Category Archives: Middle Eastern

Lemon Rosemary Brick Chicken

Chef John says: Shortly before leaving NYC, I was introduced to a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant called Balaboosta. If you are in NYC you should definitely go, there isn’t a bad item on the menu. A must-order from here was the Brick Chicken. I don’t really get how the whole brick thing works and I don’t really care, all I know is it’s delicious. The skin is super crispy, the meat is juicy and that’s what matters the most. I recently came across a recipe so I decided to give it a shot.I found the marinade to be very flavorful but switch it up to your tastes. Just be sure to use the brick.It’s allllllllll in the brick.

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped, plus additional sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
One 4-pound whole grass-fed chicken, butterflied

  1. Combine the garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, crushed red pepper and salt. Whisk in the olive oil. Rub two-thirds of the marinade all over the chicken and under the skin.
  2. Prepare your grill for direct medium-low heat or heat a cast-iron pan over a medium-low flame. Place the chicken on the grill or pan skin side down. Place a foil-wrapped brick or a heavy cast-iron skillet on top of the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the brick and turn the chicken over. Place the brick on the chicken again and continue to grill until the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle with the remaining marinade.

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Filed under Chicken, Comfort food, Main Course, Marinades, Middle Eastern


Food Truck Friday!  It is snowing this lovely first day of April here in NYC. That means it is fried food truck day for me.  Today I finally went to the Taim truck.   You can’t talk to anyone in this city about falafels without their name coming up, so I have been eager to try out their food truck. Taim’s falafels have been written up as best in New York, and recently their truck was named best food truck 2011 by NY Mag.  It always has a long line, but I finally decided to try it out.  
Today’s lunch was HARISSA falafel sandwich.  Luckily I do not have to compare these to Dee’s because they are totally different, a gourmet twist on the traditional if you will.  The harrisa gives the falafels a slightly different taste but not overwhelming and is extremely good.  Actually they are so good that next time I am going to get the falafel platter because it really does not need all the extras that come with the sandwich.   I also ordered the fries with a saffron aioli dipping sauce.  I will have to take a pass on them next time. The fries were soggy and the dipping sauce was ok but overwhelmingly saffron-y. -ts

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Filed under Food Truck, Fried food, Middle Eastern

Dee’s Falafel

Amazing falafel sandwich I had while in Beirut two years ago. Still not as good as Dee's!

I am extremely lucky to have grown up in a household of ethnic food, even luckier that it was Middle Eastern. When I was younger I would try to explain to my mom the importance of mayonnaise and butter (and convince her that she needs to learn how to make Peg’s greenbean casserole), but she was busy whipping up amazing dishes sans butter and mayo such as homemade hummus and baba ganoush, wara’enab (stuffed grape leaves), kebbeh, and kousa (stuffed zucchini) to name a few.

Look out for more of her recipes to be posted soon. One of my favorites was her falafel. Dee fries these patties wearing loud prints, gold jeew-ry, full make up and heels. One thing she taught me, frying while looking fabulous somehow makes it healthier and better. –ts

1 cup dry fava bean
1/3 cup Chick peas (dry)
2 garlic cloves
3 medium size red onions
½ bunch parsley- chopped very fine
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp flour
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp coriander
1/3 tsp red pepper
1/3 tsp cumin
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups Mazola oil

Recipe makes 35 pieces:

  1. Soak fava bean and chickpeas over night in warm water. Drain and let dry in the morning.
  2. Peel onions & garlic and add all ingredients (except the oil) in food processor. Mix well and let the mixture sit for one hour.
  3. In a deep fryer add oil, and let it heat up on high. Once oil is ready take a spoon full of the mixture and make it into a small ball in your hands. Fry it till it’s slightly red (don’t overcook!). You probably need only about 1 minute per side when frying.
  4. Place on paper towel to soak up excess oil. Feel free to add these to pita bread with shepherd salad, tzatziki and/or tahini sauce.

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Filed under Fried food, Main Course, Middle Eastern

Tabbouleh Salad

After vacation comes starvation!  Sorry, that was real nerdy.  However, it is needed.  After a week of major boozing and eating, I could use some health.  Last night I was craving greens and lots of it.  This is a standard recipe for tabbouleh, and it is incredibly easy.  The longer everything has to soak in the sauce the better, but it is fine to make and eat right away. Everything is to taste.  I prefer loads of parsley and little bulgar wheat (the authentic Lebanese way) and very lemon-y.  Feel free to use more or less of all ingredients. -ts

¼ cup bulgar cracked wheat (fine)- you may want more
2 roma tomatoes chopped
2 bunches flat leaf parsley chopped
Pinch of chopped fresh mint
Bunch of scallions chopped
Lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
Olive oil (about ¼ cup)
Salt & pepper
iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves separated and cleaned

  1. Prepare bulgar wheat as instructed on package and set aside.  Here is a common way to prepare it: Place the bulgur in a bowl, and cover with water by 1/2 inch. Soak for 20 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve, and press the bulgur against the strainer to squeeze out excess water.
  2. Transfer bulgar to a large bowl, and toss with the lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, scallions and salt. Leave at room temperature or in the refrigerator for two to three hours (optional I eat it right away!) so that the bulgur can continue to absorb liquid.
  3. Add the olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with lettuce leaves; eat like a lettuce wrap.

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Filed under Middle Eastern, Salad, Side dishes, Veggies