The Oldest Festival in Austin + Mediterranean Recipes

Mediterrean Festival Food_Shish Kebab with Red Wine PairingI thought we should all start this day off by remembering the time¬†that I noshed a chicken shish kebab from Phoenicia Bakery¬†topped with lots of creamy tatziki like it was my job. My job. Yes! I love Mediterranean food! Maybe you remember that Lebanese dinner party!?! So fun. Or the greek gyro? Or the time my friend taught us to make lamb dolmas? Or the time I nailed a good homemade recipe for Grandma’s Hummus, yes THAT one! I love the freshness and herby goodness that often comes with Mediterranean food! In case you are as into this kind of food as I am, this weekend is the 83rd St. Elias Mediterranean Festival! You heard right that would make this the longest running festival in Austin. In town that loves it’s festivals, I think this one should get a little more recognition! So here I am to tell you about it!

I met up with Sandra Spalding from Twin Liquors earlier this week and she gave me a great tip for pairing food and wine at the festival this weekend, her favorite is a salty savory shish kebab, usually served with cooling yogurt pairs wonderfully with the full bodied elegant reds of Lebanon, specifically the Ixsir Red! Needless to say, I tried it out last night and indeed it’s delicious in case you were wondering!

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Baba Ghanouj and a Lebanese Dinner Party

Last week I got invited to my very first all Lebanese dinner party! It was oh so much fun. Lots of food and new people. Upon the recommendation of the host Lynnsie, I made baba ghanouj using this recipe from Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.

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This recipe uses roasted eggplant, tahini and garlic.

I served it up with kalamata olives and some pita bread that was at the party.

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Aren’t eggplants pretty? I had no idea that baba ghanouj was made with eggplant. There is a teaspoon of white vinegar used in this recipe to lighten the color of the roasted eggplant.

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Roast the eggplants on a non-stick surface. For more details on the recipe, click here.

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I dressed the baba ghanouj with olive oil, parsley and paprika. After trying the recipe, I think adding cayenne would have been a nice addition!

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Grilled chicken from Foo. Tons of lemon… very delicious!

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Lynnsie’s family recipe for Kibbeh. She promised to give me all the recipes one day. This dish had cinnamon and pine nuts, which gave it a different flavor. I really like it! It’s kind of similar to a meatloaf, traditionally made with lean ground lamb, ground beef can be substituted, and bulgar wheat.

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Tabbouleh from Tarbouch.

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Lebanese dolmas. You can get Hunter’s family recipe here.

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Vermicelli rice

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These lima beans were far and away the BEST lima beans I have ever had. Seriously. And I don’t even like beans that much but these were just soo good. Lynnsie, I know Haley and I are dying for this recipe!

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This is Hunter’s family’s Lebanese salad recipe which involves lots of fresh mint. I loved it! I think I am going to try and use more fresh mint in my salads!

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Don’t forget the vino!

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A big thanks to my little Lebanese chef Lynnsie for hosting! Can’t wait for the next dinner party!