Fig Cookies – Rugelach Style Recipe!


Fig cookies with walnuts

Fig cookies with walnuts

I am sharing this fig and walnut cookie  recipe with you because it really is very delicious.  My friend Samira loves this cookie very much and I wanted to surprise her.

She is a very giving person and I think this is one of her favorite cookies,  so, I am making it for her as a token of my love and appreciation for her friendship.  When you have someone special in your life, please take care of them because true friends are hard to come by.

The ingredients are:

2 cups of flour

1 stick of unsalted butter (room temp)

Fig Jam

Fig Jam

8 Oz of cream cheese (room temp)

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 tsp salt.

1/2 tsp pure vanilla

For the filling:

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 zest of one orange and the juice of half an orange

1 jar of fig jam

1/2 tsp of anise to sprinkle on the filling


Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cookie dough

Cookie dough


To make the filling, in a food processor, add in the fig jam with the orange zest and a little orange juice.  Pulse a few times until you can easily spread the filling onto the dough.

On a floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle.

Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons the fig mixture and the spread some of the walnuts on top.

Fig  filled cookie dough

Dough with fig filling and walnuts

Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 6 equal wedges–cutting the whole circle.

Cut up cookies

Cut up cookies

Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge, don’t worry if they are not the same size. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Cookies on sheet tray

Cookies ready for baking

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until golden brown.

If you love figs, you will love this recipe.


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Maqlobeh (Lamb & Rice) Dinner Recipe!



Maqlobeh is a very special lamb dish that I make for my kids and for VIP’s.  Maqlobeh is a Middle Eastern dish, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria all have their own version of Maqlobeh.  Maqlobeh is a lamb & rice dish that literally means upside down because the meat is cooked on the bottom and the whole pot is turned upside down to show the meat on top.

Some 20 years ago I had a neighbor that made Maqlobeh and I  loved her recipe, but , I had developed my own way of making this dish and I made it healthier since most recipes calls for frying the vegetables.

I will share my version of this delicious Maqlobeh recipe, I do hope you make it for your family and friends.

Ingredients to cook the lamb:

1/2 shoulder of lamb  (3-5 lbs) cut into chunks

3 cups of rice (long grain)

1 cinnamon stick & 2 bay leaves

1 tbs of curry powder & 1/2 tsp turmeric

1 package of Sazon Goya with saffron

2 large onions (1 diced) (1 in stock)

5-6 cloves of garlic

Salt & black pepper to taste (since will be salting as we cook)

In a large pot, add in the meat and cover with water, let it come to a boil and then discard all the water and wash the meat.  On a medium heat and in a clean stock pot, add back the meat, then add one onion, cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, and all the spices, cover with water and cook on a medium heat for half an hour, then simmer on low heat another hour or so until the meat is tender.



For the vegetables:

1 head of cauliflower, cut up into large florets

2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch thick

4 medium size potatoes, sliced  1/4 inch thick

Meanwhile, on a sheet tray, add in a little olive oil or spray it with oil,  grill all your vegetables in a 375 oven until lightly browned about 35-45 minutes.  Remember, we don’t want to fully cook the vegetables, because it’s going to be added to Maqlobeh to finish cooking.

Roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables

For the rice:

3 cups of rice

1/4 cup vermicelli

3 tbs of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of slivered almonds toasted

Drained the rice well, set aside.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, saute the vermicelli with a little butter until browned and then add to the rice.

Vermicelli Noodles

Vermicelli Noodles

When the noodles are browned, add it to the rice, add in salt and black pepper.

Time to assemble the maqlobeh.

Bring a large and wide pot, add in the diced onion with the diced cloves of garlic and saute in a little butter about 5-10 minutes when done, remove the cooked meat from the stock pot and spread it to the bottom of the pot.  Top all your vegetables by layering them on the meat.  Add in the rice and make sure all the rice is spread on the vegetables.  Slowly add in the stock that the meat cooked in to cover the rice.

Cook on a low heat and simmer until the rice is fully cooked.

Turn the maqlobeh on a large serving tray, make sure the tray will hold the maqlobeh fully and the tray has edges.  Top with toasted almonds and serve.



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Shrimp & Rice Recipe! Easy & Delicious

Shrimp & Rice Recipe

Shrimp & Rice Recipe with Tabasco sauce on top

We are having some friends over for brunch and I wanted something delicious and easy. Shrimp is healthy & it’s quick to make so I am making shrimp & rice brunch.

You can buy your shrimp already cooked and just mix in with the rice or just cook it yourself, it’s your choice.

For the shrimp & rice we need the following:

2 lbs of shrimp (cleaned)

2 cups of rice (I like uncle Bens)



Rice with added tumeric

4 cups of water

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped & divided

Cilantro & Scallions

Cilantro & Scallions

7 cloves of garlic , diced & divided

1 bunch of scallions, chopped & divided

1 red bell pepper ( sliced)

1 tsp of turmeric

1 box of frozen peas

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 cup of olive oil

3 tbs of unsalted butter

Juice of 1-2 lemons

Heat a medium size pot and add in olive oil, half  the garlic, half the scallions and half the cilantro.  Saute’ for few minutes.  Add in the rice, mix well, add the salt, the black pepper  and turmeric and the water, bring to a boil , cover and cook on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is cooked.

Added water to the rice

Added water to the rice

Meanwhile, in a saute’ pan, add in the butter with a little olive oil and the rest of the garlic, the scallions and the cilantro and cook for a few minutes.  Add  in the shrimp and cook until it turns pink, (if using already cooked shrimp, just add it in when you turn off the heat).  Add in the lemon juice.

Sauted herbs

Sauted herbs

Saute’ the sliced red pepper in a little butter and oil for a few minutes, try not to over cook it so it adds a little crunch.  Add the shrimp to the cooked rice along with the frozen peas and the red pepper.

Cooked rice with shrimp

Cooked rice with shrimp

Mix the shrimp with the rice well.  Plate and serve.

Shrimp & Rice

Shrimp & Rice

Chef’s note:  I had some snow peas that I added to the shrimp & rice, but you don’t have to. Also, please serve the shrimp and rice with Frank’s hot sauce or Tabasco for a little kick.





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Kibbeh Nayeh: A delicacy


Frakhe (A dish from South Lebanon)

My son came to visit from New Jersey and I wanted to make him some of his favorite dishes one of which is Kibbeh Nayeh a very special Lebanese dish.

What makes this dish so special is that it is made with raw, lean 100% lean ground meat, fine  bulgurkibbeh spices, and olive oil.

Kibbeh is the national dish of Lebanon & takes center stage at any gathering.  It’s  made with goat meat or lamb.   Frakhe‘ is another name for kibbeh that is made in South Lebanon and is made with beef .  Kibbeh and Frakhe’ both served with fresh mint, white onions, radishes and slices of tomato.  Arak is a Lebanese drink made from  grapes & anise, it goes very well with the meal.



I know what you are thinking, RAW MEAT!  Well, don’t shun the idea, lots of people eat sushi or steak tartare,  and if you like such dishes, I think you’ll enjoy Kibbeh.   Kibbeh Nayeh is a Lebanese delicacy and it’s worth trying.  So, if you go to a Lebanese restaurant and it’s on the menu,  please order Kibbeh and try it.

When making kibbeh I usually eyeball how much bulgur to meat ratio.  For instance 1 lbs of fat free lean ground meat I would use about 1 cup of bulgur or you can add a bit more than 1 cup or as you like.

First,  place the bulgur in a shallow dish,  then  add in olive oil(about 1/4 cup), or you can soak it with cold water instead of oil if you are counting calories, but I do prefer the olive oil for it’s great taste.  Add in the oil to the fine bulgur , then set aside.  Meanwhile, put the ground beef or  lamb into a food processor, pulse a few times, add in 1 to 2 pieces of ice, this step is important because it will help the meat to become moist and sticky, process until  smooth and creamy ground meat.

Remove the meat, then add it to the bulgur and mix together,  add ice water in your palm or as needed, be careful not to over do it,  just use enough to mix it.  Add the kibbeh spices, dry mint is optional, some don’t use dry mint, but I like it with the kibbeh, the salt.  Mix well, when it holds together, plate your kibbeh , buy using a spoon and gently drag the spoon to make small indentations drizzle olive oil and serve.


Kibbeh Nayeh

Kibbeh Nayeh

Even though I made many dishes for my son, I have to say the best dish all of us enjoyed was Kibbeh, I served it with tabbouleh, Baba Ghannouj, Hummus and of course Arak.

I hope you make it for your family and friends.

Chef’s note:  you can add a small grated onion if you like to the bulgur.


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Vegetarian Kibbeh : Baked Pumpkin Kibbeh

Vegetarian style Baked Kibbeh

Baked Pumpkin Kibbeh

My friends Aline & Maria are vegetarians,  I wanted to have them over for dinner, so I decided on making them vegetarian kibbeh.  They liked so much that they requested I post it on the blog for them.  I am sharing the recipe with them and with you.   I hope you like it as much as they did.

Pumpkin kibbeh is made from fresh pumpkin, stuffed with spinach & walnuts.  Well, I have made it different for Aline & Maria, I stuffed it with mushrooms which you can also do by sauting  the onions and mushrooms  instead of spinach, but I want to share with you the original way of making vegetarian kibbeh,  I am using an organic can of pumpkin since pumpkin is not in available at times.  But,  of course, if you can get fresh pumpkin and roast it in the oven for an hour the taste will be worth it for sure.

Here are the ingredients:

Can of pumpkin

Can of pumpkin

1 lb bulgur wheat

2 medium onions, diced

1 can organic pumpkin

1-2 cups of water for soaking the bulgur

1 bag of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted

1 tbs of kibbeh spice

1 tsp dry mint

1 tbs sumac

1/4 of lemon juice

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

salt to taste

For the kibbeh, soak the bulgur in hot water and set aside.

Soaked bulgur

Soaked bulgur wheat

When the water is gone from the bulgur, with the palm of your hand, mix well until Bulgur comes together, wet you hands with  water as needed until it is moist and sticks together.  Add in the pumpkin and the kibbeh spice, dry mint, salt and mix again.

When kibbeh holds together,  it’s ready to spread it.  Divide the kibbeh mixture in half.

Raw Pumpkin Kibbeh ready to prepare into pan

Pumpkin Kibbeh ready to prepare into pan

Meanwhile, add some salt to the diced onion to release all the water from it.

Spinach & onion walnut filling for baked kibbeh

Spinach & onion walnut filling for baked kibbeh

Squeeze all the water from the spinach and from the onion.  Combine the spinach,the walnuts, the onions, the sumac, the lemon juice, salt and the olive oil.

In an oiled baking pan, spread half the mixture, making sure it’s nice and smooth, then add to the filling mixture.  With the rest of the kibbeh, take a little by hand, then pat it with your hand to flatten out, spreading and covering all the spinach mixture.

When done, with a knife slice the kibbeh into squares or diamond shape,  top the kibbeh with olive oil and bake in a 375 oven for an hour, then place under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pumpkin stuffed Kibbeh

Vegetarian stuffed Kibbeh with spinach & walnuts

Cool before serving.

I hope you make it for your family and friends.


Posted in Dinner, Main Dish, spices, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments