Sunday, November 1, 2009


Well, it certainly has been a while since I last posted here. If anyone out there actually reads this, I'm sorry! I've been cooking like crazy, but once the backlog of recipes to post got out of control I lost all motivation to even bother. Sincerest apologies!

However! Now is the time for new beginnings. During the month of November, thousands of people around the world put pen to paper every day for National Novel Writing Month. Now, I have no interest in writing a novel. (Reading novels, on the other hand . . .) But many bloggers use this month as an exercise in regular blogging. And this is my intention: to post here every day during November, and therein to catch up on my recipe backlog.

To start, I will post a recipe out of a cookbook! And not just any recipe; the taste of allspice and fried almonds and tangy yogurt transports me back to Syria, where I first tried it this summer. I love Middle Eastern food of all kinds, but this stuff is just amazing. It sounds weird, but give it a try; you won't regret it.

adapted from A Gourmet's Delight, by Aida Karaoglan

  • 1-2 pounds boneless lamb, beef, or chicken thighs, cubed
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground allspice, or 1-2 tsp purchased ground allspice
  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups medium grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • fried slivered almonds or pine nuts, for garnish
  • plain yogurt, for garnish

  1. Brown meat and onions in large pot, then add salt and allspice.
  2. Add cauliflower, rice, and water, and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and simmer over low heat until rice and cauliflower is tender, about 30-45 minutes. If you wish to unmold the makloubi on a platter, do not stir; otherwise stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Serve with fried almonds or pine nuts on top and plain yogurt on the side.

Comments & Modifications:
  • I've already totally modified this from the original recipe, since it called for an absurd amount of cooking time and dirty pots.
  • However, for cheaper cuts of beef the longer cooking time may be useful. I'd simmer the beef alone for a while before adding the sauted onions, spices, and other ingredients to break down the connective tissues.
  • Apparently this is quite tasty with eggplant instead of cauliflower. However, the cauliflower was so good I may never get around to trying it with eggplant.

Verdict: Yum. Dan's opinion: "This is going into our regular rotation."

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