Vegetable Stew

Most children don’t like vegetables, especially zucchini and eggplant. They prefer to eat chicken nuggets, hamburger or anything else that can be found at a fast food restaurant. Even my siblings and I didn’t like those kinds of vegetables when we were young . My mother used to cook vegetables in this kind of stew with some meat to make us eat them (or else we’d be in trouble). It’s funny how we become our mothers… I too used this same recipe on my children. May it be as effective on your children as well:)

By the way, for those of you who can’t find the Lebanese Seven Spices ready mixed, here is a very useful guide to making it yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams lean beef cut into cubes
  • 2 potatoes cut into cubes
  • 1 large carrot cut into slices
  • 2 zucchini cut into slices
  • 1 large eggplant cut into cubes
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 red tomatoes chopped
  • 3 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt, seven spices, 1 tablespoon of dried coriander
  • cooking oil

Preparation:

  • In a pressure cooker, fry the meat with a little oil
  • When the meat is cooked, cover with water add one teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon seven spices cook with the pressure cooker closed for 20 minutes
  • In the meantime, heat some oil in a pot and fry the the onion for 2 minutes then add the garlic and stir together for about a minute
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, cover the pot, lower the heat and leave it for 3 minutes
  • Remove the cooked meat from the pressure cooker and keep the water of the meat
  • Place the meat over the tomatoes, onion and garlic mixture
  • Add the carrot first for 4 minutes then the potatoes
  • Cover with the water used to cook the meat and add the tomato paste
  • Now add the zucchini then the eggplant after a couple of minutes
  • Season with salt, seven spices and the dried coriander
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot and let it cook slowly for about 20 minutes or until the carrot is tender
  • Serve it with cooked rice and green salad on the side

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT 🙂

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! 🙂

Today I reached 1000 views. Thank you all for your support. 🙂

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:)

Fun with Zucchini, Part One: Koussa Mehchi (Stuffed Zucchini)

It’s funny… Every time I cook this meal, a different childhood memory comes to my mind. My mother’s cousin had 14 children, can you imagine? When she wanted to make the stuffed zucchini for her family, she would buy about 12 kilos of it and she asked my mother to come and help her. I sat with them a couple of times while they would drink coffee and core the zucchini. It took them a good while of time to prepare them, to cook them later in that huge pot that could fit a whole lamb!

This dish is a staple in the Arab countries, and each country has its own variation on it. Mostly however, the changes are superficial and the taste remains mostly the same. Today, I will be showing you the Lebanese recipe of course. You’re going to enjoy getting your hands dirty 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of small Zucchini
  • 100 gs minced meat
  • 1 cup of rice (preferably Egyptian orItalian rice)
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • salt and seven spices

Preparation:

  • Fry the meat in oil for about 4 minutes, until it becomes light brown
  • Wash the zucchini and cut the head. Then with a vegetable corer, remove the insides (but don’t throw them away! Tomorrow, I will show you how to make a delicious dish using them.)  When done, wash and drain them
  • Wash the uncooked rice and mix it with the cooked meat, add salt and seven spices
  • Fill the zucchini with the meat and rice mixture, until 3/4 full only; leave some space for the rice to expand when cooked
  • Place the stuffed zucchini in a pot, cover with water, add the tomato paste and season
  • Cook on high heat until it starts boiling then lower the heat with the pot covered and let it simmer for about 25 minutes
  • You know it is cooked when the rice is tender

If you have any remaining rice from the stuffing, don’t worry: put them in a small casserole with double volume of water and let it cook until the rice becomes dry. Then serve the Koussa Mehchi with the rice on the side.

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT! 🙂

Mashed Potato Baked with Chicory

This is another recipe that is Lent-friendly, as it contains chicory and no meats or fats. I got this recipe from a friend who grew up in a distant village in mountains of South Lebanon. During the 40-day fast, her mother would like to get creative and try to make something new in her cuisine to make the fast more playful. I took the recipe from her and tried it, and it turned out to be delicious!

If you enjoy the taste of chicory, take at a look at this recipe I posted a few days ago 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 1/2 kg chicory
  • 2 onions chopped into long strips
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • salt, seven spices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Preparation:

  • Boil the potatoes in salted water, when they’re cooked mash them properly
  • Boil the chicory in another pot with salted water, drain them after
  • heat the olive oil and fry the strips of onion, then add the boiled chicory and season with salt, seven spices and sumac
  • preheat the oven to 200C
  • Grease an oven tray with cooking oil and place one layer of mashed potatoes
  • Cover the potatoes with the chicory/onion mixture
  • Place the remaining mashed potatoes over the chicory to cover it all
  • Sprinkle a bit of olive oil on the top, and place the tray in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top becomes slightly golden

Note: this dish is usually served warm, but I secretly enjoy it cold as leftovers at night. Try it and let me know if you do too 🙂

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Hindba in Oil (Chicory in Oil)

In this time of the year, chicory (or hindba as it’s known in Arabic)  is always available in Lebanon. Chicory is well known for the wealth of minerals and nutrients that it contains, just like spinach. Today I prepared it in the old-fashioned Lebanese way. It is very popular during lent because it is cooked without any meat or fat. I hope you will like it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of chicory
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 3 garlic clove crushed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt, seven spices
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions chopped into long strips
  • frying oil

Preparation:

  • Cut the chicory in small pieces and wash thoroughly
  • Boil in salted water until the chicory is nearly, but not fully, cooked. It should feel softer than before, but not limp. Drain the water
  • Heat the olive oil and fry the finely diced onion until softened then add the crushed garlic
  • Place the chicory over the onion, mix all the ingredients and season with salt and seven spices
  • Put the fire on its lowest setting, cover the pot and let it boil gently until the chicory is fully cooked. Now it should feel super soft
  • Add lemon juice
  • Place the chicory in a serving plate
  • Fry the long onion strips until brown and put it on the top of chicory plate for decoration and taste

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT:)

Fattoush (Lebanese Salad)

“Fattoush” is a traditional Lebanese salad, made of mixed vegetables, bread and special seasoning and since this dish is made out of vegetables it is suitable for people fasting during lent.

My grandfather used to tell me the story of how the Lebanese started to make this salad. In some village in Lebanon, after a group of people finished their food and salad, if they were still hungry and there was remaining dressing in the salad, they would dip bread in the dressing and eat it. Eventually toasted bread found its way into the salad regularly, until finally they added more kinds of vegetables and adjusted the dressing to have what we know today as the traditional Fattoush.

And here is the recipe. I’ve left out the quantities because you can tailor it to your own taste.

Ingredients:

  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • green onion
  • radish
  • purslane (baqle in arabic)
  • parsley
  • salt, olive oil, summak, olive oil, frying oil, arabic bread(pita)

Preparation:

  • Wash the lettuce, tomatoes and cut them
  • Peel the cucumber and cut it in dices
  • Peel the radish and slice them
  • Cut the green onion in slices
  • Peel the leaves of the purslane and wash properly
  • Chop few leaves of parsley
  • Cut the arabic bread and fry in the oil for few minutes until it becomes light brown color
  • Put all the vegetables in a serving bowl and mix together
  • Add the salt, summak and the olive oil
  • At the end put the fried bread and mix with the vegetables
  • You can decorate with few cherry tomatoes if desired.

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT.. BON APPETIT

Potato Salad with Eggs

Vegetables, potatoes and eggs. All children need their greens, but they never eat them! Because they’re stubborn and don’t know what’s good for them. But momma knows best 🙂

Use this for a side dish with steak or chicken.Personally I just have it as a light dinner, like I did tonight. You’re probably going to have these ingredients lying around in your kitchen so there’s no complication, and it won’t take you any longer than twenty minutes to prepare. Great for a lazy night in front of the TV.

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • some leaves of lettuce and Iceberg
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 green pepper

Preparation:

  • Peel the potatoes, cut them in medium size cubes and boil with salted water
  • Boil the eggs
  • In the meantime wash the vegetables and cut them and put in a big serving bowl
  • Prepare the dressing for the salad by mixing one teaspoon of salt, a tbsp of mayonnaise, juice of one lemon and three tbsp of olive oil
  • When the potatoes and the boiled eggs  are cooked add them to the vegetables
  • Put the dressing and mix well.

ET VOILA C’EST TOUT…:)

BON APPETIT

Chicken with Cream and Vegetables

It is Sunday and the sun is high in the sky, the snow is clear white and shining like crystals under the sunlight. It got me in the mood for white cream, so I decided to get playful with some chicken and vegetables, using what I could find in my fridge, with boiled pasta on the side. It turned out to be very yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 500 gs of fillet chicken
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic(optional)
  • 1 green pepper, 1 red capsicum, both cut into fine strips
  • 1 can of mushroom sliced
  • 4 carrots peeled and sliced
  • salt and pepper, cooking oil
  • 250ml of fresh and thick cream

Preparation:

  • Cut the chicken filet into medium size cubes and fry it in a casserole, until light brown
  • Remove the chicken and put aside on a plate, then fry the onion in the same oil, with the garlic if used
  • Add the carrots and fry for few minutes, then the mushroom
  • Put the fried chicken back, season now with the salt and pepper, cover with a small cup of water and let it boil, then cover the casserole and lower the heat and let chicken cook gently with the vegetables
  • When the chicken is tender, put the fresh cream , the green pepper and the capsicum, let it cook for 5 minutes, and it is ready
  • Serve it with cooked pasta

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT 🙂