August 8, 2011

30 days of iftars: #6 & #7!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Whew, Ramadhan is one busy month. Sorry for not keeping up with daily posts but you know... :-)

So #6... after my shorba debacle A decided to lend a hand in the kitchen. Really he is SO much fun to cook with! And this time, he cleaned as he went. Double yes! His style is rustic mediterranean/Tunisian and it's a nice blend, lemme say. He wanted to make a more palatable authentic soup so off I went to the store. Yeah, errand girl and sous chef. :-)

His list: cornish hen (you know the super cute little ones!) which he cut up and fried in a bit of olive oil with some smashed garlic and chopped onion. Really you have to know how he cooks; it's just so primal. Honestly. Smash! the garlic, rough-chop the onion, hack the cute little cornish hen into pieces. Oh then we added a small can of tomato paste. You have to fry this mixture nicely to take the acidity from the tomatoes, maybe 15-20 minutes at medium heat, giving it a good stir now and then.

Oh wait, I forgot.. spices. Yes so  heuses an interesting mixture, let me recall. All amounts are arbitrary; he said half a tsp but what he used was a regular small spoon from the drawer which is more like a complete teaspoon measurement. :-) Here's the list and approximate amounts:

Cumin, ground, 1 tsp
Dried lemon, 1 small, crushed then ground
caraway seeds, 1 tsp ground
turmeric 1 tsp (A swears this kills the chicken odor)
coriander 1 tsp, ground
freshly dried ground mint (sprinkled on individual bowls)

 OK so throw your spices in the pot whilst it is frying, then add a quantity of water (maybe 5 cups?) and 2 quartered potatoes and about 7 carrots, cut in half and sliced. Boil for about 20 minutes then add about a cup of well-rinsed red lentils. Gently simmer for another 20 minutes or so, sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and you're done.

This is nice, has a fresh taste, low in fat, and very healthy for iftar. I served it with quartered pitas, yougurt, and salad.

#7 I made hamburgers. I finely chopped half a small onion and also added about 3 tbsp pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Be careful, you can get it too spicy if you aren't careful. Aaminah and I love the smoky quality they give the burgers. Add some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Now the mixing part is key. If you overmix hamburger meat it gets tough. Our halal butcher always seems to have only very lean ground beef which, while healthier, doesn't make for as tasty burgers. I really recommend 80/20 lean to fat ratio for a burger. This was more like 90/10 but alhamdulillah.

So after mixing gently, I shape into patties about an inch larger than the bun we use and make them very thing, about 1/4 inch. You know burgers shrink and thicken as they cook so this ends us with, for us, the perfect size of burger.

I preheated my grill super-hot, placed the burgers, and got a nice brown on one side in about 3-4 minutes, flipped, browned the other, then turned the flame down to low and flipped one more time. Put the cheese on top and then left the burgers on the grill with the flame off and lid closed til we were ready to eat.

We had chips :-) and salad, an olive mixture, and of course all the condiments: mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickled peppers, and my fave, mashed avocado. Yum, yum, and yum. :-)

Alright, sorry for no photos but you know, time to eat and everyone is like a starving beast, no one wants to wait for me to pull out the camera. Oh and I just forget too. :-) Insha'Allah I'll take it up a notch. :-)

Ma salaama!


Mona Z said...

WHY do I read these before iftar!?

BuLaN said...

this year is my first year celebrating Ramadan with my Meditteranian man :)preparing for iftar is enjoyable. i'm ditching all my southeast asian cuisine since my hubby's food is far more easy to cook..shorba..burek..juaz...salada with olive. as a working wife..i am blessed with this new food :)