Posts in Lebanon
From Nonna's Kitchen (Mother's Day Edition!): Kousa Mahshi

My latest Heirloom Kitchen landed me in Lebanon with an Iraqi woman, from England.  Yes, you read that correctly, Scheherazade ‘Cherie’ Jafar was born in London, England and then moved with her family to Bagdad, Iraq until she was ten years old.  At that point, she returned to Bathe, to study.  At nineteen, she married and headed to America as a young bride. 

Because of her diverse background, Cherie is versed in a number of different cuisines.  She cooks dishes from her native England and Iraq but also makes a number of Lebanese dishes taught to her by her mother-in-law.  It was fascinating to go through her little recipe book with her.  A link to her well traveled past, her hand written recipes come from her homeland, her in laws and also her place of birth.  She can throw together an authentic tabboleh, Middle Eastern stew and finish the meal with an English bread pudding. 

Through our conversation, we got to cooking the most delicious zucchini dish from the middle east, Kousa Mahshi.  Savory ground beef with rice all stuffed into a zucchini. It was delicious, simple, and healthy.  Try this Lebanese stuffed zucchini made by an amazing English woman from Iraq and you will not be sorry!

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From Nonna's Kitchen: Irene's Sambousek

When I was researching different food cultures and traditions, I knew I needed to include some dishes from the Middle East. So, I emailed my friend Mike and asked if he would volunteer is mom for my Nonna project.  I knew Mike grew up as a first generation kid like me so it would be perfect.  I soon received a call from his wonderful mom Irene Sankari.  She was happy to help and came up with a number of dishes we could make together. 

Irene came to the US from Beirut, Lebanon at the age of seven with her parents and settled in Buffalo, New York. We did a lot of cooking in Irene’s beautiful Long Island home so I want to share the recipes here in Nonna’s Kitchen.  This recipe is for a lovely appetizer called Sambousek.  Sambousek is a Lebanese pastry filled with meat or cheese.  Many come fried but Irene bakes hers and they are delicious.  I love how easy they are to make and how you can freeze them and pop them in the oven whenever you have some last minute guests.

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Medz Mama Lucy's Hummus

I love Middle Eastern food!  Some day, I hope to traipse around the Middle East gobbling up falafel, hummus and lots and lots of pita.  For now though, I have the next best thing.  My friend Christine’s mom is Armenian and hails from Beirut, Lebanon.  In addition, she is a fabulous cook.  She raised her three American kids on all the delicacies of her mother’s Armenian kitchen.

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