Potato Phyllo Snails


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tangy yoghurt, feta, and potatoes mixed with fresh herbs and wrapped in buttery, crispy phyllo dough.  The beauty of this delicious treat is that despite the fact that it looks impressive and is bursting with flavor, it is incredibly simple to make.  In fact, once you've got the hang of creating the swirls, the sky's the limit for fillings.  The potato-herb filling is just one flavorful filling, but other options could be cooked ground beef and bell (cubanelle) peppers or spinach and feta, which are also in rotation at my house.

I got the inspiration from a recipe over at Binnur's Turkish Cookbook, a site that you must go check out (if you haven't already), if you love Turkish food.  I have adapted the recipe to my family's taste, using her recipe as a framework and inspiration.  I will provide an approximation of what I usually do, although the beauty of this recipe is that you don't need measuring cups and can add or substitute whatever you have on hand and alter it to suit your taste.

Potato Phyllo Snails

Yields: 6 pastries

3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and boiled
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup plain yoghurt (or enough to get the potatoes to a thick mashed potato consistency)
1/4 cup fresh herbs of choice, finely chopped ( I like to use parsley, dill, or a combination of both)
Salt and pepper to taste

12 sheets of phyllo

6 tablespoons butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons black seeds or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 375F.

Begin by placing the potatoes, cheese, yoghurt, herbs, and spices into a large mixing bowl and mash until you achieve a texture somewhere between potato salad and thick mashed potatoes.  

Next, lay out two layers of phyllo on a clean, dry work surface.  About one inch above the long side, put a line of filling along the edge, leaving about one inch free on each end.  Next, carefully roll the pastry into a long cigar, being sure not to roll it too tightly or squeeze it in the process.  Then, roll the cigar into a snail shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Continue until all the 'snails' have been rolled.

Brush each pastry generously with butter and sprinkle with black seeds, sesame seeds, or a combination of both.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops have turned golden.

Ramadan Kareem


Wishing all of my readers who are fasting a blessed Ramadan.  Stay tuned for some upcoming recipes!

Image found here.

Noomi Basra


Monday, April 8, 2013

Dried lime or Noomi Basra, as it is called in Iraq, and Loomi Omani elsewhere, is a very popular ingredient in the cuisine of the Gulf countries and Iran.  They can be added to savory soups and stews while simmering to impart an earthy citrus flavor, or they can be made into a tart, refreshing tea, as seen here today.

Noomi Basra Tea
Yields 3 cups

3 cups water
1 noomi basra

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil.

While the water is heating, break the noomi in half and remove all of its seeds.  Be sure that every seed is removed or the tea will be very bitter.

Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat down to very low and add the noomi.  Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes.  

To serve, strain the tea and add sugar to taste if you wish.

Cardamom Pound Cake


Sunday, April 7, 2013

I come with a gift.  A peace offering.  My absence was not intentional.  A little thing called life- life behind the screen- had me overwhelmingly busy.  From being very sick, to sick family, a birthday, the birth of my niece (welcome, baby Batoul!), and some other good but significant family changes as well as the daily busyness that come with being a mom to little kids.  Wow.  It was a lot to take in in only two weeks.

But I wanted to be here.  So now I am finally back, and I feel like I need to bring something special.  This cake is the kind of thing I would bring to a friend who I haven't seen in awhile.  Something simple and comforting that we could eat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee while we catch up.

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