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Mkhamer-Skillet Bread

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Buttery was the first word that came to mind when I bit into this bread. It's a little dense which makes it perfect for sopping, so it probably wouldn't hurt if you made some soup or stew on the day you make this bread. 

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The dough uses both all-purpose flour and semolina flour and of course the standard yeast, salt, sugar, oil, and water. 
The last few minutes of kneading I do on the counter, I just love playing with dough. 

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After the required resting and shaping, they are cooked in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Fortunately, I have a few cast-iron pans that are great for this. 
Cooked over medium-high heat, I flipped the bread frequently to ensure thorough and even cooking. 

Today I'm making this bread again, but this time I'm making smaller disks, I am going to divide the dough into 4 pieces, then after cooking and cooling they'll be individually wrapped and tucked into the freezer for easy peasy bread anytime. 

 

Mkhamer-Skillet Bread

Ingredients

  • Makes 2 loaves

    1 teaspoon dried active yeast
    1¼ teaspoons caster sugar
    100g plain flour, plus extra if needed
    100g semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for oiling
    110–150ml warm water    

    In a small bowl, mix the dried yeast and ¼ teaspoon of the sugar with 1 tablespoon warm water using a fork. Leave the yeast to activate for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is foamy.    

    Mix the flours, remaining sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Pour in the olive oil, yeast mixture and 110ml warm water, then use your hands to mix the ingredients together to form a soft dough. The dough should feel slightly sticky. If your dough is too dry, gradually add a little extra warm water, a tablespoon at a time, until you obtain the right consistency. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more plain flour.    

    Lightly dust a work surface with semolina flour and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic – to check that it has been kneaded enough, press it with your finger and it should bounce back. Divide the dough in half and shape each into a round loaf. Cover each loaf with clingfilm and leave to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.
    Using your hands, flatten each loaf into a disc 7mm thick and dust both sides with semolina flour. Place the discs on a tray or work surface in a warm place, leaving at least 5cm between each loaf to allow enough room for rising. Cover the discs with clingfilm and leave to rise for about 1 hour until they double in size – they may need longer if they are left in a cold room.    
    Lightly oil a frying pan, ideally heavy based, and preheat over a medium heat. Gently place a loaf in the pan and cook, turning several times, for about 6 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack while you cook the other loaf in the same way. Leave the bread to cool for a few minutes before serving.

    Benkabbou, Nargisse. Casablanca .

 

And that's that!


Fresh Herb Salad Dressing

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I'm loving having such an abundance of fresh herbs, so I thought now is the time to experiment with a unique fresh herb salad dressing.

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I have some Genovese basil, Thai basil, curly and Italian parsley, dill, mint, and oregano. I think I'll go easy on the mint and oregano I'm thinking they might overpower the other herbs. 

I'm so happy with my AeroGardens. I have enough herbs for myself and enough to share. I am not affiliated with them, they don't even know I exist, I'm just a happy indoor gardener. 

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Also poking its head out is the first blossom on the Heirloom cherry tomato plant. I've counted 20 more little buds on the plant. 

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I transplanted some basil and mint into some potting soil about a week ago and it's looking really, really good. 
Looks like I'll have some plants to share too. 

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The salad dressing for the bean breakfast recipe is the base I used for my dressing, just the herbs are different. 
I used 3 sprigs of Genovese basil, 3 sprigs of Thai basil, 8 sprigs of parsley, 2 sprigs of oregano, 3 sprigs of dill, and one sprig of mint. 
I followed the dressing directions as written. 

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It's a pretty straightforward recipe, just throw everything except the mayonnaise into the food processor and blitz away. 

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Whisk in the mayonnaise, 

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and Bob's your uncle. 

The dressing is really delicious, the herbs were a good combination, and not one overpowered the others. I think my only criticism is that the dressing is a little mayonnaise forward so I'll reduce the amount of mayo next time. 

Enjoy the recipe. 

Summer Bean Breakfast with soft-boiled eggs and Green Goddess Dressing

Serves 4

For the dressing:

3/4 cup Greek yogurt (preferably whole milk)
4 medium scallions, ends trimmed, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (about 1/4 bunch)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley (stems and all, about 1/4 bunch)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 small shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise

For the salad:

Sea salt or kosher salt
1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed, cut into 3-inch long pieces
8 ounces sugar snap peas
8 ounces edamame in their pods, thawed if frozen
4 large eggs
4 small French radishes
Lemon juice

Make the dressing: Place the yogurt, scallions, cilantro, parsley, dill, shallot, lemon juice, and vinegar in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender. Pulse, scraping down the sides as needed, until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and process or blend until smooth. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

Bring a 3-quart pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and adding some water. Blanch the green beans in the boiling water for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the ice bath. Blanch the sugar snap peas for 1 minute, then transfer to the ice bath. If using thawed, pre-cooked edamame, there's no need to cook them. For fresh edamame, blanch 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath.

Drain the beans and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Shell the edamame from their pods.

Steam or soft-boil the eggs 6 to 8 minutes, then immerse in the ice bath for 10 minutes. (6 minutes will yield a very soft yolk, 7 yields a jammy yolk, and 8 yields a just-set yolk.)

Slice the radishes lengthwise, then toss with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon.

To assemble: toss the blanched beans with the radishes. Peel and halve an egg. Sprinkle with sea salt. Drizzle the salad all over with the green goddess dressing. I find this salad needs plenty of salt; serve with a small bowl of sea salt alongside.

Source: The Kitchn

And that's that!


Digaag Qumbe (Chicken stew with yogurt and coconut)

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This Chicken stew was my new year's day dinner. Wow, what a way to start the new year. 

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The first thing that came to mind with the first bite was how well balanced the flavors are. Not one spice stood out above the others. But...with that being said, next time I'll up the amount of jalapeño pepper, I'd like it just a tad spicier.
It's a recipe from Somalia so don't forget to serve it with a whole unsliced banana to get the full Somali experience. 

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First things first, make the spice mixture. It's not as complicated as you might think. It's just some cinnamon, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, and turmeric. 

Now, don't do what I do and text and cook at the same time. I artfully laid out all the ingredients and neglected to include them in the photoshoot. @#$%^
So imagine some beautiful red ripe hothouse tomatoes, shiny bright green jalapeño, glossy red bell pepper, tomato paste, plain yogurt, red onion, garlic ginger, potato, carrots, coconut milk, cilantro, and chicken thighs. 

After you make the spice mix combine the tomatoes, jalepeño, bell pepper, tomato paste, yogurt, and the xawaash in a blender. Then, over medium heat cook the onion, garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes, then stir in the blended tomato mixture. 

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After the tomato onion mixture has simmered for about 10 minutes, add the potatoes, carrots, chicken, and coconut milk. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through. 

This recipe is from "In Bibi's Kitchen; The recipes and stories of Grandmothers from the eight African Countries that touch the Indian Ocean." 
I love the stories about the women and their recipes. I'm someone that reads cookbooks like some people read novels but this one is way at the top of my list of "good reads."

Digaag Qumbe Chicken Stew with Yogurt and Coconut

Serves 4

2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 jalapeño, stemmed and coarsely chopped (use less or leave out if you don’t want things too spicy)

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons Xawaash Spice Mix 

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 baking potato, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 carrots, cut into thin coins

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk

Large handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Cooked rice and bananas, for serving

In the jar of a blender, combine the tomatoes, jalapeño, bell pepper, tomato paste, yogurt, xawaash, and salt and puree until smooth. Set aside. Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the blended tomato mixture, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately lower the heat, cover, and cook until very fragrant, about 10 minutes. This initial cooking forms the base of the sauce.

Stir in the potato, carrots, chicken, and coconut milk. Cover the pot and cook, uncovering it to stir occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Season the stew to taste with salt.

Serve hot, sprinkled with the cilantro, over cooked rice, and with bananas alongside (don’t slice the bananas, just serve them whole and take a bite as you eat the stew). Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days and rewarmed in a heavy pot set over low heat (stir while you heat).

Source: In Bibi’s Kitchen

Xawaash spice mix

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

One 2-inch piece cinnamon stick

1/2 cup cumin seeds

1/2 cup coriander seeds

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

6 cardamom pods

1 teaspoon whole cloves

2 tablespoons ground turmeric

Place the cinnamon stick in a small zip-top plastic bag, seal it, and bang it a couple of times with a rolling pin, skillet, or mallet (anything firm and heavy) to break it into small pieces. Place the cinnamon pieces, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, cardamom, and cloves in a small heavy skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the smell is very aromatic and the spices are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Transfer the mixture to a clean coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder (or use a mortar and pestle and some elbow grease). Transfer the ground spices to a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and sift. Regrind whatever large pieces remain in the sieve and add them to the bowl with the ground spices. Add the turmeric. Whisk well to combine and transfer the mixture to an airtight jar. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

 

And that's that!