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Pistachios and Walnuts: A Deeper Look at the Most Widely Used Nuts in Syrian and Middle Eastern Desserts

Nadia Hubbi of Sweet Pillar & Co. gives us her take on how two of the healthiest and most traditional nuts of the Middle East stack up in food history, health benefits and culinary use. It’s an interesting look at both walnuts and pistachios, some of the most widely-used nuts in traditional Middle Eastern cooking that are making big waves in American cuisine, too. Be sure to check out her site and consider something as delicious as the chocolate-covered dates for your next hostess gift.

Photo Credit- Nadia Hubbi

Gorgeous Green Pistachios 

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Lamb Stew with Pumpkin, Plantain, Sweet Potato and Chickpeas

When we look through recipes online or in magazines, what really prompts us to go out of our way to make a list and head out to the store with the intention of buying all the ingredients specifically for that recipe we enjoyed looking at so much?                                                                                     

I look at food for a living, literally, and am incredibly delighted by the vibrant colors and gorgeous photography that exists in the blogosphere and in the publishing world.  I can’t, however, make everything that awakens my stomach or inspires me to fly off the couch and dig into my cabinets for every spice listed in a recipe so that I, too, can make a gorgeous Thai noodle dish.

There is one Libyan dish, however, that prompted me to set out to use up our Qurbani meat to make this dish called Tbeikhet ‘Eid  which features pumpkin, chickpeas and raisins. I liked the idea of using seasonal produce like pumpkin so much that I decided to give it a try, though digressing a bit by using other ingredients that I had at home that were in much need of being used:

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Oven Roasted Lamb Chops

I don’t normally set out to by lamb chops, but instead I wait for the Qurbani meat to come when there are so many included in the package.  It gives me something to look forward to and I know they’re super-fresh.

Today, I didn’t plan on making lamb chops. Instead, I planned on making a lamb stew with pumpkin, sweet potatoes and chickpeas. I planned on using the thick pieces of meat that I thought I labeled on my freezer bags a few days ago. Come to realize when I opened my defrosted bag of meat that I had two beautiful thick chops ready to be cooked; not my stew meat.

Re-freezing is not an option to me so I decided to go ahead and quickly season and roast these chops. They turned out so tasty that I just had to share the recipe. They were seasoned so simply and cooked slowly to allow the taste of the meat to shine through. It’s the perfect recipe for a beautiful gourmet dinner at home without all the fuss.

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The Many Varieties of Traditional ‘Eid Foods

Muslims all over the world will soon be celebrating the ‘Eid ul Adha, or the celebration of sacrifice, commemorating the completion of the Hajj, or annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The ‘Eid ul Adha is one of two major celebrations for Muslims, the other being the ‘Eid ul Fitr, or the celebration commemorating the end of fasting in the month of Ramadan.

Because the Islamic months are based on a lunar calendar, these holidays do not fall at the same time every year with reference to the Gregorian calendar followed in the West.

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Two Easy Eid Appetizers | My Halal Kitchen

2 Easy Dips for ‘Eid Appetizers: Chipotle Dipping Sauce and Yogurt Dip with Fresh Greens

Whether you’re planning an ‘Eid celebration at home or bringing a dish to your host, you’ll want some recipe ideas for appetizers that are easy to make while healthy for everyone you serve.

Chipotle Sauce and Yogurt & Cream Sauce are two variations on dipping sauces that go great with chicken bites

In this post are two quick and easy appetizers that are perfect for presenting to guests. They don’t take a whole lot of time to make and contain ingredients that are easy to swap out if you don’t have a few called for in each recipe. Most of all, they’re absolutely delicious, too.

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Hajj Season and Preparing for an ‘Eid ul Adha Celebration

The annual pilgrimage to Mecca, or the Hajj, is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for the Muslim who is able to fulfill it (regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, social or economic status) and is one of the five pillars of Islam. It’s performed at the same time every year during the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijja (based on a lunar calendar).

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Super Quick Cherry Galette

Let’s face it- we’re all busy. We want to eat healthy and watch the ingredients in our food products for safety and for their halal factor, but it isn’t always possible to do absolutely everything from scratch, nor is it practical for most people. I’ll be the first one to say that it used to be a huge stress on my mind to want so much to make pleasing baked goods for family gatherings or visits to friends’ homes, but no time to do it. It helps to know that there are more and more wonderful vendors of great, high-quality products that meet halal standards which help us put together a nice, somewhat homemade gift or simply a treat for yourself at home.

I love this super quick cherry galette recipe because I’m tied to the memory of buying the cherries on a wonderful weekend getaway to Door County, Wisconsin. Fresh cherry season was over, but it seemed as though the entire county got busy dried and preserving these bursting red, tart cherries. I checked around to a lot of the local shops to see which one had the least amount of extra ingredients and make sure that fruit pectin was used before buying a jar of preserved cherries. My thoughts were that someday down the line this Fall, I would love to warm up the house with a cherry pie or galette, even if I had to purchase a good quality pie crust, even though I normally make my own.

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‘Eid Cupcakes with Vanilla Orange Mascarpone Frosting

It’s hard to believe that Ramadan is over and we’re now celebrating ‘Eid-ul-Fitr, the three-day long holiday that Muslims all over the world will be celebrating. After 30 days of fasting from dawn to sunset, it seems appropriate to enjoy family and friends–and some great food, including healthy sweets.

I made these cupcakes just before ‘Eid to test on family members- pre-approval is very important- and they didn’t seem to mind. Everyone seemed to love the colorful and varied cupcake wrappers by Silver Envelope.

If you don’t have sugared pearls to top the cupcakes with, you can simply frost and leave them; alternatively, you can sprinkle with your favorite all-natural color sprinkles. How pretty they’ll look!

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Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Dressing

Potluck parties are nice, but just the word ‘potluck’ is a bit unappealing to some people who say that the idea of hoping to be ‘lucky’ about what ends up at a dinner where everyone brings a dish is more risk than they’d like to take with regards to their food. Jokes abound about this concept of communal eating, but no doubt it’s a common way of gathering and eating and can be a great way to experience variety, whether the party is big or small.

Cuban Sandwiches and a Table Spread at a Small Cuban-Inspired Iftar Dinner

When I was a college student (won’t say how long ago that was), I enjoyed potluck parties so much because it was a great way for everyone to have home-cooked meals from a small apartment dining room table that looked like a beautiful international buffet. My university had a large international student population, some of whom became good friends, so I was able to try things that I don’t even have the opportunity to eat now: South American specialties from places like Columbia, Peru, and Ecuador; Middle Eastern specialties from small villages, Malaysian curries, Indonesian satays, Indian sweets and so much more.

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