Meet perfection: Dolma Stuffed With Goat Labneh

Some of the greatest local products remain unknown, and I believe it is a shame, so I will be regularly dedicating some posts to tell you about my best food discoveries.

I will start with one of the best local dairy innovations – I think – till date! This star product is the stuffed grape leaves from Jaber Jaber Sons Dairy Company – أبناء جابر جابر.

Grape leaves stuffed with goat labneh picture

Hello Perfection!

Let’s describe the product first: grape leaves are stuffed with goat labneh then rolled into tiny perfect dolmas and sold in a small jar full of olive oil for 13,000 L.L.

I discovered them last year in the Beirut Food Festival – I wrote about them in my article back then “For the love of food… and chocolate“.  I was impressed by the generosity of the people behind the stand, displaying all of their amazing products and insisting on everyone to try everything, not to mention that I was attracted by the Bekaa accent that I would recognize anywhere. I do believe that the Bekaa is the most generous region in Lebanon.

I think I fall in love with these dolmas when I had my first bite. I bought a jar back then, and served them as appetizers once. Everybody was amazed.

The jar – 300 g – contains 39 pieces of pure happiness. Ingredients, as per the jar: labneh prepared with pasteurized fresh goat cheese milk, olives and olive oil.

Jar of dolmas

The jar

They last for up to one year, but do not worry about that. Once you open the jar, be prepared to watch the dolmas disappear in no time.

It is just amazing how elegant and beautiful they are. No one looked at them without wondering how they could get such perfectly rolled thin dolmas. I even googled them. I couldn’t find such perfect work.

And when you get to try them, the surprise! Believe me; you can never expect how good these simple ingredients match unless you taste them!

These grape leaves do not taste like regular canned fresh leaves. Oh no! They keep a pleasant slightly crunchy texture that shows the freshness of the used leaves. As for the olive oil, it is excellent. Forget about vegetable oils – or even water – that are regularly used in such cases. No compromises on any detail are made apparently.

Even though I just had some dolmas for breakfast – which I think is very normal by the way – I recommend you serve them as appetizers or as tapas – mezze – along with drinks whenever you have guests.

I believe I’ve said enough about these yummy creations to make you stop on your next visit to Bekaa in Mreijat and give them a try. And since you’re there, I suggest you try as well the capriccio – their signature sheep cheese – plain or pickled in hot oil. I’ll be telling you about it later!

Maple glazed ham steak recipe

Ham steak picture

Homemade ham steak with side salad

Another new product I tried this week: ham steak from Jones Dairy Farm (imported). Once again, prices were reduced because they were near to their expiry date. I looked online for a recipe, et voilà, I found this maple glazed ham steak recipe, so I decided to try it!

I served it with a very simple salad, prepared with iceberg lettuce, mint leaves, strawberries and dried cherries, with a balsamic vinegar dressing.

I loved the result, and I am planning to do some again soon, while my sister didn’t really like the ham steak. In all cases, if you’re a fan of pork and specially ham, or if you’re willing to try something new, here’s the recipe!

Maple glazed ham steak recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 ham steaks
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

Method:

Mix the maple syrup, Dijon mustard and vinegar in a small bowl.  Preheat a pan. Brush 1 side of the ham steaks with the mixture and drop in the pan, glazed side down. Brush top as well. Cook for 4-5 minutes, brushing it from time to time, until evenly browned from all sides.

French Tartiflette recipe

Tartiflette Picture

Perfect for cold nights!

Tartiflette is a French dish that I tried during our last visit to Strasbourg, in “L’Académie de la Bière”. The dish is simply amazing, but has strong cheese & wine tastes, and is probably a specialty in cold regions only. As I was walking in Spinneys last week, I found some Tartiflette cheese with reduced price (for near expiry date). I confess I love prices’ reductions, so I got it with no clear idea on how to prepare it. And then I decided to do the easiest thing: follow the instructions on the package. Apparently, and according to Wikipedia, the dish was invented to promote Reblochon cheese sales. So it should be prepared with Reblochon cheese, and therefore, I am not sure why there is nowadays a special cheese called “Tartiflette”. Anyway, the recipe was very easy, so I prepared it and I loved it. It’s not an everyday meal, and I recommend serving it with a salad.

wpid-img_20150318_223309.jpg

Auchan’s Tartiflette Cheese

French Tartiflette recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 Kg potatoes
  • 100 g bacon cubes
  • 500 g tartiflette cheese
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt, white pepper, mixed peppers to taste

Method:

  1. Boil potatoes until just tender, then peel and slice them.
  2. Chop the onions. Heat the oil in a pot. Add the sliced potatoes, chopped onions and bacon. Cook for 5 minutes. Season the ingredients with salt and pepper. Add the white wine and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Put all the ingredients in an ovenproof dish. Slice the cheese into 2, and cover the potatoes with the cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden.