dish meal. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I believe salad is a very free plate, something you should have fun with. So, I decided to prepare a salad with rice to be consistent and light meal.

Simple and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tomato, cut in medium sized pieces
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 green pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup mix of olive oil and apple vinegar, a dash of hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper for the dressing salad
  • 1 small onion sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan, place the rice with water, salt, curry and vegetable oil and bring to boil
  • Reduce the heat, stirring from time to time, cover and let it simmer until the rice is cooked
  • Place rice in a plate and let it cool to room temperature
  • Add tomato, carrot, green pepper
  • Season with the dressing and garnish with onion and dried mint

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Mjaddara (Lebanese Way)

For a long time, Mjaddara has been considered food for poor people because the ingredients are very cheap and easy to get. Lentils, onion, rice and some spices. However, nowadays  due to increased interest in healthy food containing proteins, iron, and vitamins we find Mjaddara being increasingly served at lunch or dinner parties. Did I mention that it is also one of our many Lebanese mezze dishes? Yes, it is. We can have it as a side dish, and even as a main dish. So here is the recipe I learned from my mother 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of lentil of broad white lentils
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Egyptian rice ( small grains)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Boil the lentils in 2 litre of salted water, it will take about 30 minutes. Then drain it from water
  • In a pot heat the olive oil and fry the onion until light golden color
  • Wash the rice and add it to the onion with one cup of water, leave it ten minutes on a very low heat, until the rice is half cooked
  • In the meantime, put the cooked lentils in a food processor and puree them
  • Add the puree of lentils to the onion and rice, if you find the mixture is too thick, add a little water
  • Season with salt, seven spices and cumin, stirring always the lentils until the rice is well cooked
  • Pour the Mjaddara on a plate and leave until it is completely cold and set
  • Serve it with salad and pickles.

Sometimes I may boil excess lentils and after they are well cooked I’ll put the remaining in the freezer until I need them again.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Green Beans in Oil (Loubiye Bilzeit)

Today while I was writing my post I had the nice surprise to be nominated for the Liebster Award by one of my favorite bloggers Rocksalt. I thank you very very much for appreciating my blog and nominating me.

Today’s dish is a basic traditional Lebanese food, one found in the mezze section of every Lebanese restaurant. This is one of the first recipes I learned to cook as a newly wed, and I believe that its the same for most young Lebanese women as well. When I used to live in Abu Dhabi, back when it was still a newly developed city, I remember that it was difficult sometimes to find fresh beans; I resorted to buying the frozen variety to cook this delicious meal but it just didn’t taste the same. Luckily, fresh green beans are easily found in Lebanon, and now I can make this dish with the freshest beans.

This is a side dish, and it works well with almost anything.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of fresh green beans
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 red tomatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Cut the uppermost and bottom-most parts of the bean and wash
  • Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions and garlic until they have a nice golden color
  • Add the beans, lower the heat and cover the pot, stirring and flipping the beans over from time to time until they wilt. This will take about 15 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, season with salt and spices and mix the ingredients together
  • Cover with about one cup of water and let it simmer on a very low heat with the cover on
  • While waiting for the beans to become soft, keep an eye on the water level in the pot. If it becomes too low, add a little bit more (you don’t want to make a soup so small amounts at a time)
  • Once the beans are soft, you’re ready to eat!

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Eggplant Salad (Betanjen Raheb)

The dish I have for you today is a typical Lebanese starter made with eggplant, and it is one of the many plates of Lebanese Mezze; in some Lebanese restaurants, you can find up to 30 dishes of Mezze. The ingredients are easy to find and the the preparation itself is relatively simple. Vegetarians, take note: this is a very nutritious and delicious treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant of 500 grams approximately
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • salt, olive oil

Preparation:

  • Grill the eggplant very well from all sides until soft
  • When it cools, peel it carefully, taking care not to leave any part of the skin of the eggplant
  • Crush the clove of garlic in a large bowl, add salt and then add the eggplant. Mix together with a fork until nearly smooth with a few a chunks
  • Add lemon juice as desired
  • Chop the onion and the tomato finely
  • Finally, place the eggplant in a plate and add the onion then the tomato on top with some olive oil for taste

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Falafel

Falafel is our traditional “take away sandwich”. It is like a vegetarian hamburger made in the Lebanese way. I remember when I was in complementary school, during our long  lunch break once a week, two of my best friends and I managed to escape from school to go down town and buy a Falafel sandwich and a bottle of Pepsi Cola, and we would come back to school and enjoy our lunch. I was amazed by the way the man could fry them so fast and then roll them quickly with vegetables in the pita to make a delicious sandwich. And above all this, I was totally in love with the smell of the frying pieces of Falafel.

I thought that it was very complicated to make them at home. But when I grew up I figured out the recipe so I can enjoy eating them any time I wanted to right at home.

A few years ago however, I found the perfect recipe for a home made Falafel. I want to share this with you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of chick peas
  • 2 cups of crushed beans(fava beans)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Falafel spices
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • oil for frying

Preparation:

  • Soak the chick peas and the crushed beans separately in 2 bowls of water for 24 hours
  • Drain the water and place them, separately in a food processor and mix well
  • Mix the crushed garlic with the fresh coriander and the onion
  • Mix all the ingredients together, season with salt, Falafel spices and the baking soda
  • Heat the oil, take a small piece of the Falafel mixture and put it in the special dispenser (called aleb falafel) and deep fry them until brown color
  • You can eat them with all kinds of vegetables you like: tomatoes, parsley, onion, pickles and lettuce, but the most important is the dip for the Falafel, the taratour

The dip(Taratour preparation):

  • Crush 2 cloves of garlic with salt, add 1 cup of tahini and mix with about 2 cups of water, then press 1 lemon and mix it with them
  • Adjust the lemon and salt to your taste.

ET VOILA…C’EST TOUT:)

Homemade Pizza

What tastes better than pizza? A HOMEMADE PIZZA, of course. I always prepare the entire pizzas at home, from the dough to the ingredients and the filling to the way me and my children like it. In Lebanon, we have Lebanese pizza called “Man’oushe” which is made out of dough, same as pizza, but filled with either cheese or dried thyme mixed with some olive oil and it’s cooked in a large oven.

My 7 year-old grandson won’t eat any pizza except the one I made because “it is the best pizza ever!” You cant argue with that 🙂

Today I prepared the dough in the morning and let it rest for few hours to let it rise, and then I rolled it and filled it and cooked it; here’s how:

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 5 cups of flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of corn oil
  • 1 tbsp of instant dried yeast
  • water

Preparation:

  • Put the flour, the salt and the oil in food processor and mix them for a few minutes
  • Then add the yeast and pour the water from the top slowly until all the ingredients form a soft dough
  • Rub a bowl with 1 spoon of oil and place the dough inside it and cover it with a towel
  • Let it rest and wait until it doubles in volume

In the meantime prepare the filling.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 3 red tomatoes cut in small dices
  • 1 small can of cut mushroom
  • 1/2 cup of black seedless and shredded olives
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated emmenthal cheese
  • 1 tbsp of corn oil

Preparation:

  • In a pan heat the oil and fry the onions
  • Add the cut tomatoes to the onions and let it cook gently, then add the mushrooms
  • Now you can sprinkle the thyme and oregano
  • Add now the black olives and the tomato paste,  cover the pan and let it cook gently on a low heat
  • Preheat the oven on 180c
  • When the dough is ready and with a rolling pin, roll the dough and put it in a pizza tray
  • Sprinkle some thyme over the dough and put the filling on top
  • Cover with the two kinds of cheese and bake for about 25 minutes

AND THAT’S IT…. ENJOY:)

Tabboule

Tabboule is our Lebanese pride, along with hummus. Lebanon is the record holder in the Guinness Book of World Records when 250 of our Lebanese Chef’s made the biggest plate of Tabboule in the whole world. We Lebanese can and will eat tabboule any place, any time: for breakfast, lunch, as a snack or even at dinner. It is THAT Delicious. The best thing about it is that tabboule is made just from vegetables and bulgur, so anybody can enjoy it and it goes well with most anything!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of finely  chopped fresh parsley
  •  few leaves of fresh mint chopped with the parsley, or else they will turn black
  • 1 small onion filnely diced
  • 3 red tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of bulgur, fine and dark brown color
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • salt, seven spices, olive oil

Preparation:

  • Wash the chopped parsley with mint and put in a strainer
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the parsley
  • Mix the chopped onion with a dash of salt and a little seven spices and add it to the mixture of parsley, tomatoes and onion
  • Wash the bulgur and drain it, then add one tablespoon of lemon juice to it
  • Now the Tabboule is ready, season it to your taste with salt, allspice, lemon juice and olive oil
  • Mix it well and put it on a serving plate garnish with lettuce or cabbage

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Pumpkin Soup

The Pumpkin soup is very easy to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of time. It’s also my daughter’s favorite, especially on a cold winter day like today. The ingredients also are simple and easy to find all year round.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of pumpkin
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 stock of vegetables (or chicken if you prefer)
  • salt and seven spices
  • fresh cream (optional)

Preparation:

  • Peel all the vegetables and cut them into medium size cubes
  • Fry the vegetables in butter until slightly golden
  • Dissolve the stock in water according to the instructions
  • Add this stock to the vegetables; add more water if needed to cover the vegetables
  • Boil the vegetables for about 25 minutes or until it is soft
  • Place the cooked vegetables in a blender and mix until completely pureed
  • Put the liquid back in the pot and heat a bit, season to taste
  • You can garnish the plate with fresh cream if you desired
  • Serve with toasted square bread

ET VOILA C’EST TOUT! 🙂

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Fun with Zucchini, Part Two: Heart of the Zucchini (Lib el Koussa)

Today I’m gonna teach you what do you with the zucchini insides that you put aside in yesterday’s post.

During the World War II, people in the Lebanese countryside did their best to use everything they had when cooking and leave nothing to waste because they were running out of ingredients to make food. This is the reason why there is a large variety of vegetarian plates in Lebanese cuisine. When people used to make stuffed zucchini, they kept the removed core and found a way to cook it and make it delicious.

There are various recipes for the zucchini innards, the one I made today among them. This is a favorite of mine and I’m sure it will be one of yours when you try it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • The inner part of the zucchini (about one cup and a half)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine molasses
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mint

Preparation:

  • Chop the onion and the cloves of garlic finely
  • In a small saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onion with garlic until slightly golden
  • Add the zucchini and fry with the onion and garlic for 2 minutes
  • Cover the casserole and on a very low heat cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add now the grenadine molasses and stir well for few seconds
  • Put the fire off and sprinkle the dried mint
  • Put it on a plate, serve with bread (Lebanese pita is recommended) and enjoy

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)