Lebanese Tabouli Recipe

Tabouli is a Middle Eastern dish that originated in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria. It is generally served cold, as part of a mezze platter. I love make a large bowl of tabouli and enjoying it on a picnic during the hot summer months. 

lebanese tabouli

Seattle has experienced a bit of a heat wave over the past few weeks, making it impossible to use your oven. Okay, according to the National Weather Service what we have experienced would not  be consider a heat wave; but it sure feels like it to me. Did you know that most homes in the Puget Sound do not have central air conditioning? Well neither did I. It was on a 90 degree afternoon in July that I discovered our condo did not have air conditioning.  Along with the rest of the city, we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase a cooling device.

Using ripe but firm tomatoes is important, to ensure they are able to hold their shape 🙂 In the Lebanese version of this dish, there is more parsley than bulgur wheat. Ratios vary across the region. Feel free to put your own spin on this favorite! 

 

Tabouli
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups curly parsley leaves, stems discarded
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup fine bulgur wheat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Romaine lettuce, for serving
Instructions
  1. Make dressing by combining lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium size bowl, pour dressing over the bulgur wheat in order for it to soften.
  3. Using a food processor, pulse parsley until fine.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together parsley, tomatoes, mint and green onions. Toss with bulgur wheat.
  5. Serve with romaine lettuce.
  6. Enjoy 🙂

 

tabouli

 

 

 

 

 

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Blueberry mango muffins

After our fun, blueberry picking adventure, I was left with a ton of blueberries. Using many of the berries in my mini blueberry pies (http://amandaskitchen.co/2014/07/05/blueberry-pie/), we still had an overwhelming about of berries. I love a good blueberry muffin, but those get boring. I found some beautiful mangoes at the local grocer and decided to pair them with the blueberries in a muffin inspired by the flavors of the tropics. The streusel topping is the icing on this cake! These muffins are so large and delectable, they remind me of something from a bakery.

Don’t like mangoes or blueberries? Feel free to substitute for your favorite summer fruits.

 

Here is my recipe:

Makes 1 dozen large muffins

 

Ingredients:

For the muffin

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup mango, diced into small cubes

3 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes

blueberry mango muffins

For the streusel topping

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature, cubed

3 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes

muffin

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Mix together 1 3/4 cup flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix in oil, milk, egg and vanilla. DO NOT OVER MIX, unless you want tough flat muffins.

2. Toss blueberries in 1 tablespoon flour. This will help them to be evenly dispersed throughout the muffin and not sink to the bottom. bb muffin 3

3. Gently fold in blueberries, mangoes and coconut.

4. Line muffin tin or spray with non-stick cooking spray. I found these fun liners at Target. paper liner5. Using an ice cream scoop, distributed batter into the muffin tin.

6. Time to make the yummy topping! Using a fork, mix together the flour, sugar, butter and coconut flakes, until it crumbles. Sprinkle on top of the muffins.

7. Bake on the middle rack, in the preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

8. Enjoy 🙂

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Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

Italian food is a favorite in our home. Italian cuisine focuses on fresh, quality ingredients. The primary ingredients vary by region. Many classic Italian dishes only call for 4-8 ingredients making it a favorite for those who need to make dinner quickly.

It is a given that when I am making pasta, it will be served with a side of bruschetta. In an attempt to make dinner quickly after a long day at work, I decided to cut out the bread and combine the flavors of the bruschetta with the pasta. The result was a delicious, quick and easy dinner.

 

Here is my recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 cup finely chopped white onion

1 tablespoon  finely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped basil

4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 oz or 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

8 oz or 1 cup mozzarella pearls

2 large chicken breasts cut into 8 smaller pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

bruchetta pasta Procedure:

1. Season chicken breasts with salt and paper. Cook until brown in olive oil. Set Aside.

2. In same pan, saute onions and garlic, until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and chicken.Bruchetta chicken pasta3. Add in basil. Stir in heavy cream. Add mozzarella pearls.

4. Toss with your favorite pasta. See my previous post for easy, homemade linguine.

5. Enjoy 🙂

Bruchetta chicken pasta

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Homemade Pasta!

To most, making pasta at home probably sounds scary. I was  also skeptical that I could do this. But then, I tried and succeeded. Yes, we did take a class at Sur La Table, but it was more for the experience and a fun date night than anything else. After making fresh, delicious pasta ourselves, we find it hard to eat that stuff from the box (but do, especially after a busy work day).

Here is our recipe 🙂

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 large eggs

1 cup or so rice flour for dusting work surface and pasta machine

Procedure:

1. Place flour and salt in bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in eggs and olive oil.

2. Using your fingers, blend the eggs into the flour, stirring the flour in from side to side. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, turn over to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it is smooth and flexible. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.

3. To roll the dough, secure your pasta maker on the edge of a counter top. Cut pasta into three equal size pieces, using a bench scraper. Flatten one piece of dough into a rough square shape. Cover the two remaining with plastic wrap to prevent dry out.

4. Place the rollers on the widest setting, and roll the dough through the machine, catching it with one hand as you roll with the other. *It is helpful to have two sets of hands during this process.

5. Fold the dough over itself and roll through the machine again. Now roll the dough at a the next smallest setting. (I started on 8 and was on 7 at this step). Be sure to lightly dust the dough with rice flour to prevent it from sticking to the machine.

6. Continue rolling the dough through the next smallest setting until you get to setting number 1.

7. Run pasta thru desired attachment. Place cut noodles onto floured surface.

8. To cook pasta, heat large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add a large pinch of kosher salt. Add pasta and stir, so the noodles do not stick to one another. Boil until pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes.

9.Top with your favorite sauce. See my next post for bruschetta chicken pasta recipe!

10. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

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Chocolate Macaroons

Once you have the basic macaroon recipe mastered, it is time to venture into the depths of the macaroon flavor chest. I have a few original ideas for flavors, but we will save those for later.

This weekend, I decided to take a try at chocolate macaroons. I mean chocolate macaroons. Chocolate. Macaroons. LOL.

Here is my recipe:

 

Makes 36 cookies, 18 sandwiched macaroons

Ingredients:

ingredients

1 3/4 powdered sugar

1 cup almond flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

 

Chocolate Filling:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter, cubed at room temperature

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.

2. Mix almond flour, cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl . Sift mixture thru a fine-mesh sieve. Use a spatula to add in this process. (Yes, it takes a while). Discard whatever does not go thru the sieve.macaroon process

3. Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Gradually spoon in the sugar and increase mixer speed to medium high. Continue beating until the mixture is stiff and shiny. (Took me 10 minutes total)

choco macaroon 8

4. Carefully fold in the almond flour and sugar mixture into the stiff egg whites. DO NOT STIR. Fold gently together; you want as much air as possible to remain in the egg.

macaroon process

5. Continue to fold until the mixture is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thin, flat ribbon.macaroon process

6. Prepare a pastry bag with a 1/4 inch round tip (Wilton #12) and fill with batter. Pipe out the cookies on the baking sheet.

macaroon process

7. Let the cookies set for 15 to 60 minutes. The cookies should no longer be sticky… this means they are ready! It is imperative to wait until the cookie is ready… or else you will get cracked macaroons!

macaroon process

8. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

9. Heat cream in saucepan and then add chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Allow to cool completely in refrigerator.

10. Pipe chocolate filling into macaroon centers and sandwich cookies together.

11. Enjoy! 🙂 chocolate macaroons

 

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Mango Arugula Salad

Looking for a delicious summer salad? This mango arugula salad topped with cilantro lime vinaigrette is a must! The sweetness of the mangoes and tomatoes compliments the peppery flavor of the arugula so well. Want to make this a meal? Top with your favorite grilled chicken or shrimp!

 

Here is the recipe:

 

Ingredients:

2 ripe mangoes, cubed

1 cup tomato, cubed (One medium tomato is ≈ 1 cup)

1/2 diced red onion

5 cups arugula

 

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

1/4 cup toasted walnuts

2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

 

Procedure:

1. Prepare vinaigrette by combining lime juice, chopped cilantro, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

2. Mix together mango, tomato and red onion in a small bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the mixture.

3. Arrange greens on plate and top with mango tomato mixture, goat cheese and walnuts.

4. Enjoy!

 

*Don’t like arugula? Substitute spinach or mixed greens.

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Buttermilk Ranch

Ranch

Ranch is the perfect condiment to almost every dish! It is creamy, tangy and packed with flavor. It is also really easy to make! After trying my recipe, you will never reach for the store bought stuff again.

 

Recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

1 cup olive oil mayo

1 pint buttermilk

2 tablespoons dried parsely

1 tablespoon dried dill

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

 

Procedure:

1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well.

2. Enjoy!

 

Want to make this light? Substitue the mayo for greek yogurt!

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Peanut Butter Nutella Cups

peanut buter nutella cups, peanut butter and nutella, nutella, chocolate

From cookies, to crepes, cheesecake and pies, Nutella can be found on almost every dessert menu.

The delicious hazelnut spread pairs perfectly with peanut butter, top it off with toasted pecans and chocolate and you have the most delectable treat! *Best eaten with a cold glass of milk!

When I was searching around my kitchen, for something to use to make an indentation into the cups, I came across a water bottle and to my delight, it fit perfectly into the peanut butter cup!

peanut butter cupsAnother tip for this recipe is to use a sandwich bag to drizzle on the chocolate.

peanut butter nutella cups

Here is my recipe:

Peanut Butter Nutella Cups
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36 mini cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or peanuts
  • ¼ chocolate for melting
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using mixer at medium speed, cream together butter, peanut butter, brown and white sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs one at at time, mixing well.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in to wet ingredients.
  5. Line a mini cupcake tin. Scoop cookie batter into each cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookie will be loose. It will set as it cools.
  6. Using the top of a water bottle (wash it first), make an indentation into the center of each cookie cup.
  7. Spoon 1 teaspoon Nutella into each of the cavities.
  8. Melt ¼ cup chocolate with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (this makes it smooth and gives the chocolate nice shine).
  9. Spoon chocolate into a sandwich bag.
  10. Make a small hole at the end of a sandwich bag and drizzle on the chocolate.
  11. Toast pecans, and sprinkle on top of the chocolate.
  12. Enjoy 🙂

 

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Easy Homemade Pita Bread

I love pita!! It is so versatile. You can use it scoop your favorite dips, like my avocado hummus, or stuff it with shawarma or gyro meat. While living in Dearborn, I was surrounded by delicious pita, I never had to make my own. There was several local bakeries who made fresh pita daily. There were also many local restaurants who served up fresh, made to order pitas, that when pulled apart would release a cloud of steam!

Living in the Pacific North West, I have not found a pita that compares to those made in South East Michigan, so I decided to try and make it myself. To my delight, it was so easy to make and left me wondering why I haven’t made it myself before.

 

Easy Homemade Pita Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen small pita
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1¼ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3½ cups all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Dissolve sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Add in salt and 1 cup of flour.
  2. Using hook attachment on stand mixer, mix to make a dough.
  3. Slowly add remaining flour until a shaggy dough is formed. Knead for 10 minutes until dough comes together and is smooth.
  4. Cover dough with moist kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm, dark place, until the dough has doubled in size (approximately 1 hour). I use the inside of my oven.
  5. Separate dough into equal round pieces. Do this by pinch off a round off the dough mass.
  6. Roll out the dough. It is extremely important to roll the pitas evenly, so they can puff up!
  7. Preheat oven to highest temperature.
  8. While the oven is heating, allow the pita rounds to rest.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven until golden brown.
  10. Enjoy!

 

Note: You can make the dough my hand with the help of a flat wooden spoon. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. 

*Like with any yeast dough, the amount of flour you will actually need may vary based on humidty, temperature, and other factors. You may need more or less. Know your dough 🙂

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Blueberry Pie

Today was a beautiful day in the Puget Sound, meaning it could only be spent  outdoors. Wish such lush land and all the rain, there are many farms, even in the cities. We decided to go to a local blueberry farm! blueberries

 

With the pulp berries we picked, I decided to make mini blueberry pies 🙂

blueberries

 

Makes two individual pies

Ingredients:

For pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

1 beaten egg

 

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar in the raw (optional; to top pastry)

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. To make the pastry mix the flour and salt in a bowl. cut in the shortening, using a pastry blender or criss-crossing two knives, until mixture look like a bowl of small particles. It should look something like this:

pie

3. Sprinkle cold water over mixture until pastry leaves the side of the bowl.

4. Gather the pastry into a ball. Turn over onto floured surface and shape into a flattened a round. Place in refrigerator to firm up (this will also help make an extra flaky pastry).

5. While the pastry is in the refrigerator, make the filling. Combine all ingredients.

6. Roll chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use a large cutter, to cut out 4 piece. On two of the pieces, using a small cookie cutter, cut out a small shape, in order to release steam (these will be the tops).

7. Spoon filling onto the two bottom pastry pieces. Top with second pasty and use a fork to crimp the edges together.

8. Brush pastry with beaten egg. Sprinkle Sugar in the Raw on top of pastry. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Enjoy!

I had mine with vanilla ice cream! blueberry pie with icecream

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