Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baklava

The wonderful Bread Lady is at it again, teaching me how to make more delicious Lebanese food. Today I'm learning how to make Lebanese baklava. Yes, there are different variations of baklava. Some have honey, some have cinnamon, some have a rose water. We'll be making baklava with an orange flower water.

What you need:
  • 3 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups rendered butter
  • 1 pound filo/phyllo dough (1 box)
  • 1  1/2 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons orange blossom water
What you do:

Combine chopped pecans, 3/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons orange blossom water and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Set mixture aside.

Brush a layer of rendered butter in rectangular baking dish.

Lay one sheet of filo in the baking dish.

Brush rendered butter over filo sheet. Continue layering filo and brushing with butter until half of the filo dough box has been used.

Sprinkle the pecan/sugar mixture over the layers of buttered filo. Gently pat the nut mixture in the pan.

Lay one sheet of filo on top of the nut layer. Carefully brush rendered butter over the filo sheet. Continue layering filo and brushing with butter until all of the filo dough has been used.

Carefully cut the baklava into diamonds with a sharp thin knife. That's right, cut it before it goes into the oven.

Bake baklava in a 275 degree oven for about 1 hour or until lightly browned. (Bread Lady usually bakes it about 15-20 minutes longer depending on what her oven is doing. She also turns the oven down to 250 if she thinks it's browning too fast.)

While the baklava is baking, combine water and 3 cups sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

Add lemon juice and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 3 tablespoons orange blossom water. Allow syrup to cool. Pour syrup over freshly baked, pipping hot baklava.

Allow baklava to cool.
 Isn't it just beautiful?!
Thank you again, Bread Lady, for sharing your kitchen, recipes and delicious food with me!


PS- Here's a picture of the orange blossom water, if you were wondering what it looked like.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Roasted Broccoli

As I've said, Mr. Perfect has a green thumb... and I don't. He's always growing something delicious in the garden.  Our winter garden is in full swing. We have lettuce, swiss chard, arugula, peppers and lots of broccoli. As soon as I saw Mr.Perfect's beautiful broccoli I knew it was destined to be roasted.

What you need:
  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/8 cup ritz cracker crumbs 
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
What you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. (Don't waste the stalk! Peel and slice it.)
  3. Put the broccoli in a mixing bowl and combine with olive oil, salt, pepper and cracker crumbs.
  4. Spread the mixture on a foil lined cookie sheet and put in the oven. Roast until the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove from the oven. Add cheese and serve immediately.
So good, even Trouble likes it!