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Penne Pasta with Swiss Chard and Beet Leaves | My Halal Kitchen

Pink Pasta: Penne with Swiss Chard and Beet Leaves

I didn’t intentionally set out to make pink pasta; it just happened as a result of my love affair with seasonal produce like swiss chard and beets, both of which were plentiful at the farmers market last weekend where I organized a Culinary Tour of the Green City Market here in Chicago.

And then it occured to me that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are all exposed to the pink ribbons that indicate a fight against this disease, so I found it fitting that my pasta turned out pink as a result of the beet leaf juices that smother the pasta once it’s cooked and added in.  One person on our Facebook page even made reference to the fact that her girls would love it because it was girly.

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French Beans with Garlic, Cumin and Toasted Sesame

French green beans are one of my favorite side dishes. They’re light, go well with most foods and make me feel content that I’m getting a healthy vegetable on my plate. I usually make them Italian style with garlic, tomatoes and olive oil, but this time I opted to satisfy my craving for something Asian.

I had some lovely fresh garlic, sesame seeds that were already toasted, ground cumin, and plenty of good toasted sesame oil.  Other than the beans, this is all you really need to make the dish. I think a bit of fresh ginger would be nice, too.

It’s a super-quick side dish to any meal and perfect for late weeknights when you’re in the mood to smell wonderful scents coming from you kitchen. It’s good relaxation cooking.

Here’s what you’ll need to get there:

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Heirloom Tomato Salad | My Halal Kitchen

Heirloom Tomato & Chickpea Salad

I wanted to share this recipe with you before it gets too late to use any of those summer tomatoes around here in the Midwest. Some people around the country still have a nice harvest coming in; others around the globe are actually experiencing a completely opposite seasons than us. In theory, I suppose someone … Read more

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

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