Last month I had the chance to pass by Saida, in South Lebanon, throughout our Clown Me In tour, and see the stalls of the last few citrus varieties before the season is over.
I bought a 20kg crate of beautiful yellow lemons and another of Valencia oranges and got them home. I swear I spent a whole afternoon with a big bowl of water to wash them and the zester to zest most of those lemons and orange and freeze them for later use. I’m grateful for sitcoms and comedy shows that kept me company all day.
But I can’t complain.
It felt good. Relaxed and unwound with the zesty citrus aromas.
And I have zest for the whole year! Continue reading
I remember one time walking out of Hamra street, a once vibrant street in Beirut, during the last days of winter and seeing a vendor with styrofoam boxes overflowing with lump-like things held together with clear tape.
The first time I saw these sandy-stone-like produce I thought they were the world prized truffles with the amazing flavor and the unique aroma. I made risotto and shaved* some of those on top. I even buried one in a jar of short grain rice to fragrance it for risotto.
*shaved, more like crumbled it on the box grater’s slicer side only to get grains of sand later with every bite because I didn’t clean them well
Only later did I learn that these truffles are not the same thing.
These beautiful spores are called Desert Truffles. They are harvested not using dogs or pigs like western truffles but by roaming the desert landscapes (not desert dunes, but bare lands with rare vegetation) looking for bumps and cracks in the land. They dig their hands down and pull out the sand hoping there’s a something worthy in there.
It’s seasonal produce at its BEST!
A couple of weekends ago, I had the chance to hide among the tall fava bean plants and dive deep to collect the long green pods.
I also kneeled down the search for the fresh pea pods hiding underneath barricades of pea vines. I stepped on numerous ones, despite being careful, attempting to reach a handful of pods sunbathing together in the open.
I go back to the archive and see what recipes should I make and add to keep a variety. I find that I should no longer post any salad recipe. But HOW CAN I? I LOVE SALADS
Mind you, when I say SALAD, I don’t mean lettuce and tomato and cucumber. This is a plain old [BORING] salad.
My salads are usually fun and exciting as I use ingredients that are not typical in restaurants. I love mixing between grains like lentils and freekeh, and big filling vegetables like zucchinis, carrots, peppers, and radishes, and leafy greens like the superfood spinach and rockets leaves and chards. All those are things you can easily get in the produce shops with an average price tag.
This is a recipe I crave every now and then.
I’ve had it the first time at a restaurant in Hamra-Beirut a year ago and tried to replicate it with a great success.