30th September 2007

Lahmajoun / S’fiha / Meat Pies

This evening Lisa successfully tackled an all-time favorite dish, lahmajoun (also, lahm bi ajeen, s’fiha). These little flatbread “pizzas” feature a crispy crust and ground beef mixed with tomatoes and a delicious mix of various herbs and spices. This is the first recipe we’ve made from Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen, which we received as a wedding present from Megan. We served it with a cucumber and yogurt salad.

Chris says:

Wow, I can’t believe how good this turned out, especially considering you’ve never made it solo before… the dough was perfect!

Lisa says:

Neither can I — these are *so* good. The flavors in the meat are fantastic. I love that we have nine pies left to freeze, too.

Chris says:

Oops, better make that eight. Mmmm… this cucumber stuff is good.

Lisa says:

I’m not sure why they call it “salad”; it’s very similar to a cucumber yogurt soup I’ve had. So cool and refreshing!

1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

(Meat Topping)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs lean ground lamb or beef
2 large tomatoes, peeled seeded, chopped, and drained
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses (reduce unsweetened pomegranate juice to by two-thirds)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp mixed spices (2 parts allspice, 1 part cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and cumin)
salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste

To make the dough pour 1/2 cup of the water into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture stand about 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place for 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy.
In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the remaining 1/2 cup water, the yeast mixture, and the oil. Blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, sprinkling with just enough additional flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the meat topping. In a medium heavy skillet heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the lamb/beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste and mix well. Add the parsley, mint, and pine nuts, Pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, mixed spices, and salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Drain the onions of oil and add to the meat mixture. Knead the mixture until it is thoroughly blended. Divide into 16 equal portions and set aside.
Punch down the dough and divide into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball and arrange the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly floured board. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface roll out each of the balls into a circle that is no more than 1/8″ thick. Arrange the circles slightly apart on large, lightly greased baking sheets. Top each circle with a portion of the meat mixture, spreading evenly to the edge. Bake the pies in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Makes 16

Cucumber and Yogurt Salad
2 cups low-fat plain yogurt, drained to 1 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
1 tsp crushed dried spearmint
1/2 tsp crushed tarragon
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 small cucumbers, peeled and seeded
2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate to cool and let flavors combine.

Makes approx. 2 cups

posted in Arabic, Armenian, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 11 Comments

26th September 2007

Chicken and Baby Bok Choy Shroom-stravaganza!

Tonight I made two new recipes, each the first recipe we’ve tried in two new books — from The Mushroom Lover’s Mushroom Cookbook, Boneless Chicken Breasts with Wild Mushrooms and Enoki, and from Asian Flavors, Baby Bok Choy with Garlic and Straw Mushrooms.

Lisa says:

Wow — you can really taste the wine in this.

Chris says:

Yeah, I kinda wish we had the cognac that the recipe calls for on hand.

Lisa says:

Really? I love the wine — and the really interesting variety of mushrooms!

Chris says:

Yeah, it’s delicious. I just ended up getting a bunch of different mushroom varieties because I couldn’t find Mousserons. What about the bok choy?

Lisa says:

Mmmmmm, so good! You know I’m going to say that it needs more garlic — but what doesn’t?

Boneless Chicken Breasts with Mousserons and Enoki
2 large boneless chicken breasts, with skin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
8 oz fresh mousserons, cleaned, or 1 oz dried mousserons or wild mushrooms *
2 tbsp Cognac or 1/4 cup dry red or white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 3.5 package enoki mushrooms, trimmed and broken into 5-6 clumps
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet, preferably nonstick. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and cook until the skin is deep golden brown and crisp, about 6 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts over, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until no trace of pink remains in the thickest part of the chicken, about 6 minutes.
Remove the chicken breasts, add the scallion whites and mousserons or wild mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the Cognac or wine and cook until evaporated. Add the stock and boil until the sauce is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the enoki, parsley, and scallion greens and stir to mix. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Reduce the heat and simmer 2 minutes.
Serve hot, spooning half of the mushroom mixture and sauce onto each of 2 plates and topping it with a chicken breast.
* If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute by pouring hot chicken stock over the mushrooms in a bowl and letting sit for 10-15 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, then strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter and save for use in the recipe.

2 Servings

Baby Bok Choy with Garlic & Straw Mushrooms
1 lb baby bok choy
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 oz straw mushrooms, halved
2 tbsp rice wine
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt

Blanch the bok choy in a saucepan of boiling water for one minute. Drain, and cool by running under cold water.
Heat the oil in a wok, add the garlic and fry gently for one minute until golden. Drain from the wok and set aside. Add the straw mushrooms and bok choy and stir-fry over high heat for two minutes. Add the rice wine, sugar, and salt, and stir until the vegetables are coated in the wok juices.
Transfer to a serving plate, spoon over the garlic, and serve at once.

4 Servings

posted in Main Dishes | 0 Comments

25th September 2007

Turkey Chili

Tonight Lisa made an easy chili recipe from the cookbook Turn Up The Heat with G. Garvin — nice on this cool fall day.

Carrie says:

I like this because it’s filling but still tastes… healthy.

Lisa says:

This was so easy to make! It ruled because it was meaty.

Chris says:

Can’t talk. Eating.

Turkey Chili
2 tsp olive oil
2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 16 oz can small red beans
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tbsp chopped jalapeño pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp groudn cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
sour cream
green onions

In a large roasting pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add turkey, onion, and garlic. Cook until turkey is browned. Drain off fat. Add undrained tomatoes, undrained red beans, bell pepper, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until flavors are blended. Top with sour cream and green onions.

6-8 servings.

posted in Main Dishes, Turn Up The Heat | 4 Comments

24th September 2007

Swordfish Kebabs with Olive and Caper Tapenade

Tonight I made another recipe from The Olive and The Caper, and this time it featured both of those ingredients. Swordfish marinated in lemon and olive oil is skewered with onions and bay leaves, grilled, and served with an olive and caper tapenade. I followed the recipe as listed below, except that I used less oil than called for. We had asparagus and broccoli cheese couscous on the side.

Lisa says:

Everything’s salty — this is my dream dinner! I usually don’t like olives, but that tapenade is really good. The marinade on the swordfish is so flavorful!

Chris says:

Wow, this rules. I didn’t think bay leaves were used in anything but stews and sauces for flavoring. You can really taste the flavor of them on the onions. Yeah, the tapenade is pretty salty, and so is the couscous — actually that couscous is pretty vile.

Lisa says:

Yeah, I can’t tell if I like it, or if it tastes like vomit.

Chris says:

There’s a winning endorsement… I’m just glad we also had the asparagus. Let’s definitely make that swordfish again, it was delicious.

Swordfish Kebabs with Olive and Caper Tapenade
1 cup lemon and oil marinade (Recipe Follows)
8 to 10 bay leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 pound swordfish, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 large onion, quartered, layers separated
2 cups Olive and Caper Tapenade (Recipe Follows)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Olive and Caper Tapenade:
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata or other Greek black olives
4 large cloves garlic
4 anchovy fillets, preferably salt-packed
3/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until chopped as fine as possible.

Place the marinade and the bay leaves in a dish that is large enough to hold all the swordfish chunks in one layer. Add the swordfish and onion and turn to coat it in the marinade. Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Turn the fish once or twice while it is marinating. When you are ready to cook swordfish, heat a grill to medium-hot. String an onion section, a piece of bay leaf, and then a swordfish chunk in a skewer. Repeat, in that order, until the skewer is filled, ending with a piece of onion. Fill all the skewers in this fashion. If there are extra onion sections left over, thread them on a separate skewer and cook them along with the others. Place the skewers on the grill and cook, turning once, just until white curds form on top of the fish and the centers are still a bit pink, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a platter and let them sit for the juices to settle, 5 minutes. Arrange the skewers on a platter and serve right away, accompanied by the tapenade.

posted in Main Dishes, The Olive and The Caper | 1 Comment

23rd September 2007

Manti (hooray!) and Swiss Chard with Bulgur

We’ve been looking forward to making manti again (okay, I’ve been looking forward to Lisa making manti again), and the first day of fall sounded like a perfect excuse to make this Armenian favorite: Crispy little canoe-shaped dumplings stuffed with ground beef, onion, and allspice, in a bowl of chicken broth, topped with a dollop of garlic-yogurt.

Chris says:

Holy mackeral, I love this stuff. My favorite part is taking some of the leftover manti and just dipping it right into the garlic-yogurt. I could eat that every day and never tire of it. And I like that new side dish with the swiss chard. I’m glad we’re finding more things to do with the bulgur in the pantry.

Lisa says:

I love it too, but how about next time you spend an hour putting the manti together, and I’ll play on the computer. Also, that side dish ruled, but needed more garlic.

Chris says:

I don’t want to ruin perfection, so I think you should continue to be the designated manti-maker. Hey, haven’t we already featured this on the blog?

Lisa says:

Yeah, the very first post — but that’s back when you were lazy and weren’t listing the recipes. Besides, we made a new side dish with it, and have this picture of the manti before it went in the oven. I want to show off my hard work.

(from The Complete Armenian Cookbook)
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, minced
salt, pepper, and allspice to taste
won ton wrappers
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter

To prepare the filling, combine the ground beef, onion, salt, pepper, and allspice in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside. Cut each sheet of won ton wrappers into four squares. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square. Pinch the two ends with your fingers to form a canoe-shaped pastry. Arrange the manti close together, meat-side up, in a well-buttered pan. Dot each with a bit of the butter. Bake at 350 degrees about 20-30 minute, or until the manti are golden brown. Keep warm. Heat the chicken broth. Combine the yogurt and garlic in a mixing bowl. To serve, place the manti into individual bowls, add the hot chicken broth and the garlic-yogurt. Sprinkle with the sumac, and serve.

4 Servings

Swiss Chard with Bulgur
(from Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb Swiss chard, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup #3 bulgur
1 cup water

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the swiss chard to the onion and let them cook, over medium heat, for 6 to 10 minutes or until the Swiss chard has reduced in bulk. Make a hole in the center of the Swiss chard, add the bulgur, then cover it with the chard. Cook for 5 more minutes. Season with pepper. Add water and cook over low heat until the water has evaporated.

Serves 4

posted in Armenian, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 7 Comments