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.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd-HR

Lemon curd tops my lemon tart to make it epic, and layers my blueberry cake to make it a star dish and spreads over my coconut scone to make it morish. This is how I make it!

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 85g /6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and diced

Preparation

This is best done in a double boiler or in “Bain Marie”. Fill a small saucepan with water (about 4 inches) and bring it to boil, reduce the heat to keep the water at a simmer and place a clear Pyrex bowl inside. Make sure the size of the heatproof bowl (i.e. the Pyrex) is not too smaller than the saucepan so the steam is concentrated underneath it.

Place egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt into the Pyrex bowl and whisk until completely blended. As the curd cooks, whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick, around 10 minutes.

Off the heat, add the butter dices and whisk until completely melted. Pour curd into a jar. Leave it open until completely cooled. Store in refrigerator up to 10-14 days.

 

 

Lemon Rice Salad

Lemon Rice SaladBlog3

This is the broad beans season in Lebanon and prices have dropped to less than 1000LBP per kg. In Lebanese currency this is really cheap. So we ate “fül” (broad beans) with beer, we cooked some as a stew with cumin and oil, we put a stack in the freezer. What else?

A salad! This salad makes a refreshing side dish. People enjoy most the combinations of fresh thyme and lemon zest that brings a burst of brightness to the rice. It is done with Basmati rice, but I like to mix my basmati with black forbidden rice, I’m not sure if I do it because of the flavors or because of the name. Forbidden rice or “emperor’s rice” earned its name because it was once reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure his health and longevity, and forbidden to anyone else. It is gaining popularity for its high levels of antioxidants and superior nutritional value. I used today a Tilda Basmati Rice & Wild Rice pack, it contains 2 kinds of rice in 1 bag.

Like any salad, other ingredients of your choice can be added like dill, red onions or yellow pepper. “Who knew Rice Salad could be so good!”

Lemon Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
  • 2.5 cups water
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup thyme leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh broad beans, skinless
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, soaked in water and peeled

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Sea salt

Preparation

  1. Bring water to boil, then pour in rice. Cook rice until tender and water is all absorbed. (I used a mix of white and black basmati).
  2. Place cooled rice in a salad bowl and stir in lemon zest, thyme, beans and pistachios.
  3. Combine dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the salad. Toss to well combine.

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Blog

Hello pasta lovers! Aren’t you numerous? Sometimes I really feel you don’t need a recipe to cook pasta. You throw it in the pan with any ingredients you have on hand and voilà! A fabulous meal is ready and bellies and taste buds are satisfied.

Spaghetti Bolognese is one of the meals that when I cook, I don’t have to worry about who doesn’t eat or who will whine about lunch because it’s everyone’s favorite. A meal I can cook with my eyes shut and my focus off.

Let’s do that!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 1 pack / 500g Spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g minced beef
  • ¼ cup red wine (optional)
  • 400g fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan

 

Preparation

  1. Cook spaghetti in boiled water according to package instructions
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic until golden.
  3. Add meat and cook for 2-3 minutes, drizzle with wine and continue cooking until browned on all sides.
  4. Add tomatoes and cover with water. Add tomato paste. Season with basil, salt and pepper and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and rich.
  5. Drain cooked spaghetti and add to the pan with the Bolognese sauce. Toss well and serve with parmesan cheese.

 

Springtime Crinkle Cookies

Easter Crinkle Cookies

Axel my daughter turned TEN 2 days ago, despite the confinement because of coronavirus, she still deserves a nice table decoration set by “MOMMY” i.e myself. Axel loves these cookies and they are super easy to make. To color them, you just split the dough in 3 parts and add 3 drops of food color to each. The result is a batch of fluffy Crinkle Cookies with a dash of lemon flavor. 

Springtime Crinkle Cookies

Makes 32 cookies 

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp Lemoncello
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup icing sugar

Preparation

  1. Cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Add in eggs and lemoncello until fully incorporated.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add into batches.
  4. Split the dough into three portions and color with food color of your choice.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.
  6. Roll dough into balls and cover with icing sugar.
  7. Bake in oven at 170°C oven for 8-10 minutes.

 

Pink Easter Pancakes

Pimk Pancakes

This recipe is super festive, kids will love it. Serve the pancakes stacked up, melt white chocolate and pour it on the top layer and decorate with your favorite sprinkles and then cut it into pieces!
Pink Easter Pancakes
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
INGREDIENTS
-1 beet, cooked
-1 cup milk
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1 tablespoon oil
-1 cup flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-¼ teaspoon salt

PREPARATION
1. In a blender, place beet and milk and blend until smooth.
2.Add egg, vanilla, sugar and oil. Blend to combine.
3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt Pulse a few times to combine.
4. Transfer batter to bowl.
5. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Grease with butter and laddle 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, same as you cook pancakes. Repeat to finish all batter.
6. Pile the pancakes up to form a cake and decorate with icing sugar, fruits, sprinkles, … or serve separately like you do regularly. Bon Appétit!

Hash Brown Potatoes

Hash Browns Potatoes-Blog

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups potatoes, shredded
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Directions
1. Grate the potatoes manually or using your electric robot. Rinse grated potatoes until water is clear. Drain then squeeze using a tea towel to dry well.

2. Combine potatoes, onion, egg, flour, salt and pepper

3. In a large heavy skillet, heat about 1/4 inch of oil. I use kitchen metallic tongs to spoon about 1/2 cup potatoes into the pan in a flat thick layer. Around 3 “potatoes pancakes” can be cooked at a time.

4. Cook until a nice brown crust forms on the bottom, then flip over and brown on the other side.

5. Serve for breakfast with eggs.

HashBrowns Potatoes 2

Carob Molasses Vegan Cake

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Carob Molasses Vegan Cake

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground aniseed
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups carob molasses (Dibs el kharrub)
1 cup water
½ cup slivered almonds (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and aniseed. Add oil and stir to make a paste.
In a separate bowl, combine molasses and water. Add gradually to the flour paste and mix.
Grease a cake mold and pour batter. Make sure it’s flat and even. Sprinkle with almonds.
Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to a plate.

Beetroot Freekeh Salad

Avocado Frikeh Salad

Freekeh is a young chewy wheat, with a nutty flavor. Containing twice as much protein and fiber as quinoa, freekeh is nutritious! Try this combination of antioxidant-rich pomegranate, beetroot, avocado, herbs, seeds and watch those health benefits add up!

Beetroot Freekeh Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole grain freekeh, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup beetroot, grated
  • 1 cup fresh purslane leaves (bakle)
  • 1 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ cup mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Dressing

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano

Directions

  1. In a salad bowl, combine freekeh, beetroot, purslane, thyme, pomegranate avocado and seeds.
  2. To make the dressing, mix together all ingredients and shake well.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.

 

Cream Cheese Strawberry Cake

Valentine Strawberry cake2.jpg

I got this heart shaped pan on Mother’s Day few years ago, I’m so happy for Valentine day to find an excuse and use it again. This cake is spongy and smells gorgeous. The texture is close to breads so don’t hesitate to bake it in a loaf pan if desired.

Gifts, flowers and cakes are all expressions of love and celebration, most important of get-together. I wish you all love and happiness and a lot of cakes to bake.

Maya

Cream Cheese Strawberry Cake

Ingredients

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1½ cups chopped fresh strawberries

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease and flour your cake pan and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and beat.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the cream cheese mixture, beating just until combined.
  5. Add yogurt, mixing well to incorporate. Fold in the strawberries.
  6. Transfer batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove pans to rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate and allow to cool completely before slicing.