Chicken & Fig Tagine

Chicken & Fig Tagine

The perfect winter stew, made to satisfy everyone. Full of different flavors and spices it opens up the smell of the house. It can be made in a crockpot and forgotten about, or cooked for 1-2 hours with a result of tender chicken, and vegetable goodness. Tagine has a long history in Moroccan cuisine, and here I have simplified it for the average cook without stripping any flavors away.

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 5 tbsp tagine spices

  • 2 tbsp salt (or more to taste)

  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • 3 medium sized onions, peeled and large diced

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup raw chickpea, soaked overnight and drained

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and large diced

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 2 cups warm water

  • 3 tbsp fig jam

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 lemon, juiced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, 2 tbsp of tagine spice, and 1 tbsp of salt. Pat dry the chicken thighs and combine them with the flour and spice mixture.

  2. In a large heavy bottom pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat. Once it’s hot, increase the heat and cook the chicken, for 4-5 minutes, until each side is brown. Once the chicken is all brown, set them aside.

  3. In the same pot that you cooked the chicken, cook onions and garlic with 2 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Make sure to scrape the chicken bits while you are cooking onions.

  4. Add the chickpea to the pot. Cook them for 3-5 minutes. Then, add carrots, 3 tbsp of tagine spice, and 1 tbsp of salt. Cook everything together for another 6-8 minutes until vegetables are getting tender.

  5. Add the chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a simmer.

  6. In a small bowl, mix warm water with fig jam. Once the tagine is simmering, add the fig water, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves and simmer for anoter 30 minutes.

  7. After simmering, add the reserved browned chicken to the pot and cook for another 30-45 minutes.

  8. Transfer the tagine to a serving bowl and finish it with a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Garlic & Thyme Roasted Potatoes with Brown Pearl Onions

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GARLIC & THYME ROASTED POTATOES WITH BROWN PEARL ONIONS

Potatoes are my favorite vegetable, and this is my go-to Mediterranean way to prepare them. They are fantastic side dishes along roasted chicken, branzino, and even lamb.

 Total Time: 30-35 minutes
Serves: 4 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs mini potatoes, cut in half

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 6-7 sprigs of thyme

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 4 tbsp EVOO

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 bag of frozen pearl onions

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set your oven to 425F.

  2. Mix cut-up potatoes, garlic, thyme, juiced and zested lemon and EVOO in a bowl, and throw them on a parchment-covered sheet tray. Season them with salt and pepper.

  3. Bake them in the oven for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are golden brown.

  4. While the potatoes are in the oven, melt the butter on a pan over medium heat and sauté the pearl onions until the outside gets brown for around 15 minutes.

  5. Once the potatoes are done, combine them with pearl onions.

  6. Enjoy!

Moroccan Couscous

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MOROCCAN COUSCOUS

An easy and healthy side that goes with any chicken, fish, or lamb dish! It’s an alternative to rice and will spice up your dish.  

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 people
Yield: 4-5 cups 

INGREDIENTS

·     3 tbsp EVOO

·     1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped

·     ½ cup shallot, peeled & chopped

·     2 cups couscous

·     1 tbsp turmeric

·     3 cups water, or chicken stock

·     ½ cup raw pistachio, crushed

·     3 tbsp mint, chiffonade

·     salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.     Heat olive oil, in a medium saucepan over medium heat

2.     Add chopped shallot, cook for 1 minute then add garlic.

3.     Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent.

4.     Add couscous, turmeric and salt, stir until the couscous is a bright yellow color.

5.     Add water or stock, cook with lid on, for 15 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed all the water.

6.     Stir in the pistachio, taste for seasoning.

7.     Serve the couscous in a bowl, finish with a drizzle of EVOO, squeeze of lemon, and fresh mint!

8.     Enjoy!

Orange Blossom Osmalieh

Orange Blossom Osmalieh

A client recently asked me to make this traditional Lebanese dessert, osamlieh. I was scared at first, but I was also excited to make something new. So, I went to my go-to modern Lebanese cookbook The Jewelled Table, which had an authentic recipe for osamlieh. I added my own twist by mixing orange blossom water from my grandfather, which I brought back from Lebanon. This recipe seems daunting at first (I was too!), but it’s really simple once you get to the assembly.

It’s essential to use kataifi, a shredded phyllo pastry, for this dessert. It not only gives the foundation to hold the floral rosewater cream filling, but also adds crispy, crunchy textures to balance everything else. This dessert is definitely a showstopper with little efforts.

Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people

INGREDIENTS

Osmalieh

  • 2 cups kataifi, shredded phyllo pastry

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1 cup canola oil, divided into 1/2 cup

Mascarpone cream

  • 2 cups mascarpone, room temperature

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

  • 2 tbsp rosewater

Orange Blossom Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water

INSTRUCTIONS

Osmalieh

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

  2. Defrost your shredded filo pastry for about an hour.

  3. Divide the filo pastry into two equal amounts.

  4. In two 9-inch round cake pans, fill half cup of neutral oil in each. Spread the bottom of the oiled cake pan with shredded filo. Press down evenly so that the filo pastry is compact and flat.

  5. Dot the cubed butter on top of the pastry throughout.

  6. Bake them in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry gets crispy and golden brown. After 15 minutes, make sure you rotate the pans for even browning.

  7. After baking, let them cool in the cake pan for 15- 20 minutes until the pastry is set. Once it’s set with the circle shape, take the dough out from the pan and place them on a wire rack or a paper towel to drain all the excess oil.

Mascarpone cream

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and rosewater until it reaches a medium peak.

  2. In a separate mixing bowl, spread & fold the mascarpone with a spatula until it’s silky, and spreadable.

  3. Start folding the whipped cream into the mascarpone, 1/3 at a time, until it’s fully incorporated.

  4. Put the cream mixture into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag). Place it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.

Orange blossom simple syrup

  1. In a small pot, add water, sugar, lemon juice, and orange blossom water over medium heat. Let it cook for 15 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and reduced a little bit. Let it cool.

Assembly

  1. Place the bottom half of cooked filo dough on a serving base.

  2. Using a star-tipped piping bag, pipe the mascarpone cream on the filo base until it’s fully covered by making a circular motion. You need to do this twice to have two layers. The cream layer should be thick.

  3. Place the other layer of filo dough on top of the cream. Press down very gently to make a large cream sandwich.

  4. Decorate the top with more mascarpone cream and zested and crusted pistachio.

  5. Serve the orange blossom simple syrup on the side. Enjoy a slice with your afternoon coffee.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This was my favorite dip when I moved to America. I looked forward to visiting my friend, Becky, to watch the Super Bowl with my family because she made THE BEST buffalo chicken dip EVER. After so many years passed since then, I still remember Becky’s famous buffalo chicken dip around the Super Bowl season. It’s creamy, tangy, and just SUPER ADDICTIVE. It’s still one of my favorite things to eat no matter what season it is.

If you want to have a healthy twist on this delicious dip, feel free to swap sour cream with greek yogurt. It will still be as pleasant as this one without the guilt, but I will have my steaming hot buffalo chicken dip, watching this year’s Super Bowl!

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8-12 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 3 pound of shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 1 1/2 cup buffalo sauce

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

  • 1 scallion, chopped for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F.

  2. Whisk cream cheese and sour cream until it’s smooth.

  3. Combine the cream mixture with shredded rotisserie chicken. Pour buffalo sauce and mix everything together until it all comes together.

  4. Transfer the mixture to a greased casserole dish. Top it with shredded cheese.

  5. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese layer gets dark and crispy.

  6. Once it’s done baking, garnish it with scallion.

  7. Serve it with chips, or crudités. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Cauliflower Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

My clients recently have been asking a lot about Whole30 friendly menu, so I’ve been thinking about how to recreate creamy, hummus-like dips without using chickpeas. Since those who are following Whole30 diet can’t eat chickpeas, I substituted them with roasted cauliflower for creamy base.

It’s also easy to buy pita chips, but if you can make them from scratch, they are incredible. All you need are leftover pita bread, salt, and EVOO. I highly recommend making homemade pita chips if you can because they are THE BEST.

The turmeric in the dip not only gives a gorgeous golden color but also adds extra flavor to the dip. When you are dipping pita chips or fresh vegetable crudités, this dip will satisfy all of your cravings.

Total Time: 30-35 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower Dip

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 1 tbsp freshly ground ginger

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 lemon, (1 lemon, zested and squeezed & 1 lemon juiced)

  • 2 tsp, ground turmeric

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp EVOO, divided into 1 tbsp

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1 ice cube

  • 2 tbsp cold water

Pita Chips

  • 2-3 pita bread, cut up with scissors

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp EVOO

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

  2. Toss the cauliflower with ground ginger, garlic, 1 lemon (zested and squeezed), turmeric, and salt.

  3. Bake them on a sheet tray for 15- 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower gets tender.

  4. While the cauliflower is baking, toss pita bread with salt and 1 tbsp of EVOO. Feel free to add any seasonings you like, such as Za’atar, sumac, or oregano. Have fun with your seasonings.

  5. Bake the pita bread for 6-7 minutes, until they get crispy. Make sure you keep an eye on them because they get dark real fast. Once they are done roasting, take them out and let them cool.

  6. After the cauliflower is done roasting, put it in a food processor with tahini, 1 lemon (juiced), and the rest of EVOO.

  7. While the food processor is running, add an ice cube and cold water. They will help everything come together.

  8. Serve with pita chips. Enjoy!

Buff-Cauli

Buff-Cauli

Forget about buffalo wings! These buff-cauli are so easy to make and flavorful that you want to eat them all by yourself. The cauliflower is a little crunchy outside and meaty inside, and it won’t make you miss buffalo wings. Bring these to your next party to please everyone, including your vegan friends!

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4 people

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.

  2. Cut up the cauliflower into bite-size florets.

  3. Toss the cauliflower with hot sauce, canola oil, and a pinch of salt.

  4. Bake them in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the cauliflower gets tender.

Zucchini Fries

Zucchini Fries

This is a simple, fun, healthy-alternative finger food for your next party. It’s all about the seasonings! You can adjust the amount to meet your preferences as long as you are generous with your seasonings. More seasonings = more flavors! If you don’t have Trader Joe’s chili & lime seasoning, you can easily substitute with chili powder and lime zest.

Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 people

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.

  2. Cut the zucchinis into wedges.

  3. Toss the cut-up zucchinis with EVOO and the mixed seasonings.

  4. Bake them in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the zucchinis get charred outside.

  5. Serve it with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!