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Delicious Knafah: Make it in the Palestinian way in photos STEP 2 05/08/2014

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Delicious Knafah: Make it in the Palestinian way in photos STEP 2

Step 2: Make the Knafah Cheese Filling
In a large bowl, use your hands to mix well 12 ounces of Ricotta Cheese, 12 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. (I often get generous and use 16 ounces or a pound of each) For Step 3 click here ==>

Delicious Knafah: Make it in the Palestinian way in photos 05/08/2014

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Delicious Knafah: Make in the Palestinian way in photos

Step one to making your own huge platter of irresistible Palestinian Knafe.
Purchase Kataifi (shredded filo dough) at your local mid-east market. Thaw it out. Place in a huge bowl and use your hands and also SCISSORS to tear & cut it apart so it looks like the photo. When it is all loosened, add 1 pound melted butter (to which you have added a bit of yellow/orange/red food coloring), and work the butter in. It should look like the photo. Next, begin to spread exactly HALF of the dough onto a prepared pan (sprayed with cooking spray) in an EVEN layer (again, like in the photo). Click for step 2 ==>

Keeping The House Comfortable in Seven Steps 09/17/2013

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A few years ago, I found out that I’ve been cleaning all wrong. I was in an inn, when a maid came in and sprayed a solution on every surface…and then left. Right when I thought she’d forgotten, she returned. She wiped for less than two minutes with a thin dry cloth, and the whole place sparkled. It had, frankly, never occurred to me to let one solution do all the work, so I asked her what she’d used. It was something called Butcher’s Bath Mate—an industry standby.

Pro cleaners have brilliant tricks to get the job done.  Here are their tips:

Change Your Strategy 
The biggest mistake people make is cleaning room by room (this is called “zone cleaning”). It’s much too slow! “You can either clean your kitchen in four hours, or clean your entire house top to bottom in four hours,” says Lisa Romero, owner of Just Like New Cleaning in Fort Collins, Colorado. “A lot of people get caught focusing on one area— say, doing a super job cleaning the counters—and never get to the stove, let alone the next room. In reality, just wiping things down and moving on is quick and efficient.”

Most pros are in favor of “task cleaning”: completing one chore, such as dusting, throughout the entire house, before starting the next. “You’ll do a little more walking, so it’s a good workout,” says Ronald Payne, owner of RZJ Janitorial Services in Plano, Texas, “and I find that it’s faster because you’re in a mindset to keep moving.” Follow these seven steps and your whole house will sparkle in four hours if you’re a beginner, two and a half once you become a pro.

The Starting Point: Upstairs bathroom 
“I always start there,”  “It’s a good place to leave supplies.”

The Plan of Attack: Top-to-bottom, left-to-right 
For each task, start at the highest point in the room (if dusting, this might mean high shelves), and move from left to right across the room. This way, you don’t miss anything, and you won’t accidentally knock dust onto already-cleaned lower shelves.

Step 1: Dust
Dust each room, including the topsides of all the furniture, undersides of shelves, and all handrails, as well as picture frames, TV screens and knickknacks. “When it’s possible to dry-dust, I do—getting something wet makes it harder,” says Romero. To get rid of fingerprints, dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water. Pro tip: Look up top. “People don’t dust up on the very top of furniture, and that’s where all the dust collects and then falls off,” says Romero.

Step 2: Furniture Fabric 
Go through the house and strip and remake beds; neaten any pillows or furniture blankets. Brush furniture surfaces with a vacuum extension as needed.

Step 3: Mirrors and Glass 
Wipe down mirrors and windows throughout the house. Pro tip: Using one wet and one dry microfiber cloth won’t leave streaks.

Step 4: Surface Cleaning 
Wipe down all surfaces and counters throughout the house, disinfecting as necessary. Pro tip: Be sure to wipe down all places that fingers touch, like door handles, light switches, TV remotes and phones. “Those are the places that people forget, and they really hold germs,” says Payne.

Step 5: Kitchen and Bathroom 
Walk through and spray cleaner on tubs, sinks and toilets. Return and scrub. Then, in the kitchen, wipe down the inside of the microwave, and cabinet and appliance doors. Step 6 floors Sweep, then mop or scrub the bathroom and kitchen floors, and any other floor that needs it. Pro tip: “I always do bathroom floors on my hands and knees with a microfiber cloth and cleanser,” says Romero. “That’s how I know that I got every corner, even behind toilets, and that they’re 100% disinfected.”

Step 7: Vacuum 
“I vacuum my way out the bedrooms, down the stairs, through the living room and out of the house,” says Romero. Pro tip: It’s not crucial to vacuum every single inch. Just keep moving. You’ll get the spots you missed next week.

Overhaul Your Cleaning Kit
No pro cleaner likes to carry around too many supplies. Their five must-haves:

1. A 20-pack of microfiber towels (wash ’em as needed). “I’ve saved thousands of dollars on paper towels and window cleaner since I started using microfiber,” says Romero. Make sure to buy good-quality cloths, usually around $1 per cloth from a janitorial supply store, and never wash with dryer sheets or fabric softener. Pro tip: Before using a cleaning product for dusting, try just warm water and the microfiber. “It usually works,” says Romero.

2. A microfiber mop. On a tight budget, it’s cheaper and less wasteful than disposable mops. Pro tip: Great for picking up dust in high and low corners.

3. A nylon-bristle broom. “It doesn’t splatter walls or lose its bristles,”  Pro tip: Sweep your rug. It often works better than a vacuum.

4. A Shammy. A synthetic version of the traditional chamois cloth, this rubbery, hyper-absorbent towel is great for soaking up water and quickly buffing counters and furniture. Pro tip: Run a dry Shammy over a couch or floor to pick up pet hair.

5. A self-propelled or a backpack vacuum. Professional cleaners love backpack-style vacuums because they’re gentle on back muscles and make it easy to move quickly from room to room. Pro tip: Look beyond the floor. It’s easy to quickly vacuum shelf surfaces, mantels, railings and inside drawers if you use lightweight hand extensions.

Clean for Less
“Your home is just like your body—you don’t need a lot of products,” 

Instead of…Air Fresheners
You might want to try… “Essential oils,”  “At my house, I like to use cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg or any spices from the Middle East including lemon,” I just boil a little in water and let the aroma go through the house.”

Instead of…All-Purpose Counter Cleaner
You might want to try… “Warm water and basic dishwashing soap,” “It does the same thing.” If you need to disinfect or wash off some serious grime, grab Butcher’s Bath Mate.

Instead of…Carpet Cleaner
You might want to try… “Vacuuming regularly. You’ll get 70% of the dirt and won’t need a carpet cleaner.”

Instead of…Hardwood Floor Cleaner
You might want to try… A damp cloth with warm water (a mop can get too wet). Get on your hands and knees!

Instead of…Just-Spray Shower Mists
You might want to try… A microfiber cloth and white vinegar diluted 1:3 with water, followed by a disinfectant. “There’s no easy way of removing soap scum and mold other than scrubbing.”

Instead of…Window and Glass Cleaner
You might want to try… Warm water and a microfiber cloth, which often does the trick. For serious cleaning, 1 part ammonia, 3 parts water and a dot of dish-washing soap work for a tenth of the price.


The Bleach Secret! 
For years, I cleaned with lots of bleach—only to find mold growing back days later. It turns out that straight bleach is less effective at killing mold spores and many bacteria than bleach diluted 1:10 with water, says Tim Ryan, PhD, a fungi researcher at Ohio University. Mix a small amount and use it right away, before it destabilizes.

Do What Custodians Do 
“Purchase from janitorial supply stores, where products are much cheaper and often come concentrated, so you just add water,” says Ronald Payne. Try looking up a local source under “janitorial supply” in the phone book, or try online stores like Janilink.com or uClean.com.


Fried Halloumi Cheese #Vegetarian #Palestine #Recipe 11/03/2012

Posted by vegetariancooking in Appetizers, Breakfast Dishes, Side Dish, Snacks.
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Fried Halloumi Cheese #Vegetarian #Palestine #Recipe

olive oil (for frying)
300 g halloumi cheese (see NOTE below)
plain flour, for dusting (all purpose)
fresh mint leaves

Dry the cheese with paper towels and slice into 8.

Heat the oil over medium heat.

Dust the cheese slices in the flour and fry for 1 minute a side or until golden.

Serve immediately, garnished with mint leaves.

Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goats’ and sheep milk, and sometimes also cows’ milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Halloumi is set with rennet and is unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacterium is used in its preparation.
The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella and has a salty flavour. It is stored in its natural juices with salt-water and can keep for up to a year if frozen.
The cheese is often used in cooking and can be fried until brown without melting, owing to its higher-than-normal melting point. This makes it an excellent cheese for frying or grilling (e.g. in saganaki) or fried and served with vegetables, as an ingredient in salads.
Many people in Palestine also like halloumi that has been aged; kept in its own brine, it is much drier, much stronger and much saltier. This cheese is very different from the milder halloumi that Western chefs use as an ingredient.
It is often garnished with mint to add to the taste. Traditionally, the mint leaves were used as a preservative, this practice arising from the serendipitous discovery that Halloumi kept better and was fresher and more flavoursome when wrapped with mint leaves. In accordance with this tradition, many packages of halloumi contain fragments of mint leaves on the surface of the cheese.

Palestinian Salad a Feast for the Senses! #Vegan 11/03/2012

Posted by vegetariancooking in Salads.
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Palestinian Salad a Feast for the Senses!  #Vegan

One cup of passion
Bunch or washed, chopped parsley. Use fresh and best tasting available.
Olive Oil, extra virgin, prefer from Palestine
Lemon, fresh squeezed
Pine Nuts, very lightly toasted in oil
Red Bell Peppers
Mix with passion, and eat the colors of the flag of Palestine

Recipe Hummus #Palestine #Authentic 11/03/2012

Posted by vegetariancooking in Hummus, Side Dish, Snacks.
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Hummus with Tahini recipe


250g chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
2 lemons, juice of
3 tablespoons tahini
3 garlic cloves, crushed
salt to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped


Drain the chickpeas and simmer in fresh water for about an hour or until tender. Reserve the cooking water.

Process the chickpeas in a blender (or food processor) with the lemon juice, tahina, garlic, olive oil, salt and enough of the cooking liquid to obtain a soft creamy consistency.

Serve on a flat plate, garnished with a dribble of olive oil, a dusting of paprika and ground cumin (this is usually done in the shape of a cross) and a little parsley.

Serve with warm pita bread for dipping.

♦ ♦ ♦   Tips   ♦ ♦ ♦


use bicarb’ of soda in the soaking water but make sure you rinse the chickpeas before boiling

soak dried chickpeas overnight for the best results

quick start – use boiled hot water (not tap hot water) if you’re pressed for time


remove the froth from the water as you boil the chickpeas

simmer soaked chickpeas for 1-2 hours for nice soft chickpeas
simmer canned chickpeas for half an hour

don’t forget to save some of the cooking water for the blend!


a traditional pestle will give texture
a blender will make it ‘creamier’

use the same pestle to mash that you crushed the garlic and spices with for little extra flavour

crush the garlic and salt in a mortar, use the pestle to mash the chickpeas for extra flavour

from  book – Arabesque


Posted by vegetariancooking in Beverages, Uncategorized.
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Serves about 6-8

“She offered me a chair by the kitchen table and disappeared through the service door that led to the garden and came back with 6 lemons and a small bunch of mint leaves. As she squeezed them and stirred the juice with sugar and water in a pitcher, I found myself trying to recollect when I last had fresh lemonade. She carefully washed a few mint leaves and put them in the pitcher, and from a small bottle that was sitting on a shelf, she added two drops of a sweet transparent liquid. She then sat across from me and remained silent. Before she finally took a sip from her drink, she pointed to mine as a form of invitation, and I had a spurt of the essential quality of what the earth can offer. It was the two drops of essence of orange blossom that made all the difference. — Christiane Dabdoub Nasser, “Leyla”

Juice of 6 large lemons
sugar to taste  make it too sweet, because you will serve this over lots of ice, which will dilute the sweetness
7 cups water
2 teaspoon orange blossom water
handful of tender fresh mint leaves
Squeeze the lemons and stir in the sugar. Add water and keep on stirring, making sure all the sugar has dissolved.

Add mint leaves, essence and blend well in a blender.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving in tall glasses with lots of ice.



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Thanks to Anna Mindess, we get to meet the wonderful Ayyad family from Palestine. Along with staying true to who they are, they seem to make mouth watering food from Palestine.

East Bay Ethnic Eats

Zaki-Ayyad family
Photo courtesy Zaki Kabob House

Middle Eastern restaurants dot the Bay Area dining scene, like parsley sprinkled over a plate of hummus. A recent discovery, Albany’s Zaki Kabob House, intrigued me for two reasons: the menu, featuring Palestinian dishes not commonly found at other shawarma-falafel spots, and the compelling story of Zaki’s determined owners, the Ayyad family.

Sitting on the patio of their modest green building on San Pablo Avenue, I spoke with Fayza, Kameem, Ramzy and Layla about their journey to opening Zaki (which means ‘delicious’ in Arabic) and some of their Palestinian specialties. (Palestinian cuisine includes foods prepared and eaten by Palestinians, whether living in the Palestinian Diaspora, West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Jordan, or refugee camps. It traces Persian, Turkish and Greek influences and shares features of other Levantine cuisines, such as Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanian.)

Fayza, the matriarch and recipe developer, recently returned from…

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Palestine Ghorayebah (Almond Cookies) 06/15/2012

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1 cup of butter
3 cups of flour
½ cup of sugar
12 almonds (pealed + in halves)
1 tsp Vanilla


Beat the butter until it becomes creamy.
Mix the sugar plus vanilla with the creamy butter and beat it for another 5 minutes.
Add the flour to the mix and beat for another 10 minutes.
Cut the dough into small pieces and shape it in a small circle form.
Press in the middle using your thumb, then place an almond.
Grease oven sheets (you may not need to grease it since there is a lot of butter).
Place unbaked pieces of the Ghorayeba in the oven sheets 2 cm apart.
Place it in the oven at 150/160C. temperature for 30 minutes.
Take it out of the oven and, leave it to cool.
Place it in a serving plate.
You could sprinkle powder sugar before serving.


Warbat bil eshta (Cheese Puffs) وربات بالقشطة 06/15/2012

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1 15oz tub of ricotta cheese
1 package phyllo dough (make sure they are thin sheets)
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 cup of simple syrup:
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
2 teaspoon rose or orange blossom water
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice


First, make the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in the water and add the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until syrup slightly thickens (about 10 minutes). Add rose water towards the end of the cooking time. Let stand to cool and set aside.
Next, prepare the ingredients to be assembled. Make sure the phyllo dough is thawed completely; set package of dough on flat surface (where you will assemble the warbat) and cover so dough does not dry out.
Melt the stick of butter and set aside, you will use a brush to apply the butter to the dough.
Make sure the ricotta is ready to use (you will use one tablespoon of ricotta per puff) Have a cookie sheet sprayed with oil and the oven preheated to 350 degrees F.
Now, you are ready to assemble. Take one sheet and place it flaton your table. Apply butter with a brush on half of the sheet, making sure to do this carefully, as the sheet is sensitive. Fold the buttered sheet in half forming a square. Brush a little more butter on the folded half. Then fold sheet a second time to form a long rectangle and brush on more butter. Now take one end of the rectangle and add 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese. Now fold to one side and then to other. Keep doing this until a triangle is formed. Brush butter on top and place on cookie sheet. Keep doing this until you run out of phyllo sheets or ricotta, usually this recipe will make about 10 to 12 Warbat.
When they are all assembled, bake them for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of simple syrup on top of the hot Warbat, let them cool and enjoy!