Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Valentine from my Kitchen to Yours

Some words and quotes about love :
  • Love is not finding someone to live with; it’s finding someone you can't live without. - Rafael Ortiz
  • You may conquer with the sword, but you are conquered by a kiss. - Daniel Heinsius
  • If music be the food of love, play on. - Shakespeare
  • It's never too late to fall in love. - Sandy Wilson
  • To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven. - Karen Sunde
  • Where there is love, there is life - Mahatma Gandhi
  • If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you've made me smile, the entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand. - Unknown
  • There is no remedy for love but to love more. - Thoreau
  • Some love lasts a lifetime. True love lasts forever. - Unknown
  • If love is great, and there are no greater things, then what I feel for you must be the greatest. - Unknown
  • Where there is great love, there are always miracles. - Willa Cather

Below are some desserts which will be excellent as valentine gifts.

Platter of Baklawa
Knafeh Naboulsieh - with Clotted Cream and fresh Cheese

Oussmalieh - Katayfeh with Kashta

Baklawa with Semolina Cream /Kashta

Walnuts, Almond and Pistachio Diamond Baklawa
(60-80 layers of phyllo)

Apricot & pistachios Baklawa

Bird's Nest Baklawa using Katafeh

Coffee Baklawa

Chocolate & Hazelnuts Baklawa

Blossom Baklawa with Almonds

Three kinds of nuts baklawa

Pistachios Baklawa
Flower Cookies

Double Chocolate Chips Cookies
with milk and dark chocolates

Homemade chocolate truffles
1- Black Russian Truffles with vodka and walnuts
2- Hazelnuts Tequilla Truffles
3- Brandy Truffles
4- Double chocolate Coffee Truffles
5- Caramel pecans truffles

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine Dinner at home

Most of us have plans to celebrate valentine day with someone special, some will go to fancy restaurants, some will buy expensive jewelry, and some prefer to cook a nice dinner and enjoy a quiet romantic evening ... If you are one of many who like to prepare a nice romantic dinner at home, this is a great meal for you and your loved one.

This meal is great as a family dinner, or get together, it meal can be prepared and assembled the day before, to be ready for the oven when you plan to serve it.

An amazing tasty dinner, easy to prepare , either using roasted chicken,  from the store, or from leftover roasted chicken, or leftover roasted turkey. Or you can cook the chicken with some veggies and herbs to make homemade stock (don't overcook the chicken, take it out and let it cool, then debone and return the bones to the stock to give an extra flavour to the stock).

The wild mushroom gives the dish a wonderful earthy flavour, and the wine takes it to the next level.

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 whole chicken or pieces skinless
350 grams of smoked ham cut into pieces
Over One pound wild mushroom, cleaned and sliced
2 cups warm whole milk or 1 ½ cups milk + ½ cup heavy cream
4 cups chicken stock (from cooking the chicken)
1 pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
White pepper and salt to taste
2 ½  cups Mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup white wine (optional – adds great flavour)
Package of Tagliatelli pasta


Step 1: melt 2 tbsp. butter in a pot , cook the mushrooms in the butter first and when they starts browning move them to a plate add more butter add the flour and make a roux.  Add the wine and stir then little by little start adding the milk, and stock , keep stirring when it starts to thicken add the heavy cream if you are using. Cook for few minutes add the spices then add half of the cheese and stir.  Take from heat. You might think that the sauce is too much , don't worry the pasta will soak it , and become creamy.

Step 2: boil your pasta for 8 minutes only as it will continue cooking in the oven.
Drain and when your sauce starts to thicken, add your sliced chicken, the ham, cook for 10 more minutes on medium low, then add the drained pasta and the mushroom and toss well until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended, adjust the seasoning

Step 3: transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish, either 13 x 9 or two 8 x 8 ( you can bake one and freeze the second for another meal don’t add the cheese on top if freezing- freeze well).  Cover the baking dish with parchment paper then a foil paper, place the dish on a baking sheet to avoid any dripping in the oven. Bake in preheated 400F oven.
After twenty minutes, check the dish if it`s bubbling and almost ready, sprinkle the top with the cheese mix. Uncover and return to the oven to melt the cheese.

 Serve with white wine and enjoy an amazing meal.