… AND HERE ARE THE RECIPES!

Roasted Game Hens on Sumac-Onion Bread (Mousakhan)
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

3 game hens, cut in halves
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons ground sumac
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 large onions, chopped
3/4 cup pine nuts
6 rounds thick pita bread
(such as the Middle Eastern brand Aladdin)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Rub the hens with 1/2 cup of the olive oil and the lemon juice.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sumac, salt and pepper to taste, and the paprika.
Cover with foil and place in a baking pan with 1/2 cup of water.
Bake for 45 minutes, then uncover the pan and turn the heat to broil. Broil for 10 minutes, until the hens are browned.
Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a skillet, then add the onions, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sumac. Season with salt and pepper.
Saute until the onions are soft.
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet and brown the pine nuts in it. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pine nuts and set on paper towels to drain.
Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
Remove the hens from the baking pan and set aside.
Dip the pita into the broth in the pan and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheets, 3 per sheet.
Place a layer of the onion mixture on each pita.
Transfer the cooked hens to the top of the pitas.
Top with more onion mixture.
Place under the broiler and broil for 5-8 minutes, until the bread is crispy.
Sprinkle the hens with the pine nuts and serve.
Skim the fat from the juices, then pour into a gravy boat and pass at the table.

Per serving: 765 calories, 49 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 45 g fat (9 g saturated), 125 mg cholesterol, 772 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.











Palestinian Hummus
Serves 6

This traditional Palestinian dish can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even as a snack with pita bread.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice or to taste
1 clove garlic, or to taste
1/2 jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup pine nuts
Paprika, for garnish (optional)
Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Drain the chickpeas, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid.
Place the chickpeas with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, jalapeno pepper and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid until it reaches the desired consistency.
Melt the butter in a skillet and brown the pine nuts in it.
Place the hummus in the center of a large flat plate and spread it toward the edges with a spoon. Sprinkle the buttery pine nuts on top. If desired, garnish the edges with dashes of paprika and chopped parsley.
Serve with pita bread.

Per serving: 215 calories, 7 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 16 g fat (4 g saturated), 10 mg cholesterol, 366 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.













Rice with Minced Lamb
Serves 6

Georgette Nassar uses converted rice in this dish. If you want to substitute regular long-grain rice, decrease amount of water by 1/4 cup.

INGREDIENTS:

Georgette Nassar uses converted rice in this dish. If you want to substitute regular long-grain rice, decrease amount of water by 1/4 cup.

1/4 cup + 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground lamb
2 cups converted rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pine nuts

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 4-quart pot.
Add the lamb and saute until browned.
Drain.
Add the rice, salt, pepper and allspice.
Add 3 cups water and stir to mix well.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the rice mixture is tender and fluffy.
Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a skillet. Add the pine nuts and saute until they turn golden brown.
To serve, spoon the rice into a serving dish. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top, including any oil left in the pan, if desired.

Per serving: 490 calories, 28 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 28 g fat (9 g saturated), 75 mg cholesterol, 790 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.













Easter Cookies with Dates (Kaak bi Ajwa)
Makes 30-35 cookies

Traditionally, these cookies are made only during the Easter holiday. The date cookie, in its circular shape, represents the crown of thorns that was placed on Christ’s head.

INGREDIENTS:

The Dough

1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups semolina
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon powered gum arabic (see Note)
Pinch mahlab (optional, see Note)

The Filling
2 pounds pitted dates, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

To prepare the dough:
Melt the butter and let it cool to room temperature.
Add to the semolina and mix thoroughly.
Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
Mix together 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and sugar in a measuring cup.
Cover and set aside in a warm place for about 5 minutes.
Add yeast mixture to semolina, along with nutmeg, gum arabic, optionalmahlab and 1/2 cup room-temperature water.
Knead by hand until thoroughly mixed.
To prepare the filling: Mix dates with olive oil and cinnamon.
Form date mixture into 1 1/2- inch balls and roll into 4-inch logs.

To assemble:
Position a rack in middle of oven.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease 2 cookie sheets.
Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, then roll into 4-inch logs.
Flatten dough with your fingers and place a date strip in the center.
Crimp edges of dough to seal date mixture inside.
Shape dough into a ring and crimp ends together.
Using a fork or wooden skewer, indent surface of cookie, taking care not to puncture dough.
Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to racks to cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar.

Note: Mahlab and gum arabic are available at Middle Eastern stores.

Per cookie: 180 calories, 2 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (3 g saturated), 14 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

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