Food & Drink

Cook these Lebanese dishes, and perhaps we can will spring to arrive

Last week’s hiatus left me missing you readers. I hope you enjoyed the Valentine’s Day holiday whether you were celebrating with your significant other, friends, favorite little people or with your furry friends. Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays because I think it’s important to celebrate love in all its forms, including love of food.

Everyone seems to have a nostalgic comfort food they remember getting really excited about from childhood. My Grandma Marge used to make the best Lebanese Potato Salad ever. For some reason, we didn’t get it that often, and that was long before the low-carb craze. It’s really a simple recipe but the flavors are so bright and it is much lighter than a traditional potato salad since there’s no mayo.

Grandma Marge used to make a huge bowl of this, and as soon people poured into her back door, like they always did, it would be gone. Perhaps she made it more often than my memory serves. It just was consumed quickly. She fed whoever hit her back door, and you never knew who might be walking in.

The second recipe this week pairs beautifully with Lebanese Potato Salad – it’s Halloumi with Mint and Garlic. A friend who lives in the Washington, D.C., area tells me she can find halloumi at Trader Joe’s. Until we’re lucky enough to get a TJs here, we don’t have that option locally. But you can find halloumi at N&J Global Market, at Whole Foods and probably at other Mediterranean markets. If you’re wondering what to serve as a main protein dish, the possibilities are endless: garlic shrimp, chicken shawarma, kefta, or lamb loin chops would all compliment these recipes.

Perhaps if we start cooking spring-like foods Mother Nature will get the hint. As much as I love winter foods and all the rich flavors, I’m really looking forward to grilling and quicker meal prep. Do you feel the same way?

Adriene Rathbun is an enthusiastic Wichita cook who offers cooking classes through her business, Social. Reach her at socialcookingclasses.com or ar@adrienerathbun.com.

Lebanese Potato Salad

10 red potatoes, cubed

1 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

¼ cup green onion, finely chopped

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt, to taste

½ teaspoon black pepper

In a medium-sized Dutch oven, add potato cubes and enough water to cover. Over high heat, cook until the water is boiling. Turn down to medium and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft, but not mushy. Drain potatoes in a colander.

Meanwhile, mix parsley, green onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic and pepper to make dressing. Mix together with cooked potatoes and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Halloumi with Mint and Garlic

1 small bunch of fresh mint, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

3 ½ ounces halloumi cheese, sliced

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (can omit if not in season)

Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to broil. Mix together mint, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put the halloumi slices in a shallow ovenproof dish, pour the mint mixture over them, and let stand for 10 minutes. Put the dish under the broiler and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Remove cheese from heat, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve hot.

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