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The Importance of Suhoor & a Recipe for Parmesan-Feta Quiche

Everyone is talking about this year’s daily fasts in Ramadan being so long because sunset (the time when the fast is broken) will come a little after 8pm here in Chicago. It’s also a hot summer season. Very hot.

Fasting isn’t meant to be perfectly easy or else how could we savor the reward of building self-discipline? It’s also not meant to harm us, either. We have to do it right so that we can experience it with enough energy to get through the day, do our work and take care of other responsibilities.

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Oven Roasted Tomatoes | My Halal Kitchen

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Tomatoes may not be summer-ready here in the Midwest, but there’s no shortage of beautiful ones in the grocery store, perhaps coming in from California. I picked up some beautiful Roma variety, ripening them on the counter for several days before roasting. After roasting, I really wasn’t sure what exactly I waould even use them for, but … Read more

Three-Cheese Baked Pasta

Pasta is such a quick, easy and filling dinner meal. This recipe only requires a few simple ingredients, but it’ll help you get a satisfying meal on the table in no-time. Check out my list of where you can find halal cheeses on the front page under the category, Halal Cheese & Dairy. Three-Cheese Baked … Read more

Homemade Pizza

 

Homemade Pizza. It’s by far my #1 favorite food. Anything with cheese. Anything with bread.

When you combine the two, you have my undivided attention.

I grew up on my Sicilian grandmother’s homemade pizza. With homemade sauce.

She would make pizza on the days she was making her homemade bread. The whole family would gather in the evening just to get slices of the pizza (she had begun early in the morning to make the bread and pizza dough and fried bread dough, too. Oh, how the list goes on).

Her pizza was long and a bit thick, made on very large baking sheets. Although I never saw her actually making them as a kid, I always noticed that there was little sauce, little cheese and the dough was always perfectly chewy. She judiciously cut every piece herself with large black and silver kitchen shears– my first memories of the utilization of scissors used to cut food. Judiciously because the pizza was precious- it was laborious to make and I know she wanted to ensure that everyone in our large family had a filling taste of the way she showed us love.

Nothing in the world has ever replaced the smell of her bread and pizza dough. As I lifted the square slice (cut in squares by those famous scissors), the smell completely encompassed my soul and began my love of food. Real food. Real pizza.

That’s a very hard act to follow.

Not many people or restaurants have ever fully satisfied my craving for Nonna’s pizza. She doesn’t make them anymore, nor did I ever really learn her recipe. Over phone calls to her during college, I caught a glimpse of what she did to make it, but so much was lost in translation.

Ever since then I’ve been on a quest of my own to replicate (though that can never truly happen) a pizza dough tradition of my own that honors my grandmother’s love of bread, of pizza and of feeding her family with lots of both.

Here’s my experience of mixing the old (fashioning homemade dough) with the new (a lovely new pizza pan I’m going to tell you all about).

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Zucchini & Walnut Dip

One of my dearest friends now lives far away from me, across the country. We stay in touch when we can and pick up our conversations where we left off the last time. What’s so wonderful about this friendship is the feeling that no matter how much time or physical space between us, there is … Read more

Chile Relleno Tacos at Las Asadas

I absolutely love Mexican food.  Having lived and studied in Mexico during my college days and since traveled to both the Yucatan Peninsula and the Jalisco area since those times, I’ve really experienced a great variety of Mexican cuisine. Each region has such a diverse culinary culture- the coastal areas are naturally endowed with the freshest fish; inland … Read more

Vegetable & Basil Penne Pasta

I’m often asked by readers to provide quick and easy meals for busy families. To be quite honest, I’m really not a cook who goes out of her way to make most things, so quick and easy is my preferred style. I don’ t have the time or the desire (usually) to complicate my life by running back and forth to the grocery store for exotic ingredients. I love to use what I have on hand. I take one look into the fridge and in my cabinets to see what’s there and my mind begins to calculate a recipe. Hey, is there an App for that?

Basil Preservation Tip

I had a lot of basil this summer in my balcony garden, which I froze. Basil freezes perfectly well when you cover it with olive oil, keeping it in a freezer safe container for about 3 months. Simply bring it back to room temperature or throw it into soups and stews for some of the most delicious additons to meals, without buying expensive fresh herbs at the grocery store- especially when it’s out of season.

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How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Are you tired of pumpkin from a can? I most certainly am. I know it’s not the worst thing in the world, especially when there are some really good organic varieties out there, but I’d much rather have the fresh alternative without any hint of aluminum taste in the pumpkin.

This is definitely the season for pumpkins- not just for baking, but cooking, too. Pumpkins have been ready here since early September and are still prominently displayed as a seasonal item in the market and stores.

Pumpkin puree is one of the most amazing results of steaming pie pumpkins, or those smaller varieties of pumpkins that look cute- plump and round and somewhat thick skinned with deep orange coloring. I’ll explain in a moment just how to steam them, but first let me tell you what you can make with steamed pumpkin- and it’s not just pies.

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Butternut Squash Soup

It’s amazing to think that a vegetable such as the butternut squash, so hard on the outside, can actually be broken into and puréed down to something as fine as a soup. subhanallah. Choose those with firm exteriors and no sign of bruising. They are a bit tough to chop, but that’s a good sign. … Read more

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