Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich

Fresh Mozzarella sandwich picture

Beautifully delicious

This post could be just an update to a previous one I posted this month, about fresh mozzarella bites. But if I choose to post it separately, it’s because I don’t see these small cuties as bites, but more as sandwiches. So, here’s the post that will close the “Ingredient of the month” section for this month. They’re perfect for a light dinner – I can’t recall when was the last time I had a light dinner L – in   addition to being quick & easy to prepare. Feel free to replace the rocket leaves with basil, or to spread some pesto sauce on your mozzarella. I didn’t have any. For a lighter version, replace the butter with oil – I always prefer the butter. I used the Lurpak Mist that has been available in our markets for the last few months.

Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices fresh baguette bread
  • 150 g fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds
  • 4 tomato slices
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 rocket leaves
  • Spray butter

Method:

  1. Layer Mozzarella rounds in an even layer over one slice of bread. Season with salt and black pepper. Top with a rocket leave and a slice of tomato. Repeat the same layers again and top with a final slice of bread.
  2. Spray the bread with butter and bake in your oven until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Christy’s Food Rush Featured On Al-Araby Al Jadeed Website

First Media Coverage for Christy's Food Rush

First Media Coverage for Christy’s Food Rush

Despite being very new in the blogosphere, Christy’s Food Rush has been featured on Al-Araby AL Jadeed website this week, on the 24th of February.

The title was “Christy who turned her passion into a cooking “stories” blog|.

I am going to copy-paste the text in Arabic. And for the original story, you can find it here!

Original text:

كريستي التي حوّلت شغفها إلى مدوّنة “حكايات” عن الطبخ

عتاب شمس الدين
 أصبح الطبخ من أسهل الأعمال التي تقوم بها ربّة المنزل. فهي لا تحتاج في أيّامنا هذه إلى شراء كتب للطبخ والاستعانه بها. بل بات هناك طرق أسهل ومتوفّرة بكثرة وسهولة على الإنترنت.

في المقابل، من يجدون في أنفسهم القدرة على تعليم فنون الطبخ ما عادوا في حاجة إلى طباعة كتب، ولا حتّى إلى تأسيس مواقع على الإنترنت. اخترنا اليوم التحدّث عن تجربة “بلوغBlog” خاصّ بالطبخ أسّسته شابة هاوية تُدعى كريستي أبو فرح. هي العاشقة للطبخ  والتي تعمل في هذا المجال منذ أكثر من 4 سنوات.

اللافت في هذا البلوغ أنّها جعلت منه مصنع حكايات، فكلّ طبخة تُذكرها بحادثة أو بذكرى معينة. وهي تروي أنّ “المدوّنة جزء منّي. والأكل يُمثّل جزءاً كبيراً من ذاكرتي. ففي أغلب الأوقات، عندما تشمّين رائحة معينة أو ترَين طبخة معينة، تتذكرين الشخص الذي كان يطهوها لك منذ زمن، أو موقفاً معيّناً من طفولتك”.

وتستطرد في حديثها لـ”العربي الجديد”: “مثلا إذا شمَمتُ رائحة الزلابية، أو الكعك، أتذكّر جدتي وإذا تناولت الكشك في الصباح أتذكّر عندما يتساقط الثلج في الضيعة، وأنا في البوستات بالمدونة أتحدّث وأخبر القرّاء عن هذه الذكريات”.

هكذا تشرح كريستي كيف أنّها تكون وفية في الوقت نفسه لفكرة “المدوّنة Blog” ولذاكرتها، وللطبخ، في لحظة واحدة: “أعتقد أنّ كلّ مدوّنة تعكس شخصية صاحبها لأنّه في العادة هدفها يكون شخصياً جداً وخاصّاً وحميماً”.


مثلا إذا شمَمتُ رائحة الزلابية، أو الكعك، أتذكّر جدتي وإذا تناولت الكشك في الصباح أتذكّر عندما يتساقط الثلج في الضيعة،

تشرح كريستي عن مدوّنة  Christy’s Food Rush التي أنشأتها في شهر نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني 2014، أنّها تُقسم إلى عدّة أقسام: “القسم الأهمّ هو قسم الوصفات الخاصّة بي، التي أطهوها وأُصوّرها”.

وتوضح: “لا يوجد نوع مطبخ معيّن، أحبّ كثيراً تجربة أشياء جديدة. لذا ستجدون في هذه المدوّنة وصفات غريبة نوعاً ما، خصوصاً تلك التي أستوحيها من المطبخ الهندي أو الصيني. بالإضافة إلى الوصفات الإيطالية، وتلك الفرنسية، والأخرى السورية، وهناك أيضاً الوصفات التي أخترعها بحسب المكوّنات التي تكون موجودة لديّ في المطبخ، أو حين أدمج وصفتين مع بعضهما البعض”.

وتُضيف كريستي: “أغلب وصفاتي سهلة. فنحن نحتاج إليها لأنّ حياتنا اليومية والسريعة لا تحتمل ولا نملك خلالها الوقت الكافي لتمضية وقت طويل في الطهو، لكن في المناسبات مثل عيد الميلاد Christmas، أطهو وصفة صعبة مثل وصفة الحبشة التي خصّصت لها يوماً كاملاً الشهر الماضي. وأستعمل في معظم وصفاتي ثلاثة مكوّنات، وأعتقد أنّها تجعل الوصفة لذيذة، هي الجبنة والزبدة والكريم”.

تستطرد: “بالطبع ليست صحيّة هذه المكوّنات، لكن أيضاً هناك وصفات صحيّة مثل الشوربات والسلطات وبعض الوصفات الهندية”.


كلّ مدوّنة تعكس شخصية صاحبها لأنّه في العادة هدفها يكون شخصياً جداً وخاصّاً وحميماً

هناك خدمة أخرى تقدّمها هذه المدوّنة، وهي في قسم “الريفيوز للمطاعم”، حيث تكتب كريستي تجربتها الخاصّة ببعض المطاعم، وتقول: “أتتني هذه الفكرة من خلال أصدقائي. فهم عندما يُقرّرون الذهاب لتناول الطعام يسألونني عن مطعم لذيذ وجديد أو أيّ أطباق يجب أن يطلبوا من هذا المطعم أو ذاك”. لذا باتت تنصح في أيّ مطعم يجب أن يتناول القارئ أيّ طبق.

المدوّنة لا تقتصر فقط على تقديم الوصفات وإعطاء نصائح حول المطاعم اللبنانية، بل تقدم أيضاً خدمة ثالثة في قسم “المناسبات Events”، للمناسبات الخاصّة بالمطبخ، مثل Salon du chocolat، Beirut food festival، أو نشاطات تُعرّف بمنتجات جديدة.

كذلك نجد في المدوّنة قسم “مكوّن الشهر أو  Ingredient Of The Month”، حيث تختار كريستي كلّ شهر مكوّناً واحداً غير مشهور أو مستخدماً بطرق عديدة، وتُجرّب وصفات جديدة حوله. مثل العدس الأحمر، وخردل الديجون، وجبنة الموزاريلا الطازجة البيضاء وكلّها مكوّنات نستعملها في أوقات قليلة، وفي طبخات مختلفة.

وقريباً تستعدّ كريستي لإنشاء قسم جديد هو “Product Review”، وهدفه تجربة منتجات جديدة وتسليط الضوء عليها. منتجبات غير معروفة أو غير موجودة في السوق.

وتختم كريستي: “هذه المدوّنة جزء منّي بعد 4 سنوات من العمل في هذا المجال. وقد أصبحت حياتي كلّها متمحورة حول موضوع واحد هو الطبخ، الذي هو شغفي، وأعتقد أنّ كلّ مدونة تعكس شخصية معيّنة، وهدفها شخصي، وأحلم بأن يكون لدي يوما من الأيام مطعم أقدّم فيه أشهى أطباقي”.

Recreating Grandma’s Chicken Soup

chicken soup picture

My version of the soup!

I’ve already told you about my grandma in a previous post, and about that wonderful smell of her house.

While I was preparing my chicken fatteh last weekend, I had the whole chicken stock left since I did not use any for the recipe, and I was wondering what I could possibly do with it. I decided to taste it, and I instantly remembered Grandma’s chicken soup, so I said to myself: why not try to recreate it? The base was already there – even though Grandma used a bit less spices.

The stock was ready, and I stole some chicken drumsticks that were initially meant to be in the fatteh. I remember there were carrots in it, and there was another green veggie, but – sadly – I could not remember what it was. In all cases, I decided to replace it with celery, since I had some in my fridge. Grandma’s soup also had a lot of rice.

To have a real replica of that soup, I had to use the same rice, just like she did. That was short-grain rice, bought in big quantities for the “mouneh”, and stored for long periods of time. So I used some of this same rice that I can still find at “Saliba” – a store in nearby village, specialized in seeds, legumes, nuts and spices. If you’re from my village and reading this blog post, you surely know the place.

The result was quite satisfying. I was happy with my soup. I am not sure if my grandma used to add potatoes or vermicelli, but I decided not to. You can always add anything you like! Now, let’s talk about the recipe details!

Grandma’s Chicken soup recipe – My way

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 small onion
  • Lemon wedges
  • Vinegar
  • 5 green peppers (Spices)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 3 cloves
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1/4 cup short-grain rice

Method:

  1. To prepare the chicken: rub the chicken with the lemon wedges and vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper. Put them in a pot and cover with 4 cups of water. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 cinnamon stick and put on medium heat. Meanwhile, boil 6 cups of water in another pot.
  2. When the water boils, remove the chicken from the first pot and add them to the second one (the water should be boiling!) along with the green peppers, the dried red chili, the peeled onion, the cloves and the remaining bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Season again with salt and black pepper and leave for 30 minutes, or until well cooked. Remove the chicken from the pot and leave to cool.
  3. Strain the stock and return it to the pot. Add the carrots, sliced, and the celery, chopped. After 5 minutes, add the rice and de-boned chicken and keep on low heat until vegetables and rice are tender. Serve hot!

Discover 2 Lent-Friendly Meals from Crepaway

It’s the second week of Lent for Catholics and the first week for Orthodox, meaning 40 days of fast. If fasting during this period was way more severe in the ancient times, we still have some communities that abstain from meat, eggs and all dairy products.

Vegetarian and vegan foods are commonly consumed during Lent period, in addition to fish. And it’s very common to see restaurants preparing some special meatless menus or Lent-friendly meals for people who are fasting.

I read today that Crepaway has a new item specially conceived for Lent, the Seafood wraps, so I decided to give it a try (Note: I do not fast).

Seafood wraps

Seafood Wraps Platter picture

The Mixed Seafood Wraps Platter

The menu consists of 2 wraps: you can order fish wraps, shrimps wraps or a mix of both. The wraps are served with a side Ceasar salad, salt & vinegar French fries with aioli sauce and a soft drink, all for 21,000 LBP.

Let’s describe the wraps now:

Crispy battered and deep-fried fish or shrimps are wrapped in warm tortillas with veggies: lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and coriander. Three sauces are used to flavor these wraps: aioli, guacamole and a hot sauce – Crepaway’s tangy signature sauce. Beware, it’s really hot!! And in the end, a squeeze of lemon adds some needed extra flavor to the dish.

Picture of Seafood wraps

Close-up

The fish wrap is way more interesting than the shrimp one. I can’t really explain why, but you feel it just fits better. The sauce is really hot and I wasn’t expecting it at all. Not recommended for people who don’t like or can’t tolerate hot foods.

The seasoned fries are delicious, but I could not understand why they were served with aioli dip. They’re already good on their own, so no need to add a dip until it’s really a perfect fit – which is certainly not the case with the aioli sauce.

The Caesar salad is, well, Crepaway’s famous Caesar. With thyme flavored croutons, crispy Iceberg and shaved parmesan, this salad never fails to please.

Fish & Chips

Crepaway's fish & chips picture

Fish & chips

My friend who was accompanying me decided to order fish as well, so he opted for the fish & chips platter, for 20,750 LBP: two big fish fillets, battered and deep-fried, decorated with three pieces of shrimps, fried until golden as well, and served with French fries, a delicious coleslaw salad – yeah, it’s really delicious and different from all the coleslaw salads that are served elsewhere – and a side of tartar (the mayonnaise based sauce that usually accompanies seafood). if you’re abstaining from dairy products, replace with ketchup, mustard or simply, a squeeze of lemon,

I loved the crispiness of the fish! You can’t really feel the oil in both fish and shrimps, which is excellent, and the tartar and coleslaw are yummy.

Fish & Chips is not my favorite dish, and I wouldn’t usually order it, but for people who have decided to go for a meatless diet for the next few weeks, these are 2 options to replace the daily mjaddaras all moms are preparing!

Personally, I prefer the fish & chips to the new seafood wraps. What about you? Did you try them?

Chicken Fatteh Recipe

Chicken Fatteh Recipe

chicken fatteh picture

This is one delicious dish!

Fatteh is a recipe with many variations. From the very simple chickpeas fatteh, to more complex recipes like the eggplant or the meat ones, everyone in the Arab world has his own preference.

I discovered fatteh when I was old. I don’t know why we never prepared it at home. The first time I tried it, it was the simple one, and I fell in love with it, especially that it was loaded with butter! In addition to that, the combination of the hot chickpeas and the cold yogurt made it an exquisite dish.

I was surprised though when I knew it’s served for breakfast. We, Lebanese, do eat the heaviest breakfasts ever, from foul (boiled fava beans) to balila (boiled whole chickpeas), eggs with awarma (meat preserved in lamb fat), knefe (cheese and sugar syrup dessert served in bread), keshek (bilgur fermented with yogurt and prepared with potatoes and awarma) and finally fatteh!

Later on, I discovered other types of fatteh: the eggplant fatteh with or without ground beef and tomato sauce, the meat fatteh with rice, and finally, the chicken fatteh.

I tried the chicken one in a restaurant once, and just fell in love with it. The recipe is Syrian (as far as I know), and it’s super easy to make – as I discovered today. It consists of boiled chicken, fried bread and a garlic tahini yogurt sauce. All fattehs are usually decorated with fried pine nuts, and I added pomegranate seeds. Wow! This is the ingredient that makes all the difference in this dish, adding a touch of sweetness that contrasts with the garlic and tahini flavors in the sauce.

The secret for the best Fatteh? Fry your bread and your nuts with butter! These will add an incredible flavor to your dish. I also fried the chicken with butter after boiling it… so if you’re on diet, this recipe is definitely not for you!

One last note: I used garlic cream that I think works best for fatteh, in order to avoid the inconsistency that adding crushed garlic cloves can create in your sauce. I use the same when doing garlic Labneh.

Now, let’s discover the details of the recipe!

Chicken Fatteh Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 big Arabic bread loaf
  •  2 cups of yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp garlic cream
  • Pomegranate seeds to decorate
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • Butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 5 green peppers (Spices)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 3 cloves
  • Cumin to taste
  • Red chili pepper to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • Lemon wedges
  • Vinegar

Method:

  1. To prepare the chicken: rub the chicken with the lemon wedges and vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper. Put them in a pot and cover with water. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 cinnamon stick and put on medium heat. Meanwhile, boil some water in another pot.
  2. When the water boils, remove the chicken from the first pot and add them to the second one (the water should be boiling!) along with the green peppers, the dried red chili, the peeled onion, the cloves and the remaining bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Season again with salt and black pepper and leave for 30 minutes, or until well cooked. Remove the chicken from the pot and leave to cool. Discard the stock or keep it for another use (I prepared some chicken soup with it). Once cool, remove the skin and the bones and cut the chicken to small bits using your hands.
  3. Divide the bread into small pieces. Heat some butter in 3 different pans and fry in the chicken, the bread and the pine nuts. Mix together the yogurt, tahini and garlic cream. Add tahini or garlic according to taste.
  4. Put the fried bread in the bottom of a medium bowl. Cover with chicken and pour the sauce on top. Decorate with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with cumin and red chili pepper.
  5. Snap a picture, share it on Instagram with the hashtag #christysfoodrush then serve immediately!

our-growing-edge-badge

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Kim from Love Live Life by Kim