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Thursday, August 3

Cultural Cooking : Egyptian

In the heat of summer, I can't help but think of the people who live the hottest parts of the world...and their ancient counterparts who had no air conditioning!  Granted, they were conditioned to the weather, but it's still oppressive just to think of it....  So today, we are celebrating one of those 'hot' cultures, Ancient Egypt, with some traditional Egyptian foods.  شهية طيبة (Enjoy!)

Kefteh (the Egyptian hamburger…)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ lb ground lamb (or another ¼ lb ground beef)
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • 1 grated small onion
  • 2 minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Extra virgin olive oil spray
  1. Mix the onion and garlic with the spices and let it sit in room temperature for 15 minutes
  2. Add the meat and the parsley to the onion and mix well.  Shape the meat into little sausage shapes.
  3. Spray the bottom of a large pan with the olive oil.  Heat the pan over medium high heat.
  4. When the pan is hot, add the shapes and pan fry on all sides.  Lower the heat and cover the pan.
  5. Let it cook for 5 minutes.  Then uncover the pan and let any liquid evaporate.
  6. Serve with tahini, hummus, or yogurt.

Koshari (Lentils & Rice)
  • ¾ c lentils
  • 4 c water
  • ¾ c uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 c elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz diced tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Combine the lentils and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes. Add the rice to the lentils, and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  2. Fill a separate saucepan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is lightly browned. Pour in the tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. In a large serving dish, stir together the lentils, rice and macaroni. Mix in the tomato sauce until evenly coated.

Ghorayeba  (butter cookies)
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 cup clarified butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 almonds, peeled & halved
  • 35 cloves

  1.  Using an electric mixer on high speed, mix the clarified butter for about 3-4 minutes until it becomes fluffy.
  2. Add the sugar and continue to mix for another 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the mixture remains fluffy.
  3. Lower the speed. Blend in the vanilla extract then blend in the flour.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixer and refrigerate it for 10 minutes to help it firm up.
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 4 parts.
  6. Form each part into a tube and slice the tube into the shape of the cookies, placing them on a baking sheet.
  7. Add the almond halves and press on each cookie lightly.
  8. Add the cloves and press on each cookie lightly.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C)
  10. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, turning the tray around mid way through.
  11. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them cool down in the tray for about 30-40 minutes.
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