Lebanese Please: My New Favorite Food

Lebanese Please:Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing and Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

On a recent trip to London I was amazed by all the great food. It is not just the land of Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash. They are utilizing fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients creatively. Also there are many ethnic restaurants that span the globe. I was intrigued by the amount of Lebanese restaurants we found around Kensington. So being the foodie I am we had to try one. After reading about the 5 freshly squeezed lemonades on the menu I was hooked and had to try Comptoir Libanais. I think it might have even been a chain restaurant but it still was delicious. My friend and I shared a Falafel Wrap and Salad, Baba Ghanouj, and a dish called Lebanese Fries. I also had the fresh squeezed Apple, Ginger, and Mint Lemonade. (It is the glass full of green stuff) It was all delicious and so fresh and tasty. The potatoes and the salad were my favorite, though the pickled turnip on the falafel wrap was pretty darn good too. So I came back inspired and wanted my husband to be able to get a hint at the taste and feel of the food.

Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington

I gave it a try and even if it was totally wrong it had the same fresh feel with the emphasis on fresh herbs and citrus which is what I was looking for. Perfect for Summer, I will be making these again and again.

Lebanese Style Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

4-5 cups diced potatoes, I used Yukon Gold

1/2 stick butter

1 lemon juiced

1 t red pepper flakes

2 T fresh cilantro chopped

1 t salt

Melt butter in a large pan over med high heat. Add potatoes and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir and cook 15 minutes more or until golden and crunchy on the outside.

Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

Add lemon juice and red pepper flakes and toss to coat, cook about 5 minutes more over med heat. Then toss with cilantro and serve.

Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

Tossed Salad with Herbs and Lemon Coriander Dressing

Lemon Coriander Dressing

2 T lemon Juice

1 T olive oil

1 t ground coriander

1/4 t black pepper

1/4 t salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl, serve over salad.

Tossed Salad with Herbs

4-6 cups of fresh crisp torn greens ( I used hearts of romaine and spring mix)

1/2 c thinly sliced radishes ( Soak the radishes in ice water after slicing that will remove some of the bitterness and make them crisp)

1/2 c grape tomatoes

1 cucumber peeled and sliced

2 T chopped fresh parsley

2 T chopped fresh mint

 

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately, I topped with grilled chicken and served with warm pita bread.

Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing

Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing

I Love a Good Jerk: Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Pigeon Peas with Rice

We recently took a little trip down to Boca Raton, Fl and happened upon a cute little Jamaican bistro called Rock Steady Jamaican Bistro. The food and service was excellent. I love a good jerk and the spicy, sweet, fresh flavors of Caribbean cuisine, luckily so do my kids. I realized I don’t make enough of this at home, time to change that. I have used the dry jerk seasoning from the spice aisle at the grocery store but it just doesn’t cut it. Time to try my hand a a real, wet, jerk, marinade. I think it was a hit, it had all the flavors I was looking for. Unfortunately neither my local grocery or produce stand had scotch bonnet peppers so I used fresh jalapenos from my garden. I think it still tasted fine but if you are going for authentic switch out the jalapenos for scotch bonnets, just remember they are much spicier so use half the amount.

Jerk Marinade

Combine the following ingredients in a food processor:

1 T allspice powder

1/3 c brown sugar

2T minced garlic

2-4 jalapenos (depending on your spice preference)

1T fresh Thyme

1 bunch scallions

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

2 T soy sauce

Pour marinade over 1 1/2 pounds of pork, shrimp or chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

I used chicken cutlets and grilled them over high heat for about 4 minutes per side.

A traditional side in Jamaica is Rice and pigeon peas. Pigeon peas come in red and green and can be found in the ethnic food section of the grocery store. They are not sweet like english peas but more like a legume, or small red bean. This easy recipe is made in a rice cooker.

Rice and Pigeon Peas

2 1/2 c jasmine rice rinsed until water runs clear

2 1/2 c water

8 oz canned pigeon peas (red or green)

1 t fresh thyme

1 t minced jalapeno

1/4 c sliced scallions/green onions

1 t salt

Place all ingredients into a rice cooker, and cook until done.

Serve with a sweet fruit salad to balance out the heat of the Jerk and enjoy a little taste of the islands without leaving home.