Baba Ghanoush

Who is Ghanoush anyway?

One eggplant in the fridge, an adventurous sensation, and a trip to the grocery store (no tahini paste in the pantry) left me with a pretty decent Baba Ghanoush

Simplest way to replicate the recipe:

1. Remove the ends from your eggplant, broil it in the oven for a good 30 minutes until the eggplant is essentially withered (you wanna kill this thing – make it like a prune on a summer’s day, my grandma in her Jacuzzi)

2. Once the baby’s out of the oven, you scrape out its insides and discard the saggy skin

3. Use a fork or mortal and pestle to mash up that eggplant until it’s at the consistency that you would want to eat it

4. Time for the “good stuff” – Give that eggplant some flavor!!

You’re going to need 1/4 cup of tahini paste, one fresh squeezed lemon (2 tbsp lemon juice), 2 tbs olive oil, cumin powder, salt & pepper. Mix everything together!

5. Served chilled & eat with pita bread. The greater time the Baba Ghanoush is left alone, before eating, the better.

Middle Eastern, Vegetarian Foods

Baba Ghanoush

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Desserts, Middle Eastern

Khobz El-Tunis Recipe (Sweet Tunisian Bread)

Khobz El-tunis

Khobz El-tunis

I love this recipe. Khobz El-tunis translates to “The Bread of Tunis”. This is an Algerian variation of a common recipe of a sweet cake enjoyed in Tunis. My Professor showed us an authentic Tunisian cookbook in our class last semester and since I have been dying to try a variation of this recipe for her to taste. My lovely Algerian friend taught me a variation of the authentic Khobz El-Tunis recipe about 2 years ago but I never had any reason to try it on my own. As my lovely Arabic language professor has invited us to lunch tomorrow, I wanted to bring a treat of my own for everyone to try!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ground almonds (use almonds with skin)
  • 2 cups dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup sugar

    All dry ingredients

    Ground almonds, dry breadcrumbs, & sugar

  • 7 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon or lime

Ingredients for Simple Syrup:

    • 2 cups water
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 3 tbs. orange blossom water
This is about the size which you should process your almonds.

This is about the size which you should process your almonds.

Process for Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Ground almonds in a food processor
  3. Combine ground almonds, breadcrumbs, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl
  4. Melt butter. When butter is cooled, but not solidified, add to the above ingredients
  5. Add eggs and lemon zest
  6. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl together
  7. Pour into a baking tray preferably 9″ x 13″
  8. Place in oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown

Process for Simple Syrup:

  1. Bring 2 cups water & 2 cups sugar with 3 tablespoons orange blossom water to a boil. Stir often. 
Orange blossom water--who don't love it?

Orange blossom water–who don’t love it? Stir this often!!

Combining Simple Syrup and Cake:

  1.  When cake is golden brown, remove from oven 
  2. Pour half of the simple syrup onto the cake. The cake will immediately absorb the simple syrup
  3. Let cake sit for another 20 minutes and add remainder of simple syrup
  4. After another 20 minutes you are free to cut your cake and voila!
  5. Enjoy your little piece of Tunisian sweetness!
Batter!

Batter!

Before going into the oven

Getting ready to get baked!!

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Middle Eastern, Soups, Vegetarian Foods

Red Lentil Soup

I’ve started this blog to keep a personal track of my cooking progress as well as provide recipes to others who are not only interested in learning how to cook, but how to cook efficiently and productively.  Along with my cooking journeys that sometimes fail, I will provide ways to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and maximize utility.

I decided to start with a simple recipe: Red Lentil Soup.  I first ate this dish at a Jordanian friend’s house and absolutely fell in love with the richness of the flavor and its smooth texture.  This recipe is a bit different than hers, she does not blend the soup. In Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast, after milk and dates, this would be the next dish on your palette because it was light enough for your stomach, but tasty enough for your mouth!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup red lentils
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 1 large carrot
  4. 1 large potato
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. bouillon cubes
  7. 1 tsp cumin
  8. 1 tbs vegetable ghee

Productivity Hint:  start with a clean kitchen, empty sink (if you don’t have a dishwasher, clean work space, and all your ingredients already out of the cabinets & refrigerator)

1.  While boiling water, place lentils in large pot

Red Lentils

2. Start to cut all your vegetables.

Chopping tip: make sure your fingers are curled in, preventing the knife from cutting your hand or nails.  I use a FarberWare chef’s knife for chopping, relatively inexpensive but very good quality.

Always cut away from your hands

(Productivity Tip)

This plastic bag increases efficiency.  After coming home from the market, I took one bag and hung it on a handle below my cutting board.  This way, after I peel my carrots or potatoes, I can easily place the leftover remnants in this bag without having to travel to the garbage can.  (When cutting up a lot of materials, this can be very useful).  Also, getting rid of waste immediately eliminates clutter on your cutting board or counter, allowing you to work better.

3.  Add vegetables to lentils in the pot along with 2 bouillon cubes of chicken broth and 1 tsp of cumin and a bit of salt

Great measuring utensil by PamperedChef

4.  Add about 4 cups of water into the pot, this should be enough water to cover all the materials.  Cover the pot and let boil.

5.  After it has boiled, let cook on a medium/high heat for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.

6.  Place the soup into a food processor and process until the mixture if of a smooth consistency.  A blender or even a hand blender does the same trick.

You want to continue ‘pulsing’ at short intervals until you see a smooth mixture (the carrot appearances as shown in this picture indicate additional processing time is needed)

7.  Place the soup back into the pot on the stove and add the ghee.  Stir and then your soup is done!  For the best taste, add a bit of lemon juice to the bowl!

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