Saturday, October 30, 2010

last minute lebanese

Every year I declare a food theme, this is generated from a new piece of kitchen apparatus such as a tagine, or a trip, or as was the case this year a restaurant.  Earlier this year a friend at work recommended the restaurant Nuba a Lebanese restaurant down in gastown.  I was blown away by the fresh flavours and interesting food and so 2010 has been the year of Lebanese food. I have been exploring the cuisine for the last few months. So when I asked Connie what she would like for her birthday meal she said "what have you been doing in Lebanese recently?"

You have to understand this was 5:00 and I was still at work, so it had to be quick and mostly with what I had at home in the fridge.  She told me she had some cauliflower and would make some foccacia bread, and her daughter was going to make a cake. I had some lebanese cucumbers in my fridge and some good tomatoes so I picked up some ground lamb and beef and greek yogurt on the way home and the menu was set.

Lebanese cucumber and tomato salad
Crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and spices
Foccacia bread
Chocolate cake

There were 5 for dinner and 2 offspring came in after dinner and finished off anything we had left, no leftovers for me :(


11/2 cup of ground lamb
11/2 cup of ground beef
1 onion finly chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
handful of fresh mint chopped
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
2 teaspoons of zatar (a lebanese spice mixture)
salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together so that they are well combined. If you do not have zatar don't let that stop you, add some cummin or just leave out. You can use all beef or all lamb, personally I really like half and half.  This can be cooked in several ways most commonly on skewers on the barbecue or as was the case today in meatball shapes on top of the stove.
Kefta meatballs
You can flatten these a little and then barbecue them which is really my preferred way of cooking them, but it was dark and getting cold so the top of the stove it was.  Put them in a oven proof frying pan and brown them all over.

Browned kefta
You can put a lid on the pan and turn down the heat a little or throw them in a 350 oven which is what I did. and cook them until they are cooked through, timing will depend on the size of your meatballs mine took about 10 minutes.

When they were cooked through I added two chopped tomatoes to the frying pan and cooked them on top of the stove until the tomatoes had broken down and mixed with the juices from the meatballs creating a kind of glaze. Ready to serve.

Lebanese cucumber and tomato salad.

Equal quantity of cucumber (preferably lebenase) and tomatoes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
A cup of fresh chopped herbs (parsley, basil and mint)
Salt and pepper

Combine the ingredients and serve.  Lebanese cucumbers are those little ones that seem to be available everywhere these days.  But long english cucumbers would be just fine.

This is simple fresh light and tasty.  You could add feta cheese or olives, but frankly it nice just like this.

Crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and spices

This is my attempt to replicate my favourite dish at Nuba restaurant, though not exactly the same it is close and very tasty.

1 Small cauliflower cut into chunks
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of coriander
Juice of 2 lemons

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and stir fry the cauliflower until it is starting to brown, add the coriander and salt and continue until the cauliflower is just cooked through and is crispy and golden, about 10 minutes.  Squeeze the lemon juice on and toss together add a little chopped parsley and serve.

This is a very blurry picture, but sadly the only one we got and trust me it tastes better than it looks.

Bad picture of crispy cauliflower
This was all served with Connie's home made foccacia bread, and Greek yogurt.

After we had finished the main course Connies daughter came down with a beautiful warm gooey chocolate cake, Yum.  Unfortunately nobody thought to take a picture of it, but it was delicious.

We had some wonderful wine and a relaxing evening after a rather stressful week at work.  My favourite meals are the ones that are spontaniously pulled together at the last minute like this one. TGIF

1 comment:

  1. sorry about bad certaily fails to give this yumy dish justice!