Raas Al Annut

in a dry pan, toast the following:

cinnamon sticks
cloves
coriander seeds
fenugreek powder
fennel seeds

move hot pan around, making sure to distribute the heat among the seeds. then add the following:

mustard seeds
cumin

when the seeds start to pop, they’re ready. add the following:

paprika

and grind into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.

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Shakshuka

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  •  teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 6 large eggs
  •  Chopped cilantro, for serving
  •  Hot sauce, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in crumbled feta.
  3. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.

Chickpea and Artichoke Tagine

Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
salt and pepper
8 oz (1 1/2 c) dried chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
4 (2-inch) strips lemon zest
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS all-purpose flour
3 c vegetable broth
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
9 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 c minced fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Dissolve 2 TBS salt in 4 quarts water. Add chickpeas and soak at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse chickpeas.
2. Heat 1 TBS oil in pressure-cooker pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest, garlic, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Stir in carrots, tomatoes, and their juice, and chickpeas.
3. Cook for 25 minutes: Lock lid in place and bring pot to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as indicator signals that pot has reached high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.
4. Quick-release pressure: Remove pot from heat. Quick-release pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
5. Heat remaining 1 TBS oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add artichokes and cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard lemon zest from stew. Stir in olives, cilantro, and artichokes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle individual portions with extra oil before serving.

Variations:
Chickpea Tagine with Cauliflower and Almonds
Omit artichokes. Add 1/2 head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1-inch florets, to finished tagine and simmer until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds before serving.

Chickpea Tagine with Dried Apricots and Honey
Omit artichokes and substitute 1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives for kalamata olives. Add 1 cup chopped dried apricots and 2 TBS honey with olives.

Tips:
1. Soaking chickpeas in salt water the day before cooking them ensures that they cook through evenly and makes them less likely to burst open. Soaking also gives their skins a softer texture.
2. We build flavor by sauteing onions, garlic, and a few spices, and lemon zest. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in strips. avoiding the bitter white pith underneath. The zest perfumes the dish and can be easily removed before serving.
3. Since artichokes are delicate, we stir them in after cooking the chickpeas under pressure. To help bring out their flavor, we brown them first. Frozen artichokes brown more easily than canned because they are less waterlogged.

Pita Bread

Ingredients:
1 dessertspoon baking yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/2 c warm water
3 c plain flour
1 large egg or 2 medium eggs
1 TBS oil

Directions:
Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water, stir, and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs, the oil, and the yeast mixture. Draw the flour into the middle of the bowl little by little while mixing all the liquid ingredients into it. The dough should be as soft as your earlobe. If too soft, add more flour, if too hard, add a little more warm water. Knead the dough until well mixed, then cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place, such as the airing cupboard, also that it can rise. The dough is sufficiently risen when it has doubled in volume, developed little holes on the surface and has begun to smell sour.

Roll into small balls, about the size of golf balls. Roll out thinly on a floured board. Mix all the topping ingredients together and spread over each piece of dough.

Heat a cast iron skillet in the oven (at 350 degrees). Place the rolled out dough onto skillet. Baked for approximately 8 minutes.

Hummus Bi Tahini

Ingredients:
1 can chick peas (about 2 cups) — drained and well-rinsed
1/4 c tahini
2 cloves garlic, large
5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 c warm water

Directions:
Place all ingredients except water in a food processor and process for about 2 minutes. Remove lid and scrape down sides. Add water and process briefly again. Scrape down sides. The mixture should be somewhat coarse and not quite runny. Add a bit more water if needed.

Refrigerate for four hours to allow flavors to meld. The consistency will thicken to a firm paste.

Falafel

Ingredients:
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
Mash the garbanzo beans in a large bowl.  Stir in the onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, cumin, turmeric, baking powder, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  Do not be afraid to use your hands.  Shape the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls; you should get 18 to 24.  If the mixture does not hold together, add a little water.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Carefully drop the balls into the hot oil, and fry until brown. If you do not have a deep fryer, heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. You may need to adjust the heat slightly after the first couple of falafels, and be sure to turn frequently so they brown evenly.

Shakshouky (Lebanese Eggplant Salad)

INGREDIENTS:

1 eggplant
a bunch of scallions or 1 leek
2 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
5 tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tblsp. pomegranate paste/juice
a pack of tortillas

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Cut slits in the eggplant.  Cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the oven at 400 degrees F for an hour.
3.  Boil enough water to cover your tomatoes.  Toss the tomatoes in the boiled water until the skin begins to crack (approx. 1 min).  Remove tomatoes and continue peeling their skin.
4.  Chop tomatoes.  Slice scallions or leek (white and green portions).  Chop or juice garlic cloves.  Juice lemon.  Place in a salad bowl.
5.  Pour pomegranate juice and a little bit of olive oil into the bowl.
6.  When the eggplant is ready, remove from the oven.  Skin the eggplant.  Remove the stem and some of the seeds.
7.  Chop the eggplant and place it in the salad bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix all ingredients.
8.  Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
9.  When ready to serve, add remaining olive oil and mix again.
10.  Tastes very good with toasted tortilla.  Just dip the tortilla in the salad and enjoy!