Kawarma – قاورما

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Autumn is here. In Lebanon, especially in the villages, this season is the season of “Mooneh” making. Mooneh can be somehow translated to “pantry”. Back in the days, when there was no food shipping, no fridges, no indoor planting, people had to make food supplies for the rest of the year.

One of the most Famous Mooneh is the Kawarma (Kavurma in Turkish meaning cooked meat). The meat is sliced, completely cooked in its own fat and sealed in jars. This method guarantees to keep the meet in good condition all year round.

 

 

The most famous meals using the Kawarma are Fried eggs and Kushk- another Mooneh meal made from combining Labneh and Wheat-

These two delicacies, despite being very cheap and known as the poor’s dishes, are seriously worth eating, especially when it’s cold up in the mountains when all the family is gathered around that sizzling pan waiting just to dig in with their piece of bread. and the best moment? Burning your tongue, waving your hands and feeling the heat spread through your whole body, forgetting the cold cold weather.

 

eggs-kawarmakeshk-b-kawarma

Pesto with fresh basil from the garden

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Everyone loves to see the result of their hard work. But when it comes to tasting food from the garden, we’re talking about another level of satisfaction.

 

My grandfather, “Jeddo” is our plant guru. Whether it’s a seed, a dying plant, or a random leaf Jeddo can plant it grow it and we shall eat from that plant.

This year’s harvest was fresh basil. After months of care, watering, and smell, we had just enough to create a small batch of pesto.

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Here you can see Jeddo planting the basil plants with Mom and Dad taking his orders on how to water and take care of them.

You can find a lot of recipes on the internet with specific measurements and substitutes. But my way was the Lebanese way. Eyeballing is the secret. So, Here it goes:

 

Recipe:

A bunch of fresh basil

1 or 2 garlic cloves

Some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Pine nuts

Olive oil

 

Method:

Put all ingredients except the olive oil in the food processor and start whizzing until paste forms. While the processor is still on, add the olive oil as a stream until you feel that the paste is saturated.

 

basil-pesto

Originally, pesto is grounded by hand, therefore, the name (Pesta = Pounding) but of course, a little bit of technology and some laziness made us use the food processor and man did it make our lives easier. Anyway, this paste first appeared in the 16th century around Genoa region in North Italy.

Although pesto is commonly added to plain pasta, I’m not saying it’s not delicious, but, to tantalize your taste buds, you can assert the smooth paste with a few slices of salty grilled Halloumi cheese. Hellim (as they call it in Cyprus the country of origin) or Halloum, is a salty white cheese, recognizable from it’s folded U shape. This springy cheese can be eaten raw along with some sliced vegetables and taste as good as grilled with the amazing pesto, some watermelons and even with sundried tomatoes and a drizzle of the all mighty extra virgin olive oil. YUM!

 

Basil Pesto Halloum .jpg

Saj Mankoushé – منقوشة عالصاج

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Makoushé in ChebaniehToday’s post is dedicated to my country’s famous and favorite food of all time probably. The Mankoushé. A round flat pizza like bread flavored with thyme, cheese, Keshk, labneh, or even endless possibilities.

First things first, a little etymology lesson. Mankoushé is literally translated to patterned. It is called so because while forming the dough, it is patterned with the tips of the fingers so that the flavoring spreads all over the dough and deep into it.

Traditionally it is baked on a large heated dome shaped iron called Saj. In my hometown, Jenevieve, or as we call her “Jeff” and her husband make the best mankoushé with whole wheat dough that she kneads every day.

Mankoushé is a food that you can savor all day everyday. As a traditional breakfast, maybe  a snack, or as we eat it, for dinner. Gathering the family, making an order of all flavors, cutting them into bite size pieces with sliced vegetables on the side. Because, you can’t miss out on any flavor, and of course, because sharing is caring 😀

Foodie On a Mission

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Hello there, internet world.

Here starts my journey (not my first) in the world of blogging. I have to admit, the previous ones were many, but none of them lasted for more than a couple of days…

A little backstory to set everyone on the right track. My passion for food started since day 1 of my life. Growing up at school, erasers were my favorite ingredient: I could practice my chopping skills using sharpener blades; shape eraser dust into pizza with toppings and bake it into the drawer of my desk… As I grew older, I discovered that food, became more than just an interest. It became a passion, and every occasion was a reason to put food on the table (or well… to eat)

Foodie On a Mission is my way of celebrating food Pride, and a way to express my passion towards food, that itself, creates in me and in many other people so many feelings. That soothing sound you hear while butter is slowly melting in the pan. That excitement you have when bacon is sizzling, or that satisfaction when the last piece of meat helps you lick the last drop of sauce.

 

My mission? Maybe is to find the best chef in my hometown,discover new tastes from around the world, or maybe to capture the small moments that could only be created when around food. It could be as simple as celebrating food, everyday, everywhere.

Let the Mission Begin!

Foodie on a Mission

Celebrating Lebanese food, and how else can I celebrate than by dedicating my first photo to Grandma, or as we say, “Teta” rolling the famous vine leaves (Warak Aarish)