Green Bean Casserole

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No cans involved here! I have eaten and cooked this classic casserole made with Campbell’s canned condensed soups and canned green beans, and I did love it. However, as you may have noticed from my posts, I am avoiding use of any canned foods, preservatives, and unnecessarily long ingredient lists that cause who knows what in our bodies. Once you taste it fresh from scratch, with fresh mushrooms and green beans, you will never want to go back either! This is also incredibly easy.

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All you need is my easy recipe for cream of mushroom soup, some fresh or frozen green beans, and fried onions. I make the soup in advance, which you could do the day before and refrigerate or days before and freeze. This really simpiflies the process the day of. You can also fry the onions yourself (see how to do it in my kushary post), but I will not insult the tradition of this casserole dish and leave out the classic French’s friend onions! They kind of taste like potato chips- some flavors are just nostalgic and shouldn’t be messed with! I have always used French’s fried onions, but the past couple of years I used the fried onions from Trader Joe’s because they are a little “healthier” and taste just as good. Use what you prefer!

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Green Bean Casserole
Serves 6
A Thanksgiving classic dish, this from scratch recipe oozes creamy delicious mushrooms and green beans topped with crispy crunchy fried onions!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 recipe of my cream of mushroom soup (2 cups)
  2. 2 c fresh or frozen french green beans (washed and trimmed)
  3. 1 1/2 c fried onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour the washed and trimmed green beans into a casserole dish.
  3. Pour the mushroom soup over the green beans and mix well. Spread with a spoon into an even layer.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, take the dish out and stir in half of the onions. This will thicken the casserole. Place back in the oven, uncovered.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with crispy onions over the top and serve warm.
Notes
  1. You may also add shredded cheese over the top at the 20 minute mark, after stirring in the fried onions.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Better than Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry Chutney

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I absolutely LOVE this chutney on top of turkey or chicken. It is so flavorful and gives the meat wonderful depth. I use all fresh ingredients: cranberries, a fuji apple, freshly minced ginger, a caramelized onion, and apple cider. The flavors combine to make a sweet, tangy sauce adding the perfect kick to your Thanksgiving spread! The colors are really beautiful as well; I loved photographing it!

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 Cranberries are very healthy little gems full of nutrients. They are low in calories, packed with vitamin C, rich in fiber, and are one of the best food sources for disease fighting antioxidants. So they should be slipped into as many foods as you can! Use the extra cranberries to make a cranberry ginger smoothie, topping on a salad, apple cranberry crisp pie, or a cranberry jam.

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I used spiced apple cider from Trader Joe’s which surely added some extra boost of flavor because of all the spices, and it certainly made the sauce smell amazing !I think a fuji apple is necessary because when cooked it really maintains it juicy sweetness. I’ve tried this recipe several times before with different apples, with oranges, with orange juice and they were all too tart. Fresh cranberries are quite tart so you really need to balance it out with sweetness. This sauce really perfect that sweet and tangy balance. I only share with you my best and perfected recipes! The special flavor in here that makes people wonder “what is in here?!” is a dash of apple cider vinegar. Yes, I always avoided the stuff simply because of its smell, but it really gives the sauce exactly what it needs! Apple cider vinegar also has quite a bit of health benefits! It has long been touted as a great dietary supplement for weight loss and detoxifying the body, and some studies indicate benefits in reducing blood glucose levels which is essential for diabetics, lowering cholesterol, and even killing cancer cells!

Back to the chutney; it is actually very quick and easy and can even be made a day in advance. First, you sauté and caramelize the onion and shallot. Once the onions turn translucent and start to brown, add the cranberries, fresh ginger,  sugar, chopped apple, and cider. I add a few spices and turn down the heat once it boils to let it simmer and reduce down into a nice, thick, red sauce. 

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Serve in a bowl with a ladle so that everyone can help themselves or drizzle on top of the meat if you are plating the food.

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Cranberry Chutney
A sweet and tangy cranberry and apple chutney that adds juicy flavor to your turkey!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c sliced onion
  2. 1 tbsp diced shallot
  3. 2 cups fresh cranberries
  4. 1/3 c brown sugar
  5. 1 tbsp white sugar
  6. 1 medium fuji apple, peeled and diced
  7. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  8. 1 c apple cider or apple juice
  9. 1/4 tsp all spice
  10. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  11. 1/4 tsp fresh minced ginger
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, sauté the onions and shallots until soft.
  2. When the onions start to brown, add the apples, ginger, cranberries, brown sugar and apple juice. Stir well.
  3. Add the apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes until reduced to a thick red sauce.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Citrus-C

You know when you feel that itch in your throat? Or your nose starts to twitch and you just feel the cold coming on? Don’t let your weak, exhausted body fall victim to those yucky viruses! Whenever I feel run down and am about to get a cold, I consume as much vitamin C and natural nutrition as possible! Making smoothies in my blender with whole produce is one of the best ways to do this!

For this smoothie, I combine everything! Start with a big chunk of pineapple (with the core- it has all the enzymes that are good for you), 2 oranges, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 pink grapefruit, 3 tbsp of honey, 1/2 c of cantaloupe, 1/2 c frozen mango, 1/2 c frozen strawberries, an apple, and 1/4 c of yogurt. The yogurt is for the protein and helps keep me full. I add only 1/4 c of water and the rest is the natural fruit juices and whole fiber. The blender I use is a Vitamix, which from all the appliances I have tried is really the only one that is powerful enough to break up these tough whole food combos into smooth, liquified drinks. 

Next time you are feeling run down and need a boost, try this! I just drink this all day, which is a great way to detoxify, stay full off of healthy good fiber, and lose some weight if that is what you need to do (as I do!)

 

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or physician. Smoothies should not serve as meal replacement!
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Cream of Mushroom Soup

Creamy mushroom soup is really much easier than you think. It’s also nice to know exactly what is in this soup since you are making it in your own kitchen! Go take a look at your canned mushroom soup ingredients…cringe? Once you try this easy and tasty recipe- you will not be buying cans again! So go ahead, buy those fresh tasty mushrooms you’ve been eyeing! 

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I use baby bella mushrooms because they have such a rich hearty flavor. Mushrooms are an excellent source of nutrients; they are the only fruit or vegetable source of vitamin D, are high in B vitamins which boost metabolism, are high in antioxidants, and also offer a significant amount of selenium which helps the body develop red blood cells. Check out this helpful WebMD source for more details about mushroom’s health benefits. 

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The recipe involves a little bit of butter, some cream, broth (I used chicken for the flavor but you could use vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian), and 2% milk (use cream if you want a really thick and hearty soup). I wouldn’t expect the soup to be completely low fat as it IS a cream soup, thus the use of some butter and cream, although it is minimal compared to most other recipes! I also make this soup completely vegan and dairy free sometimes if I am blending it with vegetable broth and some extra roasted vegetables such as bell peppers and tomatoes. Although it is a different texture, it still tastes absolutely fantastic!!! The unexpected kick and secret ingredient giving the soup its gourmet flavor involves some all spice, nutmeg, and thyme. Sprinkle some chopped chives or parsley on top and your taste buds are going to have one memorable experience! I hope you enjoy!

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Cream of Mushroom
Serves 5
A deliciously velvety cream of mushroom soup perfect for a cold winter night! Also the perfect base for a homemade green bean casserole!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c chopped baby bella mushrooms
  2. 1/2 c onion, diced
  3. 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  4. 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  5. 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  6. 1/4 tsp all spice or pumpkin spice
  7. 1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
  8. 1/4 c flour
  9. 1/3 c cream
  10. 1/2 c milk
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. 3 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, sauté the onions over medium high heat until they are soft. Add the mushrooms and garlic and 1/2 tsp of salt. Sauté until mushrooms are soft. Scoop out half of the mushrooms and reserve.
  2. Add the thyme by rubbing the leaves off of the sprig, the nutmeg, and pumpkin spice.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low. In the center of the pot, add the butter and the flour and stir into a paste. Add the broth immediately after and stir continuously until creamy.
  4. Turn the heat down to low. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Add the milk, reserved mushrooms, and the cream and stir. Once the soup comes to a simmer, turn down to low and cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. Serve with croutons, a crust of bread, or crackers and enjoy!
Notes
  1. This soup is an excellent base for many casseroles including the traditional green bean casserole!
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Macarona Bechamel

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This is another classic Egyptian dish. Oozing a creamy béchamel sauce, savory beef, and yummy cheesiness, this pasta casserole will be a huge hit with the whole family. There are many variations to make this casserole slightly healthier such as using vegetables instead of beef, whole grain pasta instead of regular, and even reducing the cream and cheese used. This recipe however is the original and is the PERFECT texture and flavor. I am using my mother in law’s recipe which she perfected over the years as it is her husband’s favorite meal! Everyone who knows her, knows she makes this dish the best; so I went to none other than the source herself for the secret! 

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The recipe is fairly easy and is excellent for making in large quantities and freezing extra pans for later quick meals. The trickiest part is stirring up a creamy velvety béchamel sauce. But I will take you through the steps below to help ensure the best sauce! Bechamel consists of flour and butter creamed into milk. You first need to melt the butter in a large pot over LOW HEAT. The temperature is very important. If you scorch the butter or flour, it will clump and not cook properly.

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Once the butter melts, you will add the flour and stir quickly with a wooden spoon into a golden paste.

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Then you need to slowly add the milk, a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well in between each pour. It is best to use an immersion blender to stir in the milk and prevent any clumps.

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The béchamel will thicken significantly when it sits, so you want to make it after you boil the pasta and cook the beef so that it does not sit too long.

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Once the sauce is cooked, you will add some shredded romano cheese, salt and pepper.

 

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The pasta should be tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, some shredded cheese so that you’d actually want to just eat it like that! You will add a dollop of the béchamel to the cooked pasta and mix that all together. This mixture of pasta is part of the secret to achieving the perfectly delectable flavor in every bite you take. Once you have the sauce, pasta, and beef all ready, you can assemble the casserole.

 

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First, pasta:

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Second, beef: 

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Then Pasta again:

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Finally, crown it with the béchamel:

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Bake for 30-40 minute in 400 degrees until the top is bubbling. 

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Macarona Bechamel
Serves 6
A delicious, cheesy, pasta casserole. This recipe from my mother in law trumps all!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 lb penne pasta
  2. 1 lb ground beef
  3. 1/4 c tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. pepper
  6. 1/4 tsp all spice
  7. 1 onion, diced
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 1/2 stick of butter
  10. 1/2 c flour + 2 tbsp
  11. 4 cups of milk
  12. 1/2 c chicken broth
  13. 1/2 c shredded romano cheese
  14. 1/4 c shredded mozzarella
  15. 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the penne pasta until al dente (it will cook more in the oven), and set aside to drain.
  3. Cook the beef by browning it over medium heat, adding the onions, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and allspice. Add the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Once it boils, turn heat down to medium and simmer until all water is evaporated.
  4. Make the béchamel sauce by first melting the butter over LOW heat and stirring in the flour into a golden paste. Slowly add the milk, bit by bit, stirring constantly. Use an immersion blender to completely blend smoothly. Turn the heat up to medium. Keep stirring the milk and once the mixture bubbles, turn the heat back down to low. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, pepper to taste, and 1/4 cup of the shredded romano cheese. Remove the sauce from heat.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, 1/4 cup of romano cheese, and 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella. Add about 2 tbsp of the béchamel to the pasta and stir.
  6. Layer the casserole in a 9 inch rectangular dish in even layers in the following order: half of the pasta, all of the beef, the other half of the pasta, then the béchamel sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Allow the casserole to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Bil hana will shifaa!
Adapted from Neveen Aref
Adapted from Neveen Aref
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Citrus Herb Turkey

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The biggest food day of the year is just around the corner. Chefs and newbies everywhere are rolling up their sleeves to prepare a delicious (we hope!) roast of turkey to set on the table. With this fool proof recipe, you are sure to satisfy all and enjoy a delicious and JUICY turkey this Thanksgiving.

The first step is to brine the turkey the day before. This not only serves as an essential marinade, but it helps infuse this big lean bird with plenty extra liquids so that as it cooks, you are not drying out the tender meat. This leaves you with a nice moist turkey that even your pickiest eaters will love! Check out my easy brine recipe here!

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Once you wash the turkey of the salty brine solution, you will prepare a delicious lemon garlic juice to pour all over the turkey, similar to my lemon herb roast chicken. I also fill the turkey with a couple of lemons, rosemary, and thyme and cover it with small bits of butter all over. It is important to use FRESH rosemary and thyme because it is full of the flavorful and scented oils. The dried herbs, are well, DRY. So not nearly as much lovely oils to perfume and flavor your meat. I made my stuffing in a separate casserole dish, but still used the turkey drippings to cook it. The turkey can come out of the oven sooner if its not stuffed, which will help prevent over cooking the meat.

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As the turkey roasts, baste it with its juices every 1 1/2-2 hours. If you have a larger 20 lb turkey, like I did, it will take a good 5-6 hours to roast, so be sure to put it in the oven early! Check out average roast times on this helpful chart here.

Once the turkey is done, you will need to let it sit for about 20 minutes before carving. We have yet to master the carving part- so no pictures of that disaster haha! I also had a crowd of hungry people with their eyes “feasting” on this gorgeous roast, so could not take much time to photograph! 

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Serve with cranberry sauce and gravy! Stay tuned for my scratch recipes for gravy, cranberry chutney, green bean casserole, and stuffing to DIE for! Posting live 11/26/13!

Citrus Herb Turkey
A citrus herb turkey that is flavorful, juicy, and tender!
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Prep Time
24 hr 10 min
Cook Time
5 hr 30 min
Total Time
30 hr
Prep Time
24 hr 10 min
Cook Time
5 hr 30 min
Total Time
30 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 lemons, juiced
  2. 1 lemon cut in half
  3. 2 tbsp minced garlic
  4. 1 tbsp salt
  5. pepper
  6. 1/4 c olive oil
  7. 2 tbsp fresh thyme + whole sprigs
  8. 2 tbsp fresh rosemary + whole sprigs
  9. 1/2 stick butter, cut into 10 slices
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash the turkey clear of the brine solution and pat dry.
  3. Place the turkey in the roasting pan.
  4. Combine the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and olive oil and stir well.
  5. Rub the turkey with salt and pepper liberally. Place pieces of butter all over the turkey, including underneath the turkey breast's skin.
  6. Pour the lemon marinade all over the bird and under the skin.
  7. Place the whole sliced lemons inside the turkey cavity, along with any extra sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
  8. Tie the legs together with cotton string.
  9. Cover loosely with foil and roast for 4-6 hours, depending on turkey's weight.
  10. Every hour or two, remove the turkey, close oven door to maintain interior temperature, and baste the turkey by pouring the turkey juices all over the top. Place back into oven to continue to roast.
Notes
  1. Prep time includes a 24 hour brine period the day before. Cook time varies depending on the weight of your turkey. Please check cook times for your bird's weight, as well as checking internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

How to brine a turkey

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If you have not been bringing your turkey, then you are really missing out on some juicy goodness! I have had far too many dry turkeys and even started to dislike turkey because of this. I decided to brine and cook a turkey this year and I am SO glad that I did! I love marinating all my meats, so why not my turkey?! If the concept seems daunting, fear not because it is actually quite easy! Brining is quite important because as with any meat, cooking denatures the proteins, causing it to become drier. With especially lean meat such as turkey, that requires such long cook times, that leaves room for a lot more drying out. With brining however, you are soaking the meat in a salt solution which causes the turkey meat to essentially absorb a lot more liquid so that when it cooks, it is losing much less moisture lending itself to a juicy, tender, and tasty bite! Read more about the science behind brining and how it works here.

So how do you prepare a delicious brine? Here is how it happens step by step. I made a citrusy rosemary brine, which smelled incredible. In my trial, I was using a huge 20 lb turkey so I did need some help from my husband at one point to hold the brining bag open and then to carry it into the fridge. I’m a little weak. Nonetheless, the big bird still fit on one single shelf in my regular sized refrigerator. Beware of using a frozen, Kosher, or pre-marinated turkey as these will likely already be prepared in a brined solution so the meat has already been “broken down” and possibly already quite salty! I used a fresh turkey that was slaughtered the day I bought it; you cannot get fresher than that! (Visit taaza2u.com for fresh, halal meats delivered to your door!)

 

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You will need:

1-2 gallons of water (16 cups in a gallon)

brining bag (found near the meat section of your grocer, or try Reynolds oven bags) be careful about using trash bags or other plastics that are not BPA free or food grade plastic!

kosher salt (its larger crystals dissolve faster than table salt)

sugar

your favorite herbs and spices

First you need to wash the turkey in cold water and remove the giblets. 

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Next you will boil about 8 cups of water with 2 cups of salt and 2 cups of sugar, along with the herbs and spices. I used peppercorns, orange rinds, sliced lemons, sliced onions, salt, rosemary and thyme. Once the salt is dissolved, add about 10 more cups of cold water, and a few of cups of ice to cool the mixture. 

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Place the turkey in the bringing bag and pour the solution all over it. Seal it tightly, removing any extra air, and place the bag in a large aluminum tray. Refrigerate for about 24 hours, turning the turkey over after about 12 hours to ensure the breast is well covered too.

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The next day, before roasting, wash the turkey well and pat dry. Now it is ready for you to season and roast! Happy brining!

Turkey Brine
an easy brine solution to make a perfectly juicy, tender, and moist turkey!
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Prep Time
24 hr
Total Time
24 hr
Prep Time
24 hr
Total Time
24 hr
Ingredients
  1. one fresh (not frozen) turkey
  2. 1-2 gallons of water
  3. 2 cups kosher salt
  4. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  5. 2 tbsp peppercorns
  6. 2 tbsp cardamom (ground or whole)
  7. the rind of 2 oranges
  8. 2 lemons, sliced
  9. 2 onions, sliced
  10. 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  11. 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  12. brining bag
Instructions
  1. Remove giblets and any excess skin. Wash the turkey well and pat dry.
  2. Boil 8 cups of water and dissolve the salt and sugar.
  3. Add the lemon, orange, onion, peppercorns, cardamom, and fresh rosemary and thyme. Stir.
  4. Once the salt is dissolved, remove the pot from heat and add about 12 more cups of cold water and ice.
  5. Place the turkey in a brining bag and pour the brine solution all over.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning the turkey over half way through.
  7. The next day, before roasting, remove the turkey and wash well to remove excess salt.
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Harissa aka Basboosa (Semolina Cake)

sugarandgarlicsugarandgarlic2013-46This is a typical Middle Eastern dessert very popular in Egypt. I love my mom’s recipe because it is so light and not overly sweet like many Middle Eastern desserts may be. The homemade syrup that soaks into most Middle Eastern desserts is usually quite heavy and has rose water or orange blossom water added to it. This syrup is simple and light and instead uses a dash of lemon juice. If you actually like the rose water ( I don’t!) you can add it in lieu of the lemon. 

sugarandgarlicsugarandgarlic2013-40Harissa is made with semolina flour, which you can find in any Middle Eastern market, Italian specialty shops, or other specialty grocery stories. If you cannot find it, a good substitute you may use is the Cream of Wheat cereal mix. Just make sure it is not the instant variation as that grain is too fine. 

For the syrup you simply dissolve sugar in water and boil it until it becomes thick, then add some butter. You want to be sure not to overheat as we are not making caramel here!

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sugarandgarlicsugarandgarlic2013-39The batter is so incredibly easy you will want to get up and make this as soon as you read it! All you need is semolina flour, baking powder, yogurt, butter, coconut, sugar and sour cream. No eggs! You mix all of these together into a nice thick and creamy batter and spread into a 9 inch rectangular pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. In no time, you will have gorgeous little semolina squares to enjoy for dessert!

sugarandgarlicsugarandgarlic2013-41Harissa is baked with an almond on top of each slice and cut into squares or diamonds. This sweet semolina cake  pairs perfectly with coffee or tea.

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Harissa aka Basboosa
A perfectly sweet and delicious Middle Eastern dessert perfect for tea time!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
For the cake
  1. 2 c semolina
  2. 1 c sugar
  3. 1 stick or 1/2 c butter
  4. 1 c finely shredded coconut
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1 c yogurt
  7. 2 tbsp sour cream
For the syrup
  1. 1 1/2 c sugar
  2. 2 c water
  3. 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  4. 1/2 stick or 1/4 c butter
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).
  2. First make the syrup as it needs to cool and thicken before pouring onto the baked cake. Pour the sugar and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to boil until the mixture thickens. Do not carmelize. Squeeze a couple of drops of lemon into the boiling mixture.
  3. When the liquid has reduced a bit, add the butter and vanilla and stir well. Remove from heat once the butter has melted and allow to cool.
  4. For the cake, mix all the ingredients together in bowl until well combined. Cover with a towel and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Spread into a 9" baking pan and place a halved or slivered almond on top where you will slice each square. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden.
  6. Once you remove the pan from the oven, pour the syrup over the entire cake, evenly, while the cake is still warm. Allow it to absorb; you might not need to use all of the syrup. Slice into squares or diamonds and enjoy!
Sugar & Garlic http://www.sugarandgarlic.com/

Kushary: An Egyptian Comfort Food

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When you think of typical Egyptian food, kushary is likely to come to mind. Kushary is an Egyptian’s claim to fame. It is a delicious comfort food, most popular street food in Egypt, and a supremely delicious combination of easy to find grains, onion, garlic, and a savory-tangy tomato sauce! If you are on a low carb diet, then look away. This is not a low calorie meal by any means, but it definitely has a lot of nutritional benefits and comes packed with great carb fueled energy. Lentils are rich in dietary fiber, magnesium, and these slow burning complex carbs are excellent for regulating blood sugar and boosting energy levels. Lentils are also high in iron and low in fat, making them the perfect inexpensive and healthy substitute for red meat! The dish is super easy to make; you just cook rice, lentils, and macaroni and combine. This lovely trio is topped with a delicious garlicky vinegar tomato sauce and crunchy fried onions. The trick to a perfect kushary is cooking the rice, pasta, and lentils properly so that they are not too soft and combine well without getting… smushy, for lack of a better word! Good thing I will show you how to cook this easy dish to perfection!

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Roasted Butternut Mushroom Soup

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This creamy soup is really the epitome of autumn warmth. The squash, the roasted vegetables, the spices, and roasted red pepper combine together beautifully and exude all that fall, Thanksgiving, and autumn harvests have to offer. It is extremely easy to make and the herbs and vegetables roasting will perfectly scent your home to set the mood.

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I really believe in eating whole foods as natural and pure as possible. In doing so we get the most health benefits of the many miraculous unaltered foods presented to us in nature. We would all be a lot more better off and healthier if we did! The base of this soup is a beautiful butternut squash. Butternut squash are high in fiber, making this fruit a very heart friendly food source. It is also rich in antioxidants, so it is great for anti-inflammatory benefits to relieve ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. The vibrant orange color of the squash is evidence of its high carotenoid content, or beta carotene which our bodies converts into vitamin A. The squash is also very rich in potassium and vitamin C. As if all THAT isn’t enough, this lovely gourd is also high in folate, which is essential to immunity, the nervous system, and helps protect against birth defects. It is also rich in several B vitamins which are essential for regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy energy balance! So really, we can all benefit from consuming this super food and this soup offers all these benefits and more from a variety of other seasonal vegetables! Read here for more about butternut squash benefits.

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 These gorgeous gourds are all over the grocery stores this season, and if you have never really known what to use them for, well this is it right here! Basically you slice open the squash, drizzle it with olive oil, honey, anise, cinnamon and a few other spices and let it roast alongside some red bell peppers and onions. You puree all these fragrant roasted vegetables, add broth, some sauteed baby bellas, and a dash of cream and you have gotten yourself a creamy, beautiful, and heart warming bowl of gourmet soup!

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Roasted Butternut Mushroom Soup
Serves 4
A creamy soup with sweet roasted squash and savory seasonal vegetables make this the perfect bowl of warmth for a chilly autumn day!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 butternut squash
  2. 1 c chopped onion
  3. 1/2 c sliced fennel
  4. 1 shallot sliced
  5. 1 tbsp minced garlic
  6. 1/4 c sliced red bell pepper
  7. 2 potatoes cubed (optional, for a thicker and heavier soup)
  8. 1 c sliced baby bella mushrooms
  9. 4 tbsp olive oil
  10. 2 tbsp honey
  11. 1 tsp anise
  12. 1 tsp sage or rosemary
  13. 1 tsp cinnamon
  14. 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  15. pinch of cayenne pepper
  16. 1-2 c of chicken broth
  17. 1/2 c heavy cream
  18. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice open the butternut squash lengthwise (hot dog style) and drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil, the honey, anise, rosemary or sage, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, salt, and pepper. Place face down onto a pan and arrange the red bell pepper, potatoes if using them, and 1/2 c of chopped onion beside the squash. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until the squash becomes fork tender.
  3. When the squash is done, remove from oven and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, sauté the mushrooms and minced garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Once the mushrooms start to get soft, remove from pot and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil to the pot and sauté the remaining onions, fennel, and shallot until translucent and caramelized. Add the roasted vegetables from the pan, scooping the butternut squash out of its skin. Add 1/2 of the sautéed mushrooms. Season well with salt and pepper and toss until combined.
  6. Pour 1 cup of broth over the vegetables. You may add more broth to achieve the desired thickness of soup. If you added potatoes you will need another cup of broth so that it is not too thick.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully puree with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.
  8. Once the soup is smooth, add the remaining mushrooms and stir well with a wooden spoon. You will not need to puree the remaining mushrooms.
  9. Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and stir. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat.
  10. Serve with your favorite crusty bread or croutons and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Nursing mothers: Sage decreases breast milk production, be careful how much you consume.
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