Menu: A Lebanese Harvest Dinner

Lebanese Menu
Ma'amoul bil Tamer
Ma'amoul bil Tamer (Lebanese Date Shortbread)
These Lebanese shortbread cookies feature a buttery pastry scented with rose and orange blossom waters wrapped around a cinnamon and nutmeg-spiced date filling. Though they're easy to shape by hand, it's worth seeking out a traditional ma'amoul mold to make them. The beautiful long-handled tools, known as taabehs, are intricately carved with designs that correspond to their fillings, with distinct patterns for ma'amoul filled with dates, pistachio, or walnut. See the recipe for Ma'amoul bil Tamer »James Oseland

The Menu

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  1. To save time when cooking the chickpeas for the fattet hummus, soak them overnight in water mixed with 1 tsp. baking soda: the alkalinity of the soda breaks down the beans' cellular walls and reduces the cooking time.
  2. You can make the dough and filling for the cookies ahead of time. After mixing the dough, form it into a disk, wrap it, and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Purée the filling, form it into balls, and refrigerate them, wrapped, on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet until you're ready to form the cookies. If you like, you can use a traditional ma'amoul cookie mold to make them.
  3. In the fall, Kassab's family serves these dishes flooded with new-season olive oil from the October olive harvest. For a selection of Lebanese olive oils to serve in your own kitchen, see our 4 favorite bottles »
  4. To read more about the autumn olive harvest in Lebanon, see Kassab's story for our October 2014 issue, Home for the Harvest.