Friday, November 26, 2010

How To Relax In The Desert... Eid Kabir

Making tea, BBQ'ing our Eid Meat and enjoying watching the kids run around playing. It's one of the things I do love about living in the Sahara, the desert really is beautiful.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Eid!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Eid

May Allah accept all your good deeds from the blessed month and give us the ability to carry them on through the year, ameen.

This Eid and every day take a moment and remember all of the our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering.

Don't forget that these are the days of Thikr!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lemon Pound Cake

So here it is, my very favorite lemon pound cake, although our lemons are still limes, it is still so yummy! I made this cake two days in a row, Thursday and Friday, kinda silly I know. But one cake I tried with goat's butter, uhhh, I didn't enjoy it at all, I totally forgot that I have found goat's butter has a horrible smell most of the time, although I have eaten it when it tasted sweet. I think it's the diet or age of that particular goat that makes the difference. Anyhow, I cut it up and gave it away to the neighbors IE. in laws. They absolutely loved it, surprising but true! Last time I made a pound cake all but one person told me it wasn't cooked well, you know pound cakes are really soft, they don't particularly care for that here. On Friday, I made the regular cake I have been making for years same recipe but using cow's butter. Yummy!!!! I gave half to the English class that DH teaches every Friday and we ate the last piece last night before crawling into a cold bed.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ts baking powder
1 ts salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
zest of 4 nice sized lemons
4 eggs + 2 egg yolks you can add up to 6 egg actually and I bet if you increase the flour to 3 cups you can add more
2 ts vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk + juice of one lemon stirred together

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Butter and flour a loaf pan, I have decided that I don't like these silicone baking pans. Crack all your eggs set aside. Juice your limes and add to the buttermilk and set aside. Combine the dry ingredients including the lemon zest and set aside.

Cream the butter in a mixer or by hand. Add the sugar continue creaming until it's, well, creamy. Slowly add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.

Working in alternating batches, mixing just to incorporate after each addition, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, to the butter mixture. Mix until just smooth. Don't over mix! Give it a good stir and then carefully spoon it out into your cake pan.

Bake until raised in the center and a tester inserted into the center comes out dry and almost clean, takes about an hour. Let the cake sit for about ten minutes, then flip it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

If you are making a glaze or syrup now is the time. I made syrup for the goat's butter cake, trying in a desperate attempt to cover that goaty taste, didn't work. For the cow's butter cake I just added a lemon glaze. For the glaze I just added the juice of three lemons and powdered sugar to a nice consistency, then I dumped it on the cake. Serve at room temperature, in thin slices.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tuna Casserole

We used to eat this a lot when we were kids. I crave it every time I'm pregnant but don't think much about it otherwise. It's really easy to make, but if you are living in Algeria I'm pretty sure you don't have access to Mushroom soup, so there are no mushrooms like in my mom's version. I substituted with adding lots of onions and garlic. My kids loved it so I will try to make it more often for them.

Saute green winter onions and garlic in 1/8 cup of butter and 2 tbs olive oil. After they are wilted, starting to brown a bit and losing their water add a couple of blended tomatoes.

Add a couple of tbs of flour and cook that a bit so not to taste the flour in the sauce. It will thicken up, keep stirring it and making sure not to burn the flour.

There are three cheeses here in this part of Algeria that I like, the one pictured below and on occasion I like their Swiss and something they call Camareah. Chop up the cheese and add it, stirring to melt, then add some water and bring it up to a simmer until you have the thickness you are looking for.

 By now your peas and macaroni should be well drained and your tuna should be waiting. Throw everything into a pot and serve hot!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Cinnamon & Nutmeg Muffins

1 1/3 cup flour
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts nutmeg
1/2 ts cinnamon
2 ts vanilla
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar, or less if you like
1 egg
3/4 cups buttermilk

1/4 melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs cinnamon

I doubled this recipe because I like to share with my  neighbors, but it you don't double it, it will make about 12 regular sized muffins. These taste a lot like doughnuts, and since I have been craving doughnuts like crazy I thought this was a less than real doughnut fat saturated experience. I was correct, they were just as yummy, just not as oily! This recipe is also very fast, and doesn't require a lot of ingredients you don't usually have in your pantry, something I love! They are also really tender, which is something I thoroughly enjoy, especially after living here for almost two years! The pastries here are cooked until they are less than soft, doughs are beat until there is too much gluten. Why you ask? Well, people are under the impression that if they are not dry as cardboard they are not finished being cooked. Lava cakes don't go over well here, neither do cinnamon rolls and I'm guessing these didn't either. Don't get me wrong, I have had some lovely sweets here, my husbands aunt makes pretty good cookies, bread and cakes and so does one of my sister in laws. It's just that it really isn't that often that someone hands me something soft.

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter, oil or spray your muffin pan. I finally decided to utilize my muffin "pan". Not sure I even like these kinds of baking dishes.
Melt the butter and set aside. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients and set aside.
Slowly stir in the wet to the dry and don't over mix.

Pour into prepared baking dish and cook until golden brown. Look at that, beautiful nutmeg specks! Yummmm! My smells are enlightened, I do so love nutmeg. I actually use a coffee grinder to grind my own baking spices, and sometimes cooking seeds too. Like cumin seeds, caraway seeds. You should try it! You won't be disappointed I promise!

Take out of the muffin tin and dip into the melted butter and then into the sugar and cinnamon. They tastes pretty good on their own too, but the cinnamon and sugar crust is kinda addicting if you know what I mean.
Eat warm or room temperature.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cream Cheese Brownies

Since I was old enough to have my own ideas about birthday cakes, this was mine... year after year!
I don't think there is a more perfect combination; a dense and fudgie brownie covered with a layer of cream cheese. Bite into one and you are sure to be forever hooked! Just trust me and try it!
Well, for the first time ever I cracked a glass baking dish! I completely forgot that my counter tops are solid marble and therefore freezing and if you put hot glass on a cold surface, what happens? Yup, you guessed it! It cracks, well mine shattered, luckily nobody was hurt, boy did the glass really fly!
Unfortunatly we couldn't eat the brownies, it was a bummer! Still, try the recipe, it's to die for!

Brownie Layer:
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups  sugar
1 ts vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 salt
Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 ts vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325
Line your baking dish with aluminum foil across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan.
Melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla extract.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (with a wooden spoon) after each addition.
Stir in the flour and salt and beat, with a wooden spoon, until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan (about one minute).
Remove 1/2 cup of the brownie batter and set it aside.
Place the remainder of the brownie batter evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
Mix the cream cheese until smooth.
Add the sugar, vanilla, and egg and whisk just until creamy and smooth.
Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the brownie layer.
Spoon small dollops of the reserved brownie batter evenly on top of the cream cheese filling.
Then with a table knife or wooden skewer, swirl the two batters without mixing them.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the edges of the brownies are just beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Refrigerate the brownies until they are firm enough to cut into squares (at least two hours). I never eat them before waiting! Because I am the epitome of patience wrapped up into one person, I mean really, who cannot wait. Really?
Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan by lifting with the ends of the foil and transfer to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into 16 squares. It is a good idea to have a damp cloth nearby to wipe your knife between cuts to have nice sharp appearance when delivering these goodies to your neighbors and family.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Belgian Waffles


Did you know that there is a waffle recipe that requires yeast? I didn't! I had no idea that Belgian Waffles were yeast risen then cooked, they are not exactly my fave or anything, but they do the trick and the kids love them!
I try to make something sweet and sugary on Fridays and Saturdays, this is our weekends in Algeria.
News Update: *because I know you care* Our weekends were recently changed from Thursdays and Fridays, I liked it better before!
It's nice to not rush around getting little ones ready for school. The most pleasurable part of the mornings in our home, for me at least, would be the part where I begin with gentle nudges, in the form of whispering  good morning to the two oldest boys but in a sad end I am running around like a crazy woman who doesn't have a purpose before one or both of them drag themselves out of bed to then begin the fighting over the bathroom.... Ah yes, it's the small things in life, isn't it!
Waffles are a nice way to start a weekend, would you not agree? Usually none complain about anything on these days!
I always double this recipe because we they eat a lot when I make them, I can only eat one.

2 1/2 ts yeast
3 eggs separated
3 cups warmed buttermilk,  1/4 set aside
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup white sugar, two ts set aside for the yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 ts vanilla
4 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast with the 1/4 cup milk and reserved sugar, let it foam up. While this is proofing prep for the rest of the batter. Whisk together the flour and salt, set aside. Whisk together the egg yolks.

Whisk the yeast mixture and melted butter into the egg yolks.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form with the sugar, the sugar will help to stabilize them during the rising and cooking.

Starting with the flour add 1/3 of it to the egg yolk mixture, then 1/2 of the milk, then 1/2 of the left flour, then the last of the milk and finally the last of the flour. Make sure not to over mix as it will make the waffles tough. Add more milk to thin it out if you are having trouble getting it to mix, I usually do!

Gently fold in the whipped egg whites. 

Set aside to double, I use the oven.

Heat your griddle according to it's manual then oil, spray or butter it. 
Add about 1/2 cup of batter and wait until it beeps, a green light comes on or a song starts to play ;-D
Eat hot or keep warm in your preheated 200 oven until the entire family sits down for a relaxing meal and everyone exchanges ideas for the rest of the day ... uh not in my home, these suckers are gone before I get a chance to look twice! I usually eat alone or with the baby.