Recipes from the Chef's Kitchen

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Lebanese Taverna
5900 Washington Blvd.
Arlington, Va.
Chef Islam Bakeer

 Grape Leaves

(Makes 35 to 40 pieces)
1)  1 lb. jar grape leaves, pickled
2)  1 lb. diced tomatoes (save both ends for bottom of cook pot)
3)  1/2 cup chopped onions
4)  3/4 cup chick peas cooked or 1/4 cup uncooked
5)  1 cup parsley chopped
6)  1 cup short grain rice, uncooked
7)  1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
8)  1/2 cup water
9)  1/3 cup olive oil
10) 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
11) 1/2 teaspoon all spice
12) 1 tablespoon dry mint
13) salt to taste

1)  Mix everything together and get ready to wrap.  As you
      separate the grape leaves, set aside any that are torn or
      broken use as top and bottom layers when cooking.
2)  To stuff, place one leaf, smooth side down, with stem end
      facing you.  Put 1 large tablespoon filling in the center of the
      leaf.  Roll stem end over the filling and fold sides to the center,
      making an envelope.  Continue to roll the leaf up, toward the tip.
3)  Make a layer in the bottom of a 3 quart pot with 1/2 of the torn
      or broken leaves, tomato ends, and potato slices.  The idea is to
      keep the stuffed leaves from direct contact with the bottom of
      the pot.  Arrange rolled leaves, loose flap down, in tight parallel
      rows.  Change direction of each layer by 90 degrees. Cover the
      top layer with the remaining broken leaves.
4)  Find a plate of slightly smaller diameter than that of the pot...
      and invert it to cover the grape leaves; the weight of the plate
      will help keep the grape leaves intact and submerged during
      cooking.  Strain the remaining juice from the stuffing bowl into
      the pot.  If not enough to cover slightly above the plate, add
      water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.


(Makes 1 serving)
1) 2 cups chick peas, cooked (never use canned)
2) 1 cup tahini
3) 2 tsp. salt
4) 1/3 cup water
5) 1/3 cup lemon juice fresh and squeezed
6) 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
7) paprika, parsley, and olive oil for garnish

The Night Before:
Soak 1 cup dried chick peas in three times their volume of water
overnight with one teaspoon baking soda.  This will soften them
and therefore help reduce the cooking time.

1) Rinse chick peas under cold water, then put them in a saucepan.
     Cover with cold water and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
2) Bring to a full boil, then simmer for about 1/2 hour or until very
3) Stir occasionally, and remove excess foam from top.
4) It's very important to let peas cool before using.
5) Put them in a blender or food processor, reserving a few whole
     peas for the garnish.  Process chick peas, tahini, salt and garlic
     cloves until very smooth and lighter in color.
6) Add in the lemon while blending, scraping sides of the processor
      bowl.  Add water while blending.  It's difficult to give exact
      amount of lemon juice as sizes and tastes vary, so we suggest
      you add it gradually and decide for yourself how sour you like
      your hommos.
7)  If the puree is too thick, use a little water to thin it down...the
      puree should be soft and creamy, but not runny.

Serve in a shallow dish and garnish with olive oil, paprika, and
parsley.  We recommend fresh ingredients always be used, since it
will make it taste so much better.

Tabouleh Salad

(Makes 6 servings)
1)  1/2 each onion chopped
2)  4 bunches parsley chopped fine
3)  1/2 cup lemon juice fresh and squeezed
4)  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5)  1/4 cup bulgur #1
6)  2 each tomatoes diced small
7)  2 tbsp. mint leaves, fresh and finely chopped
8)  1 pinch all spice to taste
9)  1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

Put everything except parsley and olive oil together in a large bowl and
mix well.  Add the parsley and oil and mix again.

Tabouleh can only be great if the parsley and mint are hand chopped
with a very sharp knife to avoid bruising.  Traditionally...tabouleh is
eaten using lettuce, fresh vine leaves, or white cabbage as scoops.  You
can use a fork too, of course.

Good Eating!!!