Mezze for Mike

I meant to write this post yesterday, but somehow the day passed far too quickly and I feel like I accomplished almost nothing. I did manage to squeeze in a run (4.5 miles at 9:26 min/mile) even though I was completely exhausted and almost decided not to go. Fortunately, I got out there, ran a ridiculously slow first mile, and then ended up feeling pretty good. Running for the win, as usual!

Mike’s 30th birthday was super mellow but pretty delicious (am I allowed to say that if I’m the one that made all the food?) He loves Middle Eastern food…so much that every time we have it he says “I could eat this way every day. So good.” So a mezze seemed like a natural choice for his birthday dinner. The only issue was this:

Don’t let the picture fool you. Ellie went from sleeping pretty well to waking up every single hour from about midnight to 7 AM. She naps, kind of, but is happiest hanging out in the Ergo pretty much all day. Fortunately most of this stuff was easy to make with her strapped to me!

All the recipes I used were from one of my very favorite cookbooks:

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about it on the blog before, but I got Alice’s Kitchen: Traditional Lebanese Cooking from my aunt for Christmas a few years ago and I adore it. All the recipes are simple and completely delicious (and there are a lot of vegetarian recipes!)

I made pita, tabouli, hummus, baba ghannouj, and labne.

Lebne is one of my favorites. Just take a container of plain yogurt (full fat is best), dump it into a cheesecloth-lined strainer and set over a bowl in the fridge for about 8 hours. Then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac.

Mike requested Persian Love Cake for dessert.

Mine looks a little sad because I had to use 9″ pans instead of 8″ so the layers are super thin, and I didn’t really feel like seeking out and candying organic rose petals, but even without them, the cake is delicious. Incredibly light cake flavored with cardamom and a hint of lemon enveloped in sweet rose-scented whipped cream. HIGHLY recommended!

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