Monday, April 18, 2011

Food Post 1.0

Whether you readers like it or not, I'm going to include a few posts about cooking stuff once in a while. I did say something about "brewing, cooking, drinking..." somewhere around here and it pains me to think that I had not been delivering on what I had promised. Ha! Therefore, I get to blabber on about the weird food I make and you get to look at crummy pictures of my work - and if you want, try to replicate them for your friends... or depending on your cooking ability, your enemies.

With that said, one of the things I have been making a lot of recently has been pita bread. I got a fantastic, old school recipe from a friend and have been trying  to replicate the finished product for some time now. I have the process down pretty well, though I'm not 100% happy with my results so far. Anyways, tonight I thought I would try something new and make pizza dough using the pita recipe. The results were a Buffalo chicken pizza made with blue cheese, boneless chicken tenders, and hot sauce. All homemade mind you. The other pizza was "Sfiha" a type of Middle Eastern open faced meat pie that is made with lamb and spices. I grew up eating a lot of the stuff at my local Lebanese restaurants and eventually got to try different versions of it during my travels abroad - it is one of my favorite foods. To go with the Sfiha, I also made some 'Lebanese' spinach greens. Here are some recipes - I don't measure anything so these are just estimates.

Sfiha: Most versions are made from some type of pastry dough and can somewhat sweet. I prefer it made with bread dough so it's more along the likes of a Turkish pizza (Lahmacun).

- 3/4 lb. Lean ground lamb
- Small red onion, diced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3/4 T dried Aleppo pepper*
- 2 T Flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 T Mint, fresh chopped
- 1 tsp Dried lemon peel
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- Feta cheese (optional)
- Olive oil, salt and pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl and set aside. Prepare your pizza dough and thinly spread the meat mixture over the dough. Cook in a 450F oven for 15-20 min. Serve with chopped parsley and lemon.

* Aleppo Pepper is a fantastic, oil cured dried pepper commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking. It is mildly spicy and has a flavor that is reminiscent of dried raisins and cumin.

Lebanese Spinach Greens: While not traditionally Lebanese by any means, this stuff goes great with Middle Eastern foods and are a very tasty (and healthy) way to eat your spinach.

- Fresh or frozen spinach
- Large onion, chopped
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
- 2 T mint, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried lemon peel
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 T Aleppo Pepper
- Splash of red wine vinegar
- Feta cheese (optional)
- Olive oil, salt, pepper

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add spinach, spices, and chickpeas. Cook over low heat, partially covered, until spinach has wilted. Add liquid and herbs. Continue cooking until spinach has reached desired consistency, no more than 15 min. Serve with lemon, feta, and good olive oil.

Well that was relatively painless.



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