Olives, Lemons & Za'atar The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-02-13
  • Publisher: Kyle Books
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Rawia, in Arabic, means storyteller. And that is what I am. I tell the stories of my life's journey, culture, and family through my cooking. A delicious meal is the greatest companion to the memories we cherish most. I was born into a food-loving Palestinian-Arab family in Nazareth, a beautiful town in the southern Galilee. Though the words “organic,” “locavore,” and “sustainable” were unknown then, my parents' approach qualified on all counts. My respect for the sources of food, how it is grown and prepared, originates in my early years at home.

My grandmother had ceramic urns filled with fruity olive oil, pressed from the trees on her family's land picked by my aunts and uncles. My mother, too, made her own olive oil, and used the remaining “crude” oil to make soap; she also distilled her own vinegar, sun-dried her own herbs and fruits, made fresh batches of goat cheese, as well as sweet wine from our vineyards, and jarred jewel-colored jams from the bounty of the local orchards.

After moving to New York, I opened my restaurant Tanoreen to honor my mother and her imaginative cooking as well as the rich Middle Eastern gastronomic culture that is rarely experienced outside the region. Tanoreen is unique because it showcases Middle Eastern home cooking as I experienced it growing up. The 135 recipes in this book celebrate tradition and embrace change. I cook without rigidly following recipes, though I do respect tradition. My dishes are based on our culture's recipes that are flexible enough to accommodate both adventurous and conservative contemporary palates.

Organized by Breakfasts, Mezze, Salads, Soups and Stews, Main Courses (including vegetarian, fish, chicken, lamb and beef), Sides, Pickles and Sauces, and Desserts, in each chapter I maintain the authenticity of a dish, re-creating it as it has been made for generations; but sometimes I might opt to experiment a bit, to make the recipe more contemporary, perhaps adding a spice or offering a few shortcuts. My favorite examples of these are my preparation of Brussels Sprouts with Panko (and tahini), Spice Rubbed Braised Lamb Shank (marinated in ginger and rose buds), Tanoreen Kafta Roll, (a reconstructed classic) or Eggplant Napoleon (baba ghanouge layered between crisp eggplant and topped with basil and tomatoes). A dish like Egyptian Rice with Lamb and Pine Nuts shows this cookbook goes beyond Nazareth, and is more of a bible of Middle Eastern food, sharing my culinary journey from Nazareth to New York, with many stops in between.

Author Biography

Rawia Bishara opened her restaurant Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 1998. New York Magazine has named it the best Mezze in 2003 and #1 Cheap Eats in 2006. The New York Times, Gourmet magazine, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Travel & Leisure, Zagat Restaurant Survey, Michelin Guides, TIme Out New York, The New York Post, and Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" have all featured or positively reviewed Tanoreen. Rawia has had her recipes published in The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Plate Magazine and teaches a recurring class at DeGustibus Culinary School.

Table of Contents

1. Breakfast
Scrambled Eggs with Halloumi
Eggs and Potatoes
Eggs with Zaatar
Simple Omelet; Variation: Stuffed Omelet
Sidebar: Kaak
Meat and Eggs
Fava Beans
Sidebar: A Good Soak
Tanoreen's Specialty Fava Beans
Chickpeas and Fava Beans
Yogurt with Tahini and Chickpeas
Hummus with Meat

2. Mezze
Kibbe with Hossi
STORY: Kibbe: The Sound of A Village Pounding
Tahini with Parsley Sauce
My Mother's Hummus
Eggplant Spread
Mutabal (Eggplant Spread with tomatoes, chile peppers)
Eggplant Pate
Red Pepper and Walnut Spread
Brussels Sprouts with Panko
Pickled Stuffed Eggplant
Vegetarian Grape Leaves
STORY: Of Marriage and Mezze
Savory Pies
STORY: Mastic Memories
Sidebar: Big Batch Baking
Zaatar Bread
Red Pepper and Onion Flatbread

3. Salads
Turkish Salad
Tanoreen Potato Salad
Eggplant Salad
Tomato Salad
Beet Salad
Cauliflower Salad
Feta Salad
Chopped Salad
Chopped Parsley Salad
Variation: Tabouleh the Nazareth Way
Tanoreen Green Salad

4. Soups and Stews
Tanoreen's Leek and Potato Soup
Tomato Soup
Lentil Noodle Soup with Kale; VARIATION: Gluten-Free option
Pureed Lentil Soup
Pureed Split Pea Soup; VARIATION: Adding an herbed Teklai
Simple Chicken Soup
Seasoned Chicken and Stock
Smoked Wheat Berry Soup; VARIATION: Using turkey necks
Lamb Vegetable Soup
Chickpea and Vegetable Soup
Seafood Soup
Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Stew
Chopped Mlookhia Stew
Cauliflower Stew; VARIATION: Lemon sauce
String Bean Stew; VARIATION: With beef or lamb
Spinach Stew with Beef or Lamb
Seasoned Lamb or Beef Stock
Sweet Pea and Kafta Stew
White Bean and Beef Stew; VARIATION: Vegetarian version
Beef and Potato Stew; VARIATION: Using tamarind
Okra with Lamb and Pomegranate Molasses Stew

5. Main Courses
Baked Eggplant
Eggs in Purgatory
Vegetarian Stuffed Vegetables
Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage
Cracked Wheat in Tomato Sauce; VARIATION: Shulbato Sandwich
Eggplant Napoleon
Tanoreen Baked Fish
Spicy Baked Fish
Fisherman's Dish
Fish Tagine
Whole Fried Fish
STORY: A Tuesday in Spain
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce
Salmon in Pesto
Roasted Porgies
Grilled Red Snapper in Grape Leaves
Chicken Fetti; VARIATION: Fetti sauce the Egyptian way
Palestinian Couscous
STORY: Making Maftool
Chicken "Pizza"
Whole Stuffed Chicken
Chicken Tagine
Chicken Kabobs; VARIATION: Kabobs, Indian-Style
Grilled Quail
SIDEBAR: How to spatchcock a quail
Lamb and Beef
Stuffed Artichoke Hearts
Sidebar: How to Clean Fresh Artichokes
Stuffed Eggplant or Squash in Tomato Sauce
Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb in Lemon Sauce
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Stuffed Cabbage
Stuffed Grape Leaves and Squash
Hashwi for Stuffing Vegetables; VARIATIONS: For stuffing Eggplant, Squash, Grape Leaves, Cabbage
Egyptian Rice with Lamb and Pine Nuts; VARIATION: Mansaaf Express
Kafta with Tahini Sauce or Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce
Tanoreen Kafta Roll
Baked Kibbe with Hossi
Raw Kibbe with Hossi
Makloobeh; VARIATIONS: cauliflower stuffing, fresh fava or sweet pea stuffing
Spice Rubbed Braised Lamb Shank
Smoked Wheat with Lamb
Baked Eggplant with Lamb
Beef Baked Spaghetti

Sauteed String Beans
Sidebar: To make beef or lamb stew
Sauteed Dandelion Greens with Caramelized Onions
Kale with Shallots and Olive Oil
Fried Tomatoes
Okra with Tomatoes
Lentils with Bulgur
Rice and Vermicelli Pilaf
Spicy Rice
Jasmine Rice with Pine Nuts and Raisins
Basmati Rice with Vegetables

Pickled Cauliflower and Carrots
Pickled Turnips and Beets
Pickled Stuffed Peppers
Pickled Eggplant in Vinegar
PickledEggplant in Olive Oil
Basil Pesto
Garlic Sauce
Homemade Hot Sauce
Olive Spread

Classic Sahlab; VARIATION: Sahlab Tanoreen
Semolina Cake; VARIATION: Semolina Walnut Cake
Date Roll or Cookies; VARIATION: Using fig or apricot preserves
STORY: Easter in Nazareth
Macaroni Cookies; VARIATION: Lenten Macaroni Cookies
Stuffed Fresh Dates


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