Lebanon Day 1 – Sfeeha

Sfeeha

  
The dish: 

So here is sfeeha, basically a meat pie wrapped in pizza dough. Here is my sin in cooking this meal: I used Pillsbury pizza dough because I’m a lazy heathen. I seriously intended to do it myself, but I just didn’t feel like it, so I used the frozen stuff and it basically ruined the dish for me. Pillsbury pizza dough is so nasty that I’m not sure I could ever make myself eat it again. (Except that’s a lie cause I ate the leftovers for breakfast.) These were pretty quick and easy to make, except that the pizza dough was way too elastic and almost impossible to stretch enough to fill with the meat. The most interesting thing about the meat for me was the addition of allspice, which when coupled with black pepper was meant to be a substitute for Syrian pepper, or something like that. I’m not sure I would have liked it if it hadn’t been for the yogurt sauce, which was basically greek yogurt with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic. Supes delicious. I could eat the yogurt sauce all day, the pies: not so much.

Aish el Saraya

Ours was ugly, so here’s a delicious looking picture from Savory and Sweet where we got the recipe.

dsc_0407

The dish: 

This dish is apparently also enjoyed in Egypt, which isn’t that big of a stretch seeing that Lebanon and Egypt are fairly close to each other. Basically this dessert is bread soaked in a simple syrup which includes orange blossom water and rose water, and it’s topped with a thicken milk custardy type substance, topped with pistachios. So it’s edible perfume, and honestly that’s what it tastes like. I think our bread slices ended up being too thick so the simple syrup didn’t go all the way through the bread, the custard was good though not super flavorful, and the bread was sort of chewy as opposed to soft and mushy like it looks in the picture from the website. I’m not huge pistachio person, so that wasn’t incredibly enticing for me. Overall, it’s a strictly ok dessert. Not bad, but not something I’d make again. I’m seriously doubting the virtues of blossom waters over here.

Cultural Sidenote:

Slightly north of Lebanon’s capitol of Beirut weaves an underground system of caves and grottos known as Jeita Grotto. Discovered in 1836 by Reverand William Thomson, the caves can only be visited by boat since the caves are home to an underground river that provides drinking water to over a million Lebanese.

Jeitag2

Jeita Grotto is home to the world’s largest stalactite (the ones that hang from the ceilings). The caves are very important for the economy of Lebanon today, as they are one of Lebanon’s major tourist attractions, bringing over 280,000 tourists each year. It’s main contribution to society is just being beautiful.

Jeita_Grotto_beautiful_cave_wallpaper 

Will’s Opinion:

“The meat pockets were pretty good. They were like a little pizza pocket without sauce or cheese or diahrrea. I really liked the flavor of the meat and the the pizza dough was pretty good despite being store bought. Although it was a bit of a hassle to work with. 

For dessert we had flowers…ok maybe not flowers exactly but a flower flavored bread pudding. It was not extremely sweet but the custard was creamy. I am just not used to eating flowery flavored dishes so it was a weird dish to me but it had pistachios which is a huge plus.”

That’s all for today,

Happy eating,

Will and Christine

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