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When cooking Lebanese food, it is important for cooks to utilize traditional ingredients to ensure the food tastes authentic. Following a recipe is an easy way to enjoy cooking Lebanese food, but the recipes should be tasted and altered during the cooking process, as would occur in a traditional Lebanese home. A cook should have certain items made beforehand to ensure that guests have enough food to enjoy and that the host is not overworked while entertaining. Basic Lebanese items, such as pickles, cheeses, and yogurts, can be combined with a number of main course items or used in the mezze, which is the first course of the meal. It is important to use whole raw ingredients when cooking Lebanese food to keep from being wasteful.
Lebanese seven-spice is a popular spice mixture used when making minced lamb and vegetable dishes. Fresh herbs are often used in cooking Lebanese food, so it is beneficial for individuals to have thyme, oregano, and parsley in stock. Olive oil is the preferred fat of Lebanese cooks because it is readily available in Lebanon. Similarly, lemon juice is often added to dishes to provide a hint of acidity and freshness at the end of the cooking process.
Lebanese cooks often have certain items prepared in case of unexpected guests, and to save time when preparing other recipes. The cuisine is usually served with condiments such as chutney. These can be prepared ahead of time based upon traditional recipes and stored in the refrigerator for use in Lebanese cooking, or to serve with Lebanese bread for the mezze. Cheeses, olives, and nuts from Lebanon are also popular items served before the main course.
In Lebanese cooking, the items are used completely in every way possible. A leg of lamb, one of the most important varieties of meat in Lebanese cooking, can be roasted for use in various dishes. The leg bone can be boiled with water and vegetables to create a lamb soup or stock, some of the meat can be minced, spiced, and mixed with crushed wheat for kibbi, and the rest can be mixed with rice and stuffed into tomatoes or zucchinis. The end of the meal generally involves strong Lebanese coffee and a sweet dessert such as baklava.
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