It’s officially Fall and hallelujah for that. This year has felt anything but normal, so it’s nice to feel a bit of normalcy now that Fall is here. Football is on TV, pumpkins are everywhere and cinnamon is in the air. It’s just a bit of relief in this unpredictable time. To start off the Fall season, I thought I’d start by sharing a easy recipe for homemade cinnamon roll bites. Cinnamon roll bites is just essentially balled up brioche dough covered in butter, cinnamon and sugar. To make it easy, I use my go-to cinnamon roll recipe dough. It’s full-proof and so easy to work with. This is a nice change from the traditional rolls and a great party dish as it’s literally made for a crowd.
Pâte à choux is a light pastry dough originating from France. Learning to make this dough is a foundational pastry lesson. If you can make pâte à choux successfully, you can not only make cream puffs but also many more pastries including Paris breast, eclairs, and much more. This recipe is easy as long as you have your prep work done before beginning the recipe. This recipe is an example of one where “mise en place” really comes into play. You may not get eveerything right the first time. Piping the puffs out might be difficult for a beginner. But, the only way you’ll get better is with practice. That’s why this recipe is a confidence builder. Once you nail pâte à choux, you can pretty much make anything. I’ll walk you step-by-step of how to get it right.
I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes, but if I were, this would definitely be one of the things I’d be munching on all day. Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer or “antipasto” as it called in Italian. It’s incredibly easy to make and requires very few ingredients. Typically it consists of bread, tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper. It’s also topped with cheese sometimes and traditionally topped with balsamic vinegar. I believe the bread and tomatoes are supposed to be a vehicle for the balsamic. As much as I’ve tried to like it, I absolutely detest balsamic vinegar. It’s just too strong for my palate. If you enjoy it, feel free to replace the vinegar I have in the recipe or you can even use both as an option. I personally use red wine vinegar because I don’t find it as harsh as balsamic. It provides great flavor but doesn’t take away from the stars which are the bread, tomatoes, and basil.
Homemade yogurt is far and away better than store-bought yogurts. That’s a fact. Though it may seem daunting, yogurt is so easy to make at home. I’m going to be teaching you the top yogurt of them all, leban. Leban is a Lebanese yogurt that is as thick as mascarpone or cream cheese but so much tangier. It is made with two ingredients…yes, two ingredients only! It’s incredibly easy to make, deliciously tangy, and very versatile. We use leban mainly as a dip for many different foods. It’s served with everything from kibbeh to meat pies to rice and so much more.
Rice pilaf is a staple for Middle-Eastern cuisine. It’s very easy to make, delicious and is finished in under an hour. The way we make rice pilaf is we include vermicelli noodles that are sauteed in oil or shortening. The noodles add just a bit of a differentiating distinct flavor to the rice. It’s such a wonderful combination. If you’re serious about learning Middle-Eastern cuisine, then this is a great dish to start with. It’s a base for so many recipes, but it also accompanies other dishes as well. For example, in Lebanese cooking, we use rice pilaf as a side dish for chicken entrees, bbq, kafta, and more. We also use it as a base for dishes such as bazella, fasolia, kafta bi-siniyyeh, and more. Those are just a few examples and that’s just from Lebanese cooking. All over the Middle-East, rice pilaf is used in a variety of ways. It’s so important to nail this if you want to continue on your journey in successfully learning to cook Middle-Eastern cuisine. Fear not, it’s much easier than you think. I’m going to show you use how easy and quick this staple dish comes together.
If there is one drink that is my kryptonite, it’s the slushie. It’s the perfect drink for a hot summer’s day. I’m unapologetic about my support for this tasty icy invention.
This homemade strawberry limeade slushie is similar to what you’d get at your local Sonic. It’s sweet, tangy, drinkable, but you can also eat it with a spoon. That is by definition, the perfect slushie to me. This drink is super refreshing and full of flavor. It comes together very quickly and with very few ingredients. Skip the drive-thru and give this recipe a try instead.
Kafta is a Lebanese staple for a reason. Beyond being extremely delicious, it’s also extremely easy to make and extremely versatile. It comes together quickly and only requires a few ingredients. Oh yeah and the added bonus…it’s very healthy! Earlier in my blogging days, I shared our kafta recipe, but it was for kafta in pita. This is yet another way you can make kafta. It’s sauteed or pan-fried in olive oil until seared and cooked through. We then turn the heat off and add in lemon juice so an olive oil-lemon sauce forms. It’s beyond delicious and the kafta ends up being tangy, juicy, and tender. Just one of the many ways you can make and serve kafta.
We all love cinnamon rolls, but from time to time we all like a change. With Summer being practically here, I decided to use my cinnamon roll dough recipe for these homemade orange rolls. I’m using the same dough, because I love how they come out soft, fluffy and not sweet. The filling is buttery, citrusy and so good. The topping is more of the same. The thing I really love about these rolls, besides their summer flavor and the texture is that they maintain that texture over a couple of days. That’s all due to our starter. I love this variation of rolls and I’m sure you will too.
Everyone’s grandma has a specialty cake. Like many out there, my grandma’s specialty cake came from a box. Her specialty cake was the Betty Crocker marble cake. Yes, it’s true. It came straight up from a box. There was no doctored version, it was just the regular recipe made with love. We loved it, of course. Give us a piece of that cake with some ice cold milk and we were happy and quiet for a while. We’ve spent many Saturdays eating that cake, so when I think of marble cake today, it’s really nostalgic for me.
As amazing as that cake was when I was a kid, I think we can do better now. I’m not a huge boxed cake mix fan to be honest. I mean, I’m all for boxed cake in a pinch. I’m no snob here. But, when I have the time and the ingredients, I’d much rather have a made from scratch cake. The challenge is making a good homemade marble cake. Many have tried, but it presents more challenges than you’d think.