When your life takes an unexpected turn and gives you a lot to think about and process, sometimes you are left with your thoughts, overworked from the craziness of things in your head at one moment. Early this year I was an employee working from 8 to 5 in an office, on a desk, behind a screen, endlessly clicking the mouse before the bell rings announcing the day’s end. I had an opportunity that seemed to bright, and too got to be true. I knew I would be dumb and regret it if I didn’t take it. So I jumped.
In the past five months, my life matched my soul; floating, figuring things in the ether, finding it’s calling. I’ve cooked, managed the restaurant, sous chef-ed, catered at a gala event as part of the Bi Bayti team(you can hire me to cook at your home now!), cooked in the mountains for more than 50 person each time, got my name and work printed (read my interview on one8one magazine here, and buy the latest issue of The Carton to read my entry), and I went on TV.
Yes. I was asked so many times to do video recipes, or get a TV appearance and get my face up for the world to see. Some people tell me about a show that’s always looking for people to cook. I would never tolerate that Paula Deen wannabe grandma that took her 15 minutes of fame far too long. I got a call from a local TV channel to get a 3 days per week feature in an afternoon talk show that doesn’t work out well for several reasons. Got a message from another channel who want the same but with different, somehow not better, conditions. Yet I accepted for the sake of getting my face on TV for once doing something decent since dancing behind an anchor is out of question.
I filled my tote bag with the ingredients and put my apron on. I cooked this recipe on TV. I talked about my blog and work. I served my dish to the presenters and crew who said they loved it. Of of them devoured the dish with a huge appetite and loved it because she missed a home cooked meal.
It was a nice experience, but not a profitable one. I expected my instagram likes to skyrocket once they see I have the “strongest blog on Instagram” but that didn’t happen. I know they wouldn’t care about the actual blog, where I share my stories.
Arabs don’t read.
Regardless, my pride and joy is getting noticed due to my hard work. Cookin5m2 is featured in the food section recommendation of WordPress, my posts are being referenced to, and my recipes are being tried all over the world.
This recipe comes as a good winter stew, full of goodness and nutrients. It shall keep you full and warm during this cold couple of weeks we’re experiencing here in Lebanon. Keep warm
Soujok & Mixed Bean Stew
Served 4-5 portions
- 2 soujok sausages
- One small onion
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- Pinch of pepper flakes
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 cups stock
- 3 cups mixed beans (cannellini, red kidney, black-eyed beans,…)
2 cups long grain rice
- 20g salted garlic butter
- Coriander for garnishing
- Remove the skin off the soujok and cut into cubes as big as the beans. Heat a deep pan and cook the soujok until slightly crispy and they release their fat then remove and set aside
- Finely dice the onions and fry in the same pan in the soujok fat until translucent. Add the spices and stir to coat
- Once coated and fragrant, pour in the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Pour in the stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes
- Dump in the cooked beans and simmer for 10 minutes
- In the meantime, melt the butter in a deep pan and lightly fry the rice. Stir for a minute on low heat then add the water until it covers the rice. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked
- Serve hot and garnish with coriander leaves
Watch the full feature here