Frena; A Moroccan/Middle Eastern Bread

IMG_3605

Being a Moroccan girl, this bread is a staple. I subconsciously choose it over desert, which says a lot. It has a lot in common with Pita Bread, just way fluffier, fuller and in some places even crunchy.  Goes terribly well with humus, mitbocha, fried or roasted aubergine, saucy types of fish/Moroccan Fish and so many more options. (recipes coming soon)

Things You’ll Need:

  • 13 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cube Wet (Live) Yeast (or around 1 envelope dry yeast) -[Recipe calls for wet, I prefer dry]
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Salt
  • 5 3/4 Cups of Water
  • 1 Whisked Egg ¬†(If oven baked)

Place the yeast and sugar in a bowl, add 3/4 cup of water and let sit for a minute. In a larger bowl mix the flour and the salt, then add the yeast mixture and the 5 cups of water. Knead well by hand until you get a beautiful, smooth, flexible texture.

Cover the dough with aluminum or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour. (In the winter it takes longer to rise so wait until you see it double in size.)

Knead again for a couple of minutes with floury hands and divide into 5 parts. Knead each part a bit and create 5 balls, leave on a floury surface for about 30 minutes to rise again.

Flatten each ball of dough to about the size of a medium plate.

Now we have two options; to either oven bake them, or i like to use a stone pan, or a pizza oven. If you have a brick oven.. Your lucky, use that ūüôā

Oven Baking:

Brush the egg on top of each circle and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. You will know it’s ready when the smell of heavenly bread will spread all over the house and the top of the bread will be a golden brown color.

Stone Pan Baking:

On a medium flame heat  pan for 30 seconds, or until hot. Place round of dough on hot pan leave for about 6-7 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You will have to babysit the bread because burning is very easy on an open flame. DO NOT BRUSH EGG FOR THIS METHOD.

I¬†recommend using a stone pan, or a dutch pan, but if you prefer this method and don’t have one, you CAN use a normal non-stick pan.

The only warning I can share with you, is do not finish all the bread before your guests arrive.

(Always yummiest to place in the oven for a couple of minutes before indulging.)

Peach Fold Over Pie

IMG_7498

I am forever on the hunt for new pie dough. They can either be too easy to be true, or so complicated that i regret the ‘envy’ of making a pie. One afternoon I was hunting on one of my favorite websites, JoyofBaking.com and i found this exquisite Cranberry Walnut Galette which was delicious, but right away I noticed (with subtle adjustments) the crust was a keeper. The second time around, I had a basketful of beautiful¬†ripe peaches, I used them and the rest is history. “Peach Fold Over Pie” was born.

What You’ll Need for Dough:

  • 1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1¬†Tbsp Sugar (I use brown)
  • 1/2 Cold Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks (I use Smart Balance margarine if i need it to be Parve)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Ice Cold Water

What You’ll Need for Peaches:

  • 5 Large Peaches/ 3 Cups of Slices Peaches
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar (I use brown)
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon (optional)
  • Confection Sugar
  • All the Imagination You Can Muster

Pie Dough:

In a food processor, place the flour, salt and sugar and process until combined. Add the cold butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about 15 seconds). Sprinkle about 3 Tbsp of ice water over the pastry and process just until the dough holds together when pinched. Add a little more water, if necessary. Turn the dough out onto your work surface, form it into a large round, place in a big ziplock bag, and refrigerate until firm enough to roll out (about 30-60 minutes).

Pre-heat your oven to 375 to 400 degrees F, depends on your oven.

While your dough is chilling you can prepare your peaches. Slice them up, place them in a bowl combine with sugar and cinnamon.

Once the dough has chilled, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 13 inch round. I use a baking sheet (parchment paper) to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. -To ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outward to get uniform thickness). If your parchment doesn’t look to happy after working on it transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with new parchment paper. For the folding part, dough is much easier to manage while cold, so you can place back into the refrigerator to re-chill, or you can be brave and Ce la vie, whatever it is, it is ūüôā¬†

Start placing your peaches in a neat circular fashion, give yourself a 2 inch border of empty dough in order to fold over. When you have a neat enough circle of peaches, lift the corners of the parchment paper one at a time and let the dough neatly fall on top of the peaches at the edges.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the peaches slightly caramelized from their sugars.

TIPS: I¬†encourage healthier alternatives for all-purpose flour, SPELT & WHOLE WHEAT work perfectly.¬†The same way I improvised with the peaches, the same can be done with almost everything. Apples, blueberries, apricots, ONIONS, yes, I¬†said onions and the list goes on…

Bon Appetite!

Yogurt Parfait

IMG_9190

Yogurt Parfait. One of the simplest yet yummiest healthiest way to start your day, or just a great way to give yourself a boost of energy as an afternoon snack.

Things you’ll need:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Banana
  • Berries of Your Choice (I used Raspberries, Blackberries)
  • Raisins
  • Honey
  • Imagination

Since this dish really is simple, I beg of you, take an extra 60 seconds and display it nicely as a treat. It will inspire you to eat healthier.

The beauty about this cup of prettiness is that you are limitless, that’s why imagination is always one of my key ingredients to any recipe. You can swap the berries with apples, peaches, granola, cereal, silan (date honey), halva and the list just goes on.

Suck Your Fingers+Plate Chicken Wings

IMG_0843

Cooking is an art.. Cooking is a passion… Its fun… I can come up with so many reasons why cooking can even be a legitimate sport. But lets be real, what makes it what it is for the most part; feeding our masterpieces to the ones we love. That silent moment when mouths are too full to exclaim their appreciation.

The trick is to find dishes that we can prepare in 10 minutes flat and have the delicious flavors linger for much longer then that.

This dish, side dish, appetizer or main course would be one of my top candidates.

Things¬†you’ll need:

  • 20 chicken wings/ 40 drumets (I use drummettes)
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Tahini
  • 3 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic/Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Grated Ginger
  • 1/5 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt to taste (Don’t forget Soy Sauce contains salt)
  • Cookie Sheet (big enough to spread all the wings nicely)
  • Parchment Paper
  • A Healthy Amount of Imagination

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a nice sized bowl stir in all the ingredients with a whisk following all your wings (make sure they don’t have too much excess water from rinsing them it will dilute the flavors). Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place all the wings flat onto the cookie sheet and pour any extra sauce left over on top of them. Pop them into the oven. TIP i like middle racks, everything has a chance to cook nicely without burning.

Now you can either set your table, take a shower, whip up a dessert or do whatever for the next 20 minutes or so.

Once they are golden flip them over for an additional 20 minutes. Make sure both sides get the same amount of love:)

Eat Up and Enjoy!

My Debut

The very first memory of me in the kitchen was when I was about four years old. I was too small to reach the countertop in order to mix the batter of a heavy Moroccan ka’ak dough. I remember the frustration of trying to get it right. I somehow adjusted by using a chair as my¬†fancy¬†kitchen island (hurray to an exaggerated imagination).¬†We had this ancient intercom that was considered “super cool” back then, I remember very seriously taking instructions from my mother who was cooking up a storm in the downstairs kitchen. As the years went by, a visit to Crate & Barrel or the local Market became a mission. Suddenly making a simple lasagna meant making friends with my tomatoes, or picking out the zucchinis that chose me. (Yes, vegetables do talk.) I guess you can say the rest is history.. or in this case, the future? Who knows..

P.S. The definition of Madeleine is; a small rich cake. 

Madeleine is also the name of my grandmother which I am named after.