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Author Notes: In 1987 I was working at a restaurant in Pasadena. Actually, I was working two jobs to support my lifestyle. I was pretty happy, even though i was plugging away at a 60 to 70 hour work week.
I was dating a much younger guy, having fun, not taking it too seriously. How can you when you don’t have any free time? One nite, as i was putting a drink order in at the bar, talking to the most awesome bartender in the world, Johnny, a new waiter approached the bar.
It was love at first sight.
Needless to say, I stopped dating the younger guy within a week.
Things got serious pretty quickly. Within 6 months I was moving away with Chris to Santa Barbara, where he was studying to be a lawyer. The first year was blissful, but hard, if I remember correctly. I worked full time, he had school full time.
Even though we loved each other, things fell apart within 2 years. We grudgingly went our seperate ways, both having been hurt tremendously by things we did to each other. His commitment to school did not help, and my need for constant attention and wandering eyes was not helpful, either.
We tried a few more times to make it work over the course of a few more years, but the timing was always off for one of us. Fortunately, we are still friends today.
There were a couple of great things besides Chris and I in this relationship. One was his mom, Flo, who was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She was a great cook, and she made the most wonderful Lebanese food. She is gone now, but I will never, ever forget her, and the meals she prepared. She made Fateras, little pies made out of bread dough, filled with ground meat and onions. Hushwa, which is pretty much the filling in this Koosa recipe. Knafee, which is essentially Baklava made with shredded wheat biscuits instead of filo dough. It is sooooo good! And Pineapple Pie. Really! But I don’t think that is Lebanese.
After making this dish from the cookbook that her son-in-law prepared of her dishes, I’ve decided to honor her and make some more. I promise to post them here. —kimbaddd
Serves 4 to 5
- 4 medium to large size zucchini squash
- 2 pounds ground sirloin
- 2 cups converted rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 to 2 mini cans of tomato juice
- 16 ounces can tomato sauce
- water, as needed
- Cut zucchini in half. Scoop out the soft centers to form a shell.
- Cook the ground sirloin, salt to taste. Drain beef, add cinnamon. Mix. Adjust salt to taste again. Add the 2 cups rice to the meat mixture. Get the largest stovetop pan with fitting lid that you have to hold the zucchini. Stuff the zucchini shells loosely with the meat/rice mixture. Don’t over stuff, they need room to expand. Place the stuffed zucchini in the pan, as each one is stuffed.
- Mix together the tomato juice and tomato sauce. If you think you need to add water to make a thinner sauce, you can. I would say add about ¼ cup to be on the safe side. Pour over stuffed zucchini in pan. Cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, until rice is cooked and zucchini is on the soft side, or to your liking.
- Cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, until rice is cooked and zucchini is on the soft side, or to your liking. Serve Koosa with some of the tomato sauce spooned on top. Makes 4 servings.