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Monday, May 5, 2014

Delicious Bowls: Lebanese Raheb Salad, Mushroom, Halloumi and Pine Nut Ragout

Sometimes, you can find the best and most interesting restaurants in the most random places.  This certainly is true for our newest find.

First, I just want to mention how much I love Lebanese food.  I find it fresh, full of flavour and textures and easy to incorporate into a low carb diet (sadly omitting the pita).  I will on occasion opt for the fast food version when in food courts as I feel this is probably one of the healthiest choices available.  My new favourite Lebanese restaurant - and quickly becoming a family favourite,  is the furthest thing from the fast food - food court version of Lebanese food.  It is, however, located in a shopping district in Montreal's South Shore, called Quartier dix30.  I quite like this place for its convenience (it seems every single store in existence is located there) and its trendy - walk around and window shop at the designer stores -  little village atmosphere.  This little designer quartier is where Zyara can be found.  The food is amazing, the decor is beautiful and I highly recommend the terrace in the summer - it is stunning - makes you feel like you are on vacation!

These two recipes are inspired by two of their signature mezzas.  These would also be great new dishes for a pot luck or barbecue - adding a little fresh Mediterranean twist.  Here are my versions.

Note:  I have now had pomegranate molasses in two wonderful dishes during the past month and it is a wonderful new discovery.  I can be hard to find but most specialized groceries will carry it.  I find mine at Les douceurs du marché at the Atwater market (they have everything).  It adds a new sweet acidic twist to dishes and salad dressings.  Enjoy!

You will need:  for the Raheb salad - 2 portions

  • 2 small eggplants, one sliced in half and the other cut in small dice
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • pinch of chipotle powder;
  • 1/4 of an English cucumber, seeds removed, cut in small dice
  • 4 cherry tomatoes cut into small wedges
  • 1/8th cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 red or orange pepper, cut in small dice
  • 1 tsp of pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1/8 cup (40ml) of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh herb of your choice - (I used chopped flat-leaf parsley and basil)
  • balsamic glaze

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C);
  2. Brush the sliced eggplant (1 small) with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt;
  3. Bake, flesh side down, on a parchment line baking sheet, in centre oven for about 20 minutes.  Scrape the softened flesh with a spoon to release it from the skin but leave it on the eggplant skin to serve. Set aside;
  4. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil (1tbsp - 15ml) and add the diced shallot (1 small).  Cook to soften for 2 minutes;
  5. Add the diced eggplant to the skillet with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the chipotle pepper and set aside to cool; 
  6. While the eggplant is cooking, mix together the diced English cucumber (1/4 cucumber), wedged cherry tomatoes (4), chopped walnuts (1/8th cup), diced red pepper (1/2 pepper), sliced green onion (1), chopped fresh herbs.  Add the cooled diced eggplant;
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk pomegranate molasses (1tsp - 5ml), honey (1 tsp - 5ml), lemon juice (1 tbsp - 15ml) and olive oil (1/4 cup - 60ml).  Taste and adjust ingredients and seasoning to your preference - it should be well balanced.
  8. Add the dressing in small batches to the chopped vegetables and taste to determine how much is needed.  Season with salt and pepper;
  9. Spoon the salad over the cooked eggplant and serve with a few drops of balsamic glaze.

For the Mushroom, Halloumi and Pine Nut Ragout:

You will need:  2 portions

  • 2 cups of chopped fresh mushrooms, sliced (your choice of mushrooms is fine)
  • 2 slices of halloumi cheese (about 1/2 inch - 1.5 cm thick)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of pine nuts, toasted
  • fresh tarragon
  • pepper

  1. Heat oil (1tbsp - 15ml) over medium heat and add sliced halloumi allowing each side to become golden (1 minute per side).  Remove and cut into large dice. Set aside;
  2. In the same pan, add some more oil and cook sliced mushrooms (2 cups) with a pinch of salt until they have released their water (about 10 minutes);
  3. Mix cooked mushrooms and diced halloumi together in a bowl.  Add fresh chopped tarragon (1 tbsp), pine nuts and pepper. Serve warm with a few drops of balsamic glaze.

 Smile and Thought of the day:

1 comment:

  1. Salma13/5/14

    There is an "Adonis" grocery store nearby and its Lebanese but carries everything from Greek Mountain Tea to Danish Blue Cheese. Its worth a visit next time you're in the area. Nice recipe, by the way.


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