Monday, May 21, 2012

Maqluba (upside-down rice)

Maqluba, sometimes pronounced as Maaluba or Maglubais a traditional Levantine dish, believed to have originated in historic Palestine. The dish includes a meat, rice and fried vegetables placed in a pot, which is then flipped upside down when served, hence the name maqluba which translates literally as "upside-down".

Maqluba is usually served with either plain yogurt and/or a simple Arabic salad of diced tomato, cucumber, lettuce, lemon juice and olive oil. 


For the chicken broth
1 whole chicken, washed/cleaned
1 carrot, peeled and sliced longwise
1 small onion, peeled and cut in square
2 bay leaves
few cardamom pods

Bring to boil chicken with carrot and onion.  Allow to boil a little and start removing the foam it accumulated from time to time.  After removing it, throw in the leaves and cardamom.  Allow to boil and chicken to cook for around 40-45 minutes.  When you think it has been cooked, remove the chicken to cool, and sift the broth to remove the cardamom and others.  Once chicken is not hot anymore, start removing meat nicely into somehow thick pieces and set aside on a plate for later use.

For the rice
1 big cauliflower head
2 eggplants
2 cups of rice, uncooked (soak the rice for around 15min prior using it in hot water) (Preferably the Uncle Ben's long grain)
4 cups of chicken broth
1 and half teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of allspice
Pine nuts
Slices almonds

Start cutting each cauliflower and wash them, put to drain, and start deep frying them until gold.  Set aside.

While frying them, to save time, start peeling the eggplants and cut them in slices of around 2cm in thickness.  Cut them on its wide side, not length.  Brush each side of the piece and grill them.  Some people fry them, but I think it soaks in so much oil I don't like it!  Once grilled, set aside.

Pour in a pan around 3 tablespoon of oil.  Pour the drained rice, and flip of 2min.  Add 4 cups of chicken broth, and add the cinnamon, allspice, and salt.  Once start boiling, lower heat, and cover. Allow to cook. It should take between 30-40min.

Once the rice is cooked, move them to a bowl for a while because you need to set up in the same pan you made the rice the other ingredients to be able to flip it and get the end product!

Start putting layers: starting from the chicken, then cauliflower, then eggplant, you can play and put them around the pan, finger pressing the eggplant for instance to stick a little on the pan.  Put carefully the cooked rice on them evenly, and make a small pressure.  Cover until its served.

Fry the pine nuts with a little of oil.  Set aside.  Then fry the almond slices and set aside as well.  These are for decoration purposes and also adds tastes to the rice itself, but its optional!

Now for the serving stage, get a tray in a circle shape that can allow the rice to fit relaxed.  I mean, allowing it to if it breaks down it doesn't fall off the tray.  Carefully with a towel, place the tray on the pan, and quickly flip the rice, allowing it to feel that it went down the tray.  Then carefully take out the pan, and sprinkle with the nuts.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Lebanese Meat Fatteh Recipe

This dish is called Fatteh and is a Lebanese main breakfast dish. It can made a number of ways which include using chicken, rice, ground beef. It is known for containing all the essential vitamins needed to start the day. This dish goes back to early Lebanese history and is widely known around the Middle East.

Garlic flavored yogurt is poured over boiled chickpeas and topped with fried bits of pita bread and fried pine nuts. It can be served as part of an extensive Lebanese breakfast or as a side dish.


5 cups of fried pita pieces
1 can of chickpeas
250 gr of ground beef
1/3 cup of fried pine nuts
5 cups of unflavored yogurt
3 tbsp of tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 mashed garlic cloves
Oil to fry


First of all cut the pita breads in small squares, I use a kitchen scissor, its size must be around 3cm on all sides.  You can cut them by hand if its easier.  Deep fry them for few minutes until golden.  Remove and set on kitchen tissue to drink up the oil on them.

You can fry the pine nuts to be set aside as well.  Put around 1tbsp of canola oil, and dry them until golden. Set aside for later use.

Boil a little the chickpeas.  I usually do that for 1-2minutes only.  Remove and drain them.  Pour them in a plate and mix on them gently cumin, the more the better!- Set aside.

Mix the the yogurt with the tahini, garlic, pinch of salt, and set aside as well.

Now lets fry the meat.  Just put around 1-2 tbsp of oil and add salt, and if you want any other spices like pepper, cumin, whatever you want.  Fry until cooked.  Set aside.

Now the assembling part:  In a pirex (rectangular dish) place evenly the pita bread, then sprinkle all chickpeas, then add evenly all around the yogurt sauce, then sprinkle also evenly cinnamon (this gives amazing taste) then add all beef around, finally sprinkle pine nuts.

Serve immediately.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Brigadeirão (Brazilian Chocolate dessert)

Brazil carries a lot of good recipes! First we met the Brigadeiros and now we meet Brigadeirão.  Brigadeirão has a similar taste as Brigadeiros but I have to confess it is less sweet.  This dessert is served cold.. I made it 24 hours prior cutting it, and it is the best because it hardens and its shape gets to be better.  Do not miss this, you have to do it, and all you need to do is blend, and bake!


     6 egg yolks
     2 cans of condensed milk
     2 cans of whole milk (use the condensed milk can to measure)
     6 tablespoons (soup) of cocoa powder or chocolate
     1 tbsp (tablespoons) butter

Method of Preparation

In a bowl, place egg yolks, condensed milk, whole milk, chocolate powder or chocolate and margarine.

Mix well until smooth.

Grease the pan (20 cm in diamete with hole in middle) with margarine.

Pour the mixture and bring to bake in water bath in oven high (250 ° C) for about 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Unmold and garnish with chocolate sprinkles.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cinnamon Squares

 This cake is super delicious.  A perfect breakfast, tea, snack, brunch, dessert, you name it! The coffee flavor with the cinnamon and chocolate creates this delicious taste that you wouldn't want to miss!

Recipe adapted from traceysculinaryadventures


1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Place the pan on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake: Stir 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and the espresso together in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, the baking powder, salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and gently whisk until you have a homogenous batter. Now, using the whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in the butter with a light touch, just until the butter is absorbed. You'll have a smooth, shiny batter.

Scrape half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and dust with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top again.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan; a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack. Peel off the paper, invert it onto the first rack, and cool to room temperature right side up.

To Make the Frosting
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and fit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring gently and often, just until they melt. Be careful not to overheat the mixture so much that it thins out; the chocolate should be smooth, very shiny, thick and spreadable. (If it thins, leave the frosting at room temperature for a bit, until it thickens a little.)

Using an offset metal icing spatula or a table knife, spread the frosting in generous sweeps and swirls over the top of the cake. Allow the frosting to set at room temperature, then cut the cake into 9 squares, each about 2 1/2 inches on a side.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Avocado and Mango Salad

This is a quick tropical salad that can be make anytime as a side dish, or even a snack.  It has this sweet and sour taste that you will get addicted to.  Trust me, you must try it! You can play around with the quantity of the ingredients, some might add more pine nuts, others more avocado, it depends, just the way you like it.  You are the boss here! :D


Lettuce - chopped - around 6 cups
1 Mango cut in small cubes
1 avocado cut in small cubes
1/3 cup of roasted pine nuts
1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar


Mix everything together.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Roasted Vegetables Lasagna

We like lasagna at home soooooo much I cannot even describe it.  We usually eat the bolognese one, and my mom makes the chicken one but it seems so complicated I just don't bother.. and then pops up this recipe from this amazing website and what a great way to have a meatless day! It gets boring to have or chicken, beef, fish, too boring... so here is a break!


1 Lasagna box (I use the one that doesn't need to be cooked)
2 red pepped cut in medium squares
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
5 garlic with peel on
4 carrots diced
1 medium eggplant diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms.  You can use canned ones too.
Olive oil
Dried oregano
Dried basil
Mozzarella Cheese 


Mix everything together (everything but the lasagna and Mozzarella), and place in oven to roast for around 20-30min.
If the lasagna you are using needs to be cooked, please follow directions in the package.

For the Bechamel sauce:
1 L of milk
3 tbsp of butter
3 tbsp of flour
Ground nutmeg


Heat and melt butter, pour flour and mix quickly, add milk, do not stop whisking.  Add salt and nutmeg.  You can add cream for extra flavor - sometimes I do.  

Bring to boil and until thick.  Turn off and keep aside.

Also it is great with the ricotta mix, but I just didn't have in hand.

For the red sauce, I had a ready made marinara sauce, half of the bottle though, so it was a great thing to use it up.

Setting up the lasagna:
Pour a little of the bechamel sauce at the bottom and start putting layers of lasagna (I used lasagna that doesn't need to be cooked) then set up layers of roasted veggies, marinara sauce, bechamel, and so on, and cover up with mozzarella cheese and bake until cooked.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicken Strogonoff

 I have posted before a delicious recipe for Brazilian beef strogonoff.  Which is basically a delicious traditional plate in Brazil.  It contains cream as its main ingredients but what makes the taste super delicious is that it has mustard and ketchup in the mix!  The only difference with between the beef version and this chicken one is the main ingredient which is using chicken here and also something else is that we use here tomato paste whereas in the beef one we use tomato.  To check the beef version please go here

Now onto the recipe! :)


4 tablespoons butter
1 kg chicken fillet into thin strips
2 onions, chopped
half spoon (soup) salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
200 g of canned sliced ​​mushrooms
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
400 grams of cream for cooking


In a large skillet, melt three tablespoons (soup) of butter and brown the chicken slowly over high heat. Remove meat and place the remaining butter. Brown onion, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms, cover the pan and leave for a few minutes. Add the tomato puree, mustard and ketchup, mix well. Lower the fire, allow to stand for 5 minutes. Enter Milk Cream gently and remove from heat before boiling. Serve with white rice.

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