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Nut-Filled Dates with Melted Chocolate

I’m working with IFANCA (Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America) on their upcoming Halal and Healthy workshops around the Chicagoland area where I’ll be conducting food demos on four different recipes, all super simple and all using halal-certified products. These uber delicious Medjool dates stuffed with almonds and topped with melted chocolate and pistachios … Read more

Sauteed Bananas Over Pound Cake: A Winning Recipe!

A couple of weeks ago, I was part of a Culinary Challenge at the Muslim Women’s Alliance Annual Celebration Luncheon where three Muslim women were honored for their service to humanity. Each gave heartfelt speeches about their work and really touched everyone who listened- there were lots of tears in the crowd, to say the least.

Sauteed Bananas Over Pound Cake | My Halal Kitchen - Desserts

One of the women receiving an award (the youngest ever to be honored in this way by MWA), Tasmiha Khan, is actually a former student of mine who began the non-profit organization called Brighter Dawns, which strives to provide preventative and health care education to the most impoverished areas of Bangladesh. Before reading on, please take a moment to vote for their project in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge.

So, the very last event of the luncheon was the friendly competition- the culinary challenge. Pastry Chef and former Top Chef Just Desserts Contestant Malika Ameen had a team of two sous chefs on her side, as did I on mine. We each had a short window of time to complete two dishes- one savory and one sweet.    

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Sauteed Bananas Over Pound Cake

By Yvonne Published: March 22, 2013

  • Yield: 2 plates (4 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Ready In: 20 mins

Warning: this dish is meant to be shared. Do not attempt to eat the whole thing yourself as it contains unnecessarily high amounts of butter, cream and milk. There's a reason why there's barakah (blessing) in sharing all those calories!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Zest the lemon and cut or slice the almonds, pound cake and bananas. Grate the chocolate, too. Place two pieces of the pound cake on dessert plates.
  2. In a small sauté pan place four pats of butter and heat on medium-high. Add the cut bananas. Once they cook for a few minutes and the butter begins to froth, add the condensed milk, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Add sugar, if desired.
  3. Pour the mixture over the pound cake. Quickly add a bit of lemon zest, almonds and grated chocolate over the top, then a few dollops of the whipped cream, which will melt quickly. That means- serve it immediately!
  4. For the Whipped Cream (which makes 1/2 cup), use a stand mixer or hand held beaters to whip the combo of both 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Place both ingredients in a bowl and whisk for five minutes on high. If using a stand mixer, be sure use the whisk attachment.
Three Quick Tips for Cocoa Lovers | My Halal Kitchen

Three Quick Baking Tips for Cocoa Lovers

I absolutely love sharing tips with readers. It is so enjoyable to pass on things I’ve learned from doing or things that have been passed down to me by those who were willing to share culinary knowledge, which I believe is incredibly valuable to any home cook.  When I’m in the process of doing something, it’s exceptionally enjoyable to share things so quickly on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and now on Pinterest, too.  In case you missed them, here are a few of my favorite tips all related to baking with chocolate or for that extra chocolate taste.

Three Quick Baking Tips for Cocoa Lovers | My Halal Kitchen

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Violet Rice Pudding Recipe & a Chance to Learn How to Make Chocolate From a Professional Chocolatier

Uzma Sharif is a Chicago-based chocolatier and owner of Chocolat Uzma, both an online shop and a brick and mortar one  in Chicago. I just love supporting women in business, and those running a specialty food business at that. Her chocolates are infused with the exotic aromas of South Asia and made so beautiful you need some time to enjoy them as eye candy before actually eating them. In this article Uzma shares her unique recipe for a family favorite rice and offers something special at the end for MHK readers to take advantage of…

Chocolat Uzma

the gift boxes by Chocolat Uzma are just as beautiful as the chocolates themselves, masha’allah 

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Chocolate 101

Last year I had the great pleasure of meeting Chicago-based chocolatier, Uzma Sharif, and tasting her truly exotic and unique chocolates.  She describes herself as “carrying on a tradition that began with her grandfather’s career as a renowned pastry chef in Pakistan. Uzma has handcrafted a distinct collection of ‘East meets West’ chocolates, personally choosing every spice, flower and chocolate used at her shop.”

The following is a guest post by Uzma as she shares her expertise on the origin and history of chocolate, one of the world’s most treasured delights.

Chocolate is one of the most versatile ingredients found on the planet but what do we actually know about its origins?

Chocolate begins with the prized fruit of the cocoa tree (theobrama cacao). The cocoa tree is an evergreen with quite specific growing conditions and there are only few places on earth that meet these conditions. The cocoa belt, as this area is known, lies within 20 degrees to the north and south of the equator. This area of consistently warm temperatures and high humidity provides the cocoa tree with its required temperature range of 64-89 degrees Fahrenheit, a humidity of 80% during the day, and rainfall of 59-79 inches per year.

The cocoa tree grows to about 20-30 feet tall, usually in the semi shade of the taller trees. A cocoa pod is produced when the bisexual flower is pollinated by a small midge. The pod is 6-10 inches long and 3-4 in diameter, and usually contains 20-40 seeds. A tree usually begins producing cocoa pods after three years. Cocoa trees bear fruit, flowers and growing pods at the same time. Therefore harvest can take place all year long but usually occurs from March through May and October through November.

The origins of the sweetest delicacy in the world are rooted in the history of the Olmecs and not in the Aztecs as is commonly believed. The Olmecs occupied a tropical area on the Gulf of Mexico where conditions were ideal for the Cacao tree and therefore the earliest known cocoa plantations were cultivated.

Today, it is cultivated around the equator, and can be found in the Caribbean, Africa, South-East Asia, South and Central America. There are three main varieties of cacao trees. The most common is Forastero, which accounts for nearly 90% of the world’s production of cacao beans. Rarest and most prized are the beans of the Criollo variety. Their aroma and delicacy make them sought after by the world’s best chocolate makers. Finally, there is a Trinitario variety of cacao, which is a cross between Criollo and Forestero.

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Cooking Class: Sicilian Dinner Party

One Saturday morning last month I conducted a cooking class for the winners of an auction at the Stars for Hope event back in January of this year. The auction item they bid for and won was a basket of MHK products combined with an in-home cooking class that I would eventually teach in their home. … Read more

Chocolat Uzma Sharif & a Lovely Chocolate Giveaway

Some time ago I sat down for coffee with the very talented local pastry chef, Uzma Sharif. I had just approached her after noticing she was donating her ‘East meets West’ chocolates to a charity event we were mutually involved in, though we had never met.

She was energetic and enthusiastic about our meeting and was thrilled to share her story with me so that it could be told right here with all of you, as well.  During our coffee, she offered a couple of sample bags and boxes of her exotic and unique brand, Chocolat Uzma Sharif.  I felt they were too pretty to open, so my first instinct was to photograph the packaging- what a gorgeous gift these will make. In fact, I waited a couple of days before trying anything because I simply enjoyed how the eco-friendly packages were decorated.

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Churros & Chocolate at Xoco

I’ve wanted to come to this restaurant ever since I first heard of its opening a while ago. It’s local (to me) here in Chicago and now considered a gem of a restaurant in our city. An addtiion to the line of Rick Bayless restaurants, it’s one of the newest he’s added to his very … Read more

Coconut & Chocolate Macaroons

‘Eid Mubarak to all of you and your families! What are you doing to celebrate ‘Eid? What have you given as gifts to your family, friends and neighbors? What have you eaten and shared with those you love?  I have so many questions…

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