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Book Review: Classic Lebanese Cuisine

Classic Lebanese Cuisine

by Chef Kamal Al-Faqih

Three Forks

September 2009

Hardcover Original $24.95

Looking for a world cuisine with distinctive flavor that's healthy, too? Look no further than to Classic Lebanese Cuisine, the new book by Chef Kamal Al-Faqih, which includes 170 recipes for classic Lebanese fare. Many recipes offer several variations, so you can choose lamb, chicken or beef, or to create a vegetarian dish.

Lamb Turbans, the eye-catching appetizers on the cover, would make a nice one-bite addition to a catering menu. Flavored with lamb, onions, tomato, pomegranate and toasted pine nuts, the turbans' recipe includes step-by-step photo instructions on how to fold the turban out of dough.

The catering that is part of Al-Faqih's background seems just as influential on the book's content as his Lebanese heritage. He started catering in Washington, D.C., in 1986, becoming the preeminent Mediterranean caterer in the area, and that experience is reflected throughout the book.

The appetizer chapter is inspired by outdoor restaurants in the town of Zahle in Lebanon, where “…day and night, tabletops brim with an enticing selection of mezza in what always seems to be a grand feast.” Mezza are sumptuous fingerfoods, or Lebanese-style tapas.

Al-Faqih offers a great selection of flavors and textures. You'll find recipes for Feta Cheese Crescents, Hummus, Tabbouli Bites, Red Pepper Pizzettas, three varieties of Kibbi Balls, and many more. These would all be great for buffets, tray-passed hors d'oeuvres or any catering scenario.

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