Roasted Eggplant Tahini Soup

Roasted Eggplant Tahini Soup

It’s (finally) sweater weather!

There are two seasons I love more than any other — Spring and Fall. And for good reason. My reasons may or may not be entirely fashion-based. No judgment, right? But really, I’ve been waiting all September and October to start wearing my cozy layers and chic boots.

Roasted Eggplant Tahini Soup

Ask me what my other reason for loving fall is … Soup! Yes, soup. It’s socially acceptable to have a steaming bowl of soup for lunch and dinner every day and it just makes me so happy. I have no shame having soup every single day all Fall/Winter long. As my love for soup has grown, so did my need to find a way to transport my soup to work and still be able to heat it up to almost-but-not-quite-burning-your-mouth temperature. I tried almost everything– Even bringing soup in a coffee thermos. About a year or so ago, I found this lightweight, portable, microwavable, Campbell’s soup mug at Bed Bath and Beyond. It has changed my life ever since. P.S. it even comes with a breathable lid. 

Roasted Eggplant Tahini Soup

I’m especially partial to homemade soups. I know exactly what I’m putting in there, and can make them as healthy or hearty as I’m feeling. My favorites include: Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Carrot Curry Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, Roasted Cauliflower and Green Pea Soup, Nacho Corn Soup and French Onion Soup in no particular order. Most recently though, I’m in Love with Roasted Eggplant Tahini Soup. Love with a capital L. I mean, eggplant is my jam. Roasted to perfection, mixed with onions, coriander and smooth tahini then blended down. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Roasted Eggplant Tahini Soup

Roasted Eggplant Tahini Soup

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil +1 tablespoons for roasting
  • 4 whole eggplants, cut into quarters
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups Low Sodium chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander (optional)
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Fresh, chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F
  2. Pierce the eggplants with a knife 3-4 times and place on a large baking sheet
  3. Brush with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, until they can be easily pierced with a fork
  4. Using a spoon, scoop out the eggplant flesh and set aside. Discard the skin
  5. In a medium soup pot, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat
  6. Add the onions and sauté until translucent
  7. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant
  8. Add the eggplant flesh and stir (add optional coriander here)
  9. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil
  10. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  11. Use an immersion blender to smooth to your desired consistency. NOTE: You can also blend the soup using a standing blender. Have another empty pot available. Using a ladle, spoon the soup into the blender and blend until smooth. Then return to the pot. Use the additional pot if you have too much liquid for the standing blender.
  12. Stir in tahini and lemon juice and heat on low for 5 minutes
  13. Serve warm topped with toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley or cilantro
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Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

This month, I’m super excited to announce that I’m collaborating with some fabulous food bloggers and food-stagramers to bring you recipes inspired by our favorite fall fruit, Apples!

Can I just say, I love caramel apples. Seriously love them. Not when they’re hard and borderline pull your teeth out. Not those caramel apples. No, I’m talking about the ones where with the perfect caramel to apple ratio, where the caramel only slightly sticks to your teeth and the apples are perfectly crisp. I did share one of my favorite caramel apple recipes in the past. 

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

My friend Lulu has three adorable children, who I’ve watched grow over the last few years. We make it out to Cox’s Farm once a year for the Fall festival, where the kiddos enjoy the games, slides, hay ride and warm apple donuts. Lulu and I, on the other hand, we’re in it for the giant caramel apples. I guess the slides are fun too. Priorities, people. 

Based on our love for all things caramel apples, I’m sharing this Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. It’s got all the basics, apples, caramel, sugar — and a few other ingredients needed to turn caramel apples into caramel apple cake. Add a scoop on vanilla ice cream and your life is complete. 

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Don’t forget to look at other apple recipes from these fabulous food bloggers below, and check #AisforAlltheApples on Instagram.

Cloudy Kitchen’s Salted Caramel and Apple Babka

Square Meal Round Table’s Chai Spiced Tarte Tatin

The Wood and Spoon’s Maple Apple Cake

The Cooking of Joy’s Deep Fried Apple Dumplings with Miso Caramel Dipping Sauce

Pensive Foodie’s Mini Bacon Crusted Apple Pies

My Kitchen Love’s Bird’s Nest Caramel Apple Cake  

More Icing Than Cake’s Apple Butter Pretzels with Rosemary Cheddar Dip

Casey Joy Lister’s Waldorf Salad’s Twisted Sister

The Kitchen Sink’s Apple Cheddar Loaf

What Should I Make For’s Apple Puff Pastry Tarts

Jessie Sheehan Bakes’ Apple Fritters

Smart in the Kitchen’s Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Crisp

This Healthy Table’s Cardamom Apple Tart

Figs & Flour’s Apple Purple Potato Pizza

Something New for Dinner’s Savory Bread Pudding with Apples, Sausage, and Pecan

Always Eat Dessert’s Apple Spice Scones with Maple Bourbon Glaze

Rezel Kealoha’s Rose Poached Apples with Rosewater Reduction

The Soup Solution’s Fennel Sausage and and Apple Dressing (Stuffing)

Lemon Thyme and Ginger’s Smoky Maple Apple Dutch Baby

Gobble the Cook’s One Pan Pork Chops and Sausages with Apples

Hola Jalapeno’s Fluffy Apple Chili Biscuits

Salt and Wind’s Pomegranate Ginger Apple Cider Punch

What Annie’s Eating’s Butternut Squash/Apple Soup with Asiago and Sage Croutons

Flours in Your Hair’s Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Pie

Confetti Kitchen’s Kale Salad with Chicken and Apple

Salted Plains’ Gluten-Free Apple Crumb Cake

Easy and Delish’s Fun Candy Corn Apple Pops

This Mess is Ours’ Easy Baked Apple Custard

Butter Loves Company’s Gingerbread with Brandied Apples

Zestful Kitchen’s Puffed Apple Pancake

Sweet Pillar Food’s Apple Honey Brie

A Farmgirl’s Dabbles Peanut Butter Apple Cookies

Amee’s Savory Dish’s Peanut Butter Protein Dip

Especially Southern Dishes’ Apple Pie Egg Rolls

Pie Girl Bakes’ Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Cocoa and Salt’s Vegan Apple Stuffin’ Muffins

Saltnpepperhere’s Honey Apple Muffins

Worthy Pause’s Thanksgiving-in-Your-Mouth Paleo Stuffing

Baking The Goods’ Apple Cheddar and Thyme Scones

Smart in the Kitchen’s Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Crisp

Inspired by the Seasons’ Brussels Sprout & Apple Slaw

Sprouting Radiance’s White Bean and Apple Soup

Feed the Swimmer’s Apple Buckwheat Galette with Halva and Maple Tahini

It’s a Veg World After All’s Individual Microwave Apple Crisp

Farm and Coast Cookery’s Apple Cider Donut “French Toast”

Champagne and Cookies’ Apple Cheddar Galette

What’s Karen Cooking’s Country Apple Cake with Cardamom Apple Compote

The Foodie and the Fit’s Venetian Bread Pudding with Apples

Ful-filled’s Milopita – Greek Apple Cake

 

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

    For the Apple Layer
  • 4-5 Apples peeled, and cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • For the Caramel Cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups milk (depending on the consistency of your batter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce, I used store-bought + Caramel for drizzling

Instructions

    For the Apple Layer
  1. Place apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter in a medium sauce pan and stir until combines
  2. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples begin to soften
  3. transfer the apples into the bottom of a butter-greased bunt pan, arranging them one layer at a time
  4. Discard the syrup
  5. For the Caramel Cake
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F
  7. Beat together butter and brown sugar until creamed
  8. Add eggs, vanilla extract and milk, beat on low speed until combined
  9. Slowly add in the four, increasing the speed
  10. If your batter is too thick, add more milk
  11. Pour in your caramel sauce and beat until smooth
  12. Pour the batter over the apples in an even layer, smoothing out with a spoon
  13. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes
  14. Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before flipping onto your serving plate
  15. Drizzle with caramel sauce
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Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles [Zoodles] with Kafta Meatballs

 

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

I saw a meme once that said something along the lines of, every girl’s dream is not to find the perfect man, it’s to eat whatever she wants without getting fat. 

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

So. Much. Truth. Unfortunately, that requires going to the gym more than once a month and not eating all the things I love — bread, pasta, cheese, salt and vinegar chips, crispy chicken, etc. I know I’m not the only one struggling here! Although I do love pasta, there have been some pretty solid vegetable substitutes. I won’t lie to you and tell you zoodles or spaghetti squash taste anything like actual spaghetti. But it’ll do the job when you’re really trying to cut the carbs. Carbbsss … I’m still thinking about my Rosemary Green and Black Olive Bread.

But we’ll save that for a cheat day. Until then, I’ll be upping the spaghetti squash intake and trying my hardest to replace carbs with veggies.

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

I still haven’t found a suitable bread replacement. Will share once I get my hands on something delicious.

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles with Kafta Meatballs

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Noodles [Zoodles] with Kafta Meatballs

Yield: About 25 meatballs

Ingredients

    For the Zoodles
  • 4 Zucchinis
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 packed cup Parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Spice
  • Salt to taste
  • For the Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (or cooked/pureed tomatoes)
  • 2 tsp Seven Spice
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tbs White Vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare your zoodles by cutting the ends off each zucchini.
  2. Using a zoodler (or spiralizer), spiralizer your zucchini and set aside.
  3. Once the tomato sauce is simmering, add zoodles to a deep skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until softened.
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Pour the tomato sauce over the zoodles and add meatballs
  6. For the Meatballs
  7. Preheat oven to 400 F
  8. Place the ground beef into a large bowl
  9. In the bowl of a food processor, process red onion, parsley and spices until minced
  10. Add the minced onion and parsley to the ground beef and mix well
  11. Using your hands, form golf ball sized balls and set aside (you can use a melon baller or ice cream scoop for more even balls)
  12. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat
  13. Place the meatballs into the skillet and fry until browned all over
  14. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray
  15. Place the meatballs on the pan in a single layer
  16. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes
  17. For the Spicy Tomato Sauce
  18. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat
  19. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  20. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes
  21. Add the tomato sauce, Seven Spice, salt and pepper to taste, chili flakes and vinegar.
  22. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low
  23. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened
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Iraqi Breakfast: Bagila bil Dihin [Fried Eggs over Broad Beans]

Bagila Bil Dihin Fried Eggs Over Broad Beans

Who loves breakfast? I love breakfast! As a matter of fact, I love it so much I look forward to huge weekend breakfasts – Brunch, if you may. Usually because by the time I wake up, make coffee and get started in the kitchen, we don’t eat until somewhere around Noon or 1pm.

I’m trying something new and completely out of my zone: Iraqi breakfast. Yes, it’s a little different. Iraqis have a couple dishes that aren’t quite like the Palestinian ones I’m used to [see below for my faves]. One of which is Bagila bil Dihin. It sounds like a heart attack, since the translation is “beans with fat.” In reality, it’s just Fried Eggs over Broad Beans over soaked pita bread and topped with hot oil. Bagila is the Iraqi word for beans, broad beans or lava beans to be exact. Aside from Bagila bil Dihin, they also have a sweet dish Kahi and Geymar. What is it exactly? It’s layers of flaky pastry drowned in a sweet syrup topped with clotted cream. I used the recipe from Sara over at Add A Little Lemon. It’s delicious and super easy to follow. Trust me, you’ll love it with some freshly brewed tea.

Bagila Bil Dihin Fried Eggs Over Broad Beans

My favorite kind of breakfast is Palestinian breakfast. I’m talking mana’eesh, foul, hard boiled eggs, falafel, labaneh, honey and eshta, olives, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and lots of pita bread. The bigger the table, the better.

I have vivid memories of childhood Sundays filled with Arabic lessons and tables full of my favorite goodies afterwards. I usually woke up way too early and put all my Arabic books and homework together before my aunt came over to deliver a couple hours of rigorous Arabic tutoring. We essentially did a week’s worth of tutoring in a few hours. Thanks Amto! It totally paid off. The best part, though, was breakfast! It was a little hard to focus when I could smell a delicious mix of onions, zaatar and falafel, but I pulled through.

Bagila Bil Dihin Fried Eggs Over Broad Beans

Iraqi Breakfast: Bagila bil Dihin [Fried Eggs over Broad Beans]

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ lb Dried Broad Beans
  • Lemon Juice from one lemon
  • Dash of Salt
  • 2 large Pita Breads, cut into large cubes
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 Eggs

Instructions

  1. Soak the broad beans in water overnight then drain.
  2. In a medium pot, bring the beans to a boil with a dash of salt and lemon juice. Boil until softened (about 20 minutes), then remove the beans from the water, and set aside. Keep the water boiling over low heat, it is essential for the next step.
  3. To prepare the bread, place the bread cubes in the boiling bean water and remove immediately (just dip once and remove), then place on your platter
  4. Pour the broad beans over the bread
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over low heat, add the onions and fry until caramelized
  6. Beat the eggs and pour on top of the onions without stirring
  7. Once the eggs have cooked through, place the fried eggs over the beans and pour any extra oil over the whole platter
  8. Top with chopped parsley
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Sautéed Dandelion Greens [Elet]

Dandelion Greens

Last week, during my weekly visit to see my Tayta, she pulled out some sautéed greens, Elet (علت) and a few pita rounds. I hadn’t had Elet in a very long time and was really excited to share a plate with her. As we were sopping up the greens with pita bread, I asked for her recipe and diligently took notes (in my notes app), but I had one problem. I had to figure out what Elet was in English. After sending a couple WhatsApp messages to my cousins in Amman, I found that those delicious sautéed greens were actually dandelion greens. Sounds weird, right?

When I think Dandelions, I think those yellow flowers that grow between the grass and weeds. The ones I used to pick out to make makeshift flower bouquets for my mom.

Dandelion Greens

That’s not what I’m talking about here. Dandelion greens actually look a lot more like flat-leaf kale or Swiss chard. Each leaf has a sturdy spine that gives way to soft green leaves. Surprisingly, dandelion greens are sold at Wegmans and Whole Foods, so they’re not hard to find.

Does anyone else find it fascinating that Arabic food includes numerous veggies that don’t seem mainstream here in the U.S.? I still have a hard time explaining Mloukhiya to non Arabs. I now go with, it looks like creamed spinach, but not.

Dandelion Greens

 

Sautéed Dandelion Greens

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches Dandelion Greens
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 3 onions, two cut into long slices and the over chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemon)
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash the dandelion greens very well (they tend to have a lot of dirt)
  2. Cut the stems off the greens and chop into large squares
  3. In a large pot, bring the dandelion greens to a boil, and boil on medium-high heat until soft (about 10-15 minutes)
  4. Drain the greens and squeeze out the excess moisture, then set aside
  5. In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup vegetable oil and fry the sliced onions until caramelized, but not burnt, remove from pan and set aside.
  6. Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil and add the chopped onion. Cook until translucent
  7. Add the garlic and stir in the dandelion greens until combined and soft
  8. Squeeze lemon juice over the greens and stir
  9. Serve with the caramelized onions on top, and with a side of warm pita bread
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Dreamy Date Coconut Smoothie

Dreamy Date Coconut Smoothie_2

Back in April, I was in Amman and had the very fortunate luck to try out Seed Healthy, a health food shop specializing in juices, smoothies, and organic food. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t luck. I had been following Seed Healthy on Instagram for a while and just had to check it out. I’m so happy I did because I tried the most delicious date smoothie, and took one to go for my mom.

Dreamy Date Coconut Smoothie

I had totally forgotten about the smoothie, until this Ramadan. Ramadan is really the only time of year I actively eat dates. Mostly because I break my fast on dates. It’s no surprise then, that the first week of Ramadan, I decided I was going to whip up my own version of a date smoothie. Every afternoon I’d think about it, make sure I had all the ingredients I needed, and every evening I’d get so distracted by the actual meal that I wouldn’t get around to making the smoothie I was craving just a few hours earlier.

Dreamy Date Coconut Smoothie_2

I finally committed. I made the Dreamy Date Coconut Smoothie (conveniently, many months after Ramadan) and it was everything I had dreamed of!

Dreamy Date Coconut Smoothie

Dreamy Date Coconut Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 Dates, pitted
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2-3 cups Milk
  • 1/2 cup Ice
  • 1/4 cup Shredded Coconut
  • ¼ cup raw Almonds, chopped or 2 tablespoons Almond Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
  2. For a thinner consistency, add more milk
  3. Best if made fresh and used within 2 days
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