Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kitchen Towels for Sale

Hello dear friends , the Farmer's Market Season Started last week. I want to appologize from all of you my dear friends, for not visiting so often and checking your amazing recipes and mouth watering photos...I even don't have the time to do new posting, though I am taking lots of photos.

Today my post is not about a new recipe but about a talented friend who does weaving at home, and creates amazing line of kitchen towels... I took some photos last weekend for her display to share with you, and to let you know that if you need to buy her towels you can contact me and I can arrange that for you.

These are some photos for the amazing towels with beautiful colors and designs. Later I will post an old towel she did eighteen years ago, the towel still brand new, and every time she washes it revitalizes. They are made from organic cotton. Her customers keep repeating that they have been using the towels since many years, and still look brand new. You can wash them in the washing machine, and the more you wash them the better they look.

The towels are very big 49 x 24. My friend also makes dish cloths; they are on top of the kitchen towels.... The price of each towel is $ 20.00 plus shipping.

Some customers buy these towels as Christmas gifts, wedding showers, and birthday gifts.

Also my friend makes baby blanket set , as well as she weaves winter wool blankets.


Navy & Green Towel - the small towel is dish cloth

Orange & brown towel

Pink & Green Towel
Almost the width of my dinning table

Turquoise , Green & light orange Towel

Light Blue and Yellow Towel

Orange & Grey Towel

Multi Color Towel

Orange & Navy Blue Towel

Orange and Brown Towel
Also my friend makes baby blankets and wool blankets
winter wool socks, and fabric toys. if any one is interested I can take some photos

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Homemade Yogurt and Shankleesh

I promised you in an earlier posting about a homemade yogurt recipe, also from the same recipe we can make a mezza platter which we all enjoy- Shankleesh - you can serve it as a mezza platter or as side dish, or even for lunch. 

Homemade Yogurt is a healthy source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins, whose active bacterial cultures aid in digestion. You can make yogurt in your own home for a fraction of the cost of the typical store-bought type and it requires no special equipment

Home made yogurt tastes better, and it doesn’t include preservatives, sugar, or chemical added, no packaging wasted.  This an old posting for making homemade yogurt.

In a heavy bottom pot, dissolve the powder milk in liquid milk and heat on a medium heat to start the small bubbles around the edge soon as it reached the boiling point take it off the heat and let it cool to reach the finger test.  Make sure that your hands are extra clean; you are using your index to test the milk. To test the temperature of the milk, dip your index in the milk , you should be able to handle the heat till you count till No. 10 before the heat force you to withdraw your finger, if its cold you need to cook it couple of seconds more , if its too hot you need to cool it and try your index again. Make sure that the milk is at the right temperature to add the starter, if it’s cold it will not ferment, and if it’s too hot you will kill the starter.  Temper your yogurt starter with some warm milk mix well then add it to the milk and stir well to combine.

cover the yogurt and let it ferment in a non draft place.  It takes between four to six hours.
check after this time and if its turned to a solid yogurt leave the cover and put it in the fridge. 
for Shankleesh keep the yogurt covered in the fridge for at least four days to obtain the right flavour.

Now we are ready for the Shankleesh Recipe

In a clean thick bottom stainless steel pot add the yogurt and cook on a medium heat .  You will notice after 10 minutes it is starting to break and gather in the centre (like making homemade ricotta)

when you get the right consistency and you had a separated mixture transfer the cooked yogurt to a clean cheesecloth and let it drain

 drain well for couple of days , changing the cheese cloth every day
or you can let it dry on paper towel in the fridge.
before it dries completely add 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp chili pepper, and 2 tbsp of ground oregano, mix the spices well and roll the yogurt ball in this and let it dry completely (should feel like a dry white cheese, but still crumble)
some call for adding the salt and chili in the yogurt before you drain it, and I think you will loose the flavour as it will keep draining.

Leave it to dry in a cool place for couple of days more before serving.

Don't throw the leftover brine.  You can use it in making bread

To serve the Shankleesh, crumble in a plate and add chopped green onion and chopped tomatoes , adjust the salt and black pepper and cover with olive oil.
The flavour is a cross between Cottage Cheese and Greek Feta Cheese.

Note:  I am getting lots of emails asking about the temp of the milk before adding the starter.  I did some this weekend and I used a thermometer and i tried my finger first then took it off the heat and measure it , it was 54C or 136F try to take it of the heat when it reaches 53C .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bread Painting

  Bread is becoming a big passion to me; I always search for new recipes, and bread techniques, to improve my skills. Artisan Breads are one of my favourite, I love toasted crunchy bread... I prepared my Artisan bread dough yesterday and let it rest in the fridge overnight, and this afternoon I used the dough to do some sandwich breads and an asparagus pie which I will post later.
Couple of days ago I spotted a nice painted bread at La Table de Nana http://latabledenana.blogspot.com/2009/05/painting-bread-101.html/ then from there I ended at Chef Tess posting about her bread painting techniques http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/2009/06/basic-bread-painting-technique.html/ check her site and see the wonderful breads she makes.
ne thing I need to add, my bread making is improving a lot, but oh my I do need to work on my painting skills. I had so much fun this evening with making my bread. I used ½ tsp of cocoa + ½ tsp coffee diluted in tsp of water then added some egg yolks, seems my mix was a bit on the runny side side, and the color came darker than expected. Its okay for a first trial, I need to do more practicing to master the technique.  I leave you with some photos

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pickled Eggplant & Green Pepper in Olive Oil - Makdous Batinjan wa Fleifleh


Makdous المكدوس‎   are oil cured eggplants. Part of Levantine cuisine, they are tiny, tangy eggplants stuffed with walnuts, red pepper, garlic, olive oil and salt and chilli pepper.

And the Beqaa Region is famous for the best produce and this type of pickles are famous in that Region, especially in Baalback Area.  Even the eggplant growing in that part of Lebanon taste meatier and tastier than the rest.

Lebanese Mountain Villages are well known for their food specialties. As winter takes hold, villagers resort to their pantries for preserved delicacies.   As I mentioned before my mom was born in a small town outside Baalback called Fakha, like every woman there , they spend the summer preparing all kinds of Mouneh , by preserving their vegetables turning them into pickles or drying them on a thread to be dehydrated in the cold snowy winter.  The fruits are preserved into jams, compote or dried, the fresh beans and legumes are dried, and the wheat berries are turned into burghul or freikheh and or grounded into flour.  Meat are preserved with its fat and kept in jars to be used during the winter cold days.

This Makdous Recipe or Pickled Eggplant is a specialty to the Baalback region, and I learned this recipe from my mom’s cousin who became one of the best professional Makdous makers ever.  Every year she prepares more than 100 jars, mostly are given as house gift and every one waits for his/her gift when she returns from the village.
Pickles are a staple in the Lebanese Cuisine we eat them with our food like a side dish.
the eggplant and green peppers are usually served with a vegetarian dishes or in a pita sandwich.  I hope that you will be encourage to give these pickles a try , you will not regret at all.


Makdous Batinjan - Eggplant cured in olive oil


1- boil enough water to cover the eggplant
2- add the eggplant and cover with a towel to avoid turning them dark
3- boil for couple of minutes only
4- make sure a bowl of ice water is ready
5- move the eggplant from hot to ice water to stop cooking
6- when cool leave in the colander cover with a tray over them and weigh with some food cans to drain all the water - leave for three days
7- stuff the center with a mix of minced garlic, toasted walnut, kosher salt and red chili
8-add them in the jar and turn the jar upside down for another three days, or until no more water is running out (leave then on the counter not in the fridge)
9- stand the jar up and fill it  with good quality olive oil, yes you might need couple of litres .  close tightly
10- the makdous will be ready within 3 1/2 weeks
11- choose small round purple eggplant for pickling.  The flesh is white, barely has any seeds
enjoy with your meal, or as a sandwich Amazing flavour

Pickled Green Pepper

preparing the green peppers similar to the eggplant.
1- boil the water then shut the heat, wash clean the heart either by opening the bottom or the top... i did the top, as i choose a long peppers.
2-leave the peppers in the boiling water for couple of minutes only, then move to colander to drain
3-the stuffing: garlic mashed (you need at least two big heads for each recipe) one cup or more toasted walnuts, and red chili depends on your taste, kosher salt around tbsp.
4-stuff the peppers and stack in the jar then turn the jar upside down for three days to drain. 
5- Turn the jars up and cover with pure olive oil, close and let it
ferment for at least three - four weeks...

I used Italian Green Peppers as I have a problem digesting the round green peppers.
You can try any kind of green pepper for this recipe, even hot peppers will work

If you like to use the vinegar method of pickling eggplant this is the recipe:

1- clean the top of the small eggplant by taking the hat off.
2- boil in water for couple of minutes with a towel over them (the towel will prevent the eggplant from turning dark)
3- quickly turn them into ice water to stop the cooking, you might need to change the water 
4-add 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the bottom of 1 1/2 ltr jar .(in Lebanon we use white wine or red wine vinegar or apple cider all home made so the acid amount is higher than what you get in the store) 
5- boil some water (i usually fill the jar with tap water then measure the amount to make sure how much i need and it takes less when its filled with pickles.  Measure the water , boil it and add from 2-3 tables spoons kosher salt and let it cool completely. 
6- Fill the jar with the cooled eggplant over the vinegar, add the cooled water to cover the eggplants, and cover the jar tightly and leave to ferment for three to four weeks. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day


GOD made a wonderful mother,

A mother who never grows old;

He made her smile of the sunshine,

And He molded her heart of pure gold;

In her eyes He placed bright shining stars,

In her cheeks, fair roses you see;

God made a wonderful mother,

And He gave that dear mother to me.

~Pat O'Reilly~

Ladies don't forgot our cross cultural cooking competition

deadline May 17th.
You can send me or Adele a link to your recipe to entre the competition.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My thanks to you

I want to take the chance to thank all my good friends who inspired me through their food and recipes Mary of One Perfect Bite, Angie of Angie’s Recipes and Isabelle of Les Gourmandises d’Isa.  Also I like to add my thanks to the authors of the Artisan Bread in five minutes a day for their recipes.   Here are some of the baking photos I made for the Shows.

French Puff Breads & Flat Breads
Inside the bread
Chocolate Babka - Recipe from Mary
Maple Cranberry Bread - Recipe From Angie

French Puffed Bread
Apricots,Dates & Spices Bread

Walnut Bread
Flat Bread with fruit and spices
Raisin Cinnamon Bread

Cinnamon Buns
Ninety Cinnamon Buns and 15 Raisin Breads (Brioche Base dough- Recipe Artisan Bread Book) and 20 breads were sold in less than 1.30 minutes
Nightingale Nests Baklawa
Meat Pastries - Meat Borek
Roasted pepper Bread

My favourite
These were in my two fridges for three days total of 25 bags

Maple Caramel Bars - Isa

Maple fudge with White Chocolate -  Isa