Hi there, chefs (and prospective ones)!We had a really interesting day in cooking last night learning about Lebanese food! I never really had exposure to it before, so this was a good chance to try something new and different! If I could describe Lebanese food in a word, it would be aromatic! When we were cooking and eating everything smelled like cinnamon and allspice (two of the staple spices), and it was scrumptious!
Think of Lebanese food, if you’re not familiar with it, as being a cross between Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines. The Greek influences I would say are the use of phillo dough and feta cheese in some dishes, along with yogurt; the middle eastern influences seem to be more in the aromatics and spices that are used along with the dishes. What also was really neat was having a native Lebanese teacher come in to show us the ropes (and demonstrate how to make hummus! mmmmmm). Enjoy the pictures!
Next week… we’re going to the Far East – India! I’m looking forward to a good curry (among other delicious things, of course).
Recipe of the Week: Pasta with Ricotta and Tomato Sauce. The recipe follows below. It’s one of my favorite quick pasta dishes, and like many of these other recipes, it’s perfect to make on a busy weekend night when you want something delicious but not time-consuming! For a variation with a bit more bite throw some peas into the pasta water for the last couple minutes of cooking time!
1 lb pasta (preferably rotini or farfalle – something to hold onto the chunky sauce)
15 oz. tomato sauce (preferably Hunts or similar brand that is not already seasoned)
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup ricotta (part-skim or lowfat is fine, no need to have the extra calories!)
Salt and pepper
Grated parmigiano reggiano (or your favorite Italian hard cheese)
Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta till al dente.
While that is going, cook garlic in oil over medium heat until a bit toasty (a minute or so). Then add the tomato sauce (be careful it doesn’t splatter!) and seasonings to taste. Heat through.
Once the pasta and sauce are done, strain the pasta (leaving some of the starchy pasta water) and add the sauce to it. Stir in the ricotta, and then add the grated cheese to desired level of cheesiness. Enjoy!