Archive for February, 2009

Pizza Rustique

Posted in Food (vegan) with tags , , , , , on 27,February,2009 by Mia

 Pizza-rustique/Kahliya-logue

 

Wow.I am relatively new to Blogland,but somehow yesterday when I read about one food event and decided to join at the last minute,that kind of got my creative juices flowing and here I am trying to join in another inspiring event(also at the last minute!).

This one is initiated by Vaishali from ‘Holy cow!’ , and the event is  ‘It`s a vegan world’  with this month`s theme- ‘Italian’!

iawv

I am not or atleast did not intend to be specifically a food blogger when I began,but food definitely is an important component of my world,and one of the beauties of food is that it connects between so many different people from all over the Globe in such a wonderful way,allowing us each to ‘taste’  from ‘eachother`s world’ in more ways than one..!

In preparing food my approach is Vegan in a philosphical way aswell as healthminded,which means I try to stay close to nature and its basic fresh produce and I do not tend to use processed items not even vegan ones-like commercial  imitation cheese etc.I love Nature and I have this joyful dialogue with it..On the other hand I have Immense respect and appreciation for traditional ways and dishes,creating I guess ,a bond with our ancestors that I can feel in the aura of each meticulously prepared dish,that I wish to preserve and connect to.So I try to come up with creative ways to maintain a fruitful communication between the two,by offering my variations to these dishes aswell as creating new ones.

For this challenge I have chosen to prepare a ‘Pizza Rustique’ which consists of a Wholewheat flour dough without yeast as I do not like to use raising agents that much, into which I add Ajwan seeds . These  are seeds normally used in the Indian Cuisine, that have a similar flavor to Thyme or Oregano and add a delightful touch to the crust which was baked topped with basically fresh tomato slices ,black olives,drizzled Olive oil with fresh Aragula leaves  upon serving.

I hope the Italian among you will not kill me,but you know what? It really came out divine! The crust was a real crust(dont ask me how it got that way without the yeast,asides the ingredients 🙂 ) ; the Tomatoes tasted like Tomato Confit,and the added fresh leaves just gave an added vitality and crunch.

Now to work? :

Ingredients:

Dough –

2 cups wholewheat flour

1/4 cup Olive oil

1/3 cup tepid water

salt/pepper

2 tbsp Ajwan seeds(optional)

 

Topping –

2 ,3 ripe tomatoes

3,4 pitted Black Olives

3,4 roughly chopped Champignon Mushrooms(optional)

Salt/Pepper

Dried Oregano

Olive Oil

Fresh Aragula leaves(also known as Roket)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Preparing the dough:

In a medium sized bowl,place flour ,add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp Pepper

and 1-2 tbsp Ajwan seeds and mix.

Then add Oil and mix in the flour.At this point I like to crumble a bit with my fingers making sure the oil distributes well into the flour.

add 1/3 cup water to mixture,first by mixing with a spoon then when dough begins to form,begin using your hands to form a nice flexible slightly moist ball of dough,adding if needed a bit of flour/or water.Do not overwork the dough,just maintain a nice soft ball.

place ball covered in fridge for about an hour.(in this case I actually only waited 10 minutes..)

Meantime heat oven to approx 250 dgrees.

Take out dough and flatten with rolling pin to a medium large circle to fit a circle pie dish.

Note that you can ofcourse shape your pizza into a rectangular/square form as you wish.

I line the dish with parchement baking paper,I find its the cleanest simplest way.

Place your basic dough form into the dish,and top with nicely sliced tomatoes forming a circular pattern.

Cut your pitted olives in pieces and add,aswell as your chopped mushrooms.

Drizzle with some Olive oil ,and sprinkle some dried oregano,salt and pepper.

Bake in the Oven for approx 25-35 minutes.(may slightly differ as I used a toaster oven)

Be extra careful not to overbake,just be on the look out that the crust becomes tan and a bit crisp ,but not brown,and the tomatoes bake and shrink very slightly-NOT dehydrate completely.

Remove from the oven and serve warm while adding the fresh Aragula leaves just before serving as they tend to become mushy with the heat,aswell as an additional drizzle of Olive oil if you wish.

Buon appetito!

*Note: I just learned about DMBLGT-”Does my blog look good in this” a  monthly food photography event,hosted this month by Nika from Nikas culinaria,and I decided to send in this post`s photo to the event..see ya there! 🙂

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My variation on Mujadarah-Middle Eastern lentil and rice dish

Posted in Food (vegan) with tags , , , , , , on 22,February,2009 by Mia

 

upgraded-megadarah2

This is a variation of mine on another favorite Middle Eastern dish, ‘Mujaddarah’   a classic lentil and rice dish ,in which it`s name slightly varies aswell as it`s preparation.The basic concept is cooked Green Lentils with White Rice garnished with fried onions,though sometimes made with Burgul(cracked wheat)and even Red lentils replace the Green in certain variations,while at others thinstrand noodles are added.It is a very simple but  ‘hearty’  dish as it represents a great nutritional balance ,served with a small fresh salad,you`ve got all you need!

As I have encountered with many Middle eastern dishes,there exists a similar Rice and lentil dish in the Indian cuisine aswell,and it is named Kichri. Another fact I found intriguing is that it is said to be the dish of ESAU from the bible! Which just goes to show that a GOOD dish sticks around for while..  🙂

Ok.Now in this case Im sticking to another all time favorite of mine-the Green lentils,but the smaller ones if you can find,and if we`re already being picky here ,then I just ADORE the ‘Le Puy’  lentils! I fell in love with them when I used to live in France,they`re smaller, darker and have this stronger flavor to them ,apparently due to the special soil they grow in which also renders them higher  in protein content. In any case Lentils are known to be very high in iron, making them just perfect for those who do not eat Meat.

Otherwise I am also sticking to white rice,whichever you prefer ( I personally prefer basmatic but I think I`ll talk about that another time..). The variation here is in adding  sauted Leek  and Spinach.Call me a ‘Leek freak ‘ if you will,but I use it a whole lot ,and though I have nothing against onion,I just think that Leek has that added flavor to it..and Spinach as we all know is another high source of Iron and Calcium.Oh and I almost forgot ,I also added mushrooms(Champignon mushrooms) in this case,which is totally optional.

Shall we begin..?

Ingredients:

1 cup white rice

1 cup Green lentils

1 large leek

 200gr fresh Spinach

1/2 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms

Dried Sage

Baharat/or allspice

Dried Zaatar leaves (not mix)/or Oregano

Salt and pepper

Olive oil ( Does any other exist..?)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Rince the Rice in water several times to wash the starch away,you will see the water becoming clear and drain well.bring the water to boil in a saucepan,add the rice with a little salt and olive oil,allow to boil vigorously before reducing the heat,and cook with a closed lid on a low heat for about 20 minutes.

In a separate pan,after rinsing the lentils(some presoak them),place them with water ,bring to a boil.remove scum and add salt and pepper,1 tsp Baharat,1 tsp crushed Dried sage,1/2 tsp zaatar(or oregano) ,lower heat and cook for approx 1.5 hr until tender.

In a skillet saute sliced Leek in some Olive oil until tender ,add the chopped mushrooms and saute slightly until ‘browned’ a bit ,reduce heat and add torn or chopped Spinach leaves,then add the rice and the lentils together,mixing it all together,using a bit of the remaining water inwhich the Lentils were cooked,adjusting the flavors with more of the spices if needed,aswell as an additional touch of Olive oil if you wish.

Et Voila..

Enjoy!  🙂

P.s  I`d Love to hear any other versions you would like to share!

*Update on this post! After reading Simona`s  delicious post – ‘Cannellini bean puree’ on her blog ‘briciole’ , informing us that she will contribute this recipe to a legume centered event  My legume love affair- Eighth Helping , created and hosted this month by Susan, The Well-Seasoned cook, I decided to try and participate ,submitting this post, though almost  at the last minute..Im very excited! 🙂 Thank you Simona,Thank you Susan!

*Additional note: Just to let you know,the lentils  separately cooked with these spices can be served as a very tasty dish in itself ,aswell as adding the sauted leek and/or spinach to them upgrading the dish a bit and having the rice or something else on the side. 🙂

Message of love-part II

Posted in my handcraft, Spirituality, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 14,February,2009 by Mia

message-of-love-part-ii-031-copy-copy                    Embroidered wall hanging,my creation,Kahliya

In continuation to my post message of love  I would like to wish you all

HAPPY VALENTINE`S DAY !

May we remember to genuinely appreciate,cherish and forever celebrate Love. May we call upon the energy of love to sooth our pains,ease our despair,and regenerate our vitality.May we transmit and offer love generously and abundantly ,even and despite ,  moments of doubt , fear or anger:  to our lovers; families and friends; neighbors and even our enemies, but most of all – to ourselves.

Learning to love ourselves sincerely and truly ,in full forgiveness,with our beauty and ugliness,our strength and weakness, is celebrating the creation of life, as it encompasses all – the GOOD and the BAD. The only true journey to ‘true love’  enabling us to love and accept others whoever they may be,with much less judgement.

 message-of-love-part-ii-044-copy-rsz1

Celebrate yourself,your loved ones,the beauty around you, a lovely flower, a breathtaking landscape, a great book, an amazing dish..all this is love!

 

friend6

                                                   photo courtesy of  Century

I encountered this adorable photo adjoining a lovely post written by Sriram from his blog century,titled-

‘Unusual friendship’.

To which I would like to add..

How lovely can it be to allow our pure souls to connect and experience sincere love and friendship disregarding the aquired  and customary barriers of ‘society’ and ‘education’ ?

Is it not time to realise that there is so much to learn from ‘the other’ , ‘ the different’ ,while at the same time there is much more in common than we realise? Why do people tend to feel so threatened by someone who is different than themselves?

Food for thought..for a lovely Valentine`s day..! Have a good one!

P.S  If you like the embroidery in the photo,check out my online handcraft shop!  🙂

All my Love,

Mia

Simple Sweet potato & Pumpkin soup

Posted in Soups with tags , , , on 6,February,2009 by Mia

pumpkin-sweet-potato-soup-006

As I have mentioned recently,I don`t get much chance to create as much as I would like to in the kitchen these days,but this is one of those quick simple dishes to warm you up in this cold weather especially if you don`t have too much time to bother..

 

Ingredients:

1 very large Leek -diced/or 2 smaller ones

1 very large Sweet potato/2 smaller ones – cut into large cubes

250 gr (approx.) slice of Pumkin-cut into large cubes

Baharat  🙂 /or Allspice

additional cinnamon

salt/pepper

Thyme

Sage

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

In a medium size pot – Saute the diced Leek in some Olive oil;

as they soften,add Sweet potato and Pumpkin cubes

continue to stir-fry a bit  then fill the pot with water almost to the top

bring to a boil and simmer ,

add 1 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp pepper;  1.5 tsp baharat; 1/2 tsp Cinnamon ; 1 tsp thyme and 1 tsp crushed dried sage leaves

continue to cook covered on low heat ,eventually adjusting the flavors to your taste,till the cubes soften,

simmer a bit more and thats it!

Enjoy!

*Update: I have decided to submit this post to an event named ”food in colors” initiated by Harini of “Tongue ticklers”,and hosted this month by Aparna from “My diverse kitchen”,with ORANGE being this months theme color!

Let`s go ORANGE!

Baharat-spice blend

Posted in Herbs & Spices with tags , , , , on 6,February,2009 by Mia

 

baharat-0061

Baharat is a spice blend typically used in Middle Eastern countries.The word Baharat means spice/spices in Arabic,but oddly enough it`s origin leads us to a Sanscrit  name of  ‘India’; also said to be derived from the word ‘Bahar’ in Arabic which means pepper,as it is a blend of pepper with other spices.

In Israel this spice blend is known to have  been introduced by the community of  Jews coming from IraQ,though many countries in the middle east have the same basic blend,as certain ingredients differ slightly.Some include dried mint;others rose petals;sometimes it has Cassia bark and at others loomi(dried black lime)and saffron threads,or Cardamom.

Baharat is mostly used for Meat dishes and soups.I adore this blend,it is one of my favorite spices as I add it to almost everything! Since  I am vegan,there is no meat involved here,but I enjoy the warming flavor it gives to soups and veggies.I found it to be especially enhancing  for ‘meat substitutes’  for example the dehydrated minced soy protein,which I add to the fillings of  stuffed vegetables that I make..but more of that another time.. 🙂

As I have mentioned the combination varies slightly but this is the variation I know and use:

For a small jar of 100 gram:

50 gram ground Cinnamon

6  ground Nutmeg seeds

2 tblspoon rose petals

1 tblspoon ground dried Ginger

1 tblspoon ground Cloves

50 gram ground Black pepper

50 gram ground Allspice

—————————————–

Combine all ground spices together and mix well.keep in an airtight closed jar away from sunlight.

While freshly grinding these spices in the authentic manner-with a pestle and mortar is obviously the best,it is not always possible and machine grinding them is fine aswell as buying them ready ground,though try to make sure they are freshly and purely ground.

Feel free to experiment on making the combination that works the best for you!

Here are some additional links to other combinations:

theepicentre

recipezaar

thegourmetfoodsource

cliffordawright

Enjoy!

confession..

Posted in Spirituality with tags , on 4,February,2009 by Mia

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I have this confession to make…I havent had my own kitchen in quite a while now..let`s see it`s been about 4 yrs now..You will agree with me that that`s a lot! Come to think of it..I havent had my own home for that much time either…Those of you who know me ,know that Im a very homey person and the kitchen is a very important place for me too..But,my journey being as it is,has revealed an episode of life, challenging me to develop different qualities in my personality,and I have been embracing this challenge with as much bravery as I can..with the occasional whining ofcourse..as it is frustrating..

While I was in Turkey for 3 yrs,I was living in pensions ,as I have invested my energy on my shop there,and then something unexpectedly happened which caused me to come here-to Israel where I am staying  temporarily with my parents..I thought I would stay a month..but it turned out a year..still not sure as to where Im headed..all I do know is that within this year Ive had a chance to think about many things..On the most part my work ,as it is interlinked with my beliefs and concerns about life,has been affected by this process,and is going through many shifts.Although I feel I have not been able to give it my all,at the same time maybe more ‘under the surface’  it is being molded to coincide more fully with who I am or who I am becoming.

The reason I am sharing this is because I currently feel that  I have not been able to appropriately express who I am and what I do due to certain circumstances and probably also due to how well I adapt to these circumstances..hmmm 🙂

Having said all that I can now try to make  a (late) new year`s resolution, as I try harder within this transition to invest more in what I do ,with the conditions at hand ,hoping for my next stage in life to reveal itself to me and with it my new home wherever that will be.. 🙂

and once again,the one and only Khalil Gibran:

”We wanderers everseeking the lonlier way,

begin no day where we have ended another day;

and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us.

Even while the earth sleeps we travel.

we are the seeds of the tenacious plant,and it is in our ripeness

and our fullness of heart

that we are given to the wind and are scattered.”