Monday, November 16, 2009

alice & linda are cover girls again!

check out the latest post on my art blog, as it's related to both of my blogs—cookbook and art!

alice's kitchen cookbook article, "Memories of a Lebanese Garden" written and illustrated by me is featured on Saudi Aramco World's 2010 calendar! you can download your own calendar by clicking on this link!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

my lebanese cooking classes featured in the blogosphere!

over the past few years, i have been teaching lebanese cooking classes in people's homes, featuring recipes, of course, from my book, alice's kitchen: traditional lebanese cooking.

i just discovered that a recent cooking class/dinner party i taught at my friend and naturopath elaine's house was blogged on by her husband, david, whom i met that evening. we had an ambitious menu, so i requested the guests/class refrain for a while from drinking alcohol, since we had a lot to do if we wanted to eat before midnight! when you see the menu, you'll understand!


        baba ghannouj
mhammara (red pepper & walnut dip)
ful mdammas (fava beans with garlic)
raw cut veggies (persian cucumbers, carrot sticks, romaine lettuce, and such)
pita bread
feta cheese
pistachio nuts, cashews, jordan almonds
lebanese omelette (vegetarian—either as entreé or appetizer)
barbequed chicken with homemade garlic mayonnaise
sheikh al mihshi (japanese eggplant stuffed with lamb) served over lebanese style rice, garnished with  sauteéd nuts

lebanese beet salad
fresh seasonal fruits and berries
knafe bi jibn (lebanese cheese pastry) with simple syrup (attar)
lebanese rose syrup 
jallab (sweet date beverage) with pine nuts
lebanese beer and wine

quite an effort and quite a feast! twelve guests/cooks were invited—not all were in the kitchen! some of the men played music while mostly women and one brave man were the students/cooks, with david documenting the event with his camera! it was a great collaborative effort and still we didn't eat until after 9 p.m. (early for middle easterners!) perhaps because of the elaborate menu and challenges with using the convection oven—elaine had barely used hers—it was new, and my total cooking experience is on my traditional vintage gas stove!

it was an enjoyable and memorable night! here's one of david's photos. be sure to read his blog to see more and to hear his perspective. thanks, david!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

alice's kitchen returns to LA for 100th anniversary of...

the church founded by my great uncle, Fr. Gerasimos Sawaya, of Douma, Lebanon, St. Anne's Melkite (Byzantine rite) Greek Catholic Church. copies of alice's kitchen were given in honor of my mother, Alice, and the Sawaya family to guests attending a banquet to celebrate this event. people who knew mama, and others were thrilled to receive copies of the book, which along with so many recipes, includes history, historical photos, and memoir. Fr. Sawaya looks a lot like my father, Elias, quite handsome, indeed.

this summer i was craving tabbouli salad made from my homegrown tomatoes, parsley, mint and green onions (recipe of course from alice's kitchen!). it is served in little romaine "boats" and picked up to eat like a taco! not much bulgar in it compared to what is often called tabbouli in the west. the winter version of tabbouli, called safsouf, has much more bulgar since greens are not as abundant as in the summertime.

i am delighted to be posting on this new blog, with color photos showing what many of our traditional lebanese dishes look like in full beautiful color.

things are winding down in the garden, so i will have more time to post. and i will include some images of the abundant summer harvest, like this one.