Amazing Kids! Magazine

Cook Time with Remmi

By Remmi Smith, Cook Nook Columnist

 

Hi Amazing Kids! In the past couple of weeks, I have created some amazing Lebanese dishes and I am going to share one of my favorite meals. The country of Lebanon is on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, and it is the size of the State of Connecticut. It is north of Israel and West of Syria.  The Lebanese are considered very hospitable people. In their culture, it is an honor to have a guest in your home.  The Lebanese express their hospitality and their generosity with food (My favorite subject!). An unexpected visitor will always be invited to stay for a meal. In their diet, they consume a lot of vegetables like eggplant, cucumbers, and cauliflower.  Olives, lemons, spices and yoghurt are very important to their cuisine… And, did you know bread is treasured and if spoiled, they kiss the bread before they throw it away? More “Did You Know’s?” later….Let’s get cooking…………..

Remmi’s April Menu

Kafta mah Batata

Salata Libnaniya

Laban

Ruz M’falfal

Kafta-Potato Bake(Kafta mah Batata)

Ingredients:

  • 2 LB ground beef (lean)
  • ½ C onion (small dice)
  • 1/3 C fresh parsley (sliced)
  • ¼ t allspice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 potatoes (large/peeled/1/2 “ slices)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes (thick slice)
  • ¼ C tomato paste
  • 1 ½ C water
  • ½ t cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare ingredients as directed. Mix first 5 ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the meat mixture in a 9 X 12 baking dish. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and drain any liquid. Layer the tomatoes on the meat mixture and then layer the potatoes. Mix tomato paste/water/cinnamon and pour over mixture. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil covering and place back in the oven for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

 

Lebanese Salad (Salata Libnaniya)

Ingredients:

  • 4 C Romaine lettuce (sliced)
  • ½-pint cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 1 cucumber (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 green onions (sliced)
  • 3 T fresh parsley (sliced)
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • ¼ C lemon juice
  • 1 T dry mint
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare salad ingredients as directed and place in medium bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a jar. Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.

 

Rice Pilaf (Ruz M’falfal)

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 C rice
  • ½ C vermicelli (angel hair pasta/broken in 2 inch pieces
  • 4 ¼ C water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In medium pan heat the olive oil and then add the vermicelli. Sauté until the pasta is golden color. Add the rice/water/salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn the burner on low and put a lid on the pan.  Cook for 20 minutes.

 

Yogurt (Laban)

Ingredients:

  • 2 C plain yogurt (non fat)
  • 1 ½ T lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with the rice pilaf.

Add some toasted pita/flat bread and you have a Lebanese Feast!!!!

Now…some more fun food facts………Did you Know?

  • A single lemon tree can produce 500-600 pounds of fruit each year?
  • The first Olympic flame was a burning olive branch.
  • 20% of the cultivated land in Lebanon is olive groves.
  • The Lebanese home always has a stock of yogurt, pickles, olives, nuts, and herbs and spices.
  • The capital of Lebanon is Beirut.
  • Every main meal begins with mezza (hors d’oeuvres).
  • The greeting between close friends is 3 kisses on the cheeks (alternating).
  • When dining in a Lebanese home, you are expected to try all of the foods served, and you will be expected to have second helpings of the food to show your host you are enjoying the food.
  • The olive branch is a sign of peace and goodwill.

I hope you enjoy this meal. I have been making a lot of Lebanese dishes lately and I have fallen in love with their cuisine. Have a happy and amazing APRIL!! Remmi<3.