Lebanese cuisine has become synonymous with mezze, hummus and tabouleh. But, did you know that there is a whole other side to Lebanese cuisine that seems to be relatively unexplored and still very much a secret to the West? Tabkha (s.) refers to any home-cooked, wholesome dish that is traditionally prepared by mothers and grandmothers around Lebanon. I have fond memories of coming home from school to one-pot dishes and stews simmering on the stove as my grandmother would meticulously set the table. Mezze (pronounced mezza in Lebanese), is typically reserved for restaurants, on weekends, when families come together. If you’ve ever seen a lavish, Lebanese mezze spread you’ll quickly understand that to recreate such a spread at home is near impossible without the manpower of a full commercial kitchen staff.
So, my fellow food lovers, with that information in mind I would like to challenge you to Taste Lebanon for this Monthly Mingle. I am very delighted to be hosting this month’s mingle for Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey? and I am really looking forward to seeing the recipes you dig up and the one’s you come up with; whether mezze dishes, lavish spreads or a tabkha. I am also eager to read the stories and history you may learn along the way. For example, I bet you’ll be surprised when you learn where, when & how the mezze came to be. For those a bit bewildered with where to start here are some uncommon ingredients and dishes to help build your appetite; freekeh, kebbeh, labneh, mujadarah, foul medamas, mankoushe, za’atar, and sumac. Get out there and let’s discover ALL the flavors of Lebanon.
Here’s how it works:
1) Create a dish that fits the Taste Lebanon theme as described above.
2) Post about it on your blog from now till 18 October 2010 (entries must be in English, please).
3) Your creation should be prepared for the current Monthly Mingle theme and posted anytime from now till the given deadline.
4) You must provide a link to this post and the official Monthly Mingle page.
5) Once you’ve posted your dish, send your entries to email@example.com
Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section and Let the good cookin’ begin!