Sunday, May 21, 2017

Try a Taste of Beirut

For those of you foodies out there, you are in for a special treat. One of our new cookbooks, Taste of Beirut by Joumana Accad, besides being filled with gorgeous photographs, has some spectacular recipes as well. Here is one to get you in the mood:

Spinach Turnovers
(Fatayer Bel-Sabanegh)

Yield: 35 small turnovers

     Dough - 
         1/2 cup warm water (or more as needed)
         3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
         1 tsp salt
         2 tbs oil
     Filling - 
         2 lbs fresh spinach, washed
         4 large onions, finely chopped
         1/4 cup ground sumac
         1 tbs salt plus more as needed
         1 tsp black (or white) pepper
         1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to brush on turnovers
         1/4 cup lemon juice
         1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)

  • Washed spinach must be sprinkled with salt (not taken out of the 1tbs salt mentioned above) and 1/2 of the sumac prior to recipe.
  • Pine nuts should be soaked in a bowl of water for one hour prior to use in recipe.
Directions for dough:
  1. Combine flour and salt in a stand mixer on low speed. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the oil. Then add the water.
  2. Keep kneading at medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is smooth, shiny, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, ad a bit more water; if too moist, add in more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The amount of water and flour you use depends on the day you are making it. Eventually the dough will take on the right texture -- smooth, firm and supple.
Directions for the turnovers:
  1. Cut the dough into 6 small balls. Sprinkle flour on a large tray and set each ball of dough on the floured tray, dousing it lightly with flour. Cover with a cloth and turn your attention to the stuffing.
  2. Chop the spinach coarsely with the stems. Place the spinach and onions in a large colander and sprinkle with the remaining sumac, salt and pepper. Set over the sink and squeeze the moisture from the mix. Transfer the mix to a large bowl.
  3. Mix the oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the spinach mix until it is moistened but no more than that. If the mix is too wet, it causes the turnovers to open up.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F. Roll out the dough on a floured counter, one ball at a time, as thin as possible. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass). Place 1 tablespoon of stuffing on each turnover. Lift the turnover on two sides and pinch them first to enclose the circle. Lift the remaining side and pinch to seal to the other two sides to form a pyramid. Place the pyramids on greased cookie sheets. Brush the tops with olive oil. Bake 15 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are golden. Serve at room temperature.

This book and many others are available for checkout and purchase at the Islamic Resource Center. Remember, Ramadan is just around the corner. These books can be a great time saver in the preparation of your evening meals. To further show you the wonders of these books, I will include one recipe every week during the month of Ramadan, so stay tuned to this blog and get your book today!

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