Baklava, A Traditional Dessert Recipe

Traditional Recipe by Michelle Karam 

Baklava (/ˈbɑːkləvɑː/, /bɑːkləˈvɑː/,[1] or /bəˈklɑːvə/;[2] Ottoman Turkish: باقلوا [bɑːklɑvɑː]) is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, and is also found in Central and Southwest Asia.

Turkish etymologist Sevan Nişanyan claims an old Turkish origin (baklağı or baklağu).[6] Buell argues that the word “baklava” may come from theMongolian root baγla- ‘to tie, wrap up, pile up’.

This recipe was donated to us by Michelle Karam and placed on our other website back in January in 2010.

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Filo Dough from your frozen food section at your supermarket
  • ¾ lb unsalted butter melted & clarified
  • 2 c. walnuts finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

  For the Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Cinnamon stick

DIRECTIONS:

Lay open package of fillo dough and rest your baking pan on it and cut sheets the size of your baking pan. Immediately cover your sheets of fillo with a moist towel to keep the sheets from drying out & cracking. Mix together in a bowl walnuts, sugar & cinnamon.     Lay 5 sheets of fillo dough in the bottom of the baking pan and brush each layer with the melted butter. (YOU DO NOT NEED TO SOAK THE ENTIRE   SHEET-JUST COVER LIGHTLY) Sprinkle 5 TABLESPOONS of the walnut mixture over the top. Then layer on top of it 10 sheets of fillo dough, only buttering every 3rd one. Continue this process 3 more times, buttering each 3rd time. Butter top layer generously to cover along the edges.   Before baking, score dough into diamonds; brush again generously over each diamond to ensure the fillo will stick when baking.   Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Pull the pan out of the oven after 15 minutes and pour the rest of the warm butter that was remaining over each diamond. Fillo dough will puff up. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the top is light golden brown. When the pan is out of the oven, hold top with a spatula and tilt it to the side to try to drain any remaining butter.   Leave pan tilted for at least 5 minutes so that as much butter as it can will be removed. (May use some paper towels to soak up)   SYRUP: Add all ingredients together over medium high heat- once it comes to a boil and a syrup is formed, remove cinnamon stick.   COOL BAKLAVA. Syrup may be added to the baklava just prior to serving. If you add it too soon, the baklava will get soft and soggy.   You can keep the syrup in the refrigerator to store it.

Differing Beauty Perspectives From East to West: Miss USA

Newly-crowned Miss USA Rima Fakih may be the pride and joy of her native Lebanese village, but the 24-year-old beauty contestant is far less popular among some leaders in the Middle East.

In an interview Tuesday with Lebanese television, Hezbollah official Hassan Fadlallah reportedly had few glowing words to describe Fakih, who became the first Muslim American on Sunday to secure the crown.

“The criteria through which we evaluate women are different from those of the west,” Fadlallah told the television station, AFP reported. READ MORE

Greek Easter Tradition: Koulourakia

Koulourakia (Greek: κουλουράκια, IPA: [kuluˈracia]) is a traditional Greek dessert, typically made at Easter to be eaten after Holy Saturday.

They are a butter-based pastry, traditionally hand-shaped, with egg glaze on top. They have a sweet delicate flavor with a hint of vanilla. Koulourakia are well known for their sprinkle of sesame seeds and distinctive ring shape. In fact, the word is the diminutive form for a ring-shaped loaf or lifebelt. These pastries are also often shaped like small snakes by the Minoans, as they worshiped the snake for its healing powers.

Now the pastries can be shaped into braided circles, hairpin twists, figure eights, twisted wreaths, horseshoes or Greek letters, although they are still often shaped into a snake style. They are commonly eaten with morning coffee or afternoon tea. Like all pastries, they are normally kept in dry conditions in a jar with a lockable lid.- (Wikepedia)

The Multi Cultural Shakira

Shakira With Music Video Co-Star/Spanish Tennis Champ Rafael Nadal

Recently Shakira has created quite a stir with casting the Spanish tennis hunk and world Champion, Rafael Nadal in her new video Gypsy.  And she is back with more belly dancing in the new vid.  Ever wonder why she is so partial to that dance move?  Info about her ethnic background on her dad’s side helps to shed light. 

The Colombian singer’s real name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll and she was born in Barranquilla Colombia.

She was born to a mother of Spanish and Italian ancestry named Nidya del Carmen Ripoll Torrado. Her father, William Mebarak Chadid is of Lebanese ethnicity.

Her name Shakira means “thankful” in Arabic. She uses Turkish-Arabic belly dancing in a lot of her performances.

Find out more about Shakira and the ethnicity of other celebs at http://ethniccelebs.com

Try this Mediterranean Recipe which is popular among the Lebanese: Al Fattoush Salad Recipe

Armenian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuff it!!!  Most of us were brought up to think that meat and vegetables were cooked separately… side by side so to speak… but if you grew up in our house being that we were from Armenian descent, veggies stuffed with meat or dolmas as we called them were part of the norm.  We stuffed grape leaves, cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes and even peppers. 

Stuffing peppers is actually pretty common in a lot of cultures.  Hungarians, Greeks, Italians and Armenians all have some sort of variation for this recipe. 

The one I’m going to share with you today is an Armenian recipe.  You can actually use this recipe to stuff  just about any vegetable that you like!

Red, Green, Yellow… the color of the pepper doesn’t matter! This is one of those no fail type of recipes… go ahead and try… you can’t ruin it!

 This one is for you Lelo… thanks for writing to me for the recipe! I know grandma would be proud of you! –Michelle Karam of Mediterranean Medley on MCCN

 Stuffed Peppers Ingredients

8 Bell Peppers

1 pound ground beef/turkey/chicken

½ cup long grain rice

½ onion finely chopped

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 can peeled, petite dice tomatoes

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon dried mint crushed

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 small garlic clove minced

salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash the peppers and cut off the tops & remove seeds. Set aside
  • Mix the meat, rice, onion, parsley, garlic, cayenne, salt & pepper and half of the can of tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.  Combine thoroughly.
  • Stuff the cored peppers with meat- do not stuff all the way to the very top. Leave about ¼ of an inch from the top as the rice will expand while cooking and it will overflow.
  • Arrange the stuffed peppers in a large pot.  Pour the remaining tomatoes over the top.  Add the lemon juice, mint  and a little water so thereis approx 2-3  inches of liquid in the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer, covered, for about 45 min, or until the peppers are tender. 

 OPTIONAL: You may serve with a dollop of yogurt or Lebni (Armenian style yogurt- it has a thicker consistency than plain yogurt) on the side

See Michelle’s Recipe:  Mediterranean Fish

Dinner and a Movie: St. George Shoots the Dragon

This photo is taken from Whatsforlunchhoney.blogspot.com

The Dinner:  Serbian food is a blend of the two Empires that it bordered (Ottoman and Austria-Hungary) and the country features a very distinctive shift in meals in every part of the country. From Oriental to European, all types of food influences fill Serbian cuisine.

Grilled meat is considered the national cuisine, however something found exclusively within the borders of Serbia is Kajmak, a treat made of milk fat. In addition there is ajvar, a specialty made from grilled red peppers – it is best served with grilled meat.

The Movie: St. George Shoots the Dragon is the 2009 Serbian Oscar entry, directed by Srdjan Dragojevic and written by Dusan Kovacevic. It is a film that covers the time of the Balkan Wars to the Battle of Cer during World War I. Audiences are introduced to a cast of characters which include a wounded soldier named Gavrilo (played by Milutin Milosevic); George (Lazar Ristovski), Gavrilo’s seargeant in an earlier battle, and Katarina (Natasa Janjic), the woman they both long for. This group become involved in a love triangle and over the

Serbian Oscar entry “St George Shoots the Dragon.”

course of the film the lives of the war invalids and the decision by the Serbian government to send them to the front is explored.

The film is well shot and acted. It is hard to think of a foreign actor who commands screen attention like Lazar Ristovski (who could be likened to Liam Niesem). St George Shoots the Dragon is violent and rough; however, this is fitting since it takes place in the countryside of a war-torn nation. A few gimmicks take away from the film, such as a scene with Gavrilo Princip crossing the border with the main character on his way to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand. Nevertheless, one consistently amazing piece is the score, which is beautifully composed by Aleksandar Sasa Habic. It supports the film through every twist and turn and compliments the imagery onscreen perfectly.Article Written by Michael Fusco Read More  Dinner and Movie reviews at: http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/dinner-and-a-movie.html

King Tut Exhibit & FRANK Restaurants

 

King Tut

King Tut exhibit is currently at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto.  Visitor have the opportunity to see the famous exhibit then eat like an Egyptian at FRANK at the museum for delicious Egyptian Food until April 18.

The Menu:

Egyptian cuisine on the menu includes  medjool dates, figs, pomegranates, pomegranate molasses, oranges and lamb on all the menus.

Star.com got a chance to interview Executive Chef Anne Yarymowich. “More than serving traditional dishes, or being true to ancient Egyptian cuisine or even modern Egyptian cuisine, it’s about evoking the flavours of that part of the world,” explains Yarymowich. “(King Tut) being royalty and whatnot, abundance and an exotic feel will be part of the experience.”

King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs runs until April 18, so there’s lots of room for creative dabbling. Yarymowich will change the prix fixe menu at Frank daily (lunch is $36, dinner $56), remaining mindful of the restaurant’s focus on local, seasonal and organic fare.

One thing that will get regular play is a dry nut and spice mixture called dukkah. Egyptians dip fresh bread into olive oil and then into dukkah. They also sprinkle it on salads and veggies, or rub it on meats.

About FRANK Restaurant:

In Addition to the Toronto location, FRANK has locations in New York, Austin, New Jersey, Salt Lake City and Shanghai.

FRANK, the new AGO restaurant, is a distinct Frank Gehry-designed space. Its casual, chic décor includes modern Danish furnishings and a contemporary installation of Frank Stella’s work. Executive chef Anne Yarymowich collaborates with chef de cuisine Martha Wright to create contemporary comfort cuisine: food that is warm and inviting,

This Year’s Schedule for the The King Tut Exhibit:

San Francisco: Now until March at DE YOUNG Museum

New York:  Late April

Denver: July 1, 2010 to January 2, 2011

For more information & Ticket info visit: http://www.kingtut.org/home

Dinner and Movie: Stoning of Soraya M.

 

 

Dinner: The movie takes place in Iran. Traditional Iranian food include chelo kabaab, khoreshte sabzi, dolmeh, and cotlet.  Visit MCCN’s Mediterranean Recipe Section.

Featured Food: Dolmeh- Photo by Yadmatravel.com

The Movie: Among the standout films of the year is The Stoning of Soraya M, a powerful drama based on a true story. A young woman is falsely accused of adultery and thereby is sentenced to death by stoning.  Recently, the film has earned a nomination for best foreign language film from the NAACP Image Awards.  The Stoning of Soraya M. is in both Farsi and English.  The Oscar nominated actress Shohreh Aghdasloo stars along with Jim Caviziel.  Eat before you see this film because one is not likely to have much of appettite after screening it.    When I viewed this film at the Los Angeles Film festival, the man who attended the film with me walked out because he deplored and found the situation in the film disturbing.  However, make no mistake although disturbing it is an important and excellent film.

See other socially relevant Image Award nominees in the Foreign language film category at: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/3639-socially-relevant-films-earn-naacp-image-award-nominations

Mediterranean Fish Recipe

Mediterranean Medley Cooking with Michelle Karam

*Recipe by Michelle Karam

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Lbs of Fish (Chilean Sea Bass, Branzino) Any flaky white fish will
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper Sliced A Handful of Small Cherry Tomatoes Halved
  •  1 Leek Quartered and Sliced
  • 2 Tbs. Capers
  • (Optionsl) Juice from 1 Lemon
  •  ¼ Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 ½ Tsp of Old Bay Seasoning A Sprinkle of Fresh Herbs Can Use Either Fresh Dill, Cilantro, Basil

 COOKING DIRECTIONS:

SPRAY THE BOTTOM OF YOUR PYREX DISH WITH PAM OR SOME SORT OF COOKING SPRAY- PLACE FISH IN THE PYREX- PUT ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS ON TOP OF THE FISH- SEASONINGS, VEGETABLES, HERBS, WINE, LEMON JUICE, CAPERS, ETC…. COVER WITH ALUMINUM FOIL AND COOK IN THE OVEN ON 400 FOR 18 TO 30 MIN- DEPENDING ON HOW THICK YOUR PIECE OF FISH IS- THERE SHOULD BE A LOT OF JUICES ON THE BOTTOM- THEN PUT THE OVEN ON BROIL- REMOVE THE FOIL AND PLACE THE FISH UNDER THE BROILER FOR 5 MINUTES- UNTIL THE FISH GETS A LITTLE GOLDEN BROWN ON TOP- SERVE WITH RICE OR MASHED POTATOES.

See Video of Michelle preparing hummus: https://multiculturalcookingnetwork.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/mediterranean-medley-how-to-make-hummus/