Thursday, November 10, 2011

Planning Day: Lebanon

Last time I tried cooking a recipe inspired by Lebanon it quickly become a favorite. It's been enjoyed by my family and at potlucks. Hummus Casserole. I know, it sounds weird but it's really really yummy. Check it out!

from Free Retro Graphics

This time I'll mostly be using Arabesque, the cookbook I checked out from the local library for my Turkish culinary adventure. There are some great websites I'm devouring too. Chances are I'll be including something from a couple of them. 

Lebanese seems to have an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. There's also a lot of starch and more fish than animal meat. I just love how so many recipes include lemon juice in them! I've always had a soft spot for lemons. 

Have you ever gone out to eat at a tapas restaurant? Spanish tapas are so great, rather like a flavorful buffet filled with an array of healthy, light dishes rather than the calorie-laden heavy dishes at a traditional American buffet. In Spain tapas are a normal part of life. In Lebanon however I read mezze, their word for a variety of appetizers, isn't something eaten every day- more often when company comes over and you serve them drinks. Still, if I did choose to simply cook mezze, my family would be able to sample a fairly wide variety of Lebanese dishes. 

That is particularly appealing. I'm reading of such delicious foods as dates stuffed with mascarpone cheese, picked and raw vegetables, and dips like hummus and baba ghanoush. Baba Ghanoush reminds me of my honeymoon. I first tried it at a fusion restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. It was love at first bite. Seafood like shrimp, tabbouleh, falafel, a pastry made of spinach and cheese, kibbeh (a dish of chopped meat and bulgur), skewered meats, and fattoush (toasted bread tossed with vegetables) are some of the other tasty dishes served at mezze.

Then again, we could have a family-style supper. One or two items from mezze like perhaps some hummus and bread. A hot dish, like a cilantro shrimp stir fry, fish tagine, chicken shawarma- isn't that a favorite!?- love ordering it when I'm out and not in the mood for gyros-, tahini and yogurt potato salad, or couscous with carrots and peas and golden raisins. I even found a recipe for a short rib lasagna roll! Of course no meal would be complete without a flat bread. Finished with dessert. Did anyone mention baklava? Oh, my. My husband told me just this morning he has a delicious recipe. Really!? You've never mentioned it or made it since we married and you say you have a great baklava recipe?! Oh my oh my! 

It all sounds delicious. 


  1. We have two Near Eastern restaurants nearby, and love eating at them.