Farewell to Summer

Friday, September 23 marks the first day of fall. I’ve noticed because I’ve been pining for my boots and thick sweaters and we haven’t had a day over 80 degrees for two weeks. While fall brings us so many delicious flavors (and fabulous fashions) I’d like to bid summer farewell with a special strawberry salad.

Let me note that I really don’t believe in fruit in my salad or on my pizza (tomatoes don’t count). There’s something about mixing salty and sweet in a salad or on a pizza is not appetizing to me. However, I put my predetermined notions aside and took a risk, the result was a beautiful blend of summer flavors.

 

 

Strawberry Pecan Salad Recipe

Ingredients

Mixed Greens
Strawberries
Candied Pecans
Feta Cheese, crumbled
Organic Raspberry Dressing
 

Directions

 Wash Mixed Greens and cut the strawberries into slices.
Mix together mixed greens, strawberries, candied pecans and feta cheese.
Top with organic raspberry dressing.

How Clean is Your Kitchen?

I was browsing around The Nest this afternoon when I came across this article Would Your Kitchen Pass a Health Inspection? 

 A very interesting article, that we should all take into consideration. I do a full house cleaning once a week – that means kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, floors and dusting, an everything in between. I also wipe down my kitchen counters after cooking. However, this mini quiz opened up my eyes to some interesting information. Take the quiz: Quiz: Would Your Kitchen Pass a Health Inspection? 

 

My Quiz Result: Cleanish.

Take the quiz and share your results in the comments.

Koussa Mahshe Bel Laban (Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt Sauce)

When you’re in the mood for cooked yogurt, but don’t want to go through the trouble of making Mansaf (a traditional Jordanian dish that calls for yogurt derived from goat milk and lamb), that’s when you turn to laban matboukh – literally translated to cooked yogurt.

 

There are a couple steps to this dish, but they’re all fairly simple. The nice thing about the yogurt is that you can use it for stuffed zucchini, as well as kubbeh.

I would start with the koussa

 

Koussa Mahshe Recipe

Ingredients

Stuffing (recipe below)
6 Zucchinis
Corer
Vegetable Oil
 

Directions

Remove the insides of the zucchini without piercing the sides or the bottom. Discard the insides.
Stuff the zucchini with the meat stuffing, making sure to push the stuffing all the way down, and leave 1/2 inch from the opening of the zucchini.
After stuffing each one, brown the zucchini in a skillet with vegetable oil until lightly browned. Keep the zucchini aside.

Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients

1 lb Ground Beef
1 medium Onion, chopped
Vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
Salt and Pepper
 

Directions

Heat the vegetable oil, add the onion and cook until translucent
Add ground beef, and cook until browned, stir.
Season the meat with salt, pepper and allspice.
 

 

Laban Matboukh (Cooked Yogurt) Recipe

Ingredients

4 cups Plain Yogurt
2 Egg Whites, beaten until frothy
4 tablespoons Cornstarch
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Salt
 

Directions

Place yogurt in a heavy saucepan.
Blend egg whites into the yogurt.
Add cornstarch
Stir in the same direction until well blended
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly
Once yogurt boils, lower heat.
Add cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Allow the yogurt to simmer until done.
 
If you’re adding the zucchini to the yogurt sauce (as I did), carefully place the zucchini in the yogurt, add 1-1 1/2 cups water and stir carefully without breaking the zucchini. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

 

 

Cookbooks

I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday, and after browsing through the bargain books section, I made my way over the cookbooks. I love bookstores. There’s something about the smell of new books, and all these titles just staring you in the face. Speaking of staring me in the face – Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking did just that. I had to have it! French cooking, from what I’ve gathered (and tried in the past) is very elegant. The ingredients, as well as the presentation make the cuisine delectable. I’m very excited to have my very own French cookbook – the only downside – no photos. That’s alright. It leaves presentation up to the imagination.

I’ve also been procrastinating purchasing 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know. As many of you may know, the book was made famous because of a special recipe for Engagement Chicken – which I’ve heard yields diamond rings. I haven’t tried it myself (I snagged my man sans cooking skills), but I had to get the cookbook and try out the other results-yielding recipes. I love the names “Get Skinny Dip,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside Crabmeat Soup,” “Bikini Season Baked Salmon,” and “Promotion Rib Eye” are just a few of the fun names. I can’t wait to try them all out!

 

 

 

Do you have a cookbook you love? Or  even a cookbook you’d like to try out? Share the titles and authors in the comments.

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice

September is the beginning of fall-inspired foods. Most of us wait all year for this season, when Starbucks rolls out with its Pumpkin Spice Latte (now available at your local Starbucks).

Fall is here. This time of year, I’m obsessed with all things pumpkin – cookies, cakes, pies, coffee, creamer, etc. If it has pumpkin, I’m having it. Let’s not forget childhood trips to the pumpkin patch. The rule was, if you can carry it, you can have it. Although you might think I have outgrown such activities, think again. Now that I have a a few nephews, I have an excuse to get back out there, ride the hay rides and get my face painted. I’m only doing it for the kids, right?

Nostalgia in our minds, what better way to celebrate the beginning of the season than with homemade Choco-Pumpkin Pancakes!

 

Choco-Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

Bisquick mix  (as directed)
1/2-1 cup Canned Pumpkin
2 tablespoons Sugar
Extra Milk
1/3 – 2/3 cup(s) Chocolate Chips
 

Directions

Whisk batter, pumpkin, sugar, milk together. Add chocolate chips and mix well.
Pour into greased skillet
Optional: serve with whipped cream sprinkle pumpkin spice
 

 

I also discovered a great way to make homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Basically, make your espresso as you usually would. Before adding the milk, add 1 teaspoon organic canned pumpkin and a few sprinkles of pumpkin spice. Stir well. Add steamed/heated milk. Top with fat-free whipped cream and pumpkin spice.

Special Request: Fattet Betenjan

Apparently, I’m taking requests for recipes now. Today’s request comes from my very best friend who’s been searching for the recipe for Fattet Betenjan (literally translated to Eggplant Crumbles) since she tasted it at a party. It’s a fairly easy dish and can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Some people add ground beef to their Fatteh. My version is vegetarian.

 

 

Ingredients

Arabic Bread (aka Pita Bread)
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
1 can Chickpeas, drained
2 cups Plain Yogurt
4 large (or 6 small) Eggplants
Vegetable Oil
 

Directions

Cut the bread into small squares, and fry in vegetable oil until lightly browned.
Cut the eggplant into squares and lightly salt. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Fry the eggplant in the same oil used for the bread, add more oil if necessary.
Fry the pine nuts in the same oil.
In a bowl, mix plain yogurt with 2 cloves garlic, whisk until combined well.
In a deep serving dish, layer as follows: Eggplant, Bread, Chickpeas, Yogurt, Pine Nuts

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