For the love of Kubbah!!! and you will love it


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I was looking to make this dish for a while and i decided that I would do mine a little different sand throw some stuffed veggies in with it. Why not right? So I made bulgar wheat kubbah and stuffed zucchini simmered in a garlic yogurt sauce and baked in the oven…..my husband then called it “Delicious” which is hugeeeeeeee only because he rarely if ever uses that word for anything, at all. I was cheesy all night and floating. I love to surprise him. I think some times I try to hard, but it’s ok. I will get over it, maybe. lol. Anyways, so back to this dish…it has flavor and lots of it. We grow our vegetables ourselves so it makes things taste that much better. I highly recommend any serious cooker to do so…of course, non serious cookers too…heck, anyone!! LOL…ok so here are the ingredients and the way to do it.

FILLING:

2 lbs lean ground beef

1 tbsp oil

2 medium onions finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp dried lemon

1/4 c fresh parsley

1/2 c pine nuts

I start this first by sauteing the onions until lightly golden and then adding everything else into the pot as well and turning it on low to let it cook all together. I know, some people are like “NOOOO” but yes, this is my way. I am a multitasker  so if I can do it, I will. While this is slow cooking on medium low, make sure you stir and bread up the meat really good.

Core out your zucchini and lightly oil the insides and outsides and set aside because you will lightly fry them before baking

BULGAR DOUGH:

2 cups of bulgar to about 1 cup of flour or farinah or even rice flour can be used….the bulgar should have been pre-soaked because it needs to be puffed up…so just soak it before hand. It needs about 45 mins to be done soaking.

After the bulgar is soaked, if there is a lot of water left in the bulgar, dump some of it out, you want to keep enough to make the dough…you can always add more water. I also add a couple tsps of allspice and a teaspoon of salt for the dough. Mix it all together and it should be kind of sticky but not too sticky. test it by rolling some into a ball and flattening it, if it starts to break apart, you need to add more flour.

Start stuffing!!!! Make a ball with your perfect dough and flatten it in your hands, scoop a desired amount of filling into the middle of the flattened ball and then pulls the sides up and over to reform a ball and enclose that delicious filling mixture.  Make sure it is sealed well and flatten a little to make somewhat of a disk. Lightly fry them as well.

You can now lightly fry the zucchini and stuff away!!!

Let all of that cool a bit before handling again, and make your yogurt sauce.

SAUCE:

2 c. yogurt

2 tbsps corn starch

1 c water

2 tsp crushed minced garlic

you can double this or whatever you feel is necessary for your dish

mix together very well

PUT IT TOGETHER!!

line your baking dish and start adding kubbah and veggies ….when finished, pour yogurt sauce over all of it and baked for about 40 mins at 350F…..

I served ours with saffron rice, but you do not need to

ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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!!!

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.

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.

Doulmah-stuffed grape leaves


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Doulmah is something that may be challenging to others, but once you actually do it a few times, it comes easy. You need to prep before you cook or you probably are going to forget something. Lol. With doulmah, in my opinion, it’s about how much time you have to combine the flavors and let it all soak in to each other. I cook doulmah very slow..not too slow, but enough that the flavor is always right on. Sure, I mess up, who doesn’t? Practice makes perfect, well…near perfect anyways. So, here is what you need to embark on your doulmah journey……..Oh..P.S….you can, of course, add or delete things as per your preference like more onion, no meat..and if you decide to go meatless, you can used lentils instead 😉

1 jar of grape leaves

2-3 lbs of doulmah meat (lamb or beef, or mixed and ground up)

1 bunch of parsley

2 med tomatoes

1 med onion

3 tbsp or more, or less noomi basrah-dried lemons crushed

1/4 c or more of dibis-date syrup

salt  to taste

garlic to taste

4 tbsp dill

2 1/2 c basmati rice-washed and soaked

1 c water

So what I do is, I saute my onions with the parsley a little bit just to open up the flavor, you could say. I then throw all the ingredients into a pan and let it all blend together. Cooking it on a medium heat until the meat is fully cooked, because by that time everything has sucked up the juices and flavors from each other and it already smells amazing….I then keep the heat on that temp and add the uncooked/pre washed rice and about a cup of water and let it cook all together until the liquid is gone but the rice is NOT cooked all the way, maybe just a little. Very important so your doulmah is not under cooked or soggy…yuck. Then, let the fun begin!!!! Let it cool a bit and set up a “rolling station” like we do at our home. Drain your leaves and pull them out slowly. *trick* to get them out without tearing them…wiggle them out. So now they are there and you can start looking through them for the biggest best leaves. Lay them shiny side down, or outer leaf down, and add some filling, bring the middle up and drag the filling back with it like making it into a small pocket, then fold the sides over and roll. Looking like small cigars. Layer them in the pot until you have used everything. Sometimes you have leftovers, and since I am not a waster, I freeze everything left over, except the leaves, and use it later. Why not right? Now, it is important to fill the leaves with water just to the top layer of doulmah bot not totally covering it, and use a ceramic bowl or plate that fits into the pot but not hanging out, to hold the doulmah in place so it will not float and press down some then turn it on to a medium heat until you see it boiling and then turn it down some to let it cook slowly, put the lid on it. When the liquid is gone, they are done. We serve ours with yogurt sauce, which is just yogurt mixed with garlic….very yumm!! I hope this helps you make your way to the wonderful land of doulmah!!!

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.