Cookbook Review: Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen:

Since she was six years old, Julie Ann Sageer (nicknamed Julie Taboulie by her close-knit family) has had a passion for cooking the meals of her Lebanese heritage. Just like in her Emmy-nominated cooking show Cooking with Julie Taboulie, each of her recipes comes with hands-on instructions, tips, and tricks for making homemade Middle Eastern dishes using heaps of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Here you’ll find dishes that range from classics like falafel, shawarma, and (of course) taboulie, to warming Bazilla―a stew of tomato, green pea, and lamb―to honey and rosewater-infused desserts.

In these 125 recipes, you’ll learn how easy it is to make such Lebanese staples as fresh labneh (strained yogurt) and how to put together your own delicious, multi-purpose spice mixes. In addition to the delicious meat and chicken dishes, Lebanese cuisine offers a wide variety of vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes, usually with no substitutions whatsoever! Every chapter includes a multitude of dishes for eaters of all kinds and preferences, from meat-lovers to veggie-heads and everything in between.

Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen: Authentic Recipes for Fresh and Flavourful Mediterranean Home Cookingis available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

 


Kafta Kababs

Photography by Alexsandra Grablewski

Makes 6 servings (12 to 14 skewers)

1 large yellow onion
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely minced
2 pounds finely ground lean lamb or beef
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground allspice
12 to 14 wooden or metal skewers (if using wooden skewers, presoak in water for 30 to 60 minutes)

 

Preheat a grill to high, or if using an oven, preheat to 450°F.

Quarter the onion and finely mince in a food processor. Transfer the minced onions in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, and press down on the onions to remove any excess liquid. Discard the liquid and set the onions aside. Add the parsley to the food processor and pulse to finely chop. Return the drained onions to the food processor bowl. Add the ground meat and season with the salt, pepper, and allspice. Process to thoroughly blend all the ingredients, periodically pausing the processor to push the meat down and scrape it from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Transfer the meat mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Using your hands, mix the meat mixture together to make sure that all ingredients are evenly
incorporated into a smooth mixture.

Make the kafta kababs: Working in 1/3-cup portions, mold the meat mixture into a long sausage-like shape, about 6 inches in length. Then, roll the meat in between your palms to a thickness of about 1½ inches. Using the sharp end of the skewer, pierce through one end of the kabab and slide it through the other end; the meat should be about 1 inch away from the sharp tip of the skewer. Squeeze the meat one more time to ensure that it tightly adheres to the skewer. Continue making kababs in the same manner with the remaining meat mixture. You should end up with 12 to 14 skewers.

If using a grill, lightly brush it with oil. Place the kafta kababs on the grill over a medium flame
and cook, turning them periodically so that they cook evenly, 4 to 5 minutes per side, being
careful not to overgrill them.

If roasting in the oven, place the kababs on a lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart, and roast on the middle rack of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, turning them over halfway through the roasting time.

Serve hot.

Taboulie tip! Be sure not to overgrill these kababs. They should be moist and juicy!

Recipe reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press.

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