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Chef Ramzi Lebanese Cookbook


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Here are quotes of what has already been discussed-

Behemoth:

So my dad, completely unsolicited, sends me a copy of Chef Ramzi's book. What an amazing volume!

Here is a plug, and a link -- apparently an english edition is in the works. Walk, don't run, if you have any interest in Lebanese food.

Foodman:

I bought a copy (I'm sure I mentioned this elsewhere on this forum) last summer when I was in Lebanon and I love it. I just flip through it and read whenever I feel homesick. He even has recipes from my small hometown in Akkar . The full color glossy pictures are amazing as well. One caveate though, the recipes, especially desserts do not seem to have been fully tested and you might need to use your common sense or I guess "cook's sense" to make them work. Should we start a thread for this book? Anyone interested?

Zeitoun:

Should we start a thread for this book? Anyone interested?

YES!! My mother is flying back from Beirut next week, I'll ask her to bring me a copy! Which book is it specifically, volume 1 or 2 or you guys have both? I hope this book will be available in English and in the US soon, we certainly need it!

Behemoth:

I have the second volume, which covers Lebanese regional foods. Do I have it right that the first volume covers arab foods more generally? Anyway, a thread would be fun, I definitely plan to cook from this. Actually I recognized the name of the book from Elie's previous mentions of it. I had planned on buying it when we went, but this now saves me a bit of suitcase space. (Thanks for the tip about the dessert recipes btw, Elie.)

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Volume 2 for sure. It's the one I have and covers Lebanon by region or county, starting from Beirut.

I flipped through the first volume when I was in Lebanon and was not too impressed. It seems to be not just Lebanese food but more or less international. I am not saying it is a bad book, I just think that we have too many of those already. Regional Lebanese food on the other hand....I hardly even heard of many of most recipes.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Alright. I am looking for a bunch of recipes to make for next Friday. We have some people coming over who are way into Weight Watchers or something, so let's make it healthy.

But before I start. Read his comments re the dish on page 699. Elie, any idea what the other name for this dish is? I am dying to know.

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Alright. I am looking for a bunch of recipes to make for next Friday. We have some people coming over who are way into Weight Watchers or something, so let's make it healthy.

But before I start. Read his comments re the dish on page 699. Elie, any idea what the other name for this dish is? I am dying to know.

To clarify, the recipe on page 699 is a recipe made with Burgul and tomatoes and he calls it "Madfoona" and claims it is known by another name that he is too embarassed to mention, something indecent apparently. Unfortunatly, I have heard of "Madfoona" which means buried, but not of the other name :hmmm: .

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Hi everyone, just to clarify..u decide on a certain recipe, try it, then discuss it??

I have the 2nd and third volumes ..(the 3rd being the improved version of volume 1)..and I like them too

But the funny thing is when I browse through the 3rd book , a recipe of a meat dish for example would have the picture of the dish made with chicken!..or sometimes the pictures wont really reflect the recipe(which could be a bit confusing)..

Chef ramzi should take after Elie when it comes to explaining with pictures :biggrin: (perfection! :wink: )

Nora

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Hi everyone, just to clarify..u decide on a certain recipe, try it, then discuss it??

I have the 2nd and third volumes ..(the 3rd being the improved version of volume 1)..and I like them too

But the funny thing is when I browse through the 3rd book , a recipe of a meat dish for example would have the picture of the dish made with chicken!..or sometimes the pictures wont really reflect the recipe(which could be a bit confusing)..

Chef ramzi should take after Elie when it comes to explaining with pictures  :biggrin: (perfection!  :wink: )

Nora

Nora-

There really are no rules. Basically just post about anything you tried from the book, along with comments, tips, suggestions, what worked or didi not.

Thanks for the kind comments. Chef Ramzi needs better testers/editors. I love the book mainly for it's cultural value, pictures, and for introducing me to so many Lebanese dishes I have never even heard of. When making anything though, I make sure to read the reciep carefully and make small edits where I think they are needed. Case in point the Kenafi recipe, I am pretty sure it is impossible to work wit the given quantities of ingredients (1 Cup of rosewater :shock: ???).

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I recall that the book will be published in English. Are there plans for a French publication as well?

Case in point the Kenafi recipe, I am pretty sure it is impossible to work wit the given quantities of ingredients (1 Cup of rosewater ohmy.gif ???).

We know that quantity is off. But can you imagine someone actually using that amount? :laugh:

Nora- If you are uncertain about a recipe before trying it, just post it here and I'm sure you'll get a lot of help.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I got vol. 2 on Elie's rec and still haven't cooked from it because it's so overwhelmingly huge. So any posts along the lines of "Try this, it's great..." are appreciated. (That's still the only way I can deal with my insanely massive "Lord Krishna's Cuisine.")

I just love all the pics of Chef Ramzi in the back: Chef Ramzi goes skiing! Chef Ramzi hangs out with monks! Chef Ramzi is beloved by schoolchildren! It's like Where's Waldo in Lebanon...

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

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I made some Sfoof from this book last night. Forgot to double check what page these are on since he has like three different Sfoof types in the book, I think it’s 600 something….

One of my aunts used to make this cake all the time when I was a kid and I had not had it in over 10 years since she passed away. Boy was I glad I attempted making it last night. Given how easy it is, I will be making it more often. The recipe worked perfectly with the given quantities. I decided a whole recipe is too much though and made half of it. It worked perfectly in my 9 inch cake pan.

Sfoof is a cake whose main flavoring is fennel (or anise seeds). I like to roast the seeds before grinding them up since it gives them a better flavor in my opinion. The cake has a great yellow color from Turmeric (I’da safra or “yellow knot” in Arabic) whose flavor is never discernible. So, it really just contributes color as far as I can tell. Also the cake has no eggs, just AP flour, fine semolina, milk, sugar, baking powder and butter. The end result is a little denser than your typical sponge cake and it is very slightly chewy. I love eating those with a hot cup of tea or coffee for dessert or breakfast. If anyone is interested in trying this cake, I can post an adapted recipe here. But be ware, it is very addictive as most of my coworkers can attest to :smile:. I just wish the pics came out a little better.

gallery_5404_94_73237.jpg

gallery_5404_94_163189.jpg

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Hi Elie,

That sfoof looks delicious! I love all mid-eastern desserts and try to sample(read:scoff) as much as I can when I lay my hands on them. However sfoof is a new one for me - the fennel flavour seems especially intriguing. What I'm saying then is...could you please post your adapted recipe? If that's too much to ask, could you just glance at this recipe and tell me if it's a similar one? Please?

http://www.recipecottage.com/middle-eastern/sfoof.html

Thanks a lot!

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Hi Elie,

That sfoof looks delicious! I love all mid-eastern desserts and try to sample(read:scoff) as much as I can when I lay my hands on them. However sfoof is a new one for me - the fennel flavour seems especially intriguing. What I'm saying then is...could you please post your adapted recipe? If that's too much to ask, could you just glance at this recipe and tell me if it's a similar one? Please?

http://www.recipecottage.com/middle-eastern/sfoof.html

Thanks a lot!

Sfoof recipes usually have Semolina flour in them. The one you quoted does not. If you cannot wait then I would suggest you try this recipe with the following variation:

-As far as I am concerned it is not Sfoof if it has no anise flavor in it. So toast a tablespoon of fennel seeds, grind them and add them to the mix.

-I would use more AP flour than semolina rather than vice versa.

-Substitute melted butter for the oil

-Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds before it goes in the oven.

Wow, that's a lot of changes...I will post an adapted recipe of the one I made as soon as I can though.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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"Sfoof is a cake whose main flavoring is fennel (or anise seeds)"

Is this a variant version of the traditional Sfoof with fennel or anise seeds?

And usually it has pine kernels on the top. From what I can see in the picture, you put sesame seeds!

Is this also a variant of the traditional Sfoof?

I noted that you mention three different recipes in the book, as I don't have the book yet, maybe you could advise whether Chef Ramzi indicates which one is the traditional Sfoof and whether the other two recipes are his adapted versions.

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"Sfoof is a cake whose main flavoring is fennel (or anise seeds)"

Is this a variant version of the traditional Sfoof with fennel or anise seeds?

And usually it has pine kernels on the top. From what I can see in the picture, you put sesame seeds!

Is this also a variant of the traditional Sfoof?

I noted that you mention three different recipes in the book, as I don't have the book yet, maybe you could advise whether Chef Ramzi indicates which one is the traditional Sfoof and whether the other two recipes are his adapted versions.

Yes the recipe I made is the one I know, the fennel flavored ones. I used sesame because that's what the recipe asks for and I liked it very much. Honestly, the ones I had as a kid had neither sesame nor pinenuts. So, I guess it varies.

Note: the book is divided by region (kadaa'), not by the traditional app-entree-dessert format.

Actually he offers 2 different Sfoof recipes not 3 as I mentioned. The above one is on page 660 from Bshari, the other one is Sfoof Bil Dibs from Baabda on page 62. This one uses Dibs Kharoob, a type of molasses made from ...well...Kharoob (I have no idea what this is in English) instead of sugar for a sweetner. I have never had this variety but it has a cool black color due to the molasses. It also has no fennel or turmeric.

Almass, do you know what Kharoob is in English? I know it is a pod that looks like Tamarind, but I do not believe it is the same thing.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Looks great Elie-

Also the cake has no eggs, just AP flour, fine semolina, milk, sugar, baking powder and butter.

Reminds me of a variation of leavened kesra, no baking powder, yeast instead.

I know I'll be eating Omar's Lebanese cooking sometime soon, hope to taste yours. Of course I'll be making your Lebanese bread recipe. :smile:

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Almass, do you know what Kharoob is in English? I know it is a pod that looks like Tamarind, but I do not believe it is the same thing.

I think it might be carob, oddly enough.

edited to add this link

Here

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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"Sfoof is a cake whose main flavoring is fennel (or anise seeds)"

Is this a variant version of the traditional Sfoof with fennel or anise seeds?

And usually it has pine kernels on the top. From what I can see in the picture, you put sesame seeds!

Is this also a variant of the traditional Sfoof?

I noted that you mention three different recipes in the book, as I don't have the book yet, maybe you could advise whether Chef Ramzi indicates which one is the traditional Sfoof and whether the other two recipes are his adapted versions.

Yes the recipe I made is the one I know, the fennel flavored ones. I used sesame because that's what the recipe asks for and I liked it very much. Honestly, the ones I had as a kid had neither sesame nor pinenuts. So, I guess it varies.

Note: the book is divided by region (kadaa'), not by the traditional app-entree-dessert format.

Actually he offers 2 different Sfoof recipes not 3 as I mentioned. The above one is on page 660 from Bshari, the other one is Sfoof Bil Dibs from Baabda on page 62. This one uses Dibs Kharoob, a type of molasses made from ...well...Kharoob (I have no idea what this is in English) instead of sugar for a sweetner. I have never had this variety but it has a cool black color due to the molasses. It also has no fennel or turmeric.

Almass, do you know what Kharoob is in English? I know it is a pod that looks like Tamarind, but I do not believe it is the same thing.

Elie

- So ChefRamzi offers two little known variant of Sfoof and does not offer the traditional version? Maybe it's hidden in another "kadaa" section?

Note to self: I wonder how many dishes any chef "really" tries out before publishing a book? especially when it is an Encyclopedia kind of book.

- Of course the perfect accompagnement to Debs el Kharoob is Tahineh which is the famous one and only "Debs weh T'hineh".

No need for a chef recipe here. Simply mix Debs (Kharoob) with white T'hineh and balance to taste as some like it more tarty than others. And scoop with Arabic flat bread.

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"Sfoof is a cake whose main flavoring is fennel (or anise seeds)"

Is this a variant version of the traditional Sfoof with fennel or anise seeds?

And usually it has pine kernels on the top. From what I can see in the picture, you put sesame seeds!

Is this also a variant of the traditional Sfoof?

I noted that you mention three different recipes in the book, as I don't have the book yet, maybe you could advise whether Chef Ramzi indicates which one is the traditional Sfoof and whether the other two recipes are his adapted versions.

Yes the recipe I made is the one I know, the fennel flavored ones. I used sesame because that's what the recipe asks for and I liked it very much. Honestly, the ones I had as a kid had neither sesame nor pinenuts. So, I guess it varies.

Note: the book is divided by region (kadaa'), not by the traditional app-entree-dessert format.

Actually he offers 2 different Sfoof recipes not 3 as I mentioned. The above one is on page 660 from Bshari, the other one is Sfoof Bil Dibs from Baabda on page 62. This one uses Dibs Kharoob, a type of molasses made from ...well...Kharoob (I have no idea what this is in English) instead of sugar for a sweetner. I have never had this variety but it has a cool black color due to the molasses. It also has no fennel or turmeric.

Almass, do you know what Kharoob is in English? I know it is a pod that looks like Tamarind, but I do not believe it is the same thing.

Elie

- So ChefRamzi offers two little known variant of Sfoof and does not offer the traditional version? Maybe it's hidden in another "kadaa" section?

Note to self: I wonder how many dishes any chef "really" tries out before publishing a book? especially when it is an Encyclopedia kind of book.

- Of course the perfect accompagnement to Debs el Kharoob is Tahineh which is the famous one and only "Debs weh T'hineh".

No need for a chef recipe here. Simply mix Debs (Kharoob) with white T'hineh and balance to taste as some like it more tarty than others. And scoop with Arabic flat bread.

Almass- I am not sure what you mean by "So ChefRamzi offers two little known variant of Sfoof and does not offer the traditional version?". he DOES offer the traditional Anise falvored one i:e the one I made. He also offers the one falvored with the dibs. So let us rephrase,

He offers 2 recipes the traditional anise one and the Carob -apparently it is carob- molasses one. Sorry if that was not clear. As far as how many recipes in this book are tested, please see previous comments in this very thread. However, this recipe works fine the way it is written.

I agree with your second comment about the "Debs weh T'hineh", but that is not the subject of our comments here.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I'm looking for a copy of the book in the States and I can't find it.

Certainly Chef Ramzi knows how to prepare every single dish in his books. Oftentimes it's a problem with editing.

Looking forward to more posts from those who have a copy.

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I am sorry, but I do not understand what is traditional and what is not. It sounds to me and what I know to be true is that different regions and countries have different ingredients or added ingredients to things that they call the same thing.

So what?! Embrace the diversity!!! Stop arguing about what is traditional. What is traditional is what is from your region.

Also, please stop arguing about how something is spelled. Semitic names can be spelled a thousand different ways when they are transliterated into roman characters. Come to Israel and see how the same name is spelled several different ways on street signs. It's annoying, but we have to get over it. I would really appreciate not having a Middle East conflict on eGullet. :raz:

On a lighter note, Elie... I would really appreciate it if you would post the recipe in Recipe Gullet and if it is not too much trouble include the recipe without the fennel.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I am sorry, but I do not understand what is traditional and what is not. It sounds to me and what I know to be true is that different regions and countries have different ingredients or added ingredients to things that they call the same thing.

I'm unsure about traditional or authentic are. Maybe they are things our moms and gradnmothers made.

I like the variations in names and spelling. Sometimes I can figure out which part of Africa or the Middle East the recipe is from. I get to play Cultural Anthropologist. I see it as a way of preserving diversity.

Good point about posting on recipe gullet. I forget to do that all the time and it's a really important project on egullet.

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I am sorry, but I do not understand what is traditional and what is not. It sounds to me and what I know to be true is that different regions and countries have different ingredients or added ingredients to things that they call the same thing.

So what?! Embrace the diversity!!! Stop arguing about what is traditional. What is traditional is what is from your region.

Also, please stop arguing about how something is spelled. Semitic names can be spelled a thousand different ways when they are transliterated into roman characters. Come to Israel and see how the same name is spelled several different ways on street signs. It's annoying, but we have to get over it. I would really appreciate not having a Middle East conflict on eGullet. :raz:

On a lighter note, Elie... I would really appreciate it if you would post the recipe in Recipe Gullet and if it is not too much trouble include the recipe without the fennel.

Michelle, I feel the same way, you are correct that different regions make the same thing in a different way. What is traditional Vs. not tradiitonal has been debated endlessly on these forums and we are NOT going to do this here. We sure are not going to debate the spelling of words as I clearly stated in another thread.

In this case we are talking about Sfoof. I grew up in Lebanon and when I hear the word Sfoof, it means a yellow anise flavored cake and nothing more. Everyone I know including firends and family and friends of friends....feels the same way. I apologize for calling that traditional because for all I know it could be a modern variation of some other cake I guess. So for the purposes of this cake, the traditional (or is "common" a better word :smile: )variation refers to the anise flavored one. that is what I meant when I replied back to Almass who said the chef didi not offer a recipe for the "traditional" variation.

I will post both adapted recipes when I get a chance.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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