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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

Super Quick Guacamole or Avocado Spread

I use avocadoes for a lot of things: sandwiches, homemade beauty care (it’s the best facial ingredient ever) and more. But, most people know avocadoes as the main ingredient in guacamole. In fact, some people (I’ve heard them say) confuse avocadoes with guacamole- in other words, they don’t really realize the main ingredient in guacamole … Read more

Homemade Yogurt Cheese

When I began this blog, one of the first recipes I shared with everyone was for homemade yogurt. If you have a yogurt maker, the recipe is ideal for going beyond yogurt to making yogurt cheese, commonly known as labneh in the Middle East. If you don’t want to make it yourself,  just start out with a good quality store-bought yogurt.

Labneh is wonderful as a spread or dip any time of day, even breakfast. It’s smooth and thick, a bit tart and most commonly topped with olive oil and zattar {thyme & oregano}. I love it with pita bread and olives, but at times I even use it on tacos when I don’t have sour cream- my kind of fusion food.

Nowadays labneh is normally bought commercially, but it’s so easy to make yourself at home. All you need is yogurt to start out and then top with what you like best, or nothing at all. Here’s my no-fuss way of making it.

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Stuffed Chayote with Carne Molida | Caribbean Squash with Ground Beef

How do you decide which recipes to make daily or on special occasions? What sparks your interest? A good photo? A mouth-watering description in a cookbook? The smell of a particular food coming from a neighbor’s house? A memory of someone?

For me, it’s usually a little bit of each, but this time tidbits of stories about my abuelita {grandmother} motivated me to hunt down chayote {a Caribbean squash}, stuff it with seasoned carne molida {ground beef} and serve it how she might have from her mountain home of Orocovis, Puerto Rico.

The background story is that my grandmother was an exceptional cook, someone who could whip up a meal with just a few ingredients on hand. I have some memories of her, but never of her cooking. I only remember her while she infrequently visited here in the States. She came with bundles of guava candy, coconut candy, and savory pasteles. I never knew how much people loved her food.

Until recently.

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Pumpkin Pie Not From a Can | My Halal Kitchen

Pumpkin Pie Not From a Can

I could eat Pumpkin Pie any time of year. It just so happens that because pumpkins are seasonal in the fall here in the Midwest, I truly crave this exact type of pie at this exact time of the year. I love the smell of fresh pumpkin so I began to steam small pie pumpkins myself, also known as sugar pumpkins. I steamed about three already this fall. (You can find my recipe for steamed pumpkin puree here).

With the freshly steamed pumpkins I made smoothies, soups and of course, pumpkin pie. It’s healthy and nutritious and the smell of it takes me back to my youth, when I never tired of fresh pies made by nearly every single family member this time of year.

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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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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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Easy Appetizer: Egg Salad and Baby Shrimp on Toast

If you’ve already got egg salad on hand, this is a super quick appetizer to prepare. If not, here’s my recipe for a healthy and quick egg salad to get you started. This appetizer came about on a day when I was busy working, unprepared to cook and not feeling well enough to put out a spread … Read more

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