Roasted Squash Soup with Garam Masala, Yogurt and Lime

3359425002_501c6b5dc6_z

Indian flavors meet creamy classic butternut squash soup. The yogurt and lime add an unexpected tang to the silky soup. Make this vegetarian dish vegan by replacing the butter with an oil of your choosing and swapping or omitting the yogurt.

Ingredients
2 TBSP. unsalted butter
1 tsp C&C Garam Masala
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
5 cups vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
1 finely chopped apple
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup thick whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greek
2 tsp minced garlic
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tps Lime juice + more for garnish

Directions
In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. When hot, add the onions, apple, celery, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and the C&C Garam Masala.

Add the butternut squash and broth, stir well, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, 7 to 20 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and let the soup cool for 5 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (fill the jar no more than half full and vent the lid, topping it with a folded kitchen towel to prevent hot splashes). Return the soup into the pan.

Add and stir in the yogurt and 1/2 tsp. of the lime juice. Season the soup again with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with 1 to 2 tsp. chopped cilantro and a few drops more lime juice

Grilled Naan Bread

c6c6d883-9888-4c57-87f2-386c916fc5eb

I, for one, don’t have a tandoor oven in my kitchen, but these work great on a grill pan heated on the stove or on your BBQ grill!

Ingredients
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp C&C Nigella Seeds
3 TBSP milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg beaten
2 tsp salt

Directions
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

Punch down dough, and knead in C&C Nigella Seeds. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.

At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Sweet Potato Soup with Feta and Za’atar

14763854597_8a99257e88_z

Sweet Potato Soup with Feta and Za’atar

Ingredients
3 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP C&C Za’atar
1 TBSP butter
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
4 cups water (more if you prefer a thinner soup)
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
1/4 cup feta cheese

Directions
In a small bowl, combine olive oil and C&C Za’atar and allow to sit for 1-2 hours to infuse at room temperature.

In a large pot, heat the butter over medium high heat. When melted, add the onion and carrot, and cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the sweet potato cubes and sauté for another minute. Add the water, stock, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Once the soup begins to boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Check to make sure the sweet potatoes are completely soft. If not, continue cooking until they are.

Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup using a regular or immersion blender. Check the seasoning and add the salt. Ladle out the soup into individual bowls. Crumble some feta into each bowl, and drizzle each bowl with some of the za’atar and oil.

Syrian Baharat Burgers

Screen Shot

Syrian Baharat Burgers

Baharat means spices in Arabic, and this wonderfully complex blend has a unique balance of spicy flavours. Use it to add spice and a little heat to ground meat dishes, couscous, vegetables & vegetable stuffing, stews and tagines.

Ingredients
1lb mixture of medium ground beef and ground pork
1 egg
1 tsp mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1 TBSP Syrian Baharat
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions
Lightly oil grill and heat BBQ to medium.

Whisk egg in a bowl and mustard, garlic, Baharat and salt. Crumble in beef using your hands or a fork to gently mix together. Handle the meat as little as possible – the more you work it, the tougher it gets.

Gently shape (don’t firmly press) mixture into burgers about ¾ inch thick. Using your thumb, make a shallow depression in the centre of each burger. Grill burgers, turning once, about 6 – 8 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 160F. Serve on a warm crusty bun & add your favourite toppings.

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Screen Shot

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Aleppo chili pepper comes to us from near the Syrian town of Aleppo, which is considered one of the culinary meccas of the Mediterranean. It has a moderate heat level with some fruitiness and mild, cumin-like undertones, with a hint of a vinegar, salty taste. Use it for authentic chili flavor in any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dish.

Ingredients
1 seedless cucumber, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 a lemon, juiced
4 TBSP olive oil
2 tsp Aleppo pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions
Add cucumber, bell pepper and parsley to a bowl, mix.

In a separate bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil and Aleppo pepper. Pour dressing mixture over vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can make up to 2 hours ahead of time, simply cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Baklava

Baklava

Baklava
A Greek favorite that makes everyone think you are a master chef and is so easy to make!

Ingredients
1 package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped nuts
1 cup butter, melted
1 TBSP C&C Baklava Blend or C&C Ice Cream Spices
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup honey

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush melted butter on the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.

Chop nuts and toss with C&C Baklava Blend. Set aside.

Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 1/4 of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 – 8 sheets deep.

Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. This is much easier to do before the phyllo is cooked. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Leave uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Greek Island Chicken Souvlaki

8776842056_a6ee065079_z

Greek Island Chicken Souvlaki

Traditional Souvlaki skewers are typically all meat, but this version makes for a nice change! Excellent served with pita bread, a garlicky tzatziki, and a Greek salad. Lamb or pork can be substituted for the chicken or omit meat all together. Many variations on vegetables can be used.

Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white vinegar or lemon juice
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 TBSP C&C Kebab Spice
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 large bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large red onion, quartered and separated into pieces
1 zucchini cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
12 cherry tomatoes
12 fresh button mushrooms

Directions
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and C&C Kebab Spice together in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the chicken and toss to evenly coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap; marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. For best flavour marinate overnight.

If you are using wooden skewers, soak for 30 minutes in water.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard excess liquid. Alternately thread pieces of the marinated chicken with bell pepper, onion, zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms onto the skewers.

Cook the skewers on BBQ grill preheated over medium high heat. Turn frequently until nicely browned on all sides, and the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes.