Croquettes of Cheese with Salsa Dip

The croquettes of cheese is one of my favorite appetizers. Every time we go out for dinner outside, first thing we check for on the menu is the cheese croquettes to have before the main meal. Believe me, I’ve tries a lot of recipes and the one I am sharing with you today is the more successful one. The good thing about this recipe is that it can be adjusted to your taste. You can use whatever kind of cheese you like and also you can add any kind of flavor like basil, rosemary, thyme, or anything else. Also, It can be baked in the oven or deep fry. Tell me if you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams shredded cheese of your choice (I used Gruyere and Emmental)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

For the fried croquettes, the extra ingredients you will need:

  • one egg
  • one cup bread crumbs
  • about one liter frying oil

Mix all the ingredients and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour. You can now prepare the croquettes by either frying them or baking them.

To fry them:

  • Make a small finger shape from the dough
  • Roll them in a slightly beaten egg, then in bread crumbs and deep fry for about 5 minutes untl they turn golden brown color

To bake them:

  • Preheat the oven for 180C
  • On a floured surface board roll the dough and cut into medium sized circles
  • Place them on a tray and bake for about half an hour until the croquettes turn golden color

These croquettes are delicious when accompanied with this salsa dip:

  • Chop one red tomato and one small onion very finely
  • Add one tablespoon of ketchup, a small teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon chili paste and a few leaves of chopped parsley

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT! 🙂

Chicken With Spinach

I enjoy getting playful when cooking, more and more since I started this blog. I watch a lot of food shows on television and I  also read cooking magazines, so I’m always trying new recipes while adding a touch of me, mixing and matching with other recipes to make something that suits my taste. I won’t pretend to have created this meal, but I think that everyone makes food in their own way and this way is mine 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams chicken fillet
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 cinnamon stick
  • 500 grams fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 can of sliced mushrooms, washed and drained
  • 3 large green onions slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 handful finely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash of freshly ground nutmeg

Preparation:

  • Rub the chicken fillet with salt and black pepper
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the chicken until brown, cover with one cup of water and add the cinnamon stick; let it cook until tender
  • In another saucepan, melt the butter, fry the green onion for about 4 minutes then add the mushrooms and the spinach with a dash of salt; cover the saucepan and let it simmer on a very low flame for about 10 minutes
  • Prepare the sauce:  melt the butter in a small pot and add the flour, mixing it well
  • Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until it becomes thick and add salt, nutmeg and finally the finely chopped spinach

  • Serve together in a plate. You can add rice or pasta if you wish, remember to make it your way too 🙂

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.. BON APPETIT 🙂

One Lovely Blog Award

I was happily nominated by Micha who is behind Zim on a Whim, a very nice  blog with delicious recipes, creative arts and crafts ideas and much more. If you are not yet familiar with her blog, please check it out.

The guidelines for accepting this award are as follows:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Nominate about 15 other blogs that you enjoy.
4. Let the nominees know that you chose them.

I think I’ve already mentioned a lot of things about me, in previous award posts. check here. But, anyway I will try to add some new things:

1- I believe that the key of success is passion, whatever you do if you do it with passion, for sure you will succeed.

2- I think that we have to enjoy every moment of like. Life is precious.

3- I love to cook, but I cook more when I have somebody to help clean the mess after me 🙂

4- Beside cooking, I enjoy knitting, crocheting and even painting. I have made a lot of silk paintings.

5- I enjoy watching comedies at the movies.

6- I love to listen to old french songs and to Abba, I think they are marvelous!

7- Finally, I enjoy blogging because it gave me the chance to interact with many lovely people from around the globe.

And, for the nominations here are the names or the bloggers I would like to pas the award to them:

Sugaredpecan

Rufusguide

Twentyfourseveninfrance

Lucy’friensly foods

Baker on the rise

Modern christian woman

Becoming madame

Three clever sisters

Acorn in my Kitchen

Frugal feeding

Mama’s gotta bake

An unrefined vegan

Vegetarian ventures

Creative noshing

The low fat chick

Thank you all, and good luck to the nominees.. Thank you Micha for passing this award to me..

NINA

Baked Mashed Potatoes With Meat

This is a very smooth dish, easy to digest and generally liked by all. Boiled potatoes, mashed  and baked in the oven with cooked minced meat. We enjoy it best when eating with a good salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 150 grams minced beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • a handful of pine seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine molasses
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • about 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preparation:

  • Boil the potatoes until tender, peel and mash, if the potato is dry you may add a little of water while mashing it, season with 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Heat the oil in a casserole and fry the onion for two minutes then add the pine seeds (if used) until it turns golden and finally add the meat and fry it until brown, season with 1 teaspoon of salt, seven spices and the molasses (this is a key ingredient for the flavor)
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Butter a tray, place half of the mashed potatoes in the tray, with a wet hand flatten the surface of potatoes
  • Place the cooked meat, then cover it with the remaining mashed potatoes with wet hand
  • Brush the soft remaining butter on the top of potatoes then sprinkle the bread crumbs
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until it turns golden color

As for salad, today I mixed chopped cabbage with sliced cucumber and tomatoes. For the dressing I crushed two cloves of garlic with salt, mixed with one lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil… DELICIOUS..

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.. 🙂

Fried Zucchini and Eggplant with Egg Free Shakshouka

Today I felt nostalgic for the good old days, when I was young and my grandmother used to make delicious food for me and my siblings. Maybe because it is Mother Day in many countries (we celebrate in Lebanon on the 21st of March with the beginning of spring). I remembered that I didn’t like the fried zucchini so grandmother dipped them in a batter before frying, which I found made it delicious.

Before posting, I did some research on Google to find  out about the meaning of Shakshouka, and I found that this is a very popular dish in a lot of Mediterranean countries. Many dishes of Lebanese Cuisine have a Turkish source. I assume that during the Ottoman occupation of these countries, some of their plates passed around. Most of these countries make the Shakshouka as a main dish with eggs on top, and that in Syria they call it Jaz Maz. But, in my family we have it as a side dish along with the fried zucchini, eggplants and other fried vegetables, sans egg. Whatever the source of this dish is, it will always be associated with nice memories from my childhood.

Ingredients for the Shakshouka:

  • 2 green peppers
  • 4 red tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried coriander
  • a pinch of chili pepper (if you like it more spicy, you can put more chili)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Shakshouka

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 2 minutes
  • Dice the green pepper and fry with the onion for 3 extra minutes
  • Peel the tomatoes and dice them very small and add over the green pepper and the onion, reduce the fire and cover the casserole and let it simmer
  • In the meantime mix the garlic with salt, dried coriander and the chili and add it over the tomatoes and green pepper, mix well all the ingredients and let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Serve it as a side dish with fried zucchini and eggplants

Ingredients of the batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation of the batter:

  • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Cut all the vegetable you want to fry: zucchini, eggplant, dip in the batter and deep fry for about 5 minutes until golden
 
Fried zucchini
 

Fried eggplant

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Profiteroles And Eclairs

It is Saturday and the weekend has begun! I like to have some home made desserts for the weekend. Today I decided to make both Profiteroles and Eclairs since they are made from the same dough and filled with the same creme patissiere; the only difference between them is their shape.

Making this recipe requires two kinds of ingredients:  one for the dough and the other for the creme patissiere (filling).

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 100 grams of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs

Preparation of the dough:

  • In a small pot boil the water with butter and a pinch of salt
  • Add all the flour at once and mix vigorously until you have a consistent dough
  • Remove from fire and let it cool for 5 minutes, then add one egg at a time, mixing well in an electric mixer until well blended in the dough (you can use a wooden spoon to mix the eggs if you like, but it will take more effort)
  • When you finish mixing all the eggs in the dough, leave it to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Grease a tray with a bit of butter, place the dough in a piping bag and using a large nozzle make circle shape to make the profiteroles, and long ones to make the eclairs
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top of the dough becomes light golden color

Ingredients for the creme patissiere:

  • 1/2 cup powder milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation of the creme:

  • Boil the milk in a casserole and add the vanilla
  • In a bowl mix the sugar with flour and egg
  • Pour the mixture of egg, sugar and the flour slowly to the milk whisking constantly until thickening, then allow to cool. It is better to cover the creme with a cling film to prevent forming hard layer on the top when cooling

Filling the dough with creme:

  • Make a small hole in the profiterole ( the round shape) using a wooden stick
  • Place the cream in a piping bag and using a fine nozzle fill the dough.
  • For the eclairs (the long shaped ones) make a small cut on the side of the dough and with a small spoon spread the cream into it
  • For the final touch you can either sprinkle the sweets with icing sugar or make chocolate icing.

Chocolate icing:

  • Boil 3/4 cup of fresh milk with 1 teaspoon icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • Cut 50 grams of dark chocolate into small pieces and place it in a bowl
  • Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and mix well until the chocolate dissolves

With a small teaspoon put the icing chocolate on the top of eclair and place on a grill to cool completely.

N.B : If you want to fill it with chocolate cream instead, replace 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of cocoa in the ingredients.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT! HAVE  A NICE WEEK-END 🙂

Wrapped Rice With Meat and Peas

I couldn’t come up with a different name for this recipe. Today, I had in mind to make rice with meat in our traditional family way. But I made a twist to the recipe, to make it more attractive 🙂 Usually I cook the minced beef with rice with a sauce on the side and some roasted almonds, pistachios and pine seeds on the top. So instead of making it as usual, I had the idea to make a wrap out of it.

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams minced beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of pine seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup of long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt for the meat+1 teaspoon salt for the rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a dash of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 5 spring rolls dough
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onion until golden then add the pine seeds and fry for another 3 minutes
  • Add the meat to the onion and continue frying until brown, season with 1 teaspoon salt, seven spices; then add the peas, reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Put the rice over the meat and cover with 2 cups of water. Add the remaining salt, cinnamon and black pepper and let the rice cook slowly until it absorbs all the water
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Brush a small sized bowl with the melted butter and place one sheet of spring roll dough. Fill it with the rice and meat, then fold the dough to cover it and brush the top with butter
  •  Place it facing down on a tray and brush it again with butter
  • Place the tray in the oven for about 7 minutes or until the dough turns a light golden color
  • Serve it hot with yogurt

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT..

Kibbe With Yogurt (Kibbe Bel Laban)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Kibbe is a traditional Lebanese food made out of ground meat mixed with bulgur and spices. Today were going to make them in a ball shape stuffed with minced meat cooked with onion. These balls can be eaten fried or cooked in yogurt. This is the kind of meal you like to share with your family and your friends. The kibbe meat is the same for all the recipes, the stuffing as well. Also, I have to mention that kibbe can be eaten raw when the sheep’s meat is fresh.

Ingredients: for the kibbe:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup fine brown bulgur
  • 300 grams  beef meat
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices

Preparation:

  • Wash the bulgur and drain it from water
  • Grate the onion until fine
  • Mix the meat with bulgur and grated onion, add the salt and spices
  • Place in a food processor a little at a time until all the quantity is used
  • Your kibbe is ready place it in the fridge until you prepare the stuffing

Ingredients for the stuffing:

  • 300 grams minced meat
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • a handful of pine seeds (optional, but it enhances the flavor of the stuffing)
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation of the stuffing:

  • In a saucepan heat the oil, fry the onion until golden brown
  • Add the meat and fry with the onion for about 10 minutes, then add the pine seeds, season with salt, spices and the molasses
  • Cook for about 10 minutes until the pine seeds turn golden

Stuffing the kibbe:

Your going to need an additional ingredient, a tablespoon of corn flour

  • Dissolve the corn flour in a cup of cold water
  • Make a medium sized ball from the kibbe dough with you wet hand (dip it in water and cornflour), and using your index make a hole in the ball of kibbe, and with the other hand (wet also) turn it around your index until it thins out and the hole becomes wider
  • Place 1 teaspoon of the stuffing inside and close it, turning the ball in your hand to form a nice shape
 Stuffing the Kibbe

Usually I make a big quantity and keep in the freezer; they can last for months uncooked.

These balls can be fried and eaten with yogurt or salad, and it can be cooked with yogurt.

Fried Kibbe

Ingredients for the yogurt cooking:

  • 1 kg of fresh yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Preparation for the yogurt: For about 16 pieces of kibbe balls:

  • Dissolve the corn flour with one cup of cold water and add it to the yogurt
  • Place the yogurt in a pot on fire, stirring constantly. When it starts boiling, add the uncooked kibbe balls and reduce the fire, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes
  • In the meantime, mix the crushed garlic with salt and dried mint
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic mixture until light golden color, then add it to the yogurt and let it cook on a very low heat for five more minutes
  • Serve it with rice cooked with vermicelli

N.B: 

To make the rice with vermicelli, fry a handful of vermicelli in hot oil in a pot until golden brown. Next, cook it with one cup of rice while adding an extra half cup of water to the normal measure of water to allow the vermicelli to cook.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Man’oushe

The most famous Lebanese breakfast is the Man’oushe and is considered the Lebanese version of pizza. It is made out of dough, traditionally topped with Zaatar mixed with olive oil or with cheese. Zaatar is made out fresh thyme, washed, dried and grounded, then mixed with sumac, sesame and salt. In Beirut, you can find a Man’oushe shop on every street corner. It is the perfect breakfast for anybody who doesn’t have time to prepare a decent meal during a busy day; they can grab a Man’oushe from any bakery nearby.

Ingredients:

  • 3cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon instant dried yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of Zaatar mixed with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice ( I used Gruyere)

Preparation:

  • To make the dough, mix the flour with salt, oil, dried yeast and water in a bowl until you have a soft dough; let it rest covered with a towel to rise for about 1 hour
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Roll the dough into circles of about 1/4 inch thickness (the size of the circle is totally up to you) and top with Zaatar or cheese; bake for about 15 minutes and serve hot

Try it and tell me which one you prefer, the Zaatar or cheese? Personally I cannot decide which is tastier, they are both tasty 🙂

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT..BON APPETIT! 🙂

Meat Balls in Tomato Sauce With Tagliatelle

I am back home today and I asked my son what he would like me to make him after being gone for so long and he answered: “surprise me”. Yes, he made me happy, and I wanted to make something different but I also wanted to be sure that he will like it. In the morning I went grocery shopping and when I came back home I was ready to prepare a favorite meal of his, with a twist. He loves meat balls and I usually make it with onion sauce and rice so in fact, it was a very pleasant surprise for him 🙂

Ingredients for the meat balls:

  • 700 grams minced beef
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 red tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 box (500grams) tagliatelle
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preparation:

  • To make the meatballs, mix all the ingredients (for the meatballs) by hand and shape into golf-ball sized balls
  • Heat the olive oil in a pot and fry the meat balls until brown, remove from the pot
  • Fry the onion and the garlic until golden, add the the tomatoes with salt, basil, oregano and tomato paste, cover with 2 cups of water and let it simmer for about ten minutes
  • Add to the tomato sauce the meat balls and let it cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes
  • Cook the tagliatelle pasta as directed on the box, then discard water and place the pasta again in the pot with one tablespoon of butter
  • To serve, place the pasta in a platter and pour over the meatballs with the sauce

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.. BON APPETIT 🙂