Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Vegetarians and Vegans rejoice- finally a Middle Eastern dish without meat! Tabouli is a refreshing and healthy salad made of parsley and bulgur (previously seen here) that can be eaten for lunch, dinner or a side. It is very popular nowadays and you can usually find it in the salad bar at Whole Foods and lots of different TV hosts feature some variation of the recipe- but that doesn’t even come close to the original. The dressing measurements are rough, so taste away and season appropriately.

Also, just a bit advice: avoid eating this on dates or in front of someone you like because the ground parsley tends to stick in your teeth in all the right places}

Tabouli Salad
Serves 6
4 bunches of Italian parsley- cleaned and finely chopped (food processor does the trick)
1 cup very fine bulgur wheat
4 lemons
1 ½ cups water
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 bunches green onions, finely chopped
3 mint sprigs, leaves cleaned & finely chopped (optional)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil + more to taste
2 tsp kosher salt + more to taste

About four hours ahead of time, put the bulgur in a bowl and squeeze all the lemon juice over it. Pour the water in the bowl and let sit until all liquid is absorbed.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and coat with olive oil and salt. Let sit for one hour to absorb flavors.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winter Chopped Salad

In the dreary winter months, it can be difficult to make an exciting salad without summer tomatoes and fresh herbs. But there are actually many different vegetables- and fruits- that can pick your salads right up. For a light dinner with my Mom I put together a colorful winter chopped salad filled with pomegranates, mangos and hazelnuts for an added crunch.

{The red cabbage also added a pop of color- all tossed in a red wine-honey vinaigrette} **

**Photo and recipe courtesy of Bon Appétit

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Love

Valentine’s day marked up menus and flowers never gets me excited, but the treats aspect always does. The cookies below are a definite keeper and came from Sur La Table’s Art & Soul of Baking (a stellar engagement gift!).

{Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Caramel Sauce}

The amazing peanut butter cookies were picked up a notch with the salty-sweet caramel in the middle, plus an added crunch from the peanuts.

I placed the cookies in some fun gift bags and made homemade tags~~ I love random holiday surprises!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Laaham Aidjeen – Middle Eastern Pizza

Middle Eastern pizza time! These homemade dough circles are topped with a meat and tomato mixture and make the best snack or lunch. And they are also freezable, so just pop one in the toaster oven when you have a craving. There will be a lot of extra topping, and that can be frozen as well to make another batch later on.

Laaham Aidjeen
Makes about 35

3 tsp dry active yeast
¼ tsp sugar
Warm Water
4 cups white unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups water

Mix the yeast and sugar together and add enough warm water to cover. Allow mixture to bubble. Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients in a large bowl, except the water. Pour in the risen yeast mixture and knead together, adding the 2 cups water. Let rise for 2 hours in a oiled bowl, punching down as needed.

3 ground turkey packages
4 chopped green onions
5 TBS pomegranate concentrate juice
A splash of chicken broth
1 can + 4 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS + a pinch baharat
5 TBS lemon juice
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup Tahini
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all topping ingredients together in bowl with your hands, breaking apart the meat and blending well.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. And line three baking sheets with foil, spray with cooking spray.
Form the dough into golf ball sized balls and cover them with saran wrap in the bowl. Taking out one ball at a time, roll it out to form an oval. Take some topping and thinly spread it on the dough- covering the entire surface to the edges, leaving no blank spots. Place on baking sheet. 

Once the first baking sheet is full, put in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until browned on the bottom and topping is cooked. Repeat with remaining dough.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I hope you all enjoyed the Big Game last weekend (yea NY Giants- my future home team!) – and most of all, I hope it was filled with delicious snacks. In between homemade jalapeño poppers and football shaped cupcakes- I have been reading about soup competitions for the Super Bowl being all the new rage. From pheasant stews to red hot chili’s, home chefs everywhere are taking part in Souper-Soups.

So, as part of the pre-game eve festivities I decided to experiment with my soup skills and made this Mushroom & Leek Soup with Parsley Dumplings:

{The dumplings were heavenly with the crispy exterior from pan frying them- I would (and did) eat these on their own}*

Now that it actually feels like winter in Cali, I have a feeling soups will be occurring on my menus more often.

*Photo and recipe courtesy of Bon Appétit

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Acorn Squash Salad

I would take a cozy dinner for two at home any night over hitting the loud crazy bars (ah- am I old?!) and that’s just what I did this past weekend while visiting my fiancé. An easy and compatible way for us to divide up making dinner is for him to take charge of the protein (usually a grilled meat/fish/etc.) and I am in charge of the sides.

To go along with his 2 grilled meats (filet in a Balsamic Ginger Glaze and NY strip with a Miami Spice Rub) I put together a Roasted Acorn Squash & Arugula Salad with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese:

{I roasted the acorn squash with a dash of nutmeg which added a great spiced flavor}

The heartiness of the squash along with the crunch of the nuts made for the perfect compliment to the meat- what a combo!

Oh and here is a picture of my man’s meat (hehe):

{Check out those grill marks}

Monday, January 30, 2012

Elmo Cupcakes!

My nephew was visiting here in Cali and celebrated his 2nd birthday. He is infatuated with Elmo, just like any average toddler, so I got an idea from Pintrest (addicting) and made these Elmo cupcakes:

{Marshmallow eyes, chocolate nose and oreo mouth}

The frosting was a bit of a nightmare and my hands were stained red for several days afterwards- but it was worth the effort. These would be perfect for a sesame street themed party!