Issan Samaga Wattakka Soup (Pumpkin Soup with Shrimp) Recipe

Issan Samanga WattakkaThis recipe for Issan Samaga Wattakka Soup is similar to the recipe for Soupa de Jerimum, a Portuguese dish. This is most likely attributed to the Portuguese influence in Sri Lanka during the Colonial Period when Portugal's trading empire stretched from Lisbon to most of East Asia.

The flavors of these two soups are quite different, however, as Issan Samaga Wattakka features shrimp instead of sausage. Issan Samaga Wattakka is also seasoned with spices popular in Indian cuisine such as cumin and coriander while Soupa de Jerimum relies on parsley and sage.

Recommended Equipment:
blender or food processor
large pot or Dutch Oven with a lid

1/2 (approximately 4 1/2 pound pumpkin)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tspn kosher salt
3 + 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups yellow onions, diced
1 leak (white portion until it turns a deep green), sliced into rounds
1 bay leaf
2 tspn brown sugar
1 tspn ground black pepper
2 tspn coriander, ground
2 tspn cumin seeds, ground
1 tspn chile powder
1 tspn cayenne powder
1 32 oz. box of chicken stock (about 5 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy interior. Reserve the seeds for garnish (see recipe for baked pumpkin seeds). Cut the tough outer layer of the pumpkin from the softer flesh of the interior. Cut the flesh into small 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.
    pumpkin cubes
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin cubes, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1/2 tspn salt.
  3. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 3 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp flour. Stir the mixture continuously for about 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture becomes the color of peanut butter.
  4. Add the pumpkin cubes and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the onions, leek, brown sugar, black pepper, coriander, cumin, chile powder, and cayenne.
  6. Cook over medium heat until the onions become clear and translucent.
  7. Pour mixture into a blender or food processor and puree.
  8. Pour the pureed pumpkin mixture back into the large pot and add the chicken stock, bay leaf, and 2 tbsp of vinegar.
  9. In a skillet over medium heat, place 2 tbsp butter and the minced garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until the shrimp turns color about 3 minutes.
  11. Remove the shrimp and pour the garlic and butter to the pot.
  12. Chop up 1/2 of the shrimp into small pieces and then add all of the shrimp to the pot.
  13. Serve hot garnished with baked pumpkin seeds.
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Risotto Milanese Recipe

Risotto MilaneseLegend has it that risotto Milanese dates back to 1574, when a stained-glass artisan, Zafferano, added the saffron he used for his paintings to his daughter's wedding risotto. It became (and still is) the talk of the town!

If you don't have saffron, omit the hot water, increase the chicken broth to 3 cups(750 mL) and replace the saffron with 2 tspn(10 mL) ground turmeric, adding it with the broth.

The risotto will hold on the Keep Warm cycle for about an hour, but you'll need to add 1/4 cup(60 mL) more broth for a creamy consistency. Wait until you're ready to serve before folding in the Parmesan, seasoning and garnishing.

Recommended Equipment:
Medium to large rice cooker; fuzzy logic (preferred) or on/off

1 tspn crushed saffron threads
1/4 cup hot water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 tspn butter, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arbrorio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine saffron threads and hot water; set aside to steep.
  2. Set the rice cooker for the Quick Cook or Regular cycle. When the bottom of the bowl gets hot, add oil and 1 tbsp (15 mL0 butter and let butter melt. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes or until softened and translucent.
  3. Add the rice and sauté for about 4 minutes or until rice is mostly translucent and only a dot of white remains. Stir in wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until evaporated. Stir in saffron infused water and chicken broth. Close the lid and reset for the Porridge or Regular cycle. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Stir two or three times while the risotto is cooking.
  4. When the timer sounds, check to make sure the risotto is al dente. If necessary, continue cooking, checking for doneness every 5 minutes. Fold in the remaining butter. Fold in Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Recipe courtesy of 300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes by Katie Chin

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Holupki (Gołąbki) Recipe

HolupkiHolupki originated in Poland but is popular and is known by other names throughout Eastern Europe. They are made with a mixture of ground beef and pork formed into a fist sized ball. This is then wrapped in lightly steamed cabbage and cooked slow and low with sauerkraut and tomato sauce.

Recommended Equipment:
Large pot or Dutch Oven with a lid

1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 egg
1 yellow onion, diced
4 + 1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 head of cabbage
1 jar sauerkraut
1 12oz. can tomato soup

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the pork, beef, uncooked rice, egg, diced onion, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix the ingredients so that they are well combined. Set aside for later.
  2. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the head of cabbage to the pot and boil for about 5 minutes or enough time for leaves to loosen up so that you can peel them off the head. You may have to peel a few cabbage leafs off then return the head to the pot to loosen more leaves. The leaves should be tender enough to peal off of the head without tearing them. After you have peeled off most or all of the leaves, pour out any remaining water and dry out the inside of the pot.
  3. Form small, handful sized balls of the meat mixture and wrap each with a single cabbage leaf.
    holupki - step 1
  4. Place the wrapped balls of meat (Holupki) in the bottom of the large pot. holupki - step 2
  5. When the bottom of the pot is covered with Holupki, cover them with a layer of sauerkraut.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until you have wrapped up all of the meat.
  7. Add 1 cup of water and 1 can of tomato soup to the pot.
  8. Place cover on the pot and cook over low heat for 2 1/2 hours.
    holupki - step 3
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Thai Fish Curry on Jasmine Rice

Thai Fish CurryThere are hundreds of different kinds of curry, but I like this one because the red curry sauce gives the fish a delicious tangy flavor.

Recommended Equipment:
medium rice cooker; fuzzy logic or on/off
blender or food processor

1 1/2 cups Thai jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
2 1/4 cups water
2 tspn ground cumin
2 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn minced ginger root
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup tamarind paste (see tip below)
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tspn Thai red curry paste
2 lime leaves, minced (optional)
1 1/2 pounds skinless swordfish or red snapper, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 cup diced seeded tomato
fresh cilantro sprigs
lime wedges

  1. In the rice cooker bowl, combine rice and water. Set the rice cooker for the Regular cycle. At the end of the cycle, hold rice on the Keep Warm cycle.
  2. In blender, combine cumin, coriander, ginger, coconut milk, tamarind paste, fish sauce and Thai red curry paste; purée until smooth.
  3. Pour sauce into a wok or large nonstick skillet and add lime leaves (if using). Bring to a boil over high heat. Add fish, mushrooms, chopped cilantro and brown sugar; reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork. Gently stir in tomato and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender.
  4. Fluff rice with a wooden spoon or plastic paddle and scoop into deep serving bowls. Top with fish curry and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Serve immediately.
Tamarind paste is the tart pulp that surrounds the seeds of the tamarind pod. It is used much like lemon - to provide acid - and is commonly added to grilling glazes, barbecue sauces and curries. It can be found at Asian markets. If you can't find tamarind paste, you may substitute lemon or lime juice mixed with a bit of brown sugar.

Coconut Milk:
Coconut milk adds a delicious flavor to rice and is used in many Thai, Southeast Asian, West African, West Indian and Hawaiian recipes. It contains essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that supply a host of benefits to the human body, including strengthening bones and promoting healthy brain development. Because it's non-dairy, it's wonderful for lactose-free diets.

Recipe courtesy of 300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes by Katie Chin

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Velouté Sauce Recipe

Velouté sauceVelouté is a basic sauce that along with Béchamel, Allemande, and Espagnole is know as one of the four French "mother sauces." It goes great with lasagna and meatballs or it can be used as a base to make more complex sauces. You start by making a roux (flour and some kind of fat) and then add the stock of your choice.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp butter, unsalted
2 1/2 cups beef, vegetable, or fish stock
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour.
  2. Using a whisk, stir the mixture continuously until it turns the color of peanut butter - about 4 minutes.
  3. To finish the velouté sauce, add the stock of your choice slowly as you whisk. Cook until the mixture begins to boil then reduce the heat to simmer.
  4. Serve when the sauce reaches the desired thickness.
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Chicken Vindaloo Recipe

Goa VindalooChicken Vindaloo comes from Goa, the former Portuguese trading outpost on the West Indian coast. It is a unique fusion of Indian and Portuguese cooking that is now popular in one form or another throughout most of India. It is both sweet and spicy with a hearty chicken based sauce.

Recommended Equipment:
food processor
mortar and pestle or spice grinder
cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven with lid

1 pound of chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
3 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
4 red chilis
2 tspn brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar

for spice mix:
1/2 tspn cardamom, ground
1 tspn cinnamon, ground
1 tspn coriander powder
1 tspn turmeric powder
1/2 tspn peppercorns
1/2 tspn toasted fenugreek seeds
1 tspn cloves
1 tbsp cumin
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tspn mustard seeds
Salt to taste

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the brown sugar in the vinegar. Add the chilis, diced garlic, and ginger to the vinegar mixture and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the vinegar mixture to a food processor. Pulse the mixture to form a paste.
  3. Pour the paste into an air-tight container and then add the pieces of chicken to the paste. Stir the chicken so that all of the pieces are well coated with the paste. Seal the container and then refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. While the chicken marinates, construct the dry spice mix. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind the peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, cloves, and cumin into powder. Pour this powder into a small bowl along with the cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, and turmeric. Mix well and set aside.
  5. In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and mustard seeds over medium heat.
  6. When the seeds begin to pop, add the diced onion and cook until the onion begins to turn golden brown.
  7. Add the chicken and the paste/marinade to the skillet and cook until the chicken begins to brown.
  8. Add the dry spice mixture to the chicken and place a lid on the skillet. Reduce heat to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the mixture becomes thick. Stir the mixture occasionally.
  9. Serve hot over steamed Basmati rice with cilantro garnish.
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Watermelon with Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar

watermelon with pepper and balsamic vinegarIn the past, I've mostly used balsamic vinegar in marinades and salad dressing. However, I recently received a sample of Aceto Balsamico di Modena from The Artisanal Kitchen and I wanted to use it in a dish in which the vinegar's taste stayed intact and was not diluted by other overpowering flavors. I decided to try a simple combination of watermelon cubes with a turn of fresh ground pepper topped off with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. This turned out to be an interesting and amazingly complex tasting dish for such a simple recipe.

watermelon cit into 1 inch cubes
1 turn of fresh ground black pepper
1 tspn balsamic vinegar

  1. Slice the watermelon into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Lightly sprinkle 1 turn of fresh ground black pepper.
  3. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar evenly over the cubes of watermelon.

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Book Review: The Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Cookbook

Kosher CarnivoreThe Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Cookbook, by June Hersh, is an extensive collection of recipes using kosher meats. Additional recipes for soups, side dishes, sauces and chutneys are also included that use creative substitutions in order to keep kosher. Hersh has conferred with a cast of expert butchers from across the United States to create an insightful guide for all things involving the selection, preparation, and seasoning of kosher meats. Recipes range from traditional kosher dishes such as Matzo Ball Soup and Chicken with Prunes Tsimmes to more contemporary recipes like Korean Kalbi Ribs and Beer Basted Chicken.

We decided to try two Romanian dishes from the Kosher Carnivore, the Spicy Grilled Mititei and the Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad along with the traditional Martha’s Excellent Matzo Ball Soup Recipe. The Mititei reminded me of simple street food that you might find served late night on the streets of Bucharest. The seasoned pieces of skewered ground beef, grilled over charcoal flame and served with a tangy dipping sauce were delicious. Many of the recipes in this book include ”Behind the Counter” sections where Hersh provides vital information about buying the cut of meat in the recipe as well as how to make comparable substitutions if it is not available. “Side Notes” is another useful section included in many of the recipes where the author makes other helpful suggestions. In fact, the side note to the Mititei recipe suggested that we serve it with the Eggplant and Tomato Salad so that is exactly what we did. This recipe also turned out great and was indeed a perfect paring with the Mititei. The tomato, eggplant, olive oil, and fresh basil in this salad, together made a great tasting, healthy Mediterranean style dish.

The next day, we tried Martha’s Excellent Matzo Ball Soup. This recipe called for us to first make the broth from scratch, add the garnish of carrots and fresh dill, followed by hand-made matzo balls. We used the excess chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches (not kosher but they did go really well with the soup). Anyway, this matzo ball soup was a good base recipe and the matzo balls turned out perfect. However, the broth was little light on flavor so I added some celery and some poultry seasoning along with the recommended kosher salt and pepper to enhance the flavor.

We believe that the Kosher Carnivore will appeal to most cooks, regardless of their faith. The kosher methods used for selecting, preparing, and seasoning meats and avoiding the mixture of meat and dairy products are consistent with safer, healthier cooking in general. The book’s chapters on cooking methods for meats and building flavor were very informative. The discussion of which types of animals and which cuts of meat are kosher was also very interesting. Until reading this book, we had no idea that wine could be kosher or non-kosher, but it can. Hersh provides a useful reference in the Kosher Wine Society's website where you can pair wine with food or vice versa. The Kosher Carnivore’s collection of recipes is its main strength, however. The book includes many upgrades of classic dishes as well as a wealth of contemporary favorites to explore. June Hersh was very inventive in her creation of healthier, kosher versions of entrees and side dishes alike. For example, her recipe for creamed spinach uses olive oil instead of cream and butter to deliver the same great tasting dish without all of the fat. Indeed, wholesome, healthy ingredients are a prevailing theme throughout most of Hersh’s recipes. Any cook will find some favorite recipes in this book. We give the Kosher Carnivore four out of five stars.

Related Article:
12 Kosher Wines Besides Manischewitz

Martha’s Excellent Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

matzo ball soupThere might not be a more iconic use of chicken than in “Jewish penicillin,” homemade chicken soup. There’s actually some scientific explanation of why chicken soup has medicinal powers, but for me, it’s all about the taste. One of the best bowls of chicken soup you can find in New York is served nightly at Blue Ribbon, Eric and Bruce Bromberg’s wonderful restaurant. Their Grandma Martha’s soup is a mainstay on their menu, and her ethereal matzo balls are legendary. The Bromberg brothers write that her soup and matzo balls are “a return to simpler things, simple things that if done just so can transform life and lead to so much more.” With that introduction, we present Grandma Martha’s Excellent Soup and Matzo Ball recipe.

For the broth
1 whole 3 to 4 pound) hen
1 tbsp kosher salt
4 celery stalks with leaves, cleaned and chopped
3 carrots, cleaned and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 whole unpeeled garlic cloves
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs dill
1/2 tspn whole black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves

For the garnish
Carrot rounds (blanched until soft)
Chopped fresh dill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Matzo balls
1 cup matzo meal
4 eggs
1 oz. rendered chicken fat (schmaltz)
1/2 oz. kosher salt
1/2 tspn double-acting baking powder
2 oz. seltzer


  1. For the broth: Rub chicken with kosher salt, inside and out. Let stand 15 minutes. Rinse well under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Put chicken in a large pot and cover with cold water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Impurities will rise to the top; skim them off and discard. Add the rest of the broth ingredients. Bring back to a boil, skim again, then reduce to simmer. After simmering for 45 minutes (or until chicken is cooked) remove chicken from the pot. Take the meat off of the bone (save meat for another meal) and put the bones back in pot and cook for 1 hour more. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth. Cool in the refrigerator. When cool, the fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it easy to remove.
  2. For the matzo balls: In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except the seltzer and mix well. Add seltzer and set the mixture aside, covered, in the refrigerator, for 1 hour. Fill a large-diameter pot three quarters full with water and bring to a simmer. With wet hands roll the matzo mixture into 1-ounce balls. Lower balls into water on a slotted spoon. Cook until the matzo balls are tender, 45 to 60 minutes (test with toothpick or do what Eric Bromberg does and cut in half). The balls should be light and fluffy in the center. Let the matzo balls cool.
  3. For soup: Bring the broth to a boil with the carrot rounds, the dill, and the matzo balls. Season to taste. The soup is ready to serve when the matzo balls are warm in the center.
Serves 8 to 10

Start to Finish: Under 2 1/2 hours

Recipe courtesy of The Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Book by June Hersh

Israel [ print this recipe ]

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad Recipe

eggplant and tomato saladEvery Romanian household serves a version of this classic dish. Some insist you chop the eggplant with the side of a ceramic plate, others argue that only wood can come in contact with the temperamental vegetable. Truth is, chop as you please and add garlic and herbs to your taste.

Recommended Equipment:
hak-messer (mezzaluna)hak-messer

1 large eggplant, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds, cut in half lengthwise, stems and ends removed.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 cup drained diced canned tomatoes
1 tspn sweet or hot Hungarian paprika
1/4 tspn ground cumin
1/4 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn kosher salt
1/4 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon

  1. Preheat the broiler and lightly oil a small rimmed baking sheet. Place the eggplant halves, skin side up, on the baking sheet and broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat source until the skin begins to crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Remove the eggplant from the baking sheet and place in a colander to drain. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove any large seeds, pull out the eggplant meat, and discard the skin; set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, paprika, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, until everything is heated through and fully incorporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Toss in the eggplant and stir to combine. Set aside to cool. When the mixture is cool, chop by hand using a hak-messer (mezzaluna), or pulse in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. You don’t want to over process and lose the texture or cause the mixture to become thin and runny.
  6. Stir in the parsley, basil, and lemon juice. Serve hot or cold.
Serves 4 to 6

Start to Finish: Under 45 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of The Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Book by June Hersh

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Spicy Grilled Mititei Recipe

mititeiThese garlicky little bites of ground meat are Romania’s answer to trendy street food. They are crowd-pleasers hot off the grill and served on long bamboo skewers with dipping sauce or simple grainy mustard. The texture of these little sausages can vary from dense and meatball-like to authentic and spongy when seltzer and baking soda are added.

1 pound ground beef
4 to 5 garlic cloves
1 tspn kosher salt
1 tspn sweet or hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 tspn freshly ground black pepper
Generous splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp seltzer or club soda, optional
2 tspn baking soda, optional

For the dipping sauce
4 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tspn ground cumin
Splash of Worcestershire sauce

  1. Put the ground beef in a medium bowl.
  2. Grate the garlic using a Microplane over the meat so the garlic juice is included; you want about 2 tablespoons total.
  3. Add the salt, paprika, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and parsley. For a more authentic spongy texture add the seltzer and baking soda. Use your hands to thoroughly blend the spices into the meat.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
  5. Combine the dipping sauce ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. When ready to cook, light the grill or preheat the broiler and take the meat out of the fridge.
  7. Wet your hands and form the meat into rounds the size of a golf ball, then elongate them into 3-inch thumb-like shapes.
  8. Grill or broil for 4 to 5 minutes, turn them over, and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Serve with the dipping sauce or mustard on the side.
Makes 12 pieces.

Start to Finish: 15 minutes to prepare the meat; at least 4 or up to 24 hours to rest in the fridge; under 15 minutes to grill.

Recipe courtesy of The Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Book by June Hersh

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Shoo-Fly Pie Recipe

shoofly pieShoo-fly Pie is extremely popular in Pennsylvania however this rustic, mildly sweet molasses treat originated in Canada. Apparently, this pie was named "shoo-fly" because flies would be so attracted to the sweet molasses filling that they had to be constantly "shooooo-ed" away.

Regardless of how this Shoo-Fly Pie got its name, you should give it a try this Autumn. It has an unusually mild, almost-licorice taste with the texture similar to pecan pie. Try a slice with a cup of cafe noir or Indian Coffee.

All-Purpose Pie Crust

For the filling:
1 cup molasses
1 tspn baking soda
1 cup warm water
For the crumbs on top:
2 cups flour
1 tspn cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces

  1. Prepare an all-purpose pie crust. (You will only need to use one of the two crusts).
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and brown sugar.
  4. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mash the pieces of butter into the flour using a wooden spoon so that the butter forms fine crumbs.
  5. In another mixing bowl, dissolve the baking soda into the warm water. Add the molasses. Whisk the mixture until foamy.
  6. Pour molasses mixture into the chilled pie crust.
  7. Sprinkle the flour/crumb mixture over the top.
  8. Place the pie in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until crust is browned and the filling is set, about 25 to 30 minutes.
    shoofly pie
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Book Review: 150 Best Tagine Recipes

150 best tagine recipesA couple of weeks ago, we received a review copy of the book, 150 Best Tagine Recipes, by Pat Crocker. The book provides an interesting introduction to Maghreb cuisine – dishes with origins in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Crocker provides a detailed overview of the North African flavor footprint complete with profiles of trade-route spices and other Persian flavor agents. Each profile includes the origin of the flavor agent, a description of its taste, as well as its culinary and medicinal uses. Building upon these flavor agents, Crocker also includes recipes for 21 different flavor combinations – spice combinations that serve as key building blocks for many recipes provided later in the book.

You may be wondering, what exactly is a tagine? A tagine is a special type of two-piece ceramic pot with a conical lid that has a small hole or vent at the top. It is used to cook foods at low to medium heat, creating concentrated sweet, sour, and savory flavors. The word tagine is also used to refer to any dish prepared in a tagine. We did not already own a tagine, so we used an old $50 gift card at Williams - Sonoma to purchase a medium sized tagine. The process of shopping for the right tagine was made easy by reading the chapter on “tagine know-how.” Here Crocker describes the important things to look for in a good tagine and also provides detailed comparisons of some of the more popular models on the market.
tagine open tagine

We decided to try the recipes for Baked Eggs with Mediterranean Vegetables and Roasted Red Peppers with Goat Cheese. Both of these recipes called for spice blends included in the Flavor Combinations Section of the book. These flavor combination recipes were Baharat Spice Blend and Moroccan Cinnamon Spice Blend. Some of the ingredients that we needed for the Flavor Combinations such as star anise and sumac were not available in a conventional grocery store so we found a specialty spice shop, Colonel De that had everything that we needed.

Both the Baharat Spice Blend and Moroccan Cinnamon Spice Blend required toasting of the component spices – a process that filled our kitchen with the aromatic scents of Morocco. Each spice mix has a shelf life of about 3 months so we will be able to use these spices for other recipes included in the book. After mixing together each of these Flavor Combinations, we prepared the main dishes: Roasted Red Peppers with Goat Cheese and Baked Eggs with Mediterranean Vegetables. The Baked Eggs recipe was quick and easy to prepare. It was a well balanced, healthy meal with all of the great elements of Mediterranean cooking. We also tried the Roasted Red Peppers with Goat Cheese recipe. This was our favorite although it involved a little more prep time. We had to first roast the peppers and then marinate them overnight. The end result was well worth the wait. The roasted peppers had both a sweet and sour flavor along with the rich and creamy taste of melted goat cheese. This is a great appetizer or side dish to serve with any Mediterranean dinner or get together.

Overall we really liked this book and we give it four out of five stars. It provides all of the information needed to prepare a wide range of delicious Moroccan dishes. In addition to providing insight into selecting the right tagine, 150 Best Tagine Recipes also includes recipes for the basic building blocks for North African cooking. It also features a broad collection of recipes for poultry, lamb, beef, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. Most of the recipes include interesting commentary, are easy to understand and follow, and include helpful tips that could be applied to other recipes. Anyone who is interested in learning more about North African cuisine or anyone who wants to make healthier Mediterranean dishes would love this book.

Baked Eggs with Mediterranean Vegetables Recipe

baked eggs with vegetablesEggs are easy to make in the tagine and are a good source of protein for vegetarian meals. This dish is colorful, fresh and very easy to make. It’s another workday lunch or quick dinner. I always use farm fresh large brown eggs in this dish.

Recommended Equipment:
Medium tagine

3 tbsp avocado or olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp Baharat Spice Blend or store bought garam masala
3 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 cups sliced mushrooms
20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
5 green olives, thinly sliced
4 large eggs

  1. In the bottom of a flameproof tagine, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and spice blend and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives. Cover with tagine lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, move the vegetables around to make round pocket spaces for eggs. Crack eggs into pockets, cover with tagine lid and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until whites have turned opaque and yolks are glossy and thick.
Serve with warmed pita triangles, bagels, or flatbread. To increase servings, use a medium to large tagine, add another tomato and pepper and a couple more eggs.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe courtesy of 150 Best Tagine Recipes by Pat Crocker

moroccan flag Morocco [ print this recipe ]

Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese Recipe

roasted red peppersUse this as a warm dip for raw vegetables, pita points or crackers.

4 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
red peppers

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 oz creamy goat cheese, cut into 4 slices
1 tbsp Moroccan Cinnamon Spice Blend

  1. Place bell pepper halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Broil in preheated oven on top rack directly under heat, turning pan often, for 5 to 8 minutes, until skin is evenly charred.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, basil and garlic. Set aside.
  3. Remove blackened peppers from oven. Set baking sheet on a cooling rack and cover peppers with a clean towel. Let cool. Remove the charred skins from the peppers. They should slip off easily when rubbed. Slice pepper halves into 1/2 inch (1 cm) wide strips and place in bowl with oil mixture. Toss pepper slices to coat evenly. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 2 hours at room temperature or for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  4. Tip roasted peppers into the bottom of a small tagine. Heat over low heat until bubbling.
  5. Place cheese slices on top of the peppers. Cover with tagine lid and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  6. Sprinkle spice blend over cheese and serve warm.
Makes 2 cups (500 mL)

Recipe courtesy of 150 Best Tagine Recipes by Pat Crocker

Morocco [ print this recipe ]

Moroccan Cinnamon Spice Blend Recipe

cinnamon spiceVery aromatic without being overpoweringly hot, this spice blend is versatile for tangine dishes that include fruit and can even be used in small amounts in sweet dishes and beverages.

Recommended Equipment:
small tagine, spice wok or cast-iron skillet
mortar and pestle or spice grinder

1 piece(2 inches/5 cm) cinnamon, crushed
2 tbsp cardamom seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tspn black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 star anise
1/4 tspn ground nutmeg

  1. In the bottom of a small tagine, spice wok or skillet, combine cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cloves and star anise. Toast over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly colored and fragrant. Remove from direct heat just as the seeds pop; do not let the spices smoke and burn. Let cool.cinnamon spice components
  2. In a mortar (using pestle) or small electric grinder, pound or grind toasted spices until coarse or finely ground. Add nutmeg to ground spices and mix well.
  3. Store in an airtight (preferably dark) glass jar with lid in a cool place for up to 3 months.
Makes 1/4 cup (60 mL)

Recipe courtesy of 150 Best Tagine Recipes by Pat Crocker

Moroccan flag Morocco [ print this recipe ]

Sauerbraten Recipe

sauerbraten and rosemarySauerbraten is believed to have been introduced in Germany shortly after the arrival of the Romans. The Roman practice of preserving meat in red wine was said to have inspired Germans to prepare meat this way. Today, sauerbraten has several regional variations. It used to be prepared using horse meat, however today it is usually made with beef or veal. It is usually marinaded in a vinegar base for several days creating a tender texture and rich flavor. This recipe uses a shorter marinade process combined with low heat over 7 hours using a slow cooker to produce similar results. Try this recipe with red cabbage and garlic mashed potatoes.

Recommended Equipment:
slow cooker
brining bag or large air-tight glass container

2 1/2 to 3 pound rump roast
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cup yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 lemon
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
10 whole cloves
14 gingersnaps, crushed

  1. Trim any excess fat from the roast. Cut the roast in half lengthwise. Place the pieces of roast in a brining bag or large glass container.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the water, vinegar, onion, salt, sugar, juice from the lemon, bay leaves, cloves, and peppercorns. Pour mixture into the container holding the roast.
  3. Seal the container and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the pieces of roast occasionally.
  4. Remove the pieces of roast from the container and place them into a greased slow cooker. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the marinade over the roast in the slow cooker and discard the remaining marinade mixture.
  5. Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 7 hours until roast is tender.
  6. Remove the pieces of roast from the slow cooker and keep them warm.
  7. Strain the liquid that is left in the slow cooker and return it to the slow cooker.
  8. Increase the heat to high. Add the crushed gingersnaps to the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 12 minutes. The gravy should be smooth and thick.
  9. Pour gravy over the meat and serve.
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Baharat ( بهارات ) Spice Blend Recipe

bahrat spice blendA general word for "spices," Baharat may be used to designate several spice blends.

Recommended Equipment:
small tagine, spice wok or cast-iron skillet
mortar and pestle or spice grinder

2 tbsp coriander seeds
4 tspn cumin seeds
1 piece (1 inch / 2.5 cm) cinnamon, crushed
5 whole cloves
1/2 tspn cardamom seeds

coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom
2 tbsp paprika
1 tspn ground sumac, optional(see caution below)
1/2 tspn ground nutmeg

paprika, sumac, nutmeg


  1. In the bottom of a small tagine, spice wok, or skillet, combine coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly colored and fragrant. Remove from direct heat just as the seeds pop; do not let the spices smoke and burn. Let cool.
    bahrat spice mix
  2. In a mortar (using pestle) or small electric grinder, pound or grind the toasted spices until coarse or finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in paprika, sumac (if using) and nutmeg.
  3. Store in an airtight (preferably dark) glass jar with lid in a cool place for up to 3 months.
Makes 1/4 cup (60 mL)

Caution: Purchase sumac from specialist grocery stores selling Middle Eastern ingredients. Some members of the sumac family (found mostly in North America) have poisonous berries.

Recipe courtesy of 150 Best Tagine Recipes by Pat Crocker

Moroccan flag Morocco [ print this recipe ]

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