Cardamom Custard and Green Tea

I have been itching to use these custard cups ever since my mom sent them to me, and I was impressed. This custard combines a few of my favorite spices so it was a sure hit from the start. In Indian, custard is served at weddings and other special events. It is rather easy to make and worth every effort. 2 cups whole milk 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, ground 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 2 tablespoons slivered almonds or golden raisins, optional 1 teaspoon vanilla extract saffron Vegetable cooking spray 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1. In a medium sized saucepan add milk and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium, stirring to prevent scorching. Stir while boiling about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. 2. Remove pan from heat and add sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla and almonds or raisins. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature, about 20 minutes. 3. While milk is cooling pre-heat oven to 350 F. Bring a teakettle of water to a boil. Lightly spray 4 custard cups with oil. When milk has cooled whisk in eggs mixture (make sure the milk is cool are eggs will scramble). At the bottom of each custard cup sprinkle saffron. Evenly pour custard filling into cups. In a large cake pan, gently add boiling water from teakettle, enough to reach half of the custard cups once setting inside. Add cups into the water, not allowing any water to spill into them. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure the custard is done, the custard should move like jello. Serve at room temperature. Yields: 4 custard cups Cardamom Green Tea 4 green teabags 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads 4 cardamom pods 1 cinnamon stick 1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil; add green tea, saffron, cardamom and cinnamon. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. With a tea strainer, strain the spices. Serve sugar cubes on the side. Note: I usually always prefer loose tea but I prefer black tea so green tea does not get used as much in my home so I opt for teabags when it comes to green tea. A good brand I like here in KSA is Rabea but Lipton green clear is also good. I serve sugar cubes with my tea because my father in law has diabetes so this way he can sugar to taste. In addition, as you see in the picture I buy cute shaped cubes, which are just more pleasing to the guest. Yields: 4 regular teacups or 10 Arabic teacups

Cinnamon/Date Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls so much and I have always wanted to make some fresh ones but I was always scared after looking at the recipe so I always ended up just buying some in a can from Wal-mart. Well, their definitely is no Wal-mart here in KSA and no canned cinnamon rolls either so I was forced to make some homemade ones. Hey, I needed something to kick me into gear anyway. I made two batches with different fillings. I froze one for later and we had one that day. If you want to freeze a batch just store it in a freezer bag or any other sealed container. To re-heat simply wrap the rolls in foil and bake for about 20 minutes, they will taste as fresh as when you made them. Dough: 1/4 ounce package yeast 1/2 cup warm water 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup scalded milk 1/3 cup butter or shortening 1 tsp. salt 1 egg 3 1/2 - 4 cups flour Filling: 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for the pan 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 3/4 cup raisins, dates, or pecans (optional) Glaze: 4 tablespoons butter 2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 3-6 tablespoons of hot water 1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and eggs. Add two cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl and let rise until doubled, usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 2. When doubled, punch down dough. Roll out on flour surface into a 15x9 inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at 15 inch side role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12-15 slices. Coat bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned. 3. Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls. Yields: 12-15 rolls Adapted from Paula Deen

Curried Eggs

4 teaspoons vegetable oil 1 shallot, minced 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger 1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes with juice 2 small green chilies, chopped 2 teaspoons turmeric 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped Sea salt and pepper, to taste 5 eggs 1. Heat oil in a 9-inch skillet over medium heat; add the shallot, garlic and ginger; cook 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, and the chilies, turmeric, cumin and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. 2. One at a time gently slide an egg into the skillet over the mixture, arrange all over the tops. Cover and cook until eggs are done, about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper an, chilies and cilantro. Gently slide onto a plate. Yields: 4 servings Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, The New Classics

Powdered Sugar

I love making things at home from scratch rather than buying them, I love it because I know what goes into it and because it is fresh. What can beat that, right? I love to bake so I am always in need of powdered sugar and this recipe is so fast and easy. 1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon corn starch 1. In a blender (a blender is necessary) combine sugar and cornstarch, blend. Yields: 1 cup

Saudi Shakshuka

2 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium tomatoes, diced 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced in thin strips 2 garlic cloves, diced 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon harissa 4 eggs 1. In a 9-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat, add olive oil, pepper and garlic. Heat until pepper is tender. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, harissa and paprika. Mix well, cook until thickens about 1 minute. Break 4 eggs over the mixture, cover and let cook on medium heat until eggs are cooked, about 10 minutes. Gently, slide shakshuka onto a plate. Yields: 2 servings

Seafood Sayadia

2 pound raw shrimp, shelled & deveined 4 red mullets, filleted 3 tablespoons flour 2 cups rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes 4-1/4 hot water 1 cup tomato juice 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon cardamom 1 teaspoon black pepper Salt to taste 1/4 cup corn oil 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped 1. Thoroughly rinse the shrimp and fish and rub with salt and flour, set aside. 2. In a medium saucepan, cook rice with the hot water, tomato juice, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and pepper on low heat for 25 minutes or until tender. 3. Heat the corn oil in a 9-inch skillet and fry onions until golden. Add the fish and shrimp and cook until down about 3-5 minutes on each side. Add the cooked rice to the seafood and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Yields: 5 servings

Beef and Okra in Tomato Sauce

2 pound 3 ounces okra 2 tablespoons ghee 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped 1 pound 2 ounces stewing beef, cubed Salt and pepper, to taste 1 pound 2 ounces tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1 cup water 1 tablespoon tomato paste 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 1 tablespoon dried cilantro 1 green chili, chopped Juice of 1 lemon 1. Trim the okra stems. Rinse, drain and dry with paper towel. Set aside. 2. Melt 1 tablespoon of ghee in a sauté pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat until tender. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stir in water and tomato paste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes until the meat is almost cooked. 3. In a separate pan, fry the okra in vegetable oil over medium heat until browned. Add the okra to the meat pan, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. 4. Heat the remaining ghee in a small pan. Add the garlic, cilantro and chili. Cook stirring until browned. Pour the hot garlic mixture over the okra. Add lemon juice and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with white rice. Yields: 5 servings Adapted from The Middle Eastern Cookbook

Sautéed Okra and Tomatoes

The secret to cooking okra to a crisp–tender texture is a very hot skillet. 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 small red onions, sliced 1 pound fresh okra, stems and ends trimmed 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into wedges Course salt and freshly grounded black pepper 1. In a small bowl combine, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and coriander, set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes. 2. Raise heat to medium-high; add the spice mixture, okra, and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring, until the okra is bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes, adding more water if the skillet becomes to dry. 3. Add the tomato wedges and cook until just heated through, about 1 minute, season with salt and pepper. Yields: 4 servings Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, The New Classics.

Greek Salad

1 head of romaine lettuce 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 1 large cucumber, diced 1 small jar of Greek olives 1/2 cup feta cheese Dressing: 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon zatar spice 1. With kitchen shears, chop lettuce into bite size pieces. On a medium seized salad plate add lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and cheese. 2. In a small bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice and zatar, mix well. Pour dressing all over salad. Yields: 4 servings.

Zahlouk

I love serving different dips and sauces on my dinner table to zest things up a bit. Therefore, I am always on the look out for the next best thing. I really love this mixture because it combines so many of my favorite ingredients. This is a spicy little dish so watch out. If you do not like spicy you can omit the harissa. 1 small eggplant 2 medium tomatoes, chopped with skin 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 teaspoon harissa 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped 4 tablespoons lemon juice Sea salt and black pepper, to taste 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1. In an 8-inch skillet on medium heat add olive oil and eggplant cover and allow roasting 10-15 minutes, until eggplant is soft. Discard skin from cooked eggplants. Reduce heat to low. Return eggplant to the skillet, mashing with fork until a soft paste has formed. Add tomatoes, garlic, harissa, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin seeds. Mix together. Allow to simmer 5 minutes. Yields: 2 servings

Tamda Bhindi Kombdi

1 medium chicken, cut into 6 pieces 1 green chill, diced 1 cup water 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper 1 tablespoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 large potato, cubed 2 tablespoons corn oil 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 10 pieces of okra, caps cup off and cut crosswise 1 tablespoon garam masala 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 medium tomato, cubed 1/4 cup cilantro leaves 1. In a sauté pan on low heat add oil and cumin. Add potatoes and okra. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add chicken sprinkle half of paprika and half of crushed red pepper over chicken. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. Flip chicken and sprinkle the other half of paprika and crushed red pepper over the pieces, add chilies and continue to cook for 15 minutes. 2. Add water, tomatoes, salt, sugar and garam masala. Raise heat to high and allow a full boil, lower again to low heat. Add cilantro, cook covered for 15 minutes. Yields: 3 servings Adapted from 660 Curries

Ribe Eyes with Pan Gravy

Red meat is an essential in our diet every now again especially for us women. I do not eat enough myself so I am going to try really hard this year to incorporate some new recipes into my diet. Today I came up with a really easy yet delicious way to cook some rib eye steaks. And then I make a pan gravy that I adapted from one of Julia Child's recipes years ago to go on top. 3 rib eyes steaks 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1/2 onion, chopped 4 tablespoons butter, halved 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1. In a Sauté pan on medium heat add half of the butter, add onions. In a small bowl mix sea salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle half of mixture on top of steaks and lay seasoned side into pan, sprinkle other half of spice mixture on top of the facing steaks, bring down flame to medium low. 2. Cook steaks for about 10 minutes on each side or until desired. Remove steaks from pan add other half of butter and parsley, mix. Pour pan gravy over the top of steaks. Yields: 3 servings

Saudi Foul & Tamese

Here in Saudi Wednesdays night is our Friday night and our weekend is Thursday and Friday. Every morning during the weekend you find foul being sold everywhere and everyone goes and buys large amounts for their family. They have soft cheese, sometimes eggs and tea with it. I have fallen quickly in love with this very tamese (bread) that you see right here. I love bread and as I have told you all many times I could live off bread alone, yum. This tamese is huge, soft and even though I am usually not a fan of seeds atop things (I hate the texture) I love the way the sesame seeds are on this bread. The foul here is so good as well. I have never tasted any that have been as delicious as the ones made here except mine of course (wink, wink). Go ahead and make some foul for your family one morning and try a new recipe out.

Matisha Masala

This is such a versatile dish which can be used hot or cold. It taste amazing paired with meat or can also be used as a dip with bread. My husband likes to have this for breakfast hence the ingredient honey which he finds is only for breakfast foods, lol. 6 large ripe tomatoes 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon ginger 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1. Heat oil in a 4-quart pan on medium heat. Add Tomatoes, salt and sugar, reduce heat to low. Cook for 45 minutes until the liquid is gone and the mixture looks jammy. It is essential to stir the mixture frequently so that it does not stick to the pan. 2. Add cinnamon, pepper, ginger and honey. Stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes on low heat. Yields: 4 servings

Coffee in “The Kingdom”

Finding American coffee here in Saudi is like trying to find gold, nearly impossible. Finally after much searching I found some at a European grocer. They call drip pot coffee “filter coffee” here. I was so excited when I found that can but sadly when I got home it tasted so weak and as if it had been sitting on the shelf for about 100 years. Luckily my husband did find a store that grinds fresh coffee for you and he has me some grinded fresh, wow you should smell it. The only coffee people drink here is Saudi coffee (which taste like water and cardamom, because they use green coffee beans instead of roasted ones), Turkish coffee (ahh, I do love my Turkish coffee and my father in law bought me a freshly ground bag that does taste amazing) and this was rather funny to me but instant coffee. Yes, instant coffee that is all you can find in the grocery stores and not just a few cans all kinds. That is just what Arabs like, instant. I like Instant coffee as well but all the ones here are different and different tasting than the ones in America. Well, the ones I have tasted so far anyway. I love the way coffee is served here, well anything for that matter. People here really take on trying to serve things in a pleasing manner especially your coffee and tea. So far my favorite places for coffee has been “The Tea and Coffee Pot” located in Granada Mall. (I just love this place it is so cut but the presentation of the coffee is so nice but better yet the American coffee taste amazing, just like I love it), Oop’s I forget the name of the other place that I like but its only a small stand that sells snacks and coffee in Granada Mall, located upstairs in the food court. They have pretty good coffee but here in Saudi at most places American coffee is just a shot of espresso with a shot of water, so sometimes that is to strong for me because in the end in still taste like espresso to me. That is the same things that Starbucks and many coffee chains in the USA do as well when you order Americano coffee so heads up. I have taken some pictures for your enjoyment of my coffee before I slurped it down so hey I hope you enjoy hehe.

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