Called samboussek (for small individual semicircular pieces), or manoushet jebneh (for big pizza-pie ones), these cheese flatbreads are made in Lebanon with a special kind of cheese, akkawi (from the Palestinian city of Akka) as we call it in Lebanon, which is a white cheese that melts well.
Very thick slices of deep-fried eggplant, contrasting between a crisp surface and a soft heart, are soaked in fresh, cold laban (yogurt) with a hint of garlic. Fried goes refreshing!
Hendbeh b zeit is a mezze table must! Traditionally, the bitter, dark green leaves of wild dandelion are required. But substitutes are easy: Kale or Swiss chard is as good as dandelion, or try any kind of dark, bitter greens. Just follow the recipe!
Fassolia baida arrida—big, flat, white butter beans—are considered the fanciest beans. Every good garden must have at least one plant, which will grow fast and big, like a vine, and produce large, flat, tender green pods that hold the flat white jewel-like beans.
Tender fassolia aa’rida is a delicacy that needs short cooking over a low fire, and gives plump, pearl white, melting beans, that are best served warm with a drizzle of lemon and olive oil . . . they are not called butter beans for nothing!
Qamhyieh means “wheaty” and is simply boiled wheat mixed with dried fruits and nuts, sweetened with sugar and scented with orange blossom water. You could say it’s our local take on granola!
Grape leaves are by far the best mehsheh ever, in all forms and colors! Meeydeh or kroum, early spring’s tender grapevine leaves, are a delicacy, and are eaten raw with a tabouleh, or stuffed and cooked, as here.
Here’s another version of kibbeh, prepared the Armenian way. It’s a kibbeh of bulgur and fragrant herbs with cooked split yellow lentils. Vospov kofte is a Lenten dish and a perfect option for a light and nutritious summer meal.
Here is another version of sfouf, sweetened with granulated sugar and colored and spiced with turmeric. It’s a very simple dessert to prepare that just needs mixing by hand.
Toum is a garlic sauce, or, more accurately, a garlic cream. Not very attractive to vampires and the garlic haters out there, but it is an exquisite, smooth, silky garlic cream that fast becomes an addiction.