White Greek Frappé

I was just sitting here enjoying one of my favorite cool coffee drinks and thought I would share with it with you all as well. You can make a black version of this drink by using 20 ml of water instead of milk. However, I prefer the white version much better. In Greece they shake the coffee to froth it and this is also something they did while I was in Malaysia. You can use anything for your shaker but I prefer a good old reliable jar that does not spew my coffee all over me. For my instant coffee choice it would be Nestle Classic but Maxwell House is really nice as well. "Stinygiasou"! 2 teaspoons instant coffee 2 teaspoons sugar 30 ml milk 3 tablespoons boiling water 1. In a jar add coffee, sugar and boiling water. Allow coffee and sugar to dissolve. Add milk and tightly seal on jar lid. Shake until coffee is extremely frothy. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Yields: 1

Makhlouta

Makhlouta is an amazing Lebanese soup best served with fresh lemon quartered. This delicious soup is a mixture of fine flavors. The chicken broth base goes perfect with lentils and rice. 1 onion, diced 3 tablespoons olive oil 3-2/3 cups chicken broth 1/2 cup red lentils, washed and picked over for stones 1/2 cup cooked rice black pepper and salt to taste 1 teaspoon coriander 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 lemon, quartered 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on medium heat add olive oil and onion. Cook until tender. Add chicken broth, pepper, salt, coriander and cumin. Bring to a full boil, add lentils then reduce heat to low. Cook for about 30 minutes. 2. Add cooked rice, mix well. Serve each dish with a lemon quarter. Yields: 4 servings

Simit

Simit is a popular Turkish bread that is also the most popular street food around the country. You can have this bread various ways. One of the most popular is simply being served with tea. I love to have feta cheese another Turkish favorite with my simit. Most simits are made with regular sesame seeds but you will find various places selling simits with black sesame seeds. I like to add some to my simits when baking to add color to the dish. The traditional way is to use grape molasses but I have yet to find any here in Saudi so I use honey which taste just as good. 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 400 ml warm water 2 teaspoons dry yeast pinch of sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons salt olive oil topping: 2 tablespoons grape molasses or honey 150 ml hot water 1-1/2 cups sesame seeds 1. In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and a 4 tablespoons of warm water from the 400ml of water. Allow yeast to active for 5 minutes. 2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, yeast mixture and little bit of water at time until a soft elastic consistency forms. Knead for 10 minutes. Add olive oil on hands and pat around dough (do not work in). Place in a clean plastic bowl, cover with a towel and sit in a warm place for 2 hours. 3. Punch dough down and divide into 8 even balls. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Roll doll out into a 16-inch long even sized rope, carefully twist. Pinch sides together to form a large ring the size of a coffee cup dish. 4. Bake 2 at a time on a baking sheet until golden, 20-25 minutes. Yields: 8 simits

Arabic Meat Pie

I love to make these delicious meat pies with fries for a light dinner. Everyone enjoys them and you have leftovers to snack on. Yogurt is the secret mixture in Arabic and Turkish meat pies. Please remember if that any words in blue mean that they are a clickable link. I get a lot of emails asking how to make Arabic spice mix. If you click the words it will take you to the recipe. And do not forget my 'How to make perfect bread' post if you need help with the dough. 2 pounds fine ground lamb or beef 4-5 garlic cloves, mashed 1/4 bunch of mint, finely chopped 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1/3 cup yogurt 1 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 tablespoon Arabic Spice Mix 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted Dough: 1 tablespoon instant yeast 1/4 cup warm water 1 teaspoon sugar 5 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons vegetable oil+ more for dough 1-1/2 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 cups water 1. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water in a small bowl mix and set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until frothy. 2. In a large bowl add flour, oil salt and water a bit at a time until dough consistency forms. Add a bit of oil on hands and carefully pat around oil (do not work in). Cover dough with a towel and sit in a warm place until doubled about an hour. 3. Meanwhile, In large bowl add mint, onions, tomato paste, pine nuts, pepper, Arabic spice mix, meat and yogurt. Combine well. 4. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Divide the dough into 24 balls and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll thin 15-20 cm circles. Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of meat mixture evenly over the pastries and arrange on a lightly greased baking tray. 5. Bake until dough and meat are fully cooked. Serve with laban and lemon wedges. Yields: 24 pies

How to make perfect Bread

I have been wanting to make this post for quite sometime and just never got around to it. I am in the process of baking today and thought again about this post so here it finally is. One thing that I am pretty good at is baking. Even my mother in law who is one of the best cooks I have known asked me to teach her how to make bread like mine. What a compliment right? I hope that my tips help each one of you achieve the perfect bread from now on. How much yeast to use? The general yeast rule is 1 tablespoon per 3-1/2 cups of flour. You can use less yeast (I have) but the rise will be a bit lower. Proofing Yeast: surprisingly hardly anyone seems to do this. This is one of the main things I get questioned on. Just because you have yeast it does not mean its alive. You should always keep your yeast stored in the fridge. To make sure your yeast is alive add the amount you will be using in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of warm water, do not use hot that will kill it and do not use cold it will not activate. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar so it has something to eat. Wait for 5 minutes and you should see foam, that means its alive. If not throw that yeast out and buy some more. You should do this every time you use yeast. Just add the mixture to your recipe as usual. How to get the perfect dough? I hear so many people say that every time they make bread the dough is way to sticky. You should never add the entire liquid amount that the recipe calls for. This saves a lot of time. What I do is add all the dry ingredients then I add the liquid a bit at a time until I get the perfect consistency. Some recipes may work perfect for others but the same amount just may not work for you. You may end up using less or more liquid. Dough Rising: A lot of things effect the rise of your dough. After you roll your dough into a ball you should pat the outside (do not work in) with oil so that the dough is not hard to work with after the rise. I use sunflower oil. You HAVE to place the dough somewhere warm. Do not use a glass or steel bowl they are cold and the dough may not rise. I use a plastic mixing bowl. I then place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a towel. Take the bowl anywhere in the house that is really warm. For me that is the front foyer and the hottest place in the house. I always just sit the bowl down and go about my business. I have yet to be disappointed. The idea temperature is 70-75. Kneading: Some breads call for it others do not. Try to follow the directions when it comes to the kneading. Some people use mixers or food processors but honestly my favorite tools are my hands. How to get moist breads and cakes? I always fill a cake pan to the top with water and sit in on the bottom oven rack. This creates a moist environment for the bread or cake to bake in which results in a really delicious piece when your finished. How do I know if its done? Nothing works better then the old fashion toothpick test. You should always have them on hand. Anytime you want to check a baked good insert a toothpick into the thickest part. It it comes out wet stick it back in the oven. It not then its finished. I hope my baking tips work for you let me know if you try any.

Herb Roasted Chicken

What an amazing meal you will have when you make this dish. This is a pretty easy dish to make with loads of fresh flavors. I find something very satisfying when standing at my counter chopping fresh herbs up. I am sure anyone who loves to cook can relate to this. This dish goes along well with so many things such as salad, rice, vegetable or pasta. 1 medium-large whole chicken 1 small bunch fresh mint leaves 1 small bunch fresh dill 1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves 1 small bunch parsley leaves 3 tablespoons olive oil juice of 1/2 lemon 1 teaspoon salt 1 small onion, quartered 3 garlic cloves 1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. In a blender add mint, dill, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, onion and garlic. Mix until a smooth paste forms. Clean chicken with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. 2. Make a few small slits on chicken skin and carefully loosen the skin from the meat. Stuff herb mixture in between the meat and the chicken. Rub remaining mixture all over chicken. Place into roasting pan and cover. Bake for 1 hour, remove lid and place oven on high broil. Cook until chicken is golden about 5 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Chicken Gravy

Chicken Gravy is extremely easy to make and is a must on the table when you do serve most chicken dishes. You not only end up not wasting the chicken leftovers but you get this savory side dish as well. When I make this I just add the flour into the roasting pan where the drippings are and whisk, yes its that simple. drippings from 1 whole chicken 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1. Add 2 tablespoons of flour into the pan where the drippings are. Whisk until gravy is smooth. Yields: 3/4 cup

Cream of Vegetable Soup

This is a great dish to serve along side any chicken meal or just to have alone for a warm lunch on a chilly day. This is a Southern classic that has became popular all over the world. You can find this dish on many restaurant menus these days. Of course you can substitute any vegetables you may like but keep in mind they they should go well with a cream based soup. 3 tablespoons butter 1 small onion, finely diced 2 garlic cloves, smashed 1 teaspoon corn syrup 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 cup chicken broth 1-1/2 cups water 1 carrot, finely diced 1/4 cup frozen peas 1 potato, diced 1 pint half-and-half or heavy cream 1. In a 3-quart saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, garlic, and corn syrup. Simmer for 1 minute. 2. Add flour, white pepper, salt,basil, chicken broth, water, peas, carrots and potatoes. Bring to a full boil then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes occasionally stirring. Yields: 2 servings

Garlic Crusted Lamb

Garlic and Arabic spices truly complement one another so not putting them together would be a shame. And what lamb dish is complete without the works like rice, pine nuts and eggs? This succulent garlic crusted lamb is a complete meal all in one. 1-2 pound leg of lamb, boneless 6 garlic cloves, pureed 1/4 cup melted butter 1-1/2 teaspoons Arabic Spice Mix salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup water 1 tablespoon tomato paste rice: 3 cups basmati rice 4-1/2 cups water 1 tablespoon sunflower oil 1 onion, finely chopped 5 green cardamom pods salt to taste 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 3 boiled eggs, halved 1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. In a small bowl add butter, Arabic spice mix, pepper and salt. In a roasting pan add lamb, with a knife make several slits into the lamb. Pour butter mix all over lamb then run garlic all over lamb. In a small bowl add water and tomato paste, mix then pour into bottom of roasting pan. Place into oven uncovered for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350F and cover. Cook for 1-1/2 hours. 2. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add oil, onion and cardamom. Cook until tender. Add rice, rice and salt. Bring to a full boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. On a serving platter add rice and lamb. Sprinkle with pine nuts and arrange boiled eggs around platter. Serve with lamb roast juices on the side. Yields: 6 servings

Chicken Chili

Chicken chili is a dish that I have wanted to try for awhile. I was really happy with this soup but although it had the same usual chili ingredients it was hard to compare to chili and not a substitute for that comfort food craving. It had a very southwestern flavor and we sure loved that. I served shredded cheese and fresh chopped scallions on the side. 4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cooked and shredded 1 (15 oz) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce 3 medium tomatoes, chopped 1 large white onion, diced 1 red bell pepper, diced 4 garlic cloves. crushed 2 tablespoons chili powder 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 green chili, stem removed and split 2 teaspoons sugar 2 cups water 1 teaspoon butter 1 tablespoon flour 1. In a 9-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat add onions, bell pepper and garlic. 2. In an 8-quart pot add water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, kidney beans, meat mixture, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, chili, sugar, chicken and butter. Mix well, stir in flour mixing well. 3. Reduce heat to low and allow chili to simmer for 30 minutes. Yields: 6 servings

Big Daddy Biscuits

I ran across this recipe this morning about 7 am when I was searching for something to make for breakfast. I love my biscuits and you all should know this by now. I mean how many biscuit recipes can a girl have on her blog? When I was reading this recipe being the biscuit Queen Southern gal that I am I was thinking is this guy crazy 1 tablespoon of baking powder. I have tried baking powder biscuits before and they sure did not impress me. The baking powder gave this biscuit quite a fluff hence the name. I have to admit these little babies can hold their own next to my grandmas buttermilk biscuits for sure (shh, do not tell her). Now like all biscuits remember the LESS you handle the dough the better biscuit you will get. Handing to much will result in a flat and hard rock. 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon white sugar 1/3 cup butter 1 cup milk 1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. 2. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an un-greased baking sheet. 3. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown. Yields: 8 Adapted from Allrecipes

Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies

This is your perfect go to cookie when your having a major sweet tooth. These large cookies will be sure to make anyone from adults to children smile. This is one of many cookie recipes in my Martha Stewart's Cookie book that I have adapted over the past few years. The mixture of shortening and butter give this cookie a special texture. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1 large egg 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in shortening (or butter). Add egg and vanilla; mix until creamy. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

3. Using a 2 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 4 inches apart. Bake until edges are firm, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Yields: 8 giant cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies