Baklava

Middle eastern food is my favorite ethnic food. Anytime I want something out of the ordinary, I am never disappointed by a middle eastern dish. It mixes ingredients we usually don’t use, and can be very light (this recipe is not one of those though).

Serving : 25-30

Preparation : 30 minutes

Baking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 roll of phyllo dough sheets (Athens foods sell them by two per package) ~ 1 lb

8 tbsp butter melted

2 cups of crushed walnut

1/2 cup sugar

For the syrup:

1 cup sugar diluted in 3/4cup water

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp orange-flower water

1 tsp rose water

Instructions:

allow the phyllo dough sheets to reach room temperature before using.

Brush a large dish that fits the dough with a little bit of butter.

Place a sheet of phyllo on this greased dish.

Brush the sheet with butter. Add another sheet and repeat the process until half the sheets are used.

In a food processor, crush your sugar, walnut.

Place this mixture over your pastry.

Place a phyllo dough sheet on top, brush with butter, repeat the process until you don’t have any remaining sheet.

Brush the top with butter. Cut in square or diamond shape.

In a preheated oven, 375F, bake for 45 minutes, or until top is lightly colored.

In the meantime, make the syrup.

In a saucepan, simmer the water+sugar for 10 minutes, no stirring.

Just after removing from heat, stir in the lemon juice, orange- flower and rose waters. Let it cool down.

Pour the syrup over the hot pastry, and set aside to cool off.

You can store this for a few days in an airtight container.

Bon appetit.

Creamy Onion Soup (not a French onion soup)

I really like this soup because it it lighter than the traditional french onion soup, and freezes well. It is very cheap to make, and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.

Serving : 6

Preparation: 10 minutes

Baking : 60 minutes

Ingredients:

1.5lb onions (yellow, the cheapest ones), chopped. I like to have rings and small parts)
2 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
6 cups water
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp heavy cream
dried parsley or chives (optional) + salt and pepper

Instructions:
  1. Melt the butter, and add the onion, and saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and mix well.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  4. Add salt, and let it simmer for 45 minutes on medium.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks and cream (and parsley or chive finely chopped if you want).
  6. After 45 minutes turn off the heat, and just before serving, add the cream mixture and mix well.
  7. Super easy, and cheap. Just serve it with bread or with toasts.
  8. If you don’t add the cream mixture, you can freeze it. Just add it when you’ll use it.

Potato Gratin

This is one of the simplest recipe, yet one of my husband’s favorite. It is really simple, cheap, and will impress everyone ! It is called Gratin Dauphinois in French, and it is a classic.

Serving : 4

Preparation : 10 minutes

– 600 gr (~1.5 lb) russet potatoes ~ 5 potatoes

– 70 gr (~2.5 oz) shredded Swiss cheese

– 1 clove of garlic

– 1 cup milk / 1 cup cream

– Salt, pepper and nutmeg

  1. Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them in thin slices (2-3 mm).

  2. Cut the garlic clove in half

  3. In a 8*8 dish, or a similar baking dish, rub the dish with half of the garlic. Cut the garlic into really small pieces after doing that.

  4. Place a layer of potatoes in the dish.

  5. Add Salt+pepper+ a little bit of nutmeg+ a little bit of garlic on top of the layer.

  6. Repeat 4 + 5 until you are out of potatoes

  7. Last layer, place a little bit of your spice mix, add the milk and cream.

  8. Top with shredded cheese.

  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 375 F (you can test if it’s done by inserting a knife in the middle. If it’s easy to insert, it’s probably done, if not, leave it another 10 minutes.)

Chocolate and Zucchini Cake

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Summer is almost over, and my freezer is full of shredded zucchinis, zucchini bread, sliced zucchinis, zucchini and salmon lasagna. I don’t have any room left, and to be honest, I am sick of eating zucchinis. I will probably forget that by the end of winter, and end up planting 10 zucchini plants like this year.

I hate throwing away food, especially when it took so long to grow it, so I came up with this recipe. Your guests will not be able to tell that there is more than a pound of zucchini in this cake.

Serving : 8

Preparation: 20 minutes

Baking : 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 200 g flour
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 125 ml milk
  • 200 g powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 700 g zucchini
  • 60 g butter
  • 75 g semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 50 g almond flour (optional)
  • almonds or walnuts to decorate the cake (optional)

Instructions:

Peel the zucchinis, and cut them into small pieces. Boil the zucchinis in a pot filled with salted water for 10 minutes. Once they are tender, rinse well. Place them in a blender and pureed them.

Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Mix the flour, eggs, milk, powdered sugar, pureed zucchinis, almond flour, and vanilla extract together. Melt the butter and the chocolate. Mix everything together. Grease a pie pan. Place the mixture into the pan, and add the almonds or walnuts on top of it (optional).

Bake for 45 minutes.

Enjoy !

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Pizza Crust / “Foccacia”

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This recipe takes about 30-40 minutes to make. It is as fast as calling the pizza place. I also use the exact same ingredients to make a Foccacia.

Serving : about 4

Preparation: 10 minutes

Baking and waiting : 40 minutes

Ingredients:

-300 g flour (about 0.65 lbs)

-1 tbsp yeast

-3 tbsp olive oil

-1 glass of warm water (about 250 ml)

-salt

Instructions:

Mix the water and the yeast together. Let it sit for 2 minutes on the side. In a large bowl, mix the water+yeast with the flour and salt. Knead the dough until you have a smooth, non-sticky dough (you might end up adding a little bit more flour). Brush the dough with olive oil.

Cover the bowl with a clean and dry dishcloth.

Let the dough rest 30-40 minutes in a warm area or until doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 525˚F

Lightly grease a sheet pan. Spread the dough with your hand.

  • If you are making Foccacia, don’t make it too thin (3/4 of an inch). Optional : Garnish it with sliced tomato, sliced onions or herbs. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt.
  • If you are making pizza, spread the dough thinner (1/4 0f an inch) : Garnish it with tomato sauce, cheese, ham, or whatever is left over in your fridge.

Place the pizza for 5-10 minutes in the oven (it cooks really fast, so the first time you make it, open the oven to make sure it’s not burning).

Enjoy !

Homemade snacks

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Make it for a light meal served with salad, appetizers, or TV snacks.

Serving: about 12-15 small swirls

Preparation : 5-10 minutes

Baking and waiting : 60 minutes

Ingredients:

-1 puff pastry sheet (Pepperidge Farm is selling frozen pack with 2 sheets per pack)

-1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp of water

-1 tbsp of pesto (optional)

-3 slices of ham or smoked chicken breast

-2 cups of shredded cheese

Instructions:

Leave the puff pastry sheet at room temperature for 20 minutes (until it is easy to handle). Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Beat the egg, the water and the pesto. Unfold the pastry on a floured surface. Lightly brush the egg mixture on the dough. Cut the ham or chicken in thin strip. Place them on the dough. Sprinkle the cheese on.

Roll  dough up from the long side (like a jelly roll).

Cut into 12-15 rolls.

Place the swirls on a sheet pan that you covered with waxed paper. Brush them again with the egg mixture, just to add a little bit of color.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Enjoy ! img_00291

Chocolate Croissants (Pain au chocolat)

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I love croissants, and every time I go to Europe, the first thing I buy at the airport is a chocolate croissant. I found a few places in Salt Lake City where the croissants are good, not amazing, but good. I usually pay around $3 for one croissant. I finally decided that croissant should not be that expansive, and I came up with this recipe.

It will cost you around $4 to make 8 big Chocolate Croissants. I buy everything at Whole Foods, so you can probably lower the cost if you buy it elsewhere. Also, I buy imported chocolate from Belgium.

Serving: 8

Preparation : 1h

Baking: 20 minutes

Waiting: 10 h

Ingredients:

– 260 g flour

– 150 ml milk

– 35 g sugar

– 1 tsp yeast

– 1 tsp salt

– 113 g butter (1 stick)

– flour

– 1 egg yolk + 2 tsp water

– good quality chocolate (I use Callebaut chocolate)

Instructions:

If you have a bread machine or a kitchen machine, put the 5 first ingredients in that machine. Mix until you have a smooth dough. If you don’t have a machine, just knead it until your dough is smooth and firm, for approximately 10 minutes.

Put the dough in a plastic bag, and let it sit a night in the fridge (8-9 hours).

The next morning, take the dough out of the fridge. Flour your surface, and with a rolling pin, shape your dough in a 30 cm by 30 cm square (approximately 10 inches by 10 inches).

Place a third of your butter stick, divided in 4 thin layers, in the middle of your square. It should look like this:

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Fold the edges towards the center, on the butter. You should now have a small square. Flour your surface; using the rolling in, spread that dough in a rectangle (10 cm by 50 cm):

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Fold in three:

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Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat these operations 2 times.

Spread the dough so you have a big triangle of 16 cm by 80 cm. Cut 8 equal small rectangle.

At 2/3 of that rectangle, place a chocolate bar, and roll it. At this point, you can freeze the extra chocolate croissants that you do not wish to use right away.

Place the chocolate croissants on a cookie sheet, covered with waxed paper. Put it in the oven (the oven is off, don’t turn it on. It is a good place to store your croissants because it is not windy) for two hours.croissants1

Preheat your oven at 410 F.  Brush your chocolate croissants with the yolk and water mix. Bake it for 20 minutes.

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Enjoy !


Salmon and Leeks Crumble

As I was passing the frozen section at Whole Foods today, I saw a frozen ready meal that looked really good, labeled “salmon and leek crumble”. I did not buy it, but as soon as I got back home, I came up with this recipe:

Serving : 4

Preparation : 10 minutes

Baking and cooking : 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium leeks
  • 1/2 lb of salmon
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 cup of milk
  • olive oil, salt, curry

For the crumble :

  • 100 grams of flour
  • 100 grams of melted butter
  • 60 grams of grated Parmesan
  • 80 grams of bread crumbs

Instructions:

Chop the onion and the leeks (do not mix them). Rinse the leeks. In a pan, saute the chopped onion for 2 minutes. Add the cup of milk and the chopped leeks. Let it slowly cook for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the salmon in small cubes. Set it aside.

For the crumble : Mix the flour, the Parmesan cheese, and the bread crumbs together. Add the butter. With your hand, work the crumble until you have a sand texture mix. Do not overwork it. It should take less than a minute.

When the leeks are done, place them in a baking dish. Sparkle with a little bit of curry, and salt. Place the salmon on top of that. Top the salmon and leeks with the crumble.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Enjoy with a light salad or potatoes.

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