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Lebanese Food

1 lb. garbanzo beans or 2              1/2 c. tahini (seasame seed paste)
 (16-oz.) cans                              1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. baking soda                        1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 clove garlic                               2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Soak garbanzo overnight with the baking soda. Wash, cover with water and bring to boil; simmer till tender, add water if needed. Set aside 1/4 cup for decoration. Blend garlic in a food processor. With a slotted spoon, remove garbanzo and add to garlic. Blend well till you have a smooth puree mixture. Add tahini, lemon juice and salt; mix well. Add some of the garbanzo cooking liquid if needed, till you have the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning. Place on a large plate, or individual small plates. Garnish with remaining garbanzo, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve as a dip with Lebanese toasted bread, or as a side dish. Makes 10 servings.

LABNEH (Yogurt Cheese Spread)
 2 lbs. yogurt                                1/2 tsp. salt, opt.
 Place a round plastic colander in a plastic bowl. Cover with two-fold cheese cloth. Pour yogurt  inside and let drain for at least 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The second day, place  a plate on top of the strainer, turn upside down. Cover. Keep refrigerated at all times. Serve as  a spread with some olive oil on top. Eat for breakfast with black olives, fresh mint, cucumber and Lebanese bread.

TABBOULEH (Lebanese Salad)
5 c. Italian parsley leaves, washed, drained and chopped fine
 1 c. mint leaves, washed, drained and chopped fine
 1 c. burghul (fine cracked wheat, from Lebanese grocery store) washed and well drained
 1 lb. ripe tomato, chopped fine
 4 spring onions, chopped fine
 1/4 c. olive oil
 1/4 c. lemon juice or to taste Salt and pepper
 Mix the chopped tomato and burghul, refrigerate. Add spring onions to lemon juice, refrigerate. Just before serving, mix parsley, mint, burghul, tomato mixture, lemon juice, green onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings. Serve with romaine lettuce on the side. Makes 8 servings.

Mdardara (Lentil Rice Pilaf)
 1c. red lentils, washed and drained
 1 c. rice, soaked for 15 min. in hot water, washed and drained
 2 lg. onions, sliced finely in half circles
 1/4 c. olive oil, to stir fry onions
 5 c. water
 Salt and pepper to taste
 Stir fry onion slices in olive oil till golden brown. Remove and place on paper towel to drain and crisp.  In the same pot remove the oil, keep only 1 tablespoon of the oil, add water and lentils, boil till lentils are tender but firm. Add rice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil again. Lower heat and simmer till all water is absorbed (like rice pilaf). Serve warm or cold on a serving plate with fried onions on top and a cabbage salad on the side. Makes 6 servings.

Makhlouta (Seven Grains Soup)
 1 lb. (16-oz.) bag mixed dried beans, soaked overnight
 1/2 c. lg. coarse burghul
 1 med. onion, chopped
 2 T. olive oil
 Salt and pepper to taste
 1 T. cumin
  Wash beans very well, in a strainer under running water. Cover with water and bring to boil. Cover and simmer till beans are cooked. Add burghul. Add water if needed. In a small frying pan, heat oil and fry onions. Add onions to bean mixture. Add salt, pepper and cumin. Serve hot with grilled bread or croutons. Makes 8 servings.

Kafta Mishwiyeh (Grilled Basic Kafta)
 2 lbs. ground meat (lamb or beef)
 1 med. onion
 2 c. parsley leaves, washed and drained
 1/2 c. bread crumbs
 Salt and pepper to taste
 1 tsp. sumac
 Bamboo or metal skewers,
 bamboo, soaked several hours.
 Place the onion and parsley in a food processor and chop very fine. Remove to a bowl, add the meat, bread crumbs and spices. Mix well to incorporate the onions and parsley together. Take about 2 table-spoons and mold around the skewers in a hot dog shape. Wet your hand if needed. Barbecue or broil till cooked on all sides, turning once. Serve immediately as a sandwich, in Lebanese bread with hummus or baba ghannouj. Or serve over chopped mix of fresh parsley, mint, radishes and onions sprinkled with summac. Nice with cucumber yogurt salad on the side. Makes 6 servings.

 4 c. milk
 4 T. corn flour
 2 T. sugar
 1 T. sugar
 1 T. rose water
 1 T. orange blossom water
 1 piece ground miskeh (arabic gum)
 1/2 c. almond slivers, soaked in water
 1/2 c. pistachio nuts, crushed
 1 c. sugar syrup
 Place milk in a saucepan. Add corn flour and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to medium heat, stirring constantly till the mixture thickens like a pudding. Remove from the heat, add miskeh, rose and orange waters. Pour into small cups and allow to cool, chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. To serve, sprinkle the top with the pistachio and almond flakes and drizzle with the simple sugar syrup.
 Optional: Place slices of banana under the pistachio and almond nuts. You may use honey in place of the sugar syrup. Make 10 servings.

Retrieved from the book Sahtain: Lebanese Home Cooking, a Collection of Recipes by Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church, 7164 Alaska Avenue NW Washington, D.C.- Morris Press Cookbooks, 2002