Monthly Archives: March 2011

Salmon Teriyaki

Back home in Tennessee I used to be a frequent visitor at the Japanese restaurant where I would order shrimp and steak teriyaki. Luckily for me its easy to re-create these delicious dishes at home. You can serve this Japanese favorite with rice or noodles and to make it an authentic Japanese dinner go ahead and serve some Asian tea at the end of the meal.

Teriyaki Sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons corn starch

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 4-6 ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, diced

1. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat, add soy sauce, sugars, garlic and ginger. Dissolve corn starch in water in separate mixing bowl and then add to the rest of the mixture. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce reaches desired thickness.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and pat salmon fillets dry with paper towel. Generously sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper.

3. Heat oil in a non-stick, oven-proof skillet over high heat. Once oil is hot, lay fillets (non-skinned-side-down) in the skillet. Pan sear the salmon on the one side until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Once golden, gently flip fillets over and brush generously with teriyaki sauce. Transfer skillet to the oven and roast for 6-10 minutes, or until the fish is tender and flaky. Careful not to overcook the salmon.

4. Remove the salmon from the oven. Drizzle left-over teriyaki sauce over salmon, and garnish with parsley.

Yields: 4 servings


Focaccia has always been one of my favorite breads with its crispy golden outside and moist and soft insides. You can eat this bread alone, dip it in olive oil or bake with with toppings such as peppers, tomatoes or olives. You can even make a pizza with it. I stuck with one of the most classic Italian recipes with this one.

Also common is the practice of dotting the bread. This creates multiple wells in the bread by using a finger or the handle of a utensil to poke the unbaked dough. As a way to preserve moisture in the bread, olive oil is then spread over the dough, by hand or with a pastry brush prior to rising and baking. In the northern part of Italy, lard will sometimes be added to the dough, giving the focaccia a softer, slightly flakier texture.

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for topping
1 cup water
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Start by proofing the yeast. In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and enough warm water to cover, stir and allow to sit until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.

2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, 2 tablespoons oil and water. Mix until well combined. Knead dough for 5 minutes. Add some oil onto hands and carefully cover the dough ball with oil, not working into the dough. Place back into bowl. Cover and sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.

3. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Place a pan of water onto bottom rack for extra moisture. Punch dough down. Brush oil generously on a baking sheet or stone. Place dough onto pan making a round or rectangle shape. Evenly press fingertips all over dough. Cover and allow to sit until oven is ready.

4. Brush oil on top of dough. Sprinkle top with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella and black pepper. Place into hot oven and bake for 13-15 minutes until bread is golden.

Yields: 12 servings

Mediterranean Pizza

The fresh flavors of the Mediterranean have always been one of my favorite. You know the lemon, feta, za’tar and sumac. Ahh, I could make anything out of those ingredients and be content. Homemade pizza dough is something that I am extremely picky about I mean its not easy to get that perfect dough at home after all. I have been taught that extra olive oil is defiantly the key. It makes the dough rise perfect and cook moist.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil + more for topping
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water

3/4 pizza sauce
1 cup cubed feta cheese
1/2 cup capers
1/2 cup sliced green Spanish olives
3/4 cup shredded mixed cheese
3 teaspoons za’tar
3 teaspoons sumac

1. In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm water. Carefully stir. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until froth appears.

2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, olive oil and yeast. Carefully add water a little at a time until dough consistency forms, mix well. Add olive oil around the outside of the dough ball (not working in). Cover bowl and allow to sit in a warm place for at least an hour or until doubled in size.

3. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Place dough on a non-stick baking mat and roll out until dough is the same size as a rectangle baking sheet. Press dough all over with fingers. Cover baking sheet with olive oil and generously brush all over. Add dough onto baking sheet.

4. Using the same pastry brush carefully brush pizza sauce on top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, olives, capers, feta, za’tar and sumac. Brush edges with more olive oil.

5. Place into oven and cook 20-30 minutes until crust is golden.

Yields: 1 pizza

Saudi Coffee

 While Al-Qahwa is a symbol of hospitality throughout the Arabian world, in the Arabian Gulf hospitality is incomplete without Al-Qahwa. It is served day and night, at all social gatherings, offices, parties, weddings and condolence visits. Anything sweet such as dates are served with the coffee.

Al-Qahwa is served by a moqahwai or by the youngest person at the gathering, or perhaps by the host, depending on the occasion and the social rank of the host. The server should always hold the dullah with his left hand and the fanajeen stacked in his right. Using the left hand to deliver or receive at item is considered bad manners. Serving should always start with the guest of honor or the person highest of rank and age of the people present. It is a sign of respect to be offered the first finjan and a nice gesture to offer the cup to the next in rank or the eldest. When serving you should pour enough coffee to fill the cup slightly more than one third, but definitely less than half as over filling indicates that the server is not hospitable and would like the guest to leave as quickly as possible.

This is my mother in laws recipe so it as authentic as it gets. Saudi coffee which is also known as Arabic gulf coffee is made with green coffee beans which just mean they have been lightly roasted. You can grind them at home but I have mine ground fresh at the store.

4 cups water
1-1/2 heaping teaspoons ground coffee
3 teaspoons cardamom
1 teaspoon coffee mate creamer (powder)

1. In a coffee or tea pot on high heat add water and coffee. Bring to a full boil until top is frothy. Boil for 2 more minutes.

2. In a flask or coffee pot add cardamom and creamer, pour coffee into. Stir then serve in Arabic coffee cups.

Yields: 6 servings