I love being able to feature non-American cuisine on this column as a reflection of how I myself eat, but also because I think there is so much out there to taste and try, I hope to inspire our readers to be as curious as I am. Bethany Kehdy, the blogger behind Dirty Kitchen Secrets turned juggernaut Lebanese food ambassador, is one of the people who got me curious in recent years about Lebanese cuisine. Bethany took blogging one step further and turned it into a way to introduce her readers to her native cuisine, both on the screen and in person through her Taste Lebanon food tours. I love the work she’s been able to do and the way she presents it. Her recipe this week for leftover tabouleh quiche is based on food in her first book, The Jewelled Kitchen. She has combined a very easy recipe for tabouleh with a staple for the encasing crust of the quiche which you can learn to make, freeze, and always have on hand. Don’t be intimated by the length of the recipe– Bethany is thorough, but not complicated. -Kristina
About Bethany: Born in Texas, raised in Lebanon, Bethany Kehdy is the woman behind the blog Dirty Kitchen Secrets (DKS), Food Blogger Connect, and the Taste Lebanon food tour. She launched DKS in 2008 upon her arrival to the U.K., She has worked and lived in Miami, Montreal, Houston, London, and Nice amongst other places. Bethany has been seen on Market Kitchen: Big Adventure and Perfect, and has cooked for and held live cooking demonstrations at Foodies Festival (Bristol & Battersea), Balade Restaurant (NYC), Tawlet (Beirut) & L’atelier des Chefs (London) hosted by Wines of Lebanon.
She was selected by Monocle Mediterraneo 2012 as one of the four ‘Mediterranean Food Ambassadors’, representing Lebanon, and ambassador of Freekehlicious in their North American and UK Market as well as to the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism. Her debut cookbook, The Jewelled Kitchen, on Middle Eastern cuisine was published this year with Duncan Baird Publishers. Her work has also been featured in several publications worldwide including: Conde Nast Traveller (India), Food & Travel Magazine, Bon Appetit, Delicious Magazine (Netherlands), Monocle Mediterraneo, Olive Magazine, Food Magazine, The Lady, The National (UAE), BBC Good Food Middle East, Fatafeat, and Athens News amongst others.
She currently lives in the West Country of England with her British husband and splits her time between Lebanon, England and the rest of the world.
Leftover Tabouleh Quiche
Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus rising
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 300g or 2.5 cups strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried active yeast
- 2 cups (about 2 handfuls) of parsley leaves, washed, and dried
- 1 tbsp finely chopped mint
- 150g or 2 tomatoes, very finely chopped
- 1 spring onion, very finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- About 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly cracked pepper (optional)
- 4 eggs
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt and sugar and pour in the oil, then mix well with your hands.
- Add the yeast to 150ml/5fl oz/scant 2/3 cup lukewarm water and stir until dissolved. Pour the water and yeast mixture into the flour and oil mixture, little by little, combining it with your hands as you go, until a ball is formed. Depending on the age and brand of flour, you may find that you need more or less water.
- Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and continue kneading it until it is smooth and elastic. Return the dough ball to the mixing bowl, then score the top with a knife to loosen the surface tension. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm, draught-free place for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
- Slice the parsley into super thin threads using a very sharp knife. Put in a salad bowl along with the mint and tomatoes. Season the chopped spring onions with the allspice and then add them to the salad bowl. Add a little of the lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave it to sit for an hour or so and then strain the tabouleh well of its juices and reserve them for serving. The salad should be quite sharp to contrast with the bland dough.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on to a lightly floured work surface and knock it back, then knead gently before rolling it into a log. Divide the log into two balls of equal size, each weighing about 220g or 7 3/4 oz each. Lightly flour the work surface once more and use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, re-flouring the surface as necessary. Roll out each ball of dough into a circle about 24cm or 9.5 inches in diameter. Cover the loaves with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for a further 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230 ̊C/450 ̊F/Gas 8 and place a baking sheet in the oven to warm up. Baking one loaf at a time, spray a loaf lightly with water and bake for 1.5 minutes just until a pocket of air has formed (the cooking time depends on the heat of the oven and the thickness of the bread) but not until the top and edges are lightly golden as you’ll need to be able to work with a pliable and not a brittle bread.
- As soon as you remove the first loaf from the oven, use a damp tea towel and go around pinching the edges of the bread to create a wall or rim. You’ll need to do this as soon as the bread comes out the oven or the bread will be too dry and it will be hard to shape the rim. A damp tea towel will make handling the very hot bread easier. Once the quiche wall or rim has been shaped then very gently begin removing the top layer of the Arabic bread pocket making sure you don’t tear the base layer. Remove as much as you can but sometimes you’ll have little bits that will just stick to dear life and will be impossible to pull away from the base layer. That’s fine. Set aside the flatbread quiche and repeat the same process with the remaining loaf. Keep the oven on as you’ll still need to bake the assembled flatbread quiche.
- There are two ways to do this part: you can either crack and beat two eggs for each quiche in a separate bowl or, as the ladies of the bakery do, place the flatbread quiche on a baking tray, crack the eggs into the prepared flatbread quiche and gently whisk within the walls. Once you’ve whisked two eggs into each flatbread quiche, sprinkle the strained tabouleh over each flatbread quiche. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set and the edges are golden and crisp. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon or some leftover tabouleh juices. You can also allow the quiche to cool and serve at room temperature- it’s equally delicious.
(All images by Sarka Babicka)
Why Bethany loves this this recipe:
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time visiting the enterprising sisters at the Bakery of the Ladies (Furn el Sabaya) in a sleepy coastal town north of Beirut. I go there to order two of their very rare specialties that have become ultimate favorites: the preserved lamb and egg quiche (orset beid b awarma) and the sweet and nutty serpent-shaped delicacy known as mouwarka. On my last trip there, I began contemplating a vegetarian version to the preserved lamb and egg quiche and was suddenly inspired to experiment with it at home using some leftover tabouleh. If you think about it, tabouleh is really nothing but a medley of herbs like parsley and mint, a few chopped tomatoes and some spring onions, so why not? They are perfectly traditional ingredients in omelets… So, I bring you my tabouleh quiche- yes, that’s right…
Notes: This recipe combines two recipes from the book with some adaptations to suit the recipe. The tabouleh recipe listed here is half the original recipe in my book and makes enough of a portion for two quiches and is based on having a handful of tabouleh that’s sat in its juices overnight. It’s very important to strain the tabouleh of its juices so you don’t end up with a soggy quiche. Do bear in mind that the amount of lemon juice you’ll end up using to flavor the tabouleh is very dependent on the quality of lemon you have on hand. The ladies in the bakery have been making these quiches for over 20 years and, as would be expected, they really make creating the rim or wall look rather easy. They do not use a damp towel but as I do not have asbestos fingers, the only way I’m able to handle the hot bread is to use a damp towel to slightly protect my fingers. I’ve also discovered that this also helps to keep the bread more pliable as you go around the edges. I also have a meaty lamb filling (lahm b’ajeen) in the cookbook which would make for another alternative.