Additional Recipes

Arabic Cucumber Salad

Butter Oil

Caramelized Onions

Couscous with Almonds, Carrots, and Currants

Tomato, Cucumber, Fresh Herb Salad

Herb Salt

Lamb Patties with Pistachios and Feta

Mint Syrup

Orange and Date Salad

Persian Pistachio Ice Cream

Plum-Concord Grape Sauce

Roasted Red Pepper, Walnut, and Pomegranate Spread

Rotisserie Chicken

Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Sauce with Preserved Garlic and Fresh Herbs

Turkish Moussaka

Arabic Cucumber Salad

4 large Cucumbers or 8 Kirby Cucumbers, cut into chunks

Kosher Salt

1 large Sweet Onion, peeled, cut into crescent shaped slivers.

6 tablespoons Olive Oil

3 tablespoons Lemon Juice

¼ cup Fresh Mint Leaves, cut into thin slivers

1 clove Garlic, finely minced

Toss cucumbers with some salt. Place in a colander and allow to drain for several hours.

Add the onions and mint.

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and garlic.

Toss the vegetables and mint with the dressing.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Butter Oil (Ghee)

 Cook’s notes: Similar to clarified butter, this ‘butter oil’ has a rich silky texture and a slightly nutty flavor. For short-term storage ghee does not require refrigeration but for long-term storage keep it in the refrigerator.

 1 pound Unsalted Butter, preferably organic

Place the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan placed over medium heat. After the butter has melted, reduce the heat to low.

The mixture will foam and sputter as the water in the butter begins to evaporate. Stir the mixture often during this process.

After 15 minutes the foam will begin to sink to the bottom of the pan and eventually become a golden brown color. When the butter becomes clear removed the pan from the heat. Allow the ghee to cool to room temperature.

Strain the ghee through a fine sieve or several layers of cheesecloth into a measuring cup. Discard the brown bits. Pour the ghee into a clean glass jar with a lid.

Ghee can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for longer storage. Always use a clean spoon to remove the ghee from the jar.

Caramelized Onions

 Cook’s notes: This recipe requires time, patience, and a watchful eye. Make more than you need and store the extra in the refrigerator; it has endless uses. Ghee is available at Indian and Middle Eastern markets or (see separate recipe). Organic Ghee can be found at Whole Foods Market.

4 tablespoons Ghee, Unsalted Butter, or Olive Oil

2 large Onions, peeled and chopped

Kosher Salt

Heat the ghee in a large non-stick frying pan with a fitted lid. Add the onions, lightly salt, and cook over medium-high heat until most of the steam has evaporated and the onions begin to sizzle.

When the edges of the onions begin to brown, lower the temperature to medium-low, cover the pan, and slowly caramelized the onions; this takes about 45 minutes.

Check the onions often to make sure they are not burning; add a bit of water if necessary.

The onions are caramelized when they become a rich golden brown and are sweet and tender.

Couscous with Almonds, Carrots, and Currants

Serves 4 as a side dish   

Cook’s notes: I use Ziyad brand whole-wheat Maftoul Couscous. Instant couscous is not a substitute for this couscous that are light golden brown beads the size of coriander seeds.

1 tablespoon Olive Oil, Ghee, or Unsalted Butter (or a combination of butter and oil)

1 cup Middle Eastern Couscous (Maftoul)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil, Ghee, or Unsalted Butter (or a combination of butter and oil)

1 Shallot or small Onion, peeled and finely minced

1 Carrot, peeled and finely diced

Zest and Juice of 1 Orange

1¾ cups Unsalted or Low Sodium Chicken, Vegetable, or Mushroom Stock

Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 tablespoons Currants, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained

¼ cup Roasted Slivered Almonds

Melt 1-tablespoon butter and/or oil over medium high heat in a frying pan with a tight fitting lid. Add the dry couscous and cook until it begins to turn a rich golden brown. Stir often. Transfer the couscous to a bowl and set aside.

Heat 2-tablespoons of butter and/or oil in the frying pan. Add the shallots and carrots, lightly salt, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender.

Add the orange zest, juice, and stock. Season with black pepper.

Add the browned couscous. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the couscous is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, and add the currants and almonds. Place a cotton towel over the pan, replace the cover, and allow the couscous to rest for another 10-15 minutes before serving.

Just before serving fluff the couscous with a large fork.

Tomato, Cucumber, Fresh Herb Salad

Serves 6

Cook’s notes: I sometimes add ½ cup crumbled and rinsed Sheep’s milk feta to this salad. Add Fresh Basil when in season.

Make it your own: Kirby (pickling cucumbers) and be replaced with English or Armenian Cucumbers. If using standard cucumbers peel them if the skin is waxed or tough; removed the seeds if they are large.

4-6 Kirby Cucumbers, trimmed and diced

4 large Tomatoes, cored and diced

Kosher Salt

¼ cup finely chopped Flat Leaf Parsley

¼ cup chopped Fresh Dill

¼ cup chopped Fresh Mint

¼ cup thinly sliced Green Onions


2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Whisk together the lemon juice and the vinegar. Slowly whisk in the oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the diced cucumbers and tomatoes with some salt. Place in a colander and allow the mixture to drain for at least 30 minutes.

Place the drained cucumbers and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients.

Pour dressing over vegetable mixture. Toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Herb Salt

Cook’s notes: I make this seasoning throughout the growing season when the herbs are abundant. Throughout the winter this aromatic mix flavors soups, stews, meats, and eggs. Jars of herb salt make beautiful and useful gifts.

It is important that the fresh herbs be rinsed and completely dry before they are minced in the food processor. Use a salad spinner or roll the herbs in a cotton or paper towel until they are dry.

1 ball (8-10 cloves) Garlic, peeled

1½ cups Kosher Salt

2 cups minced Fresh Herbs. Rinse and dry the herbs before chopping.

Fresh Herb Mix:

Sage Leaves

Thyme, remove and discard stems

Rosemary, remove and discard stems

Summer Savory, remove and discard stems

Oregano leaves and tender stems; remove and discard woody stems

Tarragon, remove and discard stems

Drop garlic cloves into a running food processor. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the salt, pulse to combine.

Add the dry herbs to the processor and pulse until they are finely minced. Process the mixture until it is well mixed.

Spread the herb salt on a baking sheet. Cover the mixture with a piece of cheesecloth and set the sheet in a dry place. Twice a day gently toss the mixture with a fork until it is completely dry, about 2 days.

Store the herb salt in glass jars.

Lamb Patties with Pistachios and Feta

Makes 12 patties, serves 6

Cook’s notes: Assyrians serve grilled lamb patties on a bed of chopped herbs (cilantro, dill, tarragon, and chives), diced tomatoes and peppers. Wrapped in paper-thin bread, or on a flatbread, it is served throughout the growing season.

The patties can also be tucked inside Pita Bread or served on toasted or grilled buns.

Make it your own: Aleppo is a Turkish ground chili pepper. Red Chili Flakes are a good substitute.  

 2 pounds Ground Lamb

1 Egg, beaten

1 small red Chili Pepper, seeded and finely chopped or 1 teaspoon Alleppo Chili Powder

½ teaspoon Ground Allspice

½ cup Roasted and unsalted Pistachios, finely chopped or ground

½ cup Sheep’s Milk Feta, crumbled, rinsed, and drained

1 Shallot, peeled and finely minced or grated OR 2 Scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal

4 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced

¼ cup finely chopped Parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped Fresh Mint, or 2 teaspoons Dry Mint

Garnish: Ground Sumac

Combine the ingredients and chill for several hours.

Divide the mixture into 12 equal parts and form into oval patties.

Grill the patties, turning once, until both sides are lightly browned and the internal temperature is 145-degrees. Or roast the patties on a rack set over a baking dish at the top of a 425-degree oven.

Transfer the patties to a platter, sprinkle with sumac, lightly tent with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Mint Syrup

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups Water

2 cup Sugar

6-ounces Fresh Mint Leaves

Heat the water, sugar, and mint in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the temperature reaches 215-degrees.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to reach room temperature.

Strain the syrup and store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Discard the mint.

Orange and Date Salad

Serves 6 as a side salad

Cook’s notes: This winter salad can be served with stews or alongside roasted meats. It also makes a refreshing seasonal dessert. Include it on a meze platter with cheeses, olives, and savory pastries.

*’Supreme’ is a technique that removes the tender, interior flesh from the tough membrane that encases it.  

1 tablespoon Orange Zest

6 Navel Oranges, peel and supreme* them. Discard the peels and the membranes. Reserve any juice that is released.

½ cup Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped

¼ cup Toasted Slivered Almonds

2 teaspoons Orange Blossom Water, or to taste

½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, or to taste

½ teaspoon Dried Mint, or to taste

Remove the zest from the oranges using a microplane grater or a zester. Measure out 1 tablespoon and freeze the rest for another use.

Transfer the orange sections, and any collected juice, to a bowl.

Add the dates, almonds, orange blossom water, cinnamon, and mint. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Persian Pistachio Ice Cream

Serves 6

 2 cups raw unsalted Pistachios Nuts

2 cups Whole Milk

½ teaspoon Saffron

2/3 cup Sugar

2 cups Heavy Cream

6 Egg Yolks

pinch of Salt

2 teaspoons Rose Water, or to taste

1 cup roasted and salted Pistachios

Prepare the pistachio milk:

Combine the unsalted pistachios and the whole milk in a blender. Blend until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, add the saffron, and heat over medium-high heat until bubbles begin to form on the edges. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and allow the mixture to set until it reaches room temperature.

Pour the mixture into a colander lined with several layers of damp cheesecloth. Strain the liquid; then gather the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the milk as possible. You should end up with 1 cup of pistachio milk.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and the salt until light in color. Set aside.

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water.

In a heavy saucepan scald the pistachio milk, cream, and sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and small bubbles begin to form on the edges. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk small amounts of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Continue adding the mixture until the yolks are warm. Add the yolk mixture into the remaining milk mixture. Cook the custard over medium-high heat until it reaches 175 degrees; stir constantly.

Transfer the custard to a bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and whisk the mixture until it reaches room temperature. Remove the bowl of custard from the ice bath and lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface. Chill the custard in the refrigerator until it is cold.

Remove the cold custard from the refrigerator. Add rose water to taste.

Process the mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fold in the salted pistachios and store the ice cream in a freezer container. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface.

Place the container in the freezer for several hours. Allow the ice cream to soften for 10 minutes before scooping and serving.

Plum-Concord Grape Sauce

Makes about 4 cups

Cook’s notes: Use this hot and sour sauce as a condiment on grilled meats, sausages, eggs, and vegetables.

Make it your own: If you want a hotter sauce, include the Serrano chili seeds. Out of season I use canned plums, 4 cans equal 2-pounds.

2 pounds Damson or Prune Plums. Cut each plum half, remove and discard the pits, and cut the halves into ½ inch slices.

1½ cups Unsweetened Concord Grape Juice, preferable homemade (see separate recipe)

4 Serrano Chiles. Remove and discard stems and seeds. Finely mince the peppers.

1 large (or 2 small) Shallots. Peeled and finely chopped.

4-6 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely chopped.

1 teaspoon Salt, or to taste.

Combine the plums, grape juice, chilies, shallots, garlic and salt in a large pan with a cover. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the plums are tender. Stir often.

Puree the mixture in a blender or use a blender stick. Salt to taste.

Store the sauce in the refrigerator.

The sauce can be preserved in the freezer or canned in glass jars using the hot-pack method.

Pour the hot sauce into hot sterilized pint jars leaving ½ inch of space at the top. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean towel.

Place a sterilized lid on the jar. Gently screw on a sterilized ring.

Process the pint jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove the cover of the canner for 5 minutes before removing the processed jars. Cool to room temperature.

Check to make sure the lids have sealed. Any jars that did not seal can be stored in the refrigerator.

Label and store the sealed jars in a cool, dry pantry.

Roasted Red Pepper, Walnut, and Pomegranate Spread

Makes 2 ½ cups

Cook’s notes: Jarred fire-roasted peppers may be substituted for the fresh roasted peppers. The spread also makes a great garnish for grilled fish, meats, or vegetables.

Serve with flatbread accompanied by some crumbled sheep’s milk Feta if desired.

 4 Roasted Red Peppers, skinned and seeded

1 cup Roasted and skinned Walnuts (see separate recipe)

2 tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses, or to taste

2 tablespoons Walnut Oil

1 teaspoon toasted Whole Cumin Seeds, crushed in a spice grinder or coarsely ground using a mortar and pestle

½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, or to taste

Kosher Salt to taste

Grind the walnuts in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Rotisserie Chicken

Serves 6-8

Cook’s notes: I use a Faberware Electric Rotisserie.

Make it your own: Oven Version: Preheat the oven to 425-degrees. Place trussed chicken upside down on an oiled roasting rack set in a roasting pan. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the skin is brown. Remove the pan from the oven.

Turn the chicken breast side up. Return the pan to the oven, lower the temperature to 350-degrees. Bake until the breast registers 155 degrees, about another 45 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and lightly tent with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.

6-8 pound Roasting Chicken, rinsed and patted dry. Brine the chicken if it is fresh. (see separate recipe). Do not brine a commercially processed chicken that has been injected with a salty broth solution.

Arabic Spice Paste:

1 teaspoon each: Ground Allspice, Garlic Powder, Ground Black Pepper, Ground Cinnamon, and Kosher Salt

2 teaspoons each: Ground Cumin and Ground Coriander

1 tablespoon Paprika

2 tablespoons Ground Sumac

¼ cup Olive Oil or as needed

Combine the ingredients to form a paste.

Spread half of the spice paste inside the chicken. Spread the rest on and under the skin of the chicken.

Wrap the chicken in parchment paper and chill for several hours or overnight.

Bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting. Truss the bird with butcher’s twine.

Place the chicken on the rotisserie resting on the 4th hook from the bottom of the sidebars making sure the chicken is 3” away from the heating coils.

Roast the chicken until the internal temperature of the breast is 155-degrees and the thighs reach 175-degrees, about 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Leave the bird on the rotisserie; unplug the motor and the heating unit. Tent the chicken and allow it to rest until ready to carve, at least 30 minutes.

Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Sauce with Preserved Garlic and Fresh Herbs

Makes 2 cups

Cook’s notes: Spread this creamy mild garlic-flavored sauce on flatbread or a sandwich. Drizzle it on falafels, grilled meats, or steamed vegetables. I make this tahini sauce throughout the growing season when fresh herbs are abundant.

Make it your own: Any combination of fresh herbs will work in this sauce. The sauce can be as thick as mayonnaise or as thin as cream depending on how it is used.

 8 cloves of Garlic Preserved in Olive Oil (recipe posted January 29, 2017)

1 cup Tahini

½ cup Fresh Lemon Juice

¼ teaspoon Cayenne or Aleppo Chili Powder

1 cup Warm Water, or as needed depending on the desired consistency.

½ cup Parsley Leaves, finely minced

¼ cup Cilantro leaves and stems, finely minced

2 tablespoons Fresh Mint, finely minced

½ teaspoon Salt, or to taste

Note: The herbs can be chopped in a food processor but they must be dry. I spin mine in a salad spinner but you can also wrap the rinsed herbs in a towel and keep them in the refrigerator until they dry.

In a food processor, blend the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and cayenne. With the machine running slowly add enough warm water until the desired consistency is reached.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the herbs. Salt to taste.

Store the sauce in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.

Turkish Moussaka

Serves 8

2 medium Eggplants, sliced into ½ inch rounds

Kosher Salt

Olive Oil

4 tablespoons Ghee, Unsalted Butter, or Olive Oil

2 large Onions, chopped

6 large cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

2 pounds Ground Lamb

Salt and Ground Black Pepper

½ cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, packed in olive oil, drained and chopped

8 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)

1-2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme leaves finely chopped

2 tablespoons Sumac

1 teaspoon Hot Hungarian Paprika

¼ cup Dried Currants, plumped in hot water then drained

2 Roasted Red Peppers, seeded, skinned, and cut into strips

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and set them, standing up, in a colander set inside a large bowl. Allow the slices to drain for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425-degrees.

Pat the slices dry with a towel, brush both sides with olive oil and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast the slices in the preheated oven until they turn a light golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Heat the ghee in a large frying pan, add the onions, lightly salt, and cook over medium-high heat until the onions begin to sputter and the edges begin to brown. Lower the temperature to medium-low, cover the pan, and slowly caramelized the onions. This takes about 45 minutes. Check the onions often to make sure they are not burning; add a bit of water if necessary. When the onions are almost caramelized add the garlic and cook for several minutes more. Stir in the cinnamon then transfer the mixture to a bowl.

In the same pan, add the lamb and cook over medium-high heat only until it loses its pink color. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the lamb to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the seasoned lamb with a slotted spoon. Discard the fat.

Return the lamb to the pan and add the dried and fresh tomatoes along with the thyme, sumac, paprika, and currants.

Lightly brush a 9×13-inch baking pan with olive oil. Line the bottom of the pan of the pan with half of the eggplant slices.

Cover the eggplant with half of the lamb mixture. Arrange the strips of red pepper on top of the lamb. Cover with the rest of the eggplant slices.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.

Make the Topping:

4 cups (1 quart) Goat’s Milk Yogurt or Whole Milk Yogurt, preferably Organic or Arabic

Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg, or to taste

6 Egg Yolks, beaten

Season the yogurt with salt and nutmeg. Whisk in the egg yolks and pour the mixture over the eggplant slices.

Bake the Moussaka, uncovered, in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown, about an hour.

Let the Moussaka rest for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.


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