Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm back!!! You can all relax now

Hello everyone out there...all two, or maybe three, people who look at my blog! I've been busy...working a new full-time job, taking care of my two small energetic children, falling head-over-heels for a guy who can totally cook....but while I've been doing these things, I've been cooking and taking pictures so it's time to start blogging again. I'll start with these pictures of a recent dinner party I had...

In the picture above, you'll see lovely pita bread on the left, and not-so-lovely dried
Persian limes on the right. I did my shopping at Jerusalem Market (I think that's the name) on Plymouth Rd, which has all manner of middle-eastern food, for extremely reasonable prices...I don't know what to do with dried Persian limes, by the way...does anyone have any ideas?
Next let me show you this amazing dish of braised chicken and root vegetables, which my dear friend Chris made and brought over, still warm from the oven...mmmmm
My darling friend Christi, author of the food blog....uh, the name escapes me, because she hasn't posted anything in such a long long time...anyway, she made this delish caprese salad..
A tray of honey-soaked goodness... I think my favorites were the ones on the left, but it's hard to say..


Here is Nick's plate, which nicely represents all the things I cooked, clockwise from the top: Dena's pilaf (recipe to follow), Christi's salad (oops, I didn't make that), fried halloumi cheese (tastes better than it looks, like "vegetarian bacon", as Nigella would say), fried eggplant, and Syrian green beans (I posted this recipe much earlier, but what the hell...I'll post it again).


Everything was delicious, if I do say so myself, and thanks to everyone who cooked and ate and made this dinner party possible.....my only regret was that everyone left too early :( Are we getting old? Oh well..maybe next time...


Okay, here is my aunt Dena's pilaf recipe, I hope she doesn't mind that I'm sharing it!! My comments are in ( ).

Dena's Pilaf

2 cups rice (basmati is what I used)
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp anise
4 cups chicken broth
golden raisins
1 onion, sliced very fine
pine nuts (I used sliced almonds...Cheaper!!)

1. Brown pine nuts and onion in olive oil and set aside
2. Brown rice in oil, then add chicken broth, cumin, and anise
3. Throw in raisins (a couple handfuls maybe?)
4. Simmer till rice is done (about 40 min)
5. Place in bowl, put onions and pine nuts (or toasted sliced almonds) on top (and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds if you can get them...hint: Hillers had little containers of pomegranate seeds, so you don't have to seed any pomegranates yourself, if you are lazy..like me)


Fried Eggplant

1. Slice eggplants, about a half inch thick, and put them in a colander, then sprinkle them liberally with salt. Leave in the sink and watch all the moisture drip out of the eggplants...gross and strangely satisfying at the same time.
2. Pat them dry and brush off most of the salt.
3. Dip them in flour (make sure they are dry first), and fry in shallow olive oil
4. Eat them warm with greek yogurt..mmm


Lebne dip and Toasted pita chips (not pictured, but still good!)

1. Get some lebne ("yogurt cheese", just plain yogurt that has been relieved of much of its water so its consistency is between sour cream and cream cheese) and za'tar (a middle eastern spice blend). You may have to go to a middle eastern grocery store for these...and I'm not 100% sure what all is in za'tar, so I can't tell you how to make it yourself
2. Mix some za'tar into the lebne, and stir it up good..
3.Cut pita bread into lil' triangles, brush them with olive oil, put them on a baking sheet
4. Bake them at probably 400 or so, until they look nice and crispy
5. Take them out and sprinkle LIBERALLY with salt
6. Dip them in the lebne/za'tar dip....ta-da!


Laura's Syrian Green Beans...so good they are posted on this blog twice
1 lb green beans
1/2 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil (don't skimp here)
couple fat pinches sugar
salt and pepper to taste
half a lemon

Ok, it looks like a lot of olive oil, but trust me. Heat the olive oil in a big pan. Add the onions an cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the green beans, cook a few more minute, then the garlic, and cook yet a few more minutes. Now add the tomatoes, juice and all, and the sugar. Cook over fairly low heat for about 35 minutes, or until the green beans are soft, and almost starting to fall apart. You are not looking for crunch here. It should all be melded together, stewing in delicious olive oil. Mmmmm. Trust me and make it, it is like crack. You'll keep going back to fridge to sneak more bites, and it is even better the next day.

5 comments:

cookcat said...

Yay! She's back! You've inspired me to start posting again! This dinner party menu looks yummy.

Mary said...

I second Cookcat's comment! Laura, all this food looks tres fab!! I love the look of the pomegranate seeds on the pilaf.

Mary said...

the two of you should post each other's websites on your blogs!

SeanDove said...

Now I'm hungry!

dc said...

I know you don't know me from Adam, but I would like very much to come live you with and eat whatever you are eating on any given day. Being that may be a bit forward, I'll just say thank you for the inspiring blog and amazing recipes.