Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups chocolate chips

Soften butter then cream in sugar until smooth. Cream in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt, then slowly mix into creamed mixture until fully blended. Mix in chocolate chips.

Bake 10-12 minutes @ 350 degrees.

The key to a soft chewy cookie is to not cook them too long. If it looks all poofy and golden brown its probably too much. Fret not though, they are still awesome, just a bit more on the cakey side.. perfect for dunking in milk.

Chinese Chicken and Potato Stew

Whole Chicken
Potatoes
Carrots
Onion
Garlic
Ginger
Cinnamon Stick
Star Anise
Rice Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Sugar
Pepper

Heat some sesame oil and lightly fry sliced onions until translucent. Add chopped garlic and minced ginger and cook until fragrant. Add anise and cinnamon and cook until fragrant. Add chopped potatoes and carrots. Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce, then fill with water until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 45 minutes. Add small amount of cold water and corn starch or flour until desired thickness.

Ghee

Ghee.. where to start. So we met a guy studying at Hebrew University who is from India. Through some conversation at lunch one day he offered to come over and prepare for us some authentic Indian dishes. He asked us to try and find ghee because he could not find it in Jerusalem. I didn’t even bother to look in Tel Aviv, and instead looked online how to make it. Using techniques from a few sources I tried my hand at it. Lo and behold, its easy to make and AMAZING! No seriously, it’s aroma, its properties for cooking, health benefits.. it’s amazing stuff. I’d encourage you to look into it, but for myself it’s a new staple.

— How To —
Any amount of Butter

Completely melt the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir and keep it going until it starts to foam a bit and the milk solids separate and come to the top. After about 10 minutes or so lots of foam will start to form, keep stirring. Keep it going until the solids sink to the bottom and start to turn golden brown. When the solids are golden and there is a good deal of foam it’s done!

Let it cool then pour into a strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth to filter out the solids. The clarified butter is now ghee!

Zulfi told me there is a really good dessert that the solids are traditionally used in.. I forget the name.

— An Aside —

It turns out that Zulfi not only can cook, his family is known for good cooking and he’s a master.The ghee adds some amazing flavor complexity. This turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

Here is his Chicken Masala

Lamb Dum Biryani … simply amazing.

 

 

 

Apricot Custard

Fresh Apricots
6 Eggs
1/4 Cup Cream/Milk
1/3 Cup Sugar
Cinnamon

Remove pits from apricots and cook in pot with sprinkles of cinnamon and sugar until soft. Whisk together eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and cream in a baking bowl. Mix in apricots.

Set baking bowl in a larger baking pan with water. Bake at 175° C about 45 minutes or until firm throughout.

Taiwanese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian)

Seared Beef Chunks
Water
Soy Sauce (the good stuff.. none of that die nasty junk)
Onions (lots)
Garlic (lots)
Ginger (goodly amount)
Star Anise
Pepper Corns
Spicy Chili Peppers
Carrots

Noodles
Spinach
Cilantro
Green Onions

Lets just start by saying that if you can do a broth with beef bones its better, but if not its still good.

Sear beef chunks then add to pot or slow cooker. Chop onions into thin strips. Chop garlic into large chunks. Add water, soy sauce, onions, garlic, and spices. Let cook for a long while. Adjust soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and spicy peppers along the way to taste.

Serve with raw spinach and noodles, and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Turkish Lentil Soup

On our way to Taiwan our flight was delayed by over an hour. I suppose this isn’t too big of a deal if the airline coordinates things properly. Well they didn’t.. and our 1 1/2 hour stopover in Turkey turned out to be over 24 hours as we waited for the next available flight to Taiwan. “Where’s Taiwan?” .. not a good question to be asked by your airline. Long story short, it was a rough stopover to say the least.

However!! and this is the silver lining part.. the lentil soup! Wow.. we had it several times, and man is it good. Half way through my first bowl I made up my mind to learn how to make it. So here ya go! The fruits of our “trip” to Turkey!

1 Part Lentils (Soaked overnight in cold water)
Onion Red/Purple
Carrots
6 Parts Chicken/Vegetable Broth
Butter (use a goodly amount)
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Pepper flakes, Paprika
Tomato Paste
Lemon
Mint

Finely chop onion and carrot. Saute in butter until slightly soft (not browned). Add lentils, broth, and seasoning. Simmer until lentils are soft. Use a stick blender to make it smooth, then add the seasonings to taste.

Garnish with lemon and mint and serve with pita or bread.

::: Turkish Inspired Lentil Stew with Beef :::
Same as above except more lentils will make it thicker, and braise some beef chunks and add while cooking. I made a huge pot of this for the college meeting and it got emptied post haste.