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A tasty post: Arts patron publishes cookbook

"... supporting an arts organization allows beauty to be shared throughout a community."

-- Ellen Jabbur

Ellen Jabbur

Our audience likes to eat: One of the most popular events of our Fall season was the Creative Life conversation on October 5 with renowned food writer/restaurant critic Ruth Reichl.


In keeping with the culinary theme, we share news of a new cookbook by Ellen Jabbur, long-time supporter of the arts in the Capital Region, including the NYS Writers Institute and Albany Pro Musica.


Just in time for the holidays, Ellen has published From the Kitchen of Ellen Jabbur: Nothing to It, a unique collection of different dishes, cuisines, and culinary traditions from her native Denmark, from her late mother-in-law's Syrian-Lebanese kitchen, and some Mediterranean and American delights.


We asked Ellen what prompted her to write a cookbook?

"COVID made me do it," Ellen said. "I have been thinking about this project for a few years. When COVID happened, I decided I'd have all winter with little else to do. If I was going to do this it, it would be this year."


What's your favorite entree?

"My favorite entree will not be popular with most people because it's difficult to make. It's 'Kibbee.' It's a Middle Eastern recipe and it's time-consuming. The "Best Salmon Ever" recipe on page 62 is easier to make, but still very tasty."


You were born in Denmark. Your husband was born in Lebanon. You lived in America since the 1960s. What's your favorite cuisine?

"I would actually say the cuisine from the Mediterranean."


PURCHASE From the Kitchen of Ellen Jabbur: Nothing to It

All proceeds benefit Albany Pro Musica. Price: $35, plus $4 shipping and handling per book


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The next Albany Pro Musica concert, "The Many Moods of Christmas," will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, December 19, at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Visit www.albanypromusica.org/concerts/ for ticket information.

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Ellen's Erastus Corning story (and recipe)

In an addendum to the cookbook, Ellen shares the story of a dinner party she hosted for the late Erastus Corning, Mayor of Albany, and other guests in the late 1970s following his successful hip replacement surgery performed by Ellen's husband, the late Dr. Munir T. Jabbur.


Here is the Baked Brie Cheese recipe prepared as an appetizer at that dinner:


Ellen Jabbur's Baked Brie Cheese

  • 1 round brie cheese (approximately 5 inches)

  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans

  • 1 tablespoon whiskey (editor's note: Ellen doesn't specify the brand of whiskey)

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 can crescent rolls or puff pasty

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F

  2. Cut off the white part from the cheese. Place the cheese on the flattened crescent roll or puff pastry

  3. In a separate bowl, mix butter, pecans, and whiskey

  4. Place 3/4 mixture on top of brie cheese

  5. Close up crescent roll or puff pastry to cover all of the cheese

  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until color is light brown

  7. Place rest of mixture around pastry and bake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes.

  8. Serve with crackers.