Qatiaf (Middle Eastern Dessert)

20160705_221813-2Eid mubarak y’all. It’s been 5 years since I was a newlywed-a little less since I have been posting as one. I think its safe to say I have at least progressed in some areas, cooking perhaps …I now share a more experienced recipe for Qatiaf and one that is 10x more delicious than Qatiaf (Pancake Pockets with Walnut Filling), although the technicalities are the same and if you would like, can use the original post as a picture reference for such. Thank you to my FIL and MIL for the recipe:

DOUGH

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/8 of t. salt
  • 2 T of sugar
  • 1/2 t. yeast
  • 3 T. of dried milk (or 1 c. regular milk)
  • 3 c. water at room temperature (or 2 c. water if using regular milk instead of dried milk)

MIX EVERYTHING TOGETHER VERY WELL AND LET SIT OUT FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS

ADD THE FOLLOWING RIGHT BEFORE THROWING THE BATTER ON TO THE SKILLET TO MAKE YOUR PANCAKES:

  • 1 t. baking soda

FILLING (Two types)

COMBINE THE FOLLOWING

  • 3 c. walnuts crushed
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. rosewater or orange blossom water
  • 1 T. cinnamon

 and/or

  • Akkawi (جبن عكاوي) cheese (soak in water the night before to remove the saltiness)
  • or sweet cheese
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 t. rose or orange blossom water

SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 2 c sugar
  • 1.25-1.5 c. water

BOIL UNTIL MELTED TOGETHER AND AS SOON AS YOU TURN OFF THE HEAT ADD THE FOLLOWING:

  • A couple squirts of lemon
  • 1 t. of orange blossom water

ONCE YOUR POCKETS ARE FORMED AROUND THE FILLING AND YOUR SIMPLE SYRUP IS PREPARED YOU ARE ALMOST READY TO SERVE:

FRY BOTH SIDES OF YOUR POCKETS IN A BIT OF CORN OIL OR BRUSH BOTH SIDES WITH BUTTER AND BAKE, WHEN BROWNED DIP INTO YOUR SYRUP AND SERVE IMMEDIATELY

*SPOILER ALERT* I found this to taste like a perfectly toasted marshmallow or a fresh from the fryer funnel cake with powdered sugar. Too good.

Ma’amoul (Shortbread Cookies With Dates)

What a wonderful time of year! A time in which many feel enormous gratitude and happiness. The long, yet too short month of Ramadan is over, and its time to celebrate with family and friends. Ma’amoul is a traditional dessert served. It goes perfect with tea, as I am enjoying the combination right now. Eating it is as important as the preparation stage. In some places, droves of women will gather in common areas and spread their blankets out and together, prepare the dish. While I didn’t have the pleasure of such, my experience this year was surely just as nice.

As a new wife, I am happily getting to know new family. Family with rich experiences, stories, and skills, have only just begun to unfold around me, and my heart is wide open. I vow to never let trivial squabbles ever come between us, we will not argue over money, and let’s never hold a grudge.  This is my Eid wish for me and my new family, and yours too! Now for the Ma’amoul courtesy of a beautiful woman, my new friend,  hard-working mother of three.

Pictures provided at the end of the recipe come from the oldest son(age 8), who borrowed my phone to snap some pictures, lending well to the atmosphere of our particular experience.

Enjoy and Eid Mubarak! (Happy Eid!)

Dough ingredients

9 cups semolina flour

3 cups Butter (or Crisco, yellow with butter flavor)

3/4 cups Mazola oil or canola

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Day Two Dough Ingredients:

Freshly ground anise

A couple of pinches of yeast

Warm water

Filling ingredients

Date paste (You can make your own using dates, but we used a package):

One teaspoon of butter

A pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg

Step One: Prepare the dough one day ahead

Combine the dry ingredients, then add melted butter (not hot) and oil. Mix the ingredients very well, cover, and let stand. Your dough should feel very powdery to the touch and somewhat dry. The next day,  it is ready to be used.

You will now add your Day 2 ingredients (a couple of pinches of yeast, a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg and a splash of warm water.

Step Two: Add Day 2 ingredients to your dough

The water should only be slightly warm, not hot. Now you are ready to mix the dough with your hands. Add water until your dough can be easily molded. Set aside for two hours in a warm place.

Step Three: Prepare your pliable dough and let sit for 2 hours

While you wait for your dough to rise a little, you can make the filling. Add the ingredients and mix together.

Step Four: Prepare your date filling

Mold your filling into small balls about the circumference of a nickel.

Step five: Shape your filling

When your dough is ready, it’s time to mold your cookies. Pluck a bit of dough, just enough to cover your filling. Roll into a ball and then press an indent with your thumb.

Step 6: Shape your cookies around the filling

Round out the cookie and press your forefinger into the middle and rotate.

Rotate your thumb around while keeping your forefinger in the middle until you have a small ring

Fill an entire pan, and let sit covered for 20 minutes.

Step 7: Cover your cookies and let sit for 20 minutes

Now they are ready for the oven.  Pop them in at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes. If they seem to be able to use some browning, turn on the low broil for a minute or two.

Once they are completely cool, dust powdered sugar over them or leave plain.

Powdered Ma’amoul

Another option for molding your cookies is to use a cookie cutter that is traditional and recognizable. Ma’amoul can have other fillings, so this shape help identifies your favorite one when it’s time to enjoy.

Shape cookie and flatten into cookie cutter, pound out by tapping table

Traditional shape: Date cookie

Extra Step (Walnut Filled Cookies)

Other traditional fillings include walnuts or pistachios, and also have a particularly recognizable shape. We also made a couple of pans of walnut cookies, using the same dough.

Mix dry ingredients for walnut filling

The filling is very sticky, it includes walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, and simple syrup. Do not add anise, as this is only for the date cookies.

Mix wet ingredients into walnut filling

Mold your dough, press into your cookie cutter, and bake

Well, what a day making such delicious  cookies, I hope you enjoy making them in your home. Don’t forget to take time and enjoy your company. Until next time!


How the Rich Get Tricked (10 Ways to Avoid the Trap)

The rich are the prime target for commercialism.  You are scouted out and hunted down, and if you are not careful, you can be drained to the last drop. In today’s market the success of products and experiences are not based on quality. They just need cunning people pulling the strings. To money makers, money spenders are the puppets in a comic tragedy.

Don’t be a puppet.  Take control of your own strings, and make your own happiness. To this end I have provided 10 ways in which the rich get tricked, to help you navigate the world around you and live your true life, rather than one that is packaged and maintained by somebody else.

  1. Restaurants priced as $$$$ often have savory, prime cuts paired with delicate desserts.  However sometimes the restaurants that don’t get the acclaim online serve much better food at needless to say a fraction of the cost. Think 5 giant, savory won-tons bought for a buck down the street in Chinatown, NY. Or a belgian waffle at Perkins. Surely you will run into a lot of duds, but its the adventures that make a life interesting. Seek out the hidden diners and discover the best kept secrets in your neighborhood.
  2. Vacations, There’s nothing like walking the halls of Caesar’s Palace like Julius himself. Or padding down the hallway of a luxury cruise liner. However sometimes the best vacations, ones that you don’t have to take a vacation from, are the ones where you spend quality time with your family. Period.Think a tent on the Mississippi River, watching the sun set over the bluffs.
  3. We know that money can’t buy us love, but when we are rich, sometimes we think it can.                                                                                                                               
  4. We get in the habit of looking up, and forget to look down. The sky’s as beautiful as the ground, keep lookin’ around.
  5. Birthday parties for children are big business these days.  In order to have fun, parents rent moon castles and take groups to the mall to speciality glitter stores or make your own stuffed animals.  Sometimes, parties get so big, the innocence of simple childhood delights are lost. Teach your children that it doesn’t take extravagance to have a good time.
  6. The art of keeping it simple can be thrown by the wayside as we get lost in stuff that we buy to make us happy.  No matter how fresh the Ferrari is in your driveway, its luster will fade every day, and it won’t take long before it will become just part of the scenery
  7. There are innumerable treasures to be found at rummage sales and thrift shops.  You can find a pair of never before used Italian leather shoes going for $400 for a measly $3. Thrift stores will give you a wider variety of styles to pick from, when an expensive boutique might offer limited, only modern pickings.
  8. We often think money is required to experience art. The symphony and priceless pieces of art for your home are all great luxuries.  However, art is everywhere and we cannot forget to experience it in all of its forms. Sometimes the best art is laying on the curbside waiting to be taken to the trash.
  9. Notice what you want is not what you need.  Patience is gained by not always giving into instant gratification and patience is something we all need to keep us sane.
  10. And FINALLY…always remember

Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems