Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yemeni Appetizers

The whitefish appetizer is above and the white bean fasolia is lower in the multi serving bowl. Also had some tzatziki, olives and toasted pita bread. It was very rich and everything worked together very well!

Yemeni Whitefish Appetizer

▪8 to 12 cloves whole garlic, peeled
▪2 fresh red peppers sliced in chunks
▪1 tsp cumin or to taste
▪½ tsp turmeric or to taste
▪1 salt and freshly ground
▪1 pepper to taste
▪¼ cup vegetable oil
▪1 cup water
▪3 lb whitefish, whiting, sea bass or trout fillets
▪paprika to taste

1. Put the garlic, fresh red pepper, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, oil and water in a saucepan and simmer very slowly, covered for about 1½ hours.
2. Be careful not to let the sauce burn, adding water if necessary.
3. Pour some of the sauce in a baking pan and place the on top.
4. Spoon the rest of the sauce around the.
5. Cover and simmer on top of the stove for 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish flakes.

For the Fasolia:
Saute white kidney beans with onions.
Add tomatoes and blend or mash. 
Addition of some parsley or mint would go very well.
You could vary with onions and garlic as well!

Yemeni entrees and dessert

For the Yemeni entrees, we used two recipes from  A Yemeniyah's Recipes website. Both were quite easy to prepare and would be excellent to prepare early in the week to have lots of leftovers. I did find the Chicken and Rice recipe to have too much rice for the amount of chicken and sauce, so I would cut it down to 1.5 cups of rice rather than the 2 cups the recipe called for. It is like a lightly flavoured Indian dish and I would definitely make it again. Sorry, no photos today - we ate it long before I remembered to document both meals!

Chicken and Rice

chicken pieces - the recipe calls for a whole chicken but I used very large free-range chicken thighs instead (boneless and skinless).
a cup of yogurt (plain)
two small grains mastic
4 whole cardamon pods
a cinnamon bark
4 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of ground coriander
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp of ground black pepper
1/8 tsp of turmeric
1/8 tsp of curry powder
salt to taste
2 pinches of saffron threads –once pinch soak in about 1/4 of a cup of water
2 tablespoons of ghee
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups of basmati rice –washed
2 medium sized onions thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic finely minced
a green chilly pepper cut vertically –optional.

In a frying pan under medium heat add the ghee and oil and saute the onions until they are golden brown.  Then add the chicken and let cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and let cook for another couple of minutes. In the meantime add cumin, coriander, turmeric, ground cinnamon, ground black pepper, turmeric, curry powder to the yogurt and mix well. Then add the mixture to the chicken. Add a pinch of the saffron as well. Let cook for 3 minutes and then add 3/4 cup of water and cover and let cook under medium heat for another 10 minutes. In the meantime pre heat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and start to prepare the rice.
For the rice place a pot of hot water to boil. Salt the water and add the cinnamon bark, cardamon pods, peppercorns, and mastic and when it starts boiling add the rice. Let the rice cook under medium heat until it is almost cooked. So, it has a slight bite to it. Turn off the heat and run the rice through a sieve.
Now take an oven dish, or if your frying pan is deep enough and is oven safe take the cover off of the chicken mixture and later the rice on top of it. Then take the rice and form  a layer on top and drizzle the saffron soaks in water on top. Cover with foil and place in oven for 20-30 minutes. 

Lamb Chop in Red Sauce

3 lamb chops
3 tomatoes placed in hot water and then peeled , seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper or any red hot chilly powder that you like
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of coriander
1/8 of a tsp of turmeric
salt to taste
1/8 tsp of black pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
6 tablespoons of Olive Oil
one onion diced
Cilantro for garnish
lemon slices for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Using a frying pan add the olive oil and under medium high brown lamb chops. Remove chops and add the onions. Sauté. Add the tomatoes and let them cook for about 3 minutes. Then add all the spices –cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Let that cook for about 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and add a cup of water. Use boiled water from kettle. After about 3 minutes add the lamb chops, add more water to cover them completely (if your frying pan is not deep enough then transfer to an oven dish), cover with foil and place in the oven. Once you hear it bubbling lower the temperature to 350 and let bake for an hour to an hour and a half. Run a knife through the chops to make sure that they are tender. If tender then they are done. The sauce should be nice and thick, but not dry. Place on a serving platter, garnish with cilantro and lemon slices and serve with toasted french bread. Enjoy!

Finally, the dessert was very simple and I can see that the traditional method of breaking off pieces and dipping them in the additional butter and honey would be quite satisfying as well as a bonding experience as we humans tend to bond over shared things - food being the most important of all! 

Bint al Sahn - Honey Cake

1 packet dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs, beaten well
3/4 cups ghee
melted ghee or butter, for on serving platter
warm honey, also for serving

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and salt together and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture and beaten eggs into the well then stir together and turn out to kneed well. Mix in only 1/4 of ghee and continue to kneed. Add water if the dough is not elastic enough. Divide the dough into 16 balls about the size of the egg. Roll each ball into a flat, thin shape with either hands or a rolling pin. Brush a baking sheet with ghee and then stack 8 of the thin, rolled out balls on top of each other brushing with ghee on top of each one. You'll have two stacks at the end. Keep the stacks in a warm place for about 45 minutes and then bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 or until a light, golden brown. Serve hot with lots of melted butter and warm honey on the top. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

iXtapa Mexican dinner...yeah, yeah, we know it's not a country....

However, Ixtapa is a lovely region in Mexico that we decided to visit since their are no countries that start with the letter X. Borrowing the Mac flair, it seemed appropo to spell it iXtapa!

Spicy Black Bean Slow Cooker Soup

1 pound dry black beans, soaked overnight
4 teaspoons diced jalapeno peppers
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1. Drain black beans, rinse.
2. Combine all ingredients and cook on high for 4 hours. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 2 hours and serve. 

Cod and Haddock fillets coated with chick pea flour and Goya Adobo (spice)
fried in EVOO. Fry until lightly browned. Sorry about the presentation above...they tasted much better than they looked! 

Homemade tortillas 

(gluten free version made with coconut oil instead of Crisco, Robin Hood's Gluten-free mix flour)

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Crisco

1/2 cup water

Mix and let sit. Form into 1.5" balls and then roll out. Cook on a pizza stone for 30 seconds per side at 400-450 degrees. You can also cook them in a non-stick pan on the stovetop. P.S. they freeze well so make extra for the next time you eat Mexican!

Coleslaw...recipe is lost, but really, make whatever you like to put in your tortilla since it adds and authentic crunch!

Tostones (TOS-tone-ehs):

1. Take semi-ripe plantains (skins should be light green to light/medium brown)
2. slice into 1/4 inch pieces
3. Fry in EVOO with minced garlic
4. Remove to plate
5. Smoosh with bottom of a pan or glass
6. Return to fryer...fry until golden brown

7. salt to taste

Mexican Dessert - not authentic, but tasty!

We were just craving something fresh tasting and hit upon this recipe for an Avocado Lime Cheesecake. I added candied limes similar to this recipe (although I didn't take the time to blanche the lime slices first).  The recipe does say to use an ice cream maker and in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have ignored that recommendation. However, although creamy and not exactly solid, it was pretty darn tasty. Had it been in the freezer for another hour or two, it would have been solid for sure!