Okay, so perhaps with sticky disgusting levels of humidity that it’s nearly impossible to breathe, and with temperatures heading into the mid 90s, maybe we’re stretching the limit of what could be characterized as “Nice Weather”. Still, it’s summer, and I had to cook something outside.
With the huge response to the Shwarma and Shrapnel post I felt that perhaps I should begin highlighting the food of Lebanon and the Mediterranean. Lebanese food is among my favorite cuisines, and in my opinion it is the best of all of the Middle Eastern nations. Even with all the bad things that are going on there, I think its important to realize that its not the Lebanese that are bad people, its due to a bunch of extremists that have made a bad situation much, much worse, and we shouldn’t look down on the Lebanese as a result. So I’m still going to eat Lebanese food, and I hope you do as well.
One place that is a great place to start for learning how to cook Lebanese is eGullet’s eGCI course on Lebanese cooking, written by Elie Nassar back in 2003.
I had a whole bunch of chicken breasts sitting around in the freezer yesterday, so I defrosted them and marinated them in a style similar to Lebanese Shish Taouk and then grilled them on the Weber. I used
- 3 Big Chicken Breasts
- 1 Big Dollop of FAGE Total Greek Yogurt
- 2 Lemons, Juiced
- 1 Glug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- A handful of fresh chopped mint, oregano and thyme from the garden, plus some dried oregano for good measure
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix well, Marinate for 3-4 hours or overnight in the fridge in a freezer bag or large container. Grill outside or bake in the oven.
Here is something what I grew up learning was “Israeli Salad” but actually this is a pretty typical salad for the Middle East that goes by a number of names. The cucumbers here were garden grown and the tomatoes are Jersey Fresh grown locally bought from the farmer’s market.
Cauliflower with cheese sauce. No, this isn’t particularly Lebanese, but we had a big cauliflower lying around and needed to do something with it. Alternatively, a nice middle eastern preparation would be to roast the cauliflower and then toss it with tahina, maybe with some roasted baby carrots as well.
So here we have the Shish Taouk sliced up, served on a warm pita bread, with tomato/cucumber salad, mint, with tahina sauce and Hummus on the side, with grilled Artichokes, Corn, Red Pepper, and some of the Cauliflower and Cheese sauce. Serve with mint iced tea.