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.

This recipe uses roasted eggplant, tahini and garlic.

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

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.

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

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!

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

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.

Tabbouleh from Tarbouch.

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

Vermicelli rice

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!

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!

Don’t forget the vino!

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