Saturday, April 27, 2013

Favorite Things




I don't know where the time has been going lately, 
but it sure doesn't seem to include me blogging much!

It's not like anything in particular has been going on - just somehow the days keep disappearing.
Can you believe it's almost May??

I thought I'd share with you a few of my favorite things I've been enjoying lately.





If you ever have a chance to try any of La Colombe's coffee - go for it!!
It's delicious, handcrafted goodness that gets your morning going!


I go through stages with what creamer I use in my coffee - right now this is the one.
Yum!!


I don't wear a lot of  makeup, but this is lightweight, has a little sunscreen and just evens out your skin tone.  It's great for doing that quick 5 minute face. Another bonus...it stays put on my oily skin!


I received this as a birthday gift and I just can't get enough of it's bright citrus scent.
It makes my whole bathroom smell like tangerines!
So refreshing!!


Do you have any favorites right now?


Monday, April 15, 2013

Bourek


Bourek or Borek or a variety of other spellings that seem to exist,
is a pastry made from phyllo dough filled with a variety of fillings.
It originates form Turkey.
It can be fried or baked; filled with meat, vegetables or cheese, quite often feta.

I saw this post from a wonderful blogger that I follow in Turkey,
 and knew that I had to try my hand at making some.
She has the wonderful advantage of being able to buy fresh yufka or phyllo dough in her market, 
here in my area I knew that wasn't going to happen.
While I briefly toyed with the idea of making my own dough, 
I figured for my first attempt I'd try and locate some ready made.
We have a wonderful international market and in their freezer section they carried
Bourek Dough, simply thaw and you are ready to go!





This dough is unlike frozen phyllo that you might find in a regular supermarket.
It's very thin, tears quite easily, so you need a gentle hand with it.
You will find about 12 large sheets in the package.

This recipe is my own creation, so while likely not completely traditional,
it was incredibly delicious!
That's the fun part of cooking, you get to put your own spin on things!



Ingredients

1 package Bourek Phyllo dough (or as close an alternative as you can find)
3-4 eggs
1/2-1 cup of milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion chopped
Approx 6 cups fresh spinach, rough chopped
1/2-1 cup of fresh feta, crumbled
1 small bunch fresh dill, fronds roughly chopped
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Nigella seeds & sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
Olive oil for sauteing

Instructions

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over med/high heat.
Add onion and saute till translucent, approx 5 mins.
Add garlic, whole cumin seeds and red pepper flakes and saute 1-2 mins longer.
Add spinach in handfuls (as will fit in your pan) stirring to wilt. Keeping adding until all the spinach is added. Place lid on pan and allow to steam and finish wilting, 2-3 mins longer.
Transfer to a large bowl, allowing to cool slightly.
Then add in crumbled feta and fresh dill, stirring to combine.
Beat 1 of the eggs and add into spinach mixture.

Beat remaining eggs with milk and dried dill to form a wash for the dough.
Oil a baking pan. (I used a 9" x 13" Pyrex)
Lay 1 sheet of phyllo/bourek dough in the bottom of the pan.
(My sheets were large, so half a sheet covered my pan perfectly)
Brush approx 2-3 tsps of the egg/milk wash over the dough, then layer another sheet.
Keep repeating this process until about half of all your dough is used up, 7-10 layers.
Then spoon over all your spinach filling and spread evenly.
Continue the process of layering dough and egg wash until all your sheets are used up.
On the top, brush with egg wash and then sprinkle with nigella seeds (also known as black cumin)
and sesame seeds over the top.
Bake for approx 30-40 minutes until puffed, golden and bubbling.
Allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving.




It was delicious!!
There is a wonderful textural contrast between the crispiness of the phyllo,
the warm spinach and feta filling, which is slightly salty with just a hint of spice.
The cumin seeds add a wonderful earthy quality to the dish.
Served with a salad it's a wonderful meal on it's own.
We enjoyed what little was leftover for brunch the next morning.

So next time you want to take a trip across the world,
look no further than your own kitchen for inspiration!

* I chose to not add any added salt to my dish due to the natural saltiness of the feta, but if you prefer your foods a little saltier, you could certainly add a little salt to your spinach mixture. 



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday






The chives are poised to bloom.
I see a chive blossom omelette in my future this weekend!

Happy Wednesday!




Monday, April 1, 2013

A Sweet Ending



One lovely Sunday, life was normal.
A lazy morning, a BBQ lunch and a delicious dinner.

Then came Monday morning...
How the tables had turned.
My husband was ill.
The stomach flu we thought.
But after some hours had passed and symptoms worsened, 
we realized this was not a simple 24 hour bug.
The next 10 days would be spent in the hospital.
First, an intestinal blockage.
Then kidney failure.
SCARY!!!
Thankfully after many days of precision care, 
what felt like a million tests and many types of antibiotics,
he avoided surgery and gradually made his way back to health.
He is moving slow, but thankfully home again with us and on the road to a full recovery.

Somewhere in there I had a birthday...
the only celebration, was that it was the day that my husband was finally able to come home.
The best gift ever!

A soft food and low fiber diet for him, led me to choose a simple celebration dessert.


A lovely labne cheese tart inspired from here 
but with the refreshing addition of the zest and juice of half an orange.

It was creamy and tart, with just a hint of sweetness.
A delicate, crispy, almost shortbread type crust.
Light and refreshing.
The perfect sweet ending to a very trying two weeks.

******************

Labne or labneh is a strained soft cheese made from yogurt.
It is easily found at international markets and in some well stocked supermarkets.
Plain Greek yogurt could be used as a substitute if you can't locate labne.



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