I ended up cooking mezze, or appetizers, for our Lebanese dinner. It's really hard to choose a favorite though. Seriously, every single dish I tried was good. The chicken wings would be perfect as an appetizer for a Christmas party, or served when friends come over to watch the Super Bowl. The salad is normal enough to add to a normal dinner salad rotation, but different enough to be interesting. The dip, a great alternative to hummus. And the cheese rolls. Mmmmm! Just wait until you hear about them.
Very nice juicy wings in a lemon-garlic marinade. I found the recipe in the fantastic cookbook Arabesque (page 276 if you want to look it up). They were so simple to make too. A bag of wings, a marinade of a few tablespoons olive oil, a juiced lemon, salt, pepper, couple cloves minced garlic, and a few minutes under a broiler. I'm getting hungry just thinking about these wings. If you're a fan of lemon-pepper chicken, you'll go crazy for lemon-garlic wings.
What I really like about this particular salad is how much texture it has. Sure, there's a lot of flavor. But just look at it. 3 kinds of greens (Butter/Boston, Romaine, and Spinach), toasted pita bread, bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes all tossed together with a light dressing made with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, lemon pepper, dried onion flakes, celery salt, garlic powder, and olive oil. Fattoush is also just plain fun to say.
If you've never been to Asheville, North Carolina, you really should go. It's beautiful. The food downtown is terrific. We've vacationed there twice. First on our honeymoon and more recently as a family. Both times we tried several local restaurants and were never disappointed. At one restaurant I tried Baba Ganoush for the first time. Ever since then I have been wanting to make it, but intimidated to try. Why on earth was I intimidated!? Turns out it's so easy to make this delicious dip! Roast an eggplant, peel it, add seasonings, mash to mix, and serve. Even if you're not generally an eggplant fan I think you'll enjoy the flavor of Baba Ganoush.
Do you like mozzarella sticks? I do. Crispy on the outside. Gooey on the inside. But terribly greasy. These cheese rolls though were even better than mozzarella sticks! A blend of shredded cheese is mixed with salt, pepper, parsley, and some egg white to bind. That seasoned mixture is then rolled inside egg roll dough. Then you brown each side until golden. These cheese rolls are mozzarella sticks grown up. You can find the recipe I used here.