Cake · Middle Eastern · Pastry

Persian Love Cake

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Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 14 tablespoons baker’s sugar or superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds (removed from about 5 green cardamom pods)

Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 8oz of marscapone cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey

Filling

  • 2, 6 oz cups of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of ground pistachios

PREPARATION

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff. Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)

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For frosting:
Combine 1/2 cup cream, honey and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes. Chill until cold.

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Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread greek yogurt and ground pistachios–you will have extra, save it and top your oatmeal with it. Top with second cake layer, flat side down.

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Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with strawberries

 

Middle Eastern · Poultry

Orange Saffron Drumsticks

  
A unique flavor spin on your typical of drumsticks.  Roast it or grill it, this will become a new staple in your recipe box.  If you are not a fan of drumsticks, try it on chicken breasts or thighs.

Ingredients:

1lb bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks

zest and juice of 1 large orange

2 tbsp of rosemary

1 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp of saffron

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Marinade chicken in all the ingredients for 3hrs upto overnight.

  
Bake in a 375F oven for 45mins till cooked through.

Savor !

   

Middle Eastern · Moroccan · Poultry · Stew

Chicken Tagine

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A delicious Moroccan dish which is perfect on a cold day.  Traditionally cooked in a Tagine and made with lamb, the dish has evolved and now can be made with chicken and a variety of dried fruits and spices.  I read a bunch of recipes and picked the best parts and came up with my own concoction.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, 1 inch of ginger, 2 cloves of garlic- chopped together.

3 lbs of chicken cubed

1 tbsp of tomato paste

1 1/2tsp of coriander seeds

3/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp of red pepper flakes

1 1/4 cinnamon

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 ground ginger

1/2 turmeric

1/2 cup of chopped dates and apricots

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 tbsp of parsley

1tbsp of olive oil

2 cups or more (enough to cover the pot) water

1 pinch of saffron threads

Method:

Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions, garlic, ginger, tomato paste and all the spices till fragrant.

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Add the chicken and keep sautéing till the chicken is almost cooked through

Cover with water and add the saffron

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Simmer on medium low heat till water reduces

Add the dried fruits, nuts and parsley and continue simmer till the sauce comes together and is thick in consistency.

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Serve hot with couscous.

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Fish Course · Middle Eastern

Tilapia with Chermoula

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Here is dinner number two I made for my mom.  It is a new way to cook Tilapia, although the original recipe called for grilled Halibut.  However, the star of the meal is definitely the Chermoula, a middle eastern style salsa–this has changed my life ! I will be making it often and putting it on everything from fish to chicken to shrimp !!
Ingredients

Chermoula:

  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile de arbol
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 red bell peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced and seeded
  • 20 fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

For the chermoula: Combine the saffron and hot water in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to bloom. Heat the canola oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Cook the ancho, coriander, cumin and chile de arbol for 1 minute. Add the saffron and its soaking water. Remove from the heat.

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Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic-saffron mixture in a medium bowl. Mix in the bell peppers, tomatoes, mint leaves and cilantro. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, or refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Sprinkle Tilapia fillets with salt, pepper and lemon zest.  Bake at 350F till cooked through, approximately 20mins.

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Serve the fish with the chermoula.  Enjoy !

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Dessert · Middle Eastern · Pastry

Chocolate-Hazelnut Baklava

I saw this on pinterest. I made it for a lab party. It is SINFUL ! Enough said 😀

This is truly a decadent recipe and the original recipe comes from Food and Wine magazine.  Here is the link.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chocolate-hazelnut-baklava

I followed the recipe to the word so i will be lazy and not write our the recipe but here are some pictures to get your taste buds drooling.

after toasting the nuts and taking the skin off.  This will take some time but rub off the skin between a kitchen towel.

And here they are, all ready to be turned into a yummy filling

And here is the filling with the chocolate in it !

And now for the phyllo.  FOLLOW the directions and when they saw keep the sheets covered, keep them covered with a damp towels.  If the phyllo dries out it will turn brittle and tear–not good.

And now goes in the filling

And this is what it looks like after all the layers have been assembled. Cut up and ready to bake !

While it bakes make the syrup.  I put in a whole cinnamon stick for good measure 🙂

And that is what it looks like right out of the oven.  All golden and delicious. I pierced each square with a whole clove (for decoration) and then poured over the syrup on the hot baklava.

And after resisting the urge to eat the whole pan, I waited patiently, overnight and this is what it looks like and trust me it tastes even better !

Comfort food · Dinner · Middle Eastern

Syrian Spinach and Lentils

I have to thank ABC’s Diane Sawyer for this recipe.  During her travels to the Middle East she had the opportunity to taste the local food and share it with us back in the states.  This recipe visually looks ok, sounds good , but tastes  AMAZING.  I grew up with a lot of lentil soup and generally enjoy the flavor, but this was a great combination and I will be making this often.  It is loaded in magnesium and folic acids–so it is a super yummy way to get a lot of good stuff into your diet.  Not to mention that it is hearty and filling.  So here it is.

Ingredients

1 16 oz frozen leaf spinach

1 medium-size onion, peeled

5 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup dried lentils, picked over, washed, and drained

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin seeds

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Directions

Cut the onion in half lengthwise, and then cut the halves into fine half rings.

Heat the oil in and add the onion and garlic.

Stir and saute for 2 minutes.

Now put in the lentils and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil.

Cover, lower heat and simmer about 25 minutes or until lentils are just tender.

Add the thawed and drained spinach leaves along with salt and cumin.

Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.

Cover and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes or until spinach is tender and well-mixed into the lentils. Stir gently a few times during this period.

Put in the black pepper and mix again.

This dish may easily be made ahead of time and reheated.