Crispy Spiced Chickpeas

Crispy Spiced Chickpeas

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and dried with paper towels

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 2 tsp coriander, ground

  • 2 tsp cumin, ground

  • 2 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 lemon, zested

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the seasonings and toss with dried chickpeas to make sure that they are evenly coated.

  2. Transfer spiced chickpeas to the air fryer and cook at 400F until browned and crisp, for 6 to 12 minutes. Shake the basket halfway through to make sure that they get cooked evenly.

  3. Serve warm!

Souvlaki Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers

Souvlaki Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

INGREDIENTS

Buttermilk chicken tender:

  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

  • 1 tsp of salt

  • 1 tsp of dried oregano

  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 large chicken breast or thighs, cut into chunks

Drenching session:

  • 1 cup of AP flour

  • 1 tbsp of cumin

  • 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper

  • 1/2 tbsp of black pepper

  • 1 tbsp of salt

  • Cooking spray

Garlic labneh aioli:

  • 1/2 cup of labneh

  • 1/2 cup of mayo

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 garlic, grated

  • 1/2 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Marinate:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, salt, dried oregano, fresh thyme, lemon zest and juice, and eggs until well combined.

  2. Add the chicken to the buttermilk marinade and refrigerate for 2 hours — overnight.

Drenching:

  1. In a bowl, stir the four, cumin, Aleppo pepper, black pepper and salt.

  2. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture; drench in the flour until evenly coated. Transfer to the air fryer rack and spray the chicken with an oil spray.

  3. Transfer the chicken to the air fryer and air fry it at 375F until golden brown, for about 7 to 9 minutes.

  4. Transfer it to the plate, and serve it with garlic labneh aioli.

Garlic labneh aioli:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve it with fried chicken tenders!

Apple Cider Donut Holes with Tahini Glaze

Apple Cider Doughnut Holes with Tahini Glaze

I recently sat next to Ben Mims, who introduced me to my new favorite kitchen gadget. It cuts cooking time in half and makes everything crispy with no hassle or oil — IT’S AN AIR FRYER!

After I purchased his book, Air Fry Every Day: 75 Recipes to Fry, Roast, and Bake Using Your Air Fryer, right away, Ben helped me decide which air fryer to purchase; I went ahead with the multi-functional one that combines a convection oven and air fryer because that suits my catering business. I have not stopped using and experimenting with it since I purchased it. I’ve made everything from fried chickpeas to baked muffins!

Inspired by his Apple Cider Doughnut Hole recipe from the cookbook, I came up with this tahini glaze. The glaze adds that nutty, sweet flavors to the crisp, doughnut holes and those toasted sesame seeds on top add a satisfying crunch.

If you are still debating whether you should get an air fryer or not, I highly recommend it. It changed my life! And, check out Ben’s incredible cookbook!

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10 mini doughnuts

INGREDIENTS

For the doughnut holes:

  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, chilled

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 egg

  • Oil spray

Tahini Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 2 tbsp water

  • A pinch of salt

  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the doughnut holes:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, and egg until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir with a spatula or hands until the dough just comes together.

  2. Scoop out 10 to 12 balls onto the air fryer basket, spaced evenly apart, and spray with oil spray. Air-fry at 350F until the doughnut holes are golden brown and fluffy, about 6 - 8 minutes. Transfer the doughnut holes to a wire rack to cool.

To make tahini glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, tahini, water, and a pinch of salt until smooth and coats the back of a spoon.

Assembly:

  1. Dip the doughnut holes in the tahini glaze, then sprinkle sesame seeds.

  2. Let them stand until the glaze sets before serving.

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake

I recently came across Ottolenghi’s Semolina-Lemon Syrup Cakes, and it reminded me of my grandmother’s semolina cake; she used to make it for me all the time when I was growing up!

Inspired by Ottolenghi's recipe, I added rosewater to simple syrup for a Middle Eastern touch to this cake. The cake, paired with candied lemon slices and drizzled with rosewater simple syrup, has a coarse texture, making it a wonderfully versatile dessert. Whether you want to eat this with a scoop of ice cream or with a cup of coffee for breakfast, this lemony cake will be your new favorite!

Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Serves: 8 - 12 slices

INGREDIENTS

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake:

  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal

  • 1 cup semolina flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 lemons

  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend

Rosewater Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tbsp rosewater

Candied Lemon:

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Lemon-Semolina Almond Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

  2. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Sift together the almond flour, semolina flour and baking powder on a medium bowl. Add salt to the mixture and whisk everything to combine.

  3. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk oil, sugar, and lemon zest from 2 lemons together, about 3 minutes. With motor running, gradually add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate, about 1 minute. Add dry ingredients and juice of 1 lemon and whisk everything to combine, about 1 minute.

  4. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Place the cake on the middle rack, and bake until golden brown, approximately for 60 minutes. Lightly press the top of the cake to test — it should feel lightly springy when done. Let cool for 20 minutes or so in pan before removing and transferring to a cooling rack.

Rosewater Simple Syrup & Candied Lemon:

  1. In one easy step, combine water, sugar, juice of 1 lemon, and rosewater in a pot. Cook it over medium-heat until the sugar is fully dissolved, for 4-5 minutes.

  2. Add thinly-sliced lemon to the simple syrup, and cook it on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes until the lemon is tender.

  3. Transfer candied lemon to a wire rack.

Assembly:

  1. Drizzle rosewater over a cake. Garnish the cake with candied lemon slices on top.

Sesame Kibbeh + Beet Yogurt

Sesame Kibbeh + Beet Yogurt

Kibbeh is an essential dish to lebanese cuisine. There are various different forms, and techniques used to make kibbeh. You can bake it, fry it, or grill it. Make it into balls, stuffed and baked, or crispy and flat. During my last trip to Lebanon I learned how to form the kibbeh balls. They look like footballs - I might not be an expert yet but I tried!

The beet yogurt steals the show - it is refreshing and delicious, complimenting kibbeh so well. Use it as a dip for your next mezze spread! 

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 5-6 people

Kibbeh:

  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur

  • 1 onion, peeled

  • 2 tbsp buharat-7 pepper seasoning (cumin, coriander, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper)

  • 1 lb lamb, ground

  • 1 lb beef, ground

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds, roasted

  • 1.5 tbsp kosher salt

Beet Yogurt:

  • 2 cups greek yogurt

  • 3-4 roasted or boiled beets

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Kibbeh:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F. 

  2. In a medium size bowl, soak the bulgur with lukewarm water for 10 minutes.  

  3. Place the onion and 1 tbsp of buharat in a food processor and pulse for 60-90 seconds or until well-minced.

  4. In a large bowl mix the ground beef and ground lamb with the onion mixture, the remainder of the buharat, salt, drained bulgur, and sesame seeds.

  5. Mix well and until fully combined. 

  6. Drizzle olive oil on a sheet tray and form footballs with the meat mixture, by pinching the ends. Put the finished, football-shaped mixture on the sheet tray.

  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

  8. Serve with the beet yogurt dip.

Beet Yogurt:

  1. In one easy step, add all the ingredients into a food processor and mix well until well combined! Taste for salt – and adjust seasoning.

  2. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

  3. Cheers!

Ultimate Mediterranean Summer Menu

Ultimate Summer Menu

What are you cooking this Labor Day weekend? Use my ultimate summer menu to spice up your table. From an appetizer to a dessert, I got it covered. 

Start off your party with my refreshing Cucumber Thyme Fizz and Olive Hummus to get the party started!

Get the grill craking and charr up the corns to make this Charred Corn & Halloumi Salad.

Get your sheet tray for the branzino! Papilote Branzino is the easiest way to cook fish without drying out. 

Mediterranean Orzo Salad complements Mediterranean branzino.

Finish your Mediterranean feast with my Rosewater Grilled Peaches

Photos by Lauren Zaser

Rosewater Grilled Peaches

Rosewater Grilled Peaches

I am not much of a dessert person, so I decided to combine salty and sweet flavors. After grilling peaches, they get caramelized, and the sweetness from the caramelization goes so well with salty rosewater-infused ricotta. 

This recipe takes no time to assemble, and it's a healthy alternative dessert!

Photos by Lauren Zaser
 

Serves: 6 - 8 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 peaches, riped

  • 12 -16 oz fresh ricotta

  • 3 tbsp rosewater

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • Honey

  • Dried rose petals (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your grill on high.

  2. Cut the peaches in half. Carefully remove the pits.

  3. Spray your grill with nonstick spray.

  4. Grill the peaches, face-side down first for 4 -5 minutes. Then, flip and grill for 2 additional minutes.

  5. In a small bowl, whisk ricotta, rosewater, and salt until well combined.

  6. Let peaches cool. Scoop ricotta into the grilled peaches.

  7. Drizzle honey and garnish with dried rose petals.

Kalamata Olive Hummus

Kalamata Olive Hummus

You guys! I've been feeling very HUMMUSexual lately ;) I've been playing around with hummus, adding all sorts of different toppings. The crowd has spoken! Salty, Greek olives have won! They add a perfect Mediterranean bite to the smooth hummus. 

You can play around with the flavors. I often top my hummus with beets, pine nuts, and even some chopped herbs! Make this crowd-pleasing dip for your next gathering! 

Serves: 4 - 6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 15-oz cans chickpea, drained

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

  • ½ cup tahini

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tbsp cumin, ground

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • ½ cup ice water

  • ½ cup kalamata olives, diced

  • Extra virgin olive oil to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add chickpeas, garlic, cumin, tahini, and salt to a food processor and pulse on low for 30 seconds.

  2. Add lemon juice and pulse on medium for a minute.

  3. Accelerate the speed to high and add ice cold water slowly until it's fully corporated. Pulse the hummus for 2 minutes or until it becomes a smooth consistency.

  4. Fold chopped olives into the hummus.

  5. Plate and garnish by drizzling more olive oil.

  6. ENJOYY!!