Friday, January 8, 2010

happy new year! amah brings good luck!

happy new year! amah is the lebanese traditional food for ringing in the new year. this hot porridge of whole wheat berries simmered with anise seeds for a couple of hours until tender tastes best when sweetened with sugar or my preferred much healthier agave syrup, sprinkled with walnuts from my tree—harvested this year thanks to my precious squirrel-chasing yorkie-mix, baba ghannouj!—and raisins—these, extra-plump. this cereal is also created to celebrate the birth of a new baby. very auspicious, indeed!

i love this photo—eye of baba—taken before his recent hair cut, speaking of auspicious!

we spent the new year's weekend with dear friend jacquie and her two big sweet golden retrievers in seattle and cooked up a storm—this comfort food for breakfast, mjaddrah for dinner, and baked tilmeh b'zaatar for breakfast the next day, as requested by my friend. she knows how much i love to cook, and it was great fun and yummy! and the big doggies played beautifully with my little seven-pound baba, who preferred to chase and bark at the twice-his-size giant grey cat, toby!

the brazil/lebanese food connection
besides the homemade lebanese food, we ate some excellent vegetarian asian food at teapot vegetarian house  and some fabulous brazilian coffee nearby at a bakery/cafe called kitanda. it was no surprise to find lebanese sfeeha in their display case, as the early lebanese immigrants to brazil including my grandmother dalal's brothers and sisters took their famous savory pastries with them. these have now become a brazilian staple, along with baked kibbe balls, also in the bakery display case, made with ground beef instead of lamb—another lebanese quintessential food!

our last dining out was at an amazing suburban/urban food court with a fabulous big band performing for eaters, listeners, and dancers. it was a depression-happy group with a huge array of ethnic foods from which to choose that is family-friendly, reasonably priced and very up-beat and high energy. the place was happily full and lively with great shops like half price books a few steps away and many languages being spoken. check out crossroads mall—a great model for urban/suburban renewal! my friend jacquie pointed out they even have a public library there to reach many who would not normally go! and there's a weekly farmer's market.

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