For this challenge, I decided to bring something traditional. I wanted my friends to experience something truly cultural. It is a meat breyani/biryani. I did not find many good recipes online, so I used one that my mom has made before. I have to warn that if you are willing to make this recipe, it takes a lot of time!
Posted in Food Challenge, Main Dish, Pork and Red Meat, Recipes
Tagged Breyani, Coriander, Dhai, Lamb, Potato, Rice, Saffron, Spices, Yogurt
Muslims all around the world celebrated Eid-ul-Adha on the 27 November 2009. I thought that I would share some of how we celebrated this particular Eid this year. Eid-ul-Adha is really to mark the end of the holy Haj, which is a compulsory 5 day pilgrimage to Mecca for those who can afford it. For those of us not on Haj, it is strongly recommended to commemorate the day by following the ritual of the prophet Abraham and his son Ismail, a Qurban and spend the day with family and friends.
The day started early with the Eid service starting at 6am. It is the only prayer where it is recommended to be performed outside. We joined a large gathering on a field for the service and the prayer. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather. The service lasted about an hour or so and we were home by 7:30am. We had a quick breakfast and made our way to a farm so that we could participate in following the ritual of Abraham and his son.
As we drove up to the farm, we realized what we had been missing for the last few years. There were about 5 of these farms on the road we were driving on, and all of them were packed with families all with the same purpose. With all the people there still dressed for mosque, it created a community atmosphere which we were glad to be part of. We even ran into old neighbours of ours and had some time to catch up. The farm that we had chosen was quite well organized under the circumstances. We were there all of 2 hours, but in the end we were satisfied with the help we received. My family had decided to have all the meat donated to charity.
Among my co-authors I am the only one who did not have a holiday to celebrate, but that does not mean it is an excuse not to feast. Well I did not exactly feast since the two recipes I am including have been made on different days. The common thing between them is that they are both first timers for me.
The first is baby octopi, the second is gnocchi. I have tried both before in restaurants or at friends, but I never made them myself.
The experience with gnocchi varied from the Italian perfection at Piazza Navona in Rome, with two streets dancers performing a tango on a dolent melody, to the extreme flop in a supposedly good local restaurant, where it seemed reprehensive to laugh.
The octopi experience has always been pleasant to me so I had no bad memories to compensate, so I was able to experiment.
I thought I would share a little blurb about my Thanksgiving this year to give readers a feel for what the holiday entails for us in the states. As you can imagine, I was quite busy with organizing, traveling, and keeping the kids occupied as is normal this time of year. Despite all of the chaos that will ultimately ensue as with most family celebrations, I managed to find some peace in the cool autumn morning at my parents’ place before the feast.
Prior to this challenge, I can’t say I had ever tried or even heard of Sofficini. I am always looking to learn and experience new things, so this challenge had an air of excitement to it for me. Of all the things I could fill these with, I decided I would use a favorite cheese combination of mine I normally use to stuff ravioli and manicotti.
After dropping the kids off at school, I set out to buy my missing ingredients. I went into the grocery store I had worked at while going to college. This way I knew right where everything would be, and seeing old friends often sets the day off to a decent start. I had thoughts of bringing some of the sofficini back to the store with my well wishes, but later I thought better of it being as how this was my first experience making these.
Posted in Main Dish, Pasta
Tagged Bechamel, Fried, Italian, Italian Food, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pasta, Ricotta, Sofficini, Spinach
I am really excited about this challenge, as I always am when it comes to Italian food.
My friend introduced me to Sofficini when I visited her in Italy. They are delicious pockets that enter pretty much in the comfort food department. She used to buy them ready made and frozen from the store and they made a great addition to lunch or dinner, although they can pretty much be a meal on their own, depending on what they are filled.
We mostly ate ones filled with mushroom and cheese or spinach and cheese.
I have tried and looked for Sofficini in the supermarkets here when I was back, but no avail. I even have been looking for recipes online and I was not lucky. Until lately, I came across one, where the author was as excited about Sofficini as I am. She had grown eating them and to my greatest delight I found a fully home made recipe.
The directions seem pretty easy to follow and my mouth is watering at the thought of eating Sofficini again.
It seemed a great idea to share these wonderful pockets with my friends and I hope everyone who tries them will find them as delicious as I think they are.
I have to start off by apologizing to my co-authors as well as those who read our blog for posting so late. I have finally got around to completing the challenge, and I have to say, I really had fun with this!
I was very pressed for time this week, so I did not stray too far from the posted recipe. The only real changes I made were that I used real butter in forming the crust; I added about ¾ cup of sugar to the cheese mixture instead of the 1 cup the recipe called for; I added 2 tbsp of lemon juice to the mixture for tartness; and I used strawberry pie filling to top the cake.
I was satisfied with the result. The texture was very smooth and it cooked perfectly. My only regret was adding 2 tbsp of lemon juice to it. This was a little too much with the sour cream already adding to the cake’s flavor. The next time I make this recipe, I will probably only add 1 tbsp of lemon juice.