Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons


  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, pulverized*
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika*
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin*
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric*
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper*
  • 1 chicken, cut in 8 to 10 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Saifan extra virgin olive oil*
  • 3 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cinnamon stick*
  • 8 calamata olives, pitted and halved*
  • 8 cracked green olives, pitted and halved*
  • 1 large or 3 small preserved lemons*
  • 1 cup chicken stock*
  •  Juice of 1/2 lemon*
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric together. If not using kosher chicken, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pepper to taste. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken, and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add onions to skillet, and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to tagine, if you are using one, or leave in skillet. Add cinnamon stick.
  3. Put chicken on onions. Scatter with olives. Quarter the lemons, remove pulp and cut skin in strips. Scatter over chicken. Mix stock and lemon juice. Pour over chicken.
  4. Cover tagine or skillet. Place over low heat, and cook about 30 minutes, until chicken is done. Scatter parsley on top, and serve with couscous!

*Get all these ingredients in our store!


Recipe courtesy: NYtimes

DIY Shakshuka with Urfa Biber

1 tbsp Dean’s mediterranean In House olive oil*

2 cups ZerGut Ratatouille
1 large red onion, sliced
7 red and yellow capsicum (peppers)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1½ tsp DEA Harissa*
½ tsp Ground Cumin*
½ tsp Urfa Biber Chilli Flakes*
2 400ml tins chopped tomatoes*
80g baby spinach
6-8 eggs*

Add oil to a large deep frying pan with onion, capsicum and garlic. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes, then add spices; stir well.

Stir in the Ratatouille and place a lid on the pan, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Add spinach until wilted and salt to taste.

Using the back of a spoon, make indents for the eggs, then crack directly into them. Continue cooking over low heat until eggs are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. You can speed up this process by returning the lid to pan.
Garnish with parsley and extra urfa biber chilli.

*Find all these items in our store!!


Recipe courtesy of:

Lebanese Turmeric Rice Pudding (Moufataka)


500 g. /1 lb. 2 oz. short grain rice, Egyptian rice or Italian Arborio rice
500 g. / 1 lb. 2 oz.tahini
11/2 liters / 6 cups water
900 g. /2 lb. granulated sugar
A handful of pine nuts
2 heaped tablespoons turmeric powder


1. Soak the short grain rice in water (the 11/2 liters) overnight, don’t discard the water, you will be using it to cook the rice later.

2. Transfer the soaked rice with the water to a large pot. Add the turmeric powder and place on high heat. Once the water boils reduce heat to very low, cover the pot and preferably use a heat diffuser underneath the pot. Leave it for about 40 minutes until the rice is cooked to a fully sticky mushy texture. Set aside to cool down a bit.
Stir the tahini jar well with a fork to homogenize.

3. Add the sugar and tahini to the rice and (now the labor intensive starts) and cook uncovered over medium heat. You will have to stir the mixture all the time with a wooden spoon (a small suggestion, call your friends and neighbors to help and take turn in stirring). Cook and for about 2 hours or until the oil of the tahini starts to separate from the mixture (In Arabic we call it sarej) It is an indication that the moufataka is ready.

4. Add the pine nuts, give a quick stir. Transfer the moufataka to individual plates. Serve warm or cold!

*All ingredients available at Dean’s Mediterranean Imports. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff are always on hand to assist 🙂

Recipe courtesy: hadiaslebanesecuisine

Basil Pesto

Besides it being absolutely delicious, this summer classics only takes 5 minutes to put together! Best of all, you can find most of these items in our store.


  • 2 cups Basil Leaves
  • 2 tb. Peeled Almonds or Pine Nuts
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • .33 cup Saifan EVOO
  • .33 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • .5 tsp. Salt
  • .25 tsp. Black Pepper


  • Begin by separating the basil leaves from the stems. Give them a wash and set aside to dry.
  • Grate 1/3 cup of fresh parmesan cheese.
  • In a food processor, combine basil leaves, almonds or pine nuts, whole cloves of garlic, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times and add the olive oil slowly. Keep the machine running until you have added all of the olive oil.
  • Keep pesto freshly stored in the fridge by pouring a tablespoon of olive on top of the pesto in a jar. Every time you use some, pour new olive oil on top before you put back in the fridge to keep the pesto green and vibrant.


*Found in our store!

Recipe courtesy of: Simplyleb

Malabar Style Dates Pickle Recipe

Recipe of the Month

Malabar Style Dates Pickle Recipe 


  • 250 grams Medjool Dates , pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon LAXMI Garlic and Ginger paste*
  • 4 Green Chillies , finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)
  • 1 tablespoon Red chilli powder
  • 3 tablespoons Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida spice*
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cooking oil
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves*
  • Salt , to taste

How to make Malabar Style Dates Pickle Recipe

  1. To begin making the Malabar Style Dates Pickle Recipe, remove the seeds from the dates, roughly chop them and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wide pan, add the mustard seeds, allow to splutter and then add hing, curry leaves and let the curry leaves splutter.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic pastes and green chilli. Saute till the raw smell goes away. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and mix well.
  4. Add the chopped dates, and cook until the dates become soft. Season this with salt, sugar and saute for another minute or till the seasoning merges with the recipe.
  5. Add the vinegar and simmer until the pickles comes together and then switch off the heat.
  6. Serve the Malabar Style Dates Pickle Recipe along with parathas, Indian flatbread, for breakfast or with vegetable biryani for a weekday lunch.

*LAXMI ginger and garlic paste can be found in our store.

*Asafoetida, or Hing spice can be found in our store.

*Dean’s is working on sourcing curry leaves. Thank you for your patience!

Fattouch Salad

Lebanese fattoush salad, derives from the Arabic word “fatteh” which translates to “crumbs.” Essentially it is a hodgepodge of lightly seasoned pita bread that is then fried and mixed in with seasonal vegetables. And the pronunciation is so much fun. Say it with us: Fa’tuuush.

The salad

  • 1 large Jasmine pita bread cut into triangles
  • 3 tablespoon Saifan olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1 large vine-ripe tomato diced
  • 2-3 Persian cucumbers quartered
  • 1/2 a large green pepper chopped
  • 5 radishes diced
  • 2 green onions/scallions chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

The dressing

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon sumac substitute grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses substitute balsamic glaze
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint fresh or dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of our Saifan extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add the Jasmine pita bread and season with kosher salt and freshly cracker peppers.
  2. Fry the pita for 5-7 minutes until the pieces are crispy and golden in color. (Alternatively, bake the pita bread at 425F° for 5-10 minutes.) Set the fried bread aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the salad dressing ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, minced garlic, sumac, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Whisk together until the dressing is emulsified and well blended.
  4. Add the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, radishes, green onions and parsley to the large bowl of dressing and toss to combine.
  5. Add the fried pita bread to the salad immediately before serving and gently toss again.
  6. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Courtesy of:

Lebneh Frozen Yogurt


I wanted a great way to showcase all the fresh fruits coming from the market and my garden…strawberries, currents, even a few early blackberries.

Let me introduce you to lebneh frozen yogurt. It is PERFECT. Lebneh is strained yogurt, thick and creamy, with virtually zero water to ice up in your ice cream maker. A few drops of orange water, a bit of sugar or honey and some whipped egg whites is all it takes.


1lb Lebneh

4 egg whites, whipped to form stiff peaks

2 Tbsp superfine sugar

1 tsp orange flower water

Dissolve sugar and flower water into egg whites after whipping. Fold in Lebneh and churn in an ice cream maker per manufacturers instructions.


That’s it!

Buddah Bowls and How Not to Die


Our customers are so smart. Every week I learn something new and cool from them. One of my pals (@katievogel!) said it best…it’s like you are at a dinner party all week long!


One of them inspired me to start making weekly “Buddah Bowls”. She told me that short grain brown rice is not only difficult to find (she was so excited we carried it, she bought the whole bag!), but it is also super low on the glycemic index, even more so than long grain brown rice. Who knew!

Another of my customers is reading “How not to Die” by Gene Stone and Michael Greger. The gist of it is that combining veggies with different whole grains, fruits and fermented foods (LIKE PICKLES!) has been scientifically proven to sustain the health of many diverse cultures throughout history.

So, I’m giving it a try. It’s fun! Once a week, I make a few batches of grains, roasted and steamed veggies and interesting pickles or other sources of umami flavor.

I’m starting with Asian inspired. Last week I went to Saigon Market in Findlay Market and picked up some great pickled mustard greens, seaweed, holy basil, and this neat bunch of mixed grains from Taiwan.

Because I’m obsessed with all things small food business in Cincinnati, this week took me to Francis International Market on Colerain Ave. Such an amazing and weird place. I let my gut do the shopping, and came back with daikon, wood ear mushrooms (I tossed them with miso, tahini and tamari), bonito flakes, some kind of weird squash, taro cake and sweet, sweet carrots.


Freekeh with chickpeas and mushrooms

I will forever remember freekeh as the best meal that I’ve ever eaten in a Greyhound Bus station.

I guess I’m something of an anomaly. I seriously love the Greyhound Bus system. You can’t beat the price, you meet interesting people, and you are granted hours upon hours to do nothing but read, knit and think. Heaven. But the Greyhound is seriously lacking in one very important thing: anything to eat in the stations. They can’t even put in a Taco Bell or a Burger King …they have their own brand of pitifully cheap “restaurants” If you’re a vegetarian or like food that is not corn meal + corn oil + corn syrup + artificial flavoring, fuggettaboutit. The only options are limp grilled cheese, nachos, and brown salads with fat free italian dressing. Greyhound bus food is why god invented Tupperware.

I’m generally a poor planner and don’t have the foresight to pack food with me on long trips. But whenever I leave Ohio, my dad makes sure I have at least two backpacks filled with food, often extremely perishable, in glass containers, or melting. [I’ll save the story about the 6 jars of expired olive tapenede that exploded in the bottom of my suitcase for another time].

All this is to say that one time, I think last winter, he packed me up a big bowl of Freekeh, cooked with tender peas and mushrooms. And it was exactly, EXACTLY what one would want to eat cold, with a plastic fork, as they sit on top of their suitcase in Wheeling, WV. The wheatberries had a subtle pop and the mushrooms played with the earthy undertones of the toasted wheat. Comfort food.

Freekeh is a delicious and super nutritious grain made from roasted green wheat.  Because the grains are harvested while green, Freekeh has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than the same mature grain and other grains. It has up to four times the fiber of brown rice!

This recipe for freekeh is very much in tune with a certain niche I have been working to carve out for myself. Every cook has their specialty. A baker I am not, as has been made clear on numerous occasions, most recently my failed banana cupcakes. I suck at soups… I tend to make GIGANTIC pots that are mostly inedible due to oversalting, lifeless vegetables, and a flat-out refusal to bust out my food processor. Appetizers often require too many pans and seem like a waste of time.

My favorite recipes, the ones that give me the most joy, are the big, one pot recipes that involve a whole grain, a full serving of vegetables, and a protein source. Oh and that taste divine…Like, you could eat it at least once a week and not get sick of it good. Not like, wow, look at me I’m so healthy and yet so bland. Not like that at all. I like the challenge of a creating a healthy meal that tastes good, one that can be carted to work in my handy dandy lunch jar, frozen into ziplock bags for when I’m running out the door, or reheated after a long night of meetings. DIY convenience food.

This recipe for Freekeh is a perfect candidate. Its quick and nourishing, goes down easy but delightfully complex.

What I wish I had done:

  • Measured out the Freekeh and the water [I used too much water so my freekeh had a little bit of pasty going on.]
  • Used a wild mushroom mixture instead of the portobellos
  • Added a bay leaf, a sprig of fresh thyme and a cinnamon stick to the water

Freekeh with chickpeas and mushrooms

2 c. Freekeh
2 1/2c. Water
bullion cube
mushrooms [I used 1 box of baby portobellos and they worked fine. Oysters and shitakes would be geat], chopped
1 onion
1 can chickpeas
black pepper
**I added a dab of harissa, because it is my favorite way to make things spicy these days. You can use crushed red pepper or a teensy bit of cayenne].

Wash Freekeh thouroughly. Chop onion and sautee in large pot with olive oil. Add Freekeh and cook until Freekeh is toasted. Add water, bring to boil and then let simmer for 40 minutes or so. Oh, if you want you can dissolve a bullion cube in some of the water and add that. But if you do, go easy on the salt cause its real salty. In a large skillet, sautee mushrooms in butter or oil. Add can of chickpeas. Season with spices. When Freekeh is done cooking, stir in the mushroom mixture. Add more seasonings to taste.