Salata od Hobotnice
This is one of the most popular dishes served in restaurants and konobe (traditional Croatian eateries) along the Adriatic coast. It’s the perfect light and fresh start to a meal, especially on a warm summer day. There are hundreds of variations of this dish and every family treasures their own special recipe. It is fairly easy to prepare and, when you become confident in making it, you can add your own personal touch — adding some capers, salad leaves or even olives. But whatever you do, don’t put fruit in your octopus salad as this might cause you to lose your Croatian friends! — Ino Kuvačić, author of Dalmatia
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I guess every culture has their own fried dough specialties.  Zalabia (Lebanese sweet fritters) -  one of our favorite breakfast treats alongside Manakeesh - are traditional deep fried treats that are made of fermented dough - I call them a glorious affair. Simply because you can have them for breakfast with labneh and a cup of tea or dust them with some icing sugar and serve them as a dessert.  Any way you eat them, they are really great.
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Lebanese Meat Pies
This recipe is a family favorite. It can be a main meal, a snack, or a party appetizer depending on your preference and the size you make them. There are many recipes out there for the dough and the stuffing, but this is my favorite. You may find the addition of tahini, pomegranate molasses, and labneh (strained Greek yogurt) a bit strange, but they do transform the taste of the meat and take it to the next level. Still, they are entirely optional. You can knead the dough in the food processor or by hand. I like doing it by hand especially when I am having a bad day. It is a great way to vent anger or frustration. You can punch the dough, slam it against the table, get it all out without anyone getting hurt… It is even good for the dough. The trick in keeping these pies from opening up during baking is to wet the edges of the dough with a little water before shaping them; that will seal the dough together and prevent it from opening once baked. See all pie recipes.
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Lebanese Spiced Chickpeas & Eggplant with Pita
This is our take on a traditional and very popular dish called fatteh. There are endless versions of this all around Lebanon (and other parts of the Levant) but all include stale, fried or toasted pita as a base, which is then topped with yoghurt and chickpeas – and then anything else that takes your fancy!Some versions of fatteh use spiced lamb or chicken, but we favor eggplant – and for this recipe, the long, Japanese variety, with its rich flavor and silky texture. It’s a brilliant way of using up bits of leftover bread, but the complex layering of spices and the contrasting textures make it much, much more than the sum of its parts. —Greg and Lucy Malouf, authors of Moorish and New Feast.
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