seasonal sides

The following are two of my favourite simple but flavourful ways to use up fresh summer produce.

The lemony loubieh with toasted walnuts and sa'amak is one of a huge number of traditional Lebanese flat bean dishes that my paternal grandmother used to make in massive quantities when the loubieh vines were literally bent over double with the weight of the beans, and it would be eaten as part of meze or, if you're me, straight from the serving bowl, and it's normally eaten with one's hands, pinched up in fresh pita bread or marcook. This is my kind of comfort food. My tittoo would cook up well over 3 or 4 kilos of loubieh at a time -- I've scaled it down a bit here.

The maple-mashed kohlbrabi with cauliflower and carrots is something I came up with years ago to try and convert a kohlrabi skeptic who used to look at me cross-eyed for munching on it raw. It worked. If you can, get the purple-skinned kohlrabi - I find the taste nicer, but the green is excellent as well.

lemony loubieh with toasted walnuts and sa’amak

what you need …

1 lb. fresh loubieh, topped
1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 a large lemon, juiced
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried sa’amak (aka sumac)
1/4 c. dry roasted walnuts, chopped (or toasted pine nuts)

what you do …

Combine garlic and salt and mash really well with a mortar and pestle (little trick here – the salt helps the garlic get all creamy when mashed).

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine creamed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and sa’amak and shake it up. Set aside to let the flavours get all friendly-like while you cook your loubieh.

Get a medium-sized pot of lightly salted water boiling, and have ready a bowl of ice water. Lay a clean tea towel on your counter and have another one handy.

Once the water’s boiling, drop in the loubieh, cover, and let cook 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it after 3 minutes – you want the loubieh cooked a little bit but still green and with a good bite to it.

Once cooked, immediately drain loubieh and dunk it in the ice water bath to stop it cooking. Once thoroughly cooled, drain and lay on tea towel and blot with the second towel to dry.

Dump loubieh into a non-reactive bowl, shake up the dressing again, and pour over top.
Let sit out for at least 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Right before serving, throw in the walnuts and give it a good final toss.

maple-mashed kohlrabi with cauliflower and carrots

what you need …

2 medium-small purple kohlrabi (about the size of a small grapefruit), peeled and chopped *

2 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped **

1 small head cauliflower, florets and stalk, chopped

3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch ground cloves

a couple Tbsp. unsweetened, plain almond milk

1 Tbsp. flax oil (or olive oil, or non-hydrogenated margarine if not a fan of flax and / or not fussed about getting your omegas)

what you do …

Steam vegetables until very tender. Transfer to a food processor and add salt, spices, maple syrup, and almond milk. Blend until puréed, stopping a couple times to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, and add more almond milk as needed to keep it all moving.

Once it’s all creamy, and with the blades still running, drizzle in the flax oil and continue blending until it’s all incorporated.

* If you don’t like / can’t find kohlrabi, turnips or parsnips are good substitutions.

** In the fall, I normally sub fresh pumpkin for the carrots, but I have a sick obsession with pumpkins. Sweet potatoes work well too.


Melody S. said...

Hi L, I recently discovered your blog and am very impressed. The lemony loubieh sounds fantastic! I placed you on the link list for my new blog and wanted to let you know.

VeganCowGirl said...

what a great post! Your writing is brilliant...and any middle eastern dishes are an instant winner with me. They both sound AMAZING.

- L said...

Melody - thank you! i just went and checked out your blog and i love the artwork. i'll be checking out your etsy shop later today.

vegancowgirl - you're making me blush. thank you ma'am - i've been reading your blog for ages.

Melody S. said...

Thank you so much L, your as nice as you are rockin'!