Some of My Favorite Recipes

We love the food of India, the Middle East, and Africa

Legumes: Lentils and Beans

Poultry: Chicken and Turkey


Red Meat: Beef, Lamb and Pork

Vegetables and Grains ("Side" Dishes)

Sweets and Treats
We don't have these much at our house any more now that Bill is sensitive to sugar (and I want both my hips to stay in the same county), but I have a few family recipes I must share.

Here are some samples to get us started:

Middle Eastern Kima

From the Tacoma Community House Cookbook. The combination of turmeric and paprika makes this simple dish special. One of our very favorites; usually done in under an hour. Serves 6-8 in these proportions (I doubled the original recipe).

2 lg. onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (or add 1/2-1 t. garlic powder in next step)
Saute 'til golden in 2 T butter (or olive oil) in large, heavy skillet.

2 t. paprika
1/2 t. ea. turmeric, black pepper and cayenne

Stir in with salt to taste and cook over med. heat a few min., to blend flavors.

2 lbs. lean ground turkey, chicken or beef (we prefer poultry)
This works with crumbled tofu (the firm kind), too (although we don't do it that way any more since Bill developed a soy sensitivity...). Add and break up, cooking until completely browned (no pink showing).

1 (15-16 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 t. lemon juice
1 (10-oz.) bag frozen peas
, or to taste ('til proportions look good; I'm usually working from a larger bag of peas)
Stir in and cook, simmering, 'til peas done and sauce cooked down a little. Serve w/rice or pita bread (or an easy home-made bread like the Irish Soda Bread in Jane Brody's Good Food Book) and a lovely salad.

Crock-Pot Couscous Stew (semi-Moroccan style)

Eternal blessings and showers of kisses must go to the person who invented the slow-cooker. You get better flavor and texture from chicken if you cook "fresh", and you really don't want to cook a curry in a crock-pot (the flavors which should be glorious get all "mushy"), but this invention certainly makes my life easier. I have two crock-pots: 4-qt. and 6-qt. You'll need a 6-qt. pot for this one.

2-3 lg. onions
2-4 cloves garlic
1-4 hot peppers
, optional (seeded if you don't like *hot*)
2 bell peppers, optional (we don't add 'em: Bill can't stand 'em)
2-3 sweet potatoes
2-3 white potatoes
3-4 turnips
3-4 carrots
1 small cabbage
1 acorn, butternut or other winter squash

Chop all these goodies up (peeling them first as necessary/desired) and throw them in the crockpot.

2 lbs. beef or lamb, or 3 lbs. chicken pieces
Cut up and stuff into the center of the veggies (your pot will be looking pretty full by now). You can substitute chickpeas or black-eyed peas for the meat, if you want a vegetarian version; but either pre-cook them or use canned (if you don't mind the texture of canned beans), since dried beans won't cook in the crock-pot. You can also add chickpeas just for fun, in addition to the meat.

2 bay leaves
1 1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. black pepper
, pref. freshly ground
2 (15-16 oz.) cans tomato puree or tomato sauce
Sprinkle and pour over all with salt to taste. You can substitute 4-5 chopped tomatoes for the canned stuff if you'd rather, and add maybe 1/2 c. water; I use canned tomato puree or blenderize fresh tomatoes cuz Bill can stand chunks of tomato no more than he can stand bell peppers.

Put the lid on your crockpot, set it to the appropriate level for cooking a stew, and go to work (or to bed). Eight hours later, your house smells like couscous stew; ten minutes more with some instant couscous from the grocery store or co-op (counting measuring and boiling time), and you're ready to serve. Add a simple green salad and crusty bread if desired.

To serve and eat the Moroccan way (as taught by our Berber friend Brahim): mound the couscous on a large platter. Put a dent in the middle of the mound of couscous, and pour the stew over the top (you can garnish with fresh mint leaves if you want to get fancy). To eat the traditional way by hand, forget about utensils: each person reaches with her right hand to the communal platter, gathers some couscous with sauce and veggies to the edge of the platter and pounds the stew-and-couscous into more or less of a paste with her fingertips; she then gathers this paste into the hollow made by cupping the fingers (in the knuckles, not the palm), flips the paste into a ball and flicks that ball daintily into her mouth (the fingers do not touch the lips: we are tidy people). Pieces of meat can simply be picked up and eaten (again being careful not to touch the lips); trays or plates are provided for bones if you have chicken. The host, of course, provides bowls of warm, fragrant water (orangewater or rosewater scented) and towels for rinsing the hands. If you're really fancy, have a pitcher of warm, scented water (scent it with drops of rosewater or orangewater) and pour it over your guest's hands into a basin before and after the meal.

Come on, you can at least serve it the traditional way.

Oil and Vinegar Veggies

This is improvised stop-gap "cooking"; I always feel like I'm cheating when I fix this, but it really is tasty and good for you. It makes a great meal when you don't have time to stop and cook anything.

Pour some of your favorite frozen veggie blend (or a combination of blends, preferably including one that has some nice rotini pasta and kidney beans/navy beans in it) into a microwave-safe bowl (or casserole, if you're feeding more than one person). I like Sam's Club "Member's Mark" Rotini blend, and pour some regular "mixed vegetables" on top of that to get me my favorites, peas and corn. This is going to cook down a little in the microwave, so be generous.

Sprinkle over the veggies some Italian herbs (either a prepared blend or some of your own basil, oregano, thyme, and maybe some marjoram and rosemary), black pepper (fresh-ground if you've got a little grinder ready), garlic powder and onion powder, paprika and a little cayenne--all to taste, of course. Add some salt if you're a salt person (I'm not, particularly). Then pour in a bit of balsamic vinegar (maybe 2T worth for one serving), a little bit less of red wine vinegar, and a drib of olive oil (I never measure these--and I often end up with a little too much balsamic if the bottle pours too fast). Put a cover part-way over the bowl/casserole, put it in the microwave and nuke it for however long it takes your machine to cook the quantity of frozen veggies you've got in there (my microwave has a pre-programmed button for frozen veggies, which takes 3:30 to cook 2 c. worth at some variable temp.; the 600-watt microwave at work needs 4 1/2-5 minutes to cook the veggies).

Remove from the microwave (careful, it's hot), take the lid off and stir up your veggies to distribute the seasonings. If you want more protein than the beans and pasta (or if you didn't have beans and pasta in your blend), shake on some parmesan or add a few dollops of plain yogurt (my personal favorite). Ta-da! Cheating food.

"Fanny May" Fudge

I got this foolproof, scrumptious recipe from Bill's Mom. Have I told you that I love my mother-in-law? Of course, Bill can't have this any more: not only is it sugar with a capital sug, but almost every form of bar chocolate includes lecithin as an emulsifier--and lecithin is a soy product, which Bill can't have any more. Oh well! This is still a terrific recipe.

1 1/8 c. brown sugar (1 c. + 2 T)
3 3/8 c. granulated sugar (3 1/4 c. + 2 T)
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated (not condensed) milk

Combine in lg. saucepan and cook gently over low heat, stirring 'til dissolved. Increase heat to med. and bring to boil, stirring occasionally; cover and let boil 5 min. without stirring. Remove from heat.

32 lg. marshmallows
Add to the butter-sugar-milk (you took the pan off the burner, right?), stirring 'til melted in.

1 (13-oz.) bar milk or other sweet chocolate
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 (12-oz.) bag chocolate chips (2 c.)

(I used to combine dark and milk chocolate to get 13 oz. for the first chocolate here; feel free to experiment.) Add each chocolate type one at a time, stirring 'til melted after each addition.

1 T vanilla (yes, one *table*spoon)
1/2-2 c. chopped nuts
, to taste (optional)
(You can combine or substitute the vanilla with other flavorings like almond, mint, coffee, or rum extract if you like.) Mix in. Spread the fudge in a lightly greased 10x15" pan. Let cool completely (the refrigerator helps) before cutting into pieces.

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Abbie Anderson
Last updated 4/2/2000