Today I made “Amish Oatmeal”

As Salaamu Alaikum and howdy all.

Today I made Amish Oatmeal.  This is a custard-style baked dish that is perfect to serve anytime.  I like it in the morning because it is hearty and keeps you full for a long time.  Great for the kids who are in school all day.  This particular recipe is not too sweet, which I like.  You can actually drizzle it with honey or maple syrup if you want to make it a bit sweeter.

I got the recipe from here:

Amish-Style Baked Oatmeal

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This calls for oats, brown sugar, butter, eggs, milk raisins, apples, and walnuts.  I also added some coconut to mine.

First, I peeled the apples and then sliced them. I used two Granny Smith, but you can choose a sweeter apple if you like.  I had an extra apple because I overestimated how many I’d need.  Snack for me later!

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Then I mixed the dry ingredients.  2 cups of old-fashioned oats (quick oats would mush out too much), 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 a cup of walnuts (other 1/2 a cup gets sprinkled over the mix when it’s in the dish), 1 cup raisins, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon (I also added 1 tsp cardamom which is not in the other recipe), 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 a cup of coconut (also my own addition).  Make sure that if your brown sugar is clumpy that you break up the clumps.

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In a separate bowl, I put 2 cups of whole milk, 2 eggs (fresh from my hens, thank you ladies), 1 tsp vanilla, and 4 Tbsp of butter that was melted and allowed to cool a bit.  You can dump the wet ingredients into the dry or the dry into the wet, make no difference.  Mix up well to combine.

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Now, before you started all this (you DID read the recipe link, right?), you should have preheated your oven to 325 degrees and grease a casserole dish.  Did you, well, did you?  No?  Well go get heatin’ and greasin’.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait (cue Final Jeopardy music).

Okay, so put the apples into the base of the casserole and then dump all the oatmeal mixture into the dish and smooth out with a spatula.  Top with the other 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, then slide into the oven for about 45 minutes.

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Once it comes out, you’ll need to let it cool down for twenty minutes or so, lest you burn the top of your mouth.  Yeah, ouch. After that, just grab a bowl and a spoon and serve some up.  If you want to make it a treat, drizzle with honey and maybe even serve a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

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And that’s it!  Didn’t take long to mix this up, and probably it won’t take long for my family to eat it up.  That bowl there was mine and I finished it right up.  Enjoy! Bil hana wa shifaa.

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Sherba – Sweet Cereal With Bulghur Wheat

Salaam Alaikum! I came across this very simple recipe for something called Sherba. One of my friends on Facebook posted it and I decided to try it out. It’s very simple and makes a tasty, filling breakfast – you need those complex carbs for suhoor to help you make it through a long day of fasting! Here’s the recipe:

1 cup Bulghur wheat (the kind you use to make tabbouleh)
3-1/2 cups of water
1 tsp salt
3 cups milk
3 Tbsp sugar (more if you don’t finish with honey)

Optional: Honey and semn (clarified butter)

In a large high-sided pot, bring the bulghur, water, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Add the milk and sugar, stir, and cook for an additional 35 minutes or until the grains are tender. They should still have a bit of “tooth” to them and should not be mushy. Remove from the heat.
Serve into bowls and top with a touch of honey and semn, if desired. Thank you Umm Adam for the recipe!

I had a bowl of this and it is delicious and filling. My oldest son is pretty picky but he just had a bowl himself as an evening snack, so it gets the Abdel Hamid seal of approval.

Bil hana wa shifaa!

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Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Think Outside the (Pancake Mix) Box

This morning I made pancakes for breakfast. I’ve been making pancakes for years and years. I almost always make them from scratch. A few times, out of curiosity, I’ve bought the boxed mix and tried it out. Mine are better, and honestly, it’s not any harder to make them from scratch. You’ll save money and you’ll have the added advantage of knowing what is – and isn’t – in the food you are serving to your family.
Pancakes are made using the “muffin method”. This means you put all the dry ingredients together, all the wet ingredients together, and combine them at the last second, being sure not to overmix. If you overmix, this will activate the gluten and then the pancakes will be tough. It’s okay if there are a few lumps.

Okay, in a bowl, place one cup of all-purpose flour, one tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, one teaspoon of baking powder, and one half teaspoon of baking soda.

In a measuring cup, measure one cup of buttermilk. Add one egg and either two tablespoons of oil or two tablespoons of barely melted butter. Mix this together to break up the egg.

Heat your griddle to 350 degrees. If you are using a skillet on the stove, it should be medium high or a touch less. While the griddle is heating, dump the liquid onto the flour mixture and stir with a wire whisk to combine, avoiding overmixing. Set aside until the griddle is hot. Spray the griddle with a cooking spray or brush with butter, then portion 1/4 cup amounts of batter onto the griddle. Cook until they are dry on the edges and the bubbles are starting to break. Flip and cook until the second side is golden brown.

You can serve with syrup or applesauce, or cool them a bit and spread with preserves. Pancakes are just another type of bread, really, so peanut butter is just as valid a choice as syrup. This morning I spread mine with strawberry preserves and rolled it up like a jelly roll, so I was able to munch on it while holding the baby. You can double the batch and freeze the rest for later. Reheat in the oven or pop in the toaster.

Besides the fact that everything is made from scratch, you’ll pay a lot less by avoiding the boxed pancake mix. All they do is put flour and baking powder and baking soda and a bit of salt in the box and sell it to you at five times the price of a sack of flour. It took me about fifteen seconds to put the dry mix together. You can even do it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Your kids will thank you for it :).

Bil hana wa shifaa!

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Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 10:47 am  Comments (2)  
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I’m a Fuul For Love, and Other Bad Puns

I made fuul for breakfast yesterday. Fuul mudammas is one of the main protein sources for the majority of Egyptians. It is everywhere, even more common that a burger and fries is here in the U.S. Fuul is actually fava beans, sometimes called horse beans. You can buy them canned but I prefer to make mine. The taste is much better, and it’s cheaper to buy in bulk. Here’s what I do:

Soak two pounds of small fava beans (with the skins on) in a generous amount of water overnight.

Drain the beans. Put them in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until beans are tender and most of the liquid is evaporated. You may have to add water during cooking.

Once the beans are cooked, allow them to cool completely and then portion into quart ziptop bags. Lay flat on a cookie sheet and then place in the freezer. Freeze until solid, remove from the sheet, and store in your freezer.

The day before you want to make fuul, you can take a bag or two out of the freezer and allow it to defrost in the fridge. It doesn’t have to be completely thawed to use, but of course your cooking time will increase. You can also thaw in a microwave.

Put the beans in a pot. Add one tablespoon of tahini (sesame paste), the juice of one lemon, two teaspoons of cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add chili powder or hot sauce if you like a “kick”. Cook until heated through, then either mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Place into a bowl and drizzle the top with olive oil.

Part of what makes fuul so great is the accompaniments. I dice up garlic and place it on top (except on Friday because of the Friday prayer, lol), dice tomatoes to put on top or slice to set alongside. Serve the fuul with scrambled or boiled eggs, farmer’s cheese or cheddar, olives or torshi (pickled veggies). The plate will look wonderful and it will really fill you up when you eat it the traditional way, with big rounds of pita bread. Oh, and my husband thinks the meal is in no way complete unless you have an onion cut up to serve with it.

Give yourself some time to digest and then you’ll be good for the day. If you prepare the fuul before hand, you’ll have between six to eight bags so you won’t have to do the big soak and cook and bag more than once a week, even if you eat fuul every day :).

Bil hana wa shifaa!

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Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 10:17 am  Comments (2)  
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Poofy Bread is Happy Bread

I made my pita bread today. It’s called “eish baladi” in Arabic. Eish is a word that really means “life” but since this bread is the staff of life, up to 1/3 of the caloric intake of most poor Egyptians, the slang term is appropriate. I have the recipe over at my other blog, muslimahinprogress, so I won’t post it here. You’re welcome to mosey on over there and take a look:

I made mine today with half all purpose flour and half whole wheat. So funny, I had let the mixer do the first kneading, then took it out and formed it into a ball, popped it into a bowl to rest and rise. I totally forgot about it for about an hour. Fortunately, the weather has been unseasonably cool and I had the window over the sink open for some fresh air, too, so it rose more slowly than it would on a warm day.

I love the smell of the yeasty dough when I uncover it; I love the consistency when I punch it down to let the gases escape; I love finally, finally being able to knead it into a beautiful smooth round ball. Took me forever to learn how to do that. I cut it into four and made balls out of that, then let it rest until it was time to roll it out. Two of the four ovals poofed up nicely in the oven. The other two resisted poofage but will still taste just as good. I let them cool then put them in the freezer. I’m going to save them until tomorrow when I plan to have a traditional Egyptian breakfast of fuul for my husband. InshaAllah I’ll remember to take pictures before everyone eats everything.

Today is a day for leftovers so I don’t have to cook dinner tonight. Tomorrow being Friday we generally buy burgers or pizza so maybe I’ll bake something else in my free time. Or I could make beignets. Oh, those are lovely. I’ll tease you now, heh heh. If I make them, I’ll post the recipe and make sure to take pictures. And then I won’t share them with you, sorry :). Well, not really.

Ta’amaya – Cousin to the Falafel

I finally got my ta’amaya prepared.  It’s a bit of a job but I do a large batch that will keep me for a while and freeze it.   Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 pounds of small fava beans with skins removed
  • one medium onion
  • four cloves garlic
  • two bunches flat leaf parsley
  • salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder

First of all, put the fava beans in a large bowl and cover with water plus about two inches and soak overnight.  If you don’t do this, you will break your food processor and little fava bean bullets will fly all over your kitchen.

Drain the fava beans.  Clean the parsley and drain.  Peel the onion and cut into small chunks that your food processor can handle.  Peel the garlic.

Using a food processor with a chopping blade (the big one you always cut your finger on when you’re trying to grab it), process the onion and garlic to a puree.  Start adding the parsley – you may want to rough chop the parsley as well to make it easier for the food processor to handle.  Working in a couple of batches if necessary, puree the parsely into a fine “pesto-like” consistency and then empty into a large bowl.  Then, also working in batches, process the fava beans.  The beans will not be a smooth consistency like hummos when you are done; they will be more like cornmeal or couscous sized.  That’s okay – it’s good for the finished product to be a little rustic.  When you are done processing, add the fava beans to the large bowl with the onions, garlic, and parsley.

I usually break to do a bit of cleanup at this point.  I like to wash up the food processor and get it out of the way so I have a clear field for the next steps.  Once that is done, I start adding my spices.  I start with a tablespoon of salt, two teaspoons black pepper, one tablespoon cumin, two teaspoons of chili powder.   Using my hands, I thoroughly mix together all the ingredients in the bowl.  You will end up with a lovely shade of green due to the large amount of parsley.  When you are done, heat up a skillet with a little bit of oil for pan-frying.  You are going to test the mix to see if the spices are correct.

When you are making this “for real”, you’ll add an egg for binder, but now you won’t since you’re testing the spice.  Grab up a spoonful and pack it down to make it hold together a bit, then cook in the hot (medium high) oil until brown on each side.  Let it cool for a couple of minutes and then taste.  I added an additional teaspoon of salt to mine but that’s my preference.

Once you reach this point you can either cook or store.  If you are going to cook, heat a deep fryer or a large skillet with oil to medium high.  You can shallow fry these and make them flat if you like, or keep them round and deep fry, which is what I do since I always have my dutch oven on the stove anyway.

Portion out about two cups and then crack one egg into it, and add a teaspoon of baking powder.  Mix together thoroughly.  Using two spoons or a cookie-dough portioner, drop the ta’amaya into the pan or fryer and cook until golden brown, flipping if you are shallow frying.  When they are done, the still will have a light green center.  Serve with pita bread and tahini sauce or yogurt sauce or whatever you like – even ketchup!

If you are going to store the mixture, don’t add the egg or baking soda.  Put it into quart sized sandwich or storage bags, the place on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid.  Store them til the day before you need them, then defrost in the fridge overnight.

I took a lot of pictures of the process but forgot to take a picture of the final product until after everyone had eaten!  There were four little leftover balls so I took a picture of them.

You can do this with chickpeas as well, which is the more familiar falafel.  You can also do this with blackeyed peas, omitting the parsley.

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Published in: on March 27, 2011 at 9:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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