Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen

Balancing the tangy flavors of yogurt, pomegranate and lemon, zesty spices and herbs such as cinnamon, mint and garlic, the sweetness of molasses and rose water along with grains and nuts is one of the defining factors of what makes Mediterranean cuisine so appealing says Maureen Abood, author of Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen (Running Press 2015; $30).Raspberry-crumb-cake-top-Maureen-Abood-1024x678

“And, of course, it’s healthy as well,” she adds.

Abood, who learned to cook from her Lebanese family, was the chief development officer for the St. Jude League in Chicago when a series of less-than-positive life events propelled her to leave her job and move to San Francisco to attend culinary school.

Raised in Lansing, where there is a large Lebanese population, she had spent summers at the family vacation house in Harbor Springs. That’s where she retreated after

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graduating. Her goal was to write a blog about the foods of her childhood.

“There aren’t many people around during the off-season,” says Abood, “and that was good for my creativity.”

The cookbook, her first, is the outcome of her award winning blog, maureenabood.com and her desire to educate people about Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food.

“I want people to learn how to make this adventuresome but easily accessible food,” she says.

For those just starting on this culinary journey, Abood suggests starting with Chicken Hushweh (pronounced HUSH-wee), a dish she describes as always a favorite with family and friends.Hushwi-plate-POST-1024x678

“You can make a nice Romaine salad with a lemon vinaigrette, maybe topped with some freshly chopped mint to serve with it,” says Abood noting that her recipe for hummus and pita chips would also be a good accompaniment.

Her Pomegranate Rose sorbet offers a light, sweet-tart and refreshing dessert.

“I like to top it with chopped pistachios, the green and pink look pretty,” she says. “With the Chicken Hushweh, you have a great but easy meal.”

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To purchase ingredients, visit Maureen Abood Market

Hushweh (Chicken Rice Pilaf with Butter Toasted Almonds)

Makes 12 servings

For the chicken:

1 (3- to 4-pound free-range chicken (or if time is of the essence buy a roasted chicken from the grocery store)

1 large yellow onion, quartered

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Few grinds of black pepper

For the rice:

2 tablespoons salted butter

1 pound ground beef chuck or lamb

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Few grinds of black pepper

1 cup parboiled long-grain white rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)

2 cups chicken broth

1 cinnamon stick

3/4 cup Butter Toasted Almonds (see recipe below), divided

Heat the oven to 425°F

Pat the chicken dry. Place it in a large roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the onion. Rub a couple of tablespoons of oil evenly over the skin and season the chicken all over lightly with paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Roast the chicken until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F in the thigh on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Baste the chicken every 15 minutes with its juices while it roasts.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground beef and season it with the ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Cook the meat, stirring constantly and using a metal spoon to crumble it into small pieces until no trace of pink remains, about 5 minutes.

Stir the rice into the meat until it is completely coated with juices. Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, tuck in the cinnamon stick, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all of the broth is absorbed.

Transfer the roasted chicken to a cutting board and when it is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Shred the chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Remove the cinnamon stick and add the chicken, 1/2 cup of the toasted nuts, and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the hot rice mixture, stirring to combine. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and serve immediately.

Butter Toasted Pine Nuts and Almonds

½ teaspoon salted butter

1 cup slivered olives or whole pine nuts

Fine sea salt, to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir the nuts to coat them with the butter and continue stirring constantly until the nuts are golden brown. Keep a close watch over the nuts; they can burn quickly once they begin to brown.

Transfer the nuts to a bowl while they are still warm and salt them lightly. When they have cooled to room temperature, store the nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a month or in the freezer for up to one year.

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Pomegranate Rose Sorbet

Makes 8 servings

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

3⁄4 cup warm water

1⁄4 cup light corn syrup

11⁄2 cups   100 percent pure pomegranate juice

Juice of 1 lemon

3 drops rose water

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, heat the sugar with the warm water until the water boils and the sugar melts. Add the corn syrup, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and rose water and simmer for 3 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl, cool for 10 minutes, and then cover and chill it until it is completely cold. Or, pour the slightly cooled mixture into a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag and immerse it in a bowl of ice water until it is completely cold.

Churn the pomegranate mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chill the sorbet in the freezer in an airtight container for at least 12 hours and up to several weeks.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a small mixing bowl, prepare the topping by whisking the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then cutting the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, working the mixture until it is coarse crumbs.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl or in the stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until they light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and rose water and mix until they are incorporated and the batter is smooth. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture just until they are combined. Mix in half of the milk, then alternate mixing in another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the remaining milk, and the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Scatter the raspberries over the top of the batter and gently press them in, just by about 1/2-inch. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the raspberries.

Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a plate. Turn the cake over onto another plate to have the top facing up.

Reprinted with permission from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms © 2015 by Maureen Abood, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

RASBPERRY ROSE CRUMB CAKE

RECIPE BY: MAUREEN ABOODSlice-of-Raspberry-crumb-cake-Maureen-Abood2-1024x631

This recipe is adapted from SmittenKitchen.com, where it is a blueberry coffee cake.

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING

5 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

FOR THE CAKE

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon rose water

3 cups fresh raspberries

1/2 cup milk, whole or 2 percent

Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a small mixing bowl, prepare the topping by whisking the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then cutting the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, working the mixture until it is coarse crumbs.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl or in the stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until they light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and rose water and mix until they are incorporated and the batter is smooth. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture just until they are combined. Mix in half of the milk, then alternate mixing in another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the remaining milk, and the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Scatter the raspberries over the top of the batter and gently press them in, just by about 1/2-inch. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the raspberries.

Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a plate. Turn the cake over onto another plate to have the top facing up.

 

 

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  3 comments for “Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen

  1. February 24, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Everything looks so delicious 😋

    Like

  2. February 24, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Yum! Your photos are making me hungry 🙂 Great blog.

    Like

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