Beetroot Freekeh Salad

Avocado Frikeh Salad

Freekeh is a young chewy wheat, with a nutty flavor. Containing twice as much protein and fiber as quinoa, freekeh is nutritious! Try this combination of antioxidant-rich pomegranate, beetroot, avocado, herbs, seeds and watch those health benefits add up!

Beetroot Freekeh Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole grain freekeh, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup beetroot, grated
  • 1 cup fresh purslane leaves (bakle)
  • 1 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ cup mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Dressing

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano

Directions

  1. In a salad bowl, combine freekeh, beetroot, purslane, thyme, pomegranate avocado and seeds.
  2. To make the dressing, mix together all ingredients and shake well.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.

 

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Rice Salad with Chimichurri

Rice Salad LRGrade 3 class at my daughter’s school are preparing for International Day next month and they chose Argentina to represent and talk about. Part of the celebration, they proposed to serve a rice salad on that day, with Chimichurri sauce. Since I always volunteer to help with the food, I came up with my own version of the recipe and took a picture of the end product. I’m super happy to document it in my blog and share it with you, hope you will like it.
If you like to add more ingredients, my advice is to stay away from juicy ingredients and stick to solid ones like chorizo, ham, pickles, green onions, …

Ensalada De Arroz Con Chimichurri
Rice Salad with Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • 3 cups long grain rice, cooked and cooled
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cucumbers, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup apple vinegar
  • Freshly ground Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients.
  2. In a small mason jar combine all of the dressing ingredients; shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

Chocolate Tart PinkLR.jpg

Don’t you hate when you invite guests over and hear them cheering, drinking, having a blast while you’re stuck in the kitchen, running in all directions, heating dishes and making sure everything is perfect?

Thinking of this makes me have second thoughts about how much I truly love (or not) Christmas!

This is exactly the time when, I appreciate recipes like that. Recipes that can be done entirely the day before and requires minimum manipulation on the day of the event.

  • This tart requires no baking.
  • If using a round tin, then 20cm would be required.
  • The base can be done with Chocolate Oreo or Speculoos biscuits.
  • Crush biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin.
  • As for the filling, semisweet chocolate can be replaced with dark chocolate and two more tablespoons of sugar, or use milk chocolate and omit the sugar.
  • For coffee lovers: caramel sauce can be replaced with 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder.

Merry Christmas food lovers!

Caramel Chocolate Tart

Ingredients

For the base

  • 32 chocolate biscuits or Oreo Biscuits, crumbled
  • ½ cup / 50g butter, melted

For the filling

  • 150g semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 25g corn flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

  1. To make the base In a food processor, pulse biscuits, butter and salt until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press biscuit mixture into a tart tin and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  2. To make the filling In a saucepan, on low-medium heat, pour the chocolate chips and the cream and stir until the chocolate melts. Add sugar, caramel and salt. Stir to well combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk corn flour and milk together and, off the heat, add to the chocolate mixture and mix. Return sauce over low heat and keep stirring 5-7 minutes or until sauce thickens. Leave to cool 15 minutes.
  4. Take out the base-lined tart tin, pour the chocolate mixture evenly on the top and return it to the fridge to chill overnight.

Sweet Chestnut Dip

Sweet Chestnut Dip .jpg

Ingredients

  • 250g chestnuts, roasted and peeled and cut in 2
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml / 1 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or Irish Cream liqueur

Preparation

  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir with a spoon until sugar dissolves.
  2. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until chestnuts have softened.
  3. Off heat, blend the mixture until soft and smooth.
  4. Refrigerate overnight or until firm and serve with apple slices or your favorite crackers.

 

 

Bamia w Riz / Lamb and Okra Stew

MayaOryan-Okra with Rice

The Taste of Marjeyoun is a cookbook by Dina Bayoud Kohl and published by Tamyras. I was lucky enough to meet the author last October and purchase my signed copy of her book.

My dad’s lifelong love was his hometown Marjeyoun where he was born. Despite the fact that he moved to Beirut with his parents at a very young age, he always speaks fondly about his town, the people, the culture and the food.

Dina’s recipes are so authentic and easy to apply. They are like many Lebanese recipes exquisite and rich with healthy ingredients from pulses to vegetables to aromatic herbs like thyme, parsley and mint. I enjoyed trying many of them and results were always successful.

I particularly felt in love with the beef and okra stew recipe, healthy, refined and simply delicious. I may have changed a couple of steps on how Dina Bayoud Kohl makes it, but stayed loyal to the ingredients.

I’m reliving my dad’s tasty food with every bite I take! Live Love Marjeyoun:)

Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp vermicelli
• 2 cups long grain rice
• 800g Frozen Baby Okra
• 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil
• 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
• 5-6 Garlic cloves, crushed
• 500g Lamb meat, cubes
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• 450g tomatoes, crushed
• 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
• ¼ tsp allspice
• Salt, to taste

Preparation:
1. Sauté the vermicelli in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the rice and cook according to package instructions.
2. In a large bowl drizzle lemon juice over okra and set aside.
3. In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes or until wilted and golden, stirring constantly. Add the meat and cinnamon and brown for about 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes over low-medium heat and 1 liter of water and let it simmer.
5. Add the okra, tomato paste, allspice and salt and cook covered for about 20 minutes or until the okra is cooked through. Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes and until the sauce slightly thickens. Serve with vermicelli rice.

Loubieh Bi Zeit or Green Beans in Oil

Maya Oryan - Loubieh Bi Zeit.JPG

Loubieh Bi Zeit literally means “green beans in oil” and is a Lebanese traditional vegetarian dish. Many local dishes use olive oil I think because Lebanon produces fine olive oil and combined to many ingredients result into absolute indulgence.

I prepare this dish using fresh beans, tomatoes, garlic and onions. I love this old-fashioned simple version, I change nothing add nothing!

This meal is refreshing, tasty and healthy, the combination of ripe tomatoes and green beans gives it a sweet flavor with a bit of acidity.

Classic!

Ingredients

  • 1kg flat green beans (a.k.a helda beans), washed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 400 g ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp Lebanese seven spices
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh herbs for garnish

 Directions

  1. Top and tail the beans and cut into even-sized pieces.
  2. Fry the onions over medium-high heat until golden. Add the whole garlic, the flat beans, the pepper and the salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the beans are a vibrant green.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir.
  4. Cover with water and simmer on low-medium heat for about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and add the tomato sauce. Continue cooking until the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes form a thick coating around the beans.
  6. Garnish with parsley, coriander or mint and serve at room temperature with fresh onions and flat bread.

 

 

Orzo Mozzarella Salad

OrzoMozarrellaSalad

This recipe is inspired from the salad of my awesome friend Sandrella.

I have a lot of awesome friends but none of them has her get-up-and-go astonishing characteristic. None of them is the gym freak to drive 1 hour in the morning, because this is where her favorite PT trains. None of them travels 4 times a year with 3 kids on different adventurous vacations. None of them runs her overseas business while baking her children sophisticated cake recipe or spending the day driving them from and to activities or play-dates.

I congratulate you my friend, not only because your food has been labeled as inspirational, but also because your vitality is contagious.

I surround myself with friends who have great sense of humor, extraordinary dreams and great ambitious. This helps to focus my energy in a positive direction. Being positive attract positive people, they somehow gravitate toward me.

In Oprah’s book What I Know For Sure, I like her chapter on gossip. She first talked about a truth Maya Angelou passed on to her: “I’m convinced that the negative has power—and if you allow it to perch in your house, in your mind, in your life, it can take you over,” she said. “Those negative words climb into the woodwork, into the furniture, and the next thing you know, they’re on your skin. A negative statement is poison.”

Oprah writes: “We live in a culture obsessed with gossip—who’s wearing what, who’s dating whom, who’s entangled in the latest sex scandal. What would happen if we declared our homes, our relationships or our lives gossip-free zones? We’d probably be surprised at how much time we’d free up to do the work that’s most significant—building our dreams rather than tearing down others’. We’d fill our homes with a spirit of truth that would make visitors want to kick off their shoes and stay awhile. And we’d remember that while words have the power to destroy, they also have the power to heal.

I did this salad on Saturday for some of my beautiful friends. We had dinner, chatted and laughed out loud. No one was making any effort to incorporate humor into the atmosphere, the energy was there, circulating light and carefree.

Always find the best in others, it’s necessary to living the good life.

 And now back to some serious talk of ORZO MOZZARELLA SALAD and this is how I make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 cup red cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, full or halved
  • 12 mini mozzarella balls
  • ¼ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano

Preparation:

  1. Cook orzo pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water.
  2. In a bowl, combine orzo, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and black olives. Toss with pesto until ingredients are completely coated. Add olive oil, salt and oregano and toss again.
  3. Decorate with pine nuts and serve.

NOTE: I made my own pesto: Slice very thin a quarter cup of fresh basil. Crush basil inside the mortar with 1 tablespoon of pine nuts and 1 garlic clove. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan and stir.