Lebanese woman brings traditional recipes to Hafli festival
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
11/07/12 at 8:21 AM
Suad Bayouth has been cooking for a crowd since she was a young girl.
As the oldest daughter of eight siblings, she began cooking for her family when she was 12.
"My mother had to travel with my father often, so I had to learn to cook for the rest of the family," Bayouth said.
Since she moved to the United States from Lebanon 45 years ago, Bayouth has been a part of the food preparation for the Hafli festival at St. Antony Orthodox Christian Church.
And though the amounts are now much larger than when she cooked for her brothers and sisters, Bayouth uses the same recipes that she makes for her own family.
The annual festival has been drawing crowds for more than 60 years. The church offers a Lebanese dinner with grilled chicken served over a generous portion of Hashwa (seasoned rice) and includes a cabbage roll, tabbouleh, hummus, pita, greba butter cookie and drink.
Festival proceeds are used to fund the church's many charitable programs.
Bayouth has trained other members of the church to make the recipes, and they get together in groups to roll the cabbage rolls and the grape leaves.
This year, they made about 6,000 cabbage rolls in two batches and froze them for the event this coming weekend.
"We made more this year. The demand last year was unbelievable," Bayouth said.
Church members also made about 3,000 grape leaves.
"The Lebanese prefer the grape leaves and the Americans prefer the cabbage rolls," Bayouth said.
The secret to making the cabbage rolls and the grape leaves is "adjusting your spices to get them just right."
"And there is a special grind to the meat. I had to train the butcher in Skiatook to do this kind of meat for us," she said.
And although Bayouth has trained about 30 to 40 people to assist with the cooking duties for Hafli, she does not intend to sit back and relax while others take over the cooking duties.
"I have to be in the kitchen, supervising everything," Bayouth said. "I am a perfectionist. I have to do things right, or I will not do it."
If you would like to try making Lebanese food at home, here are recipes from the St. Antony Orthodox Christian Church Cookbook.
DELIGHTFUL CABBAGE ROLLS
1 large head cabbage
2 quarts water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds chuck roast (chili grind)
1/2 cup medium-grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons water
2 cups water
2-3 cloves garlic
1. Core cabbage thoroughly using a circular motion with a knife and leaving cabbage whole. Set aside. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Place cabbage in water and blanch, removing leaves as they separate from the head. Place leaves in a shallow dish to drain and cool enough to handle.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine meat, rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, cinnamon, 1 stick melted butter and 3 tablespoons water and mix well.
3. Place about 1 teaspoon mixture onto each leaf and roll securely. Grip roll in palm of hand and squeeze lightly to keep secure. Arrange and layer in Dutch oven in a circular pattern. Add a clove of garlic between layers.
4. Sprinkle top with 1 teaspoon salt. Add two cups of water and place a plate on top of rolls so they won't float.
5. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 45 minutes. Uncover and add 7 to 8 pats of butter on top of rolls.
6. Cover and let stand 15-20 minutes. Invert on a round platter. Serves 8-10.
MEATLESS GRAPE LEAVES
1 quart grape leaves, fresh or preserved
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 bunch green onion, chopped fine
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup rice, rinsed
lemon juice, to taste
1 bunch parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
4 large tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop all vegetables very fine. Mix together onion, chickpeas, rice, parsley, mint, tomatoes and cinnamon (if using). Wash the leaves and separate for easy handling. Place a layer of leaves on the bottom of a large saucepan.
2. Place a leaf, greener side down, flat on a board. Place 1 teaspoon of stuffing and distribute it across the leaf. Tuck in each end of the leaf and roll firmly.
3. Arrange grape leaf rolls, close together, to make the bottom row. Continue rolling and alternate the direction of the second row. Continue, alternating the direction of the rows until all stuffing is used. Place extra leaves on top. Sprinkle with salt. Place an inverted plate on top of leaves.
4. Make a solution of water, oil, lemon juice and salt to taste, and add to grape leaves, just enough to cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook, covered for about 45 minutes.
4 bunches parsley, chopped fine
1/2 cup fine cracked wheat (bulgur)
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cucumber, chopped fine (optional)
2 tablespoons dried mint (crushed fine)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 lemons)
1. Wash parsley and pick from stems. Chop very fine.
2. Mix wheat, parsley, tomatoes, green onion, pepper, salt, cucumber and mint. Add oil and lemon juice. Stir until combined.
- courtesy Suad Bayouth
What: Hafli is the annual Lebanese dinner, bake sale and deli that raises funds for St. Antony Orthodox Christian Church
Where: 2645 E. Sixth St., west of University of Tulsa at Sixth Street and Columbia Avenue
When: Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday noon-3 p.m.
Meal prices: $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger
For sale in the deli: Grape leaves, cabbage rolls, meat pies, baked kibbe, hummus, hashwa, tabbouleh For sale in the bakery:
Baklawa, baklawa ice cream sundaes, greba cookies, mamoul cookies, cakes, breads and pies
Guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to St. Antony during Hafli. All donated items will be delivered to the Kendall-Whittier Neighborhood Food Bank.
Original Print Headline: Recipes from home
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Volunteers prepare grape leaves and other Lebanese favorites for the upcoming Hafli festival at St. Antony Orthodox Christian Church. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
Tabbouleh salad is served at Hafli. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World file