Thursday, November 25, 2010

Eid Al Adha!

As usual when it comes to our family Eid traditions having starbucks after the Eid prayer, two frappachinos here
And a hot mocha espresso with whip for my second youngest sister

Headed over to pick up grandma and to a new Afghani restaurant we tried out this year:

Mango Yogurt drink (lassi, dough) my youngest sister orders every single time!

Delicious beef afghan curry !
Grilled meat platter
More meat!

Salad, and bread, we had rice too of course!

At the very top is a quail south african style biryani we whipped up last weekend after Eid, thanks to my youngest sister Munch n' Crunch for all the great photos covering the holiday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'll miss you Apricot Girl

Today I lost my dear companion kitten, eight month old bengal lost to Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
She was sweet, loving, very talkative and a foodie cat, she reminded me of myself in so many ways, we used to prep cook and photograph food together, she always made her way into the shots somehow though she was camera shy compared to her lovely sister.

We lost her sister in August after a month long battle with wet FIP.

I miss you both <3

Thursday, November 4, 2010

If I had a deep freezer I'd freeze ...

I want to make pretezels ... but if I had more room in my freezer I'd freeze them like last time since it's easier to make a big batch. They taste wonderful heated up because their crust gets crispy and the inside stay soft and chewy.. this got me thinking of buying a deep freezer.

Since I LOVE to make lists I thought I'd write out what would go inside it:

Lasagna (made with boil noodles)
Raw meatballs
Cooked meatballs

Homemade pasta sauces
Homemade pizza sauces

Homemade pizza dough
Homemade Pretzels
Homemade bagels

Artisan bakery breads
Pita bread
Homemade tortillas
Garlic bread (assembled from scratch)

Certain cheeses

Leftover slices of layered cream Cakes
Leftover spice cakes
Homemade cupcakes

Homemade whipped meringue buttercream frosting

Homemade fresh fruit purees
Freezer jam

Frozen berries and fruit

Ginger (for grating)
Chopped hot peppers
Lemongrass (cleaned and chopped)
Lemon juice with zest in it
Lime juice with zest in it
Simple syrup (for all kinds of drinks!)

Spice blends (like my arabic 7 spice blend)

Nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans..etc)
Seeds (roasted pumpkin and watermelon seeds)

Vegetable clippings for stock
(Shittaki stems, celery tops..)

Chicken bones for stock



Homemade Stocks
Roasted homemade stocks

Soups (for hotpot or pho)

Frozen boiled dry beans

Stews (like okra or goulash or gravy before thickening)

Homemade pet food
Homemade stock for pet food
Liver pate for pets

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baghali Polo

Here is a familiar dish that I recently learned had roots in Persia. My mother was introduced to this dish by my sister's childhood Kurdish friend when her mother brought a plate of it over to our house. It's a dill and fava bean rice, known as Baghali Polo in Persian Cuisine.

Favas in Arabic are Baqila, and they are very popular all over the Middle East. In Iraq they are known as Bajila and the dry form is boiled and served as a nice soup - introduced to you hopefully in another post sometime - and the green form is also cooked in this Persian style rice.

All that said I doubt they are as pouplar anywhere as in Egypt, where it is a hearty rustic dish that everyone is familiar with and known as "foul mudamas"

Just like peas and mint are a pouplar combination favas go beautifully with Dill, Shbint in Kurdish or Shibitt in Arabic and Farsi or sometimes Sheveen in Farsi too.
The rice my mother knew was made with a round calarose type rice in Kurdistan but upon searching almost all the Persian recipes were made with a nice fluffy basmati, and being my favourite rice I thought to go with it.

I've combined two recipes that I found online but it's a simple recipe.

-Lots of chopped fresh dill
-Shelled green baby favas (I had thawed from frozen)
-Soaking basmati in salted water for a few hours
-Took the recommendation from one recipe to sautee the fava with some garlic and set aside
-Bring Basmati to a boil for 10-12 mins in a big pot of salted water, drained and rinsed.

Then it was all assembled layering the rice over some oil and a few drops of water and then adding dill, fava and more rice until the last layer was rice. Making holes in the rice and steaming on high for 8 mins or so then adding a bit of water (less than half the amount of rice) and steaming with a lid covered in a kitchen towel for 40 mins or so on a low setting.
A little melted butter can be added to the top when it's done then flipped out onto a pan and gently arranged for serving.

Next time I'd like to add more dill, lots more and see what other things I can do to learn how to perfect the cooking process. I'd also like to add more chopped dill to it after it's cooked because I like the fresh taste.

Any tips and ideas are welcome, feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Making Manti

Some shots of manti making today using a recipe I found a short while ago, it was a perfect thing to do on this chilly November day while sipping a homemade pumpkin spice hot cocoa.

Manti are these turkish (also armenian and variations are made in different regions) dumplings made easy by stuffing a savoury spiced beef (or lamb) mixture into a wonton wrapper and baking until golden then baking one more time with a flavourful broth. The dumplings are tender with golden crispy tips served with yogurt sauce.

Recipe courtesy of My Barbarian Table