Archive for February, 2013

021According to my Lebanese sister-in-law … that’s the truth.  On a recent visit, she talked shop with the very friendly owner, who closed the place up (we came late) and served us dinner like we were family.  Situated off of Pioneer Park in a strip mall, it’s not big on atmosphere, but the food is very good.  The hummus with shawarma meat and pine nuts is tangy, lemony, and rich with the marinated, char-grilled meat.  With warm pita, it’s a meal in itself.  I’ve never seen hummus served like that and I’ve eaten my share of Mediterranean food.  Their yogurt cucumber salad is also a must have with crunchy cukes and a cool, refreshing sauce. It’s perfect for Summer, but brings a breath of fresh air to the Winter doldrums.  They say that falafel is their specialty and I liked it, but nothing can compare to the Falafel sandwich in Paris’ Le Marais – and that was almost 15 years ago!  We also had beef kabab, but the shawarma beef had a lot more flavor.  The kabab is dry marinated and the shawarma has a wet marinade and I think that makes it more tender and flavorful.  The kabab did come with the best condiment I have ever had – a garlic paste.  It came in a small little cup and was pure white and purely beautiful!  My sister-in-law said it’s just garlic and water mixed to a paste, but the consistency was something else – I don’t know how you get that.  Finally, I love baklava, even though it’s something I never eat.  We finished with baklawa which looks almost the same and has that crunchy, syrupy sweet taste – a perfect way to end a meal.   Too bad they don’t serve liquor – probably not in the cards – but maybe they could offer BYOB.

7800 Sommer Dr., #610
Peoria, IL
309-691-6188
Mon-Thur 11am-8pm
Fr-Sat  11am-8pm

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016I’ve never made donuts before, so why not make 8 dozen for all the kids at school!  As part of Multi-Cultural month, the kids studied Hawaii.  Low and behold there is a Hawaiian donut – and we are some donut connoiseurs!  Malasadas are actually Portuguese and were brought to Hawaii by a Portuguese settler.  They are similar to Beignets, but are coated in sugar or cinnamon sugar.  I added fresh ground nutmeg to the batter and tried both sugars.  I think I liked the cinnamon sugar the best.  Of course it was one of the coldest days in January and my dough wouldn’t rise.  Thank you ‘proof” setting on my oven!  The dough was really sticky – too much water, but I’m trying to work and make donuts at the same time – so just go with it.  The little donuts had crazy arms and legs, but the kids liked them.  They were pretty good – more nutmeg next time.

Basic Malasadas Recipe

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