Blogspot is now completely blocked in Syria. I mean I was able until yesterday to access it directly through one remaining service provider. Not anymore, as I have to join my heroic blogging comrades in sneaking our way around proxies and firewalls. However, once you and the blockers read this post and dozens of harmless posts on other Syrian blogs you and they (the wiseass blockers) will discover the wisdom behind their draconian action. This is dangerous stuff I’m talking about here. George W. Bush and company might consider recipes (especially if they originate from the Middle East) to be inherently terroristic in nature. Dough and yogurt, if mixed in a certain manner, might inadvertently lead to nuclear energy thus might pose a danger to the free world and undermine the cultural integrity of White Anglo Saxons. On the other hand, from the point of view of the Syrian Blocker, Fatteh and Kishek could and should be classified as national heritage and their secrets kept within the country. It is a matter of national security and no blogger should have, at her own whim, the authority to expose and discuss the intricacies of Tabbouleh.
Be that as it may, before Ramadan slips away from the fingers of time and to get out of the foul mood we’ve been going through, I thought I’d better share one more food related post and perhaps whet your appetite.
Nothing fancy this time, instead I’ll present a series of photos illustrating a very recent Iftar (breaking of the fast at sunset) with the family along with a brief description of the various entrees. In case you are interested in any single full recipe, please let me know and I’ll be more than glad to oblige.
These are cigar shaped (Churchill size: 20 cm long) dough rolls. They are stuffed with sautéed ground lamb meat, onion and sumacs (1/2 kg of ground beef, 1 chopped onion, 2 tablespoon sumacs, salt). The rolls are fried in vegetable oil until light gold (barely a few minutes). Great appetizer, especially liked by the little ones.
Manaish Bi Zaatar:
Dried thyme (prepared and mixed with coarse powder-crushed nuts, spices and sesame seeds at home or bought ready anywhere in the Middle East & in delicatessens aboard) topped, stirred with olive oil and spread on dough. Place in oven until done (shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes). Great choice for breakfast and enjoyed particularly with tea.
A great Middle Eastern salad. Not Lebanese, not Syrian, not Jordanian but Levantine. Awesome taste universally enjoyed by women for reasons beyond comprehension. Tabbouleh is prepared by mixing parsley, wheat, tomato, onion, lemon juice and olive oil, all at the right proportions I might add.
Fatteh Bi Hommos:
You can check out this previous post of mine to get an idea on how to prepare this culinary masterpiece. This is an everyday Ramadan entrée for most Tartoussis.
Ftireh Bi Keshek:
This is an original Tartoussi pie. It’s mainly prepared in certain villages in the region and some elderly women in town. We had never made it at home but have the good fortune of knowing an old lady who lives nearby. We send her the flour and olive oil. From her end, she provides the Keshek, onions, peppers & spices, prepares the pies and then sends them to be baked at an old fashioned firewood bakery. Later on in the afternoon, her son drops by bringing the magnificent goodies with him. This is an absolute favorite of mine. I like it hot from the oven or cold, two or three days later. Kishek is prepared from whole wheat and yogurt and dried the old fashioned way on the roof of the house. I can’t imagine life without it and you wouldn’t too, once you try a Ftireh Bi Keshek.
Fasoulieh Khadra (Loubieh) Bi Lahme:
½ Kg Lamb meat (salted & spiced) heated in a skillet till light brown. 3 cups of water, spices, cardamom, cinnamon, 1 whole onion, 1 whole carrot and salt are added and cooked for 1 hour until meat is tender. 1 chopped onion sautéed in 2 tablespoon butter till tender and soft. Add Green beans over low fire for ½ hour. Then the meat is added with 2 cups of sauce for 1 hour over medium-low heat. Served with rice and delllllllicious.
Chicken Legs & Potatoes in the Oven:
A simple international cuisine entrée easily prepared in a hundred and one different ways. Always welcomed and appreciated by the the hungry mobs.
Sheikh El Mehshi:
The innards of Zucchini and/or Squash are removed with a special utensil (or the handle of a tablespoon). It takes some practice in order not to ruin the vegetable, but basically the tool is moved in one quarter of a circle in both directions to excavate the Zucchini/Squash. What comes out is not thrown away but rather prepared as another entrée. The empty pieces are then stuffed with ground lamb meat, chopped onions and pine nuts and cooked in yogurt sauce. Rice is served along. This is absolutely fantastic. But I am biased. I’m in love with all food cooked in yogurt.
Let me be the first to wish you all a very Happy Eid Fitr and Kol 3am Wa Antom Bi Kheir. And, to the blocker(s) "Allah Ykaberlekom 3a2lekom".