Oh my - - we have come a long way. When I would come home to visit for the holidays, I would load up on tahini paste and boxes of phyllo sheets from a Portland deli to bring back home so I could surprise my family with my new culinary skills and recipes. Now? I can find my ingredients at most of the local markets where I enjoy shopping.
Our cooking classes were lead by two women who had settled in the Lebanese community of Portland. Many of the recipes were just demonstrated for us where we would frantically write down the ingredients and the procedures. Some of the recipes came from their cousin's recipe book, "Lebanese Cuisine" by Madelain Farah. Of course, I still have my copy. After our classes, we would sit with our instructors and share our bounty we prepared, while they shared their culture with us, and often over demi cups of rich Turkish coffee.
Though the years I have enjoyed preparing (and eating) hummus, kafta, tabbouleh, falafels, qirashalli (anise-raisin bar cookie), baking pita, and even Lebanese-style baklava. The year I turned 55 years old, I decided to host a small gathering to celebrate, since my 50th birthday was consumed with taking my enology-viticulture finals (yeah, I went back to college). I hosted a "Middle Age Meets Middle East" for a few of my gal-pals and of course, appropriate dress was a must.
|Curried Cauliflower Salad, Lebanese-style Baklava, Red Pepper Hummus, |
and an assortment of dried fruit, nuts, and noshes
|Tabouleh with Romaine Scoops, Kafta (beef meatballs with traditional Middle Eastern spices), |
Chicken Kebabs, Peanut Sauce, Tzatziki Sauce, and assortment of Matzo and other unleavened bread.