Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sambosay Goshti Pastry with Chickpeas and Ground Beef

Shortly after I met my husband, he introduced me to Panjshir, in Falls Church Virginia.  It's fairly close to Washington, DC.  I was a little skeptical because I'd never had it, and I was afraid it would be very spicy.  It wasn't, it was so delicious.  Not too spicy, just right. We always get the appetizer, Sambosay Goshti.  Followed by Kebab-E-Murgh for me, that's an order of chicken kebab served with saffron rice and fresh Afghan bread. My husband gets the Combined Kebab, with lamb, steak and chicken, saffron rice, and bread.  We get the Muntoo for our little boy.  It's a dumpling stuffed with ground beef and topped with seasoned yogurt and meat sauce.  Our meal is then  finished off with a cup, or two, of Cardamon tea and an order of honey drizzled Baklava.  Can't be beat, it is so comforting.  I wondered if I could replicate the recipe, my husband assured me I could.  With that bit of confidence afforded me, I decided to give it a try.  I didn't want to deep fry them, I wanted to make a baked version. Success, it's very good!

Sambosay Goshti Pastry with Chickpeas and Ground Beef

1 lb of ground beef
1 large onion
1 cup of chickpeas (dry or canned)
1 table spoon coriander seed
1 table spoon fresh parsley
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cans of large crescent rolls

Prepare the dried chickpeas as per instructions on bag

Heat oven to 350

In a large skillet with a lid
Place hamburger meat (don't break up, take off meat tray and place whole in the skillet)
Fill skillet about 1/2 way up the meat and put the lid on, let boil until the outside is brown, cut in half and allow to boil until the middle is brown
Pour the water out (the oil will go with it, so there's no need to strain or use a paper towel)
Retain some of the water, about 3 tablespoons,
Leave the ground beef in the skillet and break into small pieces
add oil and saute the onions
While the onions cook and the meat browns completely:

Place the chickpeas, coriander seeds and parsley into a food processor, process until it is like a paste.
You may have to add water to make it into a paste

Once the onions are clear, add the chickpea paste and mix well.

Open the crescent rolls and press until very thin, but not broken.  

 Then add a large spoonful of the Chickpea mixture and fold the crescent rolls around to form a pocket

 Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown.  Serve with saffron rice and saffron chicken.  Very good.  Very healthy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pink Marshmallow Cornflake Candy Heart with Cinnamon

Pink Marshmallow Cornflake Candy Heart with Cinnamon

My husbands favorite Christmas treat is the Cornflake wreath, made with marshmallows and green food coloring.  I've been hearing about his favorite Christmas treats for years, but never got exactly what they were called.  Finally, Christmas 2010, he tells me that its the Rice Krispie treats he loves, colored green, with red cinnamon candies.  My little boy and I made a big batch of Rice Krispie treats, colored green, with red cinnamon candies.  We were very proud that we made Daddy's favorite Christmas treat.  When Chris came home we proudly showed him our creation.  To which he says, that's not like Mom makes it.  Oh. Really.  Just HOW does Mom make them?  He informs us that she uses Cornflakes, not rice krispies.  I remind him, HE said, Rice Krispie treats.
 Flash forward to Christmas 2011.  Again.  All we hear about is the favorite, elusive, Christmas treat his Mom makes.  The year before, his Mom made him some, but they were eaten before we were able to get there, in her defense; she does live 5 hours away, and they are really good......
I let him know, since he can not decide what the treats are called, the ingredients, or how they are made,  he will need to produce a recipe, or there will be NO favorite treats for him unless his Mom makes them and he goes to retrieve them before they are eaten.
Finally, a few days before Christmas, I received two e-mails from him each with a recipe attached.  He assured me the recipe is the one his Mom uses.  I, unfortunately, did not get around to making them for him.  I have felt bad about it, so I decided I would make them for him for Valentines day.  A real surprise, don't you think? He better like them. Just kidding. Okay. No. I'm serious.  (grin)

Here's what you will need.

Pink Marshmallow Cornflake Candy Heart with Cinnamon

2 small jars of marshmallow creme
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
Cinnamon hard candies
Pink decorating sugar crystals
red food coloring
4 1/2 cups cornflakes

In a *double boiler combine the  marshmallow creme, butter, and a couple cinnamon hard candies
Melt together then add the vanilla,
2 drops of red food coloring,
shake some pink sugar crystals then
mix well until a lovely pink color
Add the Cornflakes gently stirring to mix well

Spoon into a heart shaped pan, or onto a cookie sheet and form into a heart shape
Sprinkle more pink sugar crystals and arrange the cinnamon candies into heart shapes
Let cool and serve

You could also make small heart shapes instead of one big one, pipe a frosting bow on the hearts and shake pink sugar crystals on it

*Note:  If you don't have a double boiler, you can use an ovenproof or stainless steel bowl and a large pot.  Place water (don't fill it up, just about 1/4 way) in the pot.  Put the bowl on top (it must fit on top, and not IN the pot).  Heat the water until it steams then you'll see the butter and marshmallow creme melting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gingerbread cookies and Pepperoni Rolls are what's for supper!

Gingerbread cookies and Pepperoni Rolls are what's for supper!

Back by popular demand. This is a post I did in 2010. It's a favorite.

Today has been a "stay inside the house" day.  I woke up to large fluffy snow flakes, falling in mass, covering the trees in soft blankets.  Later on the flakes were replaced by ice that covered everything in a crystal clear casing.  Then, as the temperature rose, the ice turned to rain.  The driveway is a slushy mess, which made it easier to clear with the snow plow.  I should say, made it "look" easier to clear, since I was warm in the house watching my friend use his truck & plow to push the snow out of my driveway. 
When he was finished, he sent me a text message informing me that I have a very large, very angry looking possum living in the backyard by the little white shed.  That explains the hawk that dove into the ornamental pine tree a few days ago, also beside the shed.  I was looking at the snow falling and saw something dive into the little pine tree.  I stood there wondering if a cat had gone into the pine, or if perhaps, I'd had too much coffee and imagined the entire thing.  Nope, there was movement in the tree, and a head popped out of the side of it.  It was so fast, I couldn't make it out, what it was.  Then it was there again, further up the tree.  I could tell it was a bird, maybe an owl? In the day? No.  The hawk finally exited the pine from the top, he sat on it for a minute looking around, to make sure he wasn't missing his meal...again, then took off. As he took flight, he turned himself so I could see his entire belly and wing span.  Simply stunning, blue-gray with beautiful  stripes running the length of each wing & tail.  His stomach was mottled and I was completely shocked by the breadth of his wings! I looked him up on the Internet, and found out he's called a Cooper's Hawk.  I wanted to get a picture, but couldn't without "infringing" on copyright laws.  I did find out that these fellas make a habit of crashing into trees, shrubs and the like.  They have a protective "shield", like an eyebrow, which protects their eyes as they slam into the limbs of a tree to catch their prey.  This means two things to me; 1) I am glad I'm not small enough to be their prey and 2) I wonder if they view 20lb cats as dinner?  Speaking of dinner, I digress.

My son and I baked gingerbread cookies and decorated them today.  I will give you the recipe for the cookies.   
Refrigerated gingerbread cookie dough, in the refrigerated food section of your grocery. How simple was that?
The icing is almost as simple. 
Confectionery sugar and lemon juice. 
In my case, it was lime juice as I didn't have lemon juice.
Basically pour a bowl full of confectionery sugar and slowly add small amounts of lemon juice until you reach your desired consistency.
You can then add food coloring if you like.

My Mom is German and a wonderful cook, as well as baker.  Growing up she always made us an elaborate, home made (no refrigerator dough for her, *gasp* at the thought) gingerbread house. I can still see the post board templates she'd design herself.  Cookie dough cut to her own specifications.  The smell of gingerbread drifted through the house, warm and comforting. She made the windows out of colored sugar candy, with a blue ice skating rink out of the same yummy stuff.  She'd make the fence using peppermint sticks with stacks of gingerbread "logs" for the gingerbread families fire.  The house was covered in candies, powdered sugar snow,  and complete with elves sitting in the gingerbread wheel barrow in the yard.  Gingerbread shaped pine trees guarded the corners of the yard and it was all "glued" together with icing made from confectionery sugar and lemon juice.  It was so good, we were always sticking our fingers in the bowl and getting fussed at. A discreet light, inserted in the house, lit it all with a warm glow surrounding the confection.  Angie and I would eat gingerbread until July sometimes, course, by then it was hard as a rock and needed to be soaked in milk.  I remember Mom wanting to throw one out and we went to tears begging her not to.  We weren't ready to give up the candy land fantasy she'd so lovingly made for all of us!

The pepperoni rolls were a lovely epiphany.  My husband says they must be a regional thing, he'd never heard of them until he moved to my small town in Virginia.  Needless to say, he really enjoys them.  I usually buy them from the deli in the grocery, but since today was a stay-in-the-house day I had to be creative.  That's where the epiphany came in. I had a can of Pillsbury bread dough.  I was going to use it to make mini baked pumpkin pie's, changed my mind.  A woman's prerogative if I'm not mistaken. 

Here is what you'll need:
1 can of bread dough (or frozen dough, or if you're quite industrious make your own bread dough)
Mozzarella String cheese light
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese

I rolled out the dough on a baking sheet and sprinkled with Oregano.
Then added a single slice of pepperoni against the long edge of the dough, and followed down the length to make a row. The second row I started off center of the first row. I put the second row's starting slice below and in between the first two slices of the first row. Confused? Sorry. 
I left about two inches of dough with no pepperoni, so when I rolled the pepperoni roll up, that edge would be used to fold over and seal the roll shut.
I then took the string cheese and pulled it apart laying it on top of the pepperoni.
Then lifting the edge of dough with the pepperoni on it, I gently rolled the dough over and over until it was a nice neat strip of dough.  Place it seam side down on the cookie sheet and brush with olive oil, finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese & more oregano. 
Bake in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Serve warm.

Next time I might try some pizza sauce, or maybe tomatoes, olives, mushrooms.  Sort of like a rolled up pizza.  Hmmm, maybe the next craze in cuisine!  You heard it here first! Yum Yum!


The above picture shows pepperoni rolls my sister, of Clover Fields Farm and Kitchen, made for WDRB Fox 41's segment on "Money saving tips for a Super Bowl party."
Follow the WDRB link to see her in action and to see many other fantastic Super Bowl ideas, plus get a Cook Book she has for anyone interested.  You can't beat that!