includes an abundance of starches, whole grain, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat. When red meat is eaten it is usually lamb on the coast, and goat meat in the mountain regions. It also includes copious amounts ofgarlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice.; olive oil, herbs, garlic and lemon are typical flavors found in the Lebanese diet.
Most often foods are either grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil; butter or cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts. Vegetables are often eaten raw or pickled as well as cooked.Herbs and spices are used and the freshness of ingredients is important.
In Lebanon, very rarely are drinks served without being accompanied by food.
mezze is an array of small dishes placed before the guests creating an array of colors, flavors, textures and aromas. This style of serving food is less a part of family life than it is of entertaining and cafes. Mezze may be as simple as pickled vegetables or raw vegetables, hummus, baba ghanouj and bread, or it may become an entire meal consisting of grilled marinated seafood, skewered meats, a variety of cooked and raw salads and an arrangement of desserts.
Although simple fresh fruits are often served towards the end of a Lebanese meal, there is also dessert, such as baklava and coffee. Although baklava is the most internationally known dessert, there is a great variety of Lebanese desserts.
A typical mezze will consist of an elaborate variety of thirty hot and cold dishes and may include:
- Salads such as the tabbouleh and fattoush, together with dip such as hummus, baba ghanoush or moutabal, and kebbeh.
- Some patties such as the Sambusac.
- Stuffed grape leaves
The Lebanese flat bread is a staple to every Lebanese meal and can be used to replace the usage of the fork.
Lebanese sweets include:
- Pastries such as baklava, Kaak, Sfouf and Maamoul.
- The Lebanese ice cream with its oriental flavors (Amar el Din made from dried apricot; fresh fruits; pistachio).
- The Lebanese roasted nuts with variety and mixes
- ¾ cup cracked wheat, finely ground
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
- 2 Tablespoons dried mint
- 1 or 2 bunches of parsley, cut fine
- ¾ cup green onions, thinly sliced
- Juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a bowl, cover cracked wheat with warm water and let stand about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
- Mix tomatoes, mint, parsley, onions, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a separate bowl.
- Add the drained wheat and mix well.
- Add more lemon juice and olive oil, if needed. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Serve in a bowl, or on a bed of lettuce leaves, with pita bread cut into triangles.
- 1 can cooked chickpeas
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 Tablespoons tahini (a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds; found in specialty stores)
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons cold water
- Heat the cooked chickpeas over medium low heat. Remove from heat and mash by hand or in a food processor, reserving a few whole ones for garnishing.
- Add tahini, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt, and water. Blend the mixture until it is creamy.
- Pour the thick dip into a deep bowl. Garnish with whole chickpeas and chopped parsley. Sprinkle with olive oil and serve with pita bread.
- 1 pound pork belly, skin side rubbed with 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt
- Water to cover
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spices of your choice such as cayenne, sugar, and paprika
To prepare the belly: Rub the baking soda and salt all over the surface of the skin, taking care to distribute the powder evenly. Set the pork belly on a rack and place it uncovered in the refrigerator for at least an hour but preferably overnight and for up to a day.
The next day, rinse the belly in cold water and pat dry. Cut into 1-inch segments, about 1/3-inch thick. Place all the segments of belly into a wok and add enough water to cover the meat.
Turn the heat to low. Over the course of 2 to 4 hours, depending on the moisture content of your pork, slowly render the fat from the belly, turning the segments of meat every half hour or so. Keep the heat on low. In the beginning, the water will look like pork stock but over time the water will cook off, leaving only the lard in the pan.
When only liquid fat remains in the wok, turn the heat to high and carefully monitor the pieces of belly as they deep-fry in the lard. This last stage of deep-frying should take about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicharrones to a plate lined with paper towels to blot the extra fat. Toss with salt and your choice of seasonings. The chicharrones will remain crispy for many hours.
St. Thomas’ Chef Theo Gumbs is on the rise. Chef Theo’s culinary passion began while working with his mother who owns her own food truck in St. Thomas. He was able to cultivate that passion after attending culinary school when he became the USVI Department of Tourism’s Culinary Ambassador, working with the DOT at various travel symposiums and destination marketing initiatives. The USVI Culinary Chef recently gained national attention after appearing on the Food Network’s number 1 rated show “Cutthroat Kitchen”. His love and pride in USVI cuisine has driven his ambition to take his brand of culinary world wide. Meet Chef Theo.
This is basically a simple brown gravy that can form the basis for steak sauce, mushroom sauces, madeira, and more. Like the sauces above, you use equal parts butter and flour (or try making it with bacon fat instead of butter!). Then add mirepoix—onions, carrots, and celery—and stir in tomatoes and beef stock.
There are lots of other ways to make brown sauce, but you get the idea. If you just want a quick sauce, however, consider just making a simple gravy from the pan drippings. As Alan says:
We talk a lot about how to make the perfect steak—why let all of those delicious brown bits on the pan go to waste? Add some fat like butter, a little flour to thicken, salt and pepper, and something to deglaze the pan like wine, balsamic vinegar, or sherry (or any other cooking wine). Scrub up those brown bits and stir until it’s all smooth, and you’re good to go. Honestly, I could go on about the myriad ways to make simple pan gravy—everyone should do it at least once, if they haven’t already for Thanksgiving or something. It’s easy and super-fast, especially if you’ve already fried or cooked something in the pan, or you’ve roasted something and have drippings to spare!
8 Etiquette Reminders for Dining Out with Friends and Clients
We’ve all been there. You’re out for dinner with a sizable group of friends. You order salad and a glass of house wine. They order lobster and Champagne. When the bill comes, you split it evenly. Then you go home and beat yourself up for subsidizing their extravagance. Next time, you vow, I’m ordering the lobster.
This situation takes the concept of competitive eating to a new level. Why scrimp on your own meal if you’ll be shelling out for theirs? Why feel taken advantage of, when you could, instead, feel sated? Do you suck it up, say something or avoid the situation if you know it’s coming?
I took those questions to Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and director of The Etiquette School of New York in Manhattan, who recently encountered a similar situation, herself.
Last year, Napier-Fitzpatrick was dining out with a group of six friends she’s known for nearly 20 years. Upon sitting down, one of the women in the group said to the waiter, “I would like to get a separate check.” As someone who doesn’t drink, the friend didn’t want to pay an equal amount to those who were drinking.
Napier-Fitzpatrick thought it was an odd request. Still, she understood. She, herself, only had one drink during the meal (others had more), and admits that when the check came, she was tempted to also ask to pay separately. “It was very hard for me not to say, ‘OK, I’ve only had one glass of wine, I’d like a separate check, too.’ But I didn’t. I didn’t.”
That’s because the proper protocol, when dining out with a group of friends, is to split things evenly. “When you go out to dinner with other people, that’s sort of your price of admittance, so to speak. Everybody shares the check equally,” she says.
If that’s continually a problem, it’s time to think of other solutions.
“If you know that your friends are big drinkers and big eaters and you’re not, maybe you shouldn’t be dining with them,” she says. “How many times does it take to learn that you’re feeling taken advantage of and they’re feeling like you’re cheap?”
She suggests setting up a lunch with one or two of them, rather than a dinner with a larger group. They’ll be more likely to eat and drink less.
In addition, Napier-Fitzpatrick shared the following advice for group dining:
When dining together, everyone should have the same number of courses.
This will pace the dinner properly. If you’re just planning on having the chicken, and the person to your left orders a salad or appetizer as well as the entrée, you should order a salad or appetizer, too.
Handle the check differently with clients vs. friends.
If you invite someone to a business lunch or dinner, you pay—that’s protocol. If they invite you, they pay. Among friends, however, the check should be split, or you can alternate paying each time you meet.
Everything in moderation.
Drinking and eating in moderation is the polite thing to do. Whether you’re with friends or clients, be mindful of how much you consume.
Follow the ‘rule of six’.
If you’re joining a large party (12 or more), you don’t have to wait for everyone to be served before you begin dining. The rule of six dictates that once six people have been served, you can begin eating. In smaller groups, you should wait for everyone to be served before you begin.
Let’s say you’re dining in a group and your fish or steak is undercooked, so you send it back. Everyone else is happy with his or her meal. Still, your dining companions shouldn’t start eating until you say, “Please, go ahead without me.”
If you’re in one-on-one situation, say, dining with a client, and the client sends his or her food back, you shouldn’t start eating until the client suggests you do so. Even then, you should eat very, very slowly or not at all. You want to make the client comfortable.
If dining with people you don’t know, introduce yourself and join in.
At weddings, banquets and other celebrations, there are often large tables and lots of empty chairs to choose from. It’s not uncommon to see islands of singles or couples separated by seas of chairs. Rather than isolating yourself, have the confidence to sit by someone you don’t know. Simply introduce yourself and ask if you can join them. The proper etiquette is to be socially savvy, and it will make for a far more interesting night than sitting solo.
Stash the electronics.
Most people know this, yet they don’t do it. All electronics should be put away during a meal, and only food and utensils belong on the table. Of course, there are exceptions. If you’re on call for any reason—work, a baby on the way, family emergency, etc.—simply inform your party before you sit down. Let them know that you may get an important call and put your phone on vibrate. If your phone rings, say excuse me and then leave the table to take the call in a location that’s more private.
Took advantage of lunch prices to eat at this small, hidden gem. Nestled at the far corner of this otherwise quite strip mall on St Jean Blvd, Bistro Nolah is certainly worth the visit.
Firstly, our waiter Mathieu was a true connoisseur. He explained to us in detail the contents of all the menu items. He service was impeccable as was his genuine polite affect.
We started with crab cakes….the real kind with nice sauce pairings, I had the seafood gumbo….delicious..large shrimp, and a flavourful gumbo roux. I make my own, so I can tell you this was great. My partner had the bavette with home fries…delicious as well.
We finished with dessert of bread pudding generously sitting in a bourbon sauce…and yes, you could taste the bourbon.
Priced right for lunch for food that tasted as if it was made just for us. total bill with tax: $55.
We will be back.