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Thursday, May 29, 2014


1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
 1 pound chopped nuts
 1 cup butter
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1 cup water
 1 cup white sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/2 cup honey
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Grilled Moroccan Flank Steak


4 pounds flank steak

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sherry
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper


Mix ingredients together and marinade steaks in a shallow baking dish for 4 hours in the refrigerator. Remove steaks from marinade and reserve. Grill steaks to desired doneness  (about 5 minutes on each side). Heat marinade in saucepan for 10 minutes. Cut steaks diagonally into thin slices. Pour marinade over steaks and serve.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

easy meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
1 onion, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup dried bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk and bread OR cracker crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5x9 inch loaf pan, OR form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
3. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fresh Cherry Cobbler

1/2 cup butter
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 1 cup white sugar
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1 cup milk
 2 cups pitted sour cherries
 3/4 cup white sugar
 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the butter in a 9x13 inch baking dish, and place in the oven to melt while the oven is preheating. Remove as soon as butter has melted, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and baking powder. Mix in the milk until well blended, then pour the batter into the pan over the butter. Do not stir.
Rinse out the bowl from the batter, and dry. Place cherries into the bowl, and toss with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Distribute the cherry mixture evenly over the batter. Do not stir.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the cobber should come out clean.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Best Place to go Halal Restaurant Hunting

One of the biggest problems for Muslims who just moved into a new city is finding a restaurant that serves genuine Halal food. This is especially true for Muslims who follow the strict “zabihah” meat preparation– because the food will come to them cooked and ready to eat and it will be impossible to tell for sure how that dish was prepared or did it violate any laws of preparing Halal food. So if you are one of these people and need help in finding the right Halal restaurant in your area, then this is the perfect read for you! This article will introduce to you one of the best ways to find the right Halal restaurant in your new area.
The best thing that you can do is to turn to Halal restaurants section from OpenRice Singapore. This website provides a comprehensive list of certified Halal foods all over the country. The website owners have gone out of their way to find out if restaurants who claim to serve Halal food do indeed follow the right cooking procedures; and if they do, they post the names of these restaurants online to get this message across to people who need it.
So do not let this opportunity pass you by. This is indeed a great place to go to for Muslims who want to strictly follow their special tradition on Halal food and preparation. Since you really cannot tell how the food was prepared, the reviews that you get online from fellow Muslims, who like you, are also looking for genuine Halal restaurants can be of huge help. Aside form that, they also offer discount coupons on selected Halal restaurant all over the country and even restaurant reviews on how the food tastes and the ambience the featured restaurant online – the perfect place to go restaurant hunting indeed!
Halal food is defined as a kind of food that is considered to be clean by Muslim laws and beliefs. Muslim religion generally prohibits the consumption of pork meat and other pork-associated food. Aside from that, they also follow a certain method in slaughtering their meat, called “zabihah” – where animals are killed by single cut to the jugular vein and positioned in such a way that all of the blood is drained out without touching the meat used for cooking. Although this may sound very strange for people outside the religion, this kind of belief is actually very much similar to Jewish beliefs.
In Jewish beliefs, the food that they prepare is termed as “kosher”. Jewish law also prohibits the eating of pork, just as the Muslims do because as it is stated in their Bible. A certain verse in Qur’an even mentions that it is permissible to eat the same food that Jews put on their table. Because of this, some Muslims in the East, particularly in the States are starting to buy their meat right form the supermarket – although not all Muslims follow this practice. 
For processed and supermarket foods, Muslims however are considered to be more careful. The Muslim community has created a Halal certification which is a seal that their authorities give out to food manufacturers and restaurants to certify if they do make Halal food and follow the right standards of food preparation or not. Today, there are quite a number of products that possess this seal in grocery shelves, used by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. People who practice Halal also do not consume gelatin or any kind of food that contain emulsifiers. Why? This is because they are not certain if these ingredients came it contact with pork products or not. Jews on the other hand are not really that strict and consider these kinds of products as kosher food. 
For many Muslims, they usually seek out Halal grocery stores to get their items from. With this, they can be one hundred percent sure that the ingredients that they are using are all “pure” and accepted for eating. 


Pork and pork related products are one of the main prohibitions in Muslim beliefs. For those of you who are not practicing the religion, you might be wondering why so? This is because this law was stated directly on their holy book, the Qur’an. But did you know that this prohibition to eat pork is not just practiced by Islam. There are also other religions that ban the consumption of pork such as the Jews. And like the Muslims, this law is also stated in their holy book, the Bible. Although this rule is not anymore found in the New Testament, there are still some Christians that follow this similar belief.
But if you come to think of it, there are actually some scientific evidences that show advantages of a no pork diet. Scientific studies have clearly shown that of all the meat products that humans consume, it is swine meat that is least clean and healthy.
Pork meat has one of the highest amounts of cholesterol, something that everyone would not want to have. This is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure and other heart related diseases. But aside from that, pork meat is also known to be more resistant and absorbent to toxins than any other kind of meat. And because pork can be easily digested by the human body, the transfer of toxins from the meat to our system is also very efficient. Some studies have even shown that pork meat with a certain strain of bacteria can potentially lead to death.
And lastly, pig meat is most prone to a wide number of parasites – all of which can easily be transferred from the meat to the human body upon ingestion of the contaminated food. Although some can be killed during the cooking process, the danger of improperly prepared food makes pork eaters vulnerable to such infections. 
So you see there are more advantages than one that Muslims can get out of eating Halal food. Not only does it keep them spiritually pure – under their beliefs, but it also keeps them safely away from swine-associated health problems that pork eaters are encountered with today.
Halal is a Muslim belief that focuses of certain ways of cooking and food preparation. Literally, the word means something that is lawful or permitted; and the opposite of which is called “haram” which in turn, means prohibited and not allowed. Although this term can be applied to practically all areas in Muslim life, this word is most well associated with food and cooking. 
In Muslim beliefs, there are some clear lists on what products are considered Halal. But with the number of products that are available in the market today, not all of the things are completely under this list and covered under the don’ts and do’s of Muslim law. Although you can clearly tell if a fresh ingredient (such as meat and fresh produce) is Halal or not, one cannot really be certain in the case of pre-processed foods such as canned goods and the likes. 
But generally, all foods are considered Halal aside from these exemptions: pork and all its related products; food that has been in contact with pork or its by-products, animals that were slaughtered improperly, meat or any kind of food that has or has been in contact with blood, animals that feed on other animals (carnivorous), alcoholic drinks or food that has alcoholic ingredients.
For the processed foods, the best thing that people who practice Halal can do is to buy them from certified Halal distributors. These distributors have been certified by designated authorities from the Muslim community. Distributors who are certified are given the Halal seal of certification which they can print on to their product packages, this way, customers will have an idea whether the food is safe for consumption or not.
But for those who do not know of certified Halal distributors around their area, there are still some Halal certified products that are also sold in regular grocery stores. All you need to do is to find that Halal certification on their product covers for assurance. But if not, then the next best thing that you can do is to stay away from prohibited or questionable ingredients such as gelatin and some emulsifiers.


Halal Food and the Beauty of Muslim Traditions

People who belong to non-Muslim religions may think of Halal as a different kind of food, but in reality – it really is not different from the rest of the food that people belonging to other beliefs have. The word “Halal” actually literally means “acceptable” to Muslim language. These are the kind of foods that are acceptable for eating in the Muslim religion. But the only thing that really makes it very different is the way the food is cooked and prepared,singapore restaurants reviews get the latest restaurant reviews in singapore.
One of the most important laws in Halal food is the preparation and use of meat. Muslims do not eat swine or any other food that come in contact with this kind of meat. Aside from that, Halal food preparation follows a special slaughtering method where animals are killed in the most painless way possible. Muslims believe that all animals have the right to live and when they are slaughtered for food, they should be done so with utmost respect for its life. During the slaughter, the animal is killed with a deep incision cutting off its jugular vein, killing it in the first slay of the knife. After that, the blood is totally drained and blood contact with the meat is avoided at all cost. 
This Muslim tradition is really no different from the other beliefs practiced by other religions such as the Jews – where their specially prepared food is termed”Kosher”. Muslims treat their bodies as a temple for Allah and hence, will fill only their stomach and nourish their bodies with the purest kind of food that they can find. This explains why Muslims go through all these steps just to prepare their everyday dishes. 
So the next time you hear about Halal food and Muslim traditions, we hope that you have a change of perspective – and a change that is for the better. This tradition has been carried over from generation to generation and is one of the most beautiful parts of human culture. So do not treat this practice any differently – now that you have a deeper understanding of why they do such practices.

Halal Certifications: What You Need to Know

So how does the certification work? It is usually the food company itself that submits the application for the Halal certification. After submission, their plant will be subjected to inspection and checking by the proper Muslim authority – on what exact products were used for the product and how it was processed from the butchering to the food preparation. Certification will depend on whether their processes adhere to the Muslim law on Halal food. Although this group is in no way associated with the government, many of these organizations are credible and are run by fellow Muslims themselves. 
Today, there are now hundred of Muslim organizations that offer to give Halal certifications in different parts of the world. Although this may be a good thing for food companies, there is still the issue of organizations and their credibility to issue such certifications. Since there really is no single body to monitor their activities, there are some organizations that may not be as strict as they need to be. 
So for all you who really desire to follow this religious law, then take it upon yourself to research on the different products available in your area and try as best as you can to find out if the certification is indeed valid or not. This may be a little sacrifice on your part but will all be worth it knowing that the food that you eat will not violate any of your traditions and laws.

Great Tips in Shopping for Halal Ingredients

So how do Muslims go about with shopping? There are some published books that contain a list of products that are accepted for consumption in line with their laws and standards – which products are permitted and which are not. Although this list will not really cover everything that you see in your grocery shelves, the book can give you a handful of important and common products that you can easily find in stores – which are permitted for eating. 
Aside from that, there are some countries that have national organizations that have also come up with their own list of products which pass the Halal standards today. In America, there is the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America that have compiled a list of common ingredients that their fellow Muslims can use in their day to day dishes. This information is usually available online in their official website.
So there you have it: simple but effective and easy ways to get genuine Halal food from your regular supermarket. So do not feel limited just because of your religious tradition. Get a hold of this list and get better assurance in shopping for ingredients for your Halal dishes!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows without gelatin

3 cups white sugar 
1/4 cup corn syrup 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup water 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
cup confectioners' sugar for dusting 

Generously coat a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. 
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. 
Chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. To cut, loosen edges with a knife. Dust surface with confectioners' sugar, and turn out onto a waxed paper lined surface. Dust with confectioners' sugar again and cut with a knife.Canon EOS 7D 18.0MP Digital SLR Camera - Body Only (Google Affiliate Ad)

Sunday, February 24, 2013



5 medium-sized tomatoes (grated).
2 large – green peppers
1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
3 garlic cloves (crushed)

Step 1 – Roasting the Green Peppers

1. Grill green peppers (insert wood sticks in peppers and place directly on burner).  Goal is to grill peppers on high heat until skin turns black.  Cracking noise is a good sign; it means skin is cracking and pepper is roasting

2. Keep monitoring pepper and turn around until all sides become black.  If you find it difficult to use wooden sticks, use tongs to turn pepper

3. Once peppers are roasted, place in a bowl with a plastic wrap for 15-20 minutes.  This will steam the peppers and aide in removing the skin

Step 2 – Cooking the Tomatoes

1. While peppers are steaming, gently cook tomatoes with spices, olive oil, tomato paste and garlic in a sauce pan on medium heat

2. Cook tomato mixture for 15 minutes on medium heat

3. Stir from time-to-time

4. Once cooked on medium heat for 15 minutes, reduce heat to low and then start to get peppers ready

Step 3 – Combining the Tomatoes and the Peppers

1. Clean Peppers by removing burnt skin, cutting top of pepper and removing seeds

2. After cleaning peppers, slice and dice into small cubes

3. Add pepper cubes and chopped parsley and cilantro to tomato mixture

4. Cook tomatoes and peppers on medium heat for another 15-20 minutes

Step 4 – Serving this delicious Cooked Salad

1. Salad is ready when it becomes dry and thick.

2. If you have preserved lemons, you can use them for decoration.  First wash preserved lemon in water to remove some of the salt, then cut lemon and remove pulp so you can use the skin for decoration

3. Serve salad with Moroccan bread or French baguette as an appetizer

4. Eat warm or cold