• Ani

Culinary Connection

Updated: Jun 14

The urge to share with others has been stifled by the fear of vulnerability--about finances, about relationships, etc. The question is, if you remove sharing, how do you connect?

In the Middle East, connection is created through shared meals, particularly in one’s home. People eat with their hands and sit on the floor in what I believe to be an incredibly intimate experience. We don’t see this same intent to create community through the sharing of food in a post-COVID-19 landscape. While sitting in a restaurant can provide a wonderful shared experience, the public nature of it prevents the deeper connection that an in-home environment can facilitate.

In this way, I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness of food services. It seems most businesses do not focus on the experience of eating a delicious, bountiful meal within the safe space of one’s home. It is my goal to curate these experiences for my customers and their communities, with the hope that, despite the pandemic of the last year, we can relearn how to connect with each other in the comfort of home.

Below I have created a recipe designed to be shared in a group setting, with the aromas overflowing from the kitchen throughout the entire house. Please enjoy with your loved ones!

Lahmajoun Recipe

When we were in Lebanon before the war, my grandfather Aram was in charge of the cooking on Sundays. He was born in Adana, Turkey.

It would be either Adana kebab or Lahmajoun. He would bring minced lamb from the butcher, place it in a bowl, add chopped onion, parsley, paprika and chopped tomatoes and mix it well. This prepared meat mixture he then took it to the bakery, where they did the rest and at lunchtime, he would bring home a pile of cooked Lahmajoun pizzas.

My version is a bit different because I like using sundried tomatoes instead of the fresh tomato and also, prefer to make my own pizza dough and bake it with my portable pizza oven.

Here are the ingredients:

1 lb. Minced lamb or beef

2 large onions, chopped

1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

2 Tablespoons paprika

1 cup chopped parsley

2 teaspoons of salt

For the dough:

I make regular pizza dough with yeast.

1 teaspoon sugar in a cup of tepid water, add 2 teaspoons of yeast and let it stand a few minutes for the yeast to rise.

In a bowl, have about two pounds of all purpose flour, add the yeast mixture and knead into a consistency which can be easily worked with.

On a well floured wooden table, divide the dough for about ten portions and with a rolling pin, prepare the pizza dough, adding the toppings on each and bake them at about 500 degrees until cooked through.

I have made wraps with Hummus and Tabbouleh with the Lahmajoun pizza and it is very tasty.

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