Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lebanese BBQ Chicken with Homemade Garlic Sauce - The Ultimate

 
I love all kind of BBQ, we are used to having BBQ every Saturday since we were kids, my dad was a general contractor and he enjoyed a Mezza dinner every Saturday evening.
Part of the Mezza table will include two kinds of barbeque chicken, lamb kebab, kefta or even BBQ clams or fresh fish.
We kept the BBQ Tradition every Sunday.  We go to church, and when we are back we start preparing the food for lunch, from dips, salads, the meat then the coals.
I was thinking of a BBQ chicken dinner for some time, but the weather is still cold and snowy, it’s not convenient for an outside charcoal BBQ.
To prepare your chicken pieces, you clean it remove all the extra fat, rinse and dry, then prick holes in each piece to soak the marinate.   Using a large freezer bag transfer the chicken piece and choose one of these marinates to soak your chicken overnight.  
Marinate I
2 cups of yogurt preferably homemade
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of sea salt
2 bay leaves
 
Marinate II
Juice of two fresh lemons
5-6 large garlic cloves mashes
1 tsp of salt
Around ¼ cup of olive oil
When you are ready for barbeque discard the marinate and BBQ the chicken or even bake them in the oven at 375F until golden brown and the juice runs out clear.
A garlic dip is served with our BBQ chicken, it’s so good and garlicky, trust me you will be addicted to it. It’s easy to prepare, if you know how to prepare homemade mayo , it will be easier if you have an immersion blender , when the dip thickens  and all the oil is used add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and adjust the salt, and enjoy
For a salad I prepared Fattoush which is a very popular Lebanese Salad, using fresh thinly sliced vegetables and herbs, the dressing is a mix of sumac, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, some add also pomegranate molasses. When served it’s topped with toasted or fried pita bread chips.
Lebanese BBQ Chicken
2 kg of chicken pieces, cleaned and skinned if its deboned it will take less time to cook
Marinate
Garlic sauce
Lebanese Garlic Sauce
Big head of garlic, peeled sliced
1 cup of good quality vegetable or grape seeds oil
Salt
Juice of one lemon
You can double the amount and keep it in the fridge, its sooo good, you will be addicted to it
Lebanese Fattoush Salad - 4 servings
6 roman leaves washed and sliced small
1 English cucumber washed and thinly sliced
1 bunch of Italian parsley washed, drained and finely chopped
6 sprigs or half of bunch of fresh mint also washed, drained and finely chopped
1/2 bunch of green onion, washed and finely chopped
1/2 bunch of radish, washed and thinly sliced
4-5 heads of ripe tomatoes, washed and finely chopped
Two loaves of toasted or fried pita chips for the top of the fattoush  salad
(you can bake the chips or fried them in olive oil).
 
Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon, 2 tsp sumac, salt, black pepper, chili flakes
Tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional)
Toasted or fried pita bread slices.
 

You can serve the sauce over the chicken
or aside



How about some Fattoush


Preparing the Garlic Sauce


Marinating the Chicken


Roasted Potatoes

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ham Braid with Leftover Ham - A New Way for Croque Monsieur

A Croque-Monsieur is a hot ham and cheese (typically emmental or gruyère) grilled sandwich. It originated in France as a fast-food snack served in cafés and bars. More elaborate versions come coated in a Mornay or Béchamel sauce. The emergence of the Croque-monsieur (and variations) is mirrored by growth in popular fast-foods in other countries.

The name is based on the verb croquer ("to crunch") and the word monsieur ("mister")—the reason behind the combination of the two words is unclear—and is colloquially shortened to Croque. While the origins of the Croque-monsieur are unknown, there are many speculations on how it was first originated. The Croque-monsieur's first recorded appearance on a Parisian café menu was in 1910. Its earliest published use has been traced back to volume two of Proust's In search of lost time (À la recherche du temps perdu)


I love Croque Monsieur Sandwich, and it’s been a while since I ate a good sandwich…

When I was still living in Beirut, I was part of a Prayer Group Called “Renouveau charismatique – The Catholic Pentecostals” we used to meet every other week at each others home, for prayers and bible study….One of my friends – Dora, was famous for her Croque Monsieur Sandwich and we all look forward when we will be at Dora’s house for Croque Monsieur Treat.

I did eat several times a Croque Monsieur, but they never tasted the same.

I have lots of leftover ham, from Easter Dinner, and I am trying to invent something to use, and I was thinking for some time about the Group and the Croque Monsieur sandwich when I got the idea of building a sandwich from scratch. I wanted to try new dough I was thinking about in my mind and wanted it give it a try....

Ingredients for the dough:

3 ½ cup of AP Flour

Dash of salt

2 tsp of dried yeast

¼ cup of warm water

1 tsp of honey or sugar

2 tbsp of soft butter

2 tbsp of home made yogurt (I am making a new recipe with yogurt to be posted when it’s done – its consist of several stages)

Ingredient for the filling:

- Around 3 cups of cubed home made cooked ham.(If you are buying get black forest and wash it under cold water and dry well to get rid of all the preservatives.

- 2 home made dill pickles drained

- 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard

- 1 – 1/5 gruyere or Swiss Cheese (i added the cheese in the bottom of the bread and on top of the stuffing)

- Salt and pepper…

I leave you with the photos… but I can add the dough was AMAZING… I am going to try the dough in another savoury recipe and see the result.

The Braid was soooo good we loved it so much. And enjoyed every bite of it…

This braid is good for picnics, for a nice tea party, for children birthdays… for a good treat any time







Someone will be enjoying his lunch










Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Onion Flowers

This is a wonderful side dish, to accompany a roast, a ham or a turkey dinner. If you like the onion blossom at the Outback Restaurant… you will love these onions... Simple to prepare, elegant on your plate, and most of all no frying.

Feel free to substitute or change an ingredient you like. Add your touch.

I made these Onions on Sunday for Easter Dinner. Since we were only four, I used four medium, the bigger the onion the better shape the flower will open.

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 large onions
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey( I used fresh maple syrup, my father in law still cooking the sap)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper

*If you don’t have honey or maple syrup, you can use 2 tsp brown sugar.

** serve it with a drizzle of the syrup on top.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut ends off of onions and peel. Slice each onion 5 times, from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom. Turn onion 90 degrees and then make 5 more slices the same way, to create a crosshatch pattern, three quarters of the way down the onion. Place the onions into an 8" by 8" baking dish.
  3. Put water, honey and butter into a small pot and gently heat until the butter melts. Season onions with salt and pepper and then pour the honey mixture over them. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, until the onions have opened into a flower shape and are tender and golden.

Amazing taste… Trust me you will love it, and will do it again and again.









Monday, April 5, 2010

Strawberry Shortbread Cake

We were having Easter Dinner at my inlaws, I decided on baking a light dessert, because we are having a big dinner, Turkey a l’orange a specialty of my father in law, he cooks it low and slow with basting a special mix of orange juice, homemade maple syrup (still boiling the sap) and some spice blend, also were having homemade lasagne, and I baked a smoked orange roast ham, Mediterranean Salad, steamed asparagus. Lots of food and few mouths to taste. My brother in law and his family went out of town to open the cottage, Lorraine my sister in law couldn’t travel from Mississauga which is four hours driving to North Bay, and she is working on Monday.

Of course my dessert has to be light and fresh, so I choose strawberry shortbread with a meringue topping , the cake was divided into two 8 x 8 pans, and topped with a layer of meringue, baked in a preheated 350F oven.

The dessert came extremely good, fluffy; the meringue topping gave the texture of an Angle Food Cake…we truly enjoyed it.

All the food was delicious, but I think we need to do another Lent week to burn all the calories we consumed during the Holiday.

Strawberry shortbread

Serves 8-9 persons

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • *1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1-1/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

**If you use lots of fresh lemons like me, wash and dry the lemons, peel them with a lemon peeler, and add them to the food processor and ground finely, package them in small freezer bags, or small freezer containers, they freeze well.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour two 8-inch square cake pans. Beat vegetable oil, ½ cup sugar and egg yolks with electric beaters until fluffy. Stir in lemon zest and vanilla. Stir in milk. Sift together pastry flour, baking powder and salt and gently stir into egg yolk mixture until blended. Spread evenly into the 2 prepared pans. Whip egg whites with electric beaters until frothy, then gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar and whip until whites hold a stiff peak. Spread meringue evenly over batter in pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cakes completely in the pan.
  2. To assemble, turn one cake out onto a plate, meringue-side down. Top cake with half the strawberries and cream. Place second cake layer on top, meringue-side up and top with remaining cream and fruit. Chill until ready to serve.


















Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hot Cross Buns

why do you seek the living among the dead?
He is not here! but is Risen
Luke 24: 5-6

May you rejoice in His triumph! Happy Easter every one...


A hot cross bun, or cross-bun, is a type of sweet spiced bun made with currants or raisins and leavened with yeast. It has a cross marked on the top which might be effected in one of a variety of ways including: pastry, flour and water mixture, rice paper, icing, or intersecting cuts.

In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of The Crucifixion. They are believed by some to pre-date Christianity, although the first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is not until 1733; it is believed that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross is thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon); "Eostre" is probably the origin of the name "Easter". Others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier.

Hot Cross Buns Recipe - Canadian Living Magazine

Ingredients

1/2 granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg (15ml)active dry yeast
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp mahleb – A Lebanese Touch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup milk, warmed (used one cup milk no water added)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg

1 egg yolk
1/2cup cup dried currants

½ cup raisin
1/4 chopped candied peel, mixed
Glaze
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
Icing
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp water

Preparation:

In small bowl, dissolve 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy. Meanwhile, in large bowl, blend together remaining sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves; make well in center. Whisk together milk, butter, egg and egg yolk; pour into well. Pour in yeast mixture. With wooden spoon, stir until soft dough forms.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough; turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in currants and peel. Shape into 12-inch (30 cm) log; with serrated knife, cut into 9 pieces, Shape each into ball, stretching and pinching dough underneath to make tops smooth. Place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes. Bake in center of 400ºF (200ºC) oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Glaze: In saucepan, stir sugar with water over medium heat until dissolved; brush over buns. Let cool in pan.

Icing: Stir icing sugar with water. Using piping bag fitted with round tip, pipe cross on top of each cooled bun.

I doubled the recipe and got 24 delicious buns.







Its too hot even to taste.










P.S. wait until the buns have cooled before adding the icing... I learned from my mistake.
the icing was melting on the hot buns...