Traditional Recipe by Michelle Karam
Baklava (, , or ; 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). 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.
- 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
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.
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Grape Skewers
Celebrity chef, cook book author, and host of the Food Network show The Kitchen, Marcela Valladolid joined forces with the California Table Grape Commission to bring a bright flavorful twist to some traditional Mexican meals. As a lover of fruit and Mexican food separately, I must say I never thought the two would ever enter into holy matrimony. How could something so light and sweet beautifully join together with something so rich and savory, I asked? This week Chef Marcela not only showed me how the two join together so well, she made me a believer. Now I see how fresh grapes can be used as an exciting, and texturally crisp alternative to tomatoes, sure to wake up your favorite appetizer, sandwich, taco or entree.
Chef Marcela prepared delightful Grilled Salmon Tacos with Grape Pico de Gallo, which was a vibrant and healthy twist to traditional fish tacos; a Southern California favorite typically prepared with fried fish, cabbage, and a cream sauce. As a big fan of traditional fish tacos, I am an even bigger fan of Chef Marcela’s rendition. It showed me that using grilled fish and fresh ingredients doesn’t mean you have to comprise on flavor. The Grilled Salmon Tacos were a great introduction to cooking with grapes. It was also the perfect segue into more mouthwatering dishes and two cocktails; all made with fresh green, black or red California grapes. The Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Grape Skewers were beautifully presented, perfectly seasoned and I just could not stop eating them. The Banh Mi-style Flatbread with California Grapes was amazingly delicious, and the Tostadas with Grape and Jicama Salsa, and Grilled Antipasto Skewers featuring grilled shrimp were also crowd pleasers.
The perfect accompaniment for a great meal is an equally great beverage, and these grape based beverages did not disappoint. The Black Grape Margarita had the perfect balance of natural sweetness and freshness that no syrup based cocktail could ever duplicate; and the beautifully delicate Rosemary Grape Martini will have you thirsting for more.
The recipes for these dishes and cocktails are easy to follow and great for everything from a date night, entertaining, or for a weeknight family dinner. Each and every one of these dishes is sure to please your taste buds and make your body very happy.
There are over 80 varieties of grapes, and endless ways to use them. I encourage you to try these fresh and delicious recipes today. The next time you do your grocery shopping buy an extra bag of grapes. Wash them, freeze them and you will have a great low calorie frozen treat, or a nifty way to add coolness and flavor to your favorite beverage.
Multi Cultural Cooking Network… Giving you a taste of world… and inspiring you to Eat.More.Grapes.
Written by Lamou Keita