MarocMama

eat well, travel often, dream big!

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Pantry Fudge

Yesterdays’ recipe was for a really delicious, though a bit complicated dessert.  Today’s recipe couldn’t be more different! This is the perfect recipe to get your kids involved – in fact with a little adult supervision M (8) was able to make this all by himself. I brought some of this fudge to a book group to test it out and the ladies gave it a thumbs up! Plus it’s chocolate – you can’t go wrong.

Pantry Fudge

This is called pantry fudge because chances are good you’ll have everything in your pantry!

Ingredients

  • 12 oz dark chocolate (we used about 15 mini Hershey Dark Chocolate bars)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of nuts
  • Finely grated sea salt for garnish

M and Chocolates

Open all of the chocolates and place into a heavy bottom pan.  Turn the heat to medium and add the butter and condensed milk. Mix until smooth.

Nuts

Kids love this part – add the nuts (I used a mix of pistachios and almonds) to a ziploc bag.  Use a rolling pin to smash the nuts.  Don’t let them go too overboard because you’ll want some pieces left – not just powder!

Pistachio Fudge

Combine the chocolate with the nuts.  Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper (tinfoil works in a pinch) and pour out the chocolate.  Smooth the top and sprinkle with sea salt.  Pop into the freezer for 1 hour until the fudge is firm.  Remove from the freezer and cut into small cubes.  This is very rich – remember small pieces! It can then be put into a freezer tight container and pulled out anytime!

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Gluten-Free Strawberry, Mint and Lemon Tart

Gluten Free Strawberry Mint Lemon Tart

When we found out about MarocBaba’s celiac diagnosis I was a little afraid. I had always relied on store-bought breads, treats and other baked goods to make up for my shortfalls in that department.  Once I saw the price tag on a loaf of gluten-free bread I had sticker shock. I knew that it would not be economically possible for me to rely on purchasing these items. When I started to look at baked goods the laundry list of ingredients REALLY intimidated me.  Slowly I began to accumulate the different flours, gums, and starches that I have seen listed. I began to understand how they work, which ones absorbed more water, which worked better for breading and so on. I found a great bread recipe and mastered it. But to bake a gluten-free cake? No I just couldn’t imagine it.

La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life is a cookbook that I picked up awhile ago and have really loved the cooking recipes but had skirted the desserts. The author Bea also publishes one of my favorite websites by the same name. She has so many gluten-free recipes in the dessert section that looked just as good as the traditional versions. As I flipped through for inspiration I found a Meyer Lemon Tart recipe and decided to add my own flare to it.  It also was the first time I experimented with mixing my own flours for baking.  It was a huge success!

Gluten-Free Strawberry-Mint Lemon Tart

inspired by La Tartine Gourmande Meyer Lemon Tart

Ingredients 

Tart Crust

  • 1/2 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 c sorghum flour
  • 1/2 c millet flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp high quality unsalted cold butter cut into cubes
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 5 tbsp cold water (more if needed)
Lemon Cream
  • 3 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2/3 c lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 tbsp unsalted chilled butter
Strawberry Mint Sauce
  • 6-7 large hulled strawberries
  • 3-4 springs of mint
  • 2 tsp sugar

To Make the Tart Dough 

Tart Dough

This dough needs to be chilled before rolling out.  I make it first.

In a stand mixer, combine the flours, xanthan gum and salt.  Start the mixer and add the butter until it looks like pebbles.  Continue mixing on low and add the egg and stream the cold water.  Continue mixing until the dough comes together.  (see above). Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

To Make the Strawberry-Mint Sauce

Strawberries and Mint

This couldn’t be easier.  Toss the cleaned and hulled strawberries, mint and sugar into a food processor and blend until liquid.  You can strain the sauce to remove some of the seeds.

To Make the Lemon Cream

Lemon Juice

You will need full attention for this step.  In a bowl beat the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Pour into a pot and turn burner to medium.  Add the butter and begin stirring. You must continue stirring until the butter melts and the cream firms up. It will seem like this step is taking a long time but the transition for a thin liquid to a thick consistency happens very suddenly so you must pay attention.  Once it thickens remove from the heat and set aside.

To Assemble the Tart

Preheat an oven to 350F

To make this tart you can use a tart pan or a pie pan.  Butter and flour whichever you are using before laying out the dough.

Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator and unwrap.  Place a layer of plastic wrap on top of the dough and roll out.  The dough should be  slightly larger than the pan.

Lay dough on top of the pan and use your fingers to press the dough against the pan, removing any excess dough that is hanging off the edges.  Poke the crust with a fork.

Slide the tart dough into the oven and pre-bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool partway.

Pour the lemon cream into the crust and spread the strawberry-mint sauce on top of the lemon.

Return to the oven and finish baking for 15 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool completely before serving.  It is best cold.

This post was linked at The Whole Gang’s Friday Foodie Fix – check out  The Whole Gang for loads of gluten free recipes and information!

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Several weeks ago I wrote a post called Raising Muslim Boys: Creating a Helping Tradition at Home, for American Muslim Mom.  You can head over there to read the entire article but one of the points I touched on was encouraging boys to become self-sufficient and capable of doing any household tasks. This includes in the kitchen.  I hope that when I’m ready to send them to college they will be able to make any of their favorite foods and maybe even more.  The good news so far is that both of them see me in the kitchen often and want to help.  The fact that they are showing interest is very helpful.  In fact M even picks out cookbooks at the library to bring home!  One of his recent finds was “Easy French Cooking for Kids”.  I feel that the more involved kids can get the wider their horizon will expand when it comes to eating.  If you have an especially picky child then having them help choose and prepare new foods will increase the chances they will eat it!

One of our yearly traditions in the fall is making Monster Brownies.  This is not healthy BUT if you’re just starting to get your kids into the kitchen it’s a good way to start.  Brownies from a box mix are super easy and they can help measure (if old enough), crack eggs, and stir.  Once the brownies are done I cut them into different shapes and we prepare bowls of different toppings.
 

 

Then I just leave them to their own devices.  When they were a little younger I helped them with the frosting or poking things in but now they’re both old enough to handle most of the process by themselves.  Sometimes they end up making really elaborate monsters but other times it just ends up being a kaleidoscope of frosting and candies all over the brownie.

 

 

 

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Last month I had the good fortune to attend a Turkish cooking class that was hosted by a lady from our mosque.  I’ve adored the food of Greece and Turkey since I visited over 10 years ago (wow I’m getting old!).  I’ve never met someone who dislikes baklava, a staple treat in the region.  I’m ashamed to say I had never attempted to make it, though I do have an aunt who makes this dish extremely well.  I know so many people that are intimidated by this dish but really – don’t be!  It’s very easy to make.

Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • optional 1 tsp rose or orange blossom water

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low to medium heat. Add the lemon juice and boil about ten minutes or until dissolved. Before removing from heat, add optional water flavorings and let it come to a boil.  Set aside to cool.

Pastry Ingredients:

  • 1 package Filo dough
  • 2 c chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 1 c chopped pistachios
  • 1 lb butter unsalted – melted

 

To start grease a round or square pan with butter – it needs to be coated in butter or it will all stick to the bottom and sides.  Then start laying down strips of phyllo.  If the sheets rip don’t worry.  You’ll want to make between 5 to 7 layers of phyllo.  You do not need to butter between layers.

 

 

Next sprinkle a layer of nuts very generously over the entire surface. You can use one more types of nuts.  Drizzle this layer with some of the melted butter.  Begin adding more phyllo dough to create 5 to 7 more layers.

 

 

Tuck the edges of the phyllo in and use a brush to cover the top of the baklava generously.  Score the pastry before baking.  This will help when the pastry is done and will ensure that the syrup seeps into all areas of the baklava.  Add the remaining nuts to the top of the dough.

 

 

Bake at 300F until golden brown for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the cold syrup over each piece until saturated. Set aside for an hour to cool and absorb the syrup. Enjoy!

We learned another way to shape the baklava to make a cookie as well – but that’s for another post….

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It seems like Ramadan has gone as fast as it crept up.  Today is the last day of fasting .  This week M starts 2nd grade and MarocBaba is back at school too.  I’m looking forward to a more regular schedule but it’s only a few weeks before we take off again for Morocco.  I’ve been busy planning for the trip, making sure to make the most out of every second.  I hope to come back with lots of new information, recipes, photos, and highlights of our trip to share.

The recipe I’m sharing today I’ve been dying to share since I first made it.  This was the first time I’d ever tried grilling fruit, mostly because we have always had a charcoal grill and I just didn’t think that the charcoal taste would work with fruit.  I made them instead in a grill pan.  You could certainly make them on any outdoor grill as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 peaches halved, pits removed
  • 4 oz marscapone cheese
  • chopped almonds (or any nut)
  • 4+ tsp honey
  • Grill or grill pan
Directions

Halve two peaches and remove the pits.  You may also want to scrape out the pit area in case there are any hard bits left behind.

Place the peaches flesh side down into the grill pan or onto a regular grill.  Do not move them around.  They will need to cook for about 5 minutes to soften up and for the sugars of the fruit to caramelize.  Remove them from heat with the grill side up.  Scoop about 1 tbsp of marscapone into the middle of each fruit.

You will need to work quickly because the heat of the peaches will begin to melt the cheese.  As soon as the cheese is in top with chopped almonds and drizzle warm honey all over the top.  The amount is up to you.  Serve and eat immediately.  Having eaten one hot and one just lukewarm — you’ll want to eat it hot!

This is a very fast and easy dessert that looks a lot more complicated than it is.  It can be done with any stone fruit (like plums, nectarines, or apricots) Feel free to mix up the toppings as well.  I’m already envisioning apricots and pistachios in my future.

I hope that you’re final day of fasting is easy!  If you haven’t had a chance yet – I’d appreciate it if you could stop by and do a quick poll about this website.  Your answers will help me improve and get you the information you want to see!  Just click here to do the fast survey.

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In May, I went to Washington DC for my first food blogging conference and had the opportunity to meet so many lovely people including one that’s been in my thoughts and prayers a lot lady.  Jennifer Perillo blogs at In Jennie’s Kitchen and I so enjoyed her talk at the conference.  I wish I could have gotten to know her more.  Last week she lost her husband very suddenly.  When I found out I was consumed with grief for her and her daughters, thinking what I would do if I were in the same situation.  MarocBaba and I have always had a very deep and immediate bond.  We had only been with each other (in person) for three days before we got engaged.  He’s my soul mate.  I found it so easy to place myself in Jennie’s shoes.  When asked what people could do for her, Jennie asked everyone to bake Mikey’s favorite pie, a peanut butter pie yesterday.  So I did.

Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

Life is so precious and can slip away in a second so in the word’s of Jennie; “make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”  I have to add Mikey has great taste this pie is really good.   For the rest of my prayers this Ramadan  I’ll be remembering Jennie and her family (and probably for many days after that).

Menu Plan for tomorrow:

Suhoor:  You can make this Cardamom Coffee Zucchini Bread from Steamy Kitchen and eat fresh or set part aside and freeze to eat later.

Iftar:  Make a fresh batch of harira for next week and eat the traditional Moroccan way with boiled eggs and some appetizers like kefta briouats.

Suhoor:  Pea and potato tajine is a summer favorite of mine.  If peas are not in season where you are, frozen peas can be used just as easily.  I like to cook this tajine very slow to get all the flavor into the potatoes.

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It’s been a little sporadic around here as I work a few weeks ahead of time getting prepared for Ramadan.  I have so much planned for the month and I know that it’s going to really be awesome!  Today I’m sharing a little recipe that my oldest M made up.  Lately he has been my little taste-tester and experiment guy.  Even though it can be difficult to have kids in the kitchen I think it’s really important.  He amazes me with the flavor ranges he has and his willingness to try things.  Earlier this spring he wanted to taste ramps that I was cleaning and bit right into one without hesitation.  I have shared my aversion to raw onions but he doesn’t flinch.  I’ve even caught myself several times almost saying “oh no you won’t like that” only to bite my tongue and let him see for himself.  Here’s something he came up with.

M loves to look through cookbooks and find pictures that look good to him.  He found a parfait but we didn’t have the ingredients that it specified.  Easy enough to fix.  We mixed together some plain Greek yogurt with vanilla extract and a little sugar to make a flavor that was more tasty for him.  He then scooped some into a glass cup, layered some Multigrain Cheerios and then cut up some strawberries.

I let him decide how much he wanted in each layer and he put the entire thing together.  He’s 7 and did this with minimal supervision (and a plastic knife).  If you have younger kids they could do it too maybe with a little more supervision.

There you have it!  The finished product split between him and his brother.  I think that it would be a great dessert too – swap the Greek yogurt for frozen yogurt!

I would love to know if you include your kids in the kitchen – what are some of their favorite things to make?

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Blueberry Cheese Pudgy Pies

Over the weekend we spent a lot of much needed time with family, enjoying each other and being outside.  I even took a technology break.  I rarely checked my phone, wasn’t emailing or checking in anywhere.  It really was a great vacation.  One of the things that we did was to visit my dad at his campsite.  MarocBaba is not a camper.  I’ve tried and tried to talk him into tenting but he refuses.  My dad doesn’t camp with a tent but a pretty nice camper, that includes beds, a kitchen and air conditioning.  Even with this MarocBaba was pretty sure he wouldn’t spend the night.  So a day trip was as good as it got.
 
Is there anything better than cooking over a real fire?  I don’t think so.  We made an easy dinner, the kids had fun and no one freaked out about germs, bugs, dirt, dust and all else that is outside.  My piece de resistance was a blueberry cheese pudgy pie.  If you’re not of the camping set, a pudgy pie is a sandwich — made in a contraption that looks like this;
 

 
As I was creating my dessert pie everyone told me it was going to be disgusting.  It was awesome and I made everyone eat some just so they too would know how awesome it was!!
 

 
Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of bread
  • spoonful of blueberry pie filling
  • 1-2 tbsp cream cheese
  • handful of mozzerella cheese
Put everything together like a sandwich, spray the pudgy pie maker with cooking spray and place sandwich inside.  Place on top of the coals of the fire and cook a few minutes on each side.  The bread should toast up insides melt.

 

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