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sabzi

Ghormeh sabzi — Persian herb soup

One day when I was feeling particularly stir-crazy, I packed the baby into the carrier and took a bus down to the Levinsky Street market. There, we made our way through the narrow, crowded streets to Salimi, arguably the area’s best little restaurant for Persian food. Just the two of …

pasta-with-almonds1

Pasta salad with fresh green almonds and Mediterranean herbs

It’s been a pleasant, sunny and slightly chilly spring, but spring nonetheless. And as the seasons change, the market is offering the first springtime and summer fruits — namely, stone fruits. That includes loquats, a few too-solid peaches and nectarines, and green almonds. Yes, green almonds — generally grown for …

lentil-soup

Orange lentil-tomato soup with complete protein

Lentil soup may have been one of the first things I learned to cook. No, this wasn’t even that long ago — I haven’t been cooking my entire life. It was back in college, when I didn’t really know what I was doing in the kitchen and I definitely needed …

beets2

Beet salad with labneh

This is what borscht might look like if it were a Mediterranean dish. Instead of swimming in a bowl of hot broth, these bright red beets are marinating in lemon juice and topped with fresh parsley, with a bit of olive oil to add flavor. And the sour cream? Fresh …

freekeh1

Green wheat with apricots and pecans

Green wheat is one of the oldest methods of eating grains known to mankind. It’s been grown and prepared in this region for thousands of years. It was used in biblical offerings. Before there was rice, there was green wheat. In fact, unlike rice, green wheat is grown and processed …

stuffed-eggplant-cafe-liz

Eggplants stuffed with herbs and rice

Here in the Levant we like to stuff things. It’s a habit picked up by all the places that used to be part of the Ottoman empire and its neighbors. Because rice is never so good as when it’s cooked packed inside a vegetable, and picks up its flavors and …

okra-soup

Tangy tomato okra soup

If you’re like me, and you don’t see 33-degree Celsius weather as a reason not to indulge in a hot bowl of soup, this recipe is for you. It’s simple, and it doesn’t have too many seasonings. It doesn’t need to — summer’s fresh bounty adds flavor enough. One thing …

stuffed-grape-leaves

Grape leaves stuffed with cranberries, garlic and rice

Now is the season to pick grape leaves. Not that I have access to a grapevine; but plenty of other people do, it seems. One of them apparently dumped a pile of fresh leaves next to the scales at some stall buried deep in the Carmel market this past weekend. …

tabouleh-little-bowl-cafe-liz

Tabouleh — chopped parsley salad

Tabouleh is parsley salad worth its weight in gold. Each individual ingredient needs personal, painstaking preparation. Cutting the vegetables is an art form. This is another dish I learned during my time in Haifa, from my roommate Naifeh. We would have tabouleh days, and the girls would sit around together, …