Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wishes you all a Joyful Merry Christmas and a Peaceful, Successful and Healthy New year.
Jesus is Born Hallelujah

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Awards

I am happy and honored to receive this Award from two lovely ladies : my friend Heni http://www.simplicitybythesea.blogspot.com/ and from my friend Joumana http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/

I already spoke about myself and the things I like, but if I can add one wish:
"find a treasure with lots of money, to buy food and water and help the hungry people around the world , and bring beautiful smiles to the sad faces this Christmas.

In return I like to give this award to Seven Bloggers:

1- Mona Saboni from http://www.l2ma.com/
2- Nisrin from http://www.alyaman2002.blogspot.com/
3- Touria from http://www.cuisinetouria.e-monsite.com/
4- Afaf from http://www.simplyheaven.wordspress.com/
5- LisaMichele from http://www.lisamichele.wordpress.com/
6- Samira from http://www.tartinechoco.canalblog.com/
7- Mag from http://www.hummuswtabbouli.blogspot.com/





Monday, December 7, 2009

Phoenician Gourmet: A Flower Cookies - For Peace

Phoenician Gourmet: A Flower Cookies - For Peace

A Flower Cookies - For Peace


Our friend Rosa of rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com is organizing an event called "Pastries For Peace" . Hoping that one day the Muslims and the Jewish will live in peace and harmony.
Anybody can participate. The the deadline is extended till the 15th of December 2009. Just send your links to grandchampatgmxdotch.

Flower Cookies

I saw this recipe at Mona Saboni's blog http://www.l2ma.com/ Mona is a member of the Walima Club, her blog is in Arabic, and full of delicious Middle Eastern Food.


Ingredients:


1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of semolina
1 egg
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
tsp of vanilla
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 cups of flour (depends on the flour and the mix, you need enough to make a cookie dough)


Syrup:

1 cup of water
2 cups of sugar
juice of 1/2 of lemon
cinnamon sticks, cloves


Stuffing:

ground walnuts, almonds, pistachios or even Kashta or pastry cream or Marscapone cheese

Preparation:

In a pot prepare the syrup , add the spices , when it starts to boil add the lemon juice and lower the heat , let it simmer for 8 minutes. cool completely before using.


In a food processor or by hand add the wet ingredients stir, then slowly add the semolina flour and mix to combine, add enough flour to make a nice smooth cookie dough... knead by hand to combine. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight...


On a floured board, knead the dough , roll very thinly, using a round cookie cutter cut 5-6 circles, and stack them one half way on top of the other....Roll from the last circle up gathering the sides , cut in half to get two flowers, try to open the ends as much as you can...to take the shape of a flower. You can stuff them between the layers of the flowers with your desired nuts or cream stuffing... I added the nuts before rolling the circles , making sure each centre has some .


Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15-18 minutes or until then start to turn light brown, drizzle them with the cool syrup... Let them cool before you move them to a platter.












The cookies are not overly sweet , they have a crumbly texture which I like . delicious, and fit for any party or wedding reception.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Walima November Challenge Representing the Lebanese Cuisine

Lebnan, Le-b-nan that means the White Mountain, once called "The pearl of the middle East,” is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Israel, and Syria. At one time or another Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, European Crusaders, Ottomans, and French all ruled and had influence over the land and its cuisine. The Cuisine of this Ancient Land is diverse and steeped in history; Lebanon is a culinary and cultural Crossroads. Lebanon is located on the Eastern most shore of the Mediterranean in the Fertile Crescent, where Western Civilization is said to have begun. Both the Eastern and Western influences in its cookery are apparent. It combines the sophistication of European Cuisine with the excitement of Eastern Spices.
The food of the entire Mediterranean region is a celebration of life; it is fresh, flavorful, diverse and invigorating. The Lebanese proudly admit that the genius of their food is its simplicity, and that the food was a product of both the earth and the sea. Also the natural bond that all of the Mediterranean cuisines share, from the tip of Spain to Lebanon “the same waters equally splash all of the countries around the Mediterranean".Lebanese cuisine is the richer and the finest in the Middle East and any other Arab countries due to their milder climate, and indeed, any cuisine is dependent upon climate and geography. Lebanese Cuisine is considered a very balanced, healthy diet. The Cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. The country’s cuisine characterized by the use of a wide variety of fresh ingredients which include olive oil, herbs, spices, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, grains, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry and red meat and usually lamb, is eaten more often, either grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil or butter, cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts. Vegetables are often eaten raw or pickled as well as cooked.Though its mainstream popularity is relatively new, the Cuisine is not; the Cuisine of Lebanon has been in the making since pre-biblical times. The influence that Lebanon has had on the world is totally out of proportion to its size; culinary contributions from this tiny Country have had the greatest impact on modern Middle Eastern cuisine.
Our November Dessert Challenge is hosted by Joumana from www.tasteofbeirut.com , Joumana choose Eish El Sarayah . I hosted the savoury dish choosing Sheesh Barak with homemade yogurt.
Sweet Challenge:
The Bread of the Seraglio ( Aysh el-Saraya)
1 round loaf white bread, about 8 inches in diameter, 1 day old
9 ounces golden superfine sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
scant 1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 tablespoon rose water1 3/4 cups
Lebanese clotted cream or Ashta
2 tablespoons pistachios, ground medium-fine
Cut off the crust of the bread and keep for bread crumbsSlice off the top of the white bread to get one flat slice about 1 1/2 inch thick and put it in a round serving dish about the same size as the bread.Tear the rest of the bread in thick pieces and use them to fill the gaps in the dish.Put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a deep frying pan and place over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring constantly, so that the sugar does not crystallize in places, for about 20 minutes or until it is caramelized.Towards the end of the cooking time, measure 7 ounces of water and bring to a boil in a teakettle. When the sugar is caramelized, start adding the water gradually without taking the sugar mixture off the heat. Be very careful, because the sugar will start spluttering and you could burn yourself!Pour the boiling syrup all over the bread and transfer the soaked bread to the pan. Place over medium heat and cook pressing the bread with the back of a spoon to mash it and make it soak up the syrup.Clean the edges of the serving dish and slide the bread back onto it, spreading it evenly across the dish. Let it cool then cover the bread entirely with cream.Chill then cover with pistachios right before serving.
Clotted cream or Ashta:
2 slices of white bread without the crust
2 cups half-and-half
Cut the bread in small pieces and place in a saucepan
Pour the cream or half-and-half over the bread
Bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often.Cool then refrigerate. It should keep for 4 to 5 days. Makes 1 pint.Makes 4 servings.Source: Lebanese Cuisine by Anissa Helou
Lebanese Style Sheesh Barak
INGREDIENTS:
1 ½ kg of plain Greek style yogurt or home made
1/2 quantity of Ajeen or basic dough recipe
3 cloves garlic, crushed with a dash of salt
1 cup finely chopped fresh mint (if fresh is not available use couple spoons dried)
½ kg (16 oz) ground meat (either beef or lamb)
3 medium sized onions, finely chopped
¼ cup fried pine nuts
1 tspn salt
¼ tspn ground allspice
¼ tspn ground cinnamon
2 tbls butter
Basic Dough or Ajeen
(this is used in many savoury pastries)
INGREDIENTS:
1 kg (32 oz / 5 cups) plain flour
1 ¼ cups warm water
½ cup olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tbls salt
2 tbls sugar

PREPARATION:
Sift the flour into a working surface.Mix in salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre.Pour olive oil and vegetable oil in the well.Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid.Add water gradually. Knead the dough into a ball (if the dough is too stiff add some water).Knead the dough on a floured working surface until it is smooth and elastic this can be done in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, or in a food processor.Form the dough into a ball and put into a lightly floured bowl, covered with a damp cloth. Leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
Cooked Yoghurt

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 kg of plain Greek Style Yogurt
or home made you can check my blog for home made yogurt (you can check my blog for homemade yogurt)
2 tbls cornstarch
1 tspn salt
1 cup water + 1 beaten egg (or egg's white)PREPARATION:
Strain yoghurt using a smooth colander into a pot. Add egg or egg's white.Dissolve cornstarch in 1 cup of water. Stir into cold yoghurt for 2 minutes.Place on medium heat, stirring constantly until it boils.
Preparing the Sheesh Barak
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about 1 cm thickness. Using a round cookie cutter (medium size), press over dough to get equal rounds.Fry onion in shortening till color changes a little. Add meat, salt, allspice and cinnamon. Stir occasionally and fry for 7-8 minutes. Add pine nuts and Mix. Drain the mixture as butter would affect closing the pastries.
Spread the round a little with your fingers. Place 1 tspn of the filling on it. Fold over one end to make a semi-circle. Press edges down to seal. Take the two ends from the straight side, bring them together to make a small ring. Press well. Repeat till rounds are done.
You will have left over dough , (this is the best part) roll the remaining dough in thin rope and cut into diagonals. Place the stuffed dough and the cut pastries in a tray with parchment, Bake in a hot oven (400F) for 10 minutes or until golden. During this time prepare and cook the yogurt and when it starts to boil add the baked pastries to the boiling cooked yoghurt one by one. Let it boil over low heat for 10 minutes or till pastries are cooked.
Note: The egg and the cornstarch are there as stabilizers so that the yogurt won’t separate.
Make sure to cook the yogurt on medium low heat , high heat could ruin the sauce.
In a separate skillet you’ll want to quickly sauté the garlic and mint in one tbsp extra virgin olive oil and add it to the Sheesh Barak. And cook for another 2 minutes .
Serve hot in bowls, or you can serve with it Lebanese Rice Pillaf with Vermicelli.
I am attaching a link to Tony Tahhan Step by Step recipe preparation
1- Mix the corn starch and cold yogurt (I didnt use the egg)
2- Keep stirring on low
3-When the yogurt started to thicken
4- Add the baked Sheesh Barak
I like to eat it warm .
Baking the Sheesh Barak in the oven gives it a nice texture










1- Cook the Kashta
2- trim the bread and toast it in the oven
3- make the caramelized sugar and soak the bread
4- frost the bread inside out with the Kashta
5- decorate with toasted Pistachio

Late Posting - Daring Bakers Challenge for November

Some of you were wondering where is she hiding....
I was very busy last month, preparing and baking for couple of Christmas Craft Shows in town and area, after the shows I packed my suitcase and went to Toronto, on a business trip, it was successful, fun and I got to meet many interesting people and attending couple of Craft & Food Shows, also did some shopping for ingredients I cannot find in my area.

Time goes so fast when you are having fun.... I enjoyed every minute of my visit.

The Daring Bakers challenge for November was hosted by my talented friend LisaMichelle of
www.parsley,sage,dessertsandlinedrive . Lisa choose Cannolo from the Lidia's cookbook "my Italian-American Kitchen" and the Soprano Family cookBook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Lidisano’s Cannoli
Makes approximately 22-24 4-inch cannoli
Prep time:Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine.Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli Assemble – 20–30 minutes
UPDATE: I learned that the addition of a little freshly ground or instant coffee to the shell dough is traditional in Sicilian style cannoli and gives the shells more flavor. I suppose you can add it along with the cocoa or in lieu of it.

CANNOLI SHELLS
2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish confectioners’ sugar

Note – If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).

CANNOLI FILLING
2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note – If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.

I made the dough and let it rest till the second day...since I don't have a pasta machine , I rolled the dough by hand and cut it small . Made my own Cannoli molds using rolled thick foil paper, its worked well.
I made my own Ricotta Cheese, drained it well, then whipped it to make it smooth, added couple of spoons of sugar, and candied citron and the cinnamon. vanilla (excellent flavours)
for decoration I used candied cherries and ground pistachios...
used the same stuffing for the chocolate adding some chopped chocolates and decorated with chocolate sprinkles.






Two doughs and Homemade Ricotta taste always better
Cannoli stuffed with homemade Ricotta, Candied Citron and decorated with cherries and pistachios


Chocolate Cannoli for my husband



for more ideas and flavours check Lisa's blog and the Daring Bakers Bloggers

Friday, November 6, 2009

Key Lime Pie

One of the dessert that I enjoyed eating when I was living in Orlando is the Key Lime Pie.
Every year around Oct I look forward to see this unique lime fruit on the shelves of my local store , and if I am lucky , I grab couple of bags, and promise myself with a good treat.

the recipe of this pie is not from a book or online source, but its my own testing and twist to it.
I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as we do.

Key Lime Pie Recipe


Crust:
1 1/4 cups of graham crackers (I use whole crackers and ground them myself they taste better)
2 tbsp sugar
5-6 tbsp unsalted butter melted
1/3 cup of coarsely ground almond ( I like the texture and flavour)

mix the ingredients and press it evenly onto the bottom and up sides of a 9 inch pie pan - I used a rectangular (12x6) if you have a loose bottom pie pan its ideal .

Bake the crust in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. take it out and leave the oven on.
Note: when I bake pies and specially using a tray under the pan i bake the pie in the first shelf of the oven ... My oven is natural gas with a fan which I don't use for baking pies.

Filling:

1 1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk ( 300 ml each)
3 extra large eggs (some use 4 large)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed key lime - no bottle juice.(the whole bag which contains 22 lime)

with a whisk whip the eggs and the condensed milk , slowly add the lime juice and combine well you will notice that the mixture will start to thicken)
pour the filling over the crust make sure its well distributed , don't over fill your pan if its smaller than the above... make small tarts in a muffin pan.
bake in the
oven for 15-18 minutes depends on your oven temp. Cool the pie completely before you chill it at least 8 hours to set completely.

To decorate: 3/4 cup heavy cream whipped.












Flavours Variation:
Sometimes if I am in the mood to jazz it up, I use graham biscuits for the bottom, and in the filling i add 1/3 of unsweeted coconut and 1 tbsp of tecquilla or rum, as well as the whipping cream....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Walima October Challenge - Representing the Kuwaiti Cuisine

The Walima October Challenge is representing the Kuwaiti Cuisine.

The State of Kuwait (Arabic: دولة الكويت‎, pronounced [Dawlat Alkuwayt]) is a sovereign Arab emirate bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north and west. The greatest distance from north to south is 200 km (120 mi) and from east to west 170 km (110 mi). The name is a diminutive of an Arabic word meaning "fortress built near water." It has a population of 2.889 million and an area of 18,098 km². Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, with Kuwait City serving as the country's political and economic capital. Kuwait also includes several offshore islands, the largest of which is Bubiyan near the Iraqi border.

Located in the north-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. The flat, sandy Arabian Desert covers most of Kuwait. There is little difference in the country's altitude with the highest point in the country being 306 m above sea-level. It has nine islands, all of which with the exception of Failaka Island are uninhabited. With an area of 860 km², the Bubiyan is the largest island in Kuwait and is connected to the rest of the country by a 2,380 m long bridge. The land area is considered arable and sparse vegetation is found along its 499 km long coastline. Kuwait City is located on Kuwait Bay, a natural deep-water harbor.

Kuwait has some of the world's richest oil fields with the Burgan field having a total capacity of approximately 70 billion barrels (1.1×1010 m3) of proven oil reserves. During the 1991 Kuwaiti oil fires, more than 500 oil lakes were created covering a combined surface area of about 35.7 km². The resulting soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation had made eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable. Sand and oil residue had reduced large parts of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces. The oil spills during the Persian Gulf War also drastically affected Kuwait's marine resources.

The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle is prominent as well. The most distinctive characteristic of local Kuwaiti culture are the dewaniya's, a large reception room used for social gatherings attended mostly by close family members. While, unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, the Islamic dress code is not compulsory, many of the older Kuwaiti men prefer wearing dish dasha, an ankle-length white shirt woven from wool or cotton while the minority of women wear abaya, black over-garment covering most parts of the body. This attire is particularly well-suited for Kuwait's hot and dry climate. Western-style clothing is also fairly popular, especially among Kuwait's youth.

Seafood has been the mainstay of the Kuwaiti diet for centuries. The Arabs in the Persian Gulf region played a crucial role in the spice trade between India and Europe and spices have remained an important ingredient of Kuwaiti cuisine. Food plays a large part in Kuwaiti culture. The national dish of Kuwait known as Machboos (Arabic: مكبوس‎) consists mainly of mutton, chicken, or fish placed over or mixed in a large mass of well-cooked and prepared rice. Food is almost always prepared and served in large amounts, and it is extremely common for households to invite guests over to share meals. Kabsa which borrows heavily from South Asian cuisine. As in other Persian Gulf states, Kuwait takes part in the tradition of Qarqe'an during the month of Ramadan.

Our Savoury Dish is the Chicken Machboos or Mechbous. The dessert challenge is Cardamom Sponge Cake, and in both dishes the Cardamom is the major spice used.

Kuwaiti Chicken Machboos or Mechbous

Chicken:
1 whole fryer*
Salt
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
2 or 3 whole cloves
5 black peppercorns
Flour
3 cups basmati rice (or other short-grained rice)
Onion-spice topping (hashu):
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ cup golden raisins, soaked in water
¼ tsp. ground cardamom ¼ tsp. dried black lime (loomi), or ½ tsp. lime zest
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. sugar
Tomato sauce (duqqus):
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tb. tomato paste
Rinse chicken inside and out. Place in a stockpot with enough water to cover. Add cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, and continue to boil uncovered over medium heat until chicken is done (approximately 40 minutes). Remove and drain the chicken, reserving broth.
Drain fat off the top of the broth and strain broth to remove spices. Prepare three cups of basmati rice according to package directions, using broth from chicken instead of water. Add salt if necessary.
While rice is cooking, cook onions in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until clear. Sprinkle with a little water and stir quickly until onions are brown and the water has evaporated. Stir in oil, drained raisins, and spices. Cook for one minute. Remove mixture from skillet and set aside.
Lightly dust the boiled, drained chicken with flour. In a clean skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chicken, turning frequently, until the outside is brown and crispy.
For the tomato sauce, add water, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, and tomato paste in a small skillet or saucepan, and sauté until tomatoes are soft and the sauce well blended.
When the rice is done, spread it on a serving platter. Sprinkle the onion-spice mixture over the rice, and place the chicken on top. Pass the tomato sauce to spoon onto individual plates.

*Chickens in Kuwait are much smaller than in the United States; two Cornish hens can be substituted for the fryer for a more “authentic” appearance.
*** Many Kuwaiti dishes call for loomi, which is dried and blackened lime, generally unavailable in the United States. Its flavor is strong and unique. Grated lime peel is suggested as a substitute for loomi in this recipe, but the taste will only approximate that of Mechbous made with loomi.

Cardamom Sponge Cake


2 eggs
¾ C confectioner’s sugar
¾ C flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
Pinch saffron
A little shortening or butter for greasing the pan
1 tsp. sesame seeds
Beat eggs well in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in sugar. Sift flour and baking powder together and mix well. Combine flour mixture with eggs and sugar. Add cardamom and saffron.
Pour mixture into a greased 8" baking pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 20 minutes. Cuts best with a serrated knife

Chicken Machboos



Caramelized onions & raisin Tomato sauce



the flavours of this dish is balanced, spices are not overpowering ... We enjoyed it and I encourage you to try .


Thursday, October 29, 2009

October Daring Bakers Challenge - My first recipe challenge part I


According to some writings, the macaroon recipe appeared in the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon ..) in the 15Th century under the name "Louzieh"Derived from " Luz "which means almond.
Since the 12Th century, when Venice was the only Italian City to trade with the Levant, it allowed foreign merchant among them the Levantines and the Jews to reside near but not in the city and open warehouses and offices.

In the Middle Ages in Europe, The cookies made the first appearance in Venice, Italy. That's when the traffic is at its peak. Gradually, we discover foreign cuisine reported by browsers among which a small cake tender and crunchy which was called "maccheroni"Meaning" fine paste . It will "macaroon"In French.

The arrival of macaroons to France dated to the Renaissance (16Th & 17Th centuries) . Some
claims that the Italian Monastery joined by the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici , wife of King Ate co II . Later, two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth, came to Nancy seeking asylum during the French Revolution. The two women paid for their housing by baking and selling macaroon cookies, and thus became known as the "Macaroon Sisters." Recipes for macaroons (also spelled "mackaroon," "maccaroon" and "mackaroom") appear in recipe books at least as early as 1725 (Robert Smith's Court Cookery, or the Complete English Cook).
The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
Unfortunately the recipe did not work with me, I tried it three times, I will leave you with the photos... I am not giving up... this is the spirit of the challenge is to keep trying and not giving up. At the moment I am testing some recipes for my coming Craft Shows.
Recipe :
Actual baking time: 12 minutes total, plus a few minutes to get your oven from 200°F to 375°F.
Equipment required:• Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment•
Rubber spatula• Baking sheets• Parchment paper or nonstick liners• Pastry bag (can be disposable)• Plain half-inch pastry bag tip• Sifter or sieve• If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off• Oven• Cooling rack• Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets• Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)

Ingredients
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.7. Cool on a rack before filling.
First Batch

Second Batch



second batch



the third




what is saved from the first batch, the taste is very good but I am not proud of the results.



My first Macaroon recipe was from Tartellet's


Happy Macaroon's Day... Thanks Amy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Walima Challenge - Representing the Jordanian Cuisine

Jordan (Arabic: الأردنّ‎ al-'Urdunn), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Southwest Asia spanning the southern part of the Syrian Desert down to the Gulf of Aqaba. It shares borders with Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, the West Bank and Israel to the west, and Saudi Arabia to the east and south. It shares control of the Dead Sea with Israel, and the coastline of the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Much of Jordan is covered by desert, particularly the Arabian Desert; however the north-western area, with the Jordan River, is regarded as part of the Fertile Crescent. The capital city of Amman is in the north-west. During its history, Jordan has seen numerous civilizations, including such ancient eastern ones as the Canaanite and later other Semitic peoples such as the Edomites, and the Moabites. Other civilizations possessing political sovereignty and influence in Jordan were: Akkadian, Assyrian, Judean, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Jordan was for a time part of Pharaonic Egypt, the Hasmonean Dynasty of the Maccabees, and also spawned the native Nabatean civilization which left rich archaeological remains at Petra. Cultures from the west also left their mark, such as the Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires. Since the seventh century the area has been under Muslim and Arab cultures, with the exception of a brief period when the west of the area formed part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and a short time under British rule.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The king exercises his executive authority through the prime ministers and the Council of Ministers, or cabinet. The cabinet, meanwhile, is responsible before the democratically elected House of Deputies which, along with the House of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is an independent branch of the government.

Our Savoury Dish is the Mansaf the national dish of Jordan : lamb seasoned with aromatic herbs, sometimes lightly spiced, cooked in yoghurt, and served with huge quantities of rice. Feasting on Mansaf is taken seriously, and hours are spent in its preparations. Mansaf is cooked in jameed (the Arabic word for dried yoghurt), which is then mixed with water in a tray to produce a creamy sauce. This is poured into a large stewing pot with chunks of lamb meat. The pot is put over an open fire. As the stew begins to warm, it is stirred to prevent the yoghurt from separating. Large trays are covered with the doughy flat Arabic bread and dampened with yogurt. On top of this, a layer of rice is heaped. The meat is then piled on top. Almonds, pine-kernels and other nuts may be sprinkled over the dish, which is then ready for serving.
if you checked
http://www.mimicooks.com/ she has a posting about the Mansaf and also a step by step video of a Jordanian Lady preparing the Mansafe. According to Summer this Lady is a great cook.

FAST, EASY AND YUMMY MANSAF

2 Large containers of plain Greek Yogurt
1 kg of lamb meat preferable with bones for more flavour or lamb shanks
Water to boil meat
1 small onion
Salt Cumin, turmeric and any other spices to flavour the lamb
Arabic flat bread (optional)
3 cups jasmine rice
Silvered almond & Pine nuts
1 1/2 Cups butter

Preation:
In a large pot before turning on the heat mix the yogurt.
2: Bring it to boil on high heat , make sure while you cooking the yogurt you are constantly stirring yogurt with a wooden spoon (VERY IMPORTANT) in one direction only. If you started stirring to the left you must keep stirring that way until yogurt starts to boil..
3: Once yogurt boil turn heat off..
4: in another pot cover pieces of lamb with water
5: add small onion.
6: Boil until lamb is tender, skimming the top
7. Remove the lamb meat and strain the broth to remove any small particles.
8: add about 2-3 cups of the broth to the cooked yogurt.
9: add salt to taste and if not tart enough you may add juice from about 1/2 a lemon.
10: add lamb meat to the yogurt and broth mixture (make sure to remove the onion) and let boil one more time.
11: cook rice with 1 cup of butter
12: brown almonds and pine nuts in remaining butter.

When serving put Arabic bread and wet it with some yogurt, then add rice and meat in individual plates
and spread cooked yogurt and slivered nuts over it.


Our Dessert Recipe is the Kunafa with sweet cheese..

if you cannot find the Naboulsi or Akawi Cheese in your local store, for sure feel free to use Mozzarella Cheese mixed with Ricotta, also you can use fresh Mozzarella which I find it the best for dessert Another name for fresh Mozzarella I find in Canada is the Boccoccini Cheese they are small Mozzarella Balls soaked in water comes in plastic containers. The recipe is taken from Summer‘s Sweet Blog, it includes a video which shows you step by step instruction







1- Prepare the Kashta (clotted cream) 2- carefully fluff the Katayfeh by hand to loosen the knot 3- drain the water from two containers of Boccoccini Cheese (fresh Mozzarella) 4- grease a springform pan with butter


5- spread a layer of Katayef in the bottom of the pan press by hand to level the thickness and quote all corners
6- bake the dough for 10 minutes, then spread a layer of Kashta over it, and slice the fresh cheese and cover the kashta
7- spread another layer of Kashta , this will premit the fresh cheese from drying out after the Kenafeh cool off, it will melt but stays creamy
8- add the second layer of katayfeh over the kashta and press gently by hand to cover all surface in one thickness and covering all area
9- take a spoon of butter and slice it into small piece and dot it over the dough. bake till golden brown

You can cover the top with chopped pistachios and dollops of kashta






Clotted Cream - Kashta ( this is what I used - and its optional)
1 cup of milk
1 cup of half & half (18%)
1 cup 35% heavy cream (u can use 18% + 35% without adding milk)
3 heaping tablespoons of corn flour
3 tablespoons of sugar
In a pot away from heat, stir all the ingredients with a wisk until the corn flour is dissolved
completely. Return the pot to the heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon till
it start to thickens , cook couple of minutes more, then take it off the heat, add one pound container of smooth Ricotta cheese, stir well to combine. then add one tablespoon of rose water and one table spoon of orange blossom. Empty the Ashta in a glass bowl and cover the surface with a plastic wrap and leave it to cool before you put it in the fridge.

As you see the stuffing is thick and creamy and delicious any time...
I prefer the Kenafeh warm drizzled with cold syrup
Enjoy.

P.S. The Lebanese Kenafeh is prepared almost similar, but we ground the katayfeh in a food processor adding melted butter. the texture should resemble course semolina.
For the stuffing we use only Fresh unsalted cheese. Usually served for breakfast or brunch parties.
if you are serving your Kenafeh as part of a dessert table. you can bake the kenafeh , until its golden brown, then place the tray over a pot full of hot water to keep it warm . Bring it to the table the minute you are serving it , this will insure creamy melting cheese . Drizzle cold syrup.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two new Cooking Challenges in September - New Electric Meter and a damaged computer

Hello every one.... I bet you were wondering where I was hiding all this time...and not posting anything since three weeks. I am sorry I was not able to post any of my recipes, I had lots to share, and many photos of all my summer baking, canning and preserves. My computer broke down couple of weeks ago.
When I was cooking Lebanese pumpkin jam recipe for the market, an employee from the City came knocking at my door telling me that they are working outside and changing the electric meters in the area. I asked him if he can wait couple of minutes till I finish what I am doing as I cannot leave my jam and go and shut down all the electric equipment, and he assured me that this will take minutes and nothing will happen. I didn't bother go downstairs to the office to shut the computer or the stove and kept stirring my jam. The microwave bulb was burned and this is not a big deal, as I have another unit... but when I went downstairs to check on the computer I couldn't restart it again, I panic, because my husband files and programs are all saved in the computer .

The computer was sent for repairs to save Michel's files and programs, and hoping to save my photos and my cook book. The technician managed to save the programs and all the documents, and some of my photos only. I lost many files and photos….

The daring baker challenge for Sept was hosted by Steph from a Whisk and a Spoon, she choose Michel Richard Puff Pastry dough – from the book “Baking with Julia” for Dorie Greenspan.
Since I used and enjoyed baking my puff pastry…. I saved all the scratch pieces for a rainy day when I need to prepare something quick and tasty , they will come handy. I didn’t know that they will end up my life-savour to prepare another remake for the challenge and platter of tasty appetizers
Caramelized Onions and Roasted Chicken - Roasted Chicken mixed with Mhamarah Dip
Wild Mushroom Mix - Feta , Kalamata Olive and Mhamarah Dip (Roasted Red Pepper and
Walnut Dip)

Mushroom , Green Onion and Green Pepper mix - Feta, Kalamata Olives and Mhamarah (this came as a test , the flavour was excellent)

Caramelized Onions and Roasted Chicken - Roasted chicken and Mhamara Dip


puff pastry dough - Chicken Onion mix - Mushroom Mix and Mhamara Dip



1- Caramalized Onions & Roasted Chicken Filling:
roast the chicken in the oven, caramalized the onions till they are golden brown then slice the chicken and add it to the onions with some chicken stock, sumac, pomagranate molasses, cumin, hot sauce, and walnut mix to combine well.
2- Wild Mushroom & Green Pepper Filling:(veggan)
cook the mushroom with couple spoons of olive oil , clean the green pepper and chop them the same size, clean green onions and chop them add them to the fried mushrooms, thym, black pepper, salt, minced garlic, marjoram, and jalapeno pepper, cook and mix well .
3- Roasted Red Pepper , Feta and Black Olive Filling:
I had some Roasted Pepper Dip (Mhamarah) I mixed some feta and black kalamata olive . The flavour was excellent
4- Roasted Red Pepper & Chicken Filling:
I save some of the roasted chicken and mixed it with the roasted pepper dip and made a nice filling.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A New Award


I received the Kreative Award from Our Creative friend LisaMichele.

I am very honored and thankful to Lisa who thought that I deserve this award with twelve other bloggers. Now it's my turn to pass this award to thirteen bloggers who deserve this award but first I need to tell 7 things about me, (This is a requirement that comes with this award prior to passing it on)
1- I am very sensible, warm hearted, and trust every one (I don't know if this good - I am
working on it)
2- I was born and raised in Beirut - Lebanon, where all my family still live
3- I am married to a French Canadian and live in North Bay, Ontario
4- I don't like cold weather, and the Canadian winter.
5- I am a vendor at two local farmer's markets
6- I like to start a Culinary Tour's Business (I am a licensed travel agent and I love cooking)
7- I started the Walima Cooking Club on March 2009.
Now my turn to pass this award to thirteen bloggers who deserve this award:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The September Challenge was posted in the Walima Blog and the Walima Arabia giving the chance for blogger and non blogger to cook with us.

We are representing the Jordanian Cuisine with National Dishes from the Hachemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Again any one can participate, and cook with us. For non bloggers if they are interested to post their photos with us, please email me before the 30th of the month .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Walima Fourth Challenge - Representing the Iraqi Cuisine

Iraqi cuisine or Mesopotamian cuisine is Iraq's traditional cuisine developed since antiquity in Mesopotamia (Sumer,Akkad, Babylonia , Assyria). It is considered one of the oldest kitchens. As Baghdad became the centre of the Abbasid Caliphate during the Islamic Golden Age, Muslims and other scholars from many parts of the world came to visit, live and study in Iraq, which gave the Iraqi cuisine new twists to its food. This is most commonly seen in the greater use of spices (e.g. Saffron) used in the Iraqi cuisine in comparison to other Arab cuisines. Iraqi cuisine has absorbed influences from all the neighboring countries and has much in common with Levantine, Persian, and Turkish cuisines. With the Ottoman rule of Iraq, influences of Turkish cuisine also became incorporated into Iraqi recipes (and vice versa). Furthermore, as the rest of Iraqi history, the Iraqi cuisine has been deeply influenced by its fertile land between its two rivers Euphrates and Tigris.[1] This influence is seen in Iraq's national dishes.


Historically, Iraq was known in Europe by the Greek exonym 'Mesopotamia' (Land between the rivers); after the foundation of the Kingdom of Iraq in 1932, it became known by its ancient endonym 'Iraq'. Iraq has been home to continuous successive civilizations since the 6th millennium BC. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is identified as the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of writing and the wheel.


Our Savoury Dish is called Lissan Al Kadi - Eggplant wrapped Meat
A literal translation: "Tongue of the Judge"Makes about 20 pieces

Ingredients:
2 large eggplants , 1/2 - 1 cup corn oil (if frying eggplant)
Stuffing:
2 lbs. Lean ground meat,
1 medium onion (1 cup) finely minced,
1 tsp salt,1/4 tsp black pepper

Sauce:
2 tbsp corn oil,
1 large onion diced,
1 large tomato sliced (optional),
1 large tomato peeled and chopped,
14 oz. tomato sauce,
1 cup beef or chicken stock,
1/2 cup lemon juice,
1 tsp salt,
1/2 tsp pepper,
1 tsp turmeric.

Direction:
Peel eggplant, trim off the top and bottom. Stand eggplant up on cutting board and slice vertically, 1/8" thin. Sprinkle generously with salt, place in a strainer for about 1 hour. Rinse off the salt and strain eggplant to dry. Heat about 4 tbsp corn oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices in batches, turning once to brown both sides. Be careful not to burn. Add more oil as needed. Drain cooked eggplant slices on paper towels. Low fat alternative: Place eggplant slices on baking sheets lined with foil and brushed with corn oil. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes until brown, turning the eggplant halfway. Mix together the ground meat, onion, salt and pepper. Divide the meat into sausage shaped portions 1" thick and 2" long. Place a portion of the meat stuffing at one end of an eggplant slice and begin wrapping the eggplant around it. Place the rolls in a baking dish and layer the tomato slices on top (optional). In a saucepan heat 2 tbsp oil and saute the diced onions. When soft add the chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and turmeric. Add tomato sauce, beef or chicken stock and lemon juice to taste. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the rolls in the baking dish, cover with aluminum paper and bake for 1 hour (or until done) at 450 degrees.


We have two options for the Dessert Challenge : Cardamom Cookies and KURAT Al TAMIR - (Date Sesame Balls)

Kurat Al Tamir - Date Sesame Balls:

Ingredients:
1 pound soft dates
1 cup walnuts
1 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons tahini
½ teaspoon cardamom/cinnamon or both

Preparation:
Add dates, ½ cup sesame seeds, and tahini in the food processor. Pulse and add the walnuts and spices; pulse again. Take the mixture out and make small balls and roll them in toasted sesame or shredded coconuts.


Cardamom Cookies - Shakar Lama
Ingredients:
3 sticks butter
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk (optional)
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2tsp. salt
1/3 cup slivered almonds

Preparation:

Beat the butter in a bowl for 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat the mixture until becomes light in color. Add flour, cardamom and salt gradually. Use your hand to mix the cookie dough. Take a small piece of dough the size of walnut. Shape the cookie and place and almond in the middle. Arrange on a tray with parchment paper or siltpad. Bake for 20 minutes in 350 degree oven. Makes around 2 dozens



Here are some photos from the Eggplant Wrapped Meat or Tongue of the judge

p.s.: after I baked the tray I added some Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese and returned the tray to the oven for couple of minutes to melt the cheese....
I recommend that you try this dish, and follow the direction listed. It 's delicious and simple to prepare, and As I told my husbnad its my version of Eggplant Parmesan.

Some cheese !!! (this is optional) spinkle the cheese after the tray is completely cooked .

(my husband is not a big fan of cooked eggplant so to him this is my version of Eggplant Parmesan)

Sprinkling salt over the eggplant is the best way to get rid of the strong flavour and all the water, also they will not soak lots of oil when frying... I did mine in the oven brushed with little oil.
Stuff each piece of eggplant with the meat and roll it ,,, I have leftover meat I add them to the sauce for extra flavour.


I got field Tomatoes from the farmer's garden they were awesomely delicious.


The melted cheese is oozing all over the plate.


I want to take this opportunity to wish the Iraqi People and all the Muslims Ramadan Karim .....