Znoud al-Sit (lady’s upper arm) which are cream filled pastry rolls


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Well, let me just say that his was my first time ever making or even eating these, but it will not be my last, insha Allah. Making them took time, of course…but these are amazing. They are a pastry type dough with a custard type, rose water flavored cream filling drenched in a sweet syrup…topped with coconut or ground nuts, even chocolate I suppose. They are perfect for anything. You can change the flavor of the custard too I am sure….but being my first time trying the recipe I decided to do as the recipe said. I am happy with my results. Highly recommend trying it.

the dough:

2 c flour

1tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs beaten

2/3 c water

2 tbsp hot oil

flour for work surface and oil for frying as well

 

to make this dough, combine the flour and salt then stir in the eggs and water to make a medium soft dough…knead lightly

then drizzle the hot oil over the dough and knead lightly again and set aside for 10 mins

divide the dough into 22 walnut sized pieces, depends on preference also

sprinkle the surface with flour and begin rolling out each piece as thin as possible, you want them rectangular to make them into little cigar shapes.

when you fill them, you will roll them a little, tuck in the sides, and finish rolling. similar to grape leaves.

 

the filling

4 heaping tbsps of cornstarch

3 tbsps sugar

2 c whole milk

1 tbsp rosewater….orrrr if you want to change the flavor, use another of your choice

in a small heavy bottom pot, mix cornstarch and flour with sugar slowly stirring in milk until it is completely dissolved

on medium heat, bring to a boil until it becomes thicker but make sure to stir so as not to burn…7-10 mins total cooking time for this.

It should be similar to custard, thicker then pudding. Take it away from the heat and add your choice of flavor and mix it in.

 

syrup

2 cups sugar

1  and 3/4 c water

1/4 c honey

1 tbsp lemon juice

either 2 cardamom pods or 1 tsp rose or orange blossom water

combine all the ingredients in a small pot and let it boil, stirring with a wooden spoon.  set aside when finished

 

so, to put all of this together is easy….take the dough you have rolled and place custard in the middle. Roll them like cigars, tucking on each edge so there will be no leakage, and then finish rolling it until closed.

when you fry them, make sure the seam is facing down.

You can arrange them on a plate and then poor syrup on them or you can dunk them into the syrup like I did….works better for me.

I also garnished them with coconut…although you can garnish them as you like…I know if I put coconut on anything, my husband will eat it. Looool

I loveeeeeeeee this recipe, yes it is time consuming and work…but it is worth it.

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Spritz cookies


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So, I went to a local thrift store here in Phoenix Arizona, and to my surprise I found theeeeee coolest thing ever…..a cookie press!!! My mom had one, and I remembered her as soon as I saw it. So, I bought it. I was imagining all the possibilities and things I plan to use it for. 2 bucks!!!! That is all I paid!! Big win!!! So i googled some recipes and this is the one I chose and used. They turned out awesome!!!! I have more to work on with pressing them, but it was fun!! I would recommend this for anyone who loves to “create bake” like me!!.

1 cup (227 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated whitesugar

1 largeegg

1 1/2 teaspoons purevanillaextract

2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all purposeflour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Read more:http://www.joyofbaking.com/SpritzCookies.html#ixzz1rQpYjBT3

Fatoush….my way


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I have fallen in love with this salad. It is so good. There are many spices used, the best vinegar I ever found, and the crunchy tanoor bread…incorporated together…yummmmm….Now here is what I used to make mine.

3 tomatoes diced up

1 big onion diced up

2 cucumbers peeled and diced up

1 bunch of fresh parsley

1 1/2 pieces of tanoor bread of some cut up pita

parmesan cheese

sumac

olive oil

vinegar

butnig-(iraqi dried wild mint)

zataar-(thyme sesame blend)

The first thing to do would be to prepare your bread by cutting it up into squares and mixing some sumac and parmesan with it and then adding olive oil….blend well

lay it out on a cookie sheet and let it turn crunchy

chop up your tomatoes, onion, and cucumbers and put into your salad bowl

chop up your parsley and add it to the salad

add butnig and zataar, about 2 tsps of each, depending on your desire mix it all up into the salad

then add vinegar and oil according to your taste….we do equal parts in our salads.

by this time the bread should be done and you can remove it, let it cool down and add it into your salad and mix all together.

Serve this with anything….It truly is an awesome salad!!!

Kurat al-Shbint…also known as Dill weed balls


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These little guys are pretty simple and pretty good. First time I ever tried them and made them. They are worth trying once if you like dill.

 

1/2 c oil

1/2 c melted butter

1 c yogurt

3/4 c fresh dill chopped or 3-4 tbsp dried dill

3 eggs, 1 of which you divide

4 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

 

Preheat your oven to 375F

In a medium sized bowl beat together oil, butter, yogurt, dill weed and 2 eggs and the egg yolk of the 3rd one, save the white part of the 3rd for glazing

Then you are going to mix in the flour, salt and baking powder and add oil to the mixture. Knead the dough to form a ball and let it sit for about 10 mins

Break away walnut sized pieces of the dough and rolling them into balls, placing them onto a greased baking sheet

Glaze the balls with the leftover egg whites and bake for about 15 mins or until golden brown.

 

We ate ours with tea, of course..I guess they can really go with anything. I might add cheese next time. They, to me were in need of something else but as simple as they are, they are still good.

 

Chai….Tea


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Tea is one of the staples for our home, as it is for many arab cultured homes and countries. The preparation of tea seems simple, it can be. There are different shades of tea by country, different types of tea as well. Many flavors and aromas. Simple and also not so simple. Our favorite is a cardamom flavored tea. I can honestly say, we never go a night without drinking it after dinner….it is a must have. Iraqis love tea with a lotttt of sugar LOL, I can’t get over that, and depending on where in Iraq, the tea is dark…We like ours just a bit lighter then that.

The best advice I can give you about making your chai (tea) is to boil the water with cardamom pods for a bit….2 of those 16 oz bottles of water for 1/4 c of loose tea leaves. The water should be at a rolling boil, dump the leaves in, count to 10 and take it off the heat. Swoosh it around a little bit and put it in a thermos or leave it in the pot, up to you. I prefer a thermos…serve it really hot.

Also, most Iraqis like their stikanah-not sure i spelled that right but it is a small glass special for drinking tea….and they even refer to is as Stikana Chai….LOL I love it.

Fatti Dejaj-Chicken Fatti (Syrian)


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So this is a new dish for us, never tried it or heard of it before I made it. I stumble upon this recipe and it looked delish…so I made it. My kids were looking at me like I was nuts, my husband was curious too..I am always scared to make a dish that they will not like. I make my husband taste everything I cook. I am paranoid I guess, but it hurts and bothers me when someone in our home eats and does not like it. I need to find ways to improve it….however, this dish was perfect and tasted soooo good. So here is the recipe I used for it. Good luck and happy eating!!!!

1 whole Chicken, roasted* (can also use chicken breast fillets if necessary, but not preferred)
3 pita bread rounds cut into bite size squares, deep fried till golden, set aside on paper towels to drain the oil
2 cups cooked rice (cook rice with chicken stock)
5 cloves garlic
1 clove garlic extra
1 Kg yoghurt
Salt & Black pepper to taste
1 cup toasted nuts (pine nuts, almonds & pistachio)
1 handful finely chopped parsley for garnish

TIP  There are many recipes to roast chicken, for this recipe simply:
Rinse chicken, cleaning the insides, pat dry, rub with lemon and salt. Place on baking dish. Crush 5 cloves of garlic then rub chicken with crushed garlic. Top with a dash of balsamic vinegar, black pepper and all spice to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil. add 1/2 cup water. Roast in 450 F oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Baste the chicken with the pan juices every 15 minutes so to stay moist. Add water to the pan if it starts drying out. To know if it is done check the thighs they should run out of juices, and the meat should easily seperate from the bone. Or an instant meat thermometer, should register 165-170F, when inserted in the flesh between the thigh and the body cavity without touching the bone or the bottom of the pan.
Once done set aside and when cool enough to handle seperate the meat from the bones in fairly big pieces. discard the bones and set the meat aside. You can use the pan juices as stock to prepare the rice.

Prepare garlic-yoghurt sauce
Crush 1 clove garlic add to yoghurt with salt & black pepper to taste. Mix well. Set aside, or keep in the fridge, till ready to use.

For serving fatteh it is best to use a deep, clear glass serving platter so your guests can see the layers. To create the layers: Place the fried bread at the bottom of serving dish in 1 even layer. Top with cooked rice in another even layer. Top cooked rice with prepared garlic-yohgurt sauce, then top yoghurt with Chicken pieces, toasted nuts & sprinkle with finely chopped and parsley. Season with a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve at room temperature.

TIP   If you have leftover chicken even if not following the same recipe, you can still use it to prepare this dish. If you are pressed for time, this is a great dish to prepare really fast. You can always buy ready roasted chicken at days when you are racing against the clock and use it in preparing this dish.

German Chocolate Cake…just when you thought you were safe


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So, around these parts, we love cake…well not so much me or my husband, but for him, if it has anything coconut, consider it his. Which makes my life easier because if i want him to eat it…coconut on it LOL…so I tried this recipe and decided I love it. I hate boxed cakes because you can actually taste the difference, like…the actual cardboard. Maybe I am weird but my step-dad told me that once and I did not believe him until I did the test. I made 2 cakes, 1 box and 1 home made…bigggg big big difference. So, here is the recipe I used for this cake. Hope you enjoy it as much if not more then we did.

 

4 ounces (115 grams) semi sweet chocolate, chopped

2 1/4 cups (270 grams) cakeflour

3/4 cup (70 grams) unsweetenedcocoa powder(preferably Dutch processed)

1 1/2 teaspoonsbaking powder

1/2 teaspoonbaking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (240 ml) lukewarm coffee (or water)

1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk

1 1/4 cups (280 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature

2 1/4 cups (450 grams) granulated whitesugar

5 largeeggs, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons purevanillaextract

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

1 cup (240 ml) pecans

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (240 ml) evaporated milk(can also use light or heavy cream)

3 large (60 grams) egg yolks, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sweetened or unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Lightly butter and flour (or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour spray), and line the bottoms of three – 8 x 2 inch deep (20 x 5 cm) round baking pans with parchment or wax paper.

In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

In a small bowl, combine the coffee (or water) and buttermilk.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about three to five minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Then add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated.

Add the coffee/buttermilk mixture and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are mixed together.

Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 -35 minutesor until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. (I like to rotate the pans about halfway through baking to ensure even baking.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Butter or lightly spray with a non stick vegetable spray a wire rack before inverting the cakes onto the rack to prevent the cakes from sticking. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven, cool, and then chop fairly fine.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, and when the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove from heat (about 5 minutes). Stir in the chopped pecans, coconut, and vanilla extract. Let cool until spreadable (about 30-60 minutes).

To Assemble: Place one layer of cake (top facing down), on your serving plate, and cover with one third of the frosting. Place the second layer of cake, onto the first cake layer and frost with another one-third of the frosting. Then add the third cake layer and frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting (sides of cake are left bare). The finished cake can be stored at room temperature for a 2-3 days or it can be refrigerated.

Serves 14-16 people.

Read more:http://www.joyofbaking.com/GermanChocolateCake.html#ixzz1quF7PpZi