Three different kind of Kale: Curly, Tuscan, and Russian Red Kale!

10 years before I had never heard of Kale, and when I first tasted it I don’t really remember falling for it. Next I hear, it’s becoming an official trend, consumed ravenously and featured on every glamorous salad carte du jour or stylish smoothie menu.

Kale belongs to the group of wild cabbage, their leaves are edible and range in color from light green to dark green with a trace of blue or purple. It grows in a loose bouquet of leaves without forming a head in the center.

Kale are known to like dry, olive oil, or lemon juice hand massages; this quick process helps breaking up the cellulose structure, in a way to get a slightly sweeter and milder taste.

Like quinoa, because of its health value, it became wildly popular. Consuming Kale may help boost your digestive system. It contains a wide range of nutrients like calcium, vitamins A, K and C, fiber, antioxidants, and iron. It is available in different types.

Curly Kale-Blog

  1. Curly-leaf Kale

This is the most common type. They tend to have a distinct peppery flavor. The leaves are so crinkly and tight. The best way to chop them is to separate the leaves from the stalk first, next lay the leaf upside down on the chopping board and using a knife cut following the stalk down along both sides. The stalks are fibrous and hard, if you prefer not to discard them, they can be used to make stews or stocks.

Russian Kale-Blog

  1. Russian Red Kale

Russian red kale has dark green fringed leaves and red stems. They somehow resemble to oak leaves. The tips of the leaves are tender and sweet with a slight edge of nuttiness making it a good ingredient for raw dishes. They are juicy but not tender, the stems are thick and fibrous to consume same like Tuscan and curly kale. This gourmet variety will add lavish touch to your menu.

Italian Kale-Blog

  1. Baby Tuscan Kale

Tuscan Kale is better known by Italian as “cavolo nero” translated to English as black cabbage and often used in the Tuscan soup “ribollita”. Other names include dinosaur kale because its leaves resemble to dinosaur skin! It’s different than the curly kale because of its dark green color, smooth tender texture and mild flavor. It’s actually this type of Kale that changed me from a kale-hater candidate to a living-by-it one! It doesn’t taste bitter and has a deep nutty sweetness that I relish in my salads. Above picture features baby leaves, but it comes in bigger leaves as well.

Happy 2nd Blog Anniversary!

Devil'sChocolateCake-MayaOryan

It’s two years now since I posted my first post on this blog!

Two years and some hundreds of followers later! Two years and I’m still enjoying blogging more every day. I have no plans to stop now it’s just the beginning! ♥

Through blogging, I became a much more skilled and knowledgeable cook. I learnt about various food cultures and inspirational eating habits. I’ve come to know, virtually and in reality, many other amazing bloggers. And I have been part of wonderful food events.

Thank you all for your LIKES and SHARES and COMMENTS. And mostly thank you for keeping coming back you’ve been a great support to me.

Can’t wait to eat a piece of the cake, it’s one of my favorite chocolate cakes recipes.

Devil’s Food Cake 

Ingredients

Serves 10 to 12

  • 300g / 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream, at room temperature

For the Frosting

  • 200g / 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6tbsp hot water
  • 300g semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot water.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and cocoa powder mixture, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.  Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

1.Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt on medium-high speed.

3. Reduce heat and slowly add melted chocolate and cocoa powder mixture. Mix until well combined.

Let’s Hangout!

 

FaçadeWhen you go to a restaurant what would you ask for more than a great food, nice atmosphere, big and lit space and a good service?

Well the Hangout restaurant has it all!!

The Hangout opened in December 2012 and since, it has made an indelible mark on Gemmayzé dining scene.

When I got an invitation to visit the restaurant for lunch along with other food bloggers, I surely replied: Hell Yes!

At my arrival I was welcomed by one of the owners Selim Heleiwa. Listening to him describing the restaurant brings many fond memories about our childhood. The place is an old Lebanese house from the late nineteenth century, beautifully restored, spacious and friendly. I certainly admired the little collection of cooking books on display.

To kick off we were presented with some Salmon Tartar, Fried Mushrooms with Halloum, Sahen el Teta (goat labneh, home made butter and organic pickles), fresh bread and a Goat Cheese salad. The cheese balls have an apricot fruity taste served with a slice of bread, iceberg, olives and sundried tomatoes. The dressing is so yummy that I ate all and will definitely order this one again!!

The Hangout cellar holds around 2000 bottles of wine with the finest Lebanese vintages as well as wines from around the world.

I had a glass of wine from Selim’s recommendation for this week Château Khoury Rosé de Rêve 2011.

The cellar with an 80% selection of the best Lebanese wine
The cellar with an 80% selection of the best Lebanese wine

I spent an epic two-hours at The Hangout, tasting and enjoying an array of delicious food. Everybody around was sharing the same experience and expressing how much the Gourmet Burger, the Côte de Boeuf and the Beef Stroganoff are delicious and flavorful.

I was offered a fresh mango juice with a hint of cardamom flavor I don’t know if this was on the menu, but I will sure ask for it upon my next visit along with the best Pain Perdu in town.

Everything on the menu was so creative and no wonder the restaurant is increasingly growing in fame so fast.

… in short, The Hangout is a breath of fresh air and just the kind of restaurant we’ve been waiting for.

The Salad Bar!

The Salad Bar!

Jasmine and Fire by Salma Abdelnoor – Giveaway

Last June, I was offered 2 copies of the memoir Jasmine and Fire, one book for me and one book to giveaway.  I read my copy in few days and got busy all summer with trips and food styling jobs leaving blogging behind.

The book is about a Lebanese/American food and travel writer Salma Abdelnoor who decides to leave her New York life style for a year to live in Lebanon and reconnect with her roots. The book captivated me with every single word. I never thought that seeing Lebanon through Salma’s eyes would make me love this country more than I do. She opened my eyes on many Lebanese exclusive details, which I forgot how unique they were, and touched my heart with her stories on our long-lasting beautiful traditions, particularly our extraordinary food culture.

This is a book for all Lebanese and Lebanese originated to read and enjoy.

I’m so excited to offer you one copy. To enter the draw, send a message to my facebook inbox and include your name and country of residence. The deadline to enter the draw is Wednesday October 10, 2012 at 11:00am local time. The winner will be notified through his Facebook account.

All the best

Maya’s Ingredients turning 1!

I look back at this past year with a smiling face. What a rewarding feeling! I gained more friends every day, more viewers, more likers.

People are getting in touch with me from all around the world, I never thought that I’d get this much support. My wish now for 2012 is to finish my book:)

Happy Birthday Bloggy!