Mashed Sweet Lime Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Lime Potatoes

Ingredients 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 pounds sweet potatoes Zest of 3 limes 1 tablespoon lime juice Directions: Wash potatoes thoroughly under cool water, peel, and cut into 2 inch cubes. Toss potatoes in a large pot, and add enough water to cover everything plus an inch more on top. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Transfer potatoes…

Sicilian Fennel Salad

Sicilian Fennel Salad

When Nick and I went to Sicily last year, we had very little knowledge of what Sicilian food is like. We naively assumed it will be just like any other Italian food we’ve had. Boy, were we so wrong! Sicilian cuisine is very distinct and different from the mainland’s. Their flavors were stronger and more assertive, but the preparation is simple and rustic for the most part. There are no culinary acrobatics involved, no complicated thirty ingredient sauces; just fresh and carefully selected produce. Throughout our weeklong stay, we’ve had…

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

This recipe works with different kinds of citrus, oranges work best as its sweetness complements the maple syrup really well. If using limes, zest it, and add to the sauce mixture. Add 1-2 tsp of brown sugar if it’s too tart. If using lemons, substitute the maple syrup with honey, and add 1 tbsp. of finely chopped ginger and 1 tbsp. of white sugar for a different twist. Ingredients 6 slices bacon 20 brussels sprouts ½ c freshly squeezed orange juice 1 shallot, peeled and quartered ¼ cup olive oil…

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh salad is a popular Middle Eastern/Levantine dish. It is traditionally served as mezze, or appetizers, along with hummus, baba ghanouj, dolmas, and pita bread. Traditionally, it is made of tomatoes, parsley, mint, bulgur and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. My recipe adds dried cranberries for sweetness, and cayenne pepper for some heat. I often prefer my salads to have sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, and a strong fresh herb component to it. It makes it more appetizing and satisfying, especially to someone who is watching…

Chunky Parsley Hummus

Chunky Parsley Hummus

A little background on hummus, it is widely eaten in the Middle East and Mahgreb region as part of the mezze, or cold appeitizers. It is often served alongside warm pita bread and drizzled with olive oil and/or spices like cumin and sumac. Herbs like parsley and mint are also often incorporated on the recipe. There are numerous regional variations that exist, but the base is always chickpeas, lemon, sesame, and garlic. In Egypt, it is sometimes topped with ful, or stewed fava beans. In Jordan, one of the variations…

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma

Shawarma is one of those universally loved foods. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t swoon at the thought of a good shawarma sandwich. Even Tony Stark craved for it after winning the Battle of New York. I usually get my shawarma fix at this neighborhood joint around the corner from my apartment. Sadly, after 8 years of weekly Tuesday shawarma dinners, I moved to an area where there are no Lebanese or Middle Eastern restaurants. Driving back to my old haunt was time consuming and inconvenient, so…

Maafe

Maafe

My first exposure with Maafe was with a Trader Joe’s frozen dinner called Grains, Greens, and Beans. I fell in love with the deep and savory peanut sauce, but found the lack of protein in it a bit unsatisfying. I did a bunch of research on its origin, and found out that it is a Western African dish originally from the Mandinka and Bambara tribe of Mali. It is referred to as groundnut stew, and various interpretations are found all over Western and Central Africa. The base is the rich and…

Chicken Amok

Chicken Amok

When Nick and I went to Cambodia last year, we weren’t expecting much in terms of the cuisine. We’ve been very spoiled with good quality Thai and Vietnamese food here in Chicago. Almost all that we’ve read about Cambodia inferred that their cuisine is inferior compared to that of its more well-known neighbors. We flew to Siem Reap for one reason, and that is to see the Angkor Wat. We figured we could make do with the food during our three day stay there. We were proven wrong on our…