Lachmagine is a classic mazza, a “small bite” Syrian Jews often eat before dinner. It’s kind of like a mini pizza, but instead of sauce and cheese we put tamarind and meat on it. It’s a staple in many homes on Shabbat and holidays.
I decided to be daring and bake souffles – a chocolately, gooey, and rich dessert. I tried this once before, and misplaced the recipe, but luckily The Art and Soul of Baking came to my rescue. Of course. The best part was that this new recipe said you could refrigerate them for a day before baking…I love doing things ahead of time! Continue reading
I have seen this episode of Barefoot Contessa many many times. Ina makes this pot roast with some baked potatoes. It’s such an easy recipe, though you do need a whole bunch of ingredients to make it. I finally decided to try it, and it was definitely worth it! The pot roast is soft and flavorful, and the sauce is thick and delicious over rice or couscous. I dipped garlic bread in mine. yum! It’s also a pretty forgiving recipe, so if you don’t have some of the ingredients, don’t fret! Continue reading
Tomato soup is one of those amazing winter recipes. You can have it with noodles and cheese to make it a one-pot meal on a snowy evening. And it just improves in the fridge, so you can take leftovers for lunch! I had been thinking about making tomato soup with a can of tomatoes I had in my pantry when I watched Alex’s Day off. She combined fresh and canned tomatoes for an even more intense tomato flavor. Sure, her tomatoes looked better than the pinkish ones that I found in the supermarket, but after charring them on the stove and cooking them in wine, they really add some amazing flavor.
Even though I bake a ton of desserts and experiment with not-so-normal sweets, sometimes I just crave chocolate chip cookies. Baking them, that is. So this time I decided not to make just regular chocolate chip cookies (you know, the kind from the back of a chocolate chip bag), but giant ones with lots of chunks and some sea salt. A grown up version, I guess. Continue reading
A while back, Stephanie posted about kelsonnes, a traditional Syrian stuffed pasta dish. While many people use pre-made dough, making it from scratch is not so hard. It’s pasta that you can make without a pasta maker, so it’s totally worth it. The stuffed pasta is so giant that you get a ton of cheese, which is amazing. We usually eat these with egg noodles baked with butter. The buttery noodles get nice and crispy, mmm.
The recipe said that it yields 60 kelsonnes. I made 50. It really depends on the thickness of the dough. And no, I don’t serve/eat all of them at once. I usually make about 4 per person (of course we serve this alongside other traditional Syrian foods) and freeze the rest for an easy dinner later in the week.
I made individual bowls of noodles and kelsonnes here. You really don’t have to do that, but I like to take advantage of my oven proof bowls, so I do. If doing it this way, reduce the oven time and watch them closely. You don’t to burn the noodles too much!
Kelsonnes, adapted from the red Deal Delights cookbook:
For the dough:
- 5 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- About 2 cups water
For the filling (I cut the original recipe in half for you – otherwise there is WAY too much leftover cheese):
- 1 pound meunster cheese, grated finely (I use the grating disc in my food processor), about 5 cups
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1. Make the dough: combine flour, eggs, and salt. Add the water in a slow stream and mix together until you get a soft dough.
2. Combine filling ingredients, set aside.
3. Split the dough in half and roll out each half of the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.
4. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture every 3 or so inches on half the dough (make sure you have enough room to close the dough between – see picture).
5. Cover the mounds with the other half of the dough.
6. Cut out the rounds with a round cutter (about 2 1/2 inch).
7. Repeat with remaining dough.
To assemble the dish:
For 4 people you will need:
- 1 pound bag egg noodles
- 12-20 kelsonnes, depending on how much your eaters like them
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Some salt
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
3. When boiling, add the kelsonnes. Boil for 5 minutes before adding the pasta.
4. Boil according to the time written on the package. Drain.
5. Combine butter, a pinch of salt, noodles and kelsonnes in a large casserole. Mix until the butter melts.
6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until the top noodles begin to brown and get crispy.
For some reason, I decided I really wanted to make butter pecan ice cream. I bought the pecans. I had the cream, milk, eggs, and brown sugar that I needed. I had some butter in the freezer. I just didn’t have the recipe. I searched and searched and finally came up with one that seemed okay. I didn’t use it. Instead I combined some of my own ice cream knowledge and came up with this recipe. It’s awesome.
- 2 cups pecans, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place pecan on baking sheet and roast for about 7 minutes, until they turn brown and fragrant.
2. When the come out, immediately add the butter and salt to them. Mix. Set aside.
3. Heat the milk over medium heat.
4. While the milk is heating, combine the eggs yolks and brown sugar. Whisk until combined.
5. Add the half milk to the egg mixture slowly, bringing up the temperature. Then, add the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Heat over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens a bit.
It’s kind of like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the bread. And with a lot more peanut butter. And a little more amazing. Use your favorite jam (oh, use some of the homemade stuff if you want this to be even more decadent!)
I made these pareve, and used earth balance shortening and natural peanut butter. I actually use Skippy brand because 1. it was on sale, and 2. it is much creamier than most natural peanut butters. And though that’s not what I always prefer in pb&j sandwiches, it’s definitely better for the texture of the cookie. No trans-fats in this recipe! Use butter if you want it to be even more amazing, but then you can’t serve it to your family after Friday night dinner.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, adapted from Ina Garten:
- 1/2 pound earth balance, or your favorite natural margarine or shortening (or butter, of course!)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups (18 ounces) peanut butter
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (unless you have really salty peanut butter. then just leave it out)
- 1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) jam. I used raspberry, but use your favorite flavor)
- 2/3 cups roasted salted peanuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease and flour a 9×13 cake pan (I used a pyrex)
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium until they turn light yellow, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and peanut butter. Mix until just combined.
5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
6. Add the flour mixture to the wet with the mixer on low. Mix only until just combined.
7. Spread about 2/3 (just eyeball it) of the batter to the bottom of your baking pan. Smooth it out and make sure it’s even using a knife or spatula.
8. Spread the jam on top, evenly.
9. Take spoonfuls of the batter and drop the rest on top of the jam. Don’t worry if the jam layer is not completely covered, the dough will spread during baking.
10. Sprinkle with the peanuts.
11. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
12. Let cool before cutting into bars (or else they’ll fall apart and crumble – they’ll still taste good, though!). I cut them into 24 bars. They’re really decadent, so they don’t have to be big to be enjoyed!
I love baking bread. It just makes the house smell so good. And I know it doesn’t have ingredients I can’t pronounce in it. It also allows for some really easy lunches – sandwiches! Though I’ve tried many bread recipes, my go-to recipe is always Amish white bread. It has the soft texture and flaky crumbiness that just works. I try to have some slices in my freezer at all times. Sometimes, I want some variety, though. Whole wheat bread, rye bread, and sourdough bread are great, but oatmeal bread? That’s something new to me. So when I saw Alton make bread using leftover oatmeal, I just knew I had to try it. And I did, the very same day. I didn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast, though. I cooked it just for use in the recipe. It was definitely worth it.
This bread is amazing with some salted butter or fruity jam. It’s great for breakfast, and healthy, too! Put some in the freezer for fresh bread the entire week. Those oats are good for your cholesterol, according to the Cheerios commercial. This is a bread that I’ll definitely be keeping in my bread-baking rotation. I might double the recipe next time, though. It takes a lot of time to only yield one loaf. And maybe try to make it in my mixer because after being spoiled by my dough hook, kneading by hand gets tiring (though it wasn’t nearly as hard as kneading bagels).
Oatmeal Bread, adapted from Alton Brown:
Make one loaf – I got 16 slices.
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 11 ounces bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces cooked oats (to make this, use 3/4 cup oats and 1 1/2 cups water), at room temperature (you don’t want to kill that yeast!)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup (I used one tablespoon honey because I ran out of agave. Use both honey if you don’t have agave, or substitute with sugar)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon raw oats
- 1 egg + water, for eggwash
1. Combine yeast, flour, 1/4 cup uncooked oats, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Combine cooked oats, agave, water, and oil in a large mixing bowl.
3. In three increments, add dry ingredients to wet. Mix with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated.
4. Knead by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if it’s too sticky.
5. Oil bowl, add dough, and cover. Let rise for an hour.
6. Punch down dough and shape into loaf. Place in greased loaf pan.
7. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
9. Combine the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of raw oats.
10. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour (actually it took me 1 hour, 10 minutes), until the internal temperature of the dough reaches 210 degrees.
11. Cool on rack for 30 minutes before slicing.