Simply Heaven on My Life as a Foodie

•December 2, 2009 • 8 Comments

I was recently featured on an episode of the podcast “My Life as a Foodie”, hosted by my friend Phil.  He and his wife came to our home for an afternoon together a couple of weekends ago, where we talked about the food of Syria, the culture of my country, and the importance food plays in our every day life there.

After the interview, we moved to my kitchen where we prepared Kebbeh together — both baked and fried.  Phil conducted an interview with me as we cooked together.  At one point, while talking about my home country, I began to tear up — but I swear it was the onions.  Damn, those onions!  I prepared many dishes that day, including a few of Maza style dishes, Baba ganoush (roasted eggplant dip), Mohamara (roasted peppers & walnuts pesto), Stuffed Grape Leaves toped with steak and artichoke, Salad, Greek style yogurt with fresh mints and cucumbers, a couple of different meats (Sujouk & Nakanek) and few different types of bread (meat, cheese, and spinach) it was just a delicious feast.
Later that night, many friends that I’d invited to join us for dinner arrived and we had a great evening together, sharing all of the Syrian dishes I’d spent the last few days preparing.  My brother joined us and shared many stories with everyone as we ate dinner.  It was a wonderful day with friends and family.

Listen to the podcast episode 48 :: giving thanks  at  http://mylifeasafoodie.com/

I Hope you Enjoy listing to it and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

A Memorable Summer

•November 2, 2009 • 10 Comments

I just love the time I spend with my good friends, Peter and Jo aka (MyLastBite.com), Katrina and Phil (MyLifeAsAFoodie.com), Janet and Paul, David and John, and of course Bob (TheBaubShow.com).

All summer long we’ve been getting together to cook, party and of course to EAT! We go back and forth to each of our homes including a few of  the “Garden Jam”  (at Peter and Jo’s home), and some of David’s German home cooking. I can honestly say it’s been a blast.

Last weekend, Katrina and Phil invited us to a Halloween dinner party at there home in Orange County. It was actually more of a “FOOD Fest” than a Halloween party, but the decorations were awesome too.

Phil always has an amazing gourmet spread, and he is just such a fantastic home cook. (Phil’s Food Feast)

For the dinner, I wanted to take a dish or two with me, and here is what I took with me.

Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Sirloin & Rice Stuffed Zucchini

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kusa9Sirloin & Rice Stuffed Zucchini

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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Stuffed then deep fried squash with Tahini sauce (Fettit Kusa)

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And I also made

Kafta Bel-Seniye

Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kafta Bel-Seniyeh

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Kanafeh Dessert

•July 10, 2009 • 35 Comments

 
I can’t seem to stop myself from making Kanafeh at least once a month, and when you try it, you will know why.

Kanafeh or (knaffeh) is a very popular dessert throughout the Arab world! It’s sweet, cheesy, and easy to prepare, of course at the same time it’s very delicious.

There are different kinds of Kanafeh (rough, fine, and mixed) and every one has a favorite. I will be posting the rough one today.

It became my potluck dish to almost every party I go to.

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

 Ingredients

1 package of shredded Filo dough (another name Kataifi)

1 pound of sweet cheese

1 pound of mozzarella cheese

1cup soften sweet butter

1/ 2 cup chopped pistachios

 Syrup

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1tbs. Mazaher (orange blossom water)

 Preparation

Syrup:

Mix sugar and water, boil until slightly thickened, add orange blossom water

Let it cool down.

Kanafeh:

Follow all photos

Just make sure you shred the dough and mix well with butter.

Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown.

 

Serve Kanafeh while WARM, add syrup to your taste.

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Add the soft butter, mix and shred until it becomes Light and fluffy!

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

 

Kanafeh Dessert

ENJOY!

Shish- Barak (Beef Dumplings w/ Greek Style Yogurt)

•June 18, 2009 • 25 Comments

This dish is a special request from one of my readers.

Shish-barak is an old traditional Arabic dish that is varied a little from country to country in Middle East. The dumplings are made different by sometimes frying them, baking them, or even leaving them as raw dough (the meat is always cooked).

 Baking them to me is a healthier tastier way to make it, and my family enjoys it this way.  I used Greek style yogurt (which is more tart than sweet) mixed with fresh mint and crushed garlic, gives it a nice authentic flavor.  I shared this dish with my family and my friends who enjoyed this dish with me in the past.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Shish- Barak (Beef Dumplings w/ Greek style yogurt) 14

Ingredients:

For the filling:

2 lbs ground beef well cooked

2 large onions finely chopped

1/ 2 tea all spices

1/ 2 tea spoon cumin

1/ 2 tea spoon paprika (I used the spicy one)

Salt to your taste

For the dough:

3 cups all- purpose flour

1/ 2 cup olive oil

Salt to your taste

Water.

For the sauce:

2 lbs of Greek style yogurt

2 table spoons dried mint

Small bunch of fresh green mint

Salt and pepper

1 table spoon of corn starch well dissolved in 1/ 4 of cup of water

2 table spoon of ghee.

3 cloves garlic minced.

1 egg

1 /2 cup washed drained and roasted walnuts. You can use also pine nuts.

Preparation:

For the fillings:

Mix ground beef and chopped onions and all spices and cook until well done it. (I like to sear the meat, don’t make it where it’s watery and bubbly) set aside to cool down.

For the dough:

Mix the flour and the salt, add the oil and start adding water slowly while you are mixing until it forms like a dough , then start knead it until soft, let it rest for about 1 hour.

For the sauce:

Add the egg, salt and corn starch (mixed already) to the yogurt and mix by whisking it very well. Add black pepper and dried mint and mix again.

Start cooking the mixer in a saucepan on low heat, STIRRING CONSTANTLY, Bring to boil.

In a small pan add ghee chopped mints and garlic sauté for 3 minutes, add to the sauce. And mix

Serve while warm almost hot. Enjoy!

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Shish- Barak (Beef Dumplings w/ Greek style yogurt) 15

 

ENJOY!


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Chicken Breast Stuffed w/ Mozzarella & wrapped w/ Mortadella

•May 31, 2009 • 30 Comments

 

My father loved to cook, and I would like to dedicate this dish in his memory because I love him and miss him dearly. Fridays were usually the only day that he got the opportunity to cook (because Friday was the traditional week-end in Syria), and he would make the family something special that we all enjoyed.

Growing up, I always anticipated Friday’s meal because that meant I got to spend special one-on-one time preparing food with my dad. When I left Damascus and moved to California my parents came to visit us several times. I made sure my dad kept the tradition going and let his grandchildren enjoy his special dishes. Watching them together in the kitchen always brought those special memories for me.

I made this dish last Friday and the children enjoyed helping me prepare the food, as we all remember their wonderful grandfather.

 

 

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts

12 oz Mortadella

12 oz mozzarella cheese

3/ 4 cup all purpose flour

2 eggs

3 tea spoons sumac

1 tea spoon all spice

1 tea spoon cumin

1 tea spoon paprika (spicy or mild)

1 tea spoon black peppers

4 table spoons ghee (each 2 spoons for cooking 3 breasts)

2 table spoons pomegranate molasses

Salt to your taste (I used about 2 tea spoon of kosher salt)

Because it is filling usually I don’t sever with starch, I like t0 use fruits or vegetables for sides.

I served it with 1 package of Blackberries and 2 Mangos. (my kids like it)

Also you can serve it with salad of your choice. (My husband prefer it with salad & fruits)

 

Preparations:

Follow the photos for easy directions.

Before you cook the chicken make slice all the way in (try to be in the center)

Dip in eggs then flour and let it stand for about 5 minutes; cook the chicken until well done (cook about 20 minutes on low heat turning every 5 minutes)

Set aside and let it cool down.

Assembling time “which is the fun time for me” stuff the chicken with Mozzarella cheese then wrap it with mortadella. Cover well with foil place in a preheated oven (400) for ten minutes. Serve worm while the cheese melted and yummy!

Enjoy!

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella & wrapped in Mortadella -14-

 

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella & wrapped in Mortadella dusted with Sumac

 

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella & wrapped in Mortadella dusted with Sumac

 

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella & wrapped in Mortadella dusted with Sumac -4-

 

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Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella & wrapped in Mortadella dusted with Sumac -9-

 

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Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella & wrapped in Mortadella dusted with Sumac

 

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Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella & wrapped in Mortadella-13

 

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Albondigas Soup

•May 23, 2009 • 16 Comments

This soup is a favorite of my family. I tried it approximately 18 years ago at my mother in-law’s home. I enjoyed it so much I had to try my hand at it. I found out the basic ingredients and went to work. I love to try different things when I cook, and I am not afraid of changing the taste, texture, or the look of a specific food. The way I make it might not be traditional but my friends are always asking for my recipe. The traditional recipe for Albondigas calls for rice however my family and I like it with potato instead. I hope you give my recipe a try and let me know what they think.

INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds ground beef
4 Mexican squash
4 potatoes OR (1/ 2 cup raw rice)
3 tomatoes, peeled & diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small bunch celery
1/ 2 pound Carrots
2 eggs
1/ 2 cup bread crumbs
1 large onion, chopped (use half for meat balls and half for soup)
2 Green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts beef or chicken stock (also add about 1 1/ 2quart water)
1 tea spoon dried oregano
1 tea spoon dried basil
1/ 2 tea spoon cumin
1/ 2 tea spoon cayenne peppers (optional)
Thin slices of home made tortilla chips for garnish
Mexican blend cheese also for garnish
Juice of one lemon
Salt & peppers

PREPARATION:
First prepare the meatballs by mixing ground beef, 1 /2 of cilantros, onions, garlic, eggs, bread crumbs, cumin, oreganos, basil, salt & peppers, mix well
Form into medium size meatballs, and then sear them in the same pan you’re using for the soup for about 10 minutes, place on the side in a different bawl.
In the same pot (don’t wash it has the flavor from cooking meatballs) cook all onions for about 5 mints, add stock and water and all ingredients and seasonings, and then add meatballs. Bring to boil reduce heat to simmer for about 15-20 minutes
Garnish with fresh cilantro, chips and cheese.
ENJOY!

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Albondigas Soup on Foodista

Yabra w/Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

•May 12, 2009 • 23 Comments

 Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Ingredients:

1 medium size tri tip roast (I used 3.5 pound)

1 1/ 2 pound ground beef

1 cup short grain rice

1 Jar (1 pound) grape leaves

About 10 cloves garlic

2 table spoons lemon juice (for adding over the water, when you cook the roast.)

2 table spoons for searing the roast

1 table spoon butter for the rice mix

About 3 table spoons water also for the rice mix

1 tea spoon all spice

1 tea spoon cumin

1 tea spoon spicy paprika (also you can use mild paprika)

1 tea spoon garlic powder

1 tea spoon black peppers

Salt to your taste,

 

All the spices split in halves

1/ 2 used for rice mix

1/ 2 used for dry rub the roast

 

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients with half of spices

Follow all pictures to make Yabra

Sear the roast before cooking

Important:

have a plate as you see in the photo below to hold all Yabra down the entire cooking time (even before you add the water, the heavy plate hold them in place)

Press down on the plate after you finish stacking them; gently add water, as much water as if you are cooking the roast alone.

Cook at least for two and half hours on low heat.

 

I added a little extra rice and meat, so I can have some left over, I cooked it and really enjoyed it with the roast.

Enjoy!

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

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Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 

 

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Yabra W/ Tri Tip Roast (stuffed Grape Leaves) on Foodista

 

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