I am not sure if I want to go back and see the old James Bond movies. I really hope they are not all as shlocky, cheesy and badly acted as this one. Mr. Bond even backhands his lover at one point because she was being a bit too hysterical I suppose.
Almost more than any other Lebanese dish, I crave Kibbeh Nayeh the most and immediately request that my mom or grandmother make a plate of this iconic dish as soon as I am back home visiting. Growing up this was our typical Sunday lunch. Back then I honestly did not appreciate it as much and would’ve happily wolfed down a plate of pizza or some fried chicken instead. Not now though. Now, I love a properly made raw kibbeh.
It really is about the proper ratio of fine, not coarse, burghul (cracked wheat) to meat. Too much burghul makes it too dense and crumbly (even if my grandmother likes it exactly like that). Too little burghul and it’s too much like beef tartar with the wrong texture. It should be served served drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil alongside fresh mint, raw sweet onions and radishes. It is traditionally made with lamb or, in the case of my family, with lean goat meat. Normally though I use lean beef or a mixture of beef and lamb.
Since this is raw meat it is good to keep in mind some safety considerations. Buy the meat whole NOT ground. Eating raw ground meat from a grocery store (even a high end pricey all natural one) is a bad idea. In beef any harmful pathogens usually are on the surface of the meat. Grinding a bunch of meat together at a grocery store or packing plant ensures that any nasties are mixed in through the meat. So, buy a whole piece of lean beef/lamb and rinse it well. This also removes anything that might be on the surface. Lastly, I like to freeze the meat for a couple of days at least before partially thawing and grinding. Freezing also helps in eliminating anything that might be on the meat. That being said, this is raw meat you are eating. I’ve never had an issue and I’ve been eating similar foods since the age of 10, but you never know.
Since my meat grinder was in storage at the time I used the food processor. It worked really well as long as I pulsed the mixture instead of letting it spin. The recipe I tried out this time is a bit non-traditional in that it incorporates some herbs in the meat mix as opposed to just meat, burghul, onions and some spices. The recipe comes from the Australian-Lebanese team of Greg and Lucy Malouf’s book MALOUF: New Middle Eastern Food. The book, like all of their other efforts, is filled with beautiful modernized and refined renditions of Lebanese and other middle eastern recipes. The Malouf Kibbeh incorporates green chilies, basil, mint and parsley into the meat, burghul and onion mix. It looks lovely with green speckles in it and has a delicious spicy herby flavor.
Kibbeh Nayeh with Herbs and Green Chiles
Adapted from MALOUF
- 75 gr. Fine burghul (#1)
- 90 gr. Onion, chopped
- 1 Green chile, seeded and chopped
- 1/3 Cup chopped basil
- 1/3 Cup chopped mint
- 1/3 Cup chopped parsley
- 300 gr. beef, lamb or a mixture, very lean
- 1 Tbsp. (or more) Lebanese spice mix – A combination of cumin, black pepper, dried marjoram, dried rose buds, a bit of cinnamon and allspice (or you can use just some black pepper, chili powder and cumin to taste)
Soak the burghul in cold water to cover for about 10 minutes. Drain well and squeeze as dry as possible.
Grind the onion, chile and herbs through using the fine die on the meat grinder (or use a food processor). Cut the meat into thin strips and mix with the spices and onion mixture. Grind the meat mixture twice to get a smooth paste (or if using a food processor, you would have to pulse it until smooth).
In a bowl, mix the meat and burghul with some salt and a couple of ice cubes. Use your hands to mix everything well until the ice melts. Taste and adjust salt or spice to your liking.
Spread the Kibbeh in a thin layer on a plate. Make dimples or ridges in it with a spoon or fork and drizzle with good olive oil. Serve it cold with fresh radishes, chilies, fresh mint leaves, raw sweet onions and pita bread.
A corporate headhunter who steals paintings to support his lavish lifestyle until he seemingly messes with the wrong mark. Sounds a bit dumb but the film is actually a bit smarter than that and is very enjoyable with all its twists and turns. The leading man has this valuable trait of being someone you literally loath when the film opens and gradually you begin to feel sorry for him then…maybe…you start to root for him.
Le Meilleur Ouvrier de France (M.O.F) is not a competition many of us have heard of, but it is astonishing the level of dedication, craft, practice and obsession a master pastry chef has to go through to accomplish one of these competitions. To clarify, the goal of these competitions is not to have a winner, one winner. Theoretically all who participate can attain the title of M.O.F…if they are good enough. It’s more of a certification than a prize. By the end of it we really feel the heartbreak when several of the competitors do not attain the M.O.F title and they have to basically wait another four years for another shot at the prize. Like -the much better- Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Kings of Pastry shows us individuals seeking perfection at their craft. Something like this is almost always worth your time.
This film from the guy who made the brain bender “Primer” is a surreal stream of images. These are held together with a carefully edited and crafted sequence that takes us from beginning to end without a dull minute. I really enjoyed everything I saw, but the problem is that I’m just not sure of what is going on beyond the major points of this crazy plot of sight and various sounds. So, why the first ever “??” grade? Well, I’m using it as a place holder for now until I watch it again on my home TV with the slightly bigger screen than my laptop. I think it will be worth it.
Pacific Rim is a fantastic and very entertaining summer blockbuster, especially if you watch it with your 10 year old son. It was precisely what I expected from it. Great action sequences, perfectly setup “plot” and really good monster-giant robot CGI. I have plot in quotes there because really the story is ludicrous and insane, but I really like that the movie does not seem to take itself too seriously or bother with a lot of subtext and reflection. We have huge well-realized monsters from the sea that are demolishing cities and we make enormous robots to defeat them.It seems that Pacific Rim is exactly the labor of love movie that Del Toro wanted to make and it worked for me.
This is a solid well made film about a trio of brothers who were moonshiners during the Prohibition. They find themselves defending their “business” from a sadistic lawman played by Guy Pierce (creepy with no eyebrows). It looks great, the story is interesting and the actors do a fine job. Shia LeBeouf delivers the best performance I’ve seen him do in years, if not ever. Lawless really worked for me.