Meat Balls in Tomato Sauce With Tagliatelle

I am back home today and I asked my son what he would like me to make him after being gone for so long and he answered: “surprise me”. Yes, he made me happy, and I wanted to make something different but I also wanted to be sure that he will like it. In the morning I went grocery shopping and when I came back home I was ready to prepare a favorite meal of his, with a twist. He loves meat balls and I usually make it with onion sauce and rice so in fact, it was a very pleasant surprise for him 🙂

Ingredients for the meat balls:

  • 700 grams minced beef
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 red tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 box (500grams) tagliatelle
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preparation:

  • To make the meatballs, mix all the ingredients (for the meatballs) by hand and shape into golf-ball sized balls
  • Heat the olive oil in a pot and fry the meat balls until brown, remove from the pot
  • Fry the onion and the garlic until golden, add the the tomatoes with salt, basil, oregano and tomato paste, cover with 2 cups of water and let it simmer for about ten minutes
  • Add to the tomato sauce the meat balls and let it cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes
  • Cook the tagliatelle pasta as directed on the box, then discard water and place the pasta again in the pot with one tablespoon of butter
  • To serve, place the pasta in a platter and pour over the meatballs with the sauce

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.. BON APPETIT 🙂

Stuffed Vine Leaves in Oil ( Warak Inab Bilzeit)

This is a vegetarian recipe, and I must say that Stuffed Vine leaves in Olive Oil is an essential dish from our rich Lebanese Mezze. It is so delicious and light that you can easily eat a small plate alone before having your main meal. Last week when I brought a large quantity of fresh vine leaves to make them stuffed with meat and cooked with lamb cutlets, I  was left with a lot. So I put the remaining in the freezer, where they can usually last up to six months. When we had the family lunch I took a pile from the vine leaves and made them the vegetarian way. And believe me my children made them disappear within just few minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams of vine leaves, blanched and ready to cook ( you can use the preserved ones too)
  • 1/2 cup of short grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil+ one extra tablespoon for cooking
  • your choice of thinly sliced vegetable, such as onion, tomato, carrot or even potato (I used sliced onions)

Preparation:

  • Prepare the stuffing by mixing the washed rice with the parsley, onion, tomato, salt, spices lemon juice and the olive oil well
  • Place a vine leave face down and stuff it with one teaspoon of the mixture of rice for filling in the center, fold the two sides toward the center then roll it in a cigar shape
  • When you finish all the quantity of the vine leaves and stuffing, prepare the pot, place the tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pot, cover the base of the pot with your choice of sliced vegetable, place all the stuffed vine leaves in the pot
  • Pour water to cover the vine leaves by about one inch, place a plate upside down over them to prevent the vine leaves from opening during cooking. Adjust the salt and lemon as desired
  • Cook on a medium heat and when it starts boiling reduce the fire and let it cook gently for about 25 minutes until the rice is cooked and tender
  • Turn upside down on a plate and it’s ready to serve

ET VOILA C’EST TOUT… BON APPETIT:)

Stuffed Swiss Chard (Silik Mehchi BelZeit)

In previous posts I used the Swiss Chard to make the soup with lentils, and Mutabbal made out of Swiss chard stalk. But today I prepared the traditional stuffed Swiss chard, which is an alternative to stuffed vine leaves. It  is a vegetarian recipe cooked with extra virgin olive oil. I remember when I was young I used to say to myself that the stuffing looks like tabboule with chick peas, but made with rice instead of bulgur.  🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 kilos of Swiss chard
  • 2 cups Egyptian rice
  • 1 cup of chick peas, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tomatoes finely diced
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  • Remove the Stalk of  the Swiss chard, wash and drain
  • Boil about 3 liters of water in a pot, add some salt
  • Blanch a few leaves of Swiss chard at a time in the boiling water for about a minute, remove and place in cold water directly (boiling of the Swiss chard is delicate, you should be careful)
  • Prepare the stuffing by mixing the washed rice with parsley, chick peas, tomatoes, onions, season with salt, seven spices, add half of lemon juice and one tablespoon of olive oil
  • On a working board, place one leaf of the boiled Swiss chard, place in the center 1 teaspoon of the stuffing and roll it
  • When you finish all the leaves, prepare a pot to cook them
  • Pour 2 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pot, then thinly slice one onion, one tomato and one potato and place them in the bottom of the pot. Place the stuffed Swiss chard in layers over the slices of the potato, onion and tomato
  • When you finish piling them cover with water by about 1/2 inch, add salt, the remaining lemon juice, then place an upside down plate to hold them down during cooking
  • Put the pot on fire and let it boil, reduce then the fire, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender
  • Allow to cool, then carefully turn the pot upside down on a serving plate.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.. BON APPETIT:)

Okra and Beef Stew ( Bamye with Meat and Rice)

The Okra stew is a very popular dish in the middle east, especially in Lebanon. When my eldest daughter was young she used to tell me that okra has a “Moustache”, and she wouldn’t eat it. And I remember when she grew up and introduced me to her friend, who later became my son-in-law, I had cooked Okra stew for lunch. I told him that if he wants me to accept him in the family he should eat and like the Okra. This is what he did 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of fresh okra (or frozen)
  • 250 grams of beef cubes
  • 200 grams of baby onions
  • 2 red tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil

Preparation:

  • If you are using fresh okra, you have to remove the top by a sharp knife, wash it, drain it. Fry in deep oil, and let it drain on a kitchen towel from the excess oil. But if you are using frozen okra you skip this step.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons of Mazola oil and fry the meat until brown, cover with water and cook for about 15 minutes
  • In a pot, heat one tablespoon of oil, peel the onion and fry until golden brown
  • Cut the tomatoes into small dices and add to the onion, cook for about 3 minutes
  • Add the okra to the mixture of onion and tomatoes. When the meat is tender put it over the okra with the meat stock, add 1 teaspoon salt, seven spice, the tomato paste, let it boil, then reduce the fire and let it simmer gently
  • Crush the garlic with 1 teaspoon salt, chop the fresh coriander and add it to the garlic with the dried coriander, fry this mixture in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil, until the garlic becomes light golden color
  • When the okra is nearly done, add the oil coriander mixture to it and leave it for about 5 more minutes, and add the lemon juice
  • Serve it with boiled rice

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Home Made Shawarma

I think a lot of people are familiar with Shawarma, the one we see in the shops who make these delicious sandwiches, where the meat is fixed into a large skew turning on itself electrically to let the meat cook from all sides. The smell of the added spices gives the meat its appetizing aroma. The only problem is they add a lot of fat to the meat to soften it.

Since my children like Shawarma a lot, and so do I, I learned how to make it at home from my mother years ago. Everytime I prepare it I remember my small son when was three years old, and whenever I used to ask him what he would like to have for dinner he would say”Chamara sandwich”, because at his age he couldn’t pronounce the letters properly. Until now to make a joke out of this story , we still name it chamara. So, enough talking and here is my recipe for a home made chamara, sorry I mean “Shawarma”.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of sirloin steak ( faux fillet)
  • 2 tablespoons of shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup of red vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of wole cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon of clove
            

Preparation:

  • In a saucepan heat the shortening and fry the steak until they turn into a nice brown color, and place them when fried on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess of shortening
  • Cut the fried steak into fine strips, place them in a tray. Cover them with the oil, vinegar and lemon and put all the spices
  • Cover in aluminium oil and place the tray in the fridge for few hours
  • Preheat the oven to 220 C, place the tray and leave it for 30 minutes with the aluminium foil on, then remove it and leave the tray in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the meat is tender
  • Remove the Shawarma pieces from the tray without all the spices

Now the Shawarma meat is ready. To serve it, cut onions into wings and sprinkle sumac over them, slice tomatoes, wash few leaves of parsley and fresh mint, and some cucumber pickles.

The most important thing to have Shawarma with is the “taratour dip”, which is a mixture of one cup of tahini, and one clove of garlic crushed with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and juice of one lemon, to be mixed all together with water until they have the consistency of yogurt.

You can have the Shawarma in pita bread as a sandwich with all the vegetables topped with the taratour dip..And roll it.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT..:)

Tuna and Egg Sandwich

This is a sandwich that you can prepare and enjoy eating within 15 minutes. So, when I have friends over and we’re hungry I usually make this  sandwich, because the ingredients  are always available in the kitchen and there is no need to buy any groceries…

And, I usually make this sandwich when I feel lazy 🙂

To make 3 sandwiches you need:

Ingredients:

  • 9 slices of square bread (any kind you like)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 can tuna
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 medium tomato sliced
  • three leaves of lettuce
  • some potato chips ( any flavor you like)

Preparation:

  • Boil the eggs in salted water for about 11 minutes to become hard
  • In the meantime heat the slices of bread slightly in a toaster, but don’t let them get hard
  • Add the lemon juice to the tuna
  • Cover one layer of toast with mayonnaise, place the tuna over the mayo and put some lettuce
  • Place another slice of bread over the tuna, cover it with mayo and place a layer of sliced boiled eggs, and put over the eggs slices of tomatoes
  • Cover with another slice of bread, cut it diagonally, place in a plate  with the chips of your choice, and enjoy eating. Bon Appetit.

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:)

Moussaka and Versatile Blog Award

The first time I taste this Greek plate was in a nice restaurant in Cyprus, where I spend the summer 25 years ago. I loved it, and the moment I came back home when I still have the taste in my mouth I tried to make it. Since me and my children love the “gratin food” with cheese melting with white sauce, we all loved it. Today I felt nostalgic about Greece and her lovely food, which is, with many dishes, is similar to our Lebanese Cuisine. So, I prepare the ingredients, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, minced meat, went to the kitchen and prepare it. Maybe the recipe is not the traditional Greek way, but I assure you it is delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 medium size, about 500 grams
  • 5 potatoes, about 500 grams
  • 200 grams minced beef
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Ingredients for the white sauce:

  • 100 grams butter
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 cups mils
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere cheese (or any other kind you like)

Preparation:

  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Peel and slice the eggplant and the potatoes
  • Put the olive oil in a baking tray, place the eggplant an the potatoes in the tray and place the tray in the oven for 40 minutes, turning the vegetables in the midway of cooking. I use to fry them but I found that this way it is less oily
  • In the meantime prepare the meat sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a small pot, fry the onion until nice golden color, add the meat to the onion and cook gently, add the crushed garlic, season with salt and seven spices
  • Peel and dice 1 tomato and add it to the mixture of onion and meat, let it cook gently on low fire, then add to tomato paste with 1/2 cup of water, cover and let it simmer on a very low fire
  • Prepare now the white sauce: in another small pot heat the butter, add the flour and mix well together, add slowly the milk stirring constantly with a whisk until it thickens, season with 1 teaspoon of salt and the nutmeg
  • In an tray place one layer of eggplant, then potatoes
  • Slice the remaining tomatoes and place one layer of tomatoes over the potatoes
  • Place now half of the meat mixture, then half of the white sauce
  • Repeat the process with one layer of eggplant, one layer of potatoes, tomatoes, the meat ssauce and the white sauce, and at the end put the grated cheese
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the cheese turn nice golden.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT 🙂

Also, I had another pleasant surprise few days ago being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by dutchgoesitalian; it was especially nice for me because I admire her blog a lot! Please check it out.

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:)