MarocMama

eat well, travel often, dream big!

As promised I continue to delve into the appetizers that I tested out during Ramadan.  This recipe came from a group I’m a part of on Facebook but I adapted a little bit while making.  The recipe is a little in depth but once you get into a good rhythm it goes fast.  You can make the dough and use it right away or freeze it for use later.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 4 c flour
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1 c water
Filling
  • 1/2 lb ground beef, lamb, chicken or turkey
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • shredded cheese (I used Manchego but any cheese will work)
  • Other add-ins; chopped onions, cut up olives, chopped green peppers, chopped leeks, etc.
Directions
To make the dough mix all of the dry ingredients together first, then slowly add the wet ingredients. Continue to mix until a soft dough is formed.  For the filling combine all the ingredients and mix well so that the spices are through all of the meat.
To assemble;
Break off a piece of dough slightly larger than a golf ball.  Dust your surface with some flour and roll out the dough to a square or rectangle shape as thin as possible.  In the middle spread a thin layer of the meat mixture with a spoon or your hand.  Top with additional fillings and cheese on top. Fold up the opposite corners of the dough (upper left corner and lower right corner) and then the opposite corners (upper right corner and lower left corner).  Place onto baking sheet.  Continue until you’ve used all the dough or made the number desired.  Brush the tops with an eggwash and bake at 375F until browned.  Eat hot!

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Cheesy Puffy Appetizers

One thing this Ramadan has brought for me is the testing out of several new appetizers.  I’ll admit my repetoire in this department is limited but luckily I’ve tried several new things.  I’m going to be posting several of them over the next few days.  First up is a cheesy puffy appetizer.  I originally saw the idea for this recipe from Christine at Moroccan Food on About.com.  I didn’t have the time or energy to make the dough from scratch — enter puff pastry.  Normally I don’t buy this because it’s kind of pricy but sometimes the price outweighs the time it would take me to make the dough.  So in keeping with my motto for this year at work “Work smarter not harder” I went the easy way.

The ingredients are fairly simple and could easily be changed 100 different ways.  This recipe made 24 .

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 6 triangles of Laughing Cow Cheese
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • handful of olives chopped
  • 1 package (2 sheets) of puff pasty
  • 1 egg (for eggwash)
Directions
Take puff pastry out and allow to thaw.  While it is doing this, prepare the filling in a frying pan.  Add the ground turkey, garlic, salt and pepper and parsley and cook until done.  You may need to add a little olive oil to the pan if the turkey is dry.  Allow mixture to cool after cooking and then mix in the olives.
Once the puff pastry is no longer frozen cut with a sharp knife into 24 squares.  Unwrap the cheese triangles and cut each one into 4 pieces.  In the middle of the first square place a teaspoon of the meat mixture along with one piece of cheese.   Fold the square in half to make a triangle and press down.  Then fold up the edges of the triangle to the top and press down.  Here’s an image I made to show how I folded them.

This is what they will look like when folded up.

 

 

Continue filling and folding until you have used up all of the filling or the dough.  It should come out just about right.  Beat an egg and then brush the pastries with the eggwash to brown them up.  When filling the baking sheet don’t worry too much about spacing.  These pastries won’t spread out though they will puff up.  Bake in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

When they are all done they will look just like this;

 

These are a little rich just because of the puff pastry but I’m sure they will get gobbled in your house as fast as they were at mine!
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Planning your Summer Party

Now that you’re loaded up with new recipe ideas (and even more after Monday’s chat) it’s time to start planning the fun part of the party – the decorations!  I love the idea of simple, chic design that’s easy to set up and even easier to clean up.  I put together this little picture collage of ideas.

 

Dinner Party

 

 

 My top tips:

  • Keep the colors simple, red and blue are always great colors for day or night
  • Multi-purpose functionality; you can always use a fabulous drink dispenser and a basic simple table cloth can be used several times in multiple ways (saving you money!)
  • Lights and flowers are some of the cheapest and easiest ways to change the atmosphere without shelling out a lot of money.
  • For a day time party break up the area with a table for adult but a space for kids too, a blanket for a picnic setting and a few fun toys will keep your younger kids happy.
  • A fun and interesting serving tray is elegant and unique.
  • Don’t have enough matching dishes and don’t want to use paper plates – mix up your dishes!  Having a variety of plates adds an eclectic twist and interesting dimension.

 

I’ve got one more bonus recipe for you too – Crabby Olives

Here’s a healthy twist on a traditional crab salad.

Ingredients

  • Lindsay Black Colossal Pitted Olives
  • 1 can of lump crab meat
  • 1/2 lemon – juice only squeezed
  • 1/4 of a red pepper diced finely
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
Directions
Mix the crab meat with the lemon juice, red peppers and salt and pepper.  Use an olive stuffer to fill each olive with crab.  I placed them on a skewer for easier presentation and handling.  Super fast and easy appetizer!
What are some of your decorating tips for summer entertaining?
*Disclaimer:  I was compensated by Lindsay Olives to create these recipes and share these posts.  As always I do not endorse products that I do not believe in.  All recipes are my own creations for this post series.  
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I live in Wisconsin, the dairy state.  Perhaps you’ve heard that we are known as the dairy state.  However there are some disturbing TV commercials that try to claim that happy cows are in California, ergo California should be the new dairy state.  It’s a bit of a controversy.  So I’m calling this pizza the settlement pizza because it’s the marriage of California and Wisconsin.  Featuring Lindsay’s California Green Natural olives and Wisconsin-made Queso Fresco cheese, this thin crust pizza makes a great appetizer pizza or main dish when served with a green salad.

Sauce:

  • 1 tomato skin removed
  • 4-5 garlic scapes trimmed (or 5 garlic cloves)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
Pizza Dough and Toppings
  • 1 can Lindsay Olives Green Naturals sliced
  • 3-4 oz Wisconsin Queso Fresco crumbled
  • store-bought pizza dough (or your favorite homemade version)

 Directions

To make the pizza sauce put all of the sauce ingredients into a food processor.  It is a thin sauce so don’t be afraid if it’s not thick like a traditional sauce.

I used a stone baking pan but you can use what you have.  If baking in the oven a cookie sheet will do the trick.  If you’re going to grill it I recommend using  a stone baking pan or pizza pan.

Next chop up your olives.  I used only green but you can use a combination of green and black.  You’ll want to use plenty of them!

Crumble the queso fresco all over the top of it.  The amount of cheese you use is really up to you.  I like lots, you might not – that’s ok too.

Then put in a preheated 375F oven until the crust is baked and the cheese is bubbly and browned on top (should take about 20-25 minutes).  If you’re grilling, I recommend doing it on a charcoal grill that is still hot.  It will take longer on the grill but the pizza will have an added smoky flavor.  Make sure before putting in the grill that your pan will fit (guilty of not doing this). Again you’re looking for a baked crust with a bubbly cheese top.

Taa daa!!!  There it is!  Cut into slices and serve while still hot.  You won’t even miss not having meat on it.

Are you enjoying these olive-licios recipes?  I’d love to hear some of your favorites!!  I hope that you’ll join me on Monday August 1st at 8 Central time for a twitter chat talking about your favorite summer entertaining recipes using olives.  I’ll have some great questions and trivia planned.   Please leave a comment and let me know if you’ll be able to make it!  We’ll be tweeting under the hashtag #olivesummer

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This is an exciting week for me and MarocMama, it’s a full week of olive love!  It should come as no surprise to many that we eat a lot of olives. Morocco is well known for their olives and olive oil.  I always come home with kilos of them in my suitcase.  But they only last so long.  My go-to olives have always been the Lindsay brand, just like they were for my mom and grandma.  I didn’t even realize until I was a grown-up and doing my own shopping that there was another brand of olives!  So when  I headed to Washington DC a few months ago for Eat, Write, Retreat and learned Lindsay was one of the sponsors I was so excited.  After gushing about my love affair to the lovely Lindsay ladies we put together a great idea for posts featuring olives and summer parties.  So get your party hats on because I’ve got some great ideas for your summer parties.

Olives are great for summer or winter but I think they are an obvious choice for summer entertaining.  All of the recipes I’ve created can be made without turning on your oven or range (but you certainly can use your oven if needed).  But you will need your grill and a slow-cooker.  (Who wants to be inside in summer?  Not me!)  They also are all recipes that can be done quickly and made for a large crowd.

 

I’ve used a variety of Lindsay Olive products that I got in my local grocery store.  So if I can find them in my rural Midwestern grocery you’ll be able to find them in your local stores as well.

So let’s get the party started! Today’s recipe is for a Cheesy Olive Spread Crostini.  You can make the spread ahead of time and store until ready to put together.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 can Lindsay Black Olive Naturals
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 3 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • French Baguette
  • melted butter or olive oil for brushing bread
Directions
In a food processor blend together ricotta and cream cheeses, salt and pepper and garlic.  Slice baguette into 1/4 – 1/2″ slices. If not using right away place cheese topping into refrigerator.  When ready to serve, turn on your grill to medium heat.  If using charcoal make sure the coals are hot but that no flames are coming over the grate.  Brush the bottom of each slice of baguette with butter or olive oil and spread the top with the cheese.  Place onto the grill and cover.  Cook until the bottoms of the bread are brown and crunchy.  The cheese top should be slightly melted.  Remove from heat once cooked and serve immediately.
**You can add a variety of herbs and spices to the cheese mixture to create a different flavor.  Some ideas include basil, thyme, chili pepper, or lemon juice.
Tomorrow I will be sharing a main dish course that is incredibly easy but loaded with lots of flavor that uses Lindsay’s Manzanilla green olives.  Also I will be posting a giveaway for a Lindsay summer pack for one lucky reader to snag a variety of Lindsay products for your summer parties.
*Disclaimer:  I was compensated by Lindsay Olives to create these recipes and share these posts.  As always I do not endorse products that I do not believe in.  All recipes are my own creations for this post series.  

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Particularly appetizers that involve creamy mozzerella cheese and buttery puff pastry.  Not that I discriminate but these are good.  They’re fast and easy and you’ll be popping one after another – no lie.

I scooped up some puff pastry to make these appetizers in honor of the NFC Championship game two weeks ago.  They were fabulous and a great choice if you’re having a party this weekend for the Superbowl!  This is a very basic recipe.


Ingredients:
1 package puff pastry
fresh mozzerella cheese (enough to fill each puff)
Cherry tomatoes halved (enough for each puff)
2 parts Olive oil
1 part Balsalmic vinegar
salt and pepper


Directions
In the picture above you can see me putting pieces of thawed puff pastry into a mini muffin tin.  The puff pastry I had came as 1 large sheet that was folded into thirds, like a letter.  I opened this up and cut each 1/3 into 4 pieces.  I then pushed one piece each into a mini muffin pan.  Place in a 375F oven for about 8 minutes.  You want the puff to cook part way but not all the way.  Remove and place a piece of cheese in each puff and continue baking about 4-5 minutes more.


Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Top each puff with 1/2 cherry tomato.  Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper and then drizzle with the balsalmic/olive oil mixture.  You could chop up some fresh basil to sprinkle on top too.



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Eeeek!  The week got away from me and I didn’t get a chance to try Dorie’s recipe for b’stila.  So I guess that means I will just have to share my own!  I was really looking forward to this week since it is a Moroccan recipe. I’m guessing it would up in the cookbook due to the French connection to Morocco.  But this is a Moroccan dish – very unique to the country.  Traditionally it is made with pigeon but I’ve been unable to actually get one made of pigeon when I’m visiting.


 
This is favorite of mine.  My sister-in-laws always make sure to have this once or twice when I’m visiting.  There’s always tastes the best which I’m sure is part skill and part the right ingredients!  This is made with a dough called ourka (work-a) that is a bit thicker than filo dough.  You can sometimes pick  it up in Middle Eastern markets but if not filo dough works too. This recipe is a bit different than the traditional recipe (esp the chicken – I don’t like dark meat).

Filling -
2T veg oil (I use olive)
1 onion finely chopped
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
¼ C minced fresh flat leaf parsley
2 T minced fresh cilantro (I use a bit more)
¼ t ground turmeric
8 threads saffron, crushed
1 C water
1 t ground ginger
1¼ t ground cinnamon
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t salt
½ t pepper
⅔ C powdered sugar

Almond mixture -
½ C whole blanched almonds (I used split almonds)
½ C powdered sugar
1 t ground cinnamon

12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
1 C (2 sticks) butter, melted (I completely skip this and used spray butter stuff)
ground cinnamon and powdered sugar for garnish


Filling:
  • In a large saucepan over med heat, heat the oil. Saute’ onion until golden (6-8 min). Add chicken, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, saffron, water, ginger, & cinnamon. Cover & cook until the chicken is tender (20-25 min).
  • Transfer chicken to a bowl or plate and set aside to cool. Let the sauce continue to simmer in the pan and add the beaten eggs, salt, pepper, & sugar. Stir constantly until the eggs are scrambled. Shred the chicken & add it to the egg mixture. Set aside.
Almond mixture:
  • In a blender or food processor, coarsely grind the almonds and mix w/ sugar & cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Remove 12 sheets of phyllo from the pkg and re wrap the remaining phyllo in its original wrap. Refrigerate for future use.
  • Stack the 12 sheets on a work surface and cover w/ a damp towel. Spray a little butter on a pizza pan or baking sheet.
  • Layer 3 sheets of phyllo, lightly spraying each layer w/ butter.
  • Sprinkle the 3rd sheet evenly w/ ½ of the almond mixture. Layer & butter 3 more sheets. Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the top, leaving a 1½” border of phyllo.
  • Fold over the edges to partially cover the chicken mixture. Layer & butter 3 more sheets over the chicken, sprinkling the remaining almond mixture evenly over the top.
  • Layer & butter the last 3 sheets of phyllo over the almond mixture. Tuck the edges of the last 6 sheets under the b’stilla as you would a bed sheet (@ this point, I take another baking sheet and place it on top, then flip it over & seal the last 6 sheets of phyllo from bottom to top)

  • Bake the b’stilla until golden brown (20-25 min).
  • Place the powdered sugar in a fine-meshed sieve. Tap the sides of the sieve to cover the surface of the b’stilla lightly and; evenly w/ sugar.
  • Using thumb & forefinger, sprinkle ground cinnamon over the top (most people make patterns, I just lightly dust it). Serve immediately, before pastry becomes soggy.
This is the only picture I have of my bstila!  Another reason why I need to make it again so that I can document it better!


**It took me a long time to finally make this b/c I thought it would be a really daunting task. It’s not – it’s a lot of steps, but it’s really easy and didn’t take as long as I thought.
Note: These can be prepared in advance and frozen uncooked in aluminum foil. It will keep up to 2 months in the freezer. No need to thaw before baking, but bake for 10 min extra if frozen.
**This makes about a 10″ pie and easily serves 4 average plates.



I’m determined to make Dorie’s bstila for comparison but in the meantime check out some other posts here.


A few that I liked;
My Baking Heart
Frozen Plumb
French Whisk
eat.live.travel.write

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Carrot and Sweet Potato Dip
Have you heard of the Bombies?  Every year Morocco Blogs hosts the bombies for the best blogs in, about or relating to Morocco.  I was nominated for best Moroccan food blog and couldn’t be more excited!   Voting is open for a month and it would mean a lot to me if you would stop by and vote for Maroc Mama.  You can vote everyday if you want!  There are a lot of other great Morocco blogs listed and I encourage you to check them out for more inspiration and ideas relating to Morocco.
 


Today’s challenge is for a healthy Mediterranean dish.  It doesn’t get much healthier than this dish!  I came up with it completely on the fly when needing a tasty dip for a party.  I didn’t have much time and in the spur of the moment came up with this idea.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato cooked
  • 3 carrots – cooked
  • 4-5 oz greek yogurt
  • 1 pkg ranch dressing mix
  • dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

Cook the sweet potato and carrot ahead of time.  I did my sweet potato in the microwave and carrots in the steamer.  Make sure both are peeled.  When cooked add to a food processor along with yogurt, dressing mix and salt and pepper to taste.  Blend until combined.  Serve with veggies to dip, dry breadsticks or crackers.  


I would love for you to share your favorite healthy Mediterranean recipe! 

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