Chef Feature: Cookin At Home

Your Lebanon Chef Feature: Cookin At Home

On Cookin at Home, Emilia features various Middle Eastern Dishes, especially those that are healthy, vegan, vegetarian, & low carb. She works with a variety of cuisines, baked goods & desserts. We love to see different takes on dishes we are accustomed to and Emilia does just that!

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Q & A with Emilia

Please tell us about yourself:

 My name is Emilia, I am 34 years old and a mother of three. I grew up in a traditional Palestinian household where food played such a vital role in our everyday lives. Cooking and baking has always been something I’ve enjoyed and over the years I’ve discovered not only that it is very well approved of by my personal audience (my family), but that I also have a passion for it. Something about me not everyone would know is that I have a degree in Cosmetology, it’s not just the spatula I’m a master at handling, I’m just as strong with any hair styling tool.

Where are you from:

 I was born in Palestine and lived part of my childhood there and then moved to the United States where I grew up partially in New York as well as California.

Where are you currently residing:

I currently reside in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

What is your favorite Middle Eastern dish to make:

 That’s a close call, I’d have to say both Malfuuf and Makluuba.

Emilia’s Katayif Ashta Asafeer

Do you prefer traditional Middle Eastern dishes or Modern/fusion Middle Eastern dishes:

 I don’t think I can choose one over the other, I do enjoy a more modern take on Middle Eastern Cuisine and I enjoy seeing all the creative dishes made worldwide. However, I also believe there are some staple traditional dishes that are perfect the way they are and shouldn’t be altered. It’s creating that healthy balance between the two and knowing your boundaries, mansaf should always be made the traditional way in my opinion!

What do you love most about cooking Middle Eastern cuisine:

The Middle East is comprised of so many different yet beautiful countries and cultures and you can taste that in the cuisine. The food is so flavorful and the spices are so vibrant that even just one bite will leave a lasting impression on an individual.

What is your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant:

I’d have to say El Basha Restaurant in Paterson, NJ. They have very fresh and authentic variety of foods that I think almost everyone will enjoy.

What is your favorite food blog:

Definitely Tamara.Kerry on Instagram.

What is a must have tool in your kitchen for making Middle Eastern food:

My must have tools for making Middle Eastern food are actually spices and they are garlic and maaji (chicken bouillon). You’ll be amazed by how much flavor they can add to your dish!

What advice do you have for someone just starting to find their way around the kitchen:

My advice would be to remember that less is more, start off by making simple dishes using fresh ingredients and a limited amount of spices. It’s always easier to add more spice to a dish then to get stuck with one that’s overpowering and ultimately not edible. Don’t be frustrated if it doesn’t taste like your mother’s or look the way you want it to, all it takes is patience and practice.

What nostalgic candy bar would you grab on walks to the local deken when you were a kid:

You can never go wrong with a Ali Baba bar.

 

Cooking from the heart with both love and purpose will always result in a tastier dish. As we say in Palestine, “el akel bil nifs.” – Emilia

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