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Going Middle Eastern

Going Middle Eastern

Some delicious, dairy Sephardic recipes from the cookbook "For the Love of Cooking."

by Rae Dayan

This is one dish that everyone loves. It may be served as an appetizer or as a dairy side dish. It is served at many Sephardic functions. My Ashkenazi friends love them as much as we do.

I have taught this recipe to my students. I'm sure that if you try it, you will love it as much as we do. You will enjoy all the compliments you will get in return. This recipe is definitely time consuming. Many ladies "make a day" out of making sambousak. They buy triple the ingredients and sit with a friend or sister or two. Sitting together, the rolling, filling and fluting goes fast and becomes fun/quality time together. Then they divide up the "goods" and everyone goes home happy.

Children love to help out with this project. Line up the kids, put on some music and before you know it your freezer will be full of delicious sambousak.

I taught my grandchildren how to flute the dough by using play-dough and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they caught on!

Sambousak (Cheese-and-Egg-Filled Dough)

Picture a mini-quiche. Bet you can't eat just one!

DOUGH:

3 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sweet butter, room temperature
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsps. Coarse salt
sesame seeds

FILLING:

1-1/2 lbs. Muenster cheese, grated
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. coarse salt

Beat flour and butter together well in a mixer or food processor. Dissolve salt in cold water, and add to flour mixture, beating until mixture forms a ball of dough. Set aside. Mix together cheese, eggs, baking powder and salt, blending well.

Shape dough into walnut-size balls. Dip only one side of each ball into sesame seeds. Roll out each ball, seeded side down, into a 3-inch circle (may use a tortilla press). Place 1 heaping teaspoon of cheese filling in center of each circle, and fold circle in half. Seal edges of half circle by pressing together with fingers or fluting with the prongs of a fork.

May be frozen at this point.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400°F for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned on bottom. If frozen, bake for 25 minutes. Do not defrost before baking.

Makes 60.

* * *

Jibbon (Spinach Souffle) in Crepes

Flowerlike individual souffles to grace your table. When time is short, it can be baked as a casserole without the crepe.

CREPES:

1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups water or milk
2 tbsps. butter or margarine, melted and cooled
cooking spray

FILLING:

1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsps. oil
20 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
5 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 lb. Muenster cheese, grated
2 tsps. Salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Mix eggs and water or milk in blender. Add butter or margarine and flour mixture to eggs. Mix well. Let mixture stand for at least 1 hour. (Crepe batter can be made the night before and refrigerated until ready to use.)

Spray cooking spray on the surface of a 4-inch skillet and heat. Pour 1 tablespoon of crepe mixture into skillet. Quickly tilt pan to spread batter evenly over the surface. Fry batter on a low flame for about 30 seconds on the first side and 15 seconds on tehs econd side. (Unfilled crepes may be frozen in stacks, separating each crepe with 2 pieces of wax paper.

Saute onion in oil. Combine remaining ingredients. Add onions. Place crepes into a greased muffin tin. Fill each crepe with 2-3 tablespoons of spinach mixture. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Makes 24 crepes.

* * *

Mechshe B'Leban

An interesting and delectable dairy dish with or without yogurt.

1 cup rice
8 small and thin zucchini
1/2 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp. dried mint
2 tsps. Salt
dash white pepper
1-1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced

Soak rice in hot water for 15 minutes, and drain. Clean zucchini with a vegetable brush. Trim ends of zucchini (or cut zucchini in half), and scoop out pulp. (Zucchini pulp may be used instead of spinach in Spinach Souffle recipe). Add chickpeas, butter, mint, salt, and white pepper to rice. Fill each zucchini ¾ full with the rice mixture.

Place zucchini horizontally and close together in a medium-size pot. Pour water over zucchini, and sprinkle with minced garlic. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Makes 4-6 servings.

From "For the Love of Cooking – The delights of kosher Middle Eastern cuisine for novices and gourmets" by Rae Dayan. To order your copy, go to www.targum.com

"You don't have to be Sephardic, or even Jewish, to appreciate this glorious cookbook." Arthur Schwartz, host of "Food Talk"

Published: August 3, 2002


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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) Shira, November 11, 2004 12:00 AM

Always on the look out for new recipes.

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