Pesto Spaghetti with Mozzarella and Roasted Vine Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Basil Pesto, Mozzarella, and Roasted Vine Tomatoes recipe - cookin5m2 -PIN.jpg

The wonderful thing about this time of the year is the great variety of produce you can get from the market. I go to a nearby shop and buy stuff to get home. On the days where I’m working from home are the best days to experiment. I cook breakfast, lunch, sometimes desert, and even dinner if I’m staying home at night.


I recently received a bunch of basil. The most obvious thing to do is pesto. The first thing to do with pesto is add it to pasta. Then adding cheese. But what’s not so usual is roasting vine tomatoes and adding them to the dish. And that’s what I did. Pretty Genius, no? *pulling a Kanye moment* Continue reading

Blueberry and Giant Couscous (Moghrabiyeh) Salad

Warning: Existential breakdown ahead.

How do people get famous? What makes them known for what they’re good at, or just for what they do? What’s the formula that makes people popular? Is there such a thing?

Recently the thought struck me as I was watching a video of a piano player playing pieces from notable classical composers chronologically. For each period of time, there is a well-known composer you can attribute to when he was active and his work reigned.

Blueberry and Giant Couscous (Moghrabiyeh) Salad-recipe - cookin5m2-5 PIN

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Superfood Salad: Quinoa, Kale and Asparagus

I am using the title for the catchy effect it has. I don’t believe in superfood. I believe in super advertisement for a product that elevates it into a supernatural status. When will a time come that butter will be considered as superfood?

Quinoa kale asparagus salad recipe - cookin5m2-3 Continue reading

Autumn Secret and Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes on Labneh

This summer, I tried as much as possible to stay away from Beirut. The first step was — ironically — to land a job IN BEIRUT. A few days later, I came to the conclusion that staying in Beirut is not an option for me. I did not want to move there, I did not want to spend all of my day there, and definitely not my life. I had to look for a hideout.

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My weekends, and almost every spare moment I had, I rushed with my friends to escape, to run as far as we could from Beirut. We took shelter in the mountains, Lebanon’s high peaks with green hills and the many fruit trees (I am painting a picturesque scene that is not always the case everywhere, Signed Mr. Realist) all under the blue summer sky.
The Wild Saga squad was born.
We took the mountains as our sanctuary, the starry sky as our blanket, the grassy earth as our bed, the plastic tents as our shelters, and the whole outdoors as our toilet and shower. Very poetic!

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Almost every weekend was spent camping with a very nice group, resulting from a mutual desire to run into the arms of mother nature. I – the person who was so very shy and not so receptive of getting exposed to insects and night creatures as well as not having a proper toilet and shower — have enjoying our camping trips so much I kept asking for more. I never expected myself to.

Our fascination with our last camping spot that we all fell in love with got us so much requests to reveal the location and have people join us. We felt attached to it we didn’t want anyone else to have a piece of it. But once we got rid of our selfishness, we decided to invite people over and let them share the rural life in an Eco-friendly manner. One Sunday, we all gathered and planned a day; the menu, the seating, the directions, the materials, the activities,… everything.

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The whole aim was to introduce Eco-tourism to the village. The event was Eco-friendly because Tamara, Environmentalist, was making sure we follow the guidelines of Eco-tourism outings. We picked our produce from the land, we bought whatever we couldn’t get from nearby shops to support their businesses, the trash was sorted, and we used to produce and the products produced by the hosting family to support their work in the land and help in their sustainability. Tamara, Roy and Bruno handled the decor among other tasks while I handled the food with their help of course.

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On the menu:

Cumin Tabbouleh
Zaatar and watercress salad
Labneh with roasted cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinegar
Balila (chickpeas with garlic and cumin)
Mdardara (lentils and rice with fried onions)
Green beans with garlic, lemon, and oil
Man’oushe on saj (flat pies with different fillings baked on a dome-shaped skillet)
Homemade Arak and Mulberry syrup
Pyramid juice boxes for nostalgia purposes (and I got excited to smash the empty boxes with my foot to make noise)
Halawe and biscuits with Lebanese loukoum for dessert

A chill day among the apple trees, under the blue sky, with some haze creeping up the hills is the Secret of our Autumn. The best way to spend an Autumn Sunday.

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Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes on Labneh

served 6-8 persons as appetizer

Ingredients

  • 500g Labneh (strained yogurt)
  • 1 pack cherry tomatoes (plastic basket)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Procedure

  • Turn the oven on and set the temperature to 150ºC
  • Wash and clean the cherry tomatoes
  • In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, salt, oil, and vinegar
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay the tomatoes with the liquid
  • Roast for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally to maintain an even roast
  • Serve warm on labneh
  • Serving suggestions: on a toasted piece of bread, or spread the labneh in a plate and top with the tomatoes and more olive oil and some mint

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Big thanks to Patrick Abdel Sater for the amazing photos

Pesto Fusilli with Grilled Halloumi and Tomatoes

When life gives you basil, you make pesto. Then mix it with pasta.

Isn’t it obvious? It’s basic.
They make a wonderful couple

Basil Plant and basic pesto recipe - Cookin5m2-3

For this fresh herbs sauce, use the type of pasta you like. It is recommended though to use one with dents and irregularities for the sauce to have something to hold on to.

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