Something smelled fishy…

October 10, 2010

…and Okaïbé was it! Last Sunday, Deedee left her fan club back in Batroun, and on the way stopped at the seafood vendors in Okaïbé to pick up a couple dozen of those sweet little scallops when she found a bunch of crab sittin’ there screamin’ “Deedee, take us with you!” So I did and they really enjoyed that hot tub I made for them with lemon chunks, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and some whole pepper. Deedeelightful! Grab them while they’re in season.

This Sunday, I was in the mood for fish, so I snatched away that gorgeous 800 kg redish amber Loukkoz Sakhré (rock fish) or Hafshé as the gang calls it (thanks T for the tip). So turns out Loukkoz may actually be Grouper rather than Sea Bass. There’s a debate going on about that, so if you know the answer, puhleez enlighten us. Anyhoo, Deedee thinks the sakhré rocks! It’s much meatier, in a chunky sort of way, than the ramlé (sand fish).

Decided to bake it, so chopped coriander and garlic, shredded ginger, lemongrass, and red chili pepper, then added lemon slices. Put some inside the fish, some on the outside and bake for 20-30 mins,  depending on the size of the fish.

On the side: Basmati rice, with a herbal concoction to add aroma (bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and cloves)… I had grated some lemon rind which I forgot to put with the fish, so threw that in with the rice and it gave a great kick!!

When serving, drizzle some soy sauce on top of the fish. It culminates the dish with an Asian motif.

Deedee literally screwed open a bottle of Metis Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. This wine, from Vintage in Saifi Village, is a light greenish yellow and smells of citrus and some vanilla. It is round and full in your mouth tasting of both citrus and passion fruit. A very suitable partner to Deedee’s Hafshé à la Asiatique.

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Just stretch those legs wide and…

September 27, 2010

…take big strides, is what I kept telling myself as I was hiking up Jabal el Sheikh (Mount Hermon bil Inglizé) last weekend. I spent two days hiking and camping with a small group of people led by Lebanese Adventure. Though Deedee’s not into group stuff (at least when it comes to hikes), she knows the owners and they promised this was a small and pleasant bunch, so she said, “Tayyeb, OK”.

Glad Deedee’s legs are strong, cuz it was a pretty tough hike, yaani I’d say 8.5 on a scale of 10, but totally worth it. The landscape is arid this time of year but the shades of yellow, pink, orange, and gray were a soothing combination. We climbed 11 km’s in about 5 1/2 hours until we were literally over the clouds!

We camped in a spot that was slightly dipped so as to protect us from the strong wind. After the tents were set up, it looked like aliens had landed a bunch of UFO’s in that spot. Dinner was being prepared as we watched the awesome sunset.

We had a black lentil mjadra/soup’ish dish and a crunchy mixed organic veggie salad that the wife of one of the guides had prepared. Deedee had a bottle of bordeaux with her, akeed, that everyone was happy to share: Château La Mauberte 2006 (Vintage in Saifi Village), well rounded and full bodied, this melange had a deep red berry nose and the palate was blackberry with red plum.

In the morning the view was crystal clear and one could see all the way to the Cedars! We took a different route back down and it was just as breathtaking as the way up. Tough on the knees though, so one may want to have sticks for support. Landing back in ‘human-ia/hu-mania’ was bitter-sweet.

When Deedee got back home, first thing she had in mind was a cold bottle of 961 Witbier, which definitely hit the spot. Madame Mrad took one look at Deedee and said, “habibti baddik téklé?!!” Looking inside the fridge, they found a packet of smoked Magret de Canard which got tossed in a frying pan to sizzle. They threw in some chopped garlic, sage (fresh if you have it), onions and sliced fresh chili on top. When slightly wilted, add chopped fresh tomatoes, crack pepper and cook for a bit. Serve with penne drizzled with olive oil and mix everything together… Garnish: parmesan shavings! Sage is just the right herb with the smoked duck… simple and Deedeelicious!

The bottle of Bodega Norton‘s Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Mendoza, Argentina (Vintage in Saifi Village) went hand in glove with the  Penne and Magret de Canard. A young wine and smells that way at first, it took about 15 minutes to breath and develop it’s character. Naturally as a Cab, this deep full bodied red wine has a peppery nose but with red current and even cranberries! A sharp mouthful of red plums… surprisingly, it’s not as fruity as South American cabs usually are.

Merci Lebanese Adventure mecs pour ce weekend incroyable. Not only did Deedee enjoy the hike, she also got to practice her French! Mount Hermon’s got to be a whole different kind of beauty during the spring with wild flowers and leftover snow, so definitely doing that hike again.


On a hot and sticky…

August 26, 2010

… Sunday like the last one we had, best thing to do is eat light and drink something refreshing.

We cooled off with a bottle of Pascal Jolivet’s Attitude Rosé 2009 – Vintage in Saifi (sorry to tell you I bought the last bottle today, bas they’re supposedly expecting a new batch soon, so stay tuned). The nose was grapefruit and white plum; a cool light peach color, this rosé tasted like a fresh punch of apricots and white plums with a long ripe pear finish.

Z was hungry and needed to be fed, so I went for the easiest and lightest thing that came to mind: the Stir Fried Shrimp with Romaine Lettuce (cook the shrimp in a separate pan with garlic and ginger; then, separately in a wok, heat olive & sesame oil, ginger, garlic and toss in the Romaine lettuce . Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, a little fish sauce and sesame seeds; then throw in the shrimp and stir fry). This time I added chopped coriander, which gave it a kick of aromatic freshness.

‘Mashkoura wayid’ for the ‘balah’ from your garden in Kuwait, Z! Deedeelicious!


You know when something’s so good…

June 20, 2010

…you feel unsatiated after you’ve had it? THAT’s how I’m feeling right now. You want more but your craving just never gets satisfied.

I had that with a bottle of Marchesi di Barolo‘s Gavi 2008, again (from Vintage in Saifi Village). It’s a beautiful Italian white wine; the color is light greenish yellow and the nose and palate are: “apple” as MC accurately put it, with a touch of apricot and grapefruit, I added. A full body in your mouth and goes down easy with or without food.

The Grub: chicken stir fry (carrots, broccoli, cabbage, fresh coriander, garlic and ginger tossed in a mix of olive and sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds) and steamed rice on the side (garnish with coriander). Simple, just the right flavors to go with that bottle of Gavi.


gettin’ down and dirty…

May 15, 2010

A German making Spaghetti Bolognese… now that’s what I call a globalizational mess! And it was ‘nicht schlecht’! Since it was the ‘Deutche leute’ we had Lebo wine that night: Chateau Kefraya 2006. Not bad (very tannic if you’re into that) but dont you hate it when the cork’s too soft and it breaks right at the end? I swear to Bob it wasn’t my fault… so I decanted it and used a strainer to make sure no cork bits seeped through.

Last night was left overs. Gettin’ down with a bottle of Pessac-Léognan 2006 from Latour-Martillac… another winner from Vintage in Saifi. I just love how these wines change in character with time. Let it breath! This bottle is full bodied and oaky, strong deep red fruit.

In case you’re curious, apéritif both times was G&T’s again… always with a lemon slice, however, first time added some fresh mint and the second time with rosemary! yep, that’s what I said, “rosemary” – make sure you give it a little grind at the beginning to release the aroma.