Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: peas

Tetrazzini is an American pasta dish made with diced poultry or seafood and mushrooms in a butter/cream and cheese sauce flavored with wine or sherry. It is served hot over linguine, spaghetti, egg noodles, or some other types of pasta, garnished with parsley, and sometimes topped with breadcrumbs, almonds, or cheese (or a combination). Tetrazzini can also be prepared as a baked noodle casserole.

The dish is believed to be named after the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini (1871–1940) an Italian coloratura soprano of great international fame. She enjoyed a highly successful operatic and concert career in Europe and America from the 1890s through to the 1920s.

This dish is widely believed to have been invented around 1908–1910 by Ernest Arbogast, the chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, where Tetrazzini was a long-time resident. However, other sources attribute the origin to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City. Good Housekeeping published the first reference to turkey tetrazzini in October 1908, saying readers could find the dish of cooked turkey in a cream sauce, with spaghetti, grated cheese, sliced mushrooms, and bread crumbs on top, at “the restaurant on Forty-second street.

Of course, there are many versions of this recipe and here is mine.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Ingredients

1 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chopped cooked turkey
2 cups frozen peas
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried sage or poultry seasoning
1/4 cup sherry
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
Topping
1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until just al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Stir in the turkey and peas and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, in a large deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, salt, and sage and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and begin to brown slightly about 2 minutes.

Pour in the sherry and stir to lift any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute, until the liquid evaporates.

Set aside the vegetables and return the skillet to the heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and let it melt, then sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring, until the flour has been absorbed and the mixture bubbles about 1 minute.

Gradually add the broth, stirring continuously, and when the mixture begins to thicken, add the milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes total.

Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the sauce over the pasta mixture in the large serving bowl. Stir in the mushroom mixture until well mixed.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and paprika with the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta mixture and serve immediately.

This dish may be prepared ahead. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and bubbling.


Although the granules look like grains, couscous is actually tiny pasta made from a type of wheat called semolina. Unlike other pastas, which are mixed with water and eggs into sheets, couscous is made by rubbing semolina between wet hands until minuscule pieces are formed. The couscous is then dried and later cooked in boiling water.

Israeli couscous
Israeli couscous is also a type of pasta but consists of granules that are much larger – about the size of small pearls. Made from wheat flour and semolina, Israeli couscous has a ball-like shape and is toasted, rather than dried, after the granules are formed. This process gives Israeli couscous a nuttier flavor and chewy bite that adds an unexpected touch to regional recipes.

Mediterranean Scallops Over Couscous

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on the finished dish
Half a sweet onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of crumbled saffron threads
1/2 cup Israeli couscous
13-14 oz container no-salt-added diced Italian tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
10 ounces bay scallops, tough side muscle removed
1/3 cup frozen peas
Chopped parsley
2 lemon wedges

Directions

Heat oil in a medium covered skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and saffron; cook for 20 seconds. Add couscous and cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes, bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat to low. Cover the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the couscous is tender.

Increase the heat to medium, stir in peas and scallops; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the scallops are just cooked through. (If the scallops are not all the same size, place the larger scallops in the pan first, wait several seconds and then add the smaller ones).

Drizzle with olive oil, top with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.


Asian Chicken

Ingredients

2 pounds chicken (thighs, breasts- skin on or off according to preference)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons peeled ginger, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Combine the green onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, juice and chili flakes in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken. Seal and shake to coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

To grill:
Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F) with two zones for direct and indirect cooking. Use tongs to oil the grill grates using a small folded piece of paper towel dipped in oil. Arrange the chicken over the high-heat section of the grill and cook for 5 minutes, or until you see dark, seared grilled marks. Turn the chicken and keep over the hot section for another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the indirect section of the grill (this helps avoid overcooking) and cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F for breasts and 180°F for thighs in the thickest part of the meat, another 10 to 15 minutes.

To broil:
Place the chicken on a broiling pan with a rack sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup of water to the tray underneath to prevent the fat from catching on fire. Broil the chicken on high heat, 9 inches from the cooking source, for about 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F for breasts and 180°F for thighs in the thickest part of the meat, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Bacon Fried Rice

Ingredients

4 cups cold cooked white rice
2 teaspoons peanut oil
8 bacon slices, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 green onions

Directions

Thinly slice the scallions and set aside the green portions. Bring the cooked rice to room temperature; set aside.
In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
Add the white sliced scallions and celery, and sauté together for 4-5 minutes more, turning down the heat slightly if too much browning occurs.


Add the peas, and stir to combine. Then gently stir in the rice. Let the rice mixture heat thoroughly over medium heat. Make a well in the middle, and add the eggs. Stir occasionally to make sure they’re cooking, then stir them into the rice. There should be little bits of cooked egg throughout the rice. Stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce. and green onion tops. Serve immediately.

Broccoli In Oyster Sauce

Ingredients

3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of sugar
Water
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 head broccoli (1 1/2 pounds)

Directions

Trim the broccoli and cut into long florets. In a small bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and 1 tablespoon water.


In a large skillet, heat peanut oil over medium-high. Add garlic and broccoli. Cook, tossing occasionally until broccoli is bright green, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and cook until the broccoli is tender but still has some bite, about 2-3 minutes. Add oyster sauce mixture; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve.


Savoy Cabbage Gratin

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 head savoy cabbage cored and thinly shredded
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon flour or arrowroot
1 teaspoon dried yellow mustard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup shredded cheddar or swiss cheese

Directions
Butter a shallow baking dish (8 by 8 in.) and preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the shredded cabbage in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Mix. Pour 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the cabbage and mix well.

In a large measuring cup mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, garlic, chopped thyme, mustard, and flour. Stir until thoroughly combined, add cream, stir and pour over the cabbage in the baking dish. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Pork Schnitzel

Leftover cutlets are great for sandwiches.

Ingredients

Pork
3 boneless pork loin chops (about 5 to 6 ounces each)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 cups plain panko crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Sage Butter
2 cloves of garlic, grated
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions
Mix all the ingredients for the sage butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Set aside.

Cut the pork chops in half lengthwise to make 6 cutlets.
Place each cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounding them out with the flat side of a meat mallet until they are an even 1/8-inch thick.

Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish. Put the panko crumbs in a third dish. Lightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in the egg and finally into the panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs onto the pork gently so they adhere.

Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a plate lined with parchment and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes or until ready to cook.

Heat the oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Gently lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a serving platter. Melt the sage butter in the microwave and pour over the cutlets. Serve immediately.

Buttery Peas

ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
3 cups frozen peas
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion and salt. Cook until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and then the peas and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the peas defrost and are heated through about 3 minutes. Season with black pepper and serve immediately.


Chinese immigrants to the US in the 19th century worked as laborers, particularly on transcontinental railroads such as the Central Pacific Railroad. They also worked as laborers in mining and suffered racial discrimination at every level of society. In 1924 US law barred further entries of Chinese and those already in the United States had been ineligible for citizenship since the previous year. Also by 1924, all Asian immigrants (except people from the Philippines (annexed by the United States in 1898) were excluded by law, denied citizenship and naturalization, and prevented from owning land. In many Western states, Asian immigrants were even prevented from marrying Caucasians.

In the 1940s when the United States and China became allies during World War II, the situation for Chinese Americans begin to improve, as restrictions on entry into the country, naturalization, and mixed marriage were lessened. In 1943, Chinese immigration to the United States was once again permitted—by way of the Magnuson Act—thereby repealing 61 years of official racial discrimination against the Chinese. However, large-scale Chinese immigration did not occur until 1965 when the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 lifted national origin quotas. After World War II, anti-Asian prejudice began to decrease, and Chinese immigration increased. Currently, the Chinese constitute the largest ethnic group of Asian Americans (about 22%) in the US. As of the 2010 census, there are more than 3.3 million Chinese in the United States, about 1% of the total population. The influx continues, where each year ethnic Chinese people from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and to a lesser extent Southeast Asia move to the United States.

A photograph of a Chinese restaurant on DuPont Ave near Sacramento Street from a Carleton Watkins stereo card (DuPont Ave is now Grant St), San Francisco, California, circa 1880. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Foundations for American Chinese cuisine were brought by immigrants from the southern province of Guangdong, the origin of most Chinese immigration before the restriction of immigrants from China in 1924. These Chinese families developed new styles and used readily available ingredients, especially in California. The type of Chinese American cooking served in restaurants was different from the foods eaten in Chinese American homes. Of the various regional cuisines in China, Cantonese cuisine had been the most influential in the development of American Chinese recipes. Stir-frying, pan frying, and deep frying tended to be the most common Chinese cooking techniques used in American Chinese cuisine, which are all easily done using a wok (a Chinese frying pan with bowl-like features that can withstand very high cooking temperatures. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that the United States got its first taste of “authentic” Chinese cuisine. The 1960s brought new arrivals from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Mainland, who in turn brought with them the foods they had enjoyed in areas like Hunan, Sichuan, Taipei, and Shanghai. Today, according to the Chinese American Restaurant Association, there are over 45,000 Chinese restaurants currently in operation across the United States.

Here are two of my favorite recipes.

Sichuan Peppercorn Shrimp

Adapted from Sang Yoon, Los Angeles Chef

Servings 4

Ingredients

1 ½ teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 pound large shrimp—shelled, deveined and butterflied
Salt
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 scallions: 1 finely chopped, 1 thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large or 2 small jalapeño peppers, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
2 whole dried Tien Tsin chile peppers
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Sesame oil, for drizzling

Directions

In a small skillet, toast the peppercorns over moderate heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds; let cool. Transfer the peppercorns to a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder. Put the shrimp in a bowl, toss with 1 teaspoon of the ground peppercorns and season with sea salt.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Add the shrimp and stir-fry over moderate heat until almost cooked through, 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in the skillet. Add the chopped scallions, garlic, jalapeños and chile and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the scallions and garlic are softened, 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ground peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and lime juice and stir until the shrimp are just cooked through 1 minute. Remove Chinese chile. Transfer to a bowl; garnish with the sliced scallion, drizzle with the sesame oil and serve.

Fried Rice

Adapted from David Chang, New York City Chef

Serves 4

4 cups cooked white rice or cauliflower rice
4 thick slices bacon, diced
½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely diced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 green onions, sliced

Directions

Bring the cooked rice to room temperature; set aside.
In a large deep skillet cook the bacon for 4-5 minutes.


Add the onions and celery, and sauté together for 4-5 minutes more, turning down the heat slightly if too much browning occurs.
Add the peas, and stir to combine. Then gently stir in the rice and sesame oil.

Let the rice mixture heat thoroughly over medium heat. Make a well in the middle, and add the eggs. Stir occasionally to make sure they’re cooking, then stir them into the rice. There should be little bits of cooked egg throughout the rice.


Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce. Just before serving, stir in the green onions.


This pie makes use of leftovers. I used chicken in this recipe but this could easily be a beef pot pie using leftover roasted beef or steak, beef gravy, and leftover vegetables.
If you are on a low carb or gluten-free diet, I have included recipes for both regular pastry and a low carb/gluten-free pastry.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups leftover cooked chicken, cubed

(leftover from Oven Roasted Butterflied Chicken)

½ cup frozen peas
2 cups chopped leftover vegetables or a combination of carrots, onions, green beans or peas
1 cup leftover chicken gravy
Pie Crust Dough for a double crust (store-bought or homemade recipes below)
Melted butter

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken, vegetables, and gravy. Mix well and set aside.


Place one rolled out pastry crust in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Add the chicken filling and cover with a second crust. Crimp the edges and seal the crust all around the pie. Cut 4 slits in the top crust and brush the top with melted butter. (Pie can be refrigerated until ready to bake.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower oven heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake the pie until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly about 30 minutes.

All-Purpose Flour Pastry

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks (16 oz) COLD unsalted butter diced into 1/4″ pieces
6 tablespoons of ice water

Directions

Place flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

Add cold diced butter and pulse the mixture until coarse crumbs form.
Add ice water and pulse just until moist clumps or small balls form and the dough sticks together when pinched. If the dough is too dry, add more water a teaspoon full at a time. Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will be sticky and difficult to roll out.

Transfer dough to a floured work surface, and gather dough together into a ball. Divide dough in half and flatten to form 2 disks.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour before using in the recipes.


Place each disk between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper and roll each into 13 inch round circles.

Low Carb-Gluten Free Pastry

Ingredients

4 cups almond flour blanched
1 teaspoon of sea salt
4 tablespoons butter melted
2 egg whites (I use the refrigerated carton of egg whites, such as Egg Beaters)
4 tablespoons water

Directions

Combine egg whites and water.
In a food processor, combine almond flour, salt, and butter. Pulse for 5-6 pulses. Drizzle in egg white and water mixture. Pulse all ingredients together until a dough forms. If the dough seems dry add another tablespoon water.
With hands, form dough into two balls and then flatten each on a piece of wax or parchment paper.

Cover the top of each dough disc with wax paper or plastic wrap and then roll out into a pie crust circle to fit a 9 to 10-inch pie plate. Follow directions about for completing the pot pie.


Tripoli

The Mediterranean countries include France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal along the north; Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel on the east; the African countries of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco on the south and the Mediterranean Island Countries of Cyprus and Malta. The Mediterranean countries utilize many of the same healthy ingredients but each country has a unique way of creating recipes with those same ingredients. So far in this series, I have written about Mediterranean cuisine in general and about the cuisine in the countries of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. This series continues with the country of Libya.


Food in Libya is a very important part of family life. A well-known Libyan saying is “one must eat well”. Libyan cuisine is based on the traditions of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Berber cuisines. Tripoli is Libya’s capital, and the cuisine in this city is especially influenced by the Italian cuisine. Pasta is common, as are many seafood dishes. Fruits, most often served, include figs, dates, oranges, apricots, and olives.

The sand in Libya gets so hot in the summer that walking on it with bare feet becomes unbearable. As a result, the Tuareg way of baking bread is to bury it in the hot sand, which is as effective as baking in an oven. The technique can also be used to bake potatoes and eggs by burying them whole in the sand and leaving them there for several hours.

Olive oil is the main ingredient of nearly all Libyan dishes. Its use in North Africa goes back thousands of years, and its life-prolonging properties were well-known to the ancient Libyans and Egyptians.


There are four main ingredients in the traditional Libyan cuisine: olives (and olive oil), palm dates, grains, and milk. These are very ancient foods and they have been in the Libyan cuisine since Neolithic times when humans first began to make use of their natural surroundings. Grains are roasted, ground, sieved and used for making bread, cakes, soups, Bazin, and other dough-based dishes. Dates are harvested, dried and stored for the rest of the year. They can be eaten as they are, made into syrup, fried or eaten with milk for breakfast.

Garlic is also one of the most important Libyan foods, as it is usually added to most dishes that involve sauces or stews, especially those served with couscous and pasta.

One of the most important social occasions in Libya is getting together for tea drinking. This activity brings families together, to chat, laugh, discuss and gossip about the highlights of the day and about life in general. Talking in Libya is a very important social activity and it firmly bonds the family. Libyan tea is a very strong, thick, syrup-like black tea. After boiling water in a traditional teapot, a handful of red tea leaves are added, and the leaves are boiled for a long time (about twenty minutes).

Bazin

Bazin is the most well-known Libyan dish. It is made by boiling barley flour in salted water to make a hard dough and then forming it into a rounded, smooth dome that is placed in the middle of a serving dish. The sauce around the dough is made by frying chopped onions with ground lamb, turmeric, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, fenugreek, sweet paprika and tomato paste. Potatoes may also be added. Hard-boiled eggs are arranged around the dome. The dish is then served with lemon and fresh or pickled chili peppers, known as amsyar. Batata mubattana (filled potato) is another popular dish that consists of fried potato pieces filled with spiced ground meat and covered with egg and breadcrumbs.

Make A Libyan-style Dinner In Your Kitchen

Recipes adapted from http://libyanfood.blogspot.com/

Lentil Soup With Fried Onions

Ingredients

2 cups lentils
5 cups water
2 garlic cloves
1 medium carrot
1 onion
1 large tomato
1/2 -1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt

Fried Onions
2 medium onions
Oil for frying

For the Topping
Extra cumin
Toasted bread, cut into cubes or triangles

Directions

Wash and drain the lentils; wash and cut the carrot; chop the tomatoes and onion. Put the onion, tomatoes, carrot, lentils, garlic cloves, salt and cumin in a soup pot.
Add 5 cups of boiling water. Cook, until the lentils, become mushy. Let cool, puree, and add more boiling water if a thinner soup is desired, stir well.

For the topping: Cut the 2 onions into thin slices and fry in a little olive oil stirring constantly until dark brown.

To serve: Place a handful of toasted bread in the soup bowl before ladling on the soup. Then add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of cumin to each bowl. Top with a tablespoon of fried onions.

Libyan Couscous with Fish

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Steamed Couscous
500g couscous (ready-cooked variety can also be steamed)
1 cup of hot water + 3 tablespoons olive oil

Stock
1-2 fish heads (washed, gills removed)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground cumin
Salt, to taste
1 1/2-2 liter boiling water

Vegetable Sauce
1 medium onion
1 medium size potato
1 medium size aubergine (eggplant)
1 medium size squash
1 medium-size red bell pepper
1 cup cooked/canned chickpeas (or fresh/frozen peas)
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 chili peppers
3-4 garlic cloves

For the Fish and Marinade
4-6 portions of firm-fleshed fish, grouper is the Libyan favorite
4 large cloves garlic
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 chili pepper chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
Olive oil to brush the fish before grilling

Directions

In Libya, steamed dishes are cooked in a kaskas, but any pot with a steamer insert is fine. When steaming couscous you can place a square of cheese-cloth between the pot and steamer if its holes are larger than the couscous.

Put all the ingredients for the stock in the steamer pot. Bring to boil then reduce the heat and cook over medium heat.

Pour 1 cup of hot water and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the couscous, mix well. Put the couscous in the steamer, then place it above the stock pot. Lightly rake over the top layer only with a spatula a few times during the first steaming, so it gets steamed properly.

After 45 minutes, remove the steamer and put the couscous in a deep plat; pour about 5 ladles of hot stock onto the couscous.

Mix well, then return the couscous to the steamer for another 45 minutes. Stir lightly but thoroughly 2-3 times during the second steaming to break up lumps.

Put all the ingredients for the fish marinade in the food processor, then use this paste to coat the fish on both sides. Cover the fish with cling film (plastic wrap) and set aside.

Cut the onion, eggplant, potato and bell pepper into thick slices.

Prepare the vegetable sauce by putting olive oil, chopped onion, chopped chili and whole garlic cloves in a pot, then stir until they have softened. Add tomato paste and chopped tomatoes, cover and cook on low heat. Add the peas or cooked chickpeas and about 3 ladles of strained fish stock, so the liquid is just about covering the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes more.

Brush the cut vegetables generously with olive oil and grill until almost cooked. Remove the vegetables from the grill and cut them into cubes. Add the grilled vegetables to the sauce pot.

Grill the fish and keep warm to serve with the couscous.

Remove the couscous from the steamer and place in a serving dish, arrange the vegetables from the sauce on the couscous, spoon some of the remaining sauce around the vegetables. Serve with the grilled fish and lemon wedges.

Date Filled Semolina Cookies

Ingredients

Dough
3 cups semolina
1 cup flour
1 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon orange blossom water added to a ½ liter of warm water

Filling
750g date paste
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup sesame seeds (lightly toasted)

Syrup
4 cups boiling water
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 lemon slice
2 tablespoons orange blossom water

Topping
1/2 cup sesame seeds (lightly toasted)

Directions

Prepare the syrup by simmering all the ingredients except the orange blossom water over moderate heat for 30 minutes or until a syrupy consistency is reached. Add the 2 tablespoons of orange blossom water and set aside to cool. For a richer taste, add 1 tablespoon of honey while the syrup is still warm. Set aside.

For the dough: Mix the semolina, flour, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix. Cover and let rest for at least one hour.

For the filling: Cut the date paste into small pieces and knead. Add some olive oil if the paste is not soft enough to be kneaded. Add cinnamon, grated nutmeg, sesame seeds and knead them in. Roll out the sesame date paste with your palm into 4 long ropes or sticks.

Divide the dough into 4 portions, take one portion of the dough and add the orange blossom flavored warm water a little at a time. Knead well until the dough becomes smooth and easy to shape. The dough will also become lighter in color. Form the dough into a furrow or trench shape and place one of the date rolls in the dough. Pinch closed and smooth the dough over the date roll.

Cut the roll into small pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. Place in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F/220°C until golden, for about 12 minutes. Place the cookies in a single layer in a deep dish. Pour the sugar syrup over the warm cookies.

Turn the cookies every 15 minutes, so they soak in the syrup on all sides. Remove the cookies from the syrup and place in a sieve to remove the excess syrup. Place the drained cookies on a platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Let rest overnight before serving.



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