Saturday, July 25, 2009

World's Most Fabulous Tuna Sandwich

2 slices seeded Rye bread
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray

Spray each side of both slices with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

Toast the bread in a skillet. An Iron skillet is wonderful for this, but any skillet will work.

1 can chunk light tuna in water
2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Drain the water out of the tuna and add the relish.

1 tsp. Marmite
Spread it out thinly on one slice of the rye toast. Marmite has a strong flavor so it really has to be spread thinly in order to avoid over-powering the other flavors. Marmite adds B-vitamins that are often missing in a nearly vegan diet.

Miracle Whip
French's Spicey Brown mustard
Miracle whip is better than mayonnaise, because it is much lower in fat. So, spread the Miracle Whip on, any amount you like. You can measure it precisely, or just slather it on. Then drop some mustard on top of that, also any amount you like. I would not want to overpower the other flavors with mustard, just enhance them.

Add a handful of Organic baby Arugula and top it with the tuna, then close your sandwich.

There you have it, you eat with your eyes first, so cut it in an attractive triangle and slowly enjoy each bite.

Note: Traditionally the Miracle Whip would have been mixed into the tuna, like a tuna salad, before making the sandwhich. To my mouth, however, the tuna robs the miracle whip of its creamy texture, so I prefer to spread it on the bread so I can actually taste it and feel it on my tongue when I'm eating it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Basmati Rice with Kishmish

1) 2 1/2 cups of Basmati rice
2) 8 cups water

In a large pot, place the rice and the water. Bring to a boil, and boil rapidly for about 4 to five minutes. In a collander, drain off all the water. Do not over cook.

3) 1/4 cup raisins (kishmish)

4) 4 shallots, chopped

5) 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

6) 1/4 cup olive oil

Put the raisins in a small dish and just barely cover them with water. In a hot, dry pot, pour the olive oil. Brown the chopped shallots a few minutes, until a little brown. Add the cumin seeds and brown until you smell the nutty smell of the cumin, then drain the raisins and throw them in as well. Let it cook until you smell the raisins getting hot.

Then add the cooked rice and turn it over gently, a few times, until the raisins and shallots are mixed in nicely. Cover it until ready to serve.

Serve the rice with the Lamb and Okra Love from Basra (Bumya), recipe below, and fresh mint. The stew makes a gorgeous topping for the rice.

Lamb and Okra Love from Basra (Bumya)

1) 2 to 3 lbs of bone-in lamb stew pieces

Boil the lamb pieces for about 10 minutes, remove them from the water and discard it. Wash the disgusting gray film out of the pot, and return the lamb back into the pot, and cover it again, with fresh, hot water. Bring it back to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer or low boil for about an hour, or until it's very tender. Drain, save the water and set aside.

2) 1 quart box fresh okra, ends removed or 1 package frozen okra

Boil the okra for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside.

3) 1/4 cup of cooking oil
4) 1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

Brown the cooked lamb in the oil. Throw in the chopped garlic and brown everything until you smell the garlic, being careful not to burn it.

5) 1/2 can tomato paste
6) 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric

Add tomato paste and turmeric and give it a gentle stir. As soon as the tomato paste starts to get a little darker, and smells just slightly stronger, add some of the lamb broth that you saved. Maybe 2 or 3 cups.

7) 1 Tablespoon sea salt

Now, add the salt and pour the okra into the pot and turn everything over gently, a couple of times, with a wooden spoon.

Then add lamb broth until just level with the top of the other ingredients.

Bring the stew to a boil and cook, uncovered, about 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the okra is quite broken down. Stir it occasionally to prevent burning.

YUMMY! That's what I call "love from Basra."

It must be served with Basmati rice, see the recipe above, and fresh mint.
It could also be served with soft, fresh pita bread, torn into pieces and dipped into the thick stew.

Wash it down with hot, sweet black tea. The black tea makes you feel that your meal is now complete.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beautiful Flea Market Treasures

I love this potato and onion bin. I got it for $10. at my favorite flea market. Then I went to the Dollar Tree and got three little plastic baskets to hold my potatoes, yams, onions, shallots, and garlic. You can also view how we buy honey by the jug. :-) And the rice, if it is not Basmati, is not real rice, according to our opinion.

I also found this cast iron Dutch Oven, this little stainless steel sauce pan, and this flour canister, ahem, ice bucket. Of course, when buying previously used pots and pans, one has to follow certain rules to ensure that they are tahir, or purified. If it's likely that forbidden meat was cooked in such pots and pans, one must say "Bismillah," and wash them each seven times with hot, soapy water and the intention to sterilize all impure elements from them. Only after this process is completed may we use them to cook our food. Otherwise our food will potentially be contaminated by residual forbidden animal fat that could be lingering in them. If it is certain that a dog has eaten out of the utensil, one must first scrub it out with sand, before beginning the ordinary sterilization process for previously-used kitchen utensils.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Mother's Saffron Noodles

My mother used to make these for us, only she used the home-made, high cholesterol noodles, whereas I am using the lighter, No-Yolk noodles from the grocery store. Technically, you could use any noodle you like, but I like the wide No-Yolk noodles because they are similar in shape and size to the ones that my mother used.

1 12 0z. package wide No-Yolk noodles

1 bunch parsley, stems removed, pulsed in the food processor, or roughly chopped with a knife

1 large pinch saffron fronds

2 to 3 cups water, for boiling the saffron

1 stick butter, browned in a small saucepan


Text Color

In a small pot, place about 2 to 3 cups of water, 2 tsp. salt, and the saffron and boil it until the water is a deep, rich orange color and some of the water has evaporated, you should have about a cup full left. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Boil the noodles according to package instructions, or until aldente texture is achieved, meaning still a little chewy, but almost done.

Pour the saffron water into the noodles and return the noodles to the lowest setting heat. Leave them covered until the saffron water has been absorbed.

Remove from heat, add the sizzling hot browned butter and the parsley and cover again, for about five minutes. Serve warm.

I loooooove these noodles. When I was pregnant I must have eaten a case of noodles this way. Now I have to eat my portion without the butter. *sigh* I spray mine with a little "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray, and it tastes good, but not quite as wonderful as it does with the browned butter.

The left-overs are even better the following day, because the saffron flavor permeates the noodles more over night.

Cabbage and Potatoes

This is what ancient European Peasant food looks like, and it is delicious.

2 pounds creamer potatoes, any variety
1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 bulb organic garlic, grated
sea salt to taste

fresh ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup vinegar of your choice, if you like your cabbage a little sour, I used malt vinegar (optional)

water for the amount of broth you desire, I ended up using 3 cups water

1 Head of organic Cabbage, sliced thinly

Pour the olive oil in the bottom of a hot dutch oven. Leaving the heat at it's highest setting, dump in the creamer potatoes and cover. Let them brown and steam simultaneously for about 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat.

Standing as far back as you can from the stove, gradually pour in a cup or two of water, then add the worcestershire sauce and the other seasonings.

Cover the dutch oven and bring it to a boil.

Now begin adding the cabbage, a handful at a time, if the pot seems stuffed before you are done adding cabbage. Cram the lid down on it and let it cook until the cabbage has shrunk some, then turn it so the cooked portion is on top, and press it down a little more, then cram the remaining cabbage on top of that and cover it. Every few minutes you can work the uncooked portion down, and the cooked portion up to the top, with your wooden spoon.

Cover the dutch oven and slide it into a pre-heated 350 degrees farenheit oven and continue to cook for an hour or two more.

You can add another cup of water anytime you think your pot looks in need of more liquid. I used only 3 cups of water and it was delicious.

Serve with rye or pumpernickle bread on the side. YUMMY. I am so crazy about cabbage lately I am thinking of changing my middle name. LOL. Just kidding.

This recipe was traditionally made with butter or animal fat, but I used olive oil instead.

Ode to Goat's Milk

My little Alawi has had problems making stinky diapers since he was born. I used to try to give him more breast milk, when I still had some, because it helped. Then we switched to giving him juice inbetween formula until he graduated to regular cows milk and whole foods. Lately I had noticed that his hair is dull, his finger nails are brittle and he has a skin rash nearly all the time. I worried that if his nails are brittle, maybe his bones are not getting enough calcium either. I finally convinced my husband that goat's milk is not a joke, it is actually worth a shot for a child who is showing all the signs of a dairy intolerance. I noticed that he had to eat fruit and vegetables all day long just to be able to make stinky diapers regularly and a growing 16-month-old child needs more carbs and other things than he was able to digest. I want him to eat fruit and vegetables, but not exclusively.

So, now that the big switch has been made, his father is convinced that goat's milk really is not a joke, and Alawi actually wants to eat when he should be hungry and he's getting stinky diapers on a regular basis. I knew that some of my cousins grew up on goat's milk because they could not tolerate cows milk. However, in my husband's village in Iraq it is unheard of to drink goat's milk, so he thought it was a silly idea. They only drink cow and sheep milk in his village, but I have made a believer in goat's milk out of him. Thanks to God for the blessing of goats. Al hamd ulillah.

Here is a comparison of Goat's Milk vs Cow Milk, and Cow's Milk vs. Goat's Milk. Here is one with a little information about sheep milk. I have not found sheep milk in any of my local grocery stores, but goat milk is quite readily available.

In the context of these Quranic verses, I believe the word cattle refers to all types of herd animals: cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, camels, etc.

YUSUFALI: And verily in cattle (too) will ye find an instructive sign. From what is within their bodies between excretions and blood, We produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it.
PICKTHAL: And lo! in the cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from betwixt the refuse and the blood, pure milk palatable to the drinkers.
SHAKIR: And most surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle; We give you to drink of what is in their bellies-- from betwixt the feces and the blood-- pure milk, easy and agreeable to swallow for those who drink.

YUSUFALI: "Freely has He bestowed on you cattle and sons,-
PICKTHAL: Hath aided you with cattle and sons.
SHAKIR: He has given you abundance of cattle and children

YUSUFALI: And they have (other) profits from them (besides), and they get (milk) to drink. Will they not then be grateful?
PICKTHAL: Benefits and (divers) drinks have they from them. Will they not then give thanks?
SHAKIR: And therein they have advantages and drinks; will they not then be grateful?

YUSUFALI: It is Allah Who made cattle for you, that ye may use some for riding and some for food;
PICKTHAL: Allah it is Who hath appointed for you cattle, that ye may ride on some of them, and eat of some -
SHAKIR: Allah is He Who made the cattle for you that you may ride on some of them, and some of them you eat.

Cast Iron Breakfast

While I would substitute some halal beef or turkey bacon for the ham for my family, you get the idea. This is an example of "greener cooking." Iron skillets last through the lifetime of one cook and can be passed on to the next generation. Here is a link explaining how to begin the process of seasoning your cast-iron cook ware, in order to make it more reliable than the modern highly carcinogenic non-stick cookware.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

!!!Blog Award!!!

Thanks to NaiLz-iN-AuS for this cute award. You are really so sweet, Sis. Heehee.

So here are the rulez of the Blog award

–Include the logo in your blog or post
–Nominate as many blogs which you like
–Be sure to link your nominees within your post
–Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog
–Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received this award

If you are on my followers list, this award is for you. If you like this award, and you are not my follower yet, just follow this blog and this award is for you. :>) I only have the most ADORABLE followers, after all. LOL!