Sunday, November 11, 2007

Biscuits & Peaches

Since I wasn't really in the mood to make much, but wanted to snack I put this together. It's something of a peach cobbler, but not really...

The topping is nice and should have been sweeter taking into account that I didn't have a real sauce for the peaches. A nice brown sugar sauce would have been wonderful and if I find anything that resembles nice peaches in the market I will make it this year, a real peach cobbler that is, since it has always been something our family would eat in the early winter. The biscuit dough is pretty versatile so it can be used for other recipes.

biscuit batter:
1 can of halved peaches in light syrup
2 cups flour
4 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten into the milk
small handful of thinly sliced almonds

2 or 3 spoons of coarse sugar
a few sprinkles of cinnamon
egg wash (I didn't)

Sift together all of the dry ingredients, excluding the almonds.

Cut in the butter using a food processor or pastry cutter, a fork and knife will work fine too. Do this until youhave coarse crumbs. Combine milk and eggs and then add to dry mixture, stirring just until moistened.

Slice the peaches to your desired thickness and put on the bottom of your pan.

Spoon the dough on top of the peaches.

Sprinkle with sugar, ground cinnamon and almonds, and if you like an egg white or entire egg wash would give it some shine and a bit more color.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Linzer Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
12 tbs (1 1/2 sticks) of cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 tbs grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

preserves of your liking
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.
In a cup or a measuring container add all wet ingredients and stir.
Place all dry ingredients into a food processor, or to a bowl and combine well, either by whip or processing for a few seconds.
Add the cold cut butter on top of the flour mixture and incorporate either by pulsing for a few seconds until crumbly or with a fork or pastry cutter.
Now add the egg mixture and pulse or stir until well combined. Turn out onto the counter and form into two uniform balls.

It will be quite a crumbly mess, but don't add any liquid, just form them, the heat of your hands will make it form well after a few seconds.
Place one ball on the top a piece of wax paper, place a second piece on top, indent the dough a couple of times with your rolling pin. It will help with rolling it out.

Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out tops and bottoms with your cookie cutters.
Make sure you do equal numbers of tops and bottoms. Don't throw away the scraps, re roll them to make as many cookies as possible. Place on the baking sheets about 1/4 of an inch apart, they won't spread out so don't worry. Cook until golden brown, 12-15 minutes and let cool completely before assembly of your cookies.

I used three kinds of fillings, I like a variety. Strawberry Jam, Apricot Jam and Nutella. Turn the bottom over to the side it cooked on and spread a bit of jam or other sweet on then add the top and dust with powdered sugar!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sour Cream & Pecan Dreams

Who doesn't love Maida?

  • 2 cups sifted flour (I'm too lazy/busy for sifting but I hear it's better when you do it ;-)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I used 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed of course
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 generous cup of finely chopped pecans not powdery just chopped

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets.

Cream butter then add sugar and vanilla and beat well. Add egg and beat well. Slowly add flour mixture and beat until soft.

Break off small pieces, smaller than average American cookies and roll into a ball with your hands.

Using your index finger press a small hole in the center to make a well but be sure to leave an edge.

Make the filling.
Place sugar, sour cream and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well, until smooth then add nuts and stir well again. Take a small spoon and add the filling to the cookies.
Make sure that the filling is mounded fairly high above the rims of the cookies.

Bake 13-15 minutes and leave to cool on rack.


M'Hajeb or M' Hadjeb

  • 500 grams fine Semolina plus more if you add too much water, which I usually do :-)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Tomato Paste
  • Hot Paprika
  • Salt
First make the dough. This dough takes forever to make! It's worth it, ;-)

Measure out the semolina add a pinch of salt and start adding water little by little until you have reached a nice soft dough, that resembles bread dough but stretchy. This takes about thirty minutes or more by hand. Coat lightly with oil and let it rest.

As your dough is resting start making the filling. Slice the onions thinly and grate the tomatoes after cleaning them of seeds and excess juice.

Cook over medium high heat and cook the onions until pretty much all the water is gone. Next add tomato paste and seasoning stirring well to make sure everything is well distributed. Cook a few more minutes to make sure everything is soft moist but not wet and then set aside to cool.

When the filling is room temperature you can start making the M'hajeb's.

Break off a golf ball size piece of dough and spread it on onto the counter slowly and carefully making sure to use enough oil on the work surface as well as the dough itself. This is a pretty oily mess so I didn't take any pictures, maybe next time I will ask my brother or older boy to do it.

Fry them in a bit of oil in a non stick pan or a caste iron pan.

This takes a bit of practice and a lot of time, but they are really good so you aren't loosing any time by making them!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cream Scones

4 cups all purpose flour
4 ts baking powder
dash of salt (optional, I didn't add any)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup currants or other dried fruit (chocolate if you fancy)
1 cup cold heavy cream + more if dry
1 large egg plus 1 ts of water, cream or milk for wash
3 tbs coarse sugar and or chopped finely or slivered crystallized ginger (both are optional)

Add (or sift if you really good!) flour, baking powder and salt then whisk together.
Measure brown sugar and dried fruit and whisk or stir utill evenly dispersed.
Pour in the cream and stir softly until you get a soft dough. I use my hands, but you can use a wooden spoon if you prefer not to get your hands sticky, which is my favorite part of making scones. Don't over mix or the scone will be dry. Turn out onto the counter and shape into one large disk or two smaller ones to make smaller scones.

Cut into wedges (I have never tried another shape) and place onto your baking sheet which should be lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Whisk until frothy the egg and your desired liquid, of course milk will make for a reddish bread, cream will make it darker and I used water today, so you can see it's a bit shiny and lightly colored.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with desired topping, you can mix and match ginger and sugar, use only one or use nothing at all. They will taste great anyway really. Bake at 425 for ten minutes, turn the pan around, turn the heat down to 375 and cook for another ten minutes. They should be brown in color and firm to touch. Cool for ten to twenty minutes and serve warm with coffee or milk for breakfast or an afternoon snack with afternoon coffee or tea. :-)

Thank you Peter Reinhart!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

EID MUBARAK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Insha'Allah everyone has a blessd Eid!!

As the sun rises on the first day of Shawwal, Muslims celebrate the coming of `Eid Al-Fitr, which some call "the day of the prize and compassion."

`Eid Al-Fitr is named after breaking the fast, being the first day after Muslims finish their month-long fast of Ramadan. Muslims spend the three days of this feast in continuous joy, delight, and most importantly communicating with one another.

Shortly after sunrise on the morning of the first day in Shawwal, Muslims in all parts of the world wake up to perform the congregational `Eid Prayer, gathering the rich and poor, the young and old, in a state of unity and harmony.

In Muslim countries, it is customary in `Eid to eat dates or kahk (Arabic for "cookies") and then visit families, relatives, and friends. During these visits, people exchange greetings that differ from one country to another.

How Muslims celebrate `Eid varies from one community to the other, and this has proved to be a source of cultural richness and diversity. `Eid is an essential part of the Islamic identity and culture that dictates all the practices of celebrations — the dresses you wear, the songs you sing and listen to, and what you say to one another.

Wherever you are — North or South, East or West, tell us about how you prepare for this occasion.

How do you greet your families and friends? What do you say or do?
How do you celebrate? Do you go outdoors? Where do you go? Or do you prefer staying at home? What do you do indoors?
What kind of food do you eat?
What songs or nashids do you listen to?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stuffed Sardines & Rice With Peas

fresh cleaned sardines
hot paprika
black pepper
fresh cilantro
fresh parsley
eggs for dipping before frying
flour for dipping before frying
olive oil for frying

Baste the sardines in all the spices and let sit for a few hours, or if in a pinch use it right away.
Stuff the sardines with your chopped herbs and dip in the beaten eggs then in the flour.
Set in hot oil and fry on each side until done.
Serve with salad and rice.


Stuffed Peppers & Zuchinni

So Ramadan makes it hard to post a lot of comments and instructions. :-) I will update as I can. I guess even taking pictures seems to get hard at times with three or four things cooking all at once.

I took a few pictures for this dish and forgot to take the result, I also am having trouble with my camera which is producing fuzzy pics.

Ground Beef or Lamb
Fresh Parsley
Fresh Cilantro
Tomato Paste
Hot Red Pepper Paste
Black Pepper
Bread Crumbs

Olive Oil
Rasul Hanout
Tomato Paste
Hot Paprika

Blend together all of the meat ingredients gently and set aside to rest.

Cut and clean the green peppers and zucchini.

Stuff them and set to the side.

Make the base for the sauce by sauteing garlic and onion and spices together.

Add the stuffed vegetables, chickpeas if using and a cup of water.

Pressure cook for fifteen to twenty minutes.


Tumeric Chicken & Ricotta Stuffed Bread

chicken breasts sliced fairly think and cooked in a touch of olive oil
fresh paresly
whole milk ricotta cheese drained
black pepper
6 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons dry active yeast
2-3 cups warm milk
6 tablespoons olive oil

sesame seeds
one egg beaten

Make the filling first so it's cooled off when you ar ready to stuff the dough.
Saute the chicken and spices until well cooked and set to the side.
To prepare the dough by adding all ingredients and kneading until satiny and soft.
Set aside covered until doubled.
Break off golf ball size pieces, really whatever size you choose is fine. These were fairly big but it just depends on what I have cooked for dinner that night that determines the size of these bread treats.
Roll out the dough into shape to desired shape.
Fill them.
Let them rise again until your finger impression fills in slowly.
Brush on the beaten egg and then decorate with sesame seeds.
Bake at 400 until golden brown.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lentil Soup In A Rush & Beautiful Bread

This was fun and easy to make. I started out rolling the dough with a roll pin but quickly decided my hands moved quicker and easier. I got this lovely recipe from Zapbook.

200 grams of milk
1 large tablespoon soft butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 teaspoon yeast
500 grams flour
half a stick of melted butter
seeds of your choice (optional)

Place all ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Slowly stir everything together and then knead until a soft dough is formed.Let the dough rise until doubled, about one hour in a half.

Section off the dough into four equal pieces.

Section again each peice and again two more times leaving you with 16 balls.

Take four balls and flatten then out, spreading some melted butter between each peice.

Roll them tightly.

Repeat with the remaining balls.

Cut each roll into a triangular shape.

Put the triangles in a round dish by making pointed ends inward.

Let rise again, about one hour or until doubled.

Brush with egg yolk sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or black seeds if you like and cook until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

So we were painting our living room today. Well, my brother (youngest of the family) was and the kids and I hung out in the bedroom, the basement, and at one point for a few hours cooking in the kitchen for fatoor (breaking fast meal). I used leftover Frik Chorba since throwing away food is a big no no in this house. I just added green lentils to it a few spices, tomato paste and some water and boiled for a few.

After which I started some bread, a nice lamb and vegetable dish ....

In a rush lentil soup, I forgot to garnish it with fresh herbs, which is something I don't usually do.

It was a nice day today and tomorrow we (Zack) shall Insha'Allah finish up the painting

It's the 8th day of Ramadan and this has been a challenging and wonderful year for us all. Alhamdulillah we are all here to greet and Insha'Allah give farewell to another Ramadan.

If you try this bread you will surely enjoy it!