Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This kind of Kibbeh is served as an appetizer, hot or room temperature. The ingredients are the same as the one I listed before the "baked Kibbeh". The difference is in the shape and the way they are cooked. These kibbeh balls are stuffed with meat, onions and pine nuts, same filling as the one listed in the "baked Kibbeh" recipe too. The kibbeh balls are fried and not baked. Deep fry them in vegetable oil until gold or brown, then set on a paper towel to drain for few minutes. Same way as frying Falafel.
They are very good with Hommus on the side. I personally like to dip them in Hommus.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Serves a crowd!
About a 3 pound roast (Lamb or beef)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1-2 big onions chopped
10 cloves of garlic, peeled only
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into medium cubes
1 celery stick, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks, 2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of allspice
1/3 cup of wine (optional)
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
The vegetables need to be medium sized and not small or finely chopped because they need to cook with the roast and this will keep them from browning quickly and falling apart. And my technique is that I allow one minute between every ingredient, I don't like to dump everything all at once. So in a pot, add the oil, onions, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, celery and garlic add half the amount of salt and black pepper and cook for few minutes then add the roast, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.(I usually rub the roast with a bit of salt and black pepper and let it sit for few minutes before I cook it). Once you've added the roast you want it to brown from all sides and absorb all the flavors. Here you can add the wine. Turn the roast every now and then until the sides are browned then you add 2 to 3 cups of water. Once you've added the water, add the rest of the spices, bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and let it cook slowly. It would probably take about 2 hours maybe more depending on the meat.
Once the roast is cooked take it out of the pot and transfer into the cutting board. Now to obtain the gravy just put everything left in the pot in the mixer for a couple of minutes. I personally leave everything in the pot, take out the cinnamon sticks and the bay leaves and use the handy mixer for few minutes until all the chunks are gone. You'll obtain a thick gravy because of the potato and vegetables so no need to thicken it. After I obtain the gravy, I let it simmer for few minutes and then serve it with the roast.
Tips on how to serve this roast:
1- You can leave it as a whole on the cutting board and when it's time to eat, cut and serve with the gravy on the side.
2- Slice and put back in the sauce or gravy and simmer for few minutes and serve (I recommend this)
3- Slice some and serve on the side as cold cuts and put the rest in the gravy for variety.
4- Serve the roast with Basmati rice and nuts as shown in the photo or serve it with mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.
PS: Cooking the Basmati and toasting the nuts can be found in my previous recipes like the Chicken with rice recipe for example.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I would like to take the opportunity to thanks all the dear food bloggers who are recommending my blog and coming back and visiting it. You are all making my day. I would like to thank Jenn, The Leftover Queen, for recommending my blog in her Finest Foodie Friday, Frida from Farida’s Azerbaijani Cookbook, for the Arte Y Pico Award and Deeba from Passionate about Baking for the You Make my Day Award. Thank you very much, I love you all!!!
Friday, May 9, 2008
Makes around 24-25 (I prefer to eyeball or use as much as the filling makes)
This recipe can be served with a green salad and plain yogurt.
Grapes leaves (24 small or medium, half of that if the leaves are big cause you can cut in half)
1 cup of lean minced meat
1 cup of chopped onions or shallots
1/3 cup of small diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of plain white rice
1 teaspoon of allspice
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of flour to be mixed with some water. 2 Cinnamon sticks.
- In a bowl, add the minced meat, onions, tomatoes, wash the rice and drain and add to the bowl too, add the spices and mix the ingredients together.
- If the grape leaves are fresh, soak them in hot water for half an hour, then drain.
- If you are using the ones from the jar, soak in tab water for few minutes, then drain and use. To start filling, take the leaf and spread it on the surface you're using, cut the stem, take a teaspoon or less depending on the size of the leaf and place the filling a bit before the center, fold the sides toward the center and roll tight. In order for them to unravel and fall apart while cooking, I tie them up together. I place three stuffed grape leaves, then two on top, then another one or two like forming a triangle, I tie them up together with a string and place in the pan, add the water and tomato paste, cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil, add the flour mixed with a little bit of cold water then reduce the heat and let them cook slowly for half an hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard when serving the grape leaves.
PS: If you end up with extra filling, keep them in the freezer or stuff a bellpepper, tomato etc... ;)
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
In the Arab,Gulf, Levant countries it's Arabic coffee, in the Balkans it's Bosnian coffee, Serbian coffee etc.., in Turkey it's Turkish coffee, in Greece it's Greek coffee, in Cyprus it's Cypriot coffee and so on... Bottom line we all have something in common and we are all proud of it!
We make this coffee in Lebanon in a coffee pot called "Rakweh", found in Middle Eastern stores or online as well as the coffee, I've never tried just any fine coffee because I like the mix of beans that I find in the Middle Eastern store (which is called Najjar Coffee), I'm used to it. The ingredients are simple: Water, coffee, sugar (I personally don't drink coffee with sugar so I discard it and serve it on the side). Cardamom is an Arabic tradition but it's always optional.
- We eyeball the amount of coffee added to the water but the perfect way is the following:
Half a teaspoon for every small cup (like the one in the picture or an espresso cup).
So for example, if you want to make 5 espresso cups, you fill 5 of these cups with water and add to the pot then 5 half teaspoons of coffee.
Boil water in a coffee pot. After water boils add ground coffee into the boiling water, stir well and keep cooking it. Every time it comes to a boil move it away from the stove, stir bring back to boil or cook again, repeat 4-5 times, then serve. We do this process because once it starts boiling it goes all over the place, so you wanna avoid the mess. Medium to low heat is always recommended.
If you like cardamom add some to it or you can buy Arabic coffee with cardamom.
You add sugar after you serve, if some of your guests like it without sugar. If everybody wants sugar, you add the sugar with the coffee and boil or cook. You adjust the sugar quantity upon taste, little sugar, sweet etc...
If you don't have Arabic style coffee cups, any espresso cups work.
*I took this picture in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina last summer, after my husband and I had a wonderful lunch by the river. They served sugar on the side and a piece of Loukoum sweets. I love this handmade coffee set.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Lupini beans, we call them in Lebanon "Tormos", are one of my favorite snacks, I love them with beer. You can get them dry or you can get ready to eat in jars soaked in water and salt from Middle Eastern stores or online. They are highly nutritive and close to soy bean protein in content.
Soak Lupini Beans overnight in water (1 cup is enough for few people). Drain and add fresh water and simmer for one hour. Then drain off all the water and add fresh water at least twice a day. Keep changing and adding fresh water till bitterness disappears, which might take up to 5 days or more. Sounds difficult? Well yes it is, cause they are bitter and you have to get rid of all the bitterness until they are soft to chew on and edible. This is why I like to buy them ready to eat. And when they are ready to eat, you can keep them in the refrigerator soaked in water and some salt too, but you still have to change the water every now and then. To serve them, drain the water, sprinkle salt and serve. To eat them, you have to discard the skin and eat the bean only.
Friday, May 2, 2008
In this recipe I am not gonna give exact serving ingredients because it depends on the amount of dough made or the size of the pies. I made each pie size enough for 1 person this time, I made 3 big pies with this filling. If you have a crowd or a party it's better to make the pies smaller so they can be served as appetizers.
Ready dough mix (follow instructions on the box)
For the filling:
1 cup of onions, finely chopped
3 cups of chopped swiss chards leaves
4 tablespoons of olive oil
A handful of pine nuts
1 teaspoon of sumac spice (found in Middle Eastern stores or online)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste.
While the dough is rising, in a pan, add onions, olive oil and the pine nuts and cook for 1 minute then add the chards, once they start wilting, add the sumac spice, salt and pepper. After they cook, add the lemon juice and set aside to cool off.
When the dough is ready, roll to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds (the size you want) place the filling in the middle and fold 3 sides over the filling to obtain the shape of a triangle. Secure your triangle by pressing on the edges that you folded to secure the triangle from openings.
Bake in a 425 degrees oven until it's golden brown. They can be served hot or cold.
PS: You can substitute the chards with spinach. Also the sumac is optional if it can't be found. You can add more lemon juice in this case to substitute the taste.