Samoa Brownies

Have you ever had a Samoa cookie from the Girl scouts? Are they not the best cookies ever? I found a recipe online to make some but it was really time consuming so I had to come up with something else to get the same taste a lot quicker. Therefore, I thought what could be better than Samoa brownies and was I ever right. I cannot even begin to explain the pure yumminess of these brownies. 1 cup unsalted butter, melted 3/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons 1 -1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk 1-1/3 cup shredded coconut 4 eggs 4-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup chocolate chips 10 caramel candies 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, condensed milk, coconut, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder and salt, mix well. Add eggs, chocolate chips. Tear caramels into small pieces and add. Blend well. 2. In a non-stick 8x16 cake pan lightly spray with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake 20-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool then cut into bars. Yields: 2 dozen

Parmesan Lamb Ribs

Lamb ribs are the best cut of lamb if you ask me, you just cannot seem to get them wrong. This mouth-watering recipe combines the best Italian flavors and its just pure magic. Pair this meal with a fresh salad, vegetables, rice or even pasta. 12 lamb rib chops 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup tomato sauce 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped 1 teaspoon oregano 1. In a 9-inch skillet, sauté garlic in oil, stir in cheese, tomato sauce, parsley and oregano. 2. On a baking sheet cover bottom with foil. Carefully lay ribs on their sides. With a kitchen, brush spread a thin layer over the side facing up. Broil on top rack on high 10 minutes; turn and brush second side; broil chops 10 minutes. Yields: 2 servings

Moong Dal Vada

Are you looking for a new fun snack to try; well this is definitely the one. I included this tasty dish on a vegetarian menu we had one night. It reminded me of an Indian version of the famous southern hushpuppy. This taste great dipped in any chutney that you may like or just some ketchup is good as well. 1-1/2 cups moong dal 5 tablespoons coriander, chopped 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 star anise 8 - 9 Green chilies, chopped 1 onion, finely diced Salt to taste 1 cup sunflower oil 1. Soak moong dal in water for 2 hours. 2. Add dal to a bowl and blend to a fine paste with a hand blender alternatively use a food processor. Add onions, chilies, coriander, star anise, salt and cumin seed. Mix until a smooth paste forms. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. 3. Meanwhile in a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add oil. Carefully drop paste 1 tablespoon at a time into oil. Fry on each side until golden. Yields: 20

Asian Pan Seared Salmon



Salmon is filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which is extremely good for your health. Ginger and honey are two things you will find in several Asian recipes, both being great for you as well. You will find that sesame oil will be an addition to your kitchen if you like to cook Asian food but other light oils make great replacements.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
1 tablespoon honey
1 (1 pound) salmon fillet or steak
1 teaspoon sesame or sunflower oil
1/4 cup scallions, sliced

1. In a small bowl add soy sauce, orange juice,  garlic, ginger and honey, whisk well. In a measuring cup pour 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside.

2. In a shallow dish, pour remaining sauce in bowl. Add salmon fillet on top. Cover and allow marinating at least 10 minutes.

3. In a 9-inch nonstick skillet on medium high heat, add oil. Add fillet skin side up into pan. Cook for 8 minutes then carefully turn and drizzle remaining marinade in measuring cup. Cook 5-7 minutes or until fish flakes. Place salmon in a serving dish and sprinkle scallions on top.

Yields: 2 servings.

Sesame Green Beans

Fine beans are one of the best beans as far as I am concerned. They do not only taste good but also just look how beautiful they are. They just scream gourmet. I love the simple taste with the snap in your mouth. The ingredients really bring the taste out in this Asian inspired recipe. You should pair this up with fish or steak and a salad for a summer dinner you will not forget. 200 grams fine beans, tops and bottoms cut off 2 tablespoons sesame seeds 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon sea salt 1. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat, add butter. When butter has melted, add beans, coating well. Add sesame seeds and sea salt, mix well. Allow to cook until beans turn bright green and have grill like marks on them, about 7 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Meat Stuffed Shells

I love stuffing pasta shells because you have endless possibilities all tasting fabulous. This is a very filling dish that taste great along side some homemade bread and a salad. Of course, you can use homemade pasta sauce but the store bought will speed the process up for you. If your not in the mood for beef try ricotta. 20 jumbo pasta shells 1 pound ground beef 1 small onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, diced 1/2 tablespoon basil, dried 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, dried 1 tomato, finely diced 1 (10 ounce) jar of pasta sauce 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1. Cook pasta shells according to box directions, drain and sit aside. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat, add ground beef and onion, cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain. Add meat mix back into skillet. Add garlic, basil, rosemary and tomato. Cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes, mixing well. Set aside. 2. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. On a sheet of aluminum foil, place shells open side up. Carefully place 1 tablespoon of meat mixture into each shell. In a 8inch x 8inch baking pan place 4 tablespoons of pasta sauce on bottom of pan making sure pan is covered. Place shells open side up into pan. Pour remaining pasta sauce on top of shells; add parmesan and cheddar cheese on top. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Peanut Butter Spritz Cookies

I got a cookies press a few weeks ago and have not used it due to feeling a bit intimidated by it thinking it would not work. I was even searching online for more information and read horror story after horror story. However, to my surprise, my cookies turned out fabulous and it was incredibly easy. I am now in love with my cookie press. This little baby makes cookies fast, delicate and as pretty as if I picked them up from a gourmet bakery. When making these cookies I have put in the directions to not pre-heat your oven until after you made your dough. I have found this is key by allowing the dough some time in the fridge to stiffen up. In between batches, re-place the dough back into the fridge. Here is a picture of each cookie I made. I still had about 5 more designs I did not use. 1/2 cup shortening 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1. In a large mixing bowl, add shortening peanut butter and sugars. Blend well with a spoon. Add egg, vanilla and flour. Continue stirring until dough forms. Place dough in fridge. 2. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Fill cookie press with dough and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet, allow to bake for 10 minutes. Yields: 3-1/2 dozen

Lemonade & Mint

Ahh what taste better in the summer heat then a nice cold glass of lemonade? I love the bright yellow lemons here. They are so big and full of flavor. I always make sure to get lemons from Turkey no other lemons can compare. I am defiantly lucky enough too be able to get fruits and vegetables from all over the world. The mint in this drink is not overpowering but just right, it will linger on with you drawing you back for more. The only think you will hate about this drink is having to constantly make it because as soon as it hits the pitcher it will be empty 4-5 large lemons 5 cups water 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup mint leaves 1. Juice lemons. In a large mixing bowl, add water, lemon juice, sugar and mint. With a hand mixer blend well or place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Yields: 2 liters

Sweet Carrot, Raisin & Nut Bread

If you have ever been to Mimi’s Restaurant then you already know how amazing the bread they serve you is. If not then, you have truly missed out on amazing bread. After searching for the recipe for sometime and none tasting like the original one I finally created one that taste identical to the one I was served. If you do not have a mini pan, you can use pretty much about any other pan you would like to such as a bread loaf, mini bread load and regular muffin pan. The original one is made into a loaf then sliced and served with butter. I have not been part of the 'Bread Baking Day' for awhile now. But I am finally situated with our move and can start up again. I am glad because I really enjoy baking. I decided to add this moist, sweet, delicious bread into BBD #22 this month. This event is titled "Sweet Breads" and hosted by Stephanie from 'Hefe und mehr'. 1-1/2 cups shredded carrots 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon ginger, ground 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup raisins 3/4 cup walnuts, broken into small pieces 3/4 cup molasses 3 eggs 1 cup sunflower oil 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, add carrots, flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla, raisins, molasses, eggs and oil. With a hand mixer, mix well. Fold in walnuts. 2. In a non-stick mini muffin pan, fill cups 1/2 full. Bake for 15 minutes. Yields: 50

Chocolate Bottom Macaroon Bites

Give me a tall cold glass of milk and a batch of these babies and I am good to go. Yes, you heard me right ‘a batch’. These little pops are hard not to gobble up. This recipe is enough for a small family so you may want to double up if you have a large one. These perfect petite bites will leave you satisfied when you have that late night sugar craving. 1-1/3 cup shredded coconut 1/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 egg whites 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 6 squares sweetened baking chocolate 1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F. In a large mixing bowl, add coconut, sugar, flour, egg whites and vanilla. With hands, mix well. Make small balls out of 1 teaspoon size amount. Place balls onto cookie sheet or baking mat. Bake 20 minutes, to get brown top turn broil on high and allow to cook until golden tops, about 1 minute. 2. Place baking chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, cook for 2 minutes or until chocolate has melted. Carefully place bottom of macaroon into bowl allowing chocolate to cover half down. Place on parchment paper and allow to set in fridge for 1 hour. Yields: 20

Malfouf



Malfouf also known as stuffed cabbage leaves is not only an Arabic recipe but also it seems as if though every country has their own version. This recipe may look difficult but it is actually very easy and well worth it. I love to cook this meal the end of the week since I know we will have leftovers and then I do not have to worry about cooking all weekend. Then again, I have a small family so if you have a large family this may be right up your alley. Also feel free to use lamb instead of beef.

1 large head white cabbage
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup basmati rice, soaked
2 onions, finely diced
1 can (400 grams) diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander, ground
4 garlic cloves, diced
Salt to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
butter

1. Remove core from cabbage head, place in an 8-quart saucepan and fill water until reaches cabbage top, place chicken cube. Cook on medium heat for 35 minutes, until cabbage is soft.

2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add onion, garlic, 1 can diced tomatoes with juice, pepper, salt, cumin and ground coriander. Allow to cook until onion is tender. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl add ground beef, drained rice, meat mixture, salt and fresh coriander. Mix well with hands. In a stockpot place 2 cooked cabbage leave on bottom of pan.

4. Carefully take cabbage leaves off one at a time, with a knife trim thick vein so it is level with the rest of the leaf. Place 2 tablespoons of meat mixture in the middle of each leaf. Fold in each small side then roll the long sides into a cigar shape. Carefully place each roll into stockpot, tight together. After you have made one level add a few slices of butter on top, continue doing this until your last level is complete. Pour tomato sauce into pan, and then add water until it covers the bottom level of your top row (it should not go over the rolls but slightly under).

5. Place a plate that will easily fit into pan on top of rolls to keep from shifting. Cover pot with a lid and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes.

Yields: 15-25 rolls

Basboosa

The qashta mixture in this sweet dessert gives it a unique creamy and sweet treat. I like to add one can of honey flavored qashta along with one can of plain; it’s a taste you simply cannot resist. There are so many different recipes for basboosa all over the Arab world; I hope to share them all with you. This delicious basboosa recipe is my July sweet entry for the 'Walima Cooking Club', please enjoy. 1 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup semolina 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled 1/2 tablespoon baking powder 2 (170 grams each) cans qashta Pine seeds for decoration click here for homemade qashta Sugar syrup click here for the recipe 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, add semolina, sugar, baking powder, coconut and qashta. Mix well. In a 28 cm pan carefully add mix, flatten with hands. Score top carefully into diagonal shapes. Place 1 pine nut on top of each piece. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until top is golden. 2. Pour sugar syrup on top of basboosa, allow to sit 20 minutes before serving. Yields: 18 pieces Here is a picture of the qashta that I used.

Pogaca

This is such a delightful treat and goes perfect along side a cup of coffee. This Turkish pastry will remind you of a flaky biscuit but the taste of olive oil, nigella and feta will remind you of the Mediterranean with each bite you take. This is one easy pastry as it requires no chilling, no rising and pretty much no work. 10 tablespoons butter, softened 1/2 tablespoon nigella 70 ml extra virgin olive oil 2 cups all purpose flour 1 egg 2 tablespoons yogurt 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 pinch salt 3/4 cup feta cheese 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped Top: 1 egg yolk , beaten 1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, salt, butter, olive oil, nigella, egg and yogurt, mix well. With hands form mixture until it becomes a soft dough, set in fridge. Meanwhile, in a small bowl add parsley and feta, mix until blended. 2. Take dough and make golf ball size, you should get 22. Make a hole with your picky then a bowl like shape. Place feta mixture inside and seal. Place on a baking tray. Brush each pogaca with egg yolk for glazing. Bake for 20 minutes. Yields: 22 Adapted from Binnurs Turkish Cookbook

Roasted Greek Chicken

I cook a lot of chicken in my house so I love using different recipes so we do not get bored. This chicken dish is filled with flavors of the Mediterranean and has the juicy insides and crispy outside that most people seem to love. An all together simple and easy dish to make. I love cooking with lemons especially this time of year when lemons are looking and tasting their best. 1 chicken, cut into 4 pieces and skin removed 1 lemon 1 tablespoon oregano 2 tablespoons garlic, diced 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 potatoes, quartered Salt and pepper to taste 1. In a baking dish place chicken, squeeze the juice of one lemon atop, sprinkle oregano, garlic, salt and pepper atop the chicken pieces. Place potatoes around chicken, drizzle olive oil. 2. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 1-1/2 hours. Serve with fresh lemon wedges Yields: 2 servings

Lemon Honey Chicken Shrimp

Feel free to replace this dish with all chicken or all shrimp. I just like the mixture of both when I have any Asian food. The freshness of the honey and lemon go perfect and complement one another in a delightful way. Why order take out when you could have this ready and served before it even gets to your house? 1 pound shrimp, shelled and divined 3 chicken breast, skinned and deboned 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sunflower oil 2 scallions, chopped 1 (1 inch piece) ginger, finely diced 1/2 cup water 1/2 lemon, juiced 3 tablespoons cornstarch 4 tablespoons honey 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces. In a large plate, add flour and salt, mix. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat, add 1/2 cup oil. While hot is heating cover chicken pieces and chicken in flour, set aside. Carefully fry chicken and shrimp then place on paper towel covered plate to drain. 2. In a small saucepan on medium heat, add water, lemon juice, honey and soy sauce, whisk until blended. Add cornstarch, continuously whisk until mixture has thickened. Set aside. 3. In a large sauté pan on medium heat add 1 tablespoon oil, scallions and ginger, allow scallions to become tender. Carefully add cooked chicken and shrimp. Pour lemon honey sauce atop meat and gently mix until all meat is covered. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Fried Rice

This fried rice is as authentic as you will get in any Chinese restaurant. It is great as a side dish but you could also add your favorite meat or tofu and make it into another lovely dish as well. Most Asian recipes call for medium grain rice however I used long grain rice since that is what I keep on hand and it worked just perfect, so use what rice you have with no worries. 1 cup dry rice, cooked 1/2 cup peas, frozen 1 carrot, peeled and diced 1/2 onion, finely chopped 4 tablespoons sesame seeds 1 egg 1/5 cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons sunflower oil Salt to taste 1. In a large nonstick sauté pan on medium heat, add oil onions, peas and carrots. Cook until onions are tender. Add sesame seeds, mix well and allow cooking for 20 seconds. Place vegetable mixture in a bowl and set aside. Place sauté pan back onto heat. 2. In a small bowl, add egg, a drop of oil and 1 tablespoon soy sauce, beat well. Carefully pour egg into sauté pan. Allow to cook and flip. Remove from heat, chop egg mixture and set aside. In the same sauté pan on medium heat, add cooked rice, vegetable mixture, 1/5 cup soy sauce, egg and salt to taste. Continue to mix and allow cooking for 5 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Cream Apple Tart

A scrumptious creamy custard filled tart baked inside a sweet crust and topped with baked golden apples. This cool dessert taste fabulous after a long hot day. It is best to use granny smith apples when baking because they tend to hold their shape better than most apples. Crust: 1 1/2 cups (all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 large egg, lightly beaten Filling: 3 granny smith apples, sliced 2 cups water 4 tablespoons cornstarch 4 tablespoons powdered milk 1/2 cup sugar 2 (170 gram) cans qashta 2 cups water 1/2 teaspoon vanilla click here for homemade qashta 1. Crust: Sift flour and salt together and set aside. Place butter in large mixing bowl and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Do not over mix. 2. Add flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Do not overwork or pastry will be tough when baked. Dough will be sticky. 3. Flatten dough into disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, turning dough, to prevent it from sticking and to keep its round shape. Do not turn dough over. The dough should be about an inch larger than tart pan. 4. Carefully roll dough around rolling pin. Unroll onto tart pan. Never pull or stretch dough, as it will shrink away from pan. Lightly press dough into bottom and sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess dough. Prick bottom of dough. Place in refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill. 5. Fill piecrust with pie weights (I use 2 cups rice). Bake crust in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes until crust is light brown. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack before filling. 6. Filling: In a saucepan on medium heat, add water, milk, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Whisk until mixture thickens up. Remove from heat add qashta and mix well. Pour mix into prepared tart crust. Arrange apple slices equally as shown on mix, after it cools. Bake on 350 F for 20 minutes. Yields: 1 (28 cm) tart

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