I have been playing alot with “styling” photos and food. Food photography is so intriguing to me, and lighting is always a battle. I wanted to create a “mood” so, I only lit the scene from right. I bought a Lowel Ego light a few months back, and the lighting has made a huge difference in my photos.
I painted the wood planks myself, to create an interesting back drop. I painted them a few coats of blue-grey, and then went over them with a dry brush with some white paint on it ever so lightly, just to create the contrast in the grain. I love it so much, I’m going to do this in several colors and post a how-to.
Yellow and grey is one of my favorite color combos. I purchased the twine and straws from one of my favorite shops on etsy: In the Clear. The mason jar I had on hand and decided it would be “cooler” than a traditional cup. So, what do you think?
I love roasting vegetables. It is my favorite way of consuming natures bounty. If you don’t like cauliflower I will bet that you will love this dish. That’s how good it is! It’s also very quick and easy. Traditionally in Lebanese cooking cauliflower is deep fried and then eaten with lemony tahini sauce. This is a healthier play on that with no frying.
To start take a whole cauliflower head and cut off the stem. Slice apart the florets and half any huge ones. Place them in a bowl and generously coat them with vegetable oil and a sprinkling of Kosher salt. Put them in a pan and place them in a 475 degree preheated oven. Cook them for around 4o-45 min with occasional flipping. You could also initially cover them with aluminum foil for the first 20 min and get them tender fast. You just need to make sure it doesn’t “steam” till the end. They need to be roasted so make sure there is enough oil on them to bring out the sweetness. They should be a bit firmer and slightly darker when you pull them out. Sometimes I just stop here, add some salt or a squirt of lemon and I’m good to go. But this time, the sauce is madness, so lets keep going…
While the cauliflower is cooking, its on to the sauce which is really what this dish is about. It’s very easy. All you need is some Tahini paste (the sesame paste normally used in making hummus), pomegranate molasses and some water.
Pomegranate molasses has a tacky texture and is dark in color. It is sweet and sour at the same time and is a great addition to any vinaigrette. You can usually find Tahini at Kroger now, but I’m not sure about the pomegranate molasses. It is a staple in middle eastern stores if you have one near you. If not, your best bet is to order some online.
Take 4 large tablespoons of Tahini and 2 of the pomegranate molasses then a few tablespoons of water to it and whisk. You may adjust the amounts as you like. If it is too nutty for you add some more pomegranate, just be careful it’s not too sour. Adjust the thickness via the water. It needs to be similar to that of maple syrup. I cannot give an exact measurement on the amounts because each pomegranate molasses has a different thickness and the recipe should be adjusted to taste. If its too sour for you try adding a little more tahini and water.
Once its just right and the cauliflower is done, just drizzle it on top and serve! This can also be served cold and is great wrapped in pita bread sandwiches. The natural cauliflower sweetness that comes out in the roasting pairs beautifully to the nutty & slightly sour sauce that it sits in. So good. You absolutely must make this. The flavors are like nothing you have had before. Enjoy!
Most middle eastern restaurants charge 3-5 dollars for a cup of lentil soup. That is insane to me since you can take that same amount of money and make enough soup to feed you for a week, and then some. Its really delicious, vegetarian / vegan and is filling. Most Lebanese soups are. On top of that, when using a pressure cooker, you can be done in under 30 min, start to finish. Slap peanut butter on me and release me in the woods if I’m lying.
Anyways, are you ready for the easiest soup you will ever make? Lets go.
- 2 cups red lentils
- 1/2 cup rice
- 1 large onion
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 6-7 cups stock (veggie or chicken)
- 2 lemons
- 7 spice blend – optional
- carrots – optional
To start, sautee and brown the onions.
Then add the lentils, rice, cumin and stock. Make sure to wash the rice and lentils very well first!
Just put it all in a pressure cooker. If you don’t have one, thats ok, it will just need to simmer longer till the lentils are cooked thru. I swear by my pressure cooker. It cuts stew and soup cooking time by alot. Totally worth it.
Once you hear it boil, and steam is present, just time it for 10-15 mins and put the heat on low. Yeh, you heard me. After just let it sit for a few before deflating the pressure cooker. Technically you could just eat it at this point. Its more chunky and has some texture at this point.
Or, you can use a blender to smooth it all out.
After, just add some of the freshly squeezed lemon. I add alot of lemon into my bowl too. I just love it. I’m a citrus fiend. And thats it folks. Serve it up with crispy pita bread, crackers, croutons, and whatever else you want.
The soup is nice and smooth. Very comforting. It also tends to thicken up, so be ready to thin it out as needed.
You won’t believe how much soup those 2 cups of lentils make. Take it to work, have it as a light dinner. Its a great soup to have on hand. If you make some, send me the pictures on facebook. I would love to share! Enjoy
When I was a kid, my mum would sit with a bunch of parsley, the queen of the den, her full attention on me. As we talked about my day, her hands would not stop working. She would snip off the stems of the parsley and place the feathery leafs into a bowl. The next day we would have a beautiful vivid green salad, that packed a punch of flavor.
The truth is parsley is one of those things you either love or hate. Since I grew up with tabouleh I love the stuff. My hubby on the other hand, has an aversion to the stuff. But how can’t you love this lemony fresh salad?
If you have never had tabbouli then it is your moral obligation to get up right now, drive over to your grocery store and start chopping!
Its actually very simple to make and you need very few ingredients and just a bit of patience with the parsley. The rest is easy peezy!
Heres what you need:
- One Parsley Bunch (3 chopped cups)
- Two Tomatoes
- Four Green Onions
- Three Lemons
- Two Table Spoons Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Burgul
- 1/4 cup Water
Lets start with the parsley. Start by removing the stems. I usually do this the night before while watching TV.
The next day, make sure to wash the parsley before chopping away. You want to get a really fine chop on it, and that might take a few runs. I usually start by grabbing it in bunches, rolling it up and cutting it up again and again.
Add the water to the bulgur. The grain will soak up the water and fluff up a bit. You don’t want to add so much that its soggy.
Chop up the green onions and tomatoes….and your ready to go!
Then, just add everything up in a bowl, the veggies, the oil, the lemon juice… and mix away! Oh, and don’t forget the salt.
Traditionally, Tabbouleh is served with hearts of lettuce or cabbage leaves.
You can also store it in the fridge, and take some to work the next day (just make sure to check your teeth after). Oh, and your welcome.
EVERYONE and their mother loves hummus. This is my old school Lebanese recipe. It’s vegetarian/vegan of course, as humus should be! No bacon to muck it up please.
I like to make it from scratch, meaning, dried chickpeas / garbanzo beans. If you want to save time, you can just used canned chickpeas and skip the next few steps.
You have to start the night before. Take a little over 2 cups dried beans and soak them generously with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
The next day, before boiling, just wash them out and add to a pot and immerse in water. Make sure all the chickpeas are submerged and there is enough water for them to absorb.
Boil it for at least 20 min. Make sure the chickpeas melt when put in your mouth. Check on them regularly. Don’t over cook or the whole thing will turn to mush and you will have a saucy hot mess.
Consider yourself WARNED about the over cooking and one more thing…DON”T cover the pot or the water will foam up and boil over onto your stove. Don’t forget then blame me, aight?
For the recipe start with
- 4 cups cooked/canned chickpeas
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
- don’t forget the salt
Use a food processor if you have one. If you don’t you can use a blender, but it will come out chunkier and you will need to work in smaller batches.
Add the chickpeas first and start blending. WHHRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr (sound of blender, yeh, im a dork)
Till the garbanzo beans are pulverized
Add the garlic….then WWWHHRRRRRR (I add less because my hubby likes it less garlicky)
I love mine lemony so I use 1/2 cup, but you can add less if ya like..then…WHHHRRRRRR..
Then let it WWWHHRRRRRR while you slowly drizzle in the tahini. The more you add the creamier it is.
And Voila. Hummus…yum yumm…
Now you can go ahead and plate it and eat, or like out the bowl or whatever you like…or….
OR…jazz it up a bit and make a hummus TRIO!
You will need some avocados and some Roasted Red Peppers
This doesn’t need precise measuring. I added 2 avocados to about a cup and a half of the hummus puree.
It was sooo green and yummy….next time i might even add some tomatoes and onions and make Guacummus…get it? Yeh, again, I can be realllly not funny, but you know you laughed anyways
On to the peppers….WHHHRRRRRrrrrr
and more yum!
I wanted to spice up the presentation and plate it up appetizer style, layer the 3, act like I’m Martha Stewart…so your welcome in advance for the following hummus food porn.
Like I said..no need to thank me Also, check out the Baba Ghanoush I made.
One of my favorite traditional Lebanese stews is Loubia. Its very healthy, very simple and easy to make. When you make it once you will want it again! You can use frozen green beans, and to be honest, that saves aLOT of time getting the beans ready. I love anything fresh so I usually get the beans ready the night before while watching TV.
I like to use 1lb of beans. Will feed 4, I just love leftovers
Just pinch off the stalk side of the bean Then snap them in half.
I love to prepare this in the pressure cooker, because it cooks in 15 min!
Sautee 1 medium onion.
Add 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon 7 spice blend, 1/4 teaspoon sage, 1/4 teaspoon thyme. Salt.
Add 1lb cubed meat.
After browning the meat, add the green beans then add 1 can Diced Tomatoes (add the whole thing w the liquid). Alot of people add tomato sauce or paste, I never use the stuff. I always use these diced tomatoes. Keeps everything light and refreshing. Just close the lid on the pressure cooker. Set it to high for 2 min. Once the pressure builds up, put it on low and cook for 15 min only!
While the beans are cooking. I add oil to a pot, brown some vermicelli, and add rice and water.
The meat is melt in your mouth no matter what cut it is because of the pressure cooker. The natural juices of the beans come out and soak up in the rice beautifully.
At home we always dine family style.
I love to eat this with pita bread. Mop up the juices. Wrap my mouth around the juicy chunks of meat. This also makes a very healthy dinner. Your kids will love it. I did as a kid, and I still am addicted to it