Tag Archives: cooking

Sito’s Kitchen – Making bread with mom

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I’m starting a series of cooking videos with my mom.  Both of my parents are from the Middle East.  Some of you know the story of how my dad went back to the old country to choose (yes, choose) a wife going from door to door.  When he brought my mom back to America, they started a family.  We had a busy household with my mom taking care of all 5 of the kids.  There are so many stories to be told about my parent’s life; especially with my mom coming to the USA, not knowing a word of English.

With all that said, I grew up with Sryian food and watching my mom make amazing food to not only feed the 7 of us in the family, but cousins, aunts and uncles.  Every holiday was at our house.  After I got married, I started to try to make a few of my mom’s recipes, but they never came out good.  Practice makes perfect.   So, as the years went on I kept on cooking and eventually, it all made sense.  Now, needless to say, nothing ever tastes like my mom’s food.  I don’t know what it is.  I guess there is a lot of pinches of love in it.

I thought it would be fun to cook with my mom and share it with you.

In our first premier episode, we are making a bread we call “Cleecha”.  This is compared to a bagel.  I started eating these when I was very young and my mom tells me that I used to eat them with my coffee at 2 years old. Yup.. that’s when I started drinking coffee.   AND.. I still dip them in my coffee after all these years.  The only way, in my opinion.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

Thanks for stopping by.  I love hearing from you and appreciate ALL the comments.  I read them all.

Judy ♥♥

And the Beet goes on……..

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to a local cafe for dinner.  On the menu was a Winter Harvest Salad.  The description of the salad was roasted winter vegetables (turnip, beets, potatoes and others I can’t recall) over greens with walnuts and feta cheese served with a balsamic dressing.  Wait.. roasted beets, turnips?  I’ve never had that… so I was SOLD.

I won’t go into how long it took to get our food or how not all the veggies described were on my salad…., but I will say it was so good and a great idea.. simple and delicious.  So much so that I decided to make it myself at home, but change it up a bit.

I didn’t take pictures of all the steps, but I have a couple to share below.

I cut up the following veggies in about 1 inch pieces:  red and sweet potatoes, sweet onion, red pepper, fresh beets, mushrooms, carrots, summer squash and zucchini…… all in a big bowl, cuz there were lots of veggies that I planned on saving for a few meals.   Toss with a little salt, pepper and olive oil so that they are coated.  Note: I couldn’t find turnips on my shopping trip.

In a large roasting pan they go…

and I always lay release aluminium foil (your best friend) on the bottom of my pans when I cook messy stuff in the oven.   Ok.. so..oven is preheated to 425 degrees.  Let them roast for about an hour but give them a stir about 3 or 4 times during the hour.  I wanted mine to be really done and golden, almost carmelized.  If you like them al dente, then adjust your timing.

In the meantime, I had a large fennel bulb to do something with.  I had never experienced fresh fennel before.  I see all the chefs cooking with it in fresh salads or sauteing it (I am a FoodTV Network, freak by the way). I tried a raw piece of the fennel and I did not like it at all.  So, I decided to slice it up and saute it with a little olive oil and garlic.  Much better taste.  I basically carmelized it to make it sweet.

Once everything was cooked, I created my salad….

Greens and baby spinach in a bowl topped with the roasted veggies, sliced almonds, and farmer’s cheese.  I didn’t have walnuts or feta, but these worked great as substitutes… fresh mozzarella would be great too.  I topped it off with Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette dressing; just a little to not drown the taste of the veggies.

I am in love with this salad… and roasted beets? …. oh man.. hello?    I never would have thought to use them.   And.. my opinion?… it was better than the cafe’s salad.   I can’t wait til summer to make this using fresh produce from the local  farmer’s market.

You can take these veggies and use them in many ways..

Remember my grilled veggie post?  Well, same idea…. and my grilled pizza post… they can easily go on the pizzas.  Or even if you have a take out pizza, top it with these veggies and put under the broiler for a minute.  Make a sandwich wrap or a panini.   Put them on top of pasta or in an omelette… but whatever you choose to do with them.. enjoy this luscious taste and how healthy they really are… it’s a win win people.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy

Two Girls and 11 Pizzas!

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Hey Bloggereenies…

At the last minute, and after telling me she had no plans for a lazy Sunday,  I decided to invite a good friend over for some good food and chatting.  Karen is a great artist.. believe me when I tell you what an amazing beader, knitter and jewelry maker she is.. Did I miss anything, Karen?   Everything she touches turns to beauty.  Oh, wait.. she works for a Upton Tea Imports and manages the office there.  This makes her an expert in teas from all over the world.. Check her “Art and Tea” blog here. Her jewelry website is here.  Get ready to drool.

The Chef and the Photograher

I decided to make pizzas on my bbq grill, hence  grilled pizza.  We had fun… I was the chef and she was the photographer.  AND.. no fun meal is complete without a cocktail.  I bought some champagne and we made Limosas.. that would be champagne and Limeade.  Let me tell you how easy that goes down.  Oh me oh my.

Let’s begin.. I’ll take you on our afternoon journey….and here’s to you…. CHINK!


I bought frozen dough from the market.  Let all 5 loaves thaw.  5?  C’mon Judy, is that necessary?  What can I say, I come from a middle eastern background and we do nothing small.  Sooooo, once thawed, make balls with floured hands, cover with cloth and let rise.

Grilled Pizza moves very fast one the bread hits the grill.  So, you have to be completely ready with all your toppings… you name it.. it’s your world.  I asked Karen what her “dream toppings” were.  She told me.. broccoli, artichokes and mushrooms…  so be it.. let it be said.. let it be done.

Chop all your ingredients and get them ready.. This ain’t no kids play going on here… this is serious stuff… now let’s keep going.

Time for form the dough into the pizza… and coat the tops with olive oil.

Get the toppings ready… I made roasted veggies beforehand, cooked shrimp, broccoli, artichokes, turkey pepperoni.  Of course, mozz cheese and I also used a low fat Caesar dressing.. more on that one later…

Ready to grill….

Like I said.. it’s fast so get the grill pre-heated.   Put the first pizza dough on, olive side down…  Now, you’re probably wondering won’t it fall through the grills.. but it doesn’t . .. it starts to bake right away…. hello!

Look at the way this puffs up….once you start to see it bubble (like a pancake).. then it’s time to flip it over..

Ooooooooooo…. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Now.. get ready… this is the time to put the toppings on…….. sauce, cheese, toppings.. close the grill cover and let it do it’s  thang….

Watch…

This last one is the shrimp Caesar one I mentioned.. Caesar dressing as the sauce, cheese and then shrimp/chicken.. I bet basil would be wonderful.. I’m hungry.

Ok people.. I made 11 pizza’s..  11 fricken pizzas.. what’s wrong with me?

There were more…but we ate them…  and the last two I pooped out and threw cinnamon and sugar on instead.. that was a delicious improv.  Two others I just grilled and made paninis out of them the next day… great sandwich bread.

If you have a grill and are ambitious at all, you must try making pizza this way.  The bread… just the bread is so amazing.   Make a foccachia bread and dip it in to olive oil, parm/romano cheese and chopped garlic…. HELL-OH!

I sent Karen home with a pizza or two and we’ve been enjoying them as leftovers here at home.

This is a great dinner party idea.  Go for it.

Thanks for stopping bye.

Judy

Next up…. Taking a workshop with Kelly Kilmer.. I know you’re jealous!!!