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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stirfried Crab with Ginger and Green Onion

So here's the thing. I was craving stirfried crab. And the thing about me is that once I get something into my head, especially with regards to food, I just have to have it.

Now, it would have been easy if I was craving pizza or pasta or fruit. But crab? Asian style? Go figure.

For anyone that loves crab, you know that it is darn expensive to have in a restaurant. So, I decided to see if I could make it myself.  I went to my local grocery store where I remembered seeing fresh crab and lobster tanks, and sure enough, my memory did not fail me. However, when I asked if they could kill it for me, they said they couldn't and also reminded me that it would taste far better if I did it myself right before cooking. Yikes!

So, with plastic bag containing crawling giant crab in hand, I headed home. First thing I had to do was figure out how I was going to kill it. According to sources on google, putting the live crab in the freezer for about 20 minutes stuns the crab and it doesn't move as much, so I tried that. 20 minutes later, the crab was still moving, I almost think more than it was before!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Manakeesh with Zaatar and Cheese
(Middle Eastern Flatbread with Thyme and Cheese)

Some of my favorite memories from living in the Middle East involve food. Particularly in Syria where the people were so hospitable and the food was so fresh and delicious.

When walking down the street, you often pass bakeries with a variety of amazing baked goods, including these little mini "pizzas" with a variety of toppings. They are called Manakeesh and they are a typical quick lunch or snack. But you don't just find them in the city. Go for a drive in the country, open your windows and you will smell these delicious flat bread baking in the stone, tandoor type ovens long before you even see them. 

Manakeesh can have a wide variety of toppings and they can be filled and folded over, kind of like a calzone. My favorites are the classic Zaatar with Cheese or the folded over Spinach Manakeesh.  Zaatar is a spice combo involving dried thyme, sesame seeds, salt, and the middle eastern spice, sumac. (Sumac is a spice made from red berries that are ground into a powder. It gives a subtle lemony flavor and is used a lot in middle eastern cooking. If you can't find it, you could substitute some lemon zest.) Alternatively, you could find already mixed Zaater in middle eastern grocery stores. Add some olive oil to form a paste, and eat it with Arabic bread, cheese and olives for a very typical middle eastern breakfast. Or use that paste on top of your Manakeesh!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Eggplant and Zucchini Roll Ups

Happy Mother's Day!! 

What a great day to celebrate all the wonderful times we have had with our mothers over the years! While a lot of families chose to enjoy this day over brunch or lunch at one of the city's great restaurants, I prefer to spend the day at home or outside with my family.

Last year, we celebrated mom's birthday and mother's day at the same time, and made Eggs Benedict. This year will be similar, spending the day with mom and having lunch.

If you are planning on doing the same, I have the perfect recipe for you. And you can make it the day ahead, put it in the fridge, and just put it in the oven before lunch. That way, you have maximum "mom quality time." Alternatively, if you like to spend time in the kitchen with your mom, this could be a dish that you assemble together!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Baked Zucchini Fries

It's Stanley Cup season and that means game food! Unfortunately, game food although tasty is usually hard on the waistline. That is, until I discovered these baked zucchini fries. They are crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, making for an addictive game day snack. Enjoy them with regular ketchup, or elevate them by serving them with a warm marinara sauce.

They are very easy to make and will disappear so quickly, you will question whether they were actually zucchini! In fact, kids love them too!