Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lahma Bil Basal #EatLikeAnEgyptian

Today marks the end of Ramadan, a time of prayer and fasting for those of the Muslim faith, reminiscent (to me) of the Lenten Season of the Christian Community.  This Holiday is known as Eid al-Fitr.
"What is Eid al-Fitr? The arabic name Eid al-Fitr translates to 'festival of the breaking of the fast' in English. It marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, and the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal."
from Mirror.com

My friend, Sue of Palatable Pastime invited us to Eat Like An Egyptian in support and celebration with our Muslim friends.

When I finished my Google search to learn what this holiday was all about, I conducted another to find an Egyptian Recipe.  Many of the Middle Eastern Foods that I am crazy about: hommus, baba ghanouj, chicken shwarma, mujadara, baklava, stuffed grape leaves, and kebabs are included in this group.


I also found a recipe for this delicious, tender Beef in Rich Onion Broth that I knew would be easily adaptable to the crockpot.  

I had a funeral to attend that was several hours away.  It was on a Wednesday and we watch our Little Miss Melody on Wednesdays so Frank remained home with her so I could attend with our friends, John and Kirsten.  I left him with this recipe from Allrecipes.com and asked him to make it and then put it in the crockpot to finish cooking so that we could enjoy it for dinner when we returned home.I forgot to tell him to reduce the amount of water for the crockpot version. So the gravy was not very thick.  We chose to just use a slotted spoon and a little ladle for the au jus.  You can halve the amount of water or use a roux to thicken the gravy if you prefer.


When we walked in the door our mouths started watering.  It smelled delicious and we couldn't wait for Frank, who was returning Melody to her mom, to get home so we could eat.  Frank served this up with white rice and corn.  This is no surprise, Frank always chooses white rice over brown and corn is the only vegetable he ever makes when he is cooking dinner.  Not that I am complaining.....I am always very grateful that he is always so willing and able to step up to the (dinner) plate.

The recipe was adapted only slightly.  We used 2 lbs of beef instead of 1 and where it called for a bay leaf, Frank read basil (probably because of the name of the dish) and plucked one from my basil plant to add instead of the bay leaf.  Oh.....and, of course, it was made in the crockpot.



Lahma Bil Basal (Beef in Rich Onion Sauce)
adapted from Allrecipes.com 

2 lbs. beef stew meat
2 T. butter
1 T. canola oil
2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf (or basil leaf works too LOL)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. water ( I would lower this to 3/4 c for the crockpot)

Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the beef to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.  Transfer to a slow cooker along with the onions, bouillon cubes, water and bay leaf.  Set on low and cook for 6-8 hrs. Print Recipe

More Enjoyable Egyptian Eats

Friday, June 23, 2017

Black Currant and Rosemary Tea Ice Cream #DairyMonth #InspiredbyNature

Along with Dairy Month, we are also having a Progressive Dinner that is Inspired by Nature. We have been celebrating all things dairy this week under the guidance of my friend, Carlee of Cooking with Carlee.  Today is the last day of the event.  It has been amazing and the recipes shared so far have been out of this world!!  You can find the recipes by looking at #DairyMonth in any social media platform and you can enter a giveaway sponsored by Cabot Creamery by going here.


While this was going on, my friend Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla was hosting a progressive dinner party sponsored by Charles Viancin and the Republic of Tea.  Six of us were provided products from both sponsors and assigned a day and a theme for our blog post.


You can see what the others made to bring to the party by going to their individual blogs and searching #InspiredbyNature.  You can also find us by that hashtag on social media platforms.  While we did receive products, we received no monetary compensation and all opinions are strictly our own.  You can enter the generous giveaway by visiting my Welcome Post.


Some of the kids were able to come over to celebrate Father's Day with Frank last weekend.  I started the afternoon with this beautiful cheeseboard featuring Cabot Cheeses and drinks, poolside.  It was a gorgeous sunny day following a brief thunderstorm.


We had wine, both red (for me) and white (for my daughter, Amy) kept fresh and bug free while we were in the pool with granite bottle caps and glass covers from Charles Viancin.  We also served up some Iced Tea from the Republic of Tea for those wishing not to imbibe.  The references to alcohol in this post are meant for those over 21 years of age.  Please drink responsibly because always........


Take Safety Seriously!!

We played in the pool for a while, visiting and laughing.  Frank's sister, Roz, and her husband stopped in for a while and our friend, Karen, came and spent the afternoon with us as well.  


I had made several of the side dishes ahead of time and stored them in the refrigerator covered with the granite bowl covers that are airtight, leak proof and earth friendly relieving our landfills of the plastic wrap that otherwise would be used.


Just as a side note.  I am featuring the granite series for Charles Viancin today as that is what I was  provided.  However, I have been using these products for years, not knowing anything about the company. I purchased these at a specialty store about 5 or 6 years ago and have used them consistently for all that time.  They have been refrigerated, microwaved and put through the dishwasher and still work and look as if they were brand new.  


I had decided to make a custard ice cream for dessert because my hens have been working overtime lately and I needed to use up some of the dozens of eggs filling my refrigerator.  When I got the Black Currant Rosemary tea I decided to use it in the ice cream, thinking that not only would it be a great flavor but it would be a beautiful raspberry red color as displayed on the package.


I started out by making my custard base of cream, milk and sugar to which I added 3 of the large tea bags from Republic of Tea.



When the cream mixture was steamy, I pressed all of the liquid from the tea bags into the custard and disposed of the bags.  I tempered some egg yolks with part of the cream, incorporated this mixture into the cream mixture and continued to heat it over steaming water until it thickened to the point where a finger ran across the back of the wooden spoon left a trail.  The custard was then transferred to a bowl that was set into an ice bath and stirred until cooled.  


Cover with a lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hrs. but it is better if you remember to make the custard the night before and let it refrigerate overnight.


While it wasn't the beautiful raspberry color that I imagined it was a pretty caramel color.  More Most importantly it was amazingly creamy and delicious.  Did it taste like black currants and rosemary.....no......Surprisingly it tasted like a Boston Cooler.  This made us very happy because we LOVE Boston Coolers.  It tasted bright and gingery and fizzy.....I have no idea why but it was a wonderful surprise.


Make sure to stop by and visit all the other Dairy Month recipes being shared today.  You will find them immediately following my recipe.

Black Currant and Rosemary Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream
1 c. 2% milk
3/4 c. sugar
3 large Black Currant Rosemary Ice Tea Bags
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks, room temperature

Pour the cream and milk into the top of a double boiler.  Whisk in the sugar and salt.  Add the tea bags and heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture begins to steam.  Remove the tea bags, pressing to release the liquid into the cream. 

While the cream is heating, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water and nesting a smaller bowl inside.

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl.  Whisk in 3/4 cup of the hot liquid a little at a time then add this mixture to the cream mixture in the top of the double boiler.  Cook and stir until steamy and thickened enough that a finger ran over the back of a wooden spoon creates a trail that does not close.

Transfer the custard to the top bowl in the ice bath and stir until the mixture is cooled, about 5 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.  Serve immediately for soft serve custard or return to the freezer after churning for a harder ice cream. Print Recipe


More Dairy Month Recipes




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Marina's Malted Milk Shake #DairyMonth

Our daughter from Russia, Marina, was our very first exchange student.  The fact that we continued and hosted 4 more times is a testament to what a joy she was to have and an indication of how very much we loved her and how perfectly she fit into our family.

She is currently working for a cruise line that is sailing from Seattle to Alaska all summer long and asked if we could join her on one of the cruises.  She is going to have free time to spend with us on excursions.  We couldn't be more excited.

We had so much fun with Marina while she was here.  We traveled to California, Chicago and Up North.  She loved to eat and to cook.  She taught us how to make Pelmeni and she was anxious to learn how to make American dishes.  She loved our parents and could spend hours learning about them and their backgrounds.  We taught her to play pinochle and spent probably 3 or 4 nights a week playing cards.  When we weren't playing cards we were watching movies and eating popcorn. Shortly after she arrived, Frank made her a Malted Milk Shake. This quickly became a regular treat around our house.  Marina would request a Malt nearly every night and when she returned home, Malted Milk mix was included in the care packages we sent her.

Soon, new students arrived and new favorites took precedence.  Marina's Malted Milk Shakes, that we had enjoyed several times a week, now became a pleasant memory.  The next four exchange students came to us with their own unique personalities and likes and dislikes.  We adapted to them all and had wonderful experiences.....but as stated previously....all of those relationships would never had happened had our first experience with our Marina not been so amazing.



Today is Day 4 of the Dairy Month celebration that we are celebrating all week long.  This party is hosted by Carlee of Cooking with Carlee and Lauren of From Gate to Plate.  All of these memories of My Marina made me want to share our Malted Milk Shake recipe.


Our time with Marina was nearly 10 years ago.  We have been blessed to spend some time with her during the years, including a trip to Georgia. We have not been blessed with the opportunity to make her another Malted Milk Shake but the memories made me want to share this recipe with you.

In anticipation of our next meeting with Marina, I asked Frank to make us one of his Malted Milk Shakes that she loved.   Our Little Miss shared this drink with me....stating immediately upon finishing her sip that it was "her turn".   We hadn't made this treat for quite a while but I think that, like with Marina, it is going to become a regular again.  Perhaps with a new name......Melody's Malted Milk Shake.

Please visit the other #DairyMonth recipes being shared today.  You will find links  for them immediately following our recipe.

Marina's Malted Milk Shake

2 c. vanilla ice cream
3 T. chocolate syrup (we use Hershey's)
3 T. malted milk powder
3/4 c. milk

Place all ingredients into a heavy duty blender.  Puree until smooth.  Divide between 2 glasses and sere. Print Recipe

More Dairy Month Recipes


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream #FantasticalFoodFight #DairyMonth

Happy Wednesday everyone.  To celebrate "hump day" as it is affectionately called, I am sharing a wonderful recipe that incorporates two events.  We have been celebrating Dairy Month, all week long, hosted by From Gate to Plate and Cooking With Carlee.  Thus far, I shared a wonderful Orange Creamsicle Martini and an elegant Souffle.

Today is also the day of the month set aside for Fantastical Food Fight, hosted by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.  As luck would have it, Sarah chose the theme "Peaches and Cream" for this month's challenge.


I love when my blogging worlds collide!!  I made up this quick, easy dessert one evening for our friends, Kim and Kurt.  We had enjoyed a grilled dinner al fresco and this was the perfect ending.


I had the peaches all ready to go, by pitting them and brushing them with a flavorful pumpkin spice olive oil that I had gotten as a gift.  You can just use a good unflavored extra virgin olive oil.  The compound butter is the real secret to this delectable dessert.


When dinner is finished, pour your guests and yourself another glass of wine and visit while you grill the peaches.


When they have some nice grill marks on them, flip them to the other side and add a dollop of that cinnamon compound butter into the crevice left by removing the pit.


Transfer the peaches to serving dishes being careful not to lose any of that delicious melted butter and top with your favorite, good quality, vanilla bean ice cream.  


So simple and so very delicious.  

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Please stop by and visit all the other Dairy Month Posts following my recipe.

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You will find the other fighter's recipes below that.

Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream
serves 4

2 peaches
Extra Virgin Olive oil for brushing (I used a pumpkin spiced flavor)
2 T. butter, room temperature 
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 t. sugar
2 c. good quality, vanilla bean Ice Cream

Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit.  Brush both sides with olive oil and place on a medium hot grill, flesh side down. 

Meanwhile combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Grill the peaches until slightly charred with nice grill marks showing.  Flip skin side down and place a dollop of the compound butter in the indentation of each peach, where the pit was removed.  Cook until butter is melted and flesh is showing grill marks.

Remove to serving dishes and immediately top with a 1/2 cup of ice cream before serving. Print Recipe

More Delightful Dairy Month Recipes



More Fantastical Food Fight Recipes








Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Spinach and Cheese Soufflè and a Giveaway #DairyMonth

Welcome to day 2 of our weeklong Dairy Month celebration.  We are sharing all things dairy all week long.  Some of us were provided a wonderful selection of cheeses from Cabot Creamery to use in the development of our recipe.  They are also sponsoring a very generous giveaway for our readers.  You will have the opportunity to enter at the bottom of this post.  Thank you to From Gate to Plate and Cooking With Carlee for hosting this event.

I, personally, love Cabot cheeses and am always happy when I see that they are sponsoring one of the many events in which I partake.  You can't have a Dairy celebration without including cheese!!

I decided that I wanted to make a Soufflè for Dairy Month.  I made my first one, a Crab Soufflè, last year for Brunch Week.  I was so very excited at how well it turned out that I have been wanting to make another.  I found this recipe for a Spinach and Cheddar Soufflè by Ina Garten.  I always have great luck with her recipes.


This recipe was no exception.  The soufflè could have risen a bit higher but I didn't have the exact size called for in the recipe.  I adapted this very slightly using crushed red pepper instead of cayenne and Cabot Alpine Cheddar.


This is a perfect dish for a Meatless Monday meal which is when we enjoyed it.  It would also make an elegant brunch presentation served up with fresh fruit and croissants, especially if you made individual portions instead of a large souffle to share.  This souffle will feed 3-4 people.


The inside was light and fluffy and the outside was crispy, cheesy goodness.  I think I will add another 1/4 cup of cheese to this recipe the next time I make it.  

Make sure you stop by and see what the others cooked up for you today and then scroll past their links to the great giveaway from Cabot Creamery.

Spinach and Cheese Soufflè
slightly adapted from Ina Garten

3 T. butter + more for greasing the dish
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese + more for sprinkling
3 T. flour
1 c. hot milk
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 c. grated Alpine Cheddar cheese (I would make it 3/4 c.)
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 t. cream of tartar

Butter the inside of a 6-8 c. soufflè dish and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.  

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in the milk. Stir in the nutmeg, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Return to heat and whisk constantly until smooth and thickened.

Remove from heat and whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the cheese and spinach.  Set aside.

Place the egg yolks and cream of tartar in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Start mixing at low speed increasing the speed as the whites thicken until you are at high speed.  Continue whisking until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Whisk about a quarter of the egg whites into the spinach mixture and then lightly fold in the remaining egg whites.  Pour into the prepared dish and flatten with a spatula.  Make a ring around the egg mixture with the spatula.  This will help it to rise evenly.

Place the souffle in an oven that has been preheated to 400*,  Lower the temperature to 375* and bake for 30-35 minutes until fluffy and golden brown.  Serve immediately.  Print Recipe

More Dairy Delights




Cabot has graciously donated a $25 gift box for one lucky winner.  They would like you to know the following things about their product.  I agreed to share this information and use their product in a recipe.  I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.


"Cabot Creamery is an award-winning co-operative owned and operated by 1,100 member dairy farm families throughout New England and Upstate New York. We take care of the land so the grass grows green and tall, which makes the cows happy—and happy cows produce rich, buttery milk, which makes for cheese and other products that win awards year after year. And the more people love our Cabot family of products, then the more our dairy farms will thrive—today and into the future. Learn more about Cabot at www.cabotcheese.coop"

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to residents of the United States only who are 18 years of age or older. Prize will be sent after the close of the giveaway and winner verification is complete. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond. If no response within the time frame, an alternate winner will be selected. Bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Zoodles with Thai Peanut Sauce #CrazyIngredientChallenge


Welcome to this month's edition of CIC where the theme is Peanuts and Zucchini.  This fun group has a vote each month that allows members to choose 1 item from 2 different lists, the top vote in each list then gets paired with the top vote in the other list and voila.....the Crazy Ingredient Challenge is on!!

I was tempted to make a zucchini nut bread using peanuts for the nuts but that kinda seemed like a copout and I really wanted to make a savory dish.

I had made this Peanut Stew a few months ago and I thought about revisiting a stew made with peanuts and zucchini but when the weather is warm I prefer salads over stews. When I think of peanuts in a savory dish, my mind always jumps to Thai food.  I love Thai and we make it quite often.  I had just made this delicious Thai Noodle Salad  last month.  In fact, I chose it as my favorite post from last month during First Monday Favorites.  I thought that I could make another, adding zucchini to the mix and then it struck me that I could make zoodles and forgo the pasta completely.



So I grabbed the shredding blade for my food processor and made quick work of turning a couple of zucchini into a bowl full of zoodles.


Then I started hunting around for what I had that would make a great Thai style dressing.  I grabbed some peanut butter, ginger, garlic, lime, cilantro, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and honey.  These items went into my heavy duty blender on puree and soon became a peanutty dressing.


Toss it together, give it a sprinkling of peanuts for garnish and you have a wonderful meatless lunch or side dish for dinner.  


You can find what the others have created using Peanuts and Zucchini following my recipe.  Have a great month everyone and meet all your challenges head on!!

Zoodles with Thai Peanut Sauce

2 large zucchini
1/4 c. peanut butter
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. peanut oil
2 T. honey
1 t. garlic paste
1 t. ginger paste
1 jalapeno, cored and seeded
1 large handful cilantro leaves
juice of 1 lime
1/4 c. crushed peanuts

Using a spiralizer or food processor, shred the zucchini into long strips.  Place in a bowl and toss to separate.

Place the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, honey, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice in a heavy duty blender and puree until smooth.  Taste and season with salt as necessary.

Pour the dressing over the zoodles and toss to coat.  Garnish with crushed peanuts, if desired. Print Recipe

More Peanutty Zucchini Recipes

Monday, June 19, 2017

Orange Creamsicle Martini #DairyMonth #NationalMartiniDay

Welcome to our week long celebration of June being #DairyMonth hosted by From Gate to Plate and Cooking With Carlee.  We are putting together our best recipes using cow milk, goat milk butter, cream and cheeses.  We can't wait to share them with you.

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Today is also National Martini Day and Ellen of Family Around the Table invited us to post a Martini recipe to celebrate.

I decided to combine both events by sharing a creamy, smooth, and delicious Orange Creamsicle Martini.  Remember those wonderful push-up concoctions you would get when the ice cream truck came around?  Well this is the adult version of that refreshing, tasty treat.


It is a fast and easy recipe and fun to make and share.  It is simply equal parts of orange juice, light cream and vanilla vodka, shaken over ice and strained into a glass.


Garnish with an orange peel and toast to the good old days.  I served these up as an after dinner drink with friends.  


I think it would be fun to make a punch bowl of these and float some orange sherbet in it.  This would be perfect for a summer shower or brunch.  

More Cocktails Celebrating National Martini Day

Welcome to #NationalMartiniDay Whether you enjoy your martini with vodka or gin, shaken or stirred, we’ve got some libations for your happy hour.
We are going to be sharing Dairy Recipes each day this week.  I will be back tomorrow with a Cheese and Spinach Souffle.  In the meanwhile, I am sharing the links to the other recipes submitted in celebration of Dairy Month.

Delicious Dairy Delights






Orange Creamsicle Martini

For each drink:

1 jigger orange juice
1 jigger half and half
1 jigger vanilla vodka

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the orange juice, cream and vodka.  Shake to combine and chill. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an orange peel, if desired. Print Recipe