Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kitchen Towels for Sale

Hello dear friends , the Farmer's Market Season Started last week. I want to appologize from all of you my dear friends, for not visiting so often and checking your amazing recipes and mouth watering photos...I even don't have the time to do new posting, though I am taking lots of photos.

Today my post is not about a new recipe but about a talented friend who does weaving at home, and creates amazing line of kitchen towels... I took some photos last weekend for her display to share with you, and to let you know that if you need to buy her towels you can contact me and I can arrange that for you.

These are some photos for the amazing towels with beautiful colors and designs. Later I will post an old towel she did eighteen years ago, the towel still brand new, and every time she washes it revitalizes. They are made from organic cotton. Her customers keep repeating that they have been using the towels since many years, and still look brand new. You can wash them in the washing machine, and the more you wash them the better they look.

The towels are very big 49 x 24. My friend also makes dish cloths; they are on top of the kitchen towels.... The price of each towel is $ 20.00 plus shipping.

Some customers buy these towels as Christmas gifts, wedding showers, and birthday gifts.

Also my friend makes baby blanket set , as well as she weaves winter wool blankets.

Navy & Green Towel - the small towel is dish cloth
Orange & brown towel

Pink & Green Towel
Almost the width of my dinning table

Turquoise , Green & light orange Towel

Light Blue and Yellow Towel

Orange & Grey Towel

Multi Color Towel

Orange & Navy Blue Towel

Orange and Brown Towel
Also my friend makes baby blankets and wool blankets
winter wool socks, and fabric toys. if any one is interested I can take some photos

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Homemade Yogurt and Shankleesh

I promised you in an earlier posting about a homemade yogurt recipe, also from the same recipe we can make a mezza platter which we all enjoy- Shankleesh - you can serve it as a mezza platter or as side dish, or even for lunch. 

Homemade Yogurt is a healthy source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins, whose active bacterial cultures aid in digestion. You can make yogurt in your own home for a fraction of the cost of the typical store-bought type and it requires no special equipment

Home made yogurt tastes better, and it doesn’t include preservatives, sugar, or chemical added, no packaging wasted.  This an old posting for making homemade yogurt.

In a heavy bottom pot, dissolve the powder milk in liquid milk and heat on a medium heat to warm. Make sure that your hands are extra clean; you are using your index to test the milk. To test the temperature of the milk, dip your index in the milk , you should be able to handle the heat till you count till No. 10 before the heat force you to withdraw your finger, if its cold you need to cook it couple of seconds more , if its too hot you need to cool it and try your index again. Make sure that the milk is in the right temperature to add the starter, if it’s cold it will not ferment, and if it’s too hot you will kill the starter.
cover the yogurt and let it ferment in a non draft place.  It takes between four to six hours.
check after this time and if its turned to a solid yogurt leave the cover and put it in the fridge if you are doing the Shankleesh ..  if you are using the yogurt for smoothies or making Cheese Yogurt take the cover off , keeping it covered turns the yogurt sour which we need for our next recipe.
Keep the yogurt covered in the fridge for at least four days to optain the right flavour.
Now we are ready for the Shankleesh Recipe
If you notice when you start heating the yogurt again, it will start breaking and gathering in the centre like making homemade ricotta
 this is what I mean 
when you get the right constistancy turned it into cheesecloth and let it drain
 drain well for couple of days , changing the cheese cloth every day
or you can let it dry on paper towel in the fridge.
before it dries completely add 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp chili pepper, and 2 tbsp of ground oregano, mix the spices well and roll the yogurt ball in this and let it dry completely (should feel like a dry white cheese, but still crumble)
some call for adding the salt and chili in the yogurt before you drain it, and I think you will loose the flavour as it will keep draining.
This is how it will look it.
Leave it to dry in a cool place for couple of days more before serving.

Don't throw the leftover brine.  Its the best in baking

To serve the Shankleesh, crumble in a plate and add chopped green onion and chopped tomatoes , adjust the salt and black pepper and cover with olive oil.
The flavour is a cross between Cottage Cheese and Greek Feta Cheese.
Note:  I am getting lots of emails asking about the temp of the milk before adding the starter.  I did some this weekend and I used a thermometer and i tried my finger first then took it off the heat and measure it , it was 54C or 136F try to take it of the heat when it reaches 53C .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bread Painting

  Bread is becoming a big passion to me; I always search for new recipes, and bread techniques, to improve my skills. Artisan Breads are one of my favourite, I love toasted crunchy bread... I prepared my Artisan bread dough yesterday and let it rest in the fridge overnight, and this afternoon I used the dough to do some sandwich breads and an asparagus pie which I will post later.
Couple of days ago I spotted a nice painted bread at La Table de Nana http://latabledenana.blogspot.com/2009/05/painting-bread-101.html/ then from there I ended at Chef Tess posting about her bread painting techniques http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/2009/06/basic-bread-painting-technique.html/ check her site and see the wonderful breads she makes.
ne thing I need to add, my bread making is improving a lot, but oh my I do need to work on my painting skills. I had so much fun this evening with making my bread. I used ½ tsp of cocoa + ½ tsp coffee diluted in tsp of water then added some egg yolks, seems my mix was a bit on the runny side side, and the color came darker than expected. Its okay for a first trial, I need to do more practicing to master the technique.  I leave you with some photos

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pickled Eggplant & Green Pepper in Olive Oil - Makdous Batinjan wa Fleifleh

Makdous Batinjan - Eggplant cured in olive oil
the stuffing is garlic , walnuts and hot chili pepper
Makdous in Olive oil is specialty of Baalback and the Bekaa Rejion.
1- boil the water
2- add the eggplant and cover with a towel to avoid turning them dark
3- boil for couple of minutes only
4- make sure a bowl of ice water is ready
5- move the eggplant from hot to ice water to stop cooking
6- when cool leave in the colander cover with a tray over them and weigh with some food cans to drain all the water - leave for three days
7- stuff the center with a mix of minced garlic, toasted walnut, kosher salt and red chili
8-add them in the jar and turn the jar upside down for another three days, or until no more water is running out 
9- stand the jar up and fill it  with good quality olive oil, yes you might need more than one litre for a big jar.
10- the makdous will be ready within three weeks
11- choose small round purple eggplant for pickling.  

enjoy with your meal, or as a sandwich Amazing flavour

Pickled Green Pepper

preparing the green peppers similar to the eggplant.
1- boil the water then shut the heat, wash clean the heart either by opening the bottom or the top... i did the top, as i choose a long peppers.
2-leave the peppers in the boiling water for couple of minutes only, then move to colander to drain
3-the stuffing: two heads of garlic mashed, one cup or more toasted walnuts, and red chili depends on your taste, kosher salt.
4-stuff the peppers and stack in the jar then turn the jar upside down for at least 24 hours to drain all the water

the stuffing

After Stuffing the peppers with a mix of minced garlic, walnuts and red chili turn the jars upside down
to drain the liquid, it might take up to 3 days

and this is what comes out.

after the water stop running down, stand the jars up and cover with pure olive oil, close and let it
ferment for at least three - four weeks...

I used Italian Green Peppers as I have a problem digesting the round green peppers.
You can try any kind of green pepper for this recipe, even hot peppers will work

Pickles are a staple in the Lebanese Cuisine we eat them with our food, like a side dish.
the eggplant and green peppers are usually served with a vegetarian dishes or in a pita sandwich.  I hope that you will encourage to give these pickles a try , you will not regret at all.

Note:  If you like to use the vinegar method of pickling eggplant this is the recipe:

1- clean the top of the small eggplant by taking the hat off.
2- boil in water for couple of minutes with a towel over them (the towel will prevent the eggplant from turning dark)
3- quickly turn them into ice water to stop the cooking, you might need to change the water 
4-add 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the bottom of 1 1/2 ltr jar .(in Lebanon we use white wine or red wine vinegar or apple cider all home made so the acid amount is higher than what you get in the store) 
5- boil some water (i usually fill the jar with tap water then measure the amount to make sure how much i need and it takes less when its filled with pickles.  Measure the water , boil it and add from 2-3 tables spoons kosher salt and let it cool completely. 
6- Fill the jar with the cooled eggplant over the vinegar, add the cooled water to cover the eggplants, and cover the jar tightly and leave to ferment for three to four weeks.