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Baklava Jenny

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  1. I steal or "borrow" my mom's cookbooks for a while so that I can make the same smells and tastes come from my kitchen that she made come from her's. She was committed to embracing my father's culture and learning. It's good that you get them written down...it is something to pass on to others.
  2. I am by no means an expert in middle eastern cooking, nor have I tried all things middle eastern, however much I love this cuisine. What I do know is how it affected me since I was a little girl. There is a strength and pride to middle eastern food that I've internalized. A sort of heartiness that embraces a tart tang that comes from either lemons or yogurt, the earthiness of lentils or chickpeas, and the all invasive sense of health by the sheer number of vegetables consumed in one meal. There's a sigh that comes to my soul when I enter a store and start seeing labels and ingredients that symbolize my childhood. I long to sift through red lentils when I see them on the shelves. Tahini causes my tongue to do that sticky - stuck to the top of the roof of your mouth thing that peanut butter does. And the smell of arabic coffee and lemons reminds me of the 2 hour rides home from Los Angeles in the back of a VW van surrounded by the fragrance. And finally, when I was a homesick pregnant woman...I cried in my shawarma sandwich at the middle eastern deli counter and soaked in the language I didn't understand, but heard the sound of warmth and loved ones. How does middle eastern food nourish your soul?
  3. Very interesting.... amazing post... it brings me back to what my friend Mary Ann Joulwan, of Lebanese descent has to always say. She keeps reminding people that tabouli is about the parsley and the mint, tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice and not just the bulgar. ← My father is Palestinian...however, my Tata was influenced by neighbors in Lebanon and her tabouli is is just like this. The parsley is so finely chopped that it feels like powder snow sifting through your hands. It is never overloaded with bulghur, just enough to add interest and texture. And I do swear that when I am beginning to feel poorly, a good dose of tabouli has as magical a fix for me as the proverbial chicken soup.
  4. Well, I happened to be speaking with a friend just to day about this site and sharing that he might find some hopefully interesting discussion about beer making here. I assure you, he is "passionate" about beer. There's another friend who also home brews...so, I guess it is alive and well in Southern California. And perhaps it is one of those trends that goes through a natural progression with ebbs and flows. I'm sure someone could make a beer analogy to that statement.
  5. Wow Melkor! Your description of the shawarma had my mouth watering. Thank you for that.
  6. Ahhhhhhhhhh...lovely! Now, I can righteously purchase another gadget for my kitchen. I already have a ricer and it can be put to good use. Really gadgets should only be used for one thing to be gloriously extravagant. But one must have creamy and smooth hummus.
  7. Behemoth... Would a potato ricer work as well? What a wonderful idea-my mother and I have often discussed an option to peeling each garbanzo individually. I hope this will work. Although it is great fun when the garbanzo bean flies through the air and hits another spot. And toasting the sesame seeds to make your own tahini...I like that too! I'll be trying this.
  8. Well there was the time that I was making beef stew with wine of course and thought I would have a glass while getting things ready. Happily sipping and chopping away...the kids were playing so nice and quietly in the living room and I reveled in the peace and quiet. Finally, I realized there was something unnatural about the quiet. He had discovered scissors and my daughter sat there happily and let her big brother chop off her hair. Not a peep out of her... Oh...and brownies have spilled over in my oven because the pan was just a tad too small and my barber son now older, laughed hysterically as black smoke poured out of the oven and the fire alarm went off. I am seeing a trend here...get my son out when I want to cook.
  9. I guess I am not a purist...I have tried both the mayo and sourcream...but when you have really great ripe Haas avocados, you just don't need to use those options. My parents have avocados and lemons growing on their property and it is pure pleasure to pull them off the tree and go for it. So, I don't even use limes all the time... Very, very, very bad!!! Let's not share it that I am from California, either.
  10. Corax, I had forgotten the tradition that says Mjaddarah was the meal that Esau sold his birthright for. He should have learned to be independent and cook for himself, then he wouldn't have had to sell anything.
  11. Yes, we would often serve tahini this way with seafood and make a delicious meal out of it.
  12. Sure, go ahead and tell yourself that. I wouldn't call this a aestetically pleasing dish necessarily. However, it sure makes up for it in taste.
  13. The best I've had were the falafel sandwiches that we would make for a neighborhood supper we hosted every other Friday night as a kid. Mom would make big bowls of hummus a couple days before...we would make a simple salad of romaine, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and radishes. Side dishes would include pickles, mint, and tahini. Soft pita is a must and I am very picky about that. I would run in and out of the kitchen bringing out fresh platters of falafel. Good times serving and eating falafel. We turned many of our friends into falafel fiends. :D
  14. In our home this was primarily a lenten dish while fasting during the pre-Easter season. Lots of carmelized onions were placed on top of the lentils and rice and then a tangy simple salad served on the side of the plate so you could mix it all up together. It is everything to make you feel warm and cared for...
  15. Yes, this is what we would do...use ricotta blended with sugar to sweeten it up and served with a simple syrup flavored with orange water. It's delicious. Thank you for the childhood memory, I will have to make these again.
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