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linda dalal

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  1. there's a wonderful and instructional video of "how to make" stuffed lebanese kousa, the vegetarian version—our Lenten version of this wonderful dish featuring me ...with clear instructions (live action!) on how to core the kousa, stuff them, and cook on the stovetop! this can be seen at cooking up a story.com or or even on which features my cookbook: alice's kitchen: traditional lebanese cookingMy Webpage for alice's kitchen, that of course includes the recipes for the vegetarian as well as for the lamb and rice version of this summer favorite.the recipe, besides being in the cookbook, is also posted on cooking up a story's website. hope you enjoy it! sahtein! linda dalal
  2. Yes, I will be belly dancing all evening. That way I won't eat too much!! Belly rolls on a full tummy are a really bad thing. I made the toum and I'm in love!! Thanks for that awesome recipe and serving tip. I'm about to start marinating the chicken. ← nessa, how did your party go???? the toum ou zeit (toumeyya) is really addictive! glad you enjjoyed it! all best, linda dalal java script:emoticon('')
  3. you're welcome! i haven't made it with egg yolk, as it doesn't seem necessary (and would make it more like mayonnaise). it is very "light" with just oil. and using straight olive oil is a bit too heavy, therefore the combination of vegetable oil with olive oil seems just right.
  4. hi nessa, (i have a friend named nessa in portland!) if you refrigerate the dough, it will continue to rise in the fridge...so it's easier (to me) to freeze it. we always use walnuts for our baklawa, without cinnamon, just sugar and orange blossom water... all best! linda dalal
  5. sounds like a great party! you can make the pita dough ahead (today), roll into balls, dust with flour and wrap in plastic, then pop those into ziplock freezer bags and freeze until a few hours before you're going to bake them. take them out of the freezer, re-roll them in flour and set out to rise at room temperature. if the balls are small, they will thaw and rise quickly, and can be served hot, fresh from the oven. keep them wrapped in a tea towel, so they stay warm and don't get too crispy. as for baklawa (the lebanese way of pronouncing baklava), it is delicious when freshly made and will keep in an air-tight tin for several days. i wouldn't refrigerate it. our recipe does not use honey for the syrup, which is very heavy and sticky, but rather a simple sugar syrup with rose and orange flower waters, and a little lemon juice. another alternative to a sugar syrup is to use agave syrup, available in natural food stores. it is delicious, and is a great substitute for sugar syrup for people who need to stay away from white sugar. it is from the agave plant and has a much lower glycemic index (you can find more info on it online...google or maybe egullet?). i've used it on baklawa and in lebanese rice puddings, and it's great! it doesn't need to be cooked, just add fragrant waters (rose water and orange blossom water) and lemon juice to it and chill it. pour it on the hot baklawa as soon as it comes out of the oven. you can also marinate the chicken kebabs the day before! (minced garlic, salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper). a fabulous dip for the kebabs that will be the party stopper is a fresh garlic "mayonnaise" made in lebanon called "toum ou zeit", garlic and oil. (a lebanese version of the spanish aioli or italian agliolio). here's a quick recipe from my cookbook which can be made ahead in a food processor and chilled. Toum ou Zeit (garlic and oil dip) 10-20 cloves of garlic, peeled 1 c. vegetable oil (such as sunflower or safflower) or 3/4 vegetable oil and 1/4 c. olive oil 1/2 t. salt 2 T. lemon juice dash cayenne pepper Put garlic, salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper in processor and pulse until smooth. then (this is the key) drizzle in oil drop by drop, VERY SLOWLY, continuing to blend. this takes patience but the result (a creamy, emulsified dip) is worth the time it takes! chill and serve with kebabs. keeps up to two weeks refrigerated. this recipe makes about 2 cups. finally, to quote my dear recently deceased mother, alice, who my cookbook is named for, "if you make it with love, it will be delicious!"
  6. I love the onion idea, what kinds of salads do you make? ← friends of mine from douma (lebanon) use sumac to marinate spanish onions for addition to fattoush. onions are chopped julienne style, placed in a bowl and then sprinkled generously with sumac and set aside for an hour or so before adding to the fattoush. the sumac reduces the sharpness of raw onions, almost "cooks" them, making them more palatable than raw onion. our family (also from douma) makes fattoush with sumac just sprinkled into the salad and use green onions rather than white, but the sumac onion variation also makes for a great fattoush. both of these are included in my cookbook, alice's kitchen.
  7. when i was growing up, my dear lebanese mother alice (of alice's kitchen!) used to make our baba ghannouj in the broiler, and i remember it as very delicious... yet in the early 1990s a palestinian boyfriend taught me how to grill the entire eggplant (uncut) right on the burner of my gas stove, turning it carefully with two wooden spoons every 10 to 15 minutes until charred, being careful not to pierce it and lose the precious juices after the eggplant has cooled, it is sliced horizontally in half and the white pulp is carefully spooned out into a bowl that has garlic and salt mashed into a paste or into a food processor avoiding any charred pieces of skin that tend to come along for the ride. from there, proceed with garlic, salt, lemon, tahini....delicious! and right now fabulous with those perfect summer eggplants! i just picked up two organic beauties at the farmers' market today! since then, my baba ghannouj has been so deliciously smokey that once someone even asked if i used liquid smoke in it. another friend from our lebanese family village shared their use of a little dried mint rubbed in at the last minute, which is another delicious variation. they also used a little bit of yogurt, which i guess is good if you need to make your baba feed a crowd! linda dalal
  8. thanks for your quick search and for your welcome!!! according to my engineer correspondent, the toxin is present in "the entire plant family of almonds, apricots, peaches, nectarine, etc. all are loaded with HCN when green--by that i mean very green and young kids should not try and pick them." what this relates to as well in lebanese cooking is my grandmother's use of apricot kernals in our apricot jam. she would tediously crack the seeds of ripe apricots with a hammer (they're very hard to crack!) while sitting outside on the concrete back steps, to extract the kernal inside for addition to the jam. the nuts were blanched and the skins slipped before adding about a cupful to a big batch of apricot jam; otherwise the bitterness of the seeds, which i tasted and remember well, was terrible. this was probably the HCN!!!
  9. marhaba! i'm new to egullet and new to posting...and so the little clickable smile i chose happened to be named "unsure"! which is exactly how i'm feeling right now! i hope i do this right! very delighted to have joined this interesting group of people to discuss the topic i love, lebanese food!!! (well, and food in general!) specifically, i'm replying to this post, because in 1997, when an excerpt from my lebanese family cookbook, alice's kitchen, was printed in aramco world magazine (jan/feb issue), and i wrote about my memories of eating green almonds in l.a. as i was growing up, one of the readers of the article wrote to me. he was a civil engineer who was assigned in his early years as the designer of a lethal gas chamber, which he begged his boss not to work on, without success and in fact with the threat of losing his job if he refused. having a wife and 3 kids to support, and his wife pregnant with twins, he succumbed to the horrific task. the relevant point is he warned me not to eat too many green almonds "as they are loaded with HCL (hydro-cyanic acid) which is lethal." he further wrote "today, if he smells roasting almonds, he gets "a migraine headache from the memory of the smell of HCN, just like roasting almonds." now, i'm not sure if it's HCL or HCN, because he used both acronyms...the bottom line is that moderation in eating these is best. perhaps the salt or brining does something to neutralize the hydro-cyanic acid...does anyone know? i just know we ate them raw, but not too many! and loved them! btw, is there some tutorial on how to do these posts somewhere!?? thanks!!!
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