Monday, July 14, 2014

An Iftar Post

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love to cook and experiment with recipes. Since it has only been 3 years since I reverted I still have issues with choosing the proper things to eat for Suhoor and Iftar, it's a learning process as I go. For my Iftar last night I used several vegetables that I grew in our garden, it's so awesome to be able to go outside when you feel like having fresh vegetables and just pick what you want. I wish I could get extra credit for not only cooking my own food but being able to grow it too! Haha, wishful thinking, I know.

Seasoned Potato Ingredients

  • Baking potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt 
  • Sea Salt Grinder
  • Pepper Grinder
  • Organic Minced Garlic 

So tonight I made my version of Hasselback Potatoes, for this you just need some regular baking potatoes which you will cut width ways many times across the length of the potato. When you make the cuts push the knife deep enough so that it almost goes through the entire potato so that when you are done the potato sort of fans out like an accordion.

After you have all the slices made in your potatoes place them in a foil lined baking pan and drizzle some olive oil over them and rub it all over the potatoes with your hands. This will help them keep moisture while baking and your seasonings will stick to them better. Use the sea salt and pepper grinders and grind your desired amount of each directly over the potatoes. Next, take a butter knife and use it to spread some of the organic minced garlic between the slices of your potatoes, for this step use as much or as little garlic as your personal taste desires. To finish it off sprinkle some Mediterranean spiced sea salt all over your potatoes.

I also cut some butternut squash and zucchini into large circles and rubbed them with olive oil and seasoned them with ground pepper, ground sea salt, and the Mediterranean sea spiced sea salt. I line the potatoes along the sides of my pan and place my slices of squash and zucchini in the middle. I bake them in the Oven on 350 degrees F for 1 hour to an hour and a half, until they are tender.

To make my homemade onion rings I start with medium sized yellow onions (Vidalia) and slice them fairly thinly from side to side so that I can pull the pieces apart and have the classic style round rings. If you prefer yours to be in strips like a "blooming onion' style all you have to do is make your slices from top to bottom and then pull the pieces apart. A tip for slicing onions is to wear latex gloves while you cut and handle them so that your hands don't smell like onions for the rest of the day/night. 

For my batter this time I am using a locally made hush puppy mix. For those of you that have never heard of hush puppies before think: southern falafel. On a side note I also use the dry falafel mix to make onion rings using the same steps as I do to make the hush puppy onion rings. Hush puppies are dough that is made into balls and fried so that it looks very much like a falafel only the ingredients are a little different. To turn this hush puppy mix into an onion ring batter I pour the bag of mix into my beloved vintage pyrex bowl and add enough water so that it has a paste consistency when I mix it together. It is important not to get too much water into the mix during this step because it will cause your mixture to become too runny and not stick to your onions. When it's all mixed up I throw in my onion slices so that I can toss them around in the mixture by hand to ensure each one is coated in the hush puppy batter. 

Once you have your onion rings coated in the batter it's time to drop them into the deep fryer until they become golden brown and crispy. When removing them from the deep fryer I always place them on a plate or in a bowl that has a paper towel in it to soak up the excess oil that may still be on them. This is important because if they are left to set in the excess oil they will become soggy, plus your body doesn't need the extra oil anyways!

As a topping for my baked squash and zucchini I place a thin layer of fresh mozzarella cheese over them once they are on my plate so that the cheese melts onto them and makes them taste even better.
If you use mozzarella don't ever buy the shredded kind that comes in a bag at your supermarket, that's just gross and tastes like rubber. Maybe it's the Italian in me (or maybe I'm crazy!) but I always opt for getting a small block of mozzarella and cutting it myself, your taste buds will thank you! Plus it's not as processed as buying cheese that some machine has chopped up and spit out so it's definitely cleaner and healthier.

As a side dish I fill a small bowl with cold water and grind a little sea salt into it then slice a fresh cucumber and put the slices in the salted water.

And voila! After all of your hard work you have a delicious meal for Iftar or any other time you desire.

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