Kentucky Butter Cake

kentucky-butter-cake

When I saw this recipe floating around Pinterest I just knew I had to make it. I cannot say I was always a big fan of bundt cakes because when you’re a kid you just kind of think of them as old people cakes. I mean a cake without frosting? I have came to appreciate bundt cakes and now even look at them as rather classy. The thing about a good bundt cake is that it’s so amazing you do not need all that frosting on top. Just a sprinkle of sugar and maybe some fresh fruit and there you have it.

This cake is so moist hence it being a butter cake after all. My husband says that Southerners are obsessed with butter and he’s right we are. My mom has a picture of me as kid sitting on the kitchen counter eating out of the Blue Bonnet tub. But hey I did not remember Arabs being that healthy did you?

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
Powdered sugar, for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan.

2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add in the buttermilk butter, vanilla, and eggs. Beat for three minutes at medium speed. Pour the batter into the bundt pan.

3. Bake for 60 minutes or until an inserted tester comes out clean. Allow cake to cool, remove from pan and place on cake platter then sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Yields: 1 cake

adapted from simmer and shoot

Halva

albanian-halva

albanian-halva-recipe

Halva is a popular dessert throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean especially during the month of Ramadan. This is the Albanian version and my favorite. Most of the Arabic recipes use brown flour. In all recipes you can choose to lump into onto one giant shape and serve it that way or make smaller pieces like I have. I always make this smaller batch and shape it into a flower like the above picture. This is the perfect dessert to serve with hot tea.

Some people like to allow the flour and butter mixture to cook longer until dark brown or you can choose to cook it until golden like I do, they both taste the same. When you first start cooking the halva it will be thing but during the course of the 15 minutes it will thicken up and clump as it should so do not add or remove anything.

7 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
hot water (just a bit about 2-4 tablespoons)

1. In a saucepan on medium heat add butter and allow to melt. Add flour into butter and use a flat disk and spoon to make sure the mixture has no lumps and is mixed well. Allow to brown (golden or dark brown).

2. Add the sugar and a small amount of water, mix and allow to cook for 15 minutes while mixing. After the time is up the mixture will thicken up mix hard until it balls and shake the pan. Allow to cool (bit not to long) and shape as you would like.

Yields: 4 servings

Batbout

batbout

Batbout is a small little Moroccan bread that pretty much looks like a mini pita. It is popular in Saudi during Ramadan and that is the only time you’re able to find it here that I know of. I love to place batout on the table with toppings such as cheese, olives and zatar early in the mornings during the Holy month and because of their small size kids always love them as well. These little golden circles are so simple to make and bread always taste perfect straight from the oven. You can check out the Saudi version here.

1/2 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar for the yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil

1. Making the Dough:
1- In a small bowl add yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and a little bit of warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
2- In a large mixing bowl add flour, oil, salt, the reaming sugar and yeast mixture.
3- Add warm water, little by little, while mixing the ingredients until you are able to form a dough ball. You only need enough water to get the ingredients together, and the dough ball should not feel wet or sticky.

2. Kneading the Dough:
1- Place the dough on a counter and start kneading using the palm of your hands.
2- Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you get a soft and elastic dough.
3- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a medium thin layer. With a drinking glass cut into circles.
4- Place the disks on a baking pan, cover with a clean cloth, and let the dough rest in a warm place for at least 1 hour, preferably 2.

3. After the dough rests, you will notice that the dough disks puff up. Heat a heavy pan on medium heat, and when it’s hot, place the batbout on the pan to cook. Cook the batbout for a few minutes on each side, until they become golden brown, and thoroughly cooked.

Yields: 4-6 servings

adapted from Cooking with Alia

Koussa Bil Khal

koussa-bil-khal

I love all of these ingredients but I was not sure how I would feel about them combined. Once I took a bite though it instantly became one of my favorite ways to have zucchini. I guess I should have known better the Lebanese always know what to do with vegetables (and every other food pretty much). The original recipe says that you can leave the garlic raw but I prefer it lightly cooked in olive oil.

5 large zucchini (2 pounds), sliced 1/3 thick
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons dried, crushed mint
2 garlic cloves, diced and cooked

1. On a baking sheet lined with foil add zucchini and brush with olive oil then lightly salt.

2. Cook under a preheated broiler until lightly browned then flip, brush with oil and return to broiler to brown other side.

3. Mix vinegar, mint and garlic in a small bowl and mix with cooked zucchini slices.

Yields: 6 servings

Adapted from Arabesque