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I'm planning a Middle Eastern dinner


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Morrocan Inspired Chicken Kabobs

Cut 4 Chicken breasts lengthwise into 1" x 1" strips.

Mix together 1/2 cup of olive oil and 2 Tbsp of Morrocan seasoning blend. I get mine from a super target, it comes in a tin labeled as morrocan inspired seasonings. Mix the chicken in and let it marinate at least an hour, the longer, the better. Push the chicken onto the smaller type bamboo skewer. I push the skewer through from the side and then twist the chicken a half turn before pushing back through again, repeat until skewer is full. I usually get 2 strips on one skewer this way and they remain uniform in size.

Broil in oven until the chicken browns nicely. These can be done in advance and cooked and served quickly. Serve with Tsatsiki or mix more of the spice into plain yogurt and let it refrigerate at the same time as the kabobs.

Tadeek (spelled phonetically)

Make Basmati Rice. Remove from pot, melt butter in the rice pot, add rice back being careful to not stir it. Cover with a towel and cook on low for 30 minutes or until a golden crust has formed in the bottom of the pan. Carefully remove rice without disturbing the crispy rice crust. Place a plate face down on the pot and flip the pot allowing the crust to invert itself onto the plate. Season with salt and serve as an appetizer. This is a finger food, please only eat with your right hand.

Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)
Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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Now that my package is here, I have some more questions--

I opened the Lebanese green olives, and they are very fizzy, like spoiled canned fruit.  Is this normal for them or have I poisoined myself by trying one?  The jar continues to fizz ten minutes after I've opened it.  Not like it was shaken, but like it is carbonated.

A second question--how does one serve labna balls in oil?  They're very strong and salty.

If the olives are soft and pale in color, or the brine is cloudy they're not good.

Try to find a place where you can taste the olives before you buy.

Labneh balls can be dusted with Zaatar to resemble Shanklish and presented whole next to crackers with a spread knife.

You can make a dip by adding crushed garlic and dry mint.

You can make Fatayer B'Labneh. Mix Labneh with diced onions, chopped fresh mint, some of the olive oil they came with, salt and pepper to taste. Use this mixture instead of spinach in the recipe above.

ChefCrash--how well would the lahm b'ajeen and the spinach pies freeze?  I would imagine the falafel would probably freeze well, too, but not the grape leaves.

I have some grape leaves I need to use up--would you mind posting your recipe?

The pies can be frozen before baking. I haven't had good luck freezing stuffed grape leaves. I don't like the texture of the rice after cooking.

Grape leaves stuffing:

1 C rice

3/4 lb ground beef or lamb

3 T softened butter

1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste.

If you're using fresh or frozen leaves, you may have to blanch them (less than a minute). Out of a jar they can be used as is. Line the bottom of a pot with lamb fat or bones (slices of potatoes will do to keep the bottom layer from burning), roll as you would egg rolls and stack one layer at a time, cover with water, place a dish (weight) on top, bring to a boil then simmer covered on medium low. The water need not all evaporate. They are done when you try one and it's to your liking. :smile:

gallery_39290_2121_59560.jpg

Edited by ChefCrash (log)
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The dinner was Friday night, and was a great success. I'd post some wonderful photos of the food...except that my husband, the professional photographer, was having too much fun and totally forgot to take photos. Hmmph.

We had nine people; one of the couples had a sick spouse so they didn't show up. Here is the list of what I ended up serving:

Roasted lamb with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and oregano, sliced thin

Pitas

Mini zaatar bread

Lahm b'jeen

Spinach pies made with puff pastry

Grilled red peppers

Feta

Hummus

Tzatziki

Baba ganouj

Labna balls

Lebanese green olives

Kalamata olives

Feta "cigars" with filo pastry

Grape tomatoes

Ouzo

Wine, soda, etc

Baklava

Dried figs

Dates

Two kinds of Turkish Delight

Fruit platter with melons and grapes

I had mixed up falafel, but it just wouldn't fry up; it all fell apart. No matter what I did, it wouldn't work, so I had to just stick it in the fridge and do without. I don't think I really needed it, anyway. How can I fix it? Does falafel freeze?

I totally forgot to put out the sliced cucumbers and apple cider, too. There's always something forgotten in the last minute rush.

I made baklava the old fashioned way, brushing between each layer. Lots of work but it turned out really well. I used ground almonds mixed with some pecans, lemon juice and rosewater in the syrup. It wasn't extremely sweet and didn't have any really sticky layers at the bottom, which I really liked. I basically followed the recipe in the Time Life Middle Eastern cookbook.

My baba ganouj was a little bitter, but I think I was the only one who thought so. I think the eggplant was a bit bigger than I should have used.

All in all everything was very good. Thanks for all the help from egullet!

Edited by Terrasanct (log)
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