CUISINE

Paella Valenciana

Paella Valenciana

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, chopped
  • 3 cups short-grain Spanish rice
  • 4 mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed
  • 4 clams, scrubbed
  • 4 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 2 lemons: 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges for serving

Direction:

1. In a saucepot over medium-high heat, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the saffron. Reserve the stock warm over medium-low heat.

2. In a medium-size paella pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Add the peppers, carrots, onion, and chorizo, and sauté until the vegetables just start to tenderize, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and toast, stirring frequently, until it just becomes translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add enough of the warm stock to the pan to just cover the rice, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Arrange the seafood and peas over the rice, add the lemon juice, re-cover, and continue simmering until the seafood is cooked through and shellfish have opened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the cooked paella from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.

Spiced Carrot-Apple Soup with Fresh Mint

Spiced Carrot-Apple Soup with Fresh Mint

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons chicken fat or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
  • 1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled, diced, plus 1 carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 3 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup diced peeled fuji apple plus 1/2 cup finely diced (for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh mint

Preparation

Heat chicken fat in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add all carrots, broth, 3/4 cup apple, and ginger; bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat; simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove carrot halves; dice finely. Puree soup in batches in blender; return to pan. Mix in apple juice and spices. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with finely diced carrot, finely diced apple, and mint.

Grilled Yogurt-Marinated Leg of Lamb

Grilled Yogurt-Marinated Leg of Lamb

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole-milk yogurt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3 1/2 tablespoons Tabil Spice Blend
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 4–5 pound butterflied leg of lamb, opened like a book
  • 4 lemons, halved

Preparation

Mix 1 cup yogurt, 1 teaspoon Tabil Spice Blend, and 1 minced garlic clove in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. Whisk remaining 1 cup yogurt, remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons Tabil Spice Blend, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp. salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, oil, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add lamb; turn to coat. Cover and chill overnight, turning occasionally.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Grill until meat is cooked to desired doneness, 10–15 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill lemon halves, cut side down, until charred, about 5 minutes. Thinly slice lamb against the grain and arrange on a platter; garnish with lemons. Serve with reserved yogurt sauce.

Chicken-Filled Pastry (B'steeya)

Chicken-Filled Pastry (B’steeya)

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for puff pastry
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock, or canned low-sodium broth, as needed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten

Assembly:

  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 10 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Powdered sugar, as needed
  • Ground cinnamon, as needed

Direction:

To prepare the filling:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. In a heavy-bottom large stockpot over medium-high heat, add the oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper. Working in batches, add the chicken to the hot oil and brown on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Remove the browned chicken to a plate and reserve.

3. To the same pot add the onion, garlic, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cloves, and saffron, and sauté them until they are soft and lightly golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the pot and scrape up any brown pieces sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken back into the pot with any juices, and add more stock as needed to bring the liquids up to the chicken without submerging it. Bring the liquids to a boil. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it to a plate and let it cool. Shred the cooled chicken into small, bite-size pieces. Reserve for assembly.

5. Place the pot of braising liquid over medium heat and reduce the liquids to about 1 cup. Add the butter, brown sugar, parsley, cilantro, and eggs to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs are scrambled. Remove from the heat and reserve for assembly.

To assemble the b’steeya:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush a paella pan or skillet lightly with olive oil.

2. Lay out, one by one, 10 sheets of phyllo dough onto the pan, brushing each with a little olive oil before placing the next layer on.

3. Spread the shredded chicken in a layer in the center of the phyllo, leaving plenty of space for the edges to fold up. Spread the egg mixture over the chicken and top with the almonds.

4. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the filling to enclose it in a pocket inside the skillet. Brush the top lightly with olive oil and bake until the pastry is crisp and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Garnish the finished b’steeya with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

 

Chickpea-Yogurt Dip

Chickpea-Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
  • A large pinch of ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Coarsely chopped fresh mint

Direction:

Purée 1 small garlic clove, two 15-ounce cans chickpeas (rinsed), 1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar, and a large pinch of ground cumin; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with olive oil, pomegranate seeds, and coarsely chopped fresh mint.

Tunisian Vegetable Salsa

Tunisian Vegetable Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 4 large unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 4 plum tomatoes (about 12 ounces total)
  • 2 small whole unpeeled onions (1/2 pound total)
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 large poblano chile
  • 1 Japanese eggplant (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper

 Preparation

Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. thread garlic cloves onto a metal skewer. Put garlic skewer, tomatoes, onions, peppers, chile, and eggplant on grill rack. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred all over, 6-7 minutes for garlic and tomatoes; 10 minutes for eggplant; 15 minutes for peppers and chile; 20 minutes for onions. Place peppers and chile in a large bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop peppers and chile. coarsely chop tomatoes and eggplant. Peel and coarsely chop onions. Pulse all vegetables in a food processor, along with oil, until puréed to desired consistency. transfer to a large bowl. season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 medium eggplants (about 3 pounds total)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Direction:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rub the outside of the eggplants with olive oil and place them in a roasting plan. Roast the eggplant until the skin has charred and the interior is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.

2. Peel and seed the cooled eggplant, roughly chop the flesh, and then transfer it to the bowl of a food processor.

3. Into the processor bowl add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, some salt and pepper to taste, and a few teaspoons of cold water. Process the mixture to a coarse paste, adding a bit more water as needed to allow the mixture to blend.

4. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

 

Vasilopita

Vasilopita

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon mahlab or 1 tablespoon anise seed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • A coin or hard candy

Preparation

To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and a 4-inch round cake pan.

To Make the Cake:
Combine the almonds, brown sugar, and honey in a small bowl, and set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and mahlab in a medium bowl, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, and mix well.

To Bake the Cake:
Divide one-third of the nut mixture between the two prepared pans, scattering it in an even layer over their bottoms. Fill the smaller (4-inch) pan two-thirds full of batter, then pour half of the remaining batter into the larger (9-inch) pan. Bake both layers for 20 minutes, until the cakes become a bit firm. Sprinkle half of the remaining almond mixture in an even layer over both cakes, and lay the coin on top of one of the partly baked cakes. Pour the remaining batter on top of each cake. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of each comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes.

To Serve:
Remove the cakes from their pans, and place the smaller one on top of the larger. Top with the remaining almond mixture, and serve warm.

Tapenade

Tapenade

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups cured black olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup anchovy fillets
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or dark rum, optional
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Direction:

1. In a medium bowl, soak the olives, capers, and anchovies in cold water for 5 minutes to remove excess salt. Rinse, drain, and pat dry.

2. In a food processor, combine the olives, capers, anchovies, mustard, lemon juice, Cognac (if using), parsley, and a pinch of black pepper. Blend until the ingredients are roughly chopped. With the machine running, slowly stream in the oil and continue processing until a coarse paste is formed.

3. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to further develop.

Serving Suggestion: Serve the tapenade as an appetizer with croûtes (toast). To prepare, thinly slice a baguette and spread the slices in an even layer on a baking sheet. Brush the bread lightly with olive oil and bake at 325°F, turning as needed, until the bread is completely dry and lightly browned, about 30 minutes total. While still warm, rub the toasts with a clove of garlic. Serve warm or at room temperature.