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Cabbage Salad with Mint and Garlic

8 Nov

This cabbage salad or what I call Lebanese Cole Slaw, is the traditional accompaniment to Mona’s Mjadara.  If you missed the Mjadara post you should really check it out. You can do it now, I’ll wait.

 

Back already? Cabbage salad is super simple and very tasty!

When I was taught to make this salad, I was taught to slice the cabbage very thinly by hand. I am not very good at getting it thin enough. Recently though I discovered that I could use a mandoline to shred the cabbage super fine, with little effort. This discovery is a HUGE timesaver!

 

Once the cabbage is shredded, it is time to make the dressing for the salad.

Mash three cloves of garlic with a mortar and pestle with plenty of salt.

 

Spoon the mashed garlic into a jar, along with olive oil. Squeeze in lemon juice and then add the dried mint. Put a lid on the jar and shake!

 

Apply the dressing to only as much cabbage as you will be eating that day. Save the additional dressing and cabbage in fridge for up to two days.

 

Serve with Mjadara!

 

 

 

Cabbage Salad with Garlic and Mint

1 head of green cabbage

3 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1-2 lemons

2 teaspoons of dried mint

 

  1. Quarter cabbage, shred cabbage very thinly using a mandoline or knife. Put cabbage into a large bowl.
  2. In mortar place 3 cloves of garlic with the salt. Mash garlic until it is a smooth creamy paste.
  3. Spoon garlic into a jar, add  olive oil and squeeze in 1-2 lemons (depending of how juicy they are).
  4. Add dried mint to jar.
  5. Place the lid on the jar and shake.
  6. Pour the dressing onto the cabbage. Using only what you will eat in one day.

Lebanese Bulgur Pilaf

4 Nov

This bulgur recipe is another Lebanese recipe that I picked up from my fiance’s Mom, Mona. This an quick and easy dinner that is super tasty and loaded with fiber.

Bulgur is wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried and crushed. It has a tender but chewy texture, that makes it great in pilafs. Bulgur has more fiber and protein than white rice. I used a coarse #4 bulgur in this recipe. Bulgur is graded for 1-4, 1 being the finest grain and 4 being the coarsest. In tabbouleh you would use the #1 or fine grain.

This recipe takes less than 30 minutes. The only complicated part is the seasoning. I use a spice called Sweet Pepper, it is also called Bhar Helou. It is not easily found here in the states, I have not been able to find it anywhere. But as luck and the internet would have it I found a recipe for this spice mix. As with any spice mixes, make a big batch and save it in a jar for up to a year.

You can serve this bulgur pilaf a variety of ways. Traditionally it is served with Lebanese yogurt or even dried yogurt. But I like mine with sriracha and Greek Fage yogurt.

Can you believe Daniel likes it with ketchup.

Bulgur Pilaf with Ground Turkey

1 large sweet onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 lb. ground turkey

1 cup coarse bulgur (#3 or#4)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon sweet pepper *

1 teaspoon cumin

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup of corn

2 tablespoon tomato paste

  1. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat, till golden.
  2. Add ground turkey and cook until meat is completely browned.
  3. Add salt, sweet pepper and cumin, stir until completely combined.
  4. Add bulgur, cook bulgur till lightly browned, approximately 2 minutes.
  5. Pour water into pan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium.
  6. Cook, covered for about 12 minutes, or until bulgur has absorbed all the water.
  7. Uncover, and add corn and tomato paste. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Serve plain, with lebne, sriracha, or Greek yogurt.

*Sweet pepper spice mix

  • 1 Tbsp allspice 
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cloves
  • 1 Tbsp fenugreek
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg

Mix all spices together thoroughly. Can be stored in an air-tight container for up to a year.

Lentil and Lemon Soup

1 Nov

Lentil and Lemon Soup or Danny feel better soon soup, is my fiance’s version of Chicken Noodle Soup. Who knew Chicken Noodle Soup wasn’t universal?

So we have been sick, for days. I have never actually made this soup, so I called Danny’s Mom, Mona, to get the recipe.

This soup is full of vitamin C, protein, iron, and fiber- everything you need to feel better when you are sick.

Cooking the lentils is the longest step, but while the lentils are cooking you can prep the rest of the veggies.

An entire head of garlic is used in this recipe. Place peeled garlic cloves and salt in a mortar and grind with pestle until the garlic is a smooth paste.

There is a trick to peeling an entire head of garlic in just seconds, check out this video.

When lentils are soft add the diced potatoes and sautéed onions. Cook until the potatoes are soft.

Add the Swiss chard ( cut into strips) and the now crushed garlic into the pot.

Add the lemon juice and dried mint. Cook for another 5 minutes and this soup is ready to cure!

Mona’s Lentil and Lemon Soup

2 cups dry lentils

12 cups of water

1 head of garlic

6 small white potatoes OR 2 medium potatoes

1 bunch of Swiss chard

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon dried mint

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sea salt

4 lemons

  1. In a large stockpot, add lentil and water. Bring to a boil, then cook on medium heat until lentils are soft (about 30 minutes).
  2. While the lentils are cooking, peel the head of garlic,and place it the mortar with 1 tablespoon of salt and crush with pestle until it is a smooth paste. Add a little more salt in necessary.
  3. Peel and dice potatoes, set aside.
  4. Clean Swiss chard and slice into strips approximately 2 inches long, set aside.
  5. Saute onion with a small amount of olive oil, until soft.
  6. When lentils are soft, add potatoes. Cook on medium heat, until potatoes are soft ( about 10 minutes)
  7. Add the Swiss chard, onions, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Juice the lemons and add the juice into the pot.
  9. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of sea salt and the dried mint.
  10. Simmer for another 10 minutes and serve.

Perfect Hummus and Pita Chips

20 Oct

I love Hummus! I really, really love hummus. I make a big batch every week. I eat it with veggies, make sandwiches with it, and of course eat it with pita chips.

I start with salt and 5 cloves of garlic in the food processor. Then I add 3 3/4 cup of soaked and cooked garbanzo beans (which is equal to 2 cans of beans).

Instead of olive oil, this authentic Lebanese hummus uses the liquid from the beans. Adding the liquid a little at a time ensures the hummus will come out the perfect consistency.

Tahini is added to the beans (pulse to combine). The lemon is added last, so that the hummus can be to taste. I like my hummus a little lemony, but not overly lemony like some commercial brands.

Blend in the food processor until it’s creamy and smooth.

Garnish hummus with a drizzle of high quality olive oil and paprika to serve.

And what’s the perfect accompaniment to hummus? Pita chips of course!

The amount of pita bread you will need will depend on how many chips you desire. I used three pieces for this recipe.

Cut into chip size pieces. I find this job is super easy using kitchen scissors.

Lightly brush each piece, front and back with olive oil. Note the picture below shows heavy oil on the pita, I thinned it out.

Salt and bake, then serve!

Hummus

3 3/4 cup soaked and cooked garbanzo beans, reserve liquid

4- 5 cloves of garlic, to taste

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons tahini

1 to 2 lemons, to taste

garnish: high quality olive oil, paprika, olives or pine nuts

  1. In a food processor add garlic and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds.
  2. Add garbanzo beans, adding only a small portion of bean liquid. Pulse till mixture is smooth,adding more liquid as necessary
  3. Add tahini pulse 30 seconds.
  4. Add the juice of one small lemon, pulse, taste and add another lemon if desired.
  5. Remove hummus to a serving bowl and garnish just before serving.

Pita Chips

3 whole pita bread

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon salt, more if desired

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut pita bread into chip size pieces.
  3. Lightly brush each side with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle salt evenly over chips.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Shake chips halfway through.

Mona’s Mjadara

6 Oct

I was more than a little intimated when I first started dating Daniel, his mother Mona is an excellent cook. Born and raised in Lebanon Mona grew up cooking traditional Lebanese dishes that can knock your socks off. Daniel insisted that if I were to be a good Lebanese wife that I learn all of his favorite dishes. Although my cooking lessons with Mona were disastrous at first (she measures tablespoons with what ever spoon is handy), I have come to master certain dishes and Mjadara is one of my staples. Daniel insists that we have Mjadara a couple of times a month.

Mjadara is a lentil and rice dish that is hearty, healthy, vegan and easy to make.

Start by cooking the lentils, add 2 cups of lentils to 6 cups of water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Do not add salt to the water as it will harden the beans.

While the lentils are cooking, dice a large sweet onion. In a deep saute pan heat olive oil and then add diced onion. Cook onion on medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring often, then reduce heat to medium till onion is golden and soft.

When lentils are tender and soft turn the heat off. At this point you have two options, use an immersion blender to puree the lentils in the pot or use a blender or food processor.Add the sautéed onions to the lentil puree and add basmati rice. Cook until rice softens, then bring to a boil. Add salt and serve.

Mona’s Mjadara

2 cups dry lentils (french green)

6  cups of water

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet onion

1/4 cup basmati rice

salt to taste

  1. Add lentils to water in large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer till lentils are soft.
  2. Dice onion and add with olive oil in a large saute pan. Saute till onion is golden and soft ( approx. 15 minutes).
  3. Puree lentils with Immersion blender, add sautéed onions and rice. Stir and cook till rice is soft. Bring slowly to a boil and then add salt.
  4. Serve with warm pita bread and cabbage salad .

I love to use the pita bread to scoop the Mjadara and eat without a fork. The leftover are great wrapped up in a pita to make a sandwich.