Good Morning!-- Sabah al Kair in Arabic. Today's lunch takes us to that region specifically to a place that was once known as the original "Paris of the Orient"--Lebanon. This is probably why I was naturally drawn to this Middle Eastern country in the first place! You see, my mother is half-French which automatically makes me a natural Francophile. I love anything and everything remotely French including and especially Olivier Martinez. :-)
Anyway, I would love to visit Lebanon one day if only for the food though certainly there is much history and art to see in this bustling oasis in the desert. I imagine walking through the market and swimming in the heady perfume of exotic spices in the city's many souks. The cuisine is just beautiful I tell you. I am getting acquainted with it now as I promised the boy we will do Lebanese cuisine for this entire week.
Some years back, we stayed in Doha, Qatar for a couple of weeks to spend summer with the boy's Dad. There were several Lebanese groceries there where I spent some hours just looking at produce, ingredients and asking folks about how they were used. Thinking back, the people there probably thought that I was such a pesky customer what with my hundred questions. But it was truly magical! The Lebanese flat bread alone was something I wish I too could make because it was so good that I bought a luggage-full of it to bring home.
I found a wonderful blog about Lebanese food called Taste of Beirut. Just looking through the pictures inspired me to learn more not only about their food but their colorful culture as well. I made Fish Kibbeh inspired by her recipe which admittedly is not for first time cooks. Her recipe required pine nuts which I didn't have so instead of that, I filled it with almonds. For the sauce which required Tahini paste (which I had none too), I replaced with a yogurt based one which she fortunately had in her entries too. I am not sure the combination I made for this lunchbox is acceptable in Lebanese practice but I am cooking for my boy--and by his standards, it looked pretty good. :-)
Today's lunch: Kibbet samak bel-tarator (without the Tarator or Tahini Sauce) with Yogurt Sauce, Lebanese Rice Pilaf with Roasted Peppers