So while the last week has not been full of triumphal moments, I did have a strong showing in at least one area. As I attempted to get in touch with my Southern roots and cook up some casseroles, I decided to branch out a bit. Janee has a good Lebanese/Syrian cookbook and I found a recipe for Moussaka that I wanted to try. (As an aside, Lebanese and Syrian food is almost exactly the same. Hary says that even if the people are Syrian, they market the food as Lebanese because Lebanese food is more well known.)
Lebanese Moussaka is not the same as its Greek incarnation--there's no cheese or potatoes. Hary does tell me that there are different kinds of Moussaka. Moussaka Bi Zeit, or Moussaka with oil, is what I made and it is a vegetarian variety. Making it is pretty straight forward: you peel, slice and fry a few eggplants, add a layer of chickpeas, then top it with a mixture of sautéed onions, garlic and tomatoes which have been simmered together. To finish it off you top it with a layer of sliced up tomatoes, and then bake it. It can be eaten cold, but we ate it hot with rice.
I hadn't realize that Hary was coming back to the house the day I made it, but he was really excited when I told him what I had made. I was a bit worried for him to try it because it was my first go at moussaka, and I hadn't even tried it myself, but I am happy to say he liked it. Now honestly this isn't saying much because I have been around long enough to know that Hary will eat just about anything. Yet as the days went by and he kept eating it, meal after meal, I started to believe him. And the highest praise of all? He said it tasted just like an Arab woman made it.