Skip to content

Lowcarb Za’atar Rolls and Adas (Lentil Soup) – A comforting Vegetarian Feast!

March 7, 2018

The weather is still freezing (even by California standards), but as we get closer to spring, I tend to crave warm yet light meals that will energize me throughout the busy days. Shorbat addas, otherwise known as lentil soup in Arabic, is perfect because the soup is hearty and comforting, yet doesn’t make your feel heavy afterwards. I love how red lentils impart a creamy texture to soup with no need for cream. This vegan lentil soup was a staple in our home during lent, where it was considered “peasant food” in Arab culture. Turns out that food for so called peasants is really the healthiest food you can eat, as lentils are full of protein, iron, and fiber. Very few ingredients from your pantry with the addition of onions, garlic, and carrots transform into a magical bowl of vegan goodness. The addition of lemon juice at the end adds a nice kick, and the vitamin C from the lemon actually helps your body absorb the iron from the lentils. Amazing how my ancestors intuitively knew which food combinations to eat in order to maximize nutrient absorption. Try this soup with my low carb za’atar cauliflower rolls, which I dedicate to my father, who has diabetes but is a bread addict. I also cannot tell you how many Feast in the Middle East fans have e-mailed me asking for a low carb bread recipe. I will preface this recipe by saying this will not taste 100% like bread, but the texture is bread like, and allows you to enjoy dips like labneh and hummus with zero guilt. You can also drop these rolls into a warm soup to sop up all the flavor, sort of like Indian idlis or Eastern European dumplings. The “flour” is made up of finely ground cauliflower rice. Since cauliflower rice has hit every major market, might as well do something easy and special with this easy to find ingredient. To veganize this recipe, replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast, and replace the eggs with 2 flax eggs. (2 tbsp flax meal with 5 tbsp water)  It is important to take the step of putting the riced cauliflower into the food processor so that it mimics a finer flour in these rolls.


File Mar 07, 12 09 20 PM




Low Carb Za’Atar Cauli “flour” Rolls (Directions in video above)

2 ½ cups riced cauliflower   

2 tbsp almond flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

½ tsp  garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

1 tbs za’atar

1 tsp za’atar (more for topping) 9sub with parm if you want)

2 eggs

¼ cup parmesan cheese

1 tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)

Shorbat Addas (Directions in video above)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic

1 ½ cup red lentils

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground cumin

8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Juice of ½ lemon


Za’atar-the Super Spice!

February 28, 2018

Remember Blanche, a spoon of Za’atar a day will keep the doctor away!” said my late Aunt Bahieh, who lived to be 95 years old. My 96 year old grandmother also eats za’atar every morning and she is still going strong.  As a child my mother was told to eat za’atar for breakfast for mental alertness, and she ended up with straight As and was crowned the class valedictorian. Ok I’m not saying this spice mix will make you a Rhodes Scholar and centenarian, but judging from my family’s longevity and alertness, I think they might be onto something. Za’atar is a zesty Middle Eastern spice mix containing savory (or thyme,) sumac, sesame seeds and salt. This spice is extremely popular in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. To learn about the nutritional benefits, as well as get simple ways you can incorporate Za’atar into your everyday diet, check out my brand new video below: 



Za’atar is readily available in Middle Eastern and Arab markets, as well as some good organic fair-trade varieties online. I myself am partial to the za’atar from Palestine, which has this authentic flavor that reminds me of my childhood. I haven’t been able to find a za’atar that tastes like my grandmother’s until I tasted the spice mix from Sea Of Herbs.  I am not getting compensated by Sea of Herbs, but they are rewarding my viewers with 20% off their za’atar between now and March 31st, 2018 if you use the coupon code BLANCHE20. You can also try making your own fresh za’atar, which is quite easy. You can use thyme but savory gives a better result because it has hints of both oregano and thyme. You can store za’atar in your pantry for several months.  Here is a simple recipe to get you started:

3 tbsp dried SAVORY or THYME

1 tbsp powdered SUMAC

1 tbsp toasted SESAME SEEDS

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Put all of the ingredients into a spice grinder and pulse until a powder is formed, about 30 to 45 seconds. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months

Are there favorite ways you like to eat za’atar? Share your ideas in the comment section below. I will have a fun vegan/ vegetarian cooking episode next Wednesday that will also incorporate Za’atar, so look out for that one soon by subscribing to my YouTube CHANNEL!


Sahtein (To your health)




Homemade Vegan Nutella Recipe!

February 14, 2018

Before I get to the recipe of the day, I just wanted to let you know I have only 2 spots left in my Draeger’s cooking class coming up March 22nd! The class includes a demonstration, wine and light appetizers, and of course a tasting of this special menu I created just for my live guests! To enroll, click HERE. Makes a great gift, date night, or girl’s night out! 😉

Now…on to my special Valentine’s recipe! I have literally been hoodwinked by Nutella for far too long. Falling under the spell of this chocolate hazelnut spread, I never realized that Nutella was just a facade of what I wanted it to be. The traditional Nutella recipe called Gianduja,  originated in Piedmont Italy, back in 1963. The original recipe was a mix of about 70% hazelnut and 20% chocolate. Today, after multiple alterations to the recipe (including another increase in sugar in 2017)  Nutella is 60% sugar by weight–each serving is equivalent to the amount of sugar in 5 Oreos!  Aside from the sugar, Nutella is loaded with oxidized, or processed palm oil. A 2015 study out of the Oxford Academic Journal of Nutrition showed that palm oil consumption results in HIGHER LDL cholesterol than do vegetable oils low in saturated fat. Not only that, but case studies have found child laborers on palm oil plantations. Children described to Amnesty International researchers how they work without any safety equipment, in an environment full of hazards including falling branches, exposure to chemicals, and heavy lifting. On top of all this, this palm harvesting is leading to massive deforestation.

Now for the good news–it is incredibly easy to make your own chocolate hazelnut spread and I show you how in this latest video. My version has half the sugar of Nutella, with all of the richness of toasted hazelnuts. You can cut the sugar down that much more by using Joseph’s Syrup instead of the agave/maple syrup that I use. I also added my favorite new chocolate chips, Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips which are sweetened with stevia instead of sugar for extra chocolate flavor.  But this paste tastes great without it too, so it is entirely optional.  When I make my own chocolate hazelnut paste, I can source the best organic ingredients possible!

To learn how to make this easy recipe, click on the video below. Happy Valentine’s Day!



2 cups  Raw Organic Hazelnuts

1/4 cup Maple Agave Syrup

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Dash salt

¼ cup  Organic Fair Trade Cocoa Powder

⅓ cup Almond milk

2 tbs  Organic Sunflower Oil

¼ cup Lily’s Stevia Chocolate Chips


File Feb 14, 12 45 17 PM


Fancy Food Show San Francisco!

January 30, 2018

Imagine a gigantic multi-block convention center filled to the brim with every food trend you ever thought imaginable.  Teriyaki mushroom jerky, marzipan petit fours, every kind of artisan chocolate on the planet,  nut butter rich granola bars, super fruit smoothies, artisan ice creams, fresh Italian cannolis,  French jams of fig or rhubarb paired with butter biscuits,  and much more, all ready for your sampling delight. Such is the experience at the annual Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, open to food merchants and purveyors from around the world.  I ain’t gonna lie, covering aisle after aisle of food sampling and you can get a serious case of belly bloatation, or the feeling of a literal washing machine churning in your stomach. But when you are a serious foodie this is the time to throw caution into the garbage disposal, and dive into this Costco sampling experience on steroids! Luckily this year I spent less time eating and more time feeding, doling out samples as a representative of Sadaf Foods, one of my favorite brands of Middle Eastern products. I developed a sampling menu using some of their signature products, like saffron spray, black garlic, California grown pomegranate concentrate, rich feta cheese, and fragrant za’atar.   To share this experience with you, and bring you along virtually, I made a mini-music video, as well as a live video feed of one of my recipes–sesame coated feta pan fried till melted and drizzled with honey.  Hope you enjoy the quick virtual tour!



My Untold Story-Why I started Feast in the Middle East…

January 18, 2018

Happy New Year to you all! As I embark on 2018 with a lot of bold goals in mind (including the revamp of this website) it occurred to me that many of you have no idea who I am or why I started this project in the first place. Feast in the Middle East at one point in my life was just an idea, and a risky one at that. Switching from my career as a journalist and TV host, to an online show focused on food was daunting to me. All I had was my background in television and an arsenal of amazing recipes. I had no idea where to start to bring those two worlds together. Starting with a small saved up investment, I decided to take on this journey, and now the show has taken on a life of its own, and brought rewards I never would have imagined. While I am no where near where I want to be in terms of YouTube subscribers, I acknowledge every subscriber as an additional global family member to help me propel this show forward with more ideas, recipes, and stories. Which direction would you like to see the show go in as we trail blaze in this new year? If you haven’t subscribed already to my channel (or this blog) please do, and let me know what kind of content you would like to see. Because unlike television, where I had bosses leading the way on content, I love the freedom to cover what I want, and tailor it to the needs of an interactive audience. Click below for my story, and hope to get your feedback in the coming year!



Getting boozy with wine from Jesus’s time for 2018!

December 29, 2017

Just when I thought I was going to write my very last post for 2018, I realized I forgot to share another fantastic discovery from the Middle East with you!  Today I just released a fun video on the wines of Palestine, where they have been making this wine since the time of Jesus! The varietals of this wine are unlike anything you have ever had before, because the unique grapes are grown in the region of Bethlehem, Palestine (you know, where Jesus was born 😉 The Catholic Salesian missions continued making the wine with founder Don Bosco, who created a more formal winery.  Sales of the wine helped sustain their work in helping impoverished and orphaned  children.  In the year 2000 an Italian vintner named Ricardo Cotarella helped them step up their game so they could mass produce the wine (because let’s face it, they were using medieval equipment)  Their grape varietals are Baladi (red church wine) Dabouki ( a sweet crisp white) and Hemdani Jendali (most like a Sauvignon Blanc)  To see if this wine passed the taste test, check out my informal review below:


Somehow I feel more virtuous getting boozy with the wine Jesus drank, plus the proceeds of the wine still benefit disadvantaged children, so it’s a win win situation! For information on where to find this wine, click on this  LINK.

Happy 2018 everyone!





Happy New Year-New Video and Announcements!

December 27, 2017

Hope you are all enjoying time with your loved ones as we wind down 2017! This year you witnessed many  new experiments  on my channel, from live hangouts and food festival coverage, to food reviews and hauls, to even nutrition and fitness vlogs. This year I really want to fine tune the channel to serve your needs! Would you like to see more field video pieces, where I visit festivals, food artisans, and foodie events and bring them to you? Do you prefer more recipes? If so, do you like the Arab classics, east meets west fusion dishes, or vegan dishes? Did any of you enjoy my vlogs on nutrition, and how to maintain healthy weight, energy and skin? Or did the videos on Middle Eastern products inspire you to try something new? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below, as I will take them very seriously. In the end I created this channel for YOU the viewer, so I would love to know what kind of content you enjoy! Speaking of content, did any of you check out PART III of my Armenian Food Fest series? Here we explored some more popular desserts and coffee (yes I don’t know how I managed to shove down more food, but by some miracle I did lol) “Psychic” coffee is a popular phenomenon in the Arab world, and it was fun to learn that it is quite popular in Armenian culture too!  Some people swear that their fortune lies in the bottom of a coffee cup. Don’t know what I am talking about? Take a look:

And for those of you that want to treat yourself in the New Year, there are still spots available in my Draeger’s cooking classes! This is a fun live cooking demo experience where I cook and teach you all of my shortcuts and cooking methods to create the same dishes in your home. The demo includes a sampling of 4 courses, plus wine and light appetizers, the recipes themselves, and a Q & A session with yours truly! These makes a great date night idea instead of the standard restaurant night out as well. I truly enjoyed meeting many of you face to face this past year at these classes, and hope to see you again and see new faces as well! For more info, click here: HERE

Thanks again for all of your support! I look forward to sharing more adventures, recipes, and foodie finds with you in 2018!

Hugs, B




%d bloggers like this: