Your favorite recipes of 2012, and a new way to find them

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It is striking to me to see how, in the year and a half since Rose Water & Orange Blossoms came on the scene, there are certain posts that pull new visitors from around the world again and again to get the goods.

The most popular post since the day it was published is for mujadara, Lebanese-style lentils with cracked wheat or rice and caramelized onions. There are different ways to season mujadara, and some readers have scolded me for our way, which does not include our usual cinnamon, or cumin, or seven-spices. Season mujadara how you will, but topped with a hefty dollop of labne, and dressed up with some crispy fried onions, and you are immersed in a bowl of heaven. Healthy heaven, at that.

Lebanese spinach fatayar make you just as happy as they make me.

Who doesn’t love kibbeh nayeh, raw kibbeh? OK, plenty of people don’t, but plenty of people DO! This dish gets lots of attention, which is a good sign that one of our most important Lebanese traditions is sought after and being kept on the table. Kibbeh even brought a new friendship into my life, along with a trip to discover the beauty that is Drummond Island. Make kibbeh with lamb, or make it our way, with beef. Either way, kibbeh lovers know this is one special dish. You like to bake it, and turn it into delectable arras, or footballs, too.

Toum. Serious garlic sauce. It’s a revelation to any food it meets, from steamed vegetables to garlic toast, soups and tomato sauce to simple pasta, rice, or cooked grains and legumes of any kind. And, of course, grilled meats.

Our white coffee, or café blanc, is a favorite. I’m drinking mine every day in the northern Michigan chill: hot water, splash of mazaher (orange blossom water), big spoonful of raw honey. It’s as though my mama is right here giving me a hug with every quaff (when actually she’s down south, in the sane sunshine).

And we can’t forget these perfect chocolate chip cookies. They make everyone’s day.

Finding any recipe here is easier than ever with my new Recipes page. The categories take you right to what you’re looking for, including the many vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan delights. As always, I welcome your feedback and requests for the site, recipes you’d like to see, and any and all questions and shared stories. Thank you for a great year! I’m sending you a big cafe blanc hug, and looking forward to sharing more, much more, together in 2013.

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  1. Pam McCoy says:

    Oh my gosh! There are no words to explain my excitement in finding your blog! My paternal grandmother was Lebanese and our family has so many wonderful memories of our family sitting around her dining room table enjoying Lebanese dinners. She was so detail-oriented and when we would ask her to share recipes, there were never any. My dad went as far as to offer to record her cooking a Lebanese meal so we’d always have her recipes. Unfortunately, she had a stroke and later passed. Those recipes are a part of what makes our family and bring us such wonderful memories of my grandmother. I actually teared up reading your entries and shared your blog with my dad.

    I think I’ll be making coosa this week… : )

    Thank you!

  2. Brie @ Entrée the Giant says:

    Hi Maureen –

    I’m so glad my cousin told me about your blog when I saw her over the holidays. She met you through work and said that you and I could be twins. I have to tell you – I see what she means! I’m Lebanese too and also a major foodie – you think our love of food is just embedded in our DNA?!

    Anyways, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading so far and I cannot wait to try some of your recipes! Those lentils look delicious 🙂

  3. Diane Nassir (My maternal grandmother was an Abowd) says:

    Maureen, YES, favs absolutely!!!! Here is to a spectacular 2013 for you and yours and for all beings!!
    Much love in the New Year!

  4. Elizabeth Moore says:

    Dear Maureen,
    Thanks for your wonderful insight about food…you and Charlie have helped me be ferocious about Middle Eastern foods. I am away from Charlie now so I am grateful for your site and talents to help me continue forging ahead!
    Thanks so much,