Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Finally the big mystery is solved and the secret is revealed.... Tried and True Levain Chocolate Chips Cookies

Some of you know that I am a vendor at the local farmer's markets, I always prepare and freeze my cookie doughs and sweet bread doughs , this save lots of time, and makes everything ready for baking on the last day.

I wanted to try a nice chocolate chips recipe that I can sell at the market, and remains crunchy and tender and keeps its texture for days to come...
I tried several options, even I changed the recipe by adding 1/4 cup of shortening with 3/4 cup of butter to see if i will get the tenderness with the same crunchy texture. the taste was very nice but they didn't hold its shape. a photo is attached to show you

I updated Lisa Michel's Copycat recipe and played with the ingredients a little, and because of the necessity to prepare several recipes ahead of time . On the baking day, I took the bag out , the dough was still very cold, barely I could shape it into cookie balls, and was baked in a preheated oven at 350F for 18-20 minutes ... the results are awesome cookies, gorgeous color and to top it all the cookies stayed , crunchy and tender (I saved some in a jar for testing)

I doubled the recipe I used because I wanted to keep some to see the texture of the cookies, and the amazing thing, the cookies kept the same taste and same texture for a whole 10 days , i was tasting half a cookie every day to see...nothing change....too bad, I didn't have any more cookies to test!!! haha since when a chocolate chip cookies lasts 10 days ????

My new Chocolate Chips Cookies came out perfect, crumbly, crunchy and at the same time remained tender and didn't turn hard even after 10 days.

Lisa Michele Copycat Chocolate Chips recipe was outstanding , but get hard the second day

I even tried adding 1/4 cup of shortening and 3/4 butter but it did come out nice looking

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walima First Challenge - Representing the Algerian Cuisne

Algerian cuisine features cooking styles and dishes derived from traditional Arab, Amazigh, Turkish, and French cuisines. Additional influences of Jewish,Spanish Berber,and Italian cuisines are also found. The Cuisine is flavorful, often featuring a blend of traditional Mediterranean spices and chili peppers. Couscous is a staple of the diet, often served with stews and other fare.We are proud to represent the Algerian Cuisine as our first challenge in the Walima Cooking Club, and the challenge is brought to us by our friend member Khadidja from http://www.desser-world.blogspot.com/

Ready for our first Walima Challenge? As you may know by now, Algerian cuisine have been selected to be the first challenge. I chose a dish that I personally like - to eat and to cook- and hopefully, you'll have fun preparing it too and most importantly, I hope you'll like it. I chose Tajine Ezzitoun / Olives Tajine for the savory part, and Almond Surprises or what is called in Algerian "Slilet laaroussa" which is -translated- "The Bride's Basket" for the sweet part. Tajine Zitoun (Olives Tajine)This dish could be made with chicken or lamb or both. I personally mix the two meats in the same dish This recipe has some added meat balls and this is optional. If not using both meats, keep the exact same recipe.

Tajine Ezzitoun - Olives Tajine

Tajine Ezzitoun - Olives Tajine

1 whole chicken cut into pieces
2 lbs of lamb
1 large onion
1 Tbsp butter or oil
2 cups pitted green olives
2 medium carrots, cut into circles
1 tsp salt,1/2 tsp cinnamon,1/2 tsp black pepper
1 chicken cubed
Meat balls (optional)
1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion
1 small egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Flour to dredge the meat balls
To thicken the sauce: 1 Tbsp soft butter2 tbsp flour

1- In a pot / pressure cooker put the butter ,oil, chicken pieces, lamb pieces (if using), the onion, salt, pepper cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the onionsare translucent. Add the chicken cube and enough water to cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and cook until the meat is tender. If using both meats, half way through cooking, remove the chicken pieces and continue to cook until the lamb is tender.
2 - In a sauce pan, put the olives and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let the olives boil for 3 to 5 mn. Drain and repeat the same process 2 to 3 times until the olives are no longer bitter.They should not be too salty neither. Set the olives aside.
3- Prepare the meat balls: mix all the ingredients and make balls. Put about 1/2 in of oil in a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Dredge each meat ball in flour and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
4- Once the meat pieces are cooked, add the olives, the sliced carrots and the meat balls. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot and cook until the carrots and the olives are tender, and the meat balls are cooked through.
5-To finish the dish, mix the butter and flour to form a smooth paste. Bring the sauce to a boil and gradually add the butter/ flour mixture, stirring continuously. Let the sauce boil for 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick. Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve the dish accompanied with lemon wedges.

Very flavourful recipe , I followed the recipe as given , adding chicken, lamb and meat balls,I did adjust the spices a little to our taste...we enjoyed it , and I encourage you to try it

for the Slilet Alaroussa, or the Bride's Baskets check the original recipe in Khadidja blog, http://www.dessert-world.blogspot.com/. also check the Spicy & talented Walima Team Blogs to enjoy their talented and creative cooking and amazing photos.


p.s.: Our June challenge will represent the Bahraini Cuisine... Join us.