Fattoush

Fattoush has been a long time favorite of
mine especially in the Summer months. When it’s hot I just love eating small
and cool meals. Forget all that heavy rice and large dinners. This colorful Lebanese
salad is made up of the perfect fresh ingredients and topped with a light
dressing that I use for almost all my salads, I love it that much.
1 head lettuce, washed and chopped
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch mint leaves, washed and drained
3 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
7 radishes, peeled and sliced
2 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sumac
Salt to taste
2 pita breads, cut up and fried
In a large salad bowl add lettuce, parsley,
mint, cucumbers, radishes and shallots.
In a small bowl add garlic, lemon juice,
olive oil, paprika, salt and sumac, mix well and pour over salad, mixing well.
Top with fried pita bread and serve.
Yields: 6 servings

Arabic Pita Bread

Over the years I have had so many requests for Arabic pita bread but never got around to posting the recipe. My mammaw gave me a homemade cookbook when I got married and it contained this recipe and has since been the only pita bread recipe that I have ever used. Why change a good thing right? Since moving to the Middle East I have not made homemade pita bread. It’s freshly made here at
all times and even hot when you get it and did I mention dirt cheap. It’s about 1 riyal for a big pack which is around a quarter and if you order food from anywhere, they just give you packs for free.

However, I have to admit that today when I made this and tasted it I hated that I stopped making it for my family, it taste so much better. Usually when I bake bread, I always tell you all to use as little extra flour as possible after you make your dough, however do not go by that when making pita bread just remember that flour is your friend. You need extra when rolling it out, kneading and shaping. Also allowing your dough to rest in between each move is something that I have found is a must so that the gluten does not get over excited and works to your advantage. Also make sure your water is not too hot or you will kill the yeast yet not cold or it will not grow.
3 cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups warm water1. In a small bowl add yeast, pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, remaining sugar, 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and yeast mixture, mix well. Add warm water a little bit at a time mixing until a dough consistency has formed. Knead for 10 minutes.
3. In a medium sized bowl add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brush all over sides and bottom of bowl. Add dough and brushing remaining oil on top. With your fingers lightly poke all over the tops and side of the dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a double folded kitchen towel. Place in a warm place (like a microwave) for an hour.
4. On a floured surface add dough and knead for 10 minutes working extra flour (about 1/3 cup) into dough. Break off 8 even pieces and roll into a bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
5. Pre-heat oven to 500F placing baking stone inside to heat up. On a floured surface shape ball into a circle with your hands then carefully flatten until 4-5 inch circles are formed. Add two pitas at a time to bake. Bake for a few minutes on each side flipping with metal tongs. Bust any puffy bubbles with a fork to allow steam out.
6. Cover with a towel to keep warm until serving time and store inside a plastic bag.
Yields: 8 servings

Chicken Soup for the Flu

For at least 900 years, the healing
properties of chicken soup have been noted and regarded as weird by the medical
community. For years studies have been conducted to try to figure out just why
chicken soup does make us feel better. It seems too been left at that it’s
simply magic. Studies have shown that chicken soup does in fact contain certain
‘drug like’ agents that minimize inflammation. Apparently, the soup inhibits
the tendency of certain white cells to congregate. The reasons why are still a
mystery and in one study, the soup was diluted 200 times and still produced the
same result. So with that being said can soup is as good for you as the
homemade stuff but of course homemade taste much better.  
We have been having crazy weather here in
Riyadh all month, nothing that I have ever seen especially at this time of
year. One day it’s pouring and the next a major sandstorm then cold and hot. With
that kind of weather it seems to be the perfect recipe for the flu. This past
weekend my husband starting showing the first symptoms of the flu so I quickly
whipped up my fast yet healing chicken soup. I love this soup during anytime,
it taste great.
4 cups water
1/2 rotisserie chicken, cooked and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons fresh diced ginger
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. In a 4-quart saucepan on
high heat add water, chicken, salt, curry powder, ginger, garlic, carrot,
potato, onion and pepper, stir well.
2. Add lid, reduce heat to
low and allow cooking for 30 minutes.
Yields: 4 servings

Shrimp Cakes

While vacationing in Southeast Asia I tried some of the most appealing shrimp cakes and have wanted to try to recreate them since we have been home.  You could easily add whatever flavorings you like into this dish I myself just made them very simple and served them with a side of soy as well as fish sauce. Remember that shrimp should not cooked very long or it will get a tough and plastic like texture.

2 pounds shrimp, cleaned
6 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons flour

1 white onion, quartered

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup breadcrumbs (finely ground)

Sunflower oil for frying

1. In a food processor add shrimp, garlic and onion, pulse until everything is ground. Pour into a large bowl then add flour, paprika and salt. Mix well.

2. In a sauté pan on medium heat add enough oil for lightly frying cakes. Add breadcrumbs into a medium sized bowl. Make medium sized patties with hand and lightly coat each side in the breadcrumbs. Place in the shallow oil for frying. Allow each side to lightly brown about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towel and serve.

Yields: 8 servings

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