Syrian Cuisine: Qatayef

 

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It’s always exciting learning about new foods and trying new recipes, especially so when the recipe hails from another part of the world. And if the recipe happens to be a scrumptious dessert, so much the better! How about a small, hand-held yeast pancake, folded over and filled with creamed cheese and nuts, then fried until crunchy on the outside, and then served with a sweet and delicately scented orange blossom syrup. How does that sound? Continue »



Malabi

 

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Malabi with Blackberry at Chakra in Jerusalem

 

Muhallibieh is the traditional, rose-water scented milk-pudding originally from Turkey and popular in countries of the Middle East. It is known as Malabi in Israel, and this name has largely stuck. Creamy, smooth and dainty, this easy dessert can be whipped up in no time and topped with any number of embellishments; chopped nuts like almonds or pistachios, or a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds or drizzle of pomegranate molasses are all good toppings, as is a little swirl of date syrup. The delicate rose-perfumed aroma of malabi in combination with a little more robust fruit flavor and nut-crunch make it an irresistible force and a dessert that people will always make room for. Continue »



Labneh and Greek Yogurt

 

 

photo courtesy of Melissa Bays

photo courtesy of Melissa Bays

Greek yogurt has been all the rage for a while now, with more and more people choosing the thick, creamy yogurt to the more traditional plain or Balkan style. Greek yogurt is basically plain yogurt that has been strained of much of its whey, resulting in a thicker product that is slightly lower in lactose as some of it is in the whey that is strained. But you can make your own Greek yogurt at home quite easily; all you have to do is let it strain in your fridge for a day or even two; the longer it sits and strains, the thicker it gets. Continue »



Summer Favoutites: Baba Ganoush

 

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Okay it’s the first day of summer and for many of us that means the grill is getting a good workout; most proteins and vegetables and even fruit that are cooked, charred, or grilled are transformed by cooking on the outdoor grill, especially one that uses hardwood charcoal and is augmented by the addition of aromatic smoking provided by applewood, hickory or mesquite woodchips. Grilling and smoking are the tastes of summer, and, as the saying goes, everything tastes better outdoors (if it is cooked outdoors). In this nice personal essay, Denise Sakai explains why that just might be. By the way, just a reminder, if you use a gas grill it is always a good idea to give it a good cleaning at the start of the season; here’s how. 

One of our favourite dishes in the summer is baba ganoush, made from eggplants that have been roasted and smoked on the grill. Baba ganoush is the delicious meze, or appetizer that hails from the Middle East, with minor regional variations in Israel, Syria, Palestine and the other countries of the Levant. Typically the eggplant is roasted, the soft insides are scooped out and mixed with olive oil, tahini, lemon and garlic, a little salt and pepper and maybe garnished with some fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro. Served with fresh cut veggies and warmed pita, it is one of those shared appetizers that disappears all too quickly. Continue »



Syrian Cuisine: Tahini

 

Roasted Beet and Tahini Dip

Roasted Beet and Tahini Dip

 

 

In our most recent series we are having a look at the cuisine from the Middle East, specifically Syria. And one of the first things we notice is that there a few ingredients that pop up quite often, so we should get to know them, how to access them or prepare them and have them handy. Za’atar, preserved lemons, and sesame oil feature prominently in the culinary traditions of Syria, and today we are examining another must-have ingredient; tahini. Continue »