The Shish ka·bob

shish ke·bab also shish ke·bob or shish ka·bob  (shĭsh’ kə-bŏb’)

A dish consisting of pieces of seasoned meat and sometimes vegetables roasted on skewers and served with condiments

[Armenian shish kabab, from Turkish şiş kebab: şiş, skewer + kebab, qualifying (possessive) form of kebap, roasted meat (probably from Arabic kabāb, cooked meat in small pieces, possibly from Aramaic kabbābā, burning, charring, from kabbeb, to char, roast, probably from Akkadian kabābu, to burn; see kbb in Semitic roots).] –Dictionary.com

 

 

Italian: History of Zeppola & Recipe

Photo Credit: flkr

A zeppola (plural zeppole, in southern dialects zeppoli) or St. Joseph’s Day cake, also called sfinge and in Rome Bignè di S. Giuseppe is a pastry typical of Roman, Neapolitan and generally peninsular Italian cuisine and are also served in Sicily and on the island of Malta. Commonly light, deep-fried dough balls about 2 inches (5.1 cm) in diameter, these doughnuts or fritters are usually topped with powdered sugar and may be filled with custard, jelly, cannoli-style pastry cream or a butter-and-honey mixture. Their consistency ranges from light and puffy, to bread or pasta-like. Zeppoli are traditionally consumed on La Festa di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph’s Day), (March 19). In Rome, Naples and Sicily, these little pastries are sold on many streets and are sometimes gifts on this day. In parts of Calabria, the anchovy or a sultana variety are consumed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. -(Wikepedia)

See Recipe

Ingredients

5 to 6 pounds pizza dough

1 (32 fluid ounce) bottle vegetable oil

2 cups flour

Several large brown bags, cupped open and placed on your kitchen table

 Directions

The day before Christmas Eve, put the dough in a large pot and pound together. Cover with a warm cloth and place inside the oven to rise. Make sure the oven is turned off! Every couple of hours, pound the dough down. You can let the dough rise overnight.

 

On Christmas Eve morning, punch down the dough and let it rise another hour before cooking. Pour the oil into an electric frying pan until the pan is 1/2 full. (If you are using a deep pot, pour in all of the oil, since the pot is deeper than the frying pan.) While the oil is heating, take a little dough, one piece at a time, and shape each piece into a circle or your own design. Dip each piece into the flour and place on a floured cutting board (the flour helps keep the Zeppole from sticking). Once the oil is very hot, toss a small piece of dough into the oil to test it. If it starts to sizzle, the oil is hot enough. Place the shapes you made, into the oil one piece at a time. Be careful; the oil can splatter. As the Zeppole start to brown, turn them so they brown on all sides. It takes about 10 minutes to cook each one. Make sure you watch them; don’t overcook or undercook. Remove carefully one by one, with a slotted spoon as they are cooked and place them on the brown paper bags to drain. Work in batches until all the dough is used.

 

Once all the Zeppole are fried, divide them into 2 batches and place each batch on a large terrycloth towel. Wrap them up and place them in a pillowcase; keep them in a warm place in the house until you are ready to serve them. The towel will help absorb some of the oil. When you are ready to serve them, warm them on a tray in the oven for 5 to10 minutes. Dunk them in the marinara sauce at dinner; for breakfast, served instead of bread and spread butter on them.

 

Note: You can make about 3 dozen Zeppole with 5 to 6 pounds of pizza dough. That may sound like a lot, but if you have a crowd on Christmas Eve, serve them again on Christmas morning then during the week with the leftovers, you will consume them all before you know it!

 

Recipes may be reprinted with the following credit:

Recipes reprinted from RECIPES TO REMEMBER

by Barbara Magro

Author House

Do it Yourself: Fill Mason Jars with Goodies

Once upon a time people did a lot of things for themselves. Harry and David’s was not the end-all and be-all of fresh fruit preserves and corn salsa.People canned, preserved, and pickled all kinds of delicacies and used mason jars to keep them stored. Growing up, my grandmother made pickled watermelon, by using its rind – the kind of thing you do to make the most of your money. That pickled watermelon wasn’t half bad. Neither were thepeach and apple preserves lining the kitchen cabinets. Now before you go purchasing a butter churner, there’s no need to turn the hands of time back quite that far, but during the holiday season it can be fun and useful to break out those old mason jars and fill them with a few handmade and store-bought goodies. It may just save you some change and give you a little taste of the”Do it yourself” nostalgia of yesteryear.

Mason Jar #1

Here’s a quick little gift you and the kids can make. Go to the store and buy a load of candy. We’re talking jellybeans, lemon drops, Swedish Fish,Gummi Bears, Now & Laters, M&M’s. There is no wrong combination. Keep in mind these are to be given away, so make sure you get the type of candythe gift recipient likes. Fill the jar with three equal levels of candy. You can separate the levels by cutting out the center of a coffee filter or cut wax paper in rounds for a buffer. Voila! That was easy.

Maybe you don’t want to do three levels of candy, well you can always fill it up with one candy. Here’s a fun idea. If the gift recipient is a little adventurous, try candy from another country. Here are a few examples:

• Canada: Maple Syrup Candy is a hard candy made from pure maple syrup.

• Turkey: Turkish Delight or Lokum is made with starch and sugar and flavored with rosewater, mastic, or lemon and dusted with icing sugar

or copra.

• Japan: Botan Rice Candy is a soft and chewy lemon-orange flavored candy with an edible rice paper.

• Middle East: Halvah consists of honey and ground sesame seeds or nuts, sometimes with the addition of rose water and saffron.

• England: Toffee is a confection that is made by boiling molasses or sugar along with butter and in some instances flour is used in the recipe as well. It can be mixed with nuts or raisins. This one is a great one to try making at home. Click this link for a recipe for English Toffee

• South American/Asian/Caribbean: Tamarind Balls are a confectionary made from  the tamarind tropical seed pulp. The pulp is extremely tangy in taste. Tamarind pulp is shaped into balls then rolled in granulated sugar and white pepper (sometimes cayenne and black pepper are used as well). Click here to try this simple tamarind ball recipe.

Some of these candies can be found at international stores.

And sometimes you can find a promo code or two  for international treats.

The Food Traditions of Christmas Ornaments

Christmas Food Ornaments

The tradition of popcorn and berry garland was birthed in the United States.

Did you know that ornaments are supposed to be different every year? That’s right, Christmas ornaments are meant to be a board-overview symbolizing memories of Christmas over the years. The earliest ornaments were apples, used during the 1800s. Eventually paper streamers with bits of shiny metal foil were added as an effect to make the Christmas tree reflect light.

Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, Christmas trees were decorated with any household odds and ends, varying by country. Americans, for instance, would string long strands of cranberries or popcorn to circle their trees. Small gifts began to be used to decorate the tree, some times containing tiny intricately woven baskets, or at times just hanging by a thread or a piece of yarn.

In the UK, creative ornaments of lace, paper or other materials showed the variety of interests and talents of their makers. Small “scraps” cut out of newspaper or magazine illustrations also found their way to the family’s tree.

In the late nineteenth century, German glass blowers, in the area around Lauscha, began  blowing Christmas themed glass strictly for the holiday. Initially replicating fruits, nuts and other food items, they soon branched out and began to manufacture hearts, stars and other shapes that, prior to, were created out of cookies. However, now it had the added dimension of a wide color palette enhanced by the luminosity of the glass itself. Eventually the glass blowers began creating molds of children, saints, animals, and famous people. In the late 1800s to the early 1900s, F.W. Woolworth began to import the German glass ornaments at a value of 25- million.

In many countries there are still special ornamental traditions today. Here are a few of the ornament traditions:

In Germany there is the pickle ornament, placed on the tree first by the parents. The story goes that the child who finds the pickle first (normally the most observant one) would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas.

In Lithuania, Father Christmas spreads grain on the floor and children must perform a special song or dance on this grain so they may receive their presents.

In Argentina instead of placing gifts under a tree presents are put into shoes.

Article written by Jasmine Gore

Italian: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

Calamari Salad:  a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa de sette pesci) is a uniquely Italian tradition from Southern Italy, celebrated on Christmas Eve (also known as “the vigil” or “La Vigilia”). Although some parts of Italy do not celebrate the feast, it is believed to be an authentically Italian tradition going back to the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from the Italian xmas eveconsumption of meat or milk products on Fridays and specified holy days. In the stead of meat, Catholics ate fish, typically fried in oil. Other seafood has been incorporated into the celebration as well.

So why seven fish? The story is debatable. Some say it has to do with the number of sacraments celebrated in the Catholic church, while others say that it has everything to do with the Biblical meaning of the number seven representing perfection. No matter what the story…that’s a whole lotta’ seafood, so there’s bound to be a whole lotta’ family and friends and fun.

Popular dishes include

The meal’s components may include some combination of anchovieswhitinglobstersardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eelssquidoctopusshrimpmussels and clams. The menu may also include pastasvegetables, baked or fried kale patties, baked goods and homemade wine. This tradition remains very popular to this day.

Popular dishes

many more. See allrecipes.com for menu tips for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Fried Smelts: a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Fine Dining Restaurants of Vegas “Top Chef”

The Houston Chronicle recently did a piece on Top Chef, recognizing the Chefs and fine dining restaurants of Vegas.  Here is the listing.

Alex

Chef Alessandro Stratta’s sumptuous Alex serves what he calls French Riviera dining. We call it stupendous. Everything about the enterprise — the lavish interior, the expert service, the exquisite food — is at the top of its game. Housed in Wynn Las Vegas, home to an embarrassment of culinary riches, Alex offers dishes such as John Dory with fondant potato, ocean trout with charred cuttlefish, crispy pork belly with peas and Serrano ham, braised American Wagyu short ribs with onion jam and roasted squab with seared foie gras. If you’re going for broke, you might as well splurge on the $295 tasting menu, including wines. After all, you only live once.

(Photo Credit/Star Bulletins: Chef Alessandro’s creation)

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare

There’s a reason Paul Bartolotta won best chef in the Southwest at this year’s James Beard Awards. His restaurant in Wynn Las Vegas has been described by food critics as one of the most breathtaking seafood experiences in the world. Much has been written about the restaurant’s way with sea creatures flown in daily. But the true gauge is your own taste: Go for the whole branzino (sea bass), orata (sea bream) or roasted aragosta (spiny lobster). From the tiny clams in garlic tomato sauce to the seafood risotto to the turbot, Bartolotta is out to impress. And impress he does. The prices may shock Poseidon, but you’ll have to travel far to find a better Italian seafood experience.

BLT Burger

High-end restaurants may be suffering in this economy, which makes a burger (especially a good one) a logical dinner option. Chef Laurent Tourondel, seen in Episode 4, knows from a good burger, and his BLT Burger in Mirage is ready to serve up the quintessential American meal, paired with expert fries and thick milkshakes. The spiffy restaurant makes you feel like a grown-up player while plying you with kiddie comfort foods such as mozzarella sticks, onion rings, nachos, s’mores and Krispy Kreme doughnut bread pudding. Hard to resist, so don’t even try.

Bouchon

Finding Thomas Keller’s bustling bistro in the Venetian’s Venezia Tower is a bit of a chore. But your rewards are many at this grand café from the chef whose French Laundry is one of the world’s most sought-after dining experiences. Bouchon serves up expert French bistro fare, including goat cheese salad, duck confit, roasted leg of lamb, croque madame, brandade, steak frites and profiteroles. It’s homey fare in a casual setting that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bread is heavenly. Don’t miss the rillettes of salmon (and excuse to consume even more bread). The raw bar is ready to serve you oysters and a cold glass of Sancerre. In the middle of the desert, you feel you’re in Paris.

Craftsteak

Head judge Tom Colicchio’s posh steakhouse in MGM Grand is probably the ultimate Top Chef restaurant. The same laser eyes that Colicchio trains on contestants are focused on his menu of grilled and roasted meats from the top of the beef heap. But as we saw in Season 6’s episode with Natalie Portman, Craftsteak is more than a temple of cow; it also serves impeccable seafood and the most pristine vegetables. If you’re craving Vegas razzle-dazzle you won’t find it in this rather serious dining room. But you will find expert service and terrific food.

Click to See Info on the following Restaurants Below

  • Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Fleur de Lys Restaurant

  • Joel Robuchon, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
  • Olives-Todd English’s Mediterranean restaurant
  • Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood

 

For more on this article, visit: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/6756197.html

Mediterranean Medley: How to Make Hummus

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Michelle Karam hosts Mediterranean Medley.  On her first webisode, she prepares hummus.   Michelle is of Armenian descent and her culture very much influences her passion for cooking.

Click to check fun cooking/ food apparel

About Baba Ghanoush

Some parts of the Levant, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer; in Egypt it is mostly served as a side-dish or salad. It is made of aubergine with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables blended in. It is normally served with a dressing of oil and pomegranate concentrate. It is made of roasted, peeled, and mashed aubergine, blended with tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice and topped with olive oil. Cumin and chili powder can be added. A similar dish is known as mutabbal in the Levant. In the traditional method, the eggplant is first roasted in an oven for approximately 30 minutes. The softened flesh is scooped out, squeezed to remove excess water, and is then pureed with the tahini. There are many variants of the recipe, especially the seasoning. Seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, mint, and parsley. When served on a plate or bowl, it is traditional to drizzle the top with olive oil.[3]

(In Photo: Syrian Style baba Ghanoush)

It is eaten in Turkey, where it is called patlıcan salatası (meaning “eggplant salad”). And, in Greece, it is called μελιτζανοσαλάταmelitzanosalata (meaning “eggplant salad”). An Israeli variation of the salad is made with mayonnaise.[4] There is also Bulgarian eggplant salad/spread, called Kiopolu Кьополу.

Indian Baingan Bartha is a dish similar to baba ghanoush. It is similarly prepared by grilling eggplant over open charcoal flame to impart a smoky flavor to the flesh. It is then cooked with an assortment of spices, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. It is commonly served with breads like Paratha, Roti, and Naan.

In West India, yogurt and chopped onion are added to roasted eggplant along with various seasonings. The dish, typically served as a side, is called Bharta.(Wikepedia)

First Looks in the Kitchen with MCCN Hosts

(From Left to Right: Efren, Michelle & Sunni)

Get ready for exciting and informative programs with the chefs and cooks of the Multi Cultural Cooking Network.    Read their bios at http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.com

This dynamic trio is serving up some great recipe for the holidays.  Stay tuned….

( Efren Cardinas  serves up desserts to be featured on his holiday show)

Mediterranean Delights by Michelle

Sunni Boswell will teach you quick and easy Asian Cuisines

Armenian Grape Leaves(Warack Diwali)Stuffed With Rice Recipe

grape_leaves

Ingredients:

 1 cup pearl rice (long grain white rice may be substituted)
    2 medium sized white onions chopped fine
    1/3 cup Wesson Oil
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup tomato sauce
    1 teaspoon dill
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    about 50 grape leaves (may be purchased in gourmet shops or in gourmet dept. of a large supermaket)

Directions:

In a large frying pan, fry onions in oil until limp. Add rice, water, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Cover and boil a few minutes until the water has been absorbed (if you use long grain rice this will take approx. 20 minutes).  Take off heat and add dill and parsley. Stir and let cool.  Rinse leaves in warm water and gently snap off stems. Spread a leaf on a small plate, vein side up and stem end toward you.  Put a teaspoon of filling near the stem and fold over sides and roll up.  Place some unrolled leaves in the bottom of pan to prevent burning.  Arrange rolled leaves side by side in pan in several layers.  Place a few unrolled leaves on top.  Add one cup water, juice of one lemon and three tablespoons Wesson Oil.  Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Serve cold as an appetizer.

Serves: 10

Preparation time: approx. 1 hr

*Suggested fave dish by Maram Canawati but admittedly she prefers it with meat.