What does a Jewish rapper say?

... Challah!

Sheida seemed to disapprove of that joke. Can't imagine why.

This is the second challah recipe that I've tried, and while it did make lovely stuffed French toast, I can't say it was any better than the other recipe I've used. I think it might have been just a little less complicated, but don't quote me on that.

I like challah, so I make it fairly often, even though I'm not really Jewish. It's a nice, soft, sweet, dense bread that makes awesome toast, especially garlic toast. It's also pretty impressive-looking.

It's even pretty before it's baked:

Challah requires a lot of time, which makes some people reluctant to try it, but for me, that's a positive. I like any recipe that requires me to take some time and really experience the food, ya know?

Anyhow, I didn't really modify the recipe in any way, so I won't repost it. You can find it here, at Food for Poems, which is a pretty spiffy blog if you happen to be both an English major and a foodie, like myself.

If you've got a few hours and a bunch of bread flour, I definitely recommend challah. Especially during the holidays. There's no better way to make your relatives stop asking exactly what you're going to do with that Liberal Arts degree.

A bientot!

mixed herb salad with roasted parsnips,portobellos, and leeks, topped with grilled yellowfin

I'm not a big salad eater. I hate dressing usually, and normal lettuce doesn't really do too much for me. But last night, I decided to give salad a try but with a new spin: mixed herbs, roasted parsnips and portobellos, leeks, persian cheese (you can use any type of cheese you'd like- goat cheese,feta-etc) a few pomegranate seeds and some roasted walnuts. But to top it all off, I grilled some yellowfin tuna in my new grill skillet with some of my applewood smoked sea salt that I was itching to try. The result? A salad I plan on making again, for sure.


for the salad-

about 3 handfuls of mixed greens and herbs (arugula, spinach, dill,cilantro,parsley, and dandelion)
a handfull of pomegranate seeds
a handful or so of roasted almonds (optional)
about 1/4 cup crumbled cheese (use whatever you would like, I used some semi soft Persian cheese)

for the roasted vegetables:

1 large parsnip, cut into small cubes
1 large portobello mushroom, also cut into cubes
1 leek, sliced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon applewood smoked sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon marjoram

for the tuna rub:

1 large yellowfin tuna steak
1 teaspoon applewood smoked sea salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 tablespoons olive oil

Ok, so after that long list, here's how to prepare the dish!

Put your chopped vegetables into a over safe pan, coat and toss with the olive oil and spices, roast for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

In the meantime, coat your fish with the rub, pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your skilled (I used a grill skillet, but you can also blacken the fish) and heat to medium high. Place the fish in the pan, and sear each side for no longer than 2 minutes. Make sure you do not overcook the tuna, for it dries out pretty easily. I prefer a more well done steak, but there was still a bit of pink in the middle

When you're finished with all of the above, mix your greens and other salad ingredients, top with the roasted vegetables, and then top with your tuna steak.


With love,

What happens when I go to the movies.

So I just saw Julie & Julia. Can I just say: it made me hopeful for this little blog we've got here. I mean, I don't know if it has quite the potential of The Julie/Julia Project, for lack of originality alone, but still.

Also, I felt decidedly shitty eating my gigantanormous bag 'o popcorn and watching such amazing food on the screen. There's just something so... plastic about all that fake butter when there's a six-foot picture of a chocolate cream pie right in front of your face.

Not that I didn't devour the popcorn, of course.

But anyway. Now, I'm faced with a dilemma. See, I'd been thinking about doing something akin to the Julie/Julia project for a while. Since before the movie came out, I swear it. I think I got the idea from projects like The Daring Bakers and Tuesdays with Dorie. And my question is this: would I be the most terrible blogger ever if I went ahead with that idea?

It wouldn't be a whole blog, mind you. Just an every-now-and-then kind of thing on this one. It would get me to cook more often (as you can see from my spotty contributions here, I tend to sort of drift away in the middle of projects that I start), and it would provide me with a good plan of recipes.

So these are the questions I pose to you, dear imaginary readers:

1) Should I do it?


2) What book should I use?

A bientot,

cous cous and mixed summer vegetables with a honey balsamic drizzle

if you're a cincinnatian, there's one place everyone knows is great for getting fresh farm grown produce: findlay market

the market is primarily busiest on sundays, when a large array of local farmers bring their harvests to sell at the farmers market. I hadn't gone to findlay for the past few weekends, so i was ready for a good trip down. i ended up buying a lot of produce, some of which included some sweet red onions, yellow bell peppers, and this crazy giant zucchini....like...this think was the length and width of at least 3/4 of my arm.anyways, it provided for a good deal of recipes. i'll post this one first though....

this recipe turned out great! it was very light and summery, and paired well with the balsamic drizzle i added in at the end (a stroke of brilliance, if i dont say so myself)

ingredients are as follows:

1 box cous cous, or i would say 1.5 cups dry
2 cups water
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup zucchini diced
1 medium sweet red onion diced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp oregano
1 tblspn ground black pepper
1 tblspn sea salt
1 tsp coriander

for the balsamic honey drizzle:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp olive oil

so first things first, prepare the cous cous- 2 cups water in a saucepan with 1 tsp salt and 1 tblspn olive oil. bring to a boil, add in the cous cous, stir, cover, and let sit for about 5 minutes. the cous cous should absorb the water. take off the heat after about 5 minutes, fluff and let sit.

put the chopped vegetables in an aluminum pan with some salt- toss and put into the oven on broil to let roast for about 5 minutes, don't completely roast, but let the vegetables wilt a bit

after taking out of the oven, add the vegetables,herbs, and spices in a pan with 1/4 cup olive oil on high heat. saute for about 5-7 minutes. i didn't add much as far as herbs went in this recipe, the vegetables had such a nice sweet flavor of their own i wanted to keep it more pure.

toss in the vegetables with the cous cous, add in the remaining olive oil, and fluff a bit

now, for the balsamic drizzle, it's super easy:

in a pan, add in your balsamic vinegar on high heat. stir a bit for about 30 seconds, and then add in the honey. stir well for about 3 minutes or so or until the mixture starts to become thicker like a syrup, then remove from heat. i just poured the syrup-y reduction on the cous cous vegetable mixture. it soaked in pretty well, but was a very subtle flavor.

i was really proud of how this turned out! i hope you enjoy it

with love,

summer squash soup with black beans, orange, and turmeric

so my i harvested my first summer squash from the garden the other day and a few hungarian cherry peppers. i was also craving some black bean soup, so i decided to mix the two and make a nice summery soup with two different flavors: turmeric and orange juice

turmeric is a great flavor to add to dishes. some may say to use only a little bit, but given to my persian upbringing, a lot of dishes have lots of turmeric in them. so i decided to try it in a non- persian dish. turmeric's flavor is somewhat earthy, like horseradish and mustard, but a bit more bitter. in any case, i think it added great flavor to the soup

and, orange juice. i love using it in black bean soup, it gives it a nice citrus-y infused flavor, and when it slow cooks with the ingredients the flavor is just great. hope you aren't too scared to give this a try!

ingredients are as follows:

1 large summer squash, cut into small cubes
1 can black beans, you can also use dried black beans (i used can since i was short on time)
1/4 cup water
1 small yellow onion diced
2 small cherry peppers (it added a nice bit of spice to the soup)
1 medium sized tomato, diced and then crushed
1/2 cup orange juice (i prefer with pulp)
3 tablespoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil

in a medium sized pot, mix your squash, onion,peppers, tomato, and olive oil on medium heat. wait for the vegetables to get a bit softer, and then add in your black beans.

add in the orange juice slowly stirring, and also slowly add in the turmeric

let sit for a few minutes, and then slowly add in your water and other spices. let sit on low heat for a good half hour, stirring occasionally.

if you would like to add more tumeric (knowing me, i probably did...actually...i know i did) don't be afraid. i was really happy with how this soup ended up, it had a great flavor and was pretty filling. it paired well with a dark beer, specifically we paired it with soproni, a dark hungarian brew

good luck! hope you all enjoy

English Muffins (aka The Reason I Got Up This Morning)

I'm planning on making a couple of things in the next few days, but after looking through a bunch of food blogs yesterday, I absolutely had to make something ASAP. Deciding that a breakfast food was most practical, I settled on the English Muffins recipe that I found at Rosa's Yummy Yums.

I didn't modify the recipe at all, so I'm not going to re-post it here. But I do have a few notes to share.

Very simple ingredients all lined up

Yeast on its way to happy poofy-ness

Kneaded dough ready to rise

Okay, so the problems started around the time I took that last photo. Well, actually a little bit before: Readers, I want you to promise me that if you make this recipe, and you have a stand mixer, you will use it. That's all I'm gonna say.

Anyway. My mama requested that I make half the batch with cr
anberries, and I thought I could also add some cinnamon and sugar, since the original recipe isn't sweet at all. What I should have done was divide the dough while it was still very wet and add the sugar and cinnamon then. What I did was get the dough to the desired consistency (or close to it - it was still a little too wet when I kneaded it), then try to knead in the cinnamon and sugar. Not intelligent. It worked well with the cranberries later, though.

The second mistake was that, knowing full-well that I tend to roll dough out too thin, I dusted the work surface with corn meal as per the instructions. Should have used flour, since I ended up having to fold the dough over to make it thicker. Having corn meal in the muffins wasn't unpleasant, but it might have been part of the reason they were too dense in the end.

They definitely look pretty. But as my mom noted, they don't have the little nooks and crannies that they should when you cut them open. This could be due to over-kneading the dough or over-mixing it in the beginning.

So. Would I make these again? Definitely. Despite consistency issues, they taste great, especially the cranberry ones. I toasted both and made a sandwich out of the plain one with seared ham and cheddar cheese. Too lazy for egg this morning.

A bientot!


nutmeg crepes with farmers cheese, fresh fruit, and honey

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Melted butter, or non-stick cooking spray
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
a pinch of cinnamon

whisk together eggs, milk and water in a large bowl. slowly add in flour and other dry ingredients, making sure not to clump. the consistency should be somewhat runny.

heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat; spray the surface with non stick cooking spray, or you can use melted butter

pour3 large spoonfulls of batter onto the surface making sure it spreads out thinly and evenly. crepes don't take too long to cook, so let each side cook for about 25-30 seconds

i liked serving these crepes warm with some amish farmers cheese (always my first choice of cheese when eating crepes) topped with some strawberries, blueberries and some fresh honey from ken's beehive

my other favorite (and more preferred way) to make crepes is with dill. just substitute the nutmeg and cinnamon with 1/2 cup of dried dill leaves. this goes extremely well with farmers cheese: the perfect savory breakfast

with love,