“Change your thoughts and change your world.”
Norman Vincent Peale
Lebanese Breakfast of Champions
A friend of mine is in the middle of a move and as often happens when people pack or unpack a home, old forgotten treasures are found. Sometimes they’re unimportant pieces that make you question what you could possibly have been thinking at the time of purchase but sometimes they’re more significant and poignant.
What my friend found was an old journal that she kept prior to marriage and children. It was a journal which both she and her then boyfriend/soon to be husband wrote in together, at different times of course, but they shared its pages, shared what they were doing and thinking about during their work travel related absences from one another. The idea of sharing ideas in that way moved me greatly. It also made me think about how our lives might be different… improved… if we were to spend more time carefully wording our thoughts, even if they are to stay in our own minds.
Of course there would be many times that our inner most thoughts might hurt someone, but mightn’t it also make us more mindful of what we allow to skitter through our thoughts? Might it also make us more conscientious of our sometimes false positive comments and thoughts, causing a more genuine sentiment to be translated?
I wonder if we considered what we said and did and yes, even thought, imagining that we were sharing those spoken and unspoken words to those around us, like a journal we wear for all to read, if we would be kinder, gentler? I can’t help but think that we would all be a little happier if we considered what we said and did and how it might impact others as though they could hear our every thought. I wonder too, if we would change how we behaved toward others if we could read their thoughts as well.
Well that was heavy! And what ever could it possibly have to do with this delicious old family recipe, I hear you ask… it’s about sharing of information… and interpretation.
Again, this recipe comes from my sister’s kitchen and not mine… well the first batch anyway. I of course made them almost immediately upon returning home after my visit to her this summer. And since my darling older sister rarely cooks from a recipe I am tasked with deciphering her “a bit of this” and “about this much of that”… so here goes!
Grated squash lightly salted and set to drain…
… then squeezed in a tea towel “until I don’t feel like doing it anymore”
A light hand is used when mixing so as not to wind up with a paste.
Fry them up in a bit of olive oil and butter too!
I had long since forgotten about ijee (pronounced i-zhee) but as my sister often says “that’s what’s so good about families” She reminded me of this delicious breakfast treat that I hadn’t enjoyed since I was a kid. Back then it was what you did with the insides of the squash when making Koosa, so as not to waste any food. Still a great idea, but why wait when you can make it using the whole squash.
Our aunts used to make it with fried eggs served on top… protein heaven! I don’t remember that specifically but I do remember the squeeze of fresh lemon and a thick layer of lebneh spread over the warm patties. Of course served in a fresh pita with lebneh and a little extra fresh mint makes a pretty yum sandwich too! If you can’t find lebneh in your local grocery store, it’s SUPER easy to make… dump a container of plain yogurt into a strainer lined with a tea towel, paper towel or cheese cloth and allow to drain for several hours or over night. Yup, it’s just that simple!
Enjoy & Namaste!
- 5 small summer squash, zucchini or other small similar density squash, grated to equal about 4 -5 cups
- ½ bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, torn
- ½ bunch green onions, white and light green parts chopped
- 2-3 sprigs fresh mint, spearmint is preferred for this recipe, rough chopped
- 4-5 TBSP flour, amount will depend upon overall moisture of squash once drained and squeezed
- 1-2 tsp Syrian Pepper
- 6 eggs
- S&P to taste
- olive oil and butter for pan
- Wash and grate squash, skin and all, toss with a few tsps of salt and set to drain in a colander, tossing occasionally
- After 30 minutes or so, transfer the grated squash to a clean dry tea towel and wrap tightly, squeezing out as much excess liquid as possible.
- Add the flour, herbs and seasonings to the squash in a large bowl, toss gently to coat
- This would be a good time to get your large heavy bottomed pan on to heat. I like to use a cast iron but a non stick will work as well.
- Add eggs and stir to combine all ingredients. It will be quite moist and eggy... always a good thing!
- Add oil and butter to your now hot pan.
- Using a large spoon create a patty in the pan and shape gently. I fit three per batch. The pan should be hot enough that you hear the ijee sizzling. Don't flip them until they are golden brown.
- Remove to a plate and continue with remainder.
- Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a dollop of lebneh.