Giveaway – An Edible Mosaic Cookbook {2 Copies} + Recipe for Middle Eastern Spice Blends {Baharat}


A few weeks ago, I received my review copy of An Edible Mosaic in the mail, and was so excited to dig in. You see, I’ve known Faith online for over a year now (we even interviewed her on MidEATS!) – and I really love her cooking style, food photography, and most of all her love and appreciation for Middle Eastern food, which as you all know is near and dear to my heart. While leafing through the copy of An Edible Mosaic, I felt both excited and a little nostalgic because the recipes reminded me of my motherland and of my grandparents, who are incredible cooks and over the years have mastered many of the recipes that Faith writes about.

The book is very easily to follow and organized for the beginner cook of Middle Eastern foods. For example, Faith starts the book with a  sweet personal page titled “My Passion for Middle Eastern cooking”. She shares that she didn’t grow up cooking Middle Eastern meals, and only started a about six years ago, when she married into a Middle Eastern family (she fell in love not only with a Middle Eastern man but also with Middle Eastern food!). Her close study of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine is evident in the book, which teaches me as a Middle Easterner even more than I learned watching my mom and grandparents in the kitchen … tells you a lot about how well the book is structured!



In the intro, Faith shares cooking tips and techniques related to preparing Middle Eastern recipes – for example, did you know that chiffonading herbs — “a technique to shred herbs into thin, confetti-like strips” — is an important step to make authentic dishes that involve delicate herbs, like tabbouleh? I’ve always taken the easy way out and made it in the food processor, but it’s also almost always turned out quite mushy when I’ve made it. Then, Faith goes on to describe many of the popular cooking tools needed for cooking Middle Eastern recipes, such as cookie molds, mudukka (mortar & pestle), and hafara (vegetable corer), among several others. One of my favorite sections is on page 18-23 titled “Buying the Right Middle Eastern Ingredients”, and she describes many of the popular ingredients like samna baladi (ghee or clarified butter), bulgur wheat, apricot leather, grape leaves, shredded phyllo dough, saffron, freekeh, and many others. It’s a perfect intro for anyone who is unfamiliar with Middle Eastern ingredients!

The rest of the book — 115 pages — is full of Middle Eastern recipes, including well-known favorites like hummus, grape leaves, tabbouleh and falafel, as well as authentic gems that aren’t yet very well known in the West, like saffron rice with golden raisins and pine nuts (pg. 61), farmer’s cheese spiced cheese balls (pg. 69 – sneak peak in pic below!), creamy chickpea and yogurt casserole (pg. 80), fish pilaf with caramelized onion (pg. 86), pistachio-sesame cookies (pg. 128), tamarind juice drink (pg. 137), and many many others. Wow, I better stop since my mouth is starting to water!

One of my favorite things about cookbooks is the visual element – good food photography is almost like tasting a bite of the dish (not quite though, sadly, hah!). Faith is an incredible food photographer, and the images of food are vibrant and appealing. Because I know pictures are worth a thousand words, here are a few shots of pages within the book to give you an idea of what to expect:







If I didn’t absolutely love Faith’s book, I wouldn’t be promoting it here, and I wouldn’t be doing a giveaway … but since I think it’s an awesome addition to any cosmopolitan cookbook collection, I have asked Faith to sponsor a giveaway (MidEATS’ first!) for TWO COPIES OF AN EDIBLE MOSAIC! Until Dec. 24th, you can enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter widget below, and make sure you share via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) for more points and a bigger chance to win. If you’re out of the U.S., no problem – you can still enter.

In addition to entering the giveaway, I highly recommend purchasing a copy of the book as a Christmas or holiday present for anyone in your life who is into food and especially anyone who likes to cook! Buy the hardcopy from Amazon for a little over $16, a fantastic deal for a book that is beautiful enough to place on your coffee table or display in your kitchen.

Many of the recipes in An Edible Mosaic involve Middle Eastern spice mixes. I personally love authentic spices and making spice mixes is totally up Brenda’s alley (co-author of MidEATS). So, Faith kindly gave us permission to share with our readers the recipes for some of the most important spice mixes used in Middle Eastern cooking. They’re on page 29 in her book, An Edible Mosaic, but here are the glorious spice mix recipes below. Feel free to pin the image below as a link to the spice mixes, or share with your friends via social media:

Basic Spice Mixes – BAHARAT

Recipes courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Mendy Spice Mix

Syrian Spice Mix

Kebseh Spice Mix

Meat Spice Mix

Chicken Spice Mix

Thyme Spice Mix

Cake Spice Mix

Four Spice Mix

Seven Spice Mix

Nine Spice Mix


  1. For each mix, combine all spices in a small bowl.
  2. If the mix has whole spices (such as the Mendy Spice Mix and Kebseh Spice Mix), grind them in a spice grinder and strain through a fine mesh sieve, if desired.
  3. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enter for the giveaway here: 

Don’t forget that to be entered, you have to leave a comment on this post (in the comments of the blog post). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hey guys, sorry there was an issue with the way I set up Rafflecopter and the comments didn’t show up here. I have copied the comments and questions I have received so far:

    Sara H: “I have always grown up with Middle Eastern food (half Egyptian) but have never taken the time to make it as I’ve always had it made for me! Really hoping I can use this book as a jumping off point to start cooking my own dishes!”

    Phoebe F: “I am a big fan of the pumpkin recipes you’ve been posting! I tried the pumpkin loaf with the cheesecake topping and it was delicious.”

    Sherif S: “What does Allspice contain?”

    Justyna P: “Love Middle Eastern food!”

    Ghadah K: “This is a beautifully put together cookbook :)”

    If you are entering, please leave a comment here as opposed to within the Rafflecopter widget above. Thank you!
    Heba recently posted…An Edible Mosaic Cookbook: Giveaway {2 Copies} + Recipe for Middle Eastern Spice Blends {Baharat}My Profile

  2. i actually tried the mendy spice mix as i tasted this spice for a chicken dish before and i loved it! i actually tried a few different versions of mendy before, and i found that this recipe is the best there is! it matched what i had in my memory, of how i remembered my friend’s chicken and what i loved about it. i love it that you shared this recipe, thanks soo much, it would be such a pleasure to win this book!

  3. I love all these spice mix recipes! MIddle Eastern food is one of my favorite cuisines! I would love to add your cookbook to my collection…

  4. I only recently discovered An Edible Mosaic, but have been really pleased with the recipes I’ve tried. This time of year brings a lot of family and friend gatherings. We normally have turkey, but I thought it might be fun to try something new. Is there a traditional ‘celebratory’ dish or menu plan that might be appropriate for a holiday gathering (Christmas, New Year’s, etc)? Thanks!
    Tanya H. recently posted…Loops and Pockets: Boy’s Own StyleMy Profile

  5. I moved to Egypt with my Egyptian husband about 12 years ago now. I LOVE Middle-Eastern food, and everything that I know how to cook has been from cookery books I’ve had for years. In Faith’s new book, I feel there may be a newer, more healthy approach if her Blog An Edible Mosaic,is anything to go by. The photos are beautiful -my own cookery books from years ago have no photos 😉 I would love to know how to make stuffed vine leaves step-by-step. We’ve only ever had them in restaurants!

  6. The Pistachio ice cream looks devine. I would love to try it. I follow Faiths blog and would be very happy to have a copy of her book. Thank you for the spice recipe.

  7. I would like to know from Faith how much Mahlab (or Mahlepi as it is known here in Sydney) I need to add to sweet pastry. I bought a packet from a Lebanese Store I visited recently and was told that it can be a useful addition to sweet pastry, but there are no details on the pack of spice telling how much is needed. The list of Basic Spices above is fabulous and wil definitely be used in my kitchen. Would love a copy of An Edible Mosiac so I can increase my repertoire of Middle Eastern dishes. However if all else fails this is on my (Christmas)Birthday Wish List!

  8. I’m from the Middle East but I don’t usually cook food from the region by myself because I feel like a lot of recipes are too convoluted and complicated for a student. I’ve looked at this cookbook before though and it makes everything look so manageable! I would love to get my hands on this so that I can try to make some of my favorite foods (like grape leaves!) in my own kitchen

  9. A HUGE thank-you to everyone who left a comment or question! I appreciate all your feedback more than words can say. Here are the answers to questions received so far…

    Sherif S: Allspice is actually its own spice (it grows as a berry), even though the name is a little misleading, and some say it tastes like a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

    Asiya: I sometimes substitute Nabulsi or fresh mozzarella for Ackawi…there is more info on Middle Eastern cheeses in my book. 😉

    Tanya H: Big rice dishes are often used as celebratory family meals – dishes like Kebseh,
    Maqluba, or Mendy are common. Stuffed veggies like Kousa Mahshi are also popular. Or for a party, you could put out a spread of a whole bunch of smaller dishes like dips (Hummus, Mutabbal Batinjan, Muhammara), yogurt cheese (Labneh), Kibbeh, vegetarian stuffed grape leaves (Waraq Ainab), olives, flatbread, etc. for people to munch on as they come and go.

    TC: The Mendy Spice Mix is typically used to make a specific dish called Mendy. It’s beautiful rice dish that is commonly served with chicken or meat (such as lamb). I also use the Mendy Spice Mix when making grilled chicken or meat.

    Germania: Mahlab is a lovely but very strong spice, so use it somewhat sparingly. If you’re making a single batch of pastry I’d start with around 1/2 teaspoon of ground mahlab. And I should mention, one of the things I love most about mahlab is the fact that it smells like a cross between almonds and cherries, so it enhances dishes with either of those ingredients. I never make anything with cherries anymore without adding mahlab. 🙂

    Joy: Farmers cheese is cottage cheese (curds) pressed with the whey drained off; it is actually quite dry. Ricotta is made from whey (not the curds). If you can’t find farmers cheese, you might try pressing cottage cheese (just leave it wrapped in cheesecloth in a strainer set over a bowl with a heavy object on top) for a few days in the fridge.

    Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks again!


  10. Congrats Faith! I love Mid East food. My fave dish is malfouf bil sileh, which is stuffed collards, similar to stuffed grape leaves.

  11. Hi! I do not have a question at the moment. But I just wanted to say that Iam trying your stuffed courgettes recipe today. Ive all the ingredients ready. 😉


  12. I love falafel, but would really like to branch out more in the world of Middle Eastern food…this book would be a great chance!

  13. How would you cook dolma differently? I’m more apprehensive about using tomato sauce with ground beef (mom’s recipe) but it tastes so good. What are the alternatives?

  14. Looks beautiful. Middle Eastern flavors are some of my daughter’s favorites; I would love to learn how to cook more dishes at home.

  15. Many of my closest friends in college were young men from various middle eastern countries. Thankfully some of them paid some attention to how their mothers prepared some of their favourite foods and I managed to learn a few dishes from them. The unusual spice usage amazed me. The translation/hunt for spices they were familiar with often disappointed them, but everyone made do. I laugh now at how dubious I was at the sight of allspice sprinkled onto browning chicken hearts! Fond memories!

  16. My question, for Faith, is this. In Middle Eastern fare, many spices are used. Is there any spices that just clash with this type of cuisine?

  17. I totally love middle eastern food. Mandy is regular in our household. Now that I have the spice mix I can try making it. Would love to get a copy so that I can try out the authentic recipes.

  18. I just picked up the cookbook at my local library and was just blown over with the recipes, references and cooking tips. I picked up the ingredients to make Faith’s Upside Down Rice Casserole over the next few days. That brought me to her blog and then to yours. What a find! I have always enjoyed Middle Eastern food. In my early twenties, I traveled extensively throughout the Mid-East, and that was many years ago. This is an opportunity for my family to be there again through our tummies and in a healthy, sustainable way. Thank you for your lovely blogs.

  19. I do have a question for Faith regarding the Middle Eastern flatbreads. I would like to use my Kitchen Aid mixer for the kneading portion of the dough. Approximately, how long should the mixer with the dough hook, take kneading the dough? Also, if I do not want to use all the raw flatbread dough at one time, may I freeze raw flatbread dough and bake as needed? Thanks!

  20. I love making different kinds of hummus and I like to cook my own chickpeas instead of using canned ones (so I can soak them). The problem is that no matter how long I cook the beans the final result is always more grainy that if I used the canned version or than any store bought hummus. Any trick to make my hummus nice and smooth? Thanks

  21. Thanks to all who left a comment or question! Here’s the answer to the most recent questions asked:

    Heba: I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised! The recipe I included in my cookbook for Stuffed Grape Leaves is vegetarian; it’s very bright-flavored, fresh, and light. The rice inside is flavored with onion, tomato, parsley, and mint. I also give a variation (in the Basic Recipes section) for Meat Stuffing for Grape Leaves. Additionally, in the book I include two recipes for Stuffed Marrow Squash – one cooked in tomato sauce, and one served with yogurt (both are stuffed with the traditional meat/rice stuffing).

    Cheryl W: What a great question! Offhand I can’t think of any spice that doesn’t go well with Middle Eastern cuisine, but of course certain spices are better suited for certain dishes. Thinking about what’s in my spice cabinet, I can say just about the only “spices” that aren’t used in Middle Eastern cuisine are garlic powder and onion powder (and they aren’t really even spices – just seasonings, really); and this is only because they aren’t commonly commercially available in the Middle East.

    M’ris berlin: I would say start with the Mujaddara Burghul (Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion) – it’s delicious and healthy. It’s vegetarian, but definitely a satisfying meal, and bulgur is a good place to start cooking since I think it’s much more forgiving than rice. And the whole dish can be made in under an hour! If you have a little more time and prefer a dish with meat, I would go for the Chicken Shawarma. It’s somewhat time-consuming, but each step is easy and the end result is so worth it.

    Susan: Thank you so much for your kind words! I’ve never used my stand mixer to knead this particular dough; however, note that the dough only needs to be kneaded by hand for 5 minutes and it usually takes much less time in a stand mixer. I would start checking it after kneading on a low speed for 1 minute or so, and then be sure to check it frequently after that. You will know when it’s done because when you press a finger into the dough, the indentation will remain – just be careful not to over-mix. I’ve never frozen the flatbread dough either, so again this is just speculation, but if I were going to try to freeze it, I’d wrap it very well and freeze it before the initial rise. Then I’d let it thaw overnight in the fridge, and then let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size before baking (this could take a couple hours, I’m guessing). Good luck – I’d be interested to know how this works if you give it a try!

    Annie: Yes! The best thing you can do to get a smooth hummus is pick out the skins after you cook the beans; it’s time-consuming, but will definitely yield the creamiest results. (I give more tips on cooking dried beans and lentils in the beginning section of my book.)

    Looking forward to answering any other questions you have!

    Faith (An Edible Mosaic) recently posted…Russian Tea Cakes {7 Days of Festive Holiday Treats} and A $25 King Arthur Flour GiveawayMy Profile

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