Monthly Archives: November 2012

Arabic Lentil Soup

 I do not always make lunch for myself but today was different, I woke up so hungry. I decided to wait until lunch time to eat and make a nice spread so my entire family could eat together. I made traditional Arabic lentil soup, samboosas and Arabic salad. I previously told you that in Indonesia they set several toppings out to put over your soups or other dishes. It’s a custom that I am huge fan of so I took that concept and did it with this recipe. I took a large plate and added fried onions, grated carrots and fresh cilantro. Lemon wedges would also be a nice side. If you’re a vegetarian you can use fresh vegetable broth or cubes to make this dish. And of course warm pita bread on the side is also a must.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion
1 carrot, diced
3 garlic cloves
1 cup brown lentils (also called black)
6 cups chicken broth (or 6 cups of water and 2 bullion cubes)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
grated carrot and cilantro for topping, optional

Fried Onion:
1 small white onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup sunflower oil

1. In a food processor add onion and garlic, pulse until mixture is gently chopped. In a 1/2 quart saucepan on medium heat add olive oil and allow to heat up for 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic mixture, stir and allow to cook until tender about 3 minutes.

2. Add carrot slices and cumin, allow to cook for about 20 seconds. Add chicken broth then bring heat to a full boil. Carefully add lentils, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer for 35 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on medium heat add sunflower oil. Allow to get hot for 3 minutes. Carefully add onion slices and allow to cook until brown about 5 minutes. Sit aside on a paper towel.

4. Remove lid from lentils and add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, stir. With a stick blender blend about half of mixture (not all should be blended). In a serving bowl add lentil soup then top each bowl with fried onions, grated carrots and cilantro.

Yields: 4 servings

*Ancient Persia (now modern day Iran) relied on lentils as the primary staple in their diet.

Egg Rounds

These little egg rounds have become a necessity in my home. Their super simple to make and you can do so much with them. My 5 year old likes his eggs plain so I just make his with an egg and some salt and for the rest I add fresh herbs such as chopped cilantro and spices such as salt, pepper, red pepper and cumin. If you like Arabic flavors you can use Arabic spice, for Algerian flavors add some harrisa paste and for Indian flavors garam masala is excellent. You get the point you can turn these into any flavor that you want.

All you do is pre-heat your oven to 350F. Brush some olive oil in a regular sized muffin pan and crack one egg into each cup. From there add whatever spices or herbs you want. With a fork bust the ones with herbs up a bit so they do not sit on the top. Pop them in the oven and bake for a full 15 minutes. I store these in a plastic container with a lid in the refrigerator and they are usually gone in two days. I just make some new ones and replace them. My husband loves these for a snack and you can put them on pita, biscuits, toast, croissants or whatever you may like.

* Older hens tend to lay bigger eggs.

DIY Coffee/Tea Bar

Several years ago I saw a small little homemade coffee bar in a design book and have wanted to create the area for myself ever since. I have a wooden cart that I bought from Ikea a few years ago for extra space which just so happened to have the perfect amount of space next to the microwave for my idea. I added a little neutral place mat that fit perfectly to kind of draw the eye from the natural wood.

I just added the items that we mostly use in the space like my traveler tumbler, french press, espresso pots, cups, tea, creamer and sugar. I have tons of more items (coffee, espresso, syrups, Saudi coffee) but they obviously will not all fit there but I am fine with that because everything is organized close in my kitchen. My husband is a tea drinker and uses the instant kind of tea and coffee so I placed those two items there for him to use. I also keep all the extra creamers and sugar that I get and put them in a little glass container on top of the microwave as you can see I have tons and I am just one person so if you have a lot of coffee drinkers in your home you could really stock up. The course brown sugar they give you is great for beauty treatments too. So there you have it friends a simple little coffee and tea area that I added. I hope you liked this little peek inside my kitchen.

Homemade Coffee Mix and Creamer

Several months ago I set out to try to make some homemade powdered coffee creamer since I was not able to find any recipes online and the store bought stuff is filled with some super gross stuff. I mean how can a powder make froth? That just scares me folks. Anyway I kept tweaking and tweaking to try to get the same taste but was never able to duplicate it however the one I was able to come up with is pretty good and taste as if fresh milk with a hint of vanilla was added to your coffee which is great for those times when you’re traveling or out of milk, right?

My homemade coffee mixture has been something that I have also been working on for a while as well. All of the current recipes I saw online would say that you have to add at least 5-6 tablespoons to get a good cup, that’s insane and I was content on making it normal you know maybe 1 spoonful. I would make and test and either it would end up having too much sugar, to milky or the coffee was too weak. After many test and mixes I finally found the perfect combination. Also one thing I noticed was that no one adds a bit of cream of tartar to their mixes which are a must for stabilizing the powders. Coffee mixes are perfect when you’re in a hurry to add to boiling water or hot milk and they also make pretty cool gifts.

Coffee Mix:
9 tablespoons instant coffee
6 tablespoons milk powder
3-1/2 tablespoons of powdered coffee creamer
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. In a food processor add instant coffee, milk power, coffee creamer, sugar, cocoa powder and cream of tartar. Pulse until combined into a powder.

Yields: approximately 1-1/2 cups

Coffee Creamer:
1 cup milk powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon powdered vanilla

1. In a jar add milk powder, cream of tartar and powdered vanilla. Close lid tightly and shake.

*  The name cappuccino comes from the drink’s resemblance to the brown cowls worn by Capuchin monks.