• Almond and Fig

Updated: Jun 18


1 package frozen phyllo dough thawed For the filling 1 bag frozen spinach thawed 1 cup crumbled feta 1 red onion minced (you can sautée it or leave it raw) Salt and pepper to taste A few grates of fresh nutmeg Zest of one Lemon 2 tsp sumac 2 tbls pine nuts Nigella seeds or sesame seeds and flaky salt (optional) Olive oil for brushing

Filling: Squeeze the spinach until all the water comes out you can do that using a couple of paper towels. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, sumac, feta, pine nuts, onions, lemon zest.


Take 1 sheet of filo dough (make sure to cover the remaining sheets with a clean kitchen towel to prevent them from drying) Cut the sheet of phyllo into 3 even strips and brush with olive oil. Fold each strip in half creating a double layer. Place one teaspoon of the filling along the short side of the rectangle and roll creating a cigar ha! Brush the top with olive oil and add a Sprinkle of nigella seeds and flaky salt on top if you want to be fancy u know. Brush, fill, roll and repeat until you are done it goes by so fast. Line the cigars in a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a 350 oven for about 20 min until golden and crisp.

Dipping Sauce: 1 cup Greek yogurt 1/4 cup crumbled feta Juice and zest of one Lemon A drizzle of olive oil Whirl all ingredients in a blender or a mixer until smooth and fluffy Tip: Phyllo dough gets soggy after it sits out for a while just reheat in a toaster oven and enjoy

* These cigars are freezer friendly. Freeze them in a one sheet pan until frozen solid. Once frozen, pack in a freezer reusable bag. Don't defrost, reheat in a 350 oven until crisp and heated through 15-20 minutes.

  • Mai

A Summer cooling salad with fire charred zucchini, mint and yogurt.

Since my trip to go home to Palestine to visit my family was cancelled this summer I found myself cooking dishes that evoke my senses. These summer dishes are an account of memories that dance through my childhood and the summers spent with my family in Palestine. The fresh herbs my mother plants, the seasonal vegetables and the tree ripened fruit in my grandparent's garden. The rhythmic beat of teta's mortar and pestle pounding this mutabal. These are the type of things that evoke more than just memories, they excite my imagination and fill my senses with possibilities. So this summer when Palestine seems in the far distance you will find me cooking from home, the summer dishes that my grandmothers and mother make.

Summer lunch at my grandmother's house was often filled with dishes like this one. Teta always cooked with whatever is in season. She would be happy eating a bowl of this mutabal with charred crispy bread (that's how she likes it), olives and sliced tomatoes.

Mutabal in Arabic means "seasoned." It often refers to these delicious creamy salads or sides that are often mixed with tahini, yogurt or the combination of both. My teta's (grandmother) cooling mutabal with charred kousa, creamy yogurt and mint is perfect in the summer with grilled meats, part of a mezze plates, serve with pita bread and other crisp veggies.

Mutabal Kousa

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time 45 minutes


2 large zucchini’s or 5 small ones

1 cup plain yogurt

3 garlic cloves

1 jalapeño (optional)

Juice of 1/2 lemon (adjust to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp aleppo pepper (optional)

2 tbls Olive oil plus more for the top

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint


To prep the zucchini, Preheat the oven to 375

I like to fire roast the zucchini’s and jalapeño whole first on an open flame just like my teta does. A gas stove top or on the grill will work as well. This step is optional but it adds lots of flavor. Then finish roasting the zucchini in the oven until they are tender and completely cooked through.

Place the zucchini on a baking tray and let it finish cooking in the oven until tender and soft on the inside about 20 minutes depending on the size of your zucchini. The best way to check is insert a skewer or the tip on your knife if it goes in the flesh of the vegetable easily then the vegetable is done. Let them cool to handle.

With a pairing knife peel some of the blackened skin. You don't need to peel it all as it adds a layer of flavor.

Roughly chop the zucchini with a knife, my grandmother would pound the zucchini, garlic and the jalapeno if using in a mortar and pestle.

Add the zucchini, jalapenos, garlic, lemon juice, yogurt, salt and mix to combine. Fold in the fresh chopped mint and the olive oil.

Serve in a bowl, with a generous drizzle of olive oil and extra chopped mint.

Note: you can chop or pound your vegetables to the consistency you like. If you like it more fine chop further.

This cooling mutabal is perfect in the summer with grilled meats, part of a mezze plates, serve with pita bread and other crisp veggies.

#zucchini #mutabal #savoryyogurt #mint #mutabalkousa #kousa #palestinianfood

  • Mai

Rice is an essential and a beloved ingredient in the Arab kitchen. It is served almost with every meal. Rice is often served next to stews or an important ingredient in stuffing vegetables or meats like lamb or chicken. This rice dish is a very popular recipe in the Middle East, especially loved in the Gulf countries. Bukhari rice gets its name from the famous city of Bukhara, a formerly prominent outpost on the famous Silk Road which was a network of trade routes that connected the East and the West. The Silk Road was, in fact, one of the most important channels in the distribution of spices. Therefore much of the cooking in the Gulf Countries reflect the impact of the ancient spice traders. Bukhari Rice is so aromatic and flavorful yet has a complex taste from the various spices and textures. My kids said it tastes like the holidays and is probably a perfect side dish for thanksgiving ( who am i thinking that far ahead) lol. But until thanksgiving i am now serving this delicious aromatuic rice with some grilled chicken, yogurt and a simple salad.


  • 2 cups brown (or regular) basmati rice

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 grated carrots

  • 1 green chili or chili flakes (optional)

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 tsps bukhari spice (you can use my code mai10 to get a discoun of your purchase) or a mix of:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon corriander

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

  • few grates of fresh nutmeg

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 16 Oz can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1/2 cup dried raisins

  • 1 Loomi **

  • 3 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth or water will do. You need enough to cover the rice by 1/2 inch

  • 1/2 cup dry roasted nuts (almonds and pine nuts to garnish

** loomi:

Also called limoo Amani, these black lemons, are actually dried limes. They are a staple flavor in the cuisine of the gulf countries, Iraq and Iran.

They taste sour and citrusy like a lime but they also taste earthy and somewhat smoky. they are preserved and dried for a long time in the sun they also have a slightly bitter, fermented. Often available at Middle Eastern and spice shops.


  1. Rinse and drain the rice a few times, until the water runs clear.

  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until they soften and become translucent. Add the carrots, raisins, loumi, spices, bay leaves, and sauté for a minute or two. Heating the spices will bloom their flavors and they become more aromatic.

  3. Add the rice and the chickpeas and toss them with all the aromatics for 2-3 minutes tossing often.

  4. Add the broth or water, stir, and let it come to a boil.

  5. Cover the pot, lower the heat to low and Cook for 20-30 minutes until the rice is fluffy and cooked through (no peeking).

  6. Fluff gently with a fork

  7. Once ready to serve top with some toasted nuts.

Serve with plain yogurt, simple chopped salad. This side dish is a perfect compliment to any long roasted or grilled meats. My kids said it’s tastes like the holidays and is probably perfect for thanksgiving.

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