Gourmet Menu #1
"Cuisine of the Continents"
First stop: The Middle East, North Africa & India
Ali Nazik Kebabi – Eggplant Puree
Brush a baking pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice the eggplant in half, the long way, and place it, cut side down, on the oiled baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until soft.
Cut the eggplant, including the skin, into small pieces, and place in a blender. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and garlic. Blend until smooth.
Add the yogurt, cream cheese, and bread crumbs. Blend again, and add salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with pita chips.
Raita (Indian Yogurt Sauce)
Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate. Let flavor marry for at least 4 hours before serving. Can be prepared ahead and stored up to two days in a covered dish in the refrigerator.
Serve with toasted pita triangles.
Stir together oil & paprika. Brush rough sides of pita breads with paprika oil. Season with salt. Cut each pita round in 8 triangles or wedges. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. May be made 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
Tiny Rib Lamb Chops with Minted Vinegar Dipping Sauce
For the dipping sauce
Make the dipping sauce:
In a small saucepan combine the vinegar and the sugar and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the mint and let the sauce cool. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and transfer it to a small bowl.
Pat the chops dry, rub them with the cut sides of the garlic, and sprinkle both sides of the chops with the thyme and the white pepper. Grill the chops in a well-oiled ridged grill pan over moderately high heat for 1 minutes to 1 1/2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops, on each side for rare meat. (Alternatively, the chops may be broiled under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes on each side for rare meat.) Serve the chops with the dipping sauce.
African Peanut Soup
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
In a saucepan heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste, peanut butter, cayenne, and 1/2 cup broth and stir until smooth. Stir in remaining broth and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Simmer soup, uncovered, 10 minutes, or until oil floats to the surface, and skim oil.
Serve with a pita triangle crumbled on top (reserve 8 triangles from hors d’oeuvres for use in soup)
Tagine of Chicken Smothered in a Cracked Green Olive Sauce
To prepare chicken: Clean and remove fat from chicken pieces. Rinse chicken under cold water. Drain on paper towels. Mix 4 cloves crushed garlic with 2 tablespoons salt in a small bowl. Rub garlic salt mixture all over chicken and let chicken stand for 10 minutes. Rinse chicken and drain well. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in Dutch oven or large stockpot (with lid) over medium heat. Cook onions 3 minutes in oil. Add spices: ginger, pepper, turmeric, paprika, cumin and chopped garlic. Cook gently until aroma is released (about 5 minutes). Place prepared chicken in the pot. Add cilantro and parsley. Add water (as little as necessary), bring to boil then turn down to simmer. Cover and stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, place olives in small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain. Add olives to chicken. After chicken has been simmering for 30 minutes, add lemon juice. Stir. Continue cooking chicken until tender (about another 30 minutes) and sauce thickens slightly.
Transfer chicken to large platter, spoon olives and sauce over chicken to serve. Serve with Moroccan vegetables and cous cous.
Moroccan Spiced Vegetables
Melt butter in large skillet (with lid). Add cinnamon, turmeric and cayenne. Cook for 3-5 minutes until spices release aroma. Add vegetable chunks and onions. Stir well. Sauté for several minutes until vegetables are coated with butter. Add parsley, cilantro, raisins, and tomato. Add water (just enough to cover vegetables), cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 45 minutes). Add chickpeas to pot. Remove 2 cups of vegetable broth from pot, reserve for cous cous preparation. Serve warm over cous cous, see below.
Buy 1 10 oz box plain cous cous. If unable to find "plain", buy seasoned but eliminate "seasoning packet" when preparing.
Prepare plain cous cous according to package directions using vegetable broth (above).
Kheer(Indian Rice Pudding)
Soak rice in water (enough to cover rice) for 1 hour. While rice is soaking, crush rice with hands. Rinse and drain rice. Boil milk in saucepan. Add rice. Simmer on low heat for approximately 20-30 minutes until fairly thick. Stir occasionally. Add condensed milk, stir and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add sugar, raisins, chopped pistachios. Cover and cool. Stir in cardamom. Refrigerate. Serve in individual dessert dishes sprinkled with crushed pistachios.
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