Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Om Ali- Egyptian Bread Pudding


This is my favorite Egyptian dessert, pieces of puff pastry baked in a clay bowl with nuts, raisins and coconut, covered in hot sweetened milk and cream. What makes this dish more delicious is the story behind how it got the name 'Om Ali'. Legend has it that Om Ali was the first wife of the Sultan Ezz El Din Aybek. In Egypt, women were not allowed to rule, but were permitted to be guardians to their sons who would become king when they came of age.

When the sultan died, his second wife had a dispute with Om Ali over whose son would be the successor to the Sultan. The second wife was heavily guarded making it difficult for Om Ali to get rid of her.Om Ali hatched came out with a perfect plot to kill her.She was beaten to death by her handmaids while taking a bath.To celebrate her death, Om Ali made this dessert and distributed it among the people of the land.

There are many variety of recipes available to make Om Ali', but i found this recipe to be super easy to do at home and it came out to be the best middle eastern bread pudding I have ever tasted!


Ingredients:

5 1/2 ounces puff pastry, baked (you could substitute for croissants)
2 ounces ground almonds
2 ounces ground hazelnuts
1 ounce raisins
1 ounce coconut flakes
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup cream, whipped

Directions:

1. Break the puff pastry into bite-sized pieces.
2. Mix pastry with nuts, raisins and coconut and put in a deep serving dish.
3. Put the sugar and milk in a pot and bring to a boil.
4. Pour over the pastry, nuts and raisins.
5. Spread whipped cream evenly over mixture.
6. Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chicken Tacos




This is one more recipe that is inspired from iron chef, Jose Garces who has a huge presence in Philadelphia.  This recipe combines a delicious mix of several fresh and healthy ingredients.  The use of chayote adds an extra crunch and chillies gives an extra kick while the avocado and cucumber give the desired cooling.  I customized this by adding habanero curry powder to the chicken which adds to the boldness of the heat!!
 
Ingredients:
Cube Chicken - 1 pound, 1 bell pepper, 1 onion, 1 teaspoon habanero curry powder, 1 teaspoon corn starch, salt to taste,
Corn Tortillas (6 inch)-12 ea
Chayote and Cucumber Salad- see recipe
Chile Sauce – see recipe
Avocado Espuma – see recipe

Chayote & Cucumber Salad Recipe
Chayote-1 ea, julienne
Cucumber-1 ea, julienne
Lime Juice-2 ea, fresh squeezed
Cilantro-1/4 bunch, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil-2 Tbs
Preparation:
Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and reserve for taco.

Chile Sauce Recipe
Dried Red Chiles-10 ea, remove stem, toasted
Onion-1/2 ea, medium dice
Plum Tomato-2 ea, rough chopped
Garlic-1 ea, clove
Cumin Seeds-1 tsp, toasted
Fennel seeds-5 ea, toasted
Sesame Seeds-2 tbs, toasted
Apple Cider Vinegar- 2 tbs
Water-1 ½ c
Vegetable Oil-2 Tbs
Salt-1 tbs
Preparation:
Combine all ingredients except for salt and oil, in a pot and reduce by ½. Puree in a blender and emulsify with oil. Season with salt.

Avocado Espuma Recipe
Avocado-1/2 ea, peeled and chopped
Jalapeño-1/2 ea, peeled and chopped
Cilantro-1/4 bunch, just leaves
Lemon Juice-1 ½ tsp, fresh squeezed
Light Cream-1/4 cup
Sugar-1/2 tsp
Salt-1 tbs
Preparation:
Puree in a blender and refrigerate till ready for use.

Assembling the taco:
Stir fry finely chopped bell pepper (1 ea), onion (1 ea) in oil for 5 minutes at high heat.  Coat chicken cubes with corn starch, salt and stir fry chicken for 5 minutes at high heat.   Mix both chicken and vegetables and stir fry for 2 minutes at high heat after adding habanero curry powder. 
Warm the corn tortillas on a pan, about 30 seconds on each side at medium heat.
Spread 1 tbs of the avocado espuma on the bottom of the tortillas. Lay 1 teaspoon of chicken on the spread. Add a desired amount of the chayote-cucumber salad on top. Finish with a tsp of the chile de arbol sauce and serve.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Caribbean Chicken Wings




























Caribbean spiced rub chicken wings are the ultimate party wings, easy to prepare with sensational flavor.
If you are getting bored with same old Buffalo wings recipes and want to try something new, then give these flavor packed wings a try. I like this version better than most of the recipes out there, wings are baked instead of frying and they're glazed with a sweet and spicy sauce that's out of this world! 

Ingredients

1 habanero, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
7 pounds chicken wings


Directions:

1.In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients but the chicken until smooth. Keep one cup of marinade.

2.Place chicken wings into a re-sealable plastic bag and pour remaining marinade over them. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator 4 to 6 hours.

3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet trays with parchment. Remove chicken from bag and place on the baking sheets.

4. Bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring reserved marinade to a boil. Reduce by 1/3 until it thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.

5.After 20 minutes, remove chicken from oven. Brush chicken with the glaze. Raise the heat to 400 degrees F and cook chicken until cooked through, another 20 minutes.






Friday, January 13, 2012

Summer Squash in Tomato Sauce

           





























Summer squashes are from Cucurbitaceae family and relatives of both the melon and the cucumber, come in many different varieties. While each variety may have a distinct shape, color, size and flavor, all varieties share some common characteristics. Regardless of variety, all parts of summer squash are edible, including the flesh, seeds and skin.

The delicate flavor, soft shell and creamy white flesh of summer squash is a perfect addition to any meal; it can be sautéed, baked and curried depends on your taste.  Even though harvest is plentiful in summer months, it’s available in year around in any super market. This is really simple dish to make and can be enjoyed with bowl of rice or piece of warm bread.

Ingredients:
3 tbsps olive oil
1 clove garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2 lbs Italian plum tomato
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
12 tsp black pepper (finely ground)
3 tbsps tomato paste
12 Summer Squash (thinly sliced)
2 tbsps basil (chopped)
1 can of green pea (small)

Directions:
1. Heat the olive oil, add the garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer slowly for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add salt, sugar, pepper and tomato paste and simmer again for 10 minutes. Add the squash and cook until just pierceable (about 15 minutes).

3. Stir in the chopped basil and cool.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Apples and Leeks

 






Acorn squash, which is one of the sweeter varieties of wonderful, versatile vegetable. This Acorn recipe is delicious and easy to put together. Halved squash are perfect individual servings and neatly encompass the rye bread, apple-leek filling. Baking the squash in a bath of broth makes them extra tender and flavorful. If you are throwing any winter holiday party, this would make a great vegetarian side dish for any roasted meat.

When you choose a squash, you need to get the ones that are heavy for their size and have a hard, deep-colored rind free of blemishes or moldy spots. As for pre- bake preparation tip, first cut a little slice off one side so that you have a flat side to stabilize it on while cutting in half. Once the seeds are removed, Acorn squash can be baked, steamed or simmered. They're a good source of iron, riboflavin and vitamins A (more than summer squash) and C.

 

Ingredients

4 acorn squash (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise and seeded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced celery
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
10 ounces day-old rustic rye bread—crusts removed, bread cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 6 cups)
7 ounces vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup vegetable stock or low-sodium broth

Directions:

1.Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and season the cavities with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on two baking sheets and roast for about 25 minutes, until just tender.

2.Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the celery, leeks and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the apples and thyme and cook over moderately high heat until the apples just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Add the bread, chestnuts, parsley, cream and stock and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

3.Turn the squash cut side up. Spoon the stuffing into the cavities and bake until the squash are tender and the stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.

Note: This recipe is  from Food & Wine magazine

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 !!!


As the New Year dawns …

May it bring for you & your love ones…
The beginning of…

New hopes
Higher aspirations
And greater possibilities...

HAPPY
NEW
YEAR!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Triple Chocolate Brownies

  
  


I hope every one is having a good time in this holiday season.  I just saw Nigella Lawson prepare these delicious brownies on TV and I had to give it a go J. These are the best brownies ever, perfectly 'squishy' in the middle and its effortless to make at home. The only adjustment I made was to add melted chocolate syrup and chopped cashews for garnishing.

Ingredients
  • 3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces best-quality bitter-sweet chocolate
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate buttons, chips, or morsels
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate buttons, chips or morsels
  • Approximately 2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar, for garnish
  • Special equipment: Baking tin (approximately 11 1/4 inches by 9 inches by 2 inches), sides and base lined with baking parchment.
Directions
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy based pan over a low heat.
3. In a bowl or large measuring jug, beat the eggs together with the superfine sugar and vanilla extract.

4, Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the white chocolate buttons or chips, and the semisweet chocolate buttons or chips. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes. You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dries to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey. Even with such a big batch you do need to keep checking on it: the difference between gooey brownies and dry ones is only a few minutes. Remember, too, that they will continue to cook as they cool.

6. To serve, cut into squares while still warm and pile up on a large plate, sprinkling with confectioners' sugar pushed with a teaspoon through a small sieve.

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