Hummus…


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I love this, with almost everything. You can eat it alone, dip meats or bread in it..whatever you want to do with it, you can.  Add to the recipe flavors that you want whether it be to spice it up or give it a spin. The more tahini sauce, for me, the better. I love it. Here is a simple recipe to do it yourself , the canned hummus, or the hummus pre-made is just not as good.

1 clove garlic

1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, half the liquid reserved

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

zataar and sumac, if you like, for garnish

In a blender, chop the garlic. Pour garbanzo beans into blender, reserving about a tablespoon for garnish. Place lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt in blender. Blend until creamy and well mixed.

Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with zataar, sumac  and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans.

Serve it with anything!! Warm flat bread is the best.

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Datley or Qaimat…


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Now these little things…good luck eating just one or two. I make them a lot. We have a family friend who loves them I think more then my husband, and when they are coming over, I make a double batch. They are like a small donut style sweet, soft and delicate inside with a hint of cardamom, and outside is…a little crunch, I guess you could say, smothered in a rosewater hinted syrup…..go ahead…drool. That is what tissues are made for. But seriously, these are good anytime. Awesome with tea or coffee…alone or not. LOL.

2 cups Flour

1 cup Plain Yogurt

1/4 teasp Yeast

1/4 teasp Salt

2 tsps of ground cardamom

Oil for deep frying

Syrup:

1 1/2 cup of white sugar–this depends on how think you want your syrup…more sugar for thicker (my person fav)

1 cup water

1 teasp lemon juice

2 tsp rosewater

make your dough, and I use a piping bag, like cake decorators use, with a tip that looks like it could be used for a big flower and squeeze about a 1/4 inch of dough over the oil and cut it Please be careful not to splash the oil onto yourself!!!….and I make sure my syrup is done and set aside before I cook these because they cook fast and I make sure to dunk each one in the syrup as soon as they come out of the oil.

For the Love of Spices!!!


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Spices and presentation are what give each and every single dish in any cooking, it’s personality. This is my opinion. There are indeed many dishes around the world that are similar to one another, from each country, and this is for sure. One of the biggest differences, to me, are the spices. I love them. I hoard them ahahahaha….some women have a love of shoes and clothes, not this one…Mine is spices. I have the messiest spice cabinet ever but I think I have every single spice from here to Iraq and back. I just can not get enough. If a spice becomes missing from over use, I can tell it is not there and it does not feel right. So, these are some of the spices used in Iraqi cooking.

Chocolate chip walnut banana bread…to die for


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2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1  1/8 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbsp buttermilk (I used regular milk)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 large ripe bananas~mashed

3/4 cup chopped walnuts for inside the bread

1/2 cup chopped walnuts for on top-i always use more

3 big handfuls semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre heat over to 325*  Grease and flour loaf pan.

Blend flour, baking soda and salt …set aside

Mix egg, sugar and oil until combined…add the flour mixture. When blended add the milk, vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until combined.

Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.

Pour into loaf pan.

Top batter with remaining walnuts.

Bake 45 – 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out pretty clean.

Cool for 10 minutes

Carrot Sweets or Halwa Jizar


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I was looking for this recipe for many years, and after asking many people from different parts of Iraq, I fond one that my husband likes so much, he eats the whole plate. I have tasted this one time and loved it. My husband on the other hand, has tasted all of it…..and then it is gone. I am for sure not complaining, I use him to taste everything I am cooking. Either way, I never knew that carrots could be done this way, I did know about carrot cake, but this is more like a carrot pudding, or a carrot custard so to say. It is amazing. It really is, and it goes wonderful with tea or chai…which ever you like to call it. Enjoy the recipe and pictures and at least try it once!! You will not regret it.

2 lbs of carrots shredded
2 cups of sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c butter
1/2 cornstarch
1 to 2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp rosewater

garnish with toasted walnuts or pistachios and or coconut

first thing you will put the carrots in a medium pot with just enough water to cover them, about 3 1/2 to 4 cups. Bring them to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for about 30 mins. Drain them when done, into a colander fitted into a bowl as to not lose the water from the carrots. Set it aside.

then using the carrot water you will make it into a syrup by dissolving the sugar into 2 cups of the reserved liquid. if you need more add more liquid.

while that is cooking, in a heavy bottom sauce pan melt the butter on medium heat and stir on the cornstarch until it starts to change color so about 10 mins. Fold in the drained carrots and mix very well.

Pour the syrup mix into the carrots mixture and keep it cooking on medium. Make sure you are stirring occasionally until the mixture is thickened and the carrots become somewhat transparent, or about 30 minutes. Add the rosewater and cardamom.

Spread it into a large dish and garnish and cut into wedges or squares. ENJOY!!!

Banana Pistachio Cake-Kekat al-Mouz wal Fistiq


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This is a new recipe I tried out from a wonderful cookbook given to me by an amazing friend.
This cake has 3 layers with a cream filling, bananas and pistachios in each layer.

For the cake:

1/2 c oil

1 1/2 c granulated sugar

3 eggs 1 c mashed bananas or about 3 medium bananas

2 tsp rosewater

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 c all purpose white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 c milk or buttermilk

1/2 c chopped toasted nuts

for filling:

1 c chilled whipping cream

2 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp rosewater

thin slices of bananas

Icing:

1/2 c packed brown sugar

1/4 c whipping cream

3 tbsp butter

1/2 c powdered sugar

1 tsp rosewater

Garnish with banana slices and ground pistachios

to make the cake itself, mix oil, sugar, and eggs for 2 mins. Add the mashed bananas, rose water, and vanilla. Mix well.  Then Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Do not over beat the mixture just make sure it is mixed well enough to be combined. Fold in nuts if used.

Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, make sure to evenly divide the batter between the two. Put into a preheated 375F oven for about 30 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Completely cool.

The filling is made by having a bowl already chilled and whipping the cream in it until it holds soft peaks, or can somewhat stand on it’s own.  Add sugar and rosewater and whip it together until stiff peaks form. You may want to use cool whip instead and if so just add the rosewater to it.

Cakes should be totally cooled and you want to slice them in 1/2 horizontally so you have 4 layers….spreading the filling on each layer with banana slices placed neatly. stack your layers.

The Icing is made by using a small sauce pan and combining sugar, cream and butter and bring mixture to a boil while stirring and making sure the sugar dissolves, then boil for about 2 more minutes. Let it cool to room temp and add powdered sugar and rosewater stirring until it is smooth. Immediately spread on the surface of the cake allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle pistachios on top and decorate as you’d like. Enjoy!!!!!