Sheikh El Mehchi (Stuffed Eggplant)

Hi, I know I have not posted anything in a few days. But believe me, I have been cooking everyday. Now, the summer has started, and my children are coming to Lebanon to spend their vacations, so I am very busy with my children and my grandchildren. Also, I changed the theme of the blog, and I have been trying to choose pictures for the banner 🙂 It hasn’t been so easy.

About the recipe today, Sheikh El Mehchi, it is called so because the eggplants are stuffed without removing their tops, so it looks like the head of Sheikhs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo small eggplants
  • 200 grams minced meat
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt+ 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices+1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • handful of pine seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 red tomato sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups frying oil

Preparation:

  • Peel the eggplants without removing the heads
  • Heat the frying oil, fry the eggplants until brown color. Place on kitchen towel to remove the excess oil
  • Heat the canola oil and fry the chopped onions until transparent, add the pine seeds and fry for another 2 minutes, then add the meat and fry until well cooked. Season with salt and 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Slice open the eggplant in the middle and place a generous tablespoon of the meat stuffing inside it, press it down gently with the back of spoon
  • Place the stuffed eggplants on a baking tray or dish, cover with the tomato slices
  • Dissolve the tomato paste with 2 cups of water, season with remaining salt and spices and pour over the eggplants
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes
  • Serve with cooked rice

ET VOILA… C’EST TOUT.

Homage To My Father… Kibbe With Spinach

Yesterday in Lebanon everybody was celebrating Father’s Day. My dad left us ten years ago and I miss him a lot. I was very close to him and he was the only person who knew what I wanted without me saying anything. When I was young, he treated me like a little princess and I think he spoiled me a bit. I got nostalgic thinking of him, so I decided to make homage to this big man by cooking his favorite meal. His mother used to cook it for him and he’d encourage me to eat it by saying: “if you want to grow strong, you should have this kibbe. The spinach has a lot of iron and it will make you strong like your Papa”.

Ok, I want to stop being emotional and post the recipe that I took from my grandmother.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 large onions, chopped into wings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • an dash of chili pepper (optional)

Preparation:

  • Wash the spinach leaves and boil in hot water for 2 minutes, drain then wash with cold water and keep in the strainer until needed
  • To make the kibbe dough, wash the bulgur and discard the water then mix the bulgur with flour, salt, cinnamon, paprika and cumin to form a soft dough (add water if needed); mix it it with the grated onion
  • Take a small piece from the dough, shape it into a small ball then flatten it, place it on  slightly floured plate; repeat until all the dough is used
  • Boil the kibbe dough in hot water for about 15 minutes
  • Heat the olive oil and fry the wing chopped onions until golden brown
  • Add the boiled spinach and the kibbe dough to the frying pan, let it cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally
  • To serve place the kibbe with spinach on a plate and sprinkle some chili pepper if used

ET VOILA.. MAIS CE N’EST PAS TOUT!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE FATHERS IN THE WORLD 🙂

Farfalle Pasta with Meat and Vegetables

Tomorrow is the 21st of June, the official first day of summer and the longest day of the year, or the summer solstice. It is also Father’s day in Lebanon, so make sure to wish your father a good one if you haven’t yet! Its already unbearable to sit in this heat without air conditioning. During this hot weather we eat vegetables, a lot of vegetables, to compensate for the water loss from sweat. This is why I’m making a salad everyday before having the main course. Today, I decided to have a meal which includes vegetables. Using what ingredients I could find in my fridge, I put together this lovely meal.

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams beef cubes
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 red tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon for the meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Preparation:

  • In a pressure cooker heat the cooking oil, fry the meat cubes,add 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, cover with water and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes after it starts whistling
  • Preheat the oven to 200 C
  • Place the oil in a tray, put the half cooked meat over the oil with one cup of the meat stock
  • Time to prepare the vegetables: peel and dice the eggplant, cut the onion in quarters, peel and dice the carrots, slice the tomatoes and put them all over the meat
  • Dilute the tomato paste with a cup of water, add the salt and the seven spices then pour over the vegetables
  • Cover the tray with aluminium foil and bake for about 25 minutes; remove the aluminium foil and keep baking for about ten more minutes
  • Cook the Farfelle pasta as per instructions on the box
  • To serve, place the pasta on a plate and put over the meat with vegetables

Today’s Salad:

  • Mix: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onions, green pepper, some leaves of purslane and green thyme.
  • For the dressing: salt with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
  • After mixing, place some cherry tomatoes on the top for decoration

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.  BON APPETIT 🙂

Shish Tawook (Grilled Chicken)

“Shish” means skewer in Turkish and it has been incorporated in the Lebanese language. “Tawook” means chicken and other types of poultry in Turkish, and it has also been integrated in the Lebanese language. It can be found in take away shops as a sandwich, along with french fries, pickles and garlic dip (chicken’s best friend). Or, in a platter in the restaurants. It can be bought raw and ready to go to the oven in all the supermarkets and butcheries, and in a wide variety of flavors: tomato, mayonnaise, garlic…etc. But usually I like to make my own mixture to soak the chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams chicken fillet
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small can of mushrooms

Preparation:

  • Cut the chicken into 2 inches square
  • Mix all the remaining ingredients and place the chicken pieces in the marinade with the mushroom and keep in the fridge for about 2 hours
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Place the chicken pieces with mushroom on a wooden skewers and bake for about 25 minutes turning them once after half the cooking time
  • Enjoy eating with garlic dip and cucumber pickles

ET VOILA… C’EST TOUT 🙂

Yogurt With Meat (Laban Immo)

The literal translation for the word “Laban Immo” is : the milk of his mother. This yogurt cooked in this meal is very silky and smooth almost like the texture of the milk 🙂 . It is cooked with meat, onions and garlic with dried mint to enhance the flavor of the meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 300 grams lamb chunks (you can use beef also if you prefer), 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 400 grams baby onions, peeled
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil + extra teaspoon to fry the garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon to add to garlic
  • handful of pine seeds

Preparation:

  • In a pot fry the onions until brown, then remove and put aside
  • In the same oil fry the lamb until brown then cover with about 4 cups of water, add 1 teaspoon salt and the spices and let it cook until tender(you can use pressure cooker it will take 20 minutes to be cooked). Drain the meat from water, and keep one cup of the lamb stock
  • In another pot, place the yogurt
  • Mix the corn flour with one cup of the cold meat stock then add it to the yogurt, put the pot on fire and let it boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens
  • Add the cooked meat and the fried onions
  • In a small saucepan heat the remaining oil and fry the pine seeds, then put aside
  • In the same oil fry the crushed garlic mixed with one teaspoon salt and dried mint, then add it to the yogurt pot
  • Put in a serving plate, garnish the top with fried pine seeds
  • Enjoy eating with plain boiled rice

ET VOILA…C’EST TOUT.

Bulgur With Meat (Burgul Bi Dfeen)

We Lebanese like to have a side dish with the stew, usually rice, pasta, potatoes or bulgur. Bulgur is a main ingredient in our cuisine. It could be fine in kibbe and tabboule, or coarse when cooking it with tomato, vegetables or meat. The meal I am making today is called “Burgul Bi Dfeen” in Arabic, which translated means buried in bulgur. Maybe they named it such because after cooking, the meat is buried under the bulgur 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams meat lamb chunks
  • 500 grams baby onion, peeled
  • 1 cup chickpeas (soaked one night ahead with a dash of bicarbonate of soda)
  • 2 cups coarse bulgur
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoon corn oil

Preparation:

  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pot and fry the meat until brown and add 1 teaspoon of salt and seven spices before covering it with about 2 liters of water and boiling it until nearly tender
  • In another pot heat, the remaining oil and fry the onion until golden brown, then add the chickpeas and cover with one cup of water; let it cook on a very low flame until tender
  • Add the cooked meat to this pot with the bulgur and cover with about 3 cups of meat stock; season with salt, pepper and cumin and cover the pot to let it simmer on low heat until the water is absorbed
  • Serve it with yogurt on the side

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT 🙂

Stuffed Intestines (Fwaregh)

This is one of the most exquisite traditional Lebanese Meals. In the old days people would use every piece of the sheep – waste not, want not. After making sure they used all the meat for cooking in many different ways, they used the wool, the head, the bones, etc… and even the intestines. They found a way to stuff it and cook it in a DELICIOUS recipe. When my mother used to make it, every body knew that she was making Fwaregh for lunch, because while cooking, this meal has a very special and nice aroma.

The main work consists of cleaning the intestines. It has to be washed in running water several times. The extra fat stocking on the sides shall be removed, keeping the small parts because it helps keep it moist while cooking. After washing (from inside and outside) it should be rubbed with salt and water, then soak in water and white vinegar for an hour (1 cup of vinegar for 4 cups of water). Now it is ready for stuffing and cooking.

Ingredients: (for two whole intestines):

  • 300 grams of minced meat, beef or lamb (I used beef)
  • 2 cups of small grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 cup of soaked chick peas ( or 1 cup of pine seeds, as you desire)
  • 1 medium onion, choppped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 peeled onion
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the meat for few minutes ( until it changes color only)
  • Wash the rice, mix it with meat, chopped onion, chick peas then add the salt and spices
  • Hold the intestine from the smaller end, then start stuffing, pushing it into the opening of the intestines with your thumb. This way, when you finish stuffing the intestine will be inside out
  • When all the quantity is finished, place them in a large bowl and wash them again, now they are ready to be cooked
  • Place the stuffed intestines in a large pot, cover with a lot of water and boil on a high fire. Remove the white foam formed on the top, add 1 peeled onion, cinnamon stick,salt, 3 bay leaves and cook on a very reduced flame for about 45 minutes, until the intestines are tender
  • Serve it with crushed 2 cloves of garlic mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt, juice of 2 lemons and few drops of extra virgin olive oil, or with red vinegar.

ET VOILA… C’EST TOUT  🙂

Croquettes of Cheese with Salsa Dip

The croquettes of cheese is one of my favorite appetizers. Every time we go out for dinner outside, first thing we check for on the menu is the cheese croquettes to have before the main meal. Believe me, I’ve tries a lot of recipes and the one I am sharing with you today is the more successful one. The good thing about this recipe is that it can be adjusted to your taste. You can use whatever kind of cheese you like and also you can add any kind of flavor like basil, rosemary, thyme, or anything else. Also, It can be baked in the oven or deep fry. Tell me if you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams shredded cheese of your choice (I used Gruyere and Emmental)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

For the fried croquettes, the extra ingredients you will need:

  • one egg
  • one cup bread crumbs
  • about one liter frying oil

Mix all the ingredients and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour. You can now prepare the croquettes by either frying them or baking them.

To fry them:

  • Make a small finger shape from the dough
  • Roll them in a slightly beaten egg, then in bread crumbs and deep fry for about 5 minutes untl they turn golden brown color

To bake them:

  • Preheat the oven for 180C
  • On a floured surface board roll the dough and cut into medium sized circles
  • Place them on a tray and bake for about half an hour until the croquettes turn golden color

These croquettes are delicious when accompanied with this salsa dip:

  • Chop one red tomato and one small onion very finely
  • Add one tablespoon of ketchup, a small teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon chili paste and a few leaves of chopped parsley

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT! 🙂

Baked Mashed Potatoes With Meat

This is a very smooth dish, easy to digest and generally liked by all. Boiled potatoes, mashed  and baked in the oven with cooked minced meat. We enjoy it best when eating with a good salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 150 grams minced beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • a handful of pine seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine molasses
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • about 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preparation:

  • Boil the potatoes until tender, peel and mash, if the potato is dry you may add a little of water while mashing it, season with 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Heat the oil in a casserole and fry the onion for two minutes then add the pine seeds (if used) until it turns golden and finally add the meat and fry it until brown, season with 1 teaspoon of salt, seven spices and the molasses (this is a key ingredient for the flavor)
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Butter a tray, place half of the mashed potatoes in the tray, with a wet hand flatten the surface of potatoes
  • Place the cooked meat, then cover it with the remaining mashed potatoes with wet hand
  • Brush the soft remaining butter on the top of potatoes then sprinkle the bread crumbs
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until it turns golden color

As for salad, today I mixed chopped cabbage with sliced cucumber and tomatoes. For the dressing I crushed two cloves of garlic with salt, mixed with one lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil… DELICIOUS..

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.. 🙂

Fried Zucchini and Eggplant with Egg Free Shakshouka

Today I felt nostalgic for the good old days, when I was young and my grandmother used to make delicious food for me and my siblings. Maybe because it is Mother Day in many countries (we celebrate in Lebanon on the 21st of March with the beginning of spring). I remembered that I didn’t like the fried zucchini so grandmother dipped them in a batter before frying, which I found made it delicious.

Before posting, I did some research on Google to find  out about the meaning of Shakshouka, and I found that this is a very popular dish in a lot of Mediterranean countries. Many dishes of Lebanese Cuisine have a Turkish source. I assume that during the Ottoman occupation of these countries, some of their plates passed around. Most of these countries make the Shakshouka as a main dish with eggs on top, and that in Syria they call it Jaz Maz. But, in my family we have it as a side dish along with the fried zucchini, eggplants and other fried vegetables, sans egg. Whatever the source of this dish is, it will always be associated with nice memories from my childhood.

Ingredients for the Shakshouka:

  • 2 green peppers
  • 4 red tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried coriander
  • a pinch of chili pepper (if you like it more spicy, you can put more chili)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Shakshouka

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 2 minutes
  • Dice the green pepper and fry with the onion for 3 extra minutes
  • Peel the tomatoes and dice them very small and add over the green pepper and the onion, reduce the fire and cover the casserole and let it simmer
  • In the meantime mix the garlic with salt, dried coriander and the chili and add it over the tomatoes and green pepper, mix well all the ingredients and let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Serve it as a side dish with fried zucchini and eggplants

Ingredients of the batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation of the batter:

  • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Cut all the vegetable you want to fry: zucchini, eggplant, dip in the batter and deep fry for about 5 minutes until golden
 
Fried zucchini
 

Fried eggplant

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.