Eggplant and Tomato Salad and Baked Kibbeh with Onion and Pine Nut Topping Lebanon

It's really really hard to take a good picture of a meat pie but trust me when I say this is absolutely delicious and easy to put together.

The salad was a breeze too, although, the first time I made it I put a little too much lemon juice in it. It's beautiful to look at(although my picture isn't great) and delicious.

Both of these recipes are from Claudia Roden's Arabesque, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Eggplant and Tomato Salad(Batinjan Raheb)
6-8 servings

2-3 eggplants (about 2lbs)
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, crushed(I chopped mine)
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
4 sprigs mint, chopped
4 scallions, finely sliced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
handful of pomegranate seeds

Prick the eggplants in a few places with a knife and roast on a foil lined baking sheet for 45-55 minutes or until the skin is charred and the eggplant is very soft.

When the eggplants are cool enough to handle peel them and and drp them into a colander or strainer with fine holes. Press out as much of the juices as possible. With a small knife chop the eggplant(still in the colander) and mash with the back of the spoon to get more of the juice out.

Mix the eggplant puree with the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley and pint. Spread the puree on a flat place and sprinkle with the scallions, tomatoes and pomegranate seeds.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Baked Kibbeh with Onion and Pine Nut Topping (Kibbeh Saniyeh)
serves 6

For the kibbeh
2/3 cup fine ground bulgur
1 medium onion quartered
1 lb lean boness leg of lamb(I bought ground)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon

For the topping
1 lb onions liced thin
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup pine nuts
salt and black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
1/2 to 1 tbs pomegranate molassas(optional but recommended)

Rinse the bulgur in a fine sieve under cold water and drain well. Puree the onion in a food processor Add the meat and the spices and blend to a paste. Add the bugur and blend to a smooth soft paste.

Press paste into a well oiled round shallow baking dish or tart dish(I used a pie plate). Flatten and smooth the top and cut the contents into 6 wedges and run the knife around the edges of the dish. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

While the meat is baking prepare the topping. Fry the onions in the olive oil until they are golden brown, stirring often. Add the pine nuts andstir until lightly colored. Add the spices and the pomegranate molassas and stir a minute more.

Spread on top of the kibbeh and serve.

Another French Fricassee and a non-French but very tasty salad!

I love pomegranates, pistachios, prosciutto and persimmons so I HAD to make this salad. It was very little work and the outcome was wonderful! And it's such a pretty presentation for company.

For a special occasion I might spring for the pomegranate vinegar but it was delicious with the sherry vinegar. I bet you could use white wine or champagne vinegar with success too.

If you've never had persimmons you must get the Fuyus! the other kind, Hachiyas, are really meant to be cooked.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Prosciutto with Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Arugula
Bon App├ętit December 2006

Makes 8 servings.

Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier

16 thin slices prosciutto (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1 large Fuyu persimmon, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pomegranate vinegar* (pomegranate vinegar is $12.00. I used sherry vinegar I had on hand)

*Available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Arrange 2 prosciutto slices on each plate. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over. Arrange persimmon next to prosciutto. Mound arugula atop prosciutto. Scatter pistachios over. Sprinkle with pepper; drizzle with oil and vinegar.

Yes it's another fab fricassee! This one has no garlic. I served it with roasted cauliflower (toss with a little olive oil salt and pepper. Spread on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes turning every 10 minutes).

I was a bit confused on the cooking instructions as the times don't jibe with the other fricassee recipe. I included my modification.

For the wine I used Viognier because it's my favorite white wine.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Fricassee of Chicken with white Wine Capers and Olives

1 3-4 lb chicken cut into 8 serving pieces
Sea Salt
Finely ground white pepper
3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced thinly
2 cups white wine
2 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded cored and chopped
1 cup Picholine olives, pitted, or pimento stuffed olives(I found Picholines at the olive bar)
1/4 cup capers in vinegar, drained.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to low and add onions and cover pan. Sweat onions of 3 minutes. Add chicken back to pan and add remaining ingredients. Cover pan and simmer on low until chicken ins done. Recipe says 1 hour. I brought sauce to boil, reduced to low and simmered for 30 minutes.

Fricassee of Chicken with Garlic and Sweet Garlic Confit-France

These recipes come from The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells.

One of my favorite trips ever was to Provence and some of the recipes from this book took me right back.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Broccoli, Avocado and Pistachios With Pistachio Oil
( Brocoli, Avocat, Pistaches et Huile de Pistache)

This salad is filling enough to have as a meal. It was incredibly easy to put together too. I used olive oil because I didn't want to spring for pistachio oil. However, I think this will be much better with pistachio oil and since I'm planning on making it again, I will splurge on the oil.

1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup pistachio oil, pine nut oil, almond oil, or extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs course sea salt
8 oz broccoli florets(about 2 cups)
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup salted pistachios coarsely chopped

Thoroughly blend lemon juice, fine sea salt and oil.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the coarse sea salt and broccoli and boil until the broccoli is crisp tender about 3-4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into ice water to cool.

Halve peel and slice the avocado. Arrange a mound of broccoli in the center of a serving plate. Arrange the avocado slices around the broccoli. Sprinkle with the pistachios and drizzle wit the lemon/oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper and let infuse 3-4 minutes before serving.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The chicken dish was fantabulous and it went together in no time at all. I made the confit a day ahead. Now you would think this would leave you reeking of garlic but the confit is actually sweet and the garlic that cooked with the chicken is mellow. No strong garlic taste at all, although, I haven't seen any vampires lurking about. Instead of a whole chicken I cut the recipe in half and used four thighs. I did have some sauce left over so I spooned it over bread. The leftovers are also excellent as the flavors really meld.

Sweet Garlic Confit (Confit d'Ail Doux)
4 plump heads of garlic =, cloves separated and peeled
1 qt whole milk

Place garlic cloves in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of the milk. Bring to a simmer and drain, discarding the milk.
Simmer the cloves in remaining 2 cups of milk over low heat until soft, about 20 minutes. Cool cloves in milk. Drain, discarding milk. Keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Fricasee of Chicken with Garlic and Sweet Garlic Confit (Fricassee de Poulet a Ail et a L'Ail Confit)

1 farm fresh chicken cut into 8 serving pieces at room temperature
Fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
20 plump cloves garlic peeled and halved
1 recipe Sweet Garlic Confit
1 1/2 White Wine(Viognier suggested)

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken skin side down and brown 5 minutes on each side. Use tongs to turn.
When all pieces are browned remove them and transfer to a platter.
Add halved garlic cloves to fat in the skillet. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken and cook covered for approximately 20 minutes, turning the chicken once or twice until cooked through.

Remove the chicken and garlic from the pan and place on a platter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tent with foil.

Discard the fat from the pan. Return the skillet to high heat and add the garlic confit. Once hot, carefully pour the wine over the garlic and deglaze, carefully scraping up any bits that cling to the bottom of the skillet. Continue to cook over high heat, smashing the garlic to a puree(I used a potato masher). Spoon the puree over the chicken and serve.