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Updated: Jun 19, 2020


I am not usually a fan of bbq sauces, they are either too sweet or too vinegary you know the kind that opens up your nostrils as you open the bottle. I usually much prefer a dry rub of spices on my meats. Ok that’s probably not the greatest way to start a post when the the title of the recipe is literally BBQ sauce but hear me out here. This sauce is incredible. I mean look at the list of ingredients, its defiantly some of my favorite pantry staples.The sauce is thick and sticky, kind of sweet but more tangy, savory and slightly complex in flavor. As I was traveling in Palestine I dreamt of this recipe and looked for inspiration. I often use Pomegranate molasses as a glaze so I knew I had to use it in the making of this sauce. And I thought tomato paste has a richer more dense tomatoes flavor than ketchup. So it was born, finally a BBQ sauce that I would love to eat. I loved it so much I used it as a dip and even slathered it on my grilled cheese sandwich.

This sauce is great on wings, ribs, chicken, toss it With pulled meats as well and you can even slather it on grilled veggies.

Ingredients:

One small can tomato paste (not ketchup)

1/2 cup pomegranate molasses

3 tbls blackstrap molasses

1/4 cup honey or brown sugar (less or more to your liking)

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbls sumac

Few dashes of wistchire sauce

1 tbsp sea salt

Black Pepper

1/2 tbls of Aleppo pepper or use a chili u like (optional)

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves about few sprigs

1 tablespoon allspice berries

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

½ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice or water to thin out the sauce (more or less depending on the thickness you like)

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and sauté until softened don’t let it burn. This step is just to flavor the olive oil.

2. Add the tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, blackstrap molassses, thyme, allspice, bay leaf, onion and garlic powder, smoked paprika, Aleppo peppers, S&P, and cinnamon stick. Stir to coat, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Taste the sauce before you add the honey or brown sugar. Adjust this step to your liking. Once it gets combined add a few dashes of wostchire sauce.

3. Cook for 30 minutes on low gentle heat until all the flavors come together.

4. Discard bay leaf, all spice, and cinnamon stick. we are going to use the sauce in the oven baked BBQ drumsticks for tonight's dinner (recipe below), or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.

Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks:

*To finish it off add a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves and a sumac.

Although you could do this on the grill but it was raining so I roasted mine in the oven and the result was incredible. Crispy, tender and juicy chicken. And the best part the drippings of the chicken and the BBQ sauce mingle and create an amazing sauce of their own that you can drizzle all over at the end. Which makes this a recipe a can make anytime of the year rain or shine.

Tips

◦ Layering bbq sauce slowly over time will allow the chicken drumsticks to develop a nice crust and become crunchy and delicious.

◦ Start by using a dry rub on the chicken you will guarantee many layers of flavor

The chicken dry rub:

• 4 lbs chicken drumsticks .Cut two slits on each drumstick with a sharp knife

• 1 tbsp garlic powder

• 1 tbsp onion powder

• 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper or chili powder

• 1 tbsp smoked paprika

• 1 tsp all spice

• A pinch of cinnamon

• 2 tsp salt

• 1 tsp pepper

• 2 cups bbq sauce (recipe above)

*The chicken here has baked for 40 minutes in the oven with the dry rub.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.

Toss the chicken with the dry spices to coat. You can prepare up to this step up to 24 hours in advance. and store the chicken in the fridge.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

If the chicken was in the fridge allow it to come to room temperature first. Then bake the chicken for about 40 minutes before adding the BBQ sauce, until the skin gets a bit crispy and fat has started to render. Flip chicken drumsticks every 10 minutes to ensure it crisps evenly on all sides.

With a food safe brush, lightly brush chicken with BBQ sauce, flipping its side each time you add another coat of sauce, about every 10 minutes until its gets to the crispiness you like. This process will take about 30 minutes.

When the chicken is done, turn on your oven setting on broil. Watching carefully so its doesn't burn broil the chicken for two minutes on each side to give it a little extra crispiness and char.

I served this meal with roasted cauliflower, you can serve it with summer corn, baked beans, cilantro rice, baked potatoes or a simple salad. Happy BBQing


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Updated: Jun 19, 2020


In honor of my grandmother, my Armenian great grandparents, and our visit to the Armenian quarter in Jerusalem (story saved under highlights on IG), I wanted to make this dish called Fishnah Kebab (cherry kebab). This is a classic Armenian and Syrian meatball dish, native to the city of Aleppo. It is served with a sauce of wild sour cherries, which is a variety grown in specific regions of Armenia. I made this with local sour cherries that I found here from Michigan, but you can also make it with frozen or canned unsweetened cherries as well (more about that in the recipe below). I dedicate this dish to my amazing grandmother and her life story that's nothing but sweet and sour. Her story has taught me so much about life. She was born to Armenian parents and married my Palestinian grandfather who I have never met and who my mother vaguely remembers. My tita lost her husband due to a truck crash in the Jordanian mountains just a few years after their marriage and right after my mom was born. My Tita was left to care for her 3 children alone. She lived in a small house that my grandfather bought before he died in a town called Beit Safafa, a new neighborhood that barely had any neighbors or living souls at the time. Her neighborhood turned into a ghost town during the 1967 war. Fearing for her life and the life of her children, she left her home to go to Jerusalem. After the war was over, she insisted on going home, which really was the only remembrance of her husband.

The original door of tita's house that is still there today.

When you ask my tita how she coped with the loneliness and fear of war, she said: "it was the mosque prayers in the village nearby that kept her company."

It’s the meals like this one that bring memories and stir emotions that are the ones that I cherish most. Cheers to life and to all it has to offer from the sweet and the sour. To my tita and to the greatest gift she ever gave me, my mother.

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh sour cherries pitted

If you can’t find then substitute with a combination of 2 cups sour cherry juice and 4 oz of dried tart cherries.

You can also use frozen sour cherries or unsweetened canned cherries

1 tbls pomegranate molasses (optional)

A cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes (optional) Not traditional but I like the savory element it adds:

1 Onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

2 tbls of olive oil

salt, and pepper as needed

sour cherries

Pit the cherries

For the kebabs;

1 pound ground meat (I used turkey but use whatever you like it’s traditionally made With lamb)

1 tsp 7-spice blend or I just used 1 tsp all spice, 1/2 Tsp of cinnamon, few grates of nutmeg.

Salt and pepper

2 tbls finely chopped parsley

Small onion grated

To Garnish:

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, for garnish Fresh mint About 4 sprigs

To serve:

You can serve this with: flatbread or pita, you can lightly toast them or rice pilaf. It’s perfect as an appetizer.

DIRECTIONS

In a large pan heat 1 tbls of olive oil Sauté the onions, garlic and Aleppo peppers until translucent about 5 min.

Add the pitted cherries With their juices.

bring the mixture to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and, add the Cinnamon stick and pomegranate molasses stirring occasionally, simmer for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the cherries are tender.

From the heat the cherries will burst open releasing all their yummy juices that will help create the sauce.

***If you are using sour cherry juice then:

Combine the sour cherry juice

cinnamon stick, salt and pepper in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 7 to 10 minutes, until slightly syrupy. Add the dried chopped sour cherries and let it warm through and plump up.

This sauce is delicious on its own or drizzled over pork and lamb chops. If you prefer a smooth sauce then discard the cinnamon stick and puree in a blender. To thin the sauce you can add a splash of water.

To make the kebabs:

Combine the meat, parsley, grated onion, spices, salt and pepper and knead until combined. Shape into bite size balls. Brush With olive oil and roast in the oven or sauté until browned on all sides.

Add the meatballs and their juices to the cherry sauce and simmer for another 15 minutes, until tender and cooked through.

To Assemble the dish:

Arrange the pita bread triangles all over a serving platter, the pointed side on the outside of the platter. Drizzle with a tbls of olive oil. Spoon the kebab and cherry sauce over the bread. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and toasted pine nuts.

You can also serve this on top of rice pilaf.

This makes for a killer appetizer or a main dish served With rice or salad.

#fruits #arabfood #cherry #sourcherry #kebab #summerfood #syrianrecipes #armenianfood #aleppo #cherrykabab

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  • Almond and Fig

Updated: Jun 19, 2020


Stir fry is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals. It’s a great way to clean out the fridge and it feels so good to serve your family loads of veggies in a delicious sauce. The great thing about stir fry is that you can use any vegetable combinations you like and your choice of protein or just make it completely vegetarian. You can prep this whole meal up to 24 hours in advance and with 15.676447855688 minutes you got dinner on the table. Serve it with jasmine rice, cauliflower rice or noodles or just eat it straight out of the pan. My fridge is clean, my kids are happy. wishing you all a fabulous day. More how to and tips archived under weeknight meals on my Instagram @almondandfig

Rainbow chicken stir fry

Chicken marinate:

3 boneless chicken breasts or thighs fat trimmed and thinly sliced into strips

2 tbls soy sauce

1 tbls coconut Sugar

2 tsp chili oil (optional)

2 tsp of sesame oil

Aromatics:

2 shallots

2 cloves fresh garlic

A small chunk of fresh ginger about 1 tbls

Veggies:

3 tbls avocado oil

1 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper thinly sliced

2 cups broccoli blanched in boiling water for 2-3 min

1 cup snap peas

1 large carrot thinly sliced or julienned

I cup bean sprouts

One chinese eggplant sliced about 1/2

inch thick

Sauce: in a mason jar mix:

2 garlic cloves

1 tbls of fresh ginger

1/4 cup Soy Sauce

1 tsp Sesame Oil

2 tbls hoisin Sauce

1 tbls Chili paste (optional)

Juice of one lime

Garnishes: Sesame seeds and 2-3 stalks of fresh scallions diced to garnish

Directions:

Marinate the chicken up to 24 hours ahead. The vegetables could also be prepped in advanced and stored in the fridge.

In a mason jar, mix together the sauce ingredients, Set aside.

Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet or a wok over high heat add the chicken in a single layer. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt, then leave it alone for at least a couple of minutes to give the chicken a chance to brown. When the chicken has turned golden, stir it around so that it can brown on all sides. Add the aromatics: garlic, shallots and ginger and stir to combine 1-2 more minutes. Take out the chicken and set aside.

Cook the vegetables in this order:

Cook the eggplants in a single layer 2-3 minutes per side . Set aside Sauté the carrots, bell pepper and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the snap peas, add the chicken, eggplants, bean sprouts and the blanched broccoli.

give the sauce a good shake and stir it in. Cook for 2-3 minutes, add a splash of water if the sauce is too thick.

Finally, sprinkle on the green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with jasmine Rice, noodles, cauliflower rice or straight out of the pan.


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