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Cookbook Review: Modern Flavors of Arabia

I’ve started a cookbook discussion and dinner party group that meets regularly (1x a month or so) at my apartment in Alexandria to discuss cookbooks and enjoy a shared meal cooked by the members from recipes published in the monthly selected cookbook.  

Each year we work our way through an eclectic mix of cookbooks, including time honored classics, rare finds from every corner of the globe, and current up and coming advanced evaluation copies.

For our July cookbook discussion and dinner party, we reviewed Suzanne Husseini's 2012 cookbook Modern Flavors of Arabia (Random House).

قائمة طعام (Menu)

Halloumi & Feta Cheese Bread Rolls
Labneh Three Ways
Shamandar (Beet Dip)
Hummus
Beet & Purslane Salad with Citrus Dressing
Kofta with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce
Roasted Cauliflower with Citrus Tahini Sauce
Lemony Braised Stuffed Vine Leaves
Shish Barak (Lamb Ravioli in Herbed Yogurt Sauce)
A Thousand and One Nights Pistachio Ice Cream
Arabic Shortbread (Ghraybe)
Rice Pudding with Date Compote
Mint tea






The table is set in preparation for the guests’ arrival.













Pistachio Ice Cream and Arabic Shortbread






This might be the first time in all of my years of cooking and reviewing cookbooks that I’ve sampled twelve different recipes from a cookbook and found every single one to be on point. I give the beet dip a solid 5 (out of 5) fork rating AND I DON’T EVEN LIKE BEETS. The Kofta were tender and the cherry sauce to accompany them was another highlight of the menu. Oh my gosh, and the cheese rolls, they were amazing. Tender, pillowy, and warm, they hid the perfect little tangy bite of cheese within. The grape leaves were savory and bright with the citrus flavor. Every single dish was hit. Husseini clearly has some kind of culinary magic up her sleeves. And I wasn’t alone in my assessment; Paige was so taken with the shortbread that she lost her capacity for coherent speech and just kept moaning as she nibbled through her serving of cookies.

This is definitely a cookbook that has earned a permanent space on my bookshelves in the kitchen and I urge to you pick up Modern Flavors of Arabia to add to your collection as well. 

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