Semsemyieh is a typical souk dessert, made of toasted sesame seeds and ground almonds set in a sweet syrup, though it could also be made from chopped cashews, or all almonds, or pistachios.
This is the mujadara of South Lebanon. With a light yellow color, and a runnier consistency, the mujadara safra is a perfect summer dish that is best served with radishes and olives. It’s very easy to prepare, with a minimum of ingredients and preparation, and not kitchen machine to use!
These herb pies are mainly of spinach, with onion and lemony sumac. An even better version is the baa’leh (purslane) pies, which have a very earthy taste.
Spinach has always had the Popeye “miracle” reputation: very nutritious, as mothers around the world have always repeated to their children! This simple stew gains so much flavor from the garlic and the coriander, a staple couple of Lebanese cuisine.
Loubyieh b’zeit is often cooked in a tomato-based stew. I prefer by far the non-tomato version, which is loaded with garlic (cooked garlic adds sweetness to the dish) and concentrates the taste of the green beans.
Artichokes are from the wonderful plant that is related to the gracious antique acanthus leaves that adorned Roman Corinthian capitals scattered all over Baalbeck and other Roman temples and ruins in Lebanon.
Prepared in an easy style, this is one of the easiest and simplest summer stews for taking advantage of the abundant summer zucchini.
For the record, I like my tabouleh lemony, with a note of hot green chile pepper, transforming each mouthful into a fresh hit of flavor on a hot summer day.
Another version of taro potato is made with lentils. As in so many cases, there are the two camps of preference: those who cook it with tahini, and those who cook it without.
Nothing means mountain rustic food as much as makhlouta, or the “mixed,” and it is in fact a mix of several kinds of beans and a bit of coarse bulgur, all cooked together in a thick brown porridge-like sauce.