Round Pistachio Baklava

Recipes in this PostRound Pistachio Baklava

A Little History of Round Pistachio Baklava

When I was a little girl, my mother brought me a special dessert.  It was baklava, and I loved it. It wasn’t until I was a lot older and moved to a community that had a large Armenian population that I learned that there were a lot of varieties of the venerable dessert. The history of this pastry is long and contested – some say it originated in Ancient Rome citing a recipe from Cato the Elder in 160 BC, some say the Romans stole the recipe from the Greeks, and Byzantine Turks say it was already theirs – Wikipedia Baklava.

I had no idea how the dessert was made, and when I found out it was made with Filo dough, I thought it being so gossamer that I would never be able to handle it. Of course, I was also convinced that I was unable to make decent rice, and frying completely perplexed me.

I have lately been watching YouTube and found the Heghineh Cooking Show. She demonstrates all kinds of good Armenian food, and one day, it was a round baklava with pistachios.  The way she did it, and explained it, I thought, you know what, I can do that!  I have already conquered rice and mastered frying, so why not Filo, too?  I decided to make it for a small dinner party because I was getting kind of tired of cakes or fruit.

Round Pistachio Baklava

Completed Baklava Taste Test

Working with Filo

If you have already worked with filo dough, then this recipe should be a breeze for you.  If not, and you need to see the method of making these luscious pastries, then head on over to the YouTube video by Heghineh. Please note that you will probably not use the entire roll of dough, some might stick together too much, or get too torn to work with.  I would say I lost about 6 sheets.

There are a couple of things I did differently.  I used Cortas Rose Syrup that I buy at Armenian stores or at Amazon (it makes a fine cocktail with vodka over ice), and I used True Orange that you can also get at Amazon.  I also messed up with the first baklava and forgot to squeeze them together, so I ate those.
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Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Recipes in this PostMeatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

One of my favorite things is to go to Porto’s in Glendale and get Papas Rellenas (Cuban Potato Balls).  They are very tasty, and make for a quick bite.  One day, I had left over meatloaf, and left over mashed potatoes, so I decided to try my hand at making them.  It’s pretty simple, and a good way to use up your left overs.  You could use other stuffing, I just happen to really like my Three Pepper Spicy Meatloaf.

A few words about mashed potatoes

Please use real ones, not the ones in the box, or the ones that are already made. Take a little time to make mashed potatoes.  I usually use one medium sized potato per person, unless I want extra for something like this, and then I add an extra potato. For this recipe, you will need to peel the potatoes. Unpeeled potatoes are great, but the peels would get in the way when trying to keep the shaped correctly.  I cut my potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters.  I keep the cut, peeled potatoes in cold water until they have all been prepped, this keeps them from turning brown.  Rinse the potatoes and put them in clean, salted water. Always use a good amount of salt in the water, about a half a teaspoon per potato. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Check the potatoes at about 15 minutes.  They are done when you can easily stick a fork or tip of a knife in them.  Don’t let them get over cooked, or you will have a soggy mess. Drain them in a sturdy colander immediately so they will stop cooking.  I like to add butter at this point, and mash them with a masher so the butter really gets in there, then I add milk and depending on how fluffy I want them, I either whip them by hand, or use a hand mixer.

Meatloaf – It’s all up to you!

To make this you will need about 2 cups of left over mashed and a few slices of left over meatloaf.  You can use your favorite meatloaf recipe, you are not tied to mine. You can even use – gads! – store bought meatloaf if you like it.

The Dragon Sauce

You don’t have to have a dip for these, they’re good plain.  But, if you like a extra zip, please try this Dragon Sauce. If you don’t like spicy foods, then you could always use Ranch or onion dip if you wanted.  This is one of those recipes that’s really up to you.  Use what you enjoy!

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Strawberry Balsamic Pie

Recipes in this Post Strawberry Balsamic Pie

So, I asked my son if he wanted strawberries because they are in season and on sale at the supermarket. He said no, we don’t eat them fast enough, and they go bad. I told him I would make some kind of dessert, and bought not one, but two containers of lovely red, ripe strawberries.

When you are going to buy strawberries, check them carefully. Thoroughly look them over, especially on the bottom, where an errant bruised one is oozing fluid and making the others near it go bad. Also check that their top part of the fruit is red, not pale green. If it’s pale green, the fruit is not ripe and will be tasteless.

After you get your berries home, unless you intend to eat them immediately, just put them in the refrigerator. Do not wash them! When you wash them, they will go bad quickly. If you must wash them, then let them dry in a single layer on a paper towel on a sheet pan, before putting them in the refrigerator.

You will enjoy this pie. You can buy a pre-made graham cracker crust, or you can make one yourself. I have a container of graham crumbs, so I make mine. I will put the recipe for the graham crust in as well.

Strawberry Balsamic Pie

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Serving Size: 1 slice

Calories per serving: 372

Fat per serving: 16 g

Saturated fat per serving: 7 g

Carbs per serving: 53 g

Protein per serving: 5 g

Fiber per serving: 2 g

Sugar per serving: 43 g

Sodium per serving: 217 mg

Trans fat per serving: 0 g

Cholesterol per serving: 37 g

Nothing like fresh strawberries with sweet balsamic vinegar to bring out their bright flavor. This makes a great summer pie. If you don't feel like turning on your oven, use a pre-made graham cracker crust.

Ingredients

For the Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1/4 cup sugar
For the Filling
1 can (10 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
4 cups Strawberries sliced
For the Topping
1 cup Whipping cream
2 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare the pie crust by combining all the crust ingredients together, then turning them into a pie plate. Use the back of a measuring cup, or a glass to flatten and evenly distribute the crust. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, remove and set aside to cool completely.
    To make the filling, combine the lemon juice, vinegar and condensed milk, stir til thickened, a few minutes. Put the strawberries in with the milk mixture and toss completely. Fold that into the pie shell.
    Refrigerate at least one hour. Put the bowl you are going to make the whipped cream in the refrigerator at the same time.
    To make the topping, have ready a chilled bowl. Put the cream in the bowl and start beating it. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
    Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie and serve immediately. Refrigerate left overs, if you are lucky enough to have any.

Notes

Make sure the berries are completely dry when doing this. You can either slice or half the berries, depending on their size.

http://the-good-plate.com/2017/08/strawberry-balsamic-pie/
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Apple Yogurt Raisin Bread

Apple Yogurt Raisin Bread
Recipes in this Post

I used to make bread every week for my roommate who didn’t think a meal was complete without bread. I haven’t been making bread lately, but I have been making pizza dough and Calzone. Now that I have a working Kitchen Aid Classic stand mixer, I can make as much bread as I like.

I don’t usually do things that are complicated, and when I started making this bread, I thought it would be complicated, but, in truth, it wasn’t. If this is your first time making bread, you might be intimidated by this, but trust me, it’s going to be okay.

Apple Raisin Bread YouTube Video


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