Tunisian Fresh Mint Tea with Pine Nuts

August 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Ingredients

1 cup fresh mint leaves
Honey
Hot water
Pine nuts

Directions

In a tea cup place 4-10 fresh mint leaves and fill with hot water.  Add honey to taste and place 4-8 pine nuts on the top.


Fresh Dates, Mint Infused Honey & Ricotta

August 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Serves 6

The dessert is one that combines the love of fresh dates with the amazing ricotta and honey found throughout the Middle East, the tea, purely a Tunisian thing, interesting and quite good.

Ingredients

½ cup honey
1/2  cup water
24 fresh Deglet Nuir or Medjul dates, pitted
2 cups fresh ricotta


Directions

In a small saucepan heat the honey and the water, whisking to incorporate, do not boil.  Add the dates and let the dates simmer on low in the honey for about 5 minutes.  Serve a dollop of ricotta with a 3-4 dates and a drizzle of the honey.


Arabic Salad

August 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Serves 6

The secret to success of this classic Middle Eastern recipe is small/tiny uniform pieces. They catch the flavors better and ensure the exceptional fresh taste with the prefect ratio of flavors! Each region has their own variation of this recipe, my favorite is probably the Lebanese version which is very herbaceous.

Ingredients

4 small Persian cucumbers or 2 euro cucumbers, peeled and chopped fine (tiny cubes)
2 medium sized roma tomatoes, chopped fine (tiny cubes)
½ medium red onion, chopped fine (tiny cubes)
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped super fine
3 tablespoons lemon juice (more if you like it tangy)
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sumac (dried leaves in a powder) (optional but defiantly a strong component)
1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of peppers(more to taste)

Directions

Combine the cucumbers, romas, red onions and parsley in a large bowl and toss together to mix well. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and spices and toss again. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Serve cool but not cold!

Fresh Za’Atar and Warm Pita

August 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Serves 4

A fresh and bright take on the classic dried Za’atar, perfect on warm pita with labneh cheese!  Be bold and make your own labneh, its easy.

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, chopped superfine
2 tablespoons fresh summer savory leaves, chopped fine
1/3 cup fresh lemon thyme leaves, chopped fine
1 teaspoon sumac powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon  sea salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Warm pita
Labneh cheese

Directions

Toss all the ingredients together except eh pita and labneh until mixed well. Serve sprinkled over warm pita with a side of labneh.

Tunisian Potato & Herb Salad with Harissa and Yogurt

August 2nd, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

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Serves 6

Ingredients

2 pounds yellow potatoes, cooked and cubed or cut in approx ½ inch cubes (peels on or off)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Cracked black pepper
¼-½  cup extra virgin Olive Oil
Yogurt
Fresh Mint Harissa ( recipe follows)

Directions

Toss the cooked and hot potatoes with the herbs, salt, some cracked black pepper and the olive oil, making sure that the potatoes are well coated.  Refrigerate.  Before serving take out of refrigerator and bring to room temperature.  Serve with a side of harissa and a dollop of yogurt.

Fresh Mint Harissa

Makes 2 cups

My own version of the Middle Eastern spicy red sauce, adds fresh mint for a more vibrant flavor.  The Tunisians have the best Harissa hands down.

Ingredients

2 dried guajillo chilies, stems removed, broken
2 dried red chilies, stems removed, broken
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons rainbow peppercorns, toasted
3 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper, roasted & peeled
2 red (fresh) jalapeno peppers, roasted & peeled
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2  tablespoons olive oil
2-3  tablespoons fresh mint leaves (optional)

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and spices are broken apart and the sauce is smooth.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Middle Eastern Frozen Lemonade

August 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes enough for your freezer to make a few pitchers

This is a take on the classic Middle Eastern frozen mint lemonade that is found throughout all parts of the Middle East, fresh and cold and always delightful.  This recipe allows for ease in the summer as you through the ice cubes in the blender with a little water and your summer is suddenly cooler.

Ingredients

Zest of two lemons
2 cups water
1 cup of sugar
1 cup lemon juice (fresh)
1  tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoons thai basil leaves or regular basil, choped fine
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, choped fine
1 cup water or ice cold  Ouzo

Directions

In a medium sauce pan place the zest, water and sugar, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely and add in the lemon juice and fresh herbs.  Mix well and freeze in ice cube trays and store in a zip lock bag.  When ready to make place as many ice cubes as you need in a blender with water or ouzo, the ratio for a normal size ice cue tray = 6 ice cube for ½ cup of water, which makes a few glasses. Garnish wit a sprig of mint or thai basil.


Yemini Zhug with Grilled Halloumii

August 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Serves 6

Ingredients

½  teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon rainbow pepper corns, toasted
1 cardamom pod, cracked and toasted
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
½  teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons salt
3 cloves garlic
2 cups cilantro leaves
4 -6 hot green chilies, chopped (any type is fine- Serrano, jalapeño, cayenne a combination of them all is best)
½ cup olive oil, plus a few tablespoons
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice plus two tablespoons

1 pound halloumi cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  An emersion blender can also be used.   Heat a grill pan to medium high heat. Whisk together 2 tablespoons lemon juice with two tablespoons olive oil and brush sliced cheese.  Grill the cheese on each side  for about 2-3 minutes per side or until grill markets appear.   Serve with a bit of the Zhug drizzled on top for a light appetizer.   Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.  

Roasted Tomato & Red Lentil Soup with FIRE HOT Yemini Zhug

February 24th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Serves 6

Ingredients

½  teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon rainbow pepper corns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1-2 cups red cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, chopped course
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
2 teaspoons smoked paprika ( Turkish variety if you can get your hands on it!)2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups red lentils
2 cups water
3 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste
Yogurt
Fire Hot Yemini Zhug (recipe follows)

Directions

Heat oven to 400 ° F.  In a small thin bottomed pan on medium heat, toast the spices until they start to pop and char slightly, making sure to shake the pan and flip the seeds/spices so they don’t burn and stick.  The process should take about 1 minute in total.  Using a mortar and pestle grind the spices into a course mixture, like course pepper.  If you do not have a mortar and pestle you can use a flat bowl  on a wooden cutting board to push down and crack, sliding the bowl over the seeds until they care crushed.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the tomatoes, garlic, and shallots and sprinkle the spice mixture over the top.  Add in the smoked paprika and the salt and stir.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss until all the tomatoes are well coated in the spices and oil.  Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked and slightly charred on the edges.

In a heavy bottom pan combine the lentils and the water and cook on medium high heat until most the water is absorbed and the lentils begin to soften.  Add a little salt, the roasted tomatoes, making sure to get all the scraping from the roasting pan,  and the vegetable broth and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, making sure to add more water if the soup begins to get too thick.  Take off heat and let sit for about 30 minutes before re-heating to serve, again adding more water before re-heating if the soup is to thick.  Serve garnished with a yogurt dollop and zhug sauce drizzled over the top.

zhug

FIRE HOT Yemini Zhug

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

½  teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon rainbow pepper corns
1 cardamom pod, cracked
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½  teaspoon caraway seeds
3 cloves garlic2 cups cilantro leaves
4 -6 hot green chilies, chopped (any type is fine- Serrano, jalapeño, cayenne a combination of them all is best)
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  An emersion blender can also be used.  Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.  Use on eggs, meats, fish and vegetables.

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