Thursday, January 31, 2008


Created by Nigella Lawson From the show What Ya Cookin'?

Prep time: 5 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes:
Cooling time: 15 minutes

Makes 4 - 6servings

Butter for ramekins
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Place baking sheet in an oven preheated to 400°F/200°C. Butter four 2/3-cup ramekins and set aside. I actually find these so decadently sweet, that I use ½ cup ramekins and make 6.

2. Using a microwave oven or double boiler, melt together the semisweet chocolate and the butter. Set aside to cool.

3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar and flour. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and mix until blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

4. Divide mixture evenly among ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until tops are shiny and cracked and chocolate beneath is hot and gooey, about 20 minutes. Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve, reminding children that ramekins and chocolate are hot.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tarte Tatin (Caramelized Apple Tart - France)

Recipe courtesy Pascal Rigo, The American Boulangerie: French Pastries and Breads for the Home Kitchen, Bay/SOMA Publishing, 2003 Online source:

Some people say this upside-down apple tart was invented by the Tatin sisters, who ran an inn in the Loire Valley. The story goes that they dropped an apple tart on the kitchen table and when it landed upside down, they decided to bake and serve it just like that. That was a happy accident, because the inverted baking technique that is now standard practice for this famous tart makes everything turn out perfectly: The apples caramelize in the hot pan, and the pastry, which is exposed during baking, becomes light and flaky. Because the crust doesn't really need to rise very high, this is an excellent way to use up puff pastry trimmings.

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar

8 medium (about 3 3/4 pounds) Granny Smith apples, peeled
8 ounces Puff Pastry Dough, recipe follows, or store-bought puff pastry dough

To make the caramel: Have ready a 10-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides. (Do not use a springform pan for this; it will leak!) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is dark amber in color – it's okay if there are a few sugar lumps remaining. When the caramel is done, carefully pour it into the cake pan. Don't touch the cake pan with unprotected hands – it will be hot! Set the cake pan aside until caramel is cool. (The caramel-coated pan can be made up to 2 days in advance and left, covered, at room temperature.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Core the apples by cutting down, top to bottom, on all 4 sides around the core. You will have 2 apple halves and 2 smaller pieces. Arrange the first layer of apple halves, flat-side down, on top of the set caramel in the pan. (This will later become the top of the tart.) Arrange the remaining apple halves and pieces to form the second layer. Things will be a bit crowded at first, but the apples will shrink down when cooked. Place on a parchment paper-lined, sturdy baking sheet. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the apples are very tender.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry dough into a round 1/4-inch thick. Cut out a 10-inch pastry circle and transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

When the apples are done, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer to a flat surface, taking care, as the caramel will be bubbling hot. Remove the pastry circle from the refrigerator and prick with a fork 15 times. Gently place on top of the cooked apples. Return tart to the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the puff pastry is puffy and golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 to 25 minutes.

To serve, you will need a 12 to 14 inch diameter round serving platter and another sturdy baking sheet. Invert both the serving platter and the other baking sheet. Invert both the serving platter and the other baking sheet over the warm tatin pan. Using both hands, firmly grab both baking sheets and quickly flip over the pans – doing this over the kitchen sink will cut down on any sticky mess. Remove the top baking sheet and carefully lift up the cake pan, using dry towels to avoid getting burned by the caramel. If any apples remain stuck to the pan, remove them with a metal spatula and place them back on the tart. This tart is best served warm.

Puff Pastry Dough:
4 1/4 cups high-gluten flour or bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons water
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted plus 14 ounces (1 3/4 cups) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, water, and melted butter on medium speed until well mixed, about 1 minute. Work quickly and do not overwork the dough. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap, form it into a rough rectangle, enclose the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, put the remaining 14 ounces of butter between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin, turning as necessary, until softened. The butter should be malleable but not too soft. Set aside in a cool place – the butter will later be spread on the dough as you start the folding process.

Place the refrigerated dough on a well floured work surface and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Using a rolling pin, push down on the dough to start flattening it, and then roll it into a 20 by 30 by 10-inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick, with the long sides running from left to right. (It might feel that you're rolling sideways, and well, you are.) Carefully brush off any excess flour from the dough. Starting on the right side, and leaving a 1 inch border, slap and spread on the butter, using your fingers, over two-thirds of the rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds; starting with the left side, fold at the butter line as if closing a book, and then fold the right side up and over the top layer. You should end up with a stack of 3 thick layers of dough, each separated from the next by a layer of butter.

As you prepare to make the first turn of the dough, keep in mind the importance of rolling the butter evenly along the length and width of the rectangle as you roll the dough. Adjust the pressure on the rolling pin as necessary, rolling harder or more evenly, to achieve a smoother, even, dough-enclosed butter sandwich. To begin your first turn, turn the dough 90 degrees on your work surface so the closed fold is at the top and, rolling lengthwise, roll It into a 20 by 10-inch rectangle. Brush off any excess flour and fold into thirds as above, starting with the left side and ending with the right. At this point, you have finished one turn. Rotate the dough 90 degrees so the closed fold is at the top, and repeat the rolling and folding process. The second turn is complete. After the second turn, or any time the dough is too soft to work with, transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate, covered in plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and relaxed. Each time the dough is refrigerated, make an indentation in the dough with your fingertip for each turn completed. Repeat this rolling and folding process, rolling out the dough lengthwise every time, for more times for a total of 6 turns. After the sixth turn, let the dough rest a good hour in the refrigerator.

Store the dough, as is, well wrapped in plastic wrap. The dough can be kept refrigerated up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 10 days. If frozen, thaw the dough, still wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator before using.

Yield: 3 pounds of dough
Prep time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hours
Ease of preparation: expert

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Strawberry Tarts

It's a good idea to make some of the elements of this dessert in advance. I tried this recipe for the first time today. I am fond of this dessert because it reminds me of my days at the French bakery in Florida. The owners taught me so much about baking and cooking as well. I used to take home a tart very often. It is so nice to be able to actually make them at home! This recipe worked well for me, although it is important to make sure the consistency of the filling comes out thick like pudding or custard because it needs to be a little firm so it doesn't just pour all out when you cut your first slice of the tart. So make sure not to skimp on the corn starch. Also, make sure the dough gets browned before you take it out of the oven, otherwise it might be a tad raw tasting in the middle. Also, make sure you have tart dishes before you start or you'll have to end up making one big pie tart like I did. Hahahaha. Also, I tend to prefer slicing my strawberries and then arranging them on top of the tart, not whole like pictured here, as it seems a bit hard to eat that way. Bon Apetit!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons cold shortening (recommended: Crisco) (it makes the dough nice and flaky)
1/4 cup ice water
2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup apricot jelly or preserves
3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, optional
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2-inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don't stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tarts. Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.

Pastry Cream:
5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

Yield: 2 cups

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Fuul Nabed (Egyptian Bean and Vegetable Soup)

A popular Egyptian soup, Fuul Nabed is simple and nutritious.

I haven't made this yet, but it sounds really hearty and delicious. If you haven't tried Fuul, I highly recommend it. I like to have it for breakfast when I have a big day or big exam ahead of me.

I'm a big fan of beans because they are so nutricious and I don't like to eat meat or lots of dairy every day, but I still need the protein and calcium and this provides both benefits, plus many others as well.


    • 1 chopped onion

    • Chopped fresh tomatoes

    • 2 garlic cloves, pressed

    • 3 pints of vegetable stock

    • Olive oil

    • Canned or cooked fava beans

    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

    • Chopped fresh parsley

    • 1 ½ teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika

    • Fresh lemon juice

    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    • 2 bay leaves

    • Fresh mint leaves

    • Large carrot, chopped

In a large pot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the cumin, paprika, cayenne, bay leaves and carrots, and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock and simmer until the carrots are tender - about 15 minutes. Finally, add the cooked fava beans and the parsley and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ful Nabed can be served with bita bread and garnished with fresh mint leaves. Serves 6.

Recipe from

Chicken Piccata (Italy)

Copyright, 2006, Robin Miller, All rights reservedShow: Quick Fix Meals with Robin MillerEpisode: Spring Fling
I'm not a big fan of boneless skinless breast except when on nights when I don't feel like cooking but I need a big protein boost. Here is a tasty recipe for those days you just want to make something easy but at the same time impress your guests.

4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered
1/4 cup drained capers
Sliced Mushrooms (optional, you can add it while cooking the chicken)

Place chicken in zip-top bags and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 1/4-inch thick. Remove chicken from bag and season all over with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish (or plastic bag), combine flour, lemon zest, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix well. Add chicken and turn to coat. Remove chicken from flour mixture and shake off excess flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Add lemon juice, wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens. Add artichoke hearts and capers and simmer 1 minute to heat through.

Can be served with rice or boiled potatoes

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pan-Roasted Trout Bruschetta with Chili Vinaigrette (Italy)

Recipe by Michael Chiarello (

1 large loaf country-style bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the bread
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Trout:
1/4 cup salt
8 trout fillets, skin on
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup instant flour (recommended: Wondra)
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, sliced into bite-size pieces
16 oil-cured black olives, halved and pitted
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

For the Chili Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups chili oil
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the bread into 1/4-inch thick slices. Cut those slices in half on a diagonal. Lay the slices on baking sheets in a single layer and brush the bread with extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crisp outside but still soft within, about 5 to 6 minutes.

On a baking sheet covered with foil, sprinkle salt over the foil. Lay the trout fillets skin side down and sprinkle the tops of the fillets liberally with more salt. Set aside in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Blend the Chili Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, chili oil, olive oil, sherry vinegar, chili powder, salt, pepper and parsley.

Rinse the trout fillets and pat dry. Sprinkle some pepper on the fillets. In a shallow dish filled with the flour, dredge the fillets with the flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat the 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over moderately
high heat. When hot, add the fish, skinned side up, and cook until crisp, about 1 minute. Turn with an offset spatula and cook on the skinned side until done, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

To serve, cut the trout into bite size pieces. Top each toast with a slice of roasted pepper and a piece of trout. Spoon some of the vinaigrette over the trout. Scatter a few olives around each portion, and dust the fish with the remaining parsley. Serve immediately.

Polenta Bites with Caramelized Mushrooms (Italy)

Recipe by Michael Chiarello
Show: Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello
Episode: Venetian Tapas Cocktail Party

For the polenta:
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup polenta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

For the mushrooms:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters
Finely ground salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves

Cook the polenta: In a medium, heavy pot over high heat bring the cream, stock, salt, and nutmeg to a boil. Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. When the mixture thickens, switch to a wooden spoon and adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook, stirring often, until thick, smooth, and creamy, about 15 minutes. Add the Parmesan and stir. Keep the polenta warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. If the polenta gets dry as it sits, stir in about 1/4 cup of warm stock or cream.

Saute the mushrooms: In a medium skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, sprinkle in the mushrooms in a single layer. Don't stir them! Let them sizzle until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 minutes. When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the butter and cook until it begins to brown, then add the garlic. Continue to cook until the garlic begins to brown. Add the thyme and cook for about 10 seconds. Add the lemon juice and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the wine, and simmer until the mushrooms are glazed with the sauce. Add the parsley. Then stir and remove the pan from the heat.

Place or pipe about 1 tablespoon of warm polenta onto a spoon. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the mushroom on top of the polenta. Garnish with grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blackberry Cobbler

I love this dessert because its emphasis is on the fruit, and not so much on the sugar. I love berries too. I like to make this dessert because it reminds me of when I was little and I used to pick blackberries outside with my friends all morning in the forest and then come back home to make the cobbler. It was probably the first baking project I ever did.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Fresh Blackberry Cobbler

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Desserts Fruits

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 1/2 cups To 4 cups fresh blackberries
2 TBSP Lemon juice (pour over blackberries)
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Flour
6 tablespoons Butter or margarine
1/3 cup Shortening
1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
3 tablespoons To 4 tb cold buttermilk -- or ice

1 tablespoon Melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon Sugar
I prefer pouring cream or half and half on top, but if you have a sweet tooth, ice cream or whipping cream is great too.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour the blackberries into a 2-quart casserole dish
(about 8 by 8 by 2 inches), or a pan of equal size.
Add the water.
Combine the sugar and flour in a small bowl.
Stir to mix. Sprinkle over the berries. Dot with butter.

To make the crust, cut the shortening into the flour
until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
This can be done quickly in a food processor,
but you can also use a pastry blender or two knives.
Add the buttermilk or ice water a tablespoon at a time and mix
until the dough clings together
and can be formed into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface,
roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
Cut the dough to fit the top of the berry filling or cut into strips
and make a lattice crust.
Brush the crust with the melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
Continue baking until the crust is golden brown and
the juices have started to thicken. This
will probably take an additional 15 to 20 minutes. A

s the pie cools, the juice will get thicker.

Injera "Ethiopian sponge bread" (To accompany any Ethiopian meal)

What Do I Need? .
Teff grain

• 1/4 cup teff flour
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup water
• a pinch of salt
• peanut or vegetable oil

• a mixing bowl
• a nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet

If you have teff grain instead of flour, first grind it in a clean coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.
What Do I Do?

1. Put the teff flour in the bottom of a mixing bowl, and sift in the all-purpose flour.

Did You Know?
Teff is extremely high in fiber, iron, and calcium.

Many Ethiopians in America use square-shaped, electric, nonstick pans. These heat evenly and make it easy to remove the injera once it is cooked.

2. Slowly add the water, stirring to avoid lumps.

3. Stir in the salt.

4. Heat a nonstick pan or lightly oiled cast-iron skillet until a water
drop dances on the surface. Make sure the surface of the pan is smooth: Otherwise, your injera might fall apart when you try to remove it.

5. Coat the pan with a thin layer of batter. Injera should be thicker than a crêpe, but not as thick as a traditional pancake. It will rise slightly when it heats.

cooking injera

Did You Know?
Teff is the smallest grain in the world. It takes about 150 teff seeds to equal the weight of a kernel of wheat!

6. Cook until holes appear on the surface of the bread. Once the surface is dry, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool.

What’s Going On? .

If you’ve ever cooked pancakes, making injera might seem familiar. In both cases, tiny bubbles form on top as the batter cooks. Keeping an eye on these bubbles is a great way to see how close the pancake or injera is to being ready without peeking underneath.

These bubbles come from the carbon-dioxide produced by the leavener—usually baking powder or soda in the case of pancakes, “wild” yeast in the case of injera. Neither batter contains much gluten. Most pancake recipes tell you not to mix the batter too much: If you do, gluten will develop, making them too chewy. Teff, the grain used to make injera, contains very little gluten to begin with. In both cases, the result is the same: With no gummy substance to “blow up,” most of the carbon-dioxide from the leaveners rapidly escapes into the air, leaving the little popped bubbles that contribute to the distinctive textures of these breads.

You can buy Tef flour at

Recipe by

Atar Allecha and Niter Kebbeh (Ethiopia)

  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon niter kebbeh (See recipe below)
  • 1 cup dry split yellow peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons green chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup water

What You Do:

  1. Soak the split peas for one hour in three cups of water.
  2. Bring them to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary. When the peas are cooked, drain if necessary and mash well.
  3. In a dry pan over moderately low heat, stir-fry the onion and garlic for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the niter kebbeh and sauté until the onion becomes transparent.
  5. Add the mashed peas, turmeric, salt and green chili to the onion mixture.
  6. Add the water and cook to reduce the mixture to a thick, well-spiced pureé.
  7. Serve warm or room temperature with injera.


This is the base flavor in most Ethiopian dishes. It is a vital ingredient and should not be skipped. Traditionally, it is a seasoned clarified butter or ghee. Make a pound of it at a time and keep it in a covered dish in the fridge. If made from margarine it will last practically indefinitely. All hail the mighty margarine. (If you are averse to using margarine, it will work in a mild vegetable oil like canola; use about 1 3/4 cups of oil).

What You Need:

  • 1 pound soy margarine
  • 4 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, scraped and finely grated or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

What You Do:

  1. Slowly melt the margarine in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add the other ingredients and simmer uncovered on the lowest heat for about 20-30 minutes. Do not let it brown.
  3. Strain the mixture through a double layer of cheesecloth or other such concoction, discarding the spices.
  4. Refrigerate until set.
  5. Use as needed in Ethiopian recipes or spread sporadically on toast.
Recipes from

Aleecha Vegetable Stew (Ethiopia)

Yield: 8 Servings
I love Ethiopian culture and people. In Seattle I know many people from Ethiopia and I miss the restaurants. Ethiopian food is soo flavorful and healthy. I feel so energized after I eat it. I hope to learn Amharic, the Ethiopian language. It is a cross between Hebrew and Arabic. I have already started learning the alphabet. I know some of the language as well. I am fascinated by the religious history of the country. The country has many Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and some of the most pious people I have ever known are from there. I love talking religion with them. I also like their customs, and their music and dance style. I really hope to go there someday.
Here is one of the dishes I always order with Ingera. Ingera is the ethiopian version of a tortilla. They eat it with every meal. They eat with their hands using the ingera like Arabs. One of their neat customs is to feed their loved ones a bite before they begin to eat. I will post a recipe for the Ingera although I've never tried to make it myself because I heard that the flour that the Ethiopians use to make it is very hard to come across in the states. If you can make it, I would highly recommend it as it completes any of their dishes.

2 large Onions, sliced
1 ½ pounds Potatoes, cut into chunks
1 each Cabbage, cut into eigths
½ each Head cauliflower, break into pieces

4-5 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
¼ pounds Butter, seasoned
1 tablespoon Curry powder

Boil the cabbage.

Fry the onions in the butter until translucent

Add curry powder, cook for one minute
add 1/4 cup water to the onion mixture, cook for 5 minutes add carrots and potatoes and cook 15 minutes add cauliflower, cook 5 minutes add cabbage, cook for 15 minutes

Recipe from

Traditional Miso Soup (Japan)

I love home-cooked soups. I fell in love with them when I was working in an authentic French bakery while I was working for the Red Sox so I could learn baking secrets and some French. I would get up before dawn and walk to the bakery from my hotel to work for a few hours during the mornings for about 3 days per week. It was a great experience. The owners were from the south of France. Their food there was sooo fresh and delicious. There was not one thing on their menu that I didn't absolutely love. The bakery is called Bara Bread Bistro & Bakery on 1520 Broadway in Fort Myers, Florida. They used to make a wonderful carrot soup. I can still taste it when I close my eyes and think about it.

Another thing I make sure to include in my diet is bacteria. I eat a lot of yogurt and cultures. This helps to keep my digestive system in order. When the digestive system is healthy, it shows in our skin and in our immune system. I also try to take acidophilus pills. This is why I love Miso soup. It not only tastes delicious, it contains bacteria that help the digestive system.

Unpasteurized miso
is a "living food" containing natural digestive enzymes, Lactobacillus, and other microorganisms which aid in the digestion of all foods, and which have been shown to ward off and destroy harmful microorganisms, thereby creating a healthy digestive system.

This is the traditional miso soup, but you'll have to find dashi soup stock to make it, or you can substitute with vegetable stock. Tofu, also made from soybeans, gives the soup lots of calcium and protein and helps fill you up.


  • 1/2 pound tofu, drained, pressed and cut into small cubes
  • 2 green onions, white and green, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons miso
  • 4 cups dashi soup stock, found in your local Asian grocery (My favorite supermarket - Uwajimaya)


  1. Put dashi soup stock in a pan and bring to a boil. Add tofu to the soup. Scoop out some soup stock from the pan and dissolve miso paste in it. Return the soup in the pan. Stop the heat and add chopped green onion. Remember not to boil the soup after you put miso in.

(Use organic ingredients whenever possible)
Measuring cups

Small strainer

Chopsticks or spoon
4 cups water
1 piece konbu (kelp), about 5" long*
1 cup bonito (dried fish flakes)*
5 tablespoons miso*
1/2 package tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 scallions, cut into thin slices
Soy sauce (optional)
* Note: Konbu, bonito, and miso can be found in most health food, Asian, and gourmet grocery stores.
Let's Make It!

Adult: In the saucepan over medium-high heat, place the water and konbu. Heat for 8-10 minutes, until the water starts to bubble (do not allow to boil). Remove the konbu and discard.

Adult: Add the bonito to the saucepan and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

Kid: Use the strainer to remove and discard the bonito.

Kid: Above the broth, place the miso in the ladle, add a bit of broth, and stir with chopsticks (or a spoon) until the miso becomes smooth. Add to the saucepan and stir. Then taste the soup, and add a splash of soy sauce if you would like the soup a bit richer.

Adult: Over high heat, add the tofu and heat until amost boiling (do not allow to boil), then turn off the heat.

Kid: Ladle the soup into bowls and top with scallions.

Tip: Personalize your miso soup by adding your favorite ingredients. Some traditional Japanese "extras" include seaweed, daikon radish, fried bean curd, and egg.

Recipe from

"Manju" Traditional Steamed Cake (Japan)

I love any kind of steamed cakes, especially humbows. Here's a tasty Japanese recipe.
I studied Japanese all through high school and college. I also study Karate. I speak pretty good Japanese, but I still haven't had the chance to visit Japan.
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup anko (sweet azuki beans)


Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. Put baking soda in the water. Add the water in the bowl. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Make round shapes and flatten them. Put anko (sweet beans) filling on the center. Wrap the anko by stretching the dough and make manjyu. Steam the manjyu on high heat for 15 minutes.

Cucumber and Wakame Seaweed Salad (Japan)

I try to include vegetables in my diet a lot so I get bored easily with salads, so I like to mix it up. I love cucumber and seaweed is sooooo good for you, and this salad tastes so good.
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 cup wakame seaweed (softened)
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Cut softened wakame seaweed into about 2inch-long pieces. Slice cucumber into thin rounds. Put salt over cucumber slices and set aside for 20 minutes. Squeeze cucumber slices to remove the liquid. Mix vinegar and sugar in a bowl.

Add wakame seaweed and cucumber slices in the bowl and mix well.

Mamouls (My favorite Arabic cookie)

Oven temperature: Preheat at 230? C (450? F), reduce to 180? C (350? F)
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
4 ½ cups fine semolina (farina)
½ cup caster sugar
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tsp rosewater

Walnut Filling
1 ½ cups coarsely ground walnuts
¼ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
Ma'amoul means "filled" in Arabic. Ma'amouls are small imprinted
molds made of wood that have a handle attached. A piece of short-pastry
dough is pressed into these molds and date or nut filling is then enclosed
in the dough. Holding the handle, the mold is slammed on the table causing
the finished dough to drop out. The imprinted dough can then be rolled in
confectioner's sugar if so desired. If a mold is not available the cookies
can also be made using a tool of your choice.


Combine semolina and sugar in a mixing bowl.

Melt butter in a pan and heat until bubbling. Pour into semolina and sugar and mix with wooden spoon until butter is evenly distributed.

Heat milk in pan until bubbles begin to rise, remove from heat and stir in soda. Pour into semolina mixture.

Mix with wooden spoon to soft dough. When it cools a little, knead lightly by hand. Cover bowl with a sheet of plastic cling film to make an airtight seal. Leave for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Mix nut-filling ingredients together.

Knead dough again to make it pliable. Take a tablespoonful of dough at a time and roll into balls the size of a large walnut.

Flatten a ball of dough in your palm and push up sides to make a pot shape. Fill hollow with a generous teaspoonful of nut filling and mold dough over filling. Press edges to seal well and roll into a ball again.

Press into a decorated mold (a tabi) and tap out on board. Place on ungreased baking tray. Alternatively place ball of dough on tray, flatten slightly and press tines of fork obliquely around sides to give cakes a slightly conical shape. Press top with fork.

Have oven preheated to very hot, place Ma'amoul in oven and reduce heat to moderate. Back at moderate for 20-25 minutes until lightly colored. Remove and cool on trays for 10 minutes.

Sift some icing sugar onto a sheet of waxed paper. Place Ma'amoul on sugar and sift more sugar on top to coat thickly. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Dominican style chicken "Pollo guisado"

Yield: 4 Servings
    2 lbs chicken parts
    2 limes, halved
    2 ajíes verdes (light green pepper)
    1 small red onion, sliced
    2 roma tomatoes, quartered
    2 tsp. olive oil
    2 tsp. tomato paste
    2 cloves garlic, mashed
    1/2 tsp sugar
    Sal and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of sofrito
Goya or Maggi seasoning

Season the chicken with pepper, salt, Goya or Maggi seasoning, and oregano. Add onion and sliced and de-seeded aji. Marinate for one hour. In a pot, heat the oil and once it is very hot, throw in a pinch of sugar to help brown the chicken. Add the chicken to the pot. Brown the chicken on both sides for a few minutes on each side. Add spoons of water regularly to keep the meat from burning. Add some more water and tomato paste. As soon as the meat is tender, reduce the water. Add the rest of the ingredients (onion and aji) and fry. Add some more or reduce water so that the sauce has a nice consistency.

Recipe from

Hummus (Lebanon)

1 lb 1 1/2 oz. Cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans, see cooking method below, or use canned)
10 oz tahini
7 oz. lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1 tbsp yogourt
1 clove garlic mashed with salt to taste
1 ice cube
5 tbsp. cold water
Chopped parsley, olive oil, olives, and cayenne pepper for garnish

Mash garlic with salt until fine. Drain chickpeas from water and stir into it the mashed garlic. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a masher or blender and add an ice cube. When it is well mashed add the tahini. Gradually add lemon juice which has been strained. Run the entire mixture through a fine strainer forcing it through with a spoon. Serve on shallow plates after decorating with the garnishes.

Cooking Chickpeas:
Soak chickpeas in cold water for ten hours, adding to it when soaking half of the amount of soda above. Take chickpeas out of the water, wash and add 3 pints of cold water and the remainder 1.5 tbsp of the baking soda. Cook over strong heat until foam appears. Skim and reduce heat. Cook for about two hours or until well done.

Moro de Guandules "Rice and Pigeon Peas" (Dominican Republic)

This version of moro de guandules is an obligatory addition to any special meal Dominican-style. It is also part of traditional Dominican Christmas dinner.
Serve: 4 people

4 cups of rice
2 cups of boiled green pigeon peas
2 cups of coconut milk
4 cups water
5 tablespoons of oil
4 teaspoons of tomato paste
1/4 cup of chopped green peppers
1 pinch of oregano
1/2 teaspoon mashed garlic
1/8 cup of capers
1/4 cup of chopped celery
1 teaspoon of finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of finely chopped coriander/cilantro
1/2 teaspoon of thyme leaves
1 cube of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of salt

Heat 3 spoons of oil in an iron pot and add the herbs, olives, spices and the salt. Stir while adding the tomato paste. Add the peas, also while stirring, then add the chicken stock. Once well heated, add the remaining water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking. When all the water has evaporated cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer on very low heat. Wait 15 minutes, uncover, stir, and add the remaining oil. Cover again and wait another 5 minutes. The rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes on very low heat.

Milk and Papaya Drink

    1 ripe papaya
    6 tablespoons coconut milk
    5 tablespoons lime juice
    1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel (optional)
    4 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup finely crushed ice

    1. Peel the papaya, cut it in half, remove the black seeds, and chop the fruit coarsely.
    2. Combine the papaya, coconut milk, lime juice and peel, sugar, vanilla, and ice in an electric mixer blender. Blend at high speed until mixture is smooth and thick.
    3. Serve in chilled tumbler.

Dominican Sancocho Stew

One of the most famous meals of the Dominican Republic. We used to make this after a day of swimming at the river.


  • 4 pounds of chicken
  • 2 pounds of beef
  • 1.5 pound of goat meat
  • 4 large plaintain bananas (green and ripe)
  • 2 bananas (green)
  • 2 pounds of yucca (cassava,tapioca,manioc)
  • 2 pounds of malanga
  • 2 pounds of spanish pumpkin
  • Potatoes
  • 2 pounds of white yam (taro)
  • 6 liters of water
  • 1.5 tablespoon of oregano
  • 5 coffe spoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoon of "naranja agria" (these are oranges that are very, very sour)
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 1 coffe spoon of garlic (smashed)
  • Some leaves of parsley
  • Some leaves of cilantro
  • 1 tablet of chicken bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Sofrito (Cilantro)
How to prepare the ingredients: The day before (to save some time) you can cook the meats and store them in the refrigerator. The way to cook them is the following:

  1. Cut the chicken in different pieces, wash the chicken with "naranja agria" taking out the skin and excess grease. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, English sauce (or soy sauce), tomatoes and salt. After half an hour, cook the chicken without adding tomato sauce. Add more water than usual so that you can use the resulting sauce. Do not let get the chicken to become too tender. When done, save it in the refrigerator.
  2. Cook the pork chops and goat in the same way as the chicken but cook them separately. Add more water than usual so that you can use the resulting sauce. When done, save it in the refrigerator.
  3. Cut the "tocino" in small pieces (half an inch) and pass it through hot vegetable oil (to give a nice color). Add some water and cook. Do not let get the "tocino" to become too tender.
  4. Cut the sausage in small pieces (half an inch each) and fry the pieces. Save the vegetable oil.
  5. Peel of the yucca, plaintain bananas, malanga, spanish pumpkin, sweet potatoesand white yam and cut them in samll pieces. Put them in salt water so that they do not become black.
  6. In a large pot (or two medium size pots) put the salt and the water. Add the onions, bell pepper, leaves of parsley and cilantro, spanish pumpkin, corn, plaintain bananas and malanga. When they are getting tender put all the other vegetables, the meat and the "sauces". Add two tablespoons of the oil in which the sausage was fried, "naranja agria", vinegar, garlic, check the salt. Do not let the sancocho to get too thick.
  7. Put the spanish pumpkin in two portions: the first one to add thickness to the "sancocho" and the second to eat with the sancocho. If some vegetables are too tender, take them out. When the sancocho is done, put them in again. When done, you can serve the sancocho with rice and lemon. This recipe is good for 18 portions.
oregano = oregano, wild marjoram,winter sweet

cilantro = coriander, cilantro

auyama = spanish pumpkin, butternut squash, winter squash

puerro = leek, green onion

Cooking the meat

Place a large pan (ideally one that's not too deep - a wide bottomed, heavy lidded, braising pan is best) on the heat with some vegetable oil, say about half a cup.

Once the oil is reasonably hot you can add the meat (The meat should sizzle appetizingly when it goes into the pan, BUT be careful the hot oil doesn't splash you...or anyone else!!). Don't add too much meat in one go, and let the heat come back into the oil as add each 'batch'. Make sure all the meat is 'seized', or 'browned' on all sides...this will help keep it moist and reduce the chance of it flaking to bits during the cooking process.

Once all the meat is browned, immediately add about a teaspoon of salt and a pint of stock. Stir well.

Let the pot just come to the boil then turn down the heat and let the meat simmer, with a good heavy lid on the pot, for at around 40 minutes before starting the rest of the cooking.

After this time the meat will be more than half cooked, turn it off for the time being. Now you can start the second step.

Take another big cooking pot, quite deep this time, put it onto the heat and add three liters of water.

Add all your plantain, yuca and the other vegetables to the cooking pot together with the coriander, the rest of chopped onion and the chopped green peppers. Also crumble into the pot the other stock cube, and stir.

After heating the pot for 15 minutes, by which time it should be coming to the boil (if not already turned to simmer) carefully mix in all the contents of the meat pan. Add more water if necessary, so that all contents of the pan are just covered, and bring back to the boil before turning down to a simmering heat again.

From now on the Sancocho will start developing a good color and thickening. You need to check it every ten minutes to ensure it doesn't get too dry, it will have the tendency to do this as moisture evaporates and stock is absorbed by vegetables. You should add a little more water if necessary.

Now you can start to cook the rice using your preferred method. We tend to wash the rice well (until water runs quite clear - which means sticky starches have been removed) and allow a fairly generous 75 grams/3 ounces of uncooked rice per person. We bring the rice to the boil with twice the amount of water to rice and a little oil, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the water is absorbed.

After about one hour or so of total cooking time your Sancocho sauce should be nicely thickened by the starchy vegetables (but not too dry) and the meats should be lovely and juicily tender (try them before you turn off the heat, and give another 10 minutes if necessary). Your typical Dominican dish should be ready to serve and enjoy.

A few additional suggestions to 'tweak' or complement your Dominican Sancocho recipe:

  • Why not take some ripe and juicy avocados and prepare a simple accompaniment: (see our avocado recipes page for ideas!)
  • Domplin "Dumplings" (Dominican Republic)


    • 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
      Or a combination of:
      1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of cornmeal
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 cup of water


    Add water (a little at a time) to form dough. Dough should be very firm; not sticky or too soft. May add spoonfuls of flour or water if needed to get the right consistency. Dough is ready when mixture forms a ball and sides of the bowl is clean. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, covered with a damp cloth, then divide into little even balls (about 8). Prepare boiling water in a big pot (about 8 to 10 cups) with 2 teaspoons salt (or your taste), 1 clove of garlic, mashed and 1 teaspoon oil. Flatten each ball in the palm of your hands and shape round edges with your fingers. Drop them carefully into the boiling water and after a few minutes they will float to the top.

    Stir them around and push them down a few times to make sure all sides are cooked. They should be done in 10 to 12 minutes.

    Top with tomato soup or tomato sauce or add to sancocho stew.

    Arroz Blanco "White Rice" (Dominican Republic)

    Arroz Blanco is the base of most Dominican lunch menus and the ultimate test of the good Dominican cook. The perfectionists will strive for a tender "arroz graneado" and a thin and crispy "concón".

    Time: 35 Mins
    Difficulty: Medium
    Serve: 4 people

    Before starting to cook: No prior preparation is necessary.

    4 cups of rice
    6 cups water
    5 tablespoons of oil
    1 teaspoon of salt


    Heat up 3 spoons of oil, add the salt and water. Bring to a boil and then add the rice, stirring regularly to avoid excessive sticking. When all the water has evaporated cover with a tight fitting lid and allow to simmer at very low heat. Wait 15 minutes and remove lid, stir, add the remaining oil and cover again. In 5 minutes the rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes on very low heat.

    Serve with meat, (or seafood) a side dish and beans.

    Gheimeh (Iran)

    One of my favorite foods

    Stew with yellow split peas and meat (Makes 6 servings)


    • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 1 lb. Split breast with bone-in or Stew meat (lamb or beef) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 5 TBSP. Oil
    • 4 whole dried Persian limes
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 TBSP. Tomato paste
    • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into slicks
    • 1 cup oil for deep frying
    • 1/3 cup yellow split peas


    In a large non-stick pot, brown the onions and meat in 3 tablespoons oil. Add dried Persian limes, salt, pepper, turmeric, and tomato paste. Saute for 2 minutes longer. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a cover and cook for another 45 minutes.

    During this time fry the potato sticks in 1 cup of oil, drain on a paper towel and set aside.

    Cook yellow split peas in 2 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon salt for 30 minutes. Drain and add to pot..

    Check to see that the meat and peas are tender. Taste the stew and correct seasoning.

    Just before serving, arrange the French fries on top. Serve with steamed white rice.


    Recipe by Sadaf (

    Friday, May 25, 2007

    Tres Leches Cake (Latin America)

    Tres Leches means 3 milks and gets its name from the 3 different kinds of milk added to make the cake. It is a popular dessert in many Latin American countries.
    Charlotte, a guest to Diana's Desserts website, is from Costa Rica, Central America. She offers this recipe as being the "Original" Tres Leches that is made in her country. She also says, "The Tres Leches is very rich and delicious and improves with time...a few days after made, it is even better, and she goes on to say: "Never remove cake from baking dish. It is served right from the baking dish or pan". Charlotte also tells me that the Whipped Cream Topping is more popular in Costa Rica than the Meringue Topping. Recipes for both toppings are included below.

    Tres Leches Cake is served at holiday celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, and at other special occasions in Mexico and Central America. It has becomes quite popular in the United States.........Diana's Desserts
    For Cake:
    6 eggs, yolks and whites separated
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
    4 tbsp. ice water

    For The Tres Leches Syrup:
    1 can sweetened condensed milk (see note)*
    1 can evaporated milk (see note)*
    2 cups (16 oz.) whole milk

    For Topping:
    Whipped Cream or Meringue Topping (see recipes below)
    Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease and lightly flour a 9x13 inch rectangular baking dish (pyrex glass baking dish is good). Set aside.

    Beat the 6 egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and self-raising flour, the 6 egg yolks and the ice water.

    Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake in oven at 350ºF (180ºC) for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. (Make the Tres Leches Syrup while cake is baking). Remove cake from oven and place cake (Do NOT remove cake from baking dish) on wire cooling rack.

    To Make The Tres Leches Syrup:
    In a large bowl combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and the 2 cups whole milk. Mix well. Stir in a little rum if desired.

    With a fork, toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes all over top of cake and pour the Tres Leches syrup over the top of cake until completely absorbed.

    Once cake has cooled sufficiently, refrigerate cake in baking dish for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight before frosting with whipped cream or meringue topping.

    Makes 9 - 12 servings.

    For Whipped Cream Topping:
    2 cups heavy whipping cream
    1/4 cup granulated or confectioners' sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    Before making the Whipped Cream Topping, chill your beaters and bowl in freezer for 15 - 20 minutes. Make sure your heavy whipping cream is well chilled.

    Pour "chilled" heavy whipping cream into mixing bowl, beat until soft peaks form; add sugar and the vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat!

    Spread whipped cream topping evenly over Tres Leches Cake and garnish cake with nuts, fruit or decoration of your choice.

    Makes approximately 4 cups whipped cream topping.

    *Note From Diana's Desserts
    Depending on what country you live in, Evaporated Milk and Sweetened Condensed Milk come in different size cans.

    Charlotte suggests using 12 ounces of each of these milks plus 2 cups of whole milk for the Tres Leches Syrup. Here in the United States, Sweetened Condensed Milk comes in a 14 ounce can, and Evaporated Milk comes in a 12 ounce can. I used 1 can of each, and this worked well. It is a little more than what the recipe calls for, but that didn't seem to make much difference.

    Source: Charlotte Leaver
    Submitted By: Charlotte Leaver
    Date: May 3, 2003

    Recipe from