Thursday, August 27, 2009

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

1 whole halal chicken
6 medium red-skin potatoes
malt vinegar to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
olive oil as needed
crushed rosemary to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven at 450 degrees farenheit.

Thaw your chicken in cold water, allow the faucet to stream slowly into the bowl and let it run steady for about 30 to 45 minutes, to thaw it safely and fast. I aim the stream of water directly at the cavity at the tail of the chicken so the force of the slowly running water works on the ice inside the chicken faster. Once the chicken is thawed, or nearly thawed, butterfly it by slicing it open along the spine with a very sharp knife wash the inside and make sure all of the entrails have been removed.

Wash the potatoes and cut them in chunks, skin on. Toss them with a little olive oil and place them skin-side-down in your baking dish. Sprinkle them with rosemary, fresh ground pepper and salt.

Place the chicken, skin-side-down, on top of the potatoes. Break the breast bone with the blade of your sharpest knife, just so the chicken will lay flatter. Cooking the chicken on top of the potatoes prevents it from sticking to the baking dish, making the bird easier to flip later on.

Now shake on the vinegar, worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and give it a sprinkle of salt.

Roast it in your 450 degree oven until the up-side is pretty and brown, about 30 minutes.

Take 2 forks and to get a hold on the chicken on each side. Now flip it skin-side-up. Give it a few more shakes of vinegar, worcestershire sauce, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Return it to the oven and continue roasting for another 30 to 45 minutes. It should be perfectly browned.

Now remove the pan from the oven and cover it with foil for about 15 minutes, or until ready to serve.
I make this recipe about once a week because it makes my men happy. There's nothing more satisfying to a Mama than watching her babies put food in their mouths, with both hands. Heehee.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Green and White Tea with Jasmine

Tea is a part of my daily ritual. Just before the month of Ramadhan arrived I was making this one. I make 2 quarts or 2 liters at a time because I drink from it all day to avoid over-eating. It calms the old hand-to-mouth impulse.

1/4 cup loose organic white tea leaves with Jasmine flowers, from Rishi

1/4 cup loose Green tea leaves with Jasmine flowers, from The Republic of Tea

7 droppers full of stevia drops

6 cups boiling water

a 2 quart or 2 liter pitcher

glass or ceramic containers in which to steep the tea,

if you don't have a tea pot to brew in, clean glass jars work well, but then you will also need a strainer, to strain the tea when done

Green and white teas are both likely to turn bitter if steeped too long. The tea leaves should only be in the boilng hot water for about 2 minutes. Strain immediately to prevent the bitter flavor from setting in.

When you strain it, do not strain it directly into a plastic container, because heat causes synthetic hormones to leach out of the plastic, into your tea. Hot tea should always be handled in glass or ceramic containers for this reason. Wait until the teas are completely cool to pur them into the pitcher if you are using a plastic one. You could also purchase a glass pitcher, if you don't already have one, for the purpose of containing hot tea.

After the teas are brewed, strained and cooled, pour them into the plastic container and sweeten it with the stevia. I use 7 droppers full, but you may sweeten it to your taste.

Now fill the pitcher up the rest of the way with plain water and put the tea in the fridge to chill. Drink up sisters! It's a beautiful flowery taste sensation.

Note: The reason we should never pour hot food or drinks into plastic containers is because plastic is made with a synthetic estrogen, which mimics the female hormone, estrogen, and can cause bad hormone problems for women. Also, we should only use microwave safe ceramic dishes to heat food in the microwave, because microwaving in plastic can also leak the hormones into your food. I just threw away my microwave after I heard this, and other controversies about microwaves. However, I am not telling you that you should do the same, but just be informed that it is better to use microwave safe ceramic dishes than plastic if you must use a microwave.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kufta (Perfect for Toddler Fingers)

1 pound or a little more, ground beef (from your halal market)
2 teaspoons chopped dry mint
1 Tablespoon Seven Spice, or Filafel spice
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

When the meat is all thawed out, add the spices.

Using a fork, mix in the spices. The fork helps keep the meat fluffy. If you use your hands and smash it in, the meat will become tough. So the fork is better.

Now shape the meat into little sticks, careful not to smash them together to much. They should just be shaped tight enough to keep them from falling apart. If you work the meat too much in your hands, it will come out tough.

Have your oven preheated at 450 degrees farenheit. Bake the kufta about twelve to fifteen minutes. Avoid overcooking them, because they will be too dry to enjoy very much.
I make this a lot for my family because the toddlers can eat it easily, and will eat nothing else when they see these in front of them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Whole Wheat Hamburger Rolls

1 1/2 cups room temperature water
2 Tablespoons honey
2 envelopes Fleischmanns active yeast
1 1/4 cups stone ground whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
salt to taste (optional)

Pour the water in a large bowl, empty the yeast packets into the water and add the honey to help the yeast grow.

When you see the yeast start to foam, it is time to add the flour and salt, if you are using any. I never use salt, and we love these rolls.

Stir the flour into the yeast mixture.

If it still appears sticky, like this, add another 1/3 cup of bread flour.

Work the additional flour in, using your hands.

The dough should look like a smooth ball now. Spread a little olive oil on the surface to prevent it from drying out. Cover it with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm environment, away from airconditioning vents. When it grows to double its size, punch it down and shape it into this neat ball form again. Let it double in size again, and punch it down a second time. Each time you punch it down and make a ball with it again, you will want to coat the surface with a little olive oil again, so it doesn't dry out. You may let it rise a third time, or you can go ahead and divide it up into rolls now.

I do not have the hands of a sculptor, so my rolls are never perfectly round. But after you have shaped them, to the best of your ability, into round rolls, place them in a greased baking dish. Cover them again, with a kitchen towel, and set them in a warm spot for at least thirty minutes to an hour before baking them. Preheat the oven at 450 degrees farenheit, and bake them for about 15 or 20 minutes, until light, golden brown.

Now, you are ready to sliced them open and fill them with the burgers from the recipe below, and your favorite burger dressings and toppings.


Note: These rolls will always be a little chewier than a plain white roll, because of the stone ground whole wheat flour.

Wholesome Vegan Burgers

1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup red Inca Quinoa
1 cup Garbanzo and Fava flour
2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 serrano peppers, finely diced
salt to taste
any spices you want to add

Fill a medium pot about half way with water. Add the red lentils and quinoa and boil them until they are about the consistancy of cake batter. Remove it from the heat.

While the cooked ingredients are still boiling hot, add the chopped peppers and grated garlic to the cooked mixture. Then add the spices of your choosing, the garbanzo bean flour and the ground flax seeds.
Mix it well, then let it sit about 10 minutes, until the mixture forms a thick dough. Don't let it sit until it dries out. Treat it a bit like playdough at this point. Cover it loosely with some plastic until it is cool enough to handle.

Let it cool just until you can stand to touch it, then shape it into a log, the size of a burger patty. Then wrap it tightly and place it in the fridge. When you are ready to cook your burgers, slice them off, with a sharp smooth-edged knife at the thickness you desire.

They are fully cooked, so you just have to use cooking spray or cooking oil to heat them up and brown them a little.

This is how I eat mine, but you may like to dress your burgers up differently.

This is a fabulous idea for Ramadhan. If you put it on a whole-grain hamburger roll and eat it before morning prayers, you will not feel hungry for a very long time. That is because it is pure protein and fiber and is bulky. It also digests and enters your bloodstream very slowly, so you may actually make it to mid-afternoon before feeling overly hungry again. This is good news for those people who have to work hard while fasting.

I totally made this recipe up myself and it worked out beyond my wildest expectations.

Rosewater Crepe's

1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Sugar in the Raw
1 tsp. rosewater
1 cup Blue Diamond almond milk
1/4 cup liquid eggwhites
1 teaspoon cornstarch
pinch of salt

Whisk the flour and sugar together very well.

Dissolve the cornstarch in a little of the milk.

Now add all of the wet ingredients and the salt and whisk together gently.

Do not over-mix.

Cover the batter and let it chill for at least 30 minutes.

You can still use it after it has been in the fridge two days.

Heat a pan, cast iron or non-stick and use a little cooking spray.

Dip 1/4 cup of batter at a time in the bottom of the pan and spread it out as thinly as you can, either by tilting the skillet around, or by gently spreading it with the back of a spoon.

Cook each one until it is golden brown on both sides.

Smear a little rose petal jelly or Nutella on each one and serve them while they are still warm and fold them or wrap them in any way you like.

This is a recipe that I really like. My husband does not care for it, but I thought it was good. For myself I would only spread rose petal jelly on them. However, a lot of people like Nutella on them. But you can really fill them with anything you please. Grape jelly and peanut butter, scrambled eggs and cheese, julienned cucumbers and a drizzle of Asian salad dressing, shredded chicken meat and barbeque sauce. They do not have to be a dessert, they can also be savory. But if you want to make savory ones, I would probably leave the rosewater out.

Mmmmmmm, I see myself craving these while I am fasting. LOL!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cucumber Salad

3 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 Tablespoons alcohol free soy sauce, Kikkoman is alcohol free
2 Tablespoons honey
1 to 2 Tablespoons organic grated ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
Kelp granuals to taste
1 Teaspoon black Sesame seeds, toasted
2 large cucmbers, sliced

Sprinkle the kelp granuals onto the sliced cucumbers.

Mix all the other ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together.

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot skillet until they smell toasty and the sesame scent is very good. No oil needed, you don't want to fry them, just make them very hot until you smell it, or until you see them start to pop like tiny popcorns.

Whisk the hot sesame seeds into the dressing. Now pour the dressing over the sliced cucmbers and toss them around with a large spoon to coat them all with the dressing. Let the salad sit for at least thirty minutes before serving it, so the taste of the dressing can get into the cucmbers.

I get stomach aches from so many different things, since I lost my gall bladder, but I can eat this fat free salad all day and not get sick. Alhamdulillah. It's so very delicious too. Even my husband enjoys this salad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sausage Spices Spaghetti Sauce

2 Tablespoons Blackstrap Molasses
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 cups V-8 juice
(or a small can of tomato paste and 3 cups water)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar in the raw
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon ground sage

1 pound, or a little more, halal ground beef

Begin with the meat, make sure it is not frozen, in fact, meat should always be almost room temperature when you begin cooking it, so it won't get tough while cooking. Brown it a bit more.

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bulb garlic, peeled and sliced

Once the meat is no longer red, add in the chopped onions and sliced garlic.

Add in the Blackstrap molasses and stir. Continue browning the mixture for a couple of minutes. Add all other ingredients, except sage. Sage is better added near the end of cooking. Also, add only 2 cups of the V-8, or water, which ever you are using. Save 1 cup to add later, if you see that you need it.

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more if you like it very spicy
Cover the pot and simmer it for about an hour, stirring occaisionally, to avoid burning the sauce. I simmer it until the chopped onions have disappeared into the sauce, because my husband hates biting into pieces of onion. He loves this sauce, but he does not know what I put in it. Shhhhhh.

1 Tablespoon sage, more if you like a stronger sage flavor
1 or 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, if needed
1 box whole grain spaghetti, cooked according to the instructions on the box

If you think the sauce is thick enough without cornstarch, you can just leave it out. I did not think I need it in this pot, so I did not use it. But I have used it cautiously in the past, 1 Tablespoon full at a time, to avoid over doing it. Stir the sauce again, thoroughly.

Now, mix the sauce with the cooked spaghetti, or just put the plain pasta on a plate and spoon the sauce on top of it. The spaghetti police are not coming for you if you eat the sauce on top. I mix it in, to make sure the sauce lasts as long as the pasta does. Otherwise we tend to run out of sauce and throw away half the pasta because there is no more sauce. To my amazement, even my kids eat this dish.

When I serve this to my husband he always jokes with me, "I was going to divorce you, but because of this food, I changed my mind. I have to keep you because of spaghetti." I just laugh, because he does not know I put chopped onions in it, which he hates to find in his food. Due to my culinary ingenuity he never finds it. Heehee.
My family loves to eat my homemade garlic bread on the side. You can seriously use any of your favorite bread as long as it's sliced. Melt 1/4 cup salted butter with 1/4 cup olive oil. Add 2 to 3 cloves garlic, grated. As soon as you smell the pungent scent of the garlic, turn off the heat. Dip one side of each slice of bread into the garlic and butter mixture. Place the slices on a cookie sheet or baking dish and pop them under the broiler, at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, until just golden brown. Do not burn the garlic, it will turn bitter, make sure you take it out of the broiler as soon as it is just golden brown. Serve it with this spaghetti recipe.
To complete this meal, have some organic baby greens as a side dish, and your family's favorite salad dressing to top it off.

Saturday, August 1, 2009