Cooking From: Rose Water and Orange Blossoms

I received this cookbook after having a wonderful meal with Mike's Aunt Janet and Uncle John, who were living in Berkley for the year. John is Lebanese and he made some exquisite food with some wonderful ingredients from the Farmer's Market, that I just wanted to more of. One of John's relatives is related to the author of Rose Water and Orange Blossoms, Maureen Abood, so naturally I felt an instant connection and wanted to start making some delicious Lebanese food!

I’m sharing a couple of the more basic recipes from this book, but just because they are basic does not mean they are by any means boring. The roasted tomatoes are flavorful and can be used in a myriad of ways. Maureen’s book includes a salad and a crostini recipe that uses these roasted tomatoes. I ate them right off the sheet tray they were so good!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
PREP TIME:  15 mins COOK TIME:  3 hours TOTAL TIME:  3 hours 15 mins SERVES: 1 cup


  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons za'atar, to taste


  1. Slice tomatoes in half and place in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, tossing until the tomatoes are coated. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with za'atar.
  2. Turn the oven on to 275˚ and roast the tomatoes for 2 to 3 hours, depending on tomato size (Maureen makes a note that you do not have to preheat the oven.) Tomatoes are done when they are soft/tender and are just beginning to shrivel. Store with a drizzle of olive oil in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Roasted Tomato Crostini with Za’atar and Goat Cheese

Make your crostini by toasting thin slices of good baguette brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Or buy them. Assemble the crostini just before serving.

  • Crostini
  • Goat Cheese
  • Za’atar
  • Roasted tomatoes (see previous recipe)
  • Salt and pepper

Place a dollop of goat cheese on each crostini. Sprinkle with za’atar, salt and pepper. Top each crostini with a roasted tomato (or two, depending on the size), then sprinkle with more za’atar. Serve immediately.

Warm Dates with Toasted Almonds & Lime Zest

12 Medjool dates
12-24 whole roasted, salted almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Zest of 1 lime

Pull open the tip of each date with your thumbs or a paring knife and pull out the pit. Push one or two almonds into the cavity and push the edges of the date back together.

To warm the dates, in a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the dates and cook, shaking the pan so the dates are coated in oil and warmed through, 2-3 minutes. Place the dates on a platter and sprinkle with salt and lime zest. Serve warm.