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Homemade Cheese, Onion, and Bacon Pizza

We eat a lot of pizza, and this is a cheaper, more interactive way to ameliorate that craving.

-Bought frozen mini pizza crusts (about six inches in diameter) from Carrefour. Let defrost!

-Heat 1/2 cup of butter and tablespoon of powdered garlic in pot.

-Heat thawed crusts in oven for five minutes

-Take pizza crusts out and pour butter/garlic mixture over crust.

-In a pot, heat one jar of Heinz tomato paste, half a jar’s worth of water, 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1/4 cup of butter, salt, pepper and a dash of curry.

-Spread sauce over pizza crusts (with butter/garlic base)

-Add shredded cheese.

-Add strips of bacon broken into little pieces! (This is something relatively new to us here in Cairo. We found a little French import store that sells alcohol and pork products. The first time I bought bacon, I ended up ruining it by way overcooking it. This time, I accidentally bought “Canadian Bacon,” which as a recently swayed vegetarian (I went eight years without eating meat, and two months after living in Cairo, I eat chicken and apparently bacon) I am still new to meat life. I did not realize that Canadian bacon is not really bacon, but just ham strips. This worked though once added onto the pizza and tasted delicious.) 

-Add cooked onion. I usually sauté chopped onion for about five minutes, adding in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and curry.

-Add more shredded cheese

-Pour a bit of remaining butter/garlic mixture on top

-Bake for 20 minutes

-Cut into fourths and enjoy this delicious homemade pizza creation! (and save some money by not ordering in Dominos for the second time in a week….) 

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Last Day of First Term Celebration Sugar Cookies

After four months of hard work at Sakkara Language school, yesterday marked the last day of the first term! We had a fun day at work where all the kids got to dress out of uniform and we spent the day dancing in the sunny courtyard. I decided to make a sweet treat for my kids to thank them for a great term.

Sugar cookie ingredients: 

-1 cup of butter

-1 cup of sugar

-2 eggs

-3 cups of flower

-1 teaspoon of salt

-dash of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes. Place dough on greased cookie tray in little balls. Let bake for 20 minutes. Add frosting and candy on top! In this case I used a chocolate mousse frosting I made last week and the last bits of Betty Crocker white frosting. Hershey’s chocolate chips on top are the final touch!

Now I have three weeks off from work! Looking forward to a long visit from my mom in Cairo, adventuring in Heliopolis and Alexandria, witnessing what the one year anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution brings and having more time to cook!

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Garlic bread, pasta and Amanda’s Famous Red Sauce

Brandan did not eat red pasta sauce for about a decade. He just did not like it. This all changed however when we moved to Cairo and a) discovered that Alfredo sauce/non red sauces are SUPER expensive and b) I made a batch of my red sauce for him. I think it’s safe to say he likes red sauce now, as we eat it at least twice a week. 

Sauce

-One jar of Heinz tomato paste (3 LE here, or 50 cents.) We keep a nice stockpile in the kitchen at all times.

-After emptying tomato paste into heating pot, fill jar with water, replace lid and shake until all paste is off the inside of jar. Add water to pot. 

-pepper, salt, curry, cinnamon

-One cup of shredded cheese

-1 tablespoon of honey

-One diced onion

-3 kofta logs. (I don’t really know what to call these, but we buy frozen kofta here that kind of look like little sausages. We get rice kofta, which is compacted, flavored rice that sorts of has a meat taste to it, but serves as a nice sauce filler.) Sautee until they are no longer frozen and slightly hard on the edges. Cut up and put into pot with sauce.

-1/4-1/2 cup of flour, depending on how thick you want the sauce. 

-1/4 cup of sugar

-1/2 cup of butter

Heat until cheese and butter are melted and everything is nicely stirred in and heated up. Pour over whatever noodles you want and devour. 

Garlic Bread:

I melted butter in a pot and added in sprinkles of garlic and salt. Spread over pieces of bread, add shredded cheese and put in oven for 5 minutes. 

Noodles:

We make our noodles a little fancy here in Cairo (maybe. also they just taste really good this way.) Boil water, add whatever pasta you want, let cook. Pour off extra water and keep over heat. Crack and egg and mix into noodles, letting it cook on top of them. Make sure to stir! Add in 1/4 cup butter and a few shakes of garlic and pepper. Stir! This way, the noodles already have nice flavor before adding sauce, and when you put them in the refrigerator, the noodles don’t dry out as much and taste delicious even cold. 

Lazeez aui! (very tasty!)

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Hearty Tomato Cheese Rice Soup

This was the result of attempting to use up a lot of leftovers we had accumulated. Also a nice way to cope with a freezing apartment.*

Ingredients:

-Pack of tomato noodle soup from Carrefour. Costs about 3 LE, or 50 cents.

-Half an onion

-1/4 cup of feta cheese

-Two cups of white rice

-Good shakes of pepper, salt, curry

-15 seconds worth of honey drizzle

Make soup first, then add all ingredients. The amount of water you add to the soup and the amount of feta cheese can make it thicker or thinner. However you like it, this soup will warm you up nicely and as Brandan would say, makes you feel delicious. 

*While most may think that Cairo is always desert hot, the winter can actually get pretty cold. And we are experiencing one of the coldest winters in a long time this year. Additionally, none of the buildings are insulated here, and so if it is 50 degrees outside, it is 50 degrees in the apartment. We had been (barely) surviving this cold with tons of blankets and warm foods/drinks, but actually discovered this week that our air conditioner functions as a heater too! just turn it to “sun” mode and we can heat up the apartment a bit. Hurray for less frozen toes!

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Roasted Tomatoes with Feta

I don’t really like tomatoes, but when I saw these beautiful red tomatoes at the fruit/veggie stand near the apartment, I immediately had to have them. This went along with the feta cheese that sat in the fridge for a few days. Saw it in the store, thought of a million uses for it, and then never wanted it again. But hurrah! I now had two “spur of the moment craving” foods and a way to combine them: put one on top of the other. Add curry. Always a wise decision to add curry. 

-Slice tomatoes and put them in a pan, either greased or preferably with just foil. Sprinkle olive oil, salt, pepper, curry, a bit of cinnamon and some honey on top of tomatoes. 

-Add a dollop of feta to each tomato slice.

-Sprinkle a bit more of each spice on top of the feta.

-Roast for about 15 minutes. Again, I don’t really know what temperature, seeing as our oven doesn’t really let us in on that information. Roast until the kitchen smells like pepper and curry and all things good. 

-Eat  alone or with white rice on the side. OR, eat the next day, chilled and with some lemonade. 

This was a delicious way to eat a food I never want, but after how tasty this was, I may become a tomato enthusiast (in a way that does not involve pizza or pasta sauce.) Stay tuned!


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Brandan’s Barbecue Rice

(with Spicy Chicken and Mashed Potatoes and Brown Gravy)

We ordered KFC the other night and Brandan got (for the first time) their BBQ Rizzo Rice, which is essentially rice with barbecue sauce in it along with spicy chicken. It was delicious! So we decided to recreate this at our own apartment. 

-Started off by making white rice. This has recently been perfected (for the most part) at the apartment, having discovered that the ratio is two cups of water for every one cup of rice. Remove from the heat early enough to let steam with a lid on! Add in a bit of butter and salt too to make it not so sticky and to add a bit of flavor.

-Add your favorite BBQ sauce directly into the pot with the white rice. We used up the last bit of KC Masterpiece Honey BBQ, and supplemented the rest with a packet of McDonald’s McNugget BBQ sauce, haha. So classy. This hint of barbecue sauce in with the plain white rice is so delicious…one might say it’s subtle and surprising. 

-The rest of the meal was comprised of frozen spicy chicken strips bought from Carrefour. These things have kick to them!

-We also made instant mashed potatoes (somewhat of a staple around here) and added McCormick’s brown gravy on top. This is another item we have regularly delivered from Mariam market, the store that specializes in imported foods. 

-Add jalepenos to the top of your serving of BBQ rice and feel free to dunk spicy chicken into mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes into rice and jalepenos into everything. You will burn you mouth and clear your sinuses. 

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Baked Strawberry Apple Oatmeal

I have recently become a regular reader of hellogiggles.com and came across their recipe for “baked oatmeal.” I decided to give it a twirl, and add in my own flavor (literally.)

-We luckily had plain oats in the apartment due to Brandan’s craving for oatmeal a few trips to Carrefour ago. Luckily, that craving subsided and we hadn’t made any oatmeal, thus had enough for today’s baking endeavor. 

-Combine in a bowl: oats, milk, two eggs, flour, sugar, cinnamon, honey and strawberry yogurt. Mix.

-In a baking pan (greased! i always forget) lay out some strawberries (see picture.) We had to finish our beautiful strawberries today before they went bad, and this was the perfect chance. Make a pretty design!

-Pour in oatmeal mix on top. 

-Cut up an apple (or whatever fruit you want…banana, orange, etc.) and make a pretty pattern on top with it. 

-Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.

-Bake for 30 minutes or so on about 350 Fahrenheit. (I am guessing this because I still haven’t figured out the temperature on our oven. It’s not really in celsius and it’s not in Fahrenheit. 

-When all is said, done and baked, you will have lovely fruit infused baked oatmeal. Eat it hot and/or put it in the fridge to eat later. It will harden up a bit and be like a tasty homemade granola bar. 

-Add Dunkin Donuts Peppermint Mocha coffee to this and I hada perfect midday snack. 

Here is the HelloGiggles recipe:

http://hellogiggles.com/baked-oatmeal?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=baked-oatmeal&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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Egyptian Lemonade

Brandan has an issue with drinking water. As in, he doesn’t do it. This is a nice way to try and get him to hydrate himself, and drink something really tasty at the same time.

We got this recipe from our friend Nate, and it’s an excellent way to use the creepy little lemons produced here in Egypt. You see, the average size of a lemon here is equivalent to a golf ball. And they’re green. But man are they juicy. You can buy a bag of 20 or so lemons for about 3 LE, or 50 cents. 

We even bought a fancy drink set from Carrefour during their OMG SUPER MEGA AMAZING CRAZY CRAZY 9TH ANNIVERSARY SALE. It came with an adorable pitcher and matching adorable daisy cups. The extra cups are perfect for when we have company soon (my mom, then Brandan’s grandparents and dad) and we cannot subsist on the four cups we have at the apartment now. 

-Cut 10 lemons in half. Place a strainer over a glass and squeeze lemons onto strainer, letting juice drip into glass. For a little over a 1 liter of lemonade to be made, you probably want around a quarter cup of pure lemon juice. 

-Pour lemon juice into a pitcher.

-Add 1 Liter of cold water.

-Add about 8 tablespoons of sugar

-Drink, test, add more sugar, lemon juice or water. Each time we make this it’s a little different and we add a little more of everything until it’s just right. Perfect lemonade is an art, and thanks to the endless supply of cheap, tiny, creepy Egyptian lemons, we have time and lemons enough to work on finding the right ratios. And we now have really cute cups and a matching pitcher, so in the end it’s all good. 

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Heavenly Lemony Chocolatey Strawberalies

(strawberry needed an L to make it fit in with the rest of the words.)

After purchasing an amazing batch of strawberries (see previous post) from the veggie/fruit stand, and having our usual craving for chocolate with every meal, it was a no brainer to make chocolate covered strawberries. And then make them tastier by adding lemon juice on top!

-Washed strawberries really well. We were told we would have to bleach non-store bought produce here, but it seems that just washing really well and cleaning off with a towel works. 

-In a small pan, heated one tablespoon of leftover Betty Crocker white cake frosting, a dash of date milk* and half a cup of Hershey’s chocolate chips.

-Let melt in pan and then cool to harden up a bit.

-Made sure to dry off strawberries really well (a suggestion from Brandan after my over-zealous dipping failed because the strawberry was still quite wet.) Dipped, twirled and drunked strawberries into chocolate mixture.

-Put in freezer, let chocolate harden.

-Took out of freezer and Brandan had the idea to sprinkle lemon juice on top….I was wary but it was DELICIOUS. “So refreshing,” I repeated. Over and over, after each bite. 

*Date milk is in fact made of dates. It sounded absolutely disgusting at first, but looked almost appetizing at the same time because it is the same color as chocolate milk. It has a mocha-chocolate taste to it and goes well with Hershey’s syrup and mixing it with regular whole cream milk in a frosty mug. And for some sweetening/baking needs. 

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The Best Strawberries on the Planet

I bought half a kilo of these beautiful strawberries at the fruit/veggie stand outside the apartment and I can’t get over how red they are. And they even smell more strawberry-y than strawberries at home. And did I mention that they’re beautiful? And very, very tasty. 

Possible uses for strawberries that will be attempted in the future:

-strawberry lemonade

-strawberry infused (haha a cooking term!) cake and/or frosting

-as a base for all kinds of chocolate