07 July


Quinoa Tabbouleh

July:Lebanese Tabbouleh Day (First Saturday in July)

We enjoyed attending the annual Lebanese festival at St. George Maronite Catholic Church when we used to live in San Antonio, Texas. The church was less than 10 minutes drive away from our house so we could easily get to the festival and enjoy the cultural and religious presentations. But, of course, we came mostly for the food!

We have also attended Lebanese, Middle Eastern and Arabic festivals in Houston, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. If available at the food vendor stalls, we would get a full sampler plate so we can taste everything: main entrée, side dishes and a dessert. We had tabbouleh in our combo plates a few times. It’s an affordable side salad to sell and also an easy one to make at home.

Traditionally made with bulgar (cracked wheat), our Arab-American friend Sol S. shared us his recipe version for making tabbouleh with quinoa instead. It is tasty, colorful and healthy and Sol encourages eating this as part of a Mediterranean Diet. Quinoa tabbouleh is also terrific for celebrating Lebanese Tabbouleh Day!

Recipe

From Sol S.

For the quinoa tabbouleh

  • ½ cup quinoa, uncooked and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced small
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 green onions/scallions, chopped
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, stems trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint, crushed
  • 1 Kirby or ½ cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and diced small
  • ¼ red of green bell pepper, diced small

Directions

Rinse the quinoa and drain. Set aside. In a sauce pan, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add quinoa, salt, pepper and water. Simmer for 15 minutes and let rest for 5 minutes (all the water should have been absorbed by the quinoa; if not simmer gently till all water is absorbed). Fluff with fork and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, green onions, parsley and mint.

Add the diced cucumber and bell peppers. Stir in the cooled quinoa.

 

For the dressing

  •  juice of large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Directions

In a small cup or bowl, mix together the lemon juice, cumin, olive oil and salt and pepper. Pour into the quinoa salad and mix gently. Refrigerate and rest the salad for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Notes

  • Our friend Sol S. is in the process of writing a cookbook and we are happy to test his recipes for our blog. We are adding a Middle Eastern section under our Theme Menus. Check back soon to see new recipes listed there.

Bastani

(Persian Saffron Ice Cream)

July: National Ice Cream Month

Before Highlander entered Islander’s life nearly three decades ago, she was friends at university with an Iranian-Persian Ph.D. student in the dorm. Ali M. used to joke and tell everyone that he would buy her hand in marriage with 12 white camels. She answered back that he could just buy her some ice cream! So they would walk off campus with a bunch of other dorm friends to an ice cream parlor and enjoy the frozen treats and everyone’s company. When Highlander moved into the same dorm a couple of years later, there were no hard feelings between him and Ali. In fact, he welcomed us in his physics lab where he was working on an experiment for his doctoral dissertation. And we all still went out to eat ice cream for a much needed study break afterwards! Always a funny guy, Ali said he wished the parlor could serve bastani as the 32nd flavor option. Bastani is a traditional Persian ice cream flavored with saffron, rosewater, cardamom and pistachios.

We do miss those dorm days and all our international university friends at the ice cream parlor. So we were happy to discover Persian and Middle Eastern restaurants where we now live and try bastani after all these years. Islander immediately searched for no churn bastani recipes and adapted one for our blog post. It is a delicious dessert to serve during the summer and throughout National Ice Cream Month.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, divided use, cold
  • saffron, generous pinch
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Directions

In a small bowl, place two tablespoons of whipping cream. Heat in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir in some saffron threads, pressing on the side of the bowl to release its flavor and color. Stir in the rose water. Chop the pistachio nuts into small pieces.

In a large bowl, pour the condensed milk. Stir in the saffron mixture. Beat the remaining whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the condensed milk mixture.

Stir in the pistachios. Place in a loaf pan or ice cream container. Cover and freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer. Scoop into dessert dishes or wafer cones or serve with wafer sheets.

Notes

  • Bastani is traditionally served with a wafer slice. The final food photo above shows a background of a wafer sheet that we bought at a Middle Eastern specialty grocery store. Bastani can be scooped in wafer ice cream cones for a similar taste.
  • Search our blog for other no churn ice cream recipes.

Vietnamese Coffee Milkshake

July 26: National Coffee Milkshake Day

Good morning, Vietnam—and the rest of the world! For those who have not had their morning “cup of joe” yet, perhaps for the next coffee break, try a Vietnamese coffee milkshake for an afternoon delight. It is a tropical take on the traditional coffee milkshake, with coconut and condensed milk as ingredients. The chicory in the Vietnamese coffee grounds also lends a unique flavor to this recipe.

Thanks to Islander’s BFF, Nan N., who works in Hawaii but sometimes takes business trips to Vietnam, where she got us some souvenirs: a bag of Hanoian black coffee grounds and the special filter press (phin) for our food projects. Making the coffee is almost an art form—and the result is a beautiful blend of colors (so use a glass mug to see the mixtures).

The cooled coffee is strong but makes for a flavorful Vietnamese coffee milkshake, which is perfect for a coffee break and on National Coffee Milkshake Day.

Recipe

For the Vietnamese coffee

  • 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons coffee grounds (coarse, not fine)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

In glass mug, pour the condensed milk in the bottom layer. In the filter cup, place the coffee grounds evenly. Press down and screw it securely in the cup. Set the filter cup on its base over the mug. Pour the boiling water slowly to fill the filter cup. Cover with the lid to steam it and allow the liquid coffee to drip completely into the mug (about 5 minutes). Stir to blend. Let cool.

 

For the coffee milkshake

  • 1 cup Vietnamese coffee (or strongly brewed coffee), cold
  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, softened (we used “macapuno” young coconut sport-flavored ice cream)
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • whipped cream
  • toasted coconut flakes

Directions

In a blender, place the coffee, ice cream and ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass. Garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Vietnam was a French colony so there is a big cultural influence in its coffee production (French press techniques). The French first introduced coffee to North America through New Orleans, Louisiana, where there is also a large Vietnamese population. Café du Monde brand coffee, which has chicory in it, is a close substitute for Vietnamese coffee for this recipe.
  • Substitute any coffee grounds but use coarse instead of fine grounds so they won’t fall through the holes in the press.
  • Vietnamese-style coffee is very sweet from the condensed milk so we did not add additional condensed milk to the already sweet coconut ice cream.

 

« Previous PageNext Page »