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.

 

 

Yellow and Red Cherry Tomatoes Caprese Salad

 

1.Yellow and Red Cherry Tomatoes Caprese Salad

Photography Serge Oryan

The beauty of Italy never ceases to amaze me, from north to south, armed with many authentic places (and recipes!!!) I fall in love with each city I visit. I was in Rome this month for my Birthday. My precious husband treated me with a 5-stars vacation and spent his time spoiling me.

What fall under the culinary section during my trip, are lots of Parmesan cheese, seafood and sparkling wine. From casual street food to Michelin starred restaurants, Italian cuisine is as influential as Rome’s artistic and historical assets. I selected only a couple of places to talk about, the ones I really want to visit again upon my next trip.

The first night we had dinner at Rinaldi al Quirinale, 11 via Parma, the next day we came back for their orange marinated salmon, Salmone Marinato all’Arancio; the best I ever had! On the way to Rinaldi, at the southern end of via Nazionale, my husband couldn’t resist the fab’ smell of the fresh and crunchy fries at Queens Chips. He ordered a piccolo (small) size, which was really a massive portion of freshly fried chips and sauce for €2.50!

Rome2015

After a long shopping day around the Spanish steps I was in the mood for some Italian cheese, fresh smoothie and a hearty salad. Ginger restaurant, via Borgognona 43/44, was the best place for that. The menu is a compilation of gourmet treats, well presented in a white, modern and trendy environment. They serve light meals, fresh salads and sandwiches. Not only I enjoyed my cheese selection with a refreshing Caienna smoothie (Avocado, dates, banana, almond milk) and a Fossa salad (Mixed salad leaves, yellow and red lettuce, rocket, spinach, dried tomatoes, turkey, goat cheese, organic walnuts, green apple), but I also got to meet and chat with the talented Soprano Zeina Barhoum, who happened to be sitting right next to us.

On our way back from the Colosseum we stopped by Aroma restaurant where we booked a table for lunch. This gourmet restaurant has been awarded with 1 Michelin star and its regional cuisine has been recognized with 5 Star Diamond Award! It offers a spectacular view on the Colosseum, highly recommended for a special event (like my birthday!!). The food was exquisite and creative and the attentive staff follows the chef’s dedication. This dining experience was so momentous and exceeded our expectations.

The Aroma2

ZAroma

On the last eve, I went to a gourmet store and bought fresh mini mozzarella balls, as I was dreaming about Caprese salad. My recipe is so simple and totally relies on the freshness of the ingredients. It requires no slicing at all. Combine all ingredients and toss with best quality olive oil. There’s absolutely no excuse for using average olive oil in your salad. The key to a perfect Caprese salad is to use only the good stuff. Don’t add pesto or balsamic vinegar; the less improvement you do, the better. The recipe is a classic as it is, do yourself a favor and don’t try to ameliorate it. It doesn’t matter what kind of tomatoes you use as long as it’s fresh! I love to use yellow and red tomatoes, as this slight twist adds elegance to the presentation also the sweetness of the yellow tomato rounds off the creaminess of the mozarella. Enjoy!

Yellow and Red Cherry Tomatoes Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 100 g red cherry tomatoes, washed and rinsed
  • 100 g yellow cherry tomatoes, washed and rinsed
  • 150 g mini Mozzarella Cheese balls
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Dried oregano, to taste
  • Extra virgin Olive Oil, to taste
  • Coarse Sea Salt, to taste

Preparation

Combine tomatoes and Mozzarella balls. Sprinkle with basil leaves, oregano and salt. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Serve with Italian grissini or some crusty bread.

A Fishy Story

When I crave for meat, it’s fish. I lived in Dubai for 10 years where the fish is fresh and abundant. My husband, who loves to eat healthy food (and you will hear this a lot!), fancies a baked fish at least once a week. So along the years we unintentionally became pescetarian. [Seriously? No!]

For those of you who are not familiar with the word; Pescetarian is a vegetarian who will eat fish.

The true version behind my story is that meat and chicken (with the exception of the Christmas Turkey) were aliens to my kitchen. They never made it to my fridge until I had my first daughter Kaia. Before that I almost never stopped by the butcher. Hamburgers, tenderloin, chicken fahita, … were gourmet dinners to treat ourselves when we go out to restaurants:)

I baked fish, steamed fish, barbecued fish and trust me, as complicated as it seems, fish is one of the quickest meals to prepare. ONE, It’s healthy (this one goes for you babe). TWO, impressive if you have friends over. THREE, delicious!

One of my favorite kinds of fish is the SEA BREAM, because of their mild and white meat. It can be found in various parts of the world and is ideal for grilling. One of these fish weighs around 350gms and can be grilled whole, head and all.

For me it’s enough to rub my fish with salt and pepper, and then stuff it with sliced onions and tomatoes. Lay it in a baking pan with lemon wedges and bay leaves, drizzle it with oil, and cook for 35mn. Tasty!

Baked Fish

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh Sea Bream fish (cleaned, gutted and scaled)
  • Sea Salt and coarse pepper
  • 2 onions, cut in circles
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut in circles
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • 1/2 cup of White Wine

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C
  2. Wash fish, pat dry and place in oven dish.
  3. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper over all parts of the fish and inside the body cavity.
  4. Top with onions, tomatoes, rosemary and surround with lemon, bay leaves and cinnamon. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Pour the wine inside the pan and cook for about 45mn or until fish flakes easily with a fork.