Weekday Tahini Rice Noodle Bowl

Weekday Tahini Rice Noodle Bowl

When it’s hot outside, the last thing that I want to do is to turn on the oven. I try to minimize any cooking that involves heat, but I don’t want to skimp on flavors either. And, that’s how this delicious, but easy-to-assemble rice noodles bowl is my new favorite summer dish.

It’s quick to assemble, highly customizable, and just overall feel-good clean lunch. You can use leftover protein, such as rotisserie chicken or grilled salmon or shrimp, to make this meal more wholesome.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8oz rice vermicelli noodles

  • 1.5 lb flank steak

  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced in half moon

  • 1 cup edamame

  • 1 tsp sumac

  • 1/4 cup pickled red cabbage

  • 1 bunch cilantro, hand-torn for serving

  • 1 bunch mint, hand-torn for serving

  • 1 cup of cilantro tahini dressing

  • white and black sesame for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles based on the package. Transfer the cooked noodles to ice-cold water bath from being overcooked. Reserve them on the side.

  2. Meanwhile, season the steak with salt and pepper and grill it over high heat for 2 minutes each side. Let the meat rest for 5-7 minutes.

  3. Toss edamame with sumac. Put it on the side.

  4. After resting the meat, slice the flank steak against the grain.

  5. Drain the rice noodles and transfer them to a big, shallow serving platter. Top the noodles with sliced cucumber, sumac-tossed cucumber, pickled red cabbage, hand-torn min, and cilantro.

  6. Drizzle the cilantro tahini dressing and toss everything together. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Picnic Za'atar Chicken Salad Slider

Picnic Za'atar Chicken Salad Slider

Chicken salad is one of the classic American dishes. It’s often made with mayonnaise and chopped celery. But, I wanted to add my Mediterranean twist to this by adding za’atar and swapping out mayo with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt will make everything super creamy while adding a tangy note to the dish while za’atar brings extra savory herbaceous flavors, taking this salad to another level.

As the weather gets nice outside, I often go out for a picnic at the park, and I bring this to make a DIY chicken sandwich which everyone loves. Make this salad and put it in a container. Bring slider buns and a few condiments, like tomatoes, cucumbers, or arugula, to make easy, delicious chicken salad sliders!

Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 1 cup greek yogurt

  • 3 tbsp za’atar

  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickle

  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber (small-diced)

  • 1/2 cup shredded almonds

  • slider buns, arugula, slices of tomato, and cucumber to serve

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine shredded rotisserie chicken, greek yogurt, za’atar, chopped cucumber and chopped pickle in a medium-sized bowl. Mix it until everything is well combined. Taste and season it with salt.

  2. Add shredded almonds to the mixture and mix everything again.

  3. Serve this chicken salad with slider buns with a few toppings.

Riz a Jej (Lebanese Chicken & Rice)

Riz a Jej, Lebanese Chicken & Rice

This traditional Lebanese chicken and rice dish is one of my favorites. Flavorful, seasoned rice, topped with juicy chicken and studded with nuts—it is, for me, the purest definition of comfort food. I have so many memories around this dish with my grandmother, so I wrote a sweet story around this for Food52. Hope you all get to taste my grandmother’s simple Lebanese chicken and rice dish.

PHOTO BY JULIA GARTLAND

Total Time: 1 hour
Makes: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 tbsp EVOO

  • 1 cup onion, chopped

  • 2 lbs ground beef or lamb

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice

  • 2 tbsp salt

  • 4 tbsp bahārāt (seven-pepper spice)

  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 5 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 cup cashews

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

  • 1/4 cup pistachios

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. MAKE RICE: In a large pot, add the butter, olive oil, and onion and cook for 5 minutes until the onion softens. Make sure the onions don’t brown. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes until the meat starts to brown. Add the rice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the bahārāt to the pot, and cook for 2 minutes as you're stirring and coating the rice with the spices. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and bay leaves to the pot and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.

  2. MAKE CHICKEN: In a medium-sized pot, add shredded chicken and remaining 2 tbsp bahārāt. Mix well until fully seasoned. Add remaining 1 cup of chicken stock to the mixture and bring it to a gentle simmer on a low heat. This process will keep the chicken moist and flavorful.

  3. TOAST NUTS: Set the oven at the 450°F. In separate batches, toast each nut in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly golden. Once toasted, mix all the nuts together. Set aside.

  4. ASSEMBLE: To assemble, place the rice mixture on a serving platter and cover with shredded chicken. Garnish with toasted nuts.

Za'atar Crusted Chicken

Za’atar Crusted Chicken

People are always asking me different ways to use my favorite seasoning of all time — za’atar. I have to say the quickest and the most efficient way of adding a ton of flavor to protein is making this za’atar marinade. Unlike other marinades that might require some time, this one just needs a good rub on your choice of protein, and it’s good to go!

I added extra sesame seeds for its texture, and you can use this marinade on anything you would like from tofu to shrimp. It is a perfect, simple dinner that will be your go-to recipe.

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup za’atar

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1 lemon zested and juiced

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • 2-3 lbs of chicken thighs, boneless, skinless

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients besides chicken thighs until well incorporated

  2. Add chicken thighs and marinate for 15-20 minutes

  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

  4. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and spread the chicken on there. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until tender but still juicy.

  5. Garnish with scallions and fresh mint.

Chicken & Fig Tagine

Chicken & Fig Tagine

The perfect winter stew, made to satisfy everyone. Full of different flavors and spices it opens up the smell of the house. It can be made in a crockpot and forgotten about, or cooked for 1-2 hours with a result of tender chicken, and vegetable goodness. Tagine has a long history in Moroccan cuisine, and here I have simplified it for the average cook without stripping any flavors away.

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 5 tbsp tagine spices

  • 2 tbsp salt (or more to taste)

  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • 3 medium sized onions, peeled and large diced

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup raw chickpea, soaked overnight and drained

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and large diced

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 2 cups warm water

  • 3 tbsp fig jam

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 lemon, juiced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, 2 tbsp of tagine spice, and 1 tbsp of salt. Pat dry the chicken thighs and combine them with the flour and spice mixture.

  2. In a large heavy bottom pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat. Once it’s hot, increase the heat and cook the chicken, for 4-5 minutes, until each side is brown. Once the chicken is all brown, set them aside.

  3. In the same pot that you cooked the chicken, cook onions and garlic with 2 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Make sure to scrape the chicken bits while you are cooking onions.

  4. Add the chickpea to the pot. Cook them for 3-5 minutes. Then, add carrots, 3 tbsp of tagine spice, and 1 tbsp of salt. Cook everything together for another 6-8 minutes until vegetables are getting tender.

  5. Add the chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a simmer.

  6. In a small bowl, mix warm water with fig jam. Once the tagine is simmering, add the fig water, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves and simmer for anoter 30 minutes.

  7. After simmering, add the reserved browned chicken to the pot and cook for another 30-45 minutes.

  8. Transfer the tagine to a serving bowl and finish it with a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Orange Ginger Salmon

Orange Ginger Salmon

It’s a new year, and I know that y’all are trying to eat healthier. This quick and simple, but super flavorful, citrusy salmon recipe will help you eat cleaner and stay on track. It only requires a few ingredients, but when it’s paired with fresh salmon, the flavors are incredible! Serve this on a bed of lettuce, cooked grain, and even soba noodles. This can be eaten cold or warm, so it makes a fantastic leftover lunch.

Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 fillets of salmon

  • 2 oranges, squeezed

  • 4 scallions, sliced

  • 2-inch ginger, zested

  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame oil

  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to season

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.

  2. Pat dry your salmon filets, and season them with salt on both sides. Place them in a shallow baking dish.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk orange, scallions, ginger, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, roasted sesame oil, and salt.

  4. Pour the sauce over the prepared, dry salmon fillets. Bake them in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until the salmon is opaque and soft to the touch.

  5. Garnish the salmon with some cilantro.

  6. Serve the fish with a side of quinoa, rice, cauliflower rice, or what you please. Even soba noodles would be great!

  7. Enjoy!

Sous Vide Lamb Chops with Mint Sauce

Sous Vide Lamb Chops with Mint Sauce

I love sous vide cooking! It makes my catering life so much easier. Sous vide cooking has several advantages. First, it ensures that anything you place in the water bath gets cooked evenly, which means you will NEVER get dry food. Secondly, it’s consistent. You can control and set the temperature precisely, which means you will always get the same results every single time. Lastly, you can cook things in large quantities. I can make perfect poached eggs or juicy chicken breast in a big batch without worrying about anything!

And, lamb chops are one of my favorite things to sous vide. They come out a perfect medium rare, and because they get cooked with all the aromatics, the flavors really get penetrated into the chops. After a quick sear, you have a perfect lamb chop that will be the show stopper for your upcoming dinner parties.

Total Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

THE LAMB CHOPS

  • 2 racks of lamb

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 2 tbsp

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 4 leaves of sage

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

MINT SAUCE

  • 1 bunch mint

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 2 scallions

  • 1/4 cup, extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 ice cubes

  • salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

LAMB CHOPS

  1. Heat the sous vide bath to 131F for medium rare.

  2. Pat dry the lamb chops and salt all around, including the back of the lamb chops.

  3. Mix freshly cracked black pepper, coriander, and cumin and season the lamb all around the mixed spices.

  4. Place your lamb chops in an airtight bag and put 2 tbsp of butter, garlic, thyme, sage, and olive oil. Seal the bag with a plastic straw in the corner of the bag. Slowly drop the bag into the water, letting the straw do its job taking any excess air in the bag out. Slowly take out the straw as you complete the seal of the bag. The lamb chops should be submerged in the sous vide water bath.

  5. Cook the lamb chops in the sous vide bath for 3 hours.

  6. Once done cooking, take the lamb chops out of the bag. Pat them dry and discard the aromatics.

  7. On a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat up the rest of butter on high heat. Make sure the butter doesn’t burn.

  8. Sear the whole lamb chop on each side for 1 minute. It should take about 3-4 minutes total. Let it rest at least for 5 minutes before slicing.

  9. Slice and serve the chops with mint sauce (optional).

MINT SAUCE

  1. Put mint, garlic, lemon juice, scallions, extra virgin olive oil, and ice cubes to a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth.

  2. Season with salt and serve it with the lamb chops.

Papillote Branzino

Papillote Branzino

Branzino is the Mediterranean sea bass. I grew up eating lots of charcoal-grilled Branzino in Lebanon, but now that I live in Brooklyn without a grill, I found a way to cook this salty fish. 

When I was in college, I learned this "papillote" method, cooking in parchment envelops. It's an easy way to cook fish without drying it out. Keeping the moisture within the papillote locks in all the Mediterranean flavors of Branzino. You can cook any fish using this foolproof method.

Make this impressive dish with minimal effort for your next dinner party!

Photos by Lauren Zaser

Serves: 4 - 6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 fennel head

  • 6 fillets branzino

  • 3 tbsp capers

  • 1/4 cup olives, sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • 1/4 cup white wine

  • salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.

  2. Slice fennel on a mandoline. If you don't have a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel.

  3. Cut out a parchment paper that is 6 inches larger than your sheet tray.

  4. Line the sheet tray with the parchment, and drizzle with olive oil.

  5. Scatter sliced fennel and salt.

  6. Place the filleted branzino on top of the fennel and season it with salt and pepper, followed by capers, olives, garlic, and thyme leaves.

  7. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

  8. Layer the lemon across the fish.

  9. Pour the white wine around the fish.

  10. Cover the fish with a parchment paper, and fold the ends of parchment papers tightly to make an envelope.

  11. Place the sheet tray in the preheated oven, and cook it for 14 - 16 minutes.

  12. Remove the sheet tray from the oven, and let it sit for 1 minute before removing the top parchment paper.

  13. ENJOYY!!