Monday, November 1, 2010

I MADE CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And it rocked if I may add.

I was surprised by how easy it was to make. Here it goes,You need.....

3 cups or so of whole milk
4- 5 table spoons of white vinegar 
Salt and seas to taste.
and that's all..... totally..... nothing more. Amazing yes I know.
 A colander and some cheese cloth.

How to make some of the best fresh cheese in the world.

In a large heavy pot mix in the milk and cream.  Very slowly bring the milk almost to a boil. It may take 30 min. to do so. Don't rush it. Make a cup of hot tea or coffee, call a friend you haven't chatted with in a while...whatever but don't rush it or it wont work.( make sure you stir the milk to keep it from burning while you chat)
Now once you have the milk almost to a boil, hang up the phone and pour in half of the vinegar, you may only need that if is docent start to thicken up right away add the rest. The curds will separate from the whey in the pot and you will notice a yellow liquid in the pot.......that's the whey. Let the cheese set in the pot and go line the colander with cheese cloth, pour in your cheese and allow it to set for 10 min or so to cool off, you can then add some salt and seasoning to the mix and mush it around with a spoon. Twist the cloth around the cheese and let it set in the frig for 3-4 hrs or over night. I leave the twisted cloth of cheese in the colander on a baking dish to catch the dripping whey. Thats it! Home made fresh yummy Farmers cheese, so easy I can do it. =)
Here is my Youtube video on the final step of farmers cheese.

Variation.... this will make a creamy softer cheese much like ricotta ( it can also be used in place of ricotta) If you want a firmer dried cheese don't add heavy cream and add in a bit more milk.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tamia... AKA Falafel.

Fully cooked and steaming hot falafel.

Tamia really takes me back to Egypt. It's a daily any time food. It's cheep and filling and tastes great. Sadly we have no Tamia or falafel stands down south. So we have to make it.  I normally make it once every 3 or 4 days and keep a tupperware bowl of it in the frig, but I would not recommend keeping it longer then 4 days or freezing the dough. It goes great with foul, a mashed fava bean and tahina paste, in pita bread with lettuce and tomato.

2 cups of split skinned fava beans soaked overnight
2 cups  chick peas soaked overnight
1 bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley  washed well
1 bunch cilantro washed well 
8-10 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons flour
2 tsp baking soda before you cook it dont add if you will put in in the frig. for later.

In a food processor add the fava beans. You want them to be chopped supper fine, once done put in a large mixing bowl and do the same thing with the chick peas.
It should look like this
cut the onion into 4 pieces and put in the food processor, add in the garlic cilantro and parsley. blend it all together and add to the beans in the mixing bowl. add in all the seasonings and mix together, Slowly add the flour to the mix you will only need enough to pull it together. If you need to add water add a table spoon or so. You should be able to make it into a patty with your hand with out it crumbling.

Shape into balls or patties and fry in 2 inches of oil. serve hot. They will be dark brown, don't worry they didn't burn :~).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Basbousa a slice of semolina heaven.

I love basbousa! Its rich but not too rich, It's sweet but not too sweet. It's moist and dense but not thick and doughy. It's easy to make and is kept on hand in most Egyptian homes, because you never know who may stop by!

What ya need....

3 cups of a good quality fine grate semolina flour some times you can fine it at walmart but I don't care for the brand they carry much.  I buy mine at Shorline foods in Pensacola or you can find it at any middle eastern or Greek import store. It runs about the same price as flour.

1 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes. ( publix has a great organic brand or you can find it in the frozen fruits at wally world)
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup ghee or butter
1 cup plain yogurt  the real stuff not the fat free
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
About 12-15 whole almonds 
Ghee or butter or margarine for the pan

Butter a glass 12/9 baking dish
Mix together semolina, coconut, sugar baking powder and soda in a large mixing bowel.
With an electric mixer or old school, either one works fine. Slowly add in room temp ghee, milk and yogurt. It will make a thick batter.
Pour the batter in your pan and using a spatula smooth the batter out evenly. I put a kitchen towel under the pan and beat the pan down to make sure it even as well.

Now with a butter knife cut across the top of the batter in a diamond pattern, not all the way threw but just enough to see where to place your almonds. Once you have diamonds place 1 almond  in the middle of each diamond.
Now preheat your oven to 350. Before you put your cake in the oven you have to let it set for 2 hrs at least!!
The semolina needs time to soak up the liquid. Resist all temptation over it with a paper towel and walk away.... just walk away.
Ok come back now. Put the cake in the oven for 20-30 min or until golden. When it's done you will smell it....oh god will you!! YUMMY! take it from the oven and set it aside, it's not 100% done yet.

Now you have to make the syrup that you will pour over.

What ya need....

1 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
and 1 of the fallowing..... You can use either rose water, orange water or lemon juice. I have tried them all they all are great. If you use a strong rose water use about 1 cap same with orange water and Lemon juice use 5 drops or 1 tsp. 

In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, then add the lemon juice or flavored water and reduce the heat simmer uncovered, for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
Your cake should still be warm but not steaming hot. pour the syrup over the cake. Let it stand for 15 min. then re-cut your diamonds  and serve. 

You just made the best cake in the world....ENJOY!

Not mine I will replace it later with the cake I am baking tonight. =)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My love Egypt.

I pray for you every day.
I miss you dearly.
With all the madness going on in Egypt currently I want to remember the good things that made me fall in love with the country and the people. Egyptians are the sweetest people in the world. The government is in need of overhaul in a bad way, the prices of food are up, unemployment is up wages are down but the spirit of the people is alive. They are proud, strong and lively. Every time i visit I feel welcome, I feel at home. I love my darling Egypt and every person who makes it so perfect.

golas belahma elmafroma جلاش باللحمه المفرومه

My very first recipe and post will be one of my all time favorites. Golas belahma elmafroma. Or as I call it the ground beef stuff with peppers onions and tomato. =)~  It's too easy and a true classic.

What ya need....

1 roll of phyllo dough. I like Athens brand.
1/2 a cup melted ghee  if your  not Indian or Arab more then likely you don't have this on hand. I use it a lot and make it myself It's nothing more then cooled clerifyed butter. Or you can use margarine.
1.5  pounds lean ground beef. We use Halal ground beef when ever possible. It's grain and grass feed free rage and killed in the Islamic manner.
1 large green bell pepper.
1 med. yellow onion,
1 large tomato.
1.5 cups of shredded cheddar. 
salt, red pepper for a kick some times I add a bit of beef bullion if I have it on hand.

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Set your Phyllo out to thaw.

Chop onion, bell pepper and tomato, keep tomato separate from the rest.
In a med. skillet throw together the beef, onions, pepper and seasonings. Cook until 75% done then add the diced tomato and finish. I add the tomato at the end so it docent turn into mush. Remove from heat and drain off any fat in the pan.

Butter a 12 by 9 glass baking dish. Unroll your phyllo dough. Take 4- 5 sheets and lay on the bottom of the baking dish. sprinkle lightly with cheese  then add 1/2 of the cooked meat and veggies. top with 7-8 more sheets of dough ( you want that layer a bit thicker) brush melted ghee of the dough, add meat and veggies, a bit of cheese and then repeat with more dough. On the top layer of Phyllo brush with ghee. I use a serving spoon to push stray edges of dough down to make the top look more uniform and neat. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top then to the oven for about 30 min or until golden brown.

When you remove from the oven allow it to cool for about 15 min and it will be much more easy to cut and serve.