Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking by Rawia Bishara

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Tanoreen's specialty fava beans (Foul alla Tanoreen)

    • VineTomato on June 25, 2017

      I got confused between fava and flageolet beans which I had brought a beautiful packet of at Selfridges. I cooked the flageolet to the online pressure cooker instructions for fava, with a soak. The skins were a bit tough and I can imagine would have been even more so if using fava beans. The flavours of this dish are nice, but I think I prefer the Compitor recipe. This uses two pots, which I'm not sure is strictly necessary and a bother when making mezzo. However may try again with a different kind of bean. Flavours great the next day.

  • Flourless tangerine apricot cake

    • sherrib on October 11, 2014

      Delicious and moist cake. Given the ingredients, I was expecting a heavy, dense cake. I wouldn't call it a light and fluffy cake, but it's not as dense as I expected either (sometimes, when I use so much almond flour, I get marzipan-esque texture - definitely not the case here.) I included the optional coconut and Frangelico. The coconut pretty much overpowered the other flavors. Even though it was delicious, I am curious to see how it would taste without it next time (I want to see if the tangerine and apricot flavors shine through.) Grinding the nuts in the food processor was easy. Between cooking and blending the fruit and making your own nut flours, this recipe is a bit involved. It is a fantastic naturally gluten free dessert that is very well worth the effort. What's even better is that the ingredients are so natural. I do not own a 16 inch round cake pan so I used my rectangular pan with no issues.

  • Chicken kebabs (Shish tawook)

    • pistachiopeas on June 15, 2015

      These were excellent in flavor. I made them on my stove top grill.

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Reviews about this book

  • Food52 by Melissa Block

    The 2015 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks vs. David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen

    Full review
  • Food52 by Louisa Shafia

    The 2015 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks winner vs. David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl's Green Kitchen Travels

    Full review
  • Star-Ledger

    The cookbook is very friendly to vegetarians and the gluten-sensitive; her flourless tangerine-apricot cake, made with ground almonds and pistachios, is not to be missed.

    Full review
  • Saveur.com

    ...a book I’m glad to have on my shelf as a source for doable, exciting dishes and tried and true favorites that I will be reaching for again and again

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1906868840
  • ISBN 13 9781906868840
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Feb 01 2014
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Kyle Cathie Limited
  • Imprint Kyle Cathie Limited

Publishers Text

Rawia, in Arabic, means storyteller. And that is what I am. I tell the stories of my life’s journey, culture, and family through my cooking. A delicious meal is the greatest companion to the memories we cherish most. I was born into a food-loving Palestinian-Arab family in Nazareth, a beautiful town in the southern Galilee. Though the words “organic,” “locavore,” and “sustainable” were unknown then, my parents’ approach qualified on all counts. My respect for the sources of food, how it is grown and prepared, originates in my early years at home.

My grandmother had ceramic urns filled with fruity olive oil, pressed from the trees on her family’s land picked by my aunts and uncles. My mother, too, made her own olive oil, and used the remaining “crude” oil to make soap; she also distilled her own vinegar, sun-dried her own herbs and fruits, made fresh batches of goat cheese, as well as sweet wine from our vineyards, and jarred jewel-colored jams from the bounty of the local orchards.

After moving to New York, I opened my restaurant Tanoreen to honor my mother and her imaginative cooking as well as the rich Middle Eastern gastronomic culture that is rarely experienced outside the region. Tanoreen is unique because it showcases Middle Eastern home cooking as I experienced it growing up. The 135 recipes in this book celebrate tradition and embrace change. I cook without rigidly following recipes, though I do respect tradition. My dishes are based on our culture’s recipes that are flexible enough to accommodate both adventurous and conservative contemporary palates.

Organized by Breakfasts, Mezze, Salads, Soups and Stews, Main Courses (including vegetarian, fish, chicken, lamb and beef), Sides, Pickles and Sauces, and Desserts, in each chapter I maintain the authenticity of a dish, re-creating it as it has been made for generations; but sometimes I might opt to experiment a bit, to make the recipe more contemporary, perhaps adding a spice or offering a few shortcuts. My favorite examples of these are my preparation of Brussels Sprouts with Panko (and tahini), Spice Rubbed Braised Lamb Shank (marinated in ginger and rose buds), Tanoreen Kafta Roll, (a reconstructed classic) or Eggplant Napoleon (baba ghanouge layered between crisp eggplant and topped with basil and tomatoes). A dish like Egyptian Rice with Lamb and Pine Nuts shows this cookbook goes beyond Nazareth, and is more of a bible of Middle Eastern food, sharing my culinary journey from Nazareth to New York, with many stops in between.

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