Jumat, 24 Februari 2012

Open Kibbeh

Kibbeh is a middle eastern dish made of bulgur or rice and chopped meat. Usually it looks like a fried croquette and is stuffed with lamb or beef. This however is an open version from Yotam Ottolenghi. When I made it, my kitchen smelled incredible aromatic! You might have thought you were at an Arabian market (not that I have ever been to one, but that's how I imagine it would smell there). Cinnamon, allspice and coriander are used in this dish. The meat mixture is a little spicy because of the chile but also sweet due to the cinnamon and pine nuts.
I assembled the dish the night before and popped it in the oven on the day I wanted to serve it, which worked really well....

  • Open Kibbeh
  • (Yotam Ottolenghi)

  • 125 g / 4.4 oz fine bulgur wheat
  • 90ml / 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 350 g / 12.3 oz minced lamb (I used a mixture of beef and lamb)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander
  • 60 g / 2 oz pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 50 g / 1.8 oz tahini paste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sumac

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper. Put the bulgur in a bowl, add 200ml of tap water and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat four tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the garlic, onion and chilli on medium-high heat until soft, remove from the pan, return it to high heat and add the lamb. Cook for five minutes, stirring, until brown. Return the onion mix to the pan, along with the spices, coriander leaves, salt, pepper and most of the pine nuts and parsley (save some for the end). Cook for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Check the bulgur to see if all the water has been absorbed (strain if not). Add the flour, a tablespoon of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper and, with your hands, work into a pliable mixture that just holds together. Push firmly into the base of the tin so that it is compacted and level. Spread the lamb mix evenly on top and press down. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the meat browns further and is very hot.

Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, 50ml of water and a pinch of salt – you're after a very thick, yet pourable sauce. Remove the kibbeh from the oven, spread the sauce on top, sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley, and return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, until the tahini is just set and the pine nuts are golden. Remove and leave to cool down. Before serving, sprinkle with the sumac and a drizzle of olive oil. Remove the sides of the tin and carefully cut the kibbeh into slices.

Minggu, 19 Februari 2012

Spagetthi Vodka arrabiata a la Jamie Oliver

This is a very spicy and aromatic dish from Jamie Oliver. I love pasta dishes where the sauce is made in the time when the pasta cooks. This is one of them. If you are not into spicy - you  might replace the chiles with roasted red peppers or even stay away from this recipe. The Parsley adds a wonderful freshness to the dish, even the stalks are used in this recipe, don't skip on it. 

NYC Vodka Arrabbiata
from Jamie’s America by Jamie Oliver

4 fresh red chillies
6 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets
400g tin chopped tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 shots vodka
500g spaghetti
1 lemon
optional: extra virgin olive oil

Prick the chillies 6 to 8 times with a small sharp knife. Put a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and chillies and let them cook slowly for 5 minutes. 

Turn the heat up to high and add the garlic, parsley stalks and anchovies. Keep moving everything around the pan, and when the garlic starts to take on some color, add the tinned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring this mixture to the boil, add the vodka, and turn the heat down so the sauce simmers. Gently bash up you chillies with a wooden spoon to release more of their flavor into the sauce.

Add your pasta to a pan of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain in a colander, then toss the pasta in the sauce. Divide between bowls or serve on a big platter. Roughly chop the reserved parsley leaves and sprinkle them over your pasta. Finely grate the lemon zest over the top, then squeeze in the juice, making sure you catch any seeds in your hands. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to finish it off, and serve immediately.

Selasa, 14 Februari 2012

Sugar Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers!

I had a lot of fun yesterday, baking and decorating these lovely cookies. They do not only look good but also tasted great!

 Sugar Cookies
(adapted from bakeat350)

  • Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies
  • 3 cup / 400 g unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup / 185 g sugar
  • 2 sticks / 230 g salted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 egg
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
     Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment approx. 2-3 minutes or until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and cold butter. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom. Wrap in plastic foil and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes

     Roll onto floured surface and cut into shapes (I roll the dough between plastic wrap or waxed paper). Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 350 F / 180 C. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
     Decorate with powdered sugar or icing. Find very good instructions on decorations here.


Jumat, 10 Februari 2012

Turkey Cakes with Wasabi Guacamole

When my husband wanted meatballs for dinner the other night, I couldn't help myself and had to look for a healthier version of the classic meatball recipe. I found these little guys - they are made with turkey, lots of herbs and zucchini.
After they come out of the oven they are brushed with sweet chili sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
The meatballs were so juicy and very flavorful! The wasabi guacamole added a very nice zing to the dish and I served them with a simple salad.

Turkey Cakes with Wasabi Guacamole
(from Yotam Ottolenghi)

  • 2 courgettes, coarsely grated (net weight 250g)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 600 g / 1 pound and 5 oz minced turkey, or chicken
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 60 g/ 2 oz chopped spring onion
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

  • For the wasabi guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled (net weight 300g)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 20 g/ 1oz chopped spring onion
  • Salt

  • Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put the grated courgette in a sieve, mixed with a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and leave to drain for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hands, then put the courgette in a large mixing bowl along with the turkey, eggs, cumin, coriander, mint, garlic, three-quarters of the spring onion, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Mix together well, then shape into 12 patties weighing about 80g each.

  • Heat two tablespoons of sunflower oil in a large frying pan and fry the patties for four minutes, turning once, until nice and brown on both sides. Transfer to a baking tray and finish off in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

  • While the turkey cakes are in the oven, make the guacamole: mash the avocado with a fork and mix together with the lime juice, wasabi, chopped spring onion and half a teaspoon of salt. Mix the sweet chilli and mirin in a separate bowl, and brush this over the turkey cakes as soon as they come out of the oven. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and serve with the guacamole on the side.

Kamis, 02 Februari 2012

Greek Spinach and Feta Pie

Success! This is the first time that I worked with phyllo dough and it didn't break! It is also the first time that I actually thawed the dough as the packaging instructed (I thought I should mention that...) The recipe might look complicated, but it is not. Most of the time it takes to make this recipe is needed for brushing the dough layers with the melted butter. The filling could even be prepared a day in advance. It is a nice dish to bring to a party or potluck and can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.

Greed Spinach and Feta Pie (Spanakopita)
(from Cooks Illustrated)

Why this recipe works:
Microwaving, chopping, and then ridding mature fresh spinach of excess water gave our spanakopita recipe bold spinach flavor. To buffer the assertiveness of feta and to add textural contrast, we added Greek yogurt to the spanakopita recipe. We chose to bake our spanakopita on a baking sheet. Its sides were short enough to allow moisture to escape, crisping the phyllo dough’s bottom crust.

  • Filling
  • 2 (10-ounce) bags curly leaf spinach, rinsed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 12 ounces feta cheese, rinsed, patted dry, and crumbled into fine pieces (about 3 cups)
  • ¾ cup whole-milk Greek yogurt 
  • 4 medium scallions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup minced fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill leaves
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon grated zest plus 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  •  teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Phyllo Layers
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ lb. (14 by 9-inch) phyllo, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1 ½ ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated fine (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)

1.FOR THE FILLING: Place spinach and water in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover bowl with large dinner plate. Microwave on high power until spinach is wilted and decreased in volume by half, about 5 minutes. Using potholders, remove bowl from microwave and keep covered, 1 minute. Carefully remove plate and transfer spinach to colander set in sink. Using back of rubber spatula, gently press spinach against colander to release excess liquid. Transfer spinach to cutting board and roughly chop. Transfer spinach to clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove excess water. Place drained spinach in large bowl. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. (Filling can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
2.FOR THE PHYLLO LAYERS: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using pastry brush, lightly brush 14 by 9-inch rectangle in center of parchment with melted butter to cover area same size as phyllo. (If your phyllo is bigger than 14 x 9 like mine was just cut it with a pizza cutter to the right size) Lay 1 phyllo sheet on buttered parchment, and brush thoroughly with melted butter. Repeat with 9 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter (you should have total of 10 layers of phyllo).
3.Spread spinach mixture evenly over phyllo, leaving ¼-inch border on all sides. Cover spinach with 6 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter and sprinkling each with about 2 tablespoons Pecorino cheese. Lay 2 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each with butter (these layers should not be sprinkled with Pecorino).
4.Working from center outward, use palms of your hands to compress layers and press out any air pockets. Using sharp knife, score pie through the top 3 layers of phyllo into 24 equal pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using). Bake until phyllo is golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes or up to 2 hours. Slide spanakopita, still on parchment, to cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.