Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tasty Baked Kibbe (Kobeiba Shamy)

This is one my favorite dishes that Gedo makes. There are probably endless variations to this dish, but I love this version. Not only is it great the day you make, the leftovers freeze really well. We enjoy eating the kibbe with a little yogurt dip and hummus. It is great as a lunch leftover since it can be served at room temperature.

This dish is also very healthy because the burgul wheat is high in fiber, it is baked so it is low in fat. It is also very economical because the wheat helps to stretch the meat.

In Egypt, this dish is called Kobeiba Shamy. It is named after an ethnic population in Egypt, the Shamy people, who originated in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The Shamy people are famous for their delicious dishes, which are distinct in style and flavor from other Egyptian foods.

Now Gedo is actually from Jordan, so his style of making this dish is very authentic.

The crust layers
  • 1 lb of ground lean ground beef
  • 2 cups of burghul #2 (Bulgur wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp of allspice
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
The meat filling
  • 2 lbs coarsely chopped lean beef
  • 2-3 medium size onions
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp of black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp of allspice
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • two 9 x 12 baking dishes
  1. Rinse and soak the burgul wheat for about 30 minutes in lukewarm water. I like to use the #2 burgul because it is coarse giving the dish a nice texture. Gedo uses the finer burgul. This is just a matter of preference.
  2. Trim and coarsely chop the lean beef. Set the beef on a paper towel which will help to soak any liquid from the beef. This will ensure that the beef brown nicely, rather than be steamed in its own juices. Set the meat aside. If you are short on time, you can substitute this ingredient with ground beef.
  3. Coarsely chop the onions.Clean and trim the parsley.
  4. Coarsely chop the parsley.
  5. Finely chop the garlic.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  7. Using a large sauce pan, heat it on medium high. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown the coarsely chopped beef.
  8. Mix in the salt and allspice.
  9. Once the meat is nicely browned, add the chopped onions and garlic. Cook them for a few minutes, until fragrant.
  10. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil into the beef mixture. Mix the parsley in and cook until the parsley is wilted. Remove from the heat and set it aside.
  1. Drain the burgul and place in a large container. Add the ground meat and remaining ingredients for the crust. Now for some fun. You need to thoroughly incorporate the beef with the burgul. This is best done using your hands. Kneed the mixture with your hands until it is completely mixed together. It should have the consistency of dough. Divide the mixture into approximately 4 portions. Two of the portions will be used for the bottom layers and 2 will become the top crust for the dishes.
  2. Drizzle about 2 tbsp of olive oil into each of the 2 baking dishes.Take 1/4 of the crust mixture and press into each of the baking dishes. Use your hands to work the mix into a nice even bottom layer. There should be no gaps in the layer.
  3. Diviide the cook meat mixture between the 2 dishes. Spread it even over the dishes.
  1. For each of the top crust layer, take a small quantity of the mixture and form a flat patty with your hand. Careful place it on top of the other layers. Continue until you have cover the entire dish. You will have small gaps as you cover the layers with the final crust. Repeat this process for the remaining dish.
  2. Fill a small bowl with water and wet your hand. Take your wet hand and careful smooth the top layer of the dish until all the small gaps have been fill in. Do not press hard. It should be a gentle smoothing over. Continue doing this until you have a nice smooth top layer.
  3. Using a sharp knife, first score the dish into 3 lengthwise sections and 4 crosswise sections. When you are satisfied with the size of your sections, Cut the sections all the way through.
  4. Place a few pieces of pine nuts onto each portion. Gently press the nuts in.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes in the oven. You will know that the dish is done when the top becomes a nice golden brown.
  6. Cool for about 10 minutes and serve with yogurt sauce and hummus.
  7. One of the dishes will generously serve 4-6. The other dish can be refrigerated or frozen

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Simple Healthy Baked Falafel - Taameya Siheya

I have always loved falafel, or taameya as they call it in Egypt, but I wanted to find a way to make it without deep frying. Well, the last time I published the Egyptian Falafel Recipe. I had frozen several packages of falafel. So I decided to try baking one of the packages. Let me tell you I could not have been more pleased, not only does it taste the same as fried falafel, it is also much easier to make with much less mess and no frying odor. With this recipe you gain the health benefits of lower fat, the ease of cooking, and you do not give up any taste.

If you notice a similarity between the steps in this recipe and the Egyptian Falafel Recipe, it is no coincidence. I used the same batch to make both the fried recipe and the baked recipe.

Egyptian falafel, or taameya, is different from the garden variety falafel that you usually get in this country. The difference is that the Egyptian variety are made with fava beans instead of chick peas(Garbanzo beans). Fave beans have a much richer flavor and are higher in protein and fiber than chick peas. If you can't find dry fava beans, you can use dry chick peas in the same quantities as this recipe. Falafel and fava bean sandwiches are the original fast food and are available at many corner stands throughout the Middle East. They are a delicious, economical, and extremely healthy main course choice. This dish is an awesome vegetarian treat that will leave you completely satisfied. Serve it with Tahini Bagdoonisya dip, Baba Ghanouj, yogurt sauce, and cut vegetables. My favorite way to enjoy it is on Arabic bread with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and Tahini Bagdoonisya dip'

You can also freeze the uncooked mixture for 6 months and cook it as you need it.

  • 2 cups fava beans, peeled if possible. You can buy this at any Middle Eastern market. If they are not available peeled, you can peel them after soaking, or keep the peel for additional fiber.
  • 1 fresh leek, washed and sliced.
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 bunch of Green Onions (6 stalks)

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayanne pepper, double the quantity for Alexandria style.
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt (can be omitted or reduced for health reasons, it will still taste good)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Directions Prep the Beans:
  1. Wash the beans thoroughly in luke warm water.
  2. Soak the beans in water for at least 2 days, changing the water about 4 times during this period. The first water changing should come when the beans form a foamy froth on the surface. Changing the water will prevent the beans' gassy effect on your GI tract.
  3. Drain the beans when ready to make the paste.

Make the Paste:
  1. Place the parsley, cilantro and garlic in the food processor, chop fine.
  2. Add the green onions and leeks, chop fine.
  3. Remove the vegetable paste from the food processor and set aside. Do not wash the food processor.
  4. Add the beans to the food processor and chop until they reach the consistency of a thick peanut butter.

  5. In a bowl, mix the vegetable paste and chopped beans.
  6. Add the cumin, coriander, cayanne, and salt. If you are going to freeze the mixture, leave out the salt and add it when you are going to cook the falafel.
  7. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Mix the paste thoroughly.
  8. Sprinkle the baking powder over the paste, evenly fold into the paste.
  9. Let stand for at least 1 hour. You can also leave it covered in the fridge over night.
  10. If you want to freeze the mixture
    • Divide into 1 pound (1/2 Kg) portions
    • Place each portion into a plastic freezer bag and flatten to a 2 inch (5 cm) thick patty. Flattening them makes them faster to thaw out later.
    • Remove all air from the bag. I prefer to vacuum seal mine. If you vacuum seal them they will last at least six months in the freezer. I have have used them after 1 year in the freezer with no problem.

Bake the falafel:
  1. Preheat the over to 400oF (204oC).
  2. Brush olive oil onto a non-stick cookie sheet.
  3. Use a small ice cream scoop (1 Tblsp size) or a spoon to form small balls of your paste. Space them evenly across the sheet.
  4. Flatten the balls into disks with a fork. Be sure to pat the sides in smooth so they don't burn.
  5. Brush the top of each patty with olive oil.
  6. Bake at 400oF (204oC) for 10 minutes.
  7. Slowly slide a thin spatula under each patty and flip. This is easier if you take the sheet out of the over first.
  8. Bake at 400oF (204oC) for another 10 minutes.
  9. Serve hot or cold.
I realize that it looks lengthy, but the work portion of it can be done in 45 minutes. You just need to plan ahead for the soak time for the beans and the stand time for the paste. If you freeze this mixture, you can enjoy this tasty treat anytime without too much effort, even on a week night.

Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In 2008 over 40,000 women died of breast cancer, BUT as of 2008 there are over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors (Source).  This proves that with proper education and testing there is hope.

to learn how early detection is the best prevention.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gedo's/Jido's Spinach and Chicken Delight

This a much loved recipe that has been served by Gedo to many friends and over the years has become one of his signature dish.  Not only is it tasty, but it is also extremely healthy.   The combination of chicken and spinach with the zestiness of the lime is a delight to the taste buds.  Add a little red rice or any rice and you are ready for dinner. 


  • 4 pieces of boneless chicken breast (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 medium onion
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 1 lime
  • One 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 20 oz can of chick peas or 1 cup of dried chick peas soaked until soft - about 1 hour)
  • 1 lb of spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp of allspice

  1. When making this dish, I prefer to use the dried chick peas that I soak until they are soft.  This takes about an hour.  I prefer this version of the chick peas because they have not been cooked and  they retain their firm texture which is a nice complement in the dish.  The dish is still great using the can chick peas.  To soak the chick peas, place them in a large bowl and rinse with hot tap water.  Add more hot water and soak.  The chick peas should double in size.
  2. Clean and trim the chicken breast.  Rinse and cut into bit size.
  3. Coarsely chop the 2 onions.
  4. Trim and thoroughly wash the spinach.  There is nothing worse than finding gritty sand from the spinach.  Spin the spinach dry and coarsely chopped it.
  5. Clean and trim the cilantro.  Rinse and dry.  Coarsely chop.
  6. Finely minced the garlic
  7. Peel 4 strips of the rind on the lime.   The best way to do this is to peel the rind lenghtwise on the lime.  What you are trying to do is to only partially peel the lime.  Then cut the lime in half.  Set one half a side for later.  With the other half, chopped it into small chunks.
  8. Heat a large pan on medium heat.  When the bottom of the pan is hot, add the chicken and steam the pieces in its own juice.  Continue cooking until all the juices are absorbed.  It will take about 5-10 minutes.  Keep stirring the chicken during this process.
  9. Once the chicken juices are absorbed, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the chicken until golden brown.  It should take about 3-5 minutes.
  10. Now add the chopped onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook until golden brown and fragrant.  It may be necessary to add more olive oil at this point.
11. Stir in the dice tomatoes and the lime pieces.
12. Drain the chick peas and stir them in.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
13. Stir in the spices.
14. Stir in the spinach and cook on low heat for an additional 20-30 minutes.
15. Just prior to serving, squeeze the juice of the 1/2 remaining lime.
16. Serve over rice.  Generous serving for 4-6.

Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Okra with Lamb Shanks : Moza b'il Bamia

Even though there are many famous Egyptian dishes, this one is truly one of the signature family meals that people really enjoy on a regular basis. The combination of vegetables, meat and tomato sauce served with rice is a recurring theme in Egyptian cuisine. Traditionally the in-season vegetables are used in dishes similar to this one, different types of meat are substituted as well. This particular dish is made with lamb shanks, but  both the meat and vegetable can be substituted based on availability. It is common to make similar dishes with green beans, turnips, peas, cauliflower, or even spinach.  For example, see our Mediterranean Home-Style Chicken which is a very similar dish, but used chicken and green beans.

In preparation for labor day, where I was going to repeat my Spring Grilled Feast; I was preparing a leg of lamb. Lizabetti wanted me to reserve the shank for another dish,  so I cut off the shank and removed the bone from the leg of lamb. We decided to make okra for a change.

We served the dish with saffron rice and a healthy tabouleh as the salad. The tabouleh and okra both have lots of fiber. The dish is loaded with anti-oxidants in the tomato, onion, and garlic. So even though it has some meat it is also very nutritious. I also used some turmeric in the dish for its anti-inflammatory benefits.


  • Lizabetti;s Mediterranean Dry Rub
  • 2 Lamb shanks, about 2 lb's (1 Kilo) total weight before cooking.
  • 1 lb (.5 kilo) of lamb leg meat, cut into cubes. You can use any lamb meat, or  any meat for that matter. There is no rule against using chicken instead.
  • 2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 lb of okra. The smaller okra is better tasting and more tender. We use frozen okra from Market Basket because it is generally higher in quality than we can buy fresh in New England.
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, chopped.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped.
  • 1 Tbsp dry Oregano.
  • 1 Tbsp cumin.
  • 1 Tbsp dry parsley.
  • 1/2 tsp dry coriander.
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric.
  • 1 cup red wine.

  1. Coat the meat with Lizabetti;s Mediterranean Dry Rub. It is best to do this 1 day in advance and keep the meat in the fridge over night. This will allow the flavor to permeate the meat.
  2. Thaw the okra if frozen. Rinse with cold water and drain. You can just pull the okra out about the time you start cooking because it gets added later in the process.
  3. Preheat pan. I used a heavy Croisette pan. If you use one make sure to not exceed 5 out of 10 on your stove temperature setting. If you use a regular pan, use medium-high heat.
  4. Add some olive oil, once the oil is hot add the onions.
  5. Cook the onions until light brown, then add the garlic. Mix in thoroughly.
  6. Once the garlic is light brown, push the mixture aside and add the shanks.

  1. Brown the shanks on all sides.
  2. Mix the onion, garlic and shanks thoroughly.
  3. Add the cubed lamb meat and brown on all sides.
  4. Add the fresh parley and stir in.

  1. Add the dry ingredients, mix in thoroughly.
  2. Add the wine, stir in. Let the wine simmer until it changes to a nice brown color.

  1. Pour in the tomato sauce.
  2. Bring to a simmer, cover and turn down to low heat. If you are using a Croisette pan, set your stove to 2.5 out of 10. Otherwise set your stove to medium-low heat. 
  3. Check periodically to make sure that the mixture is not boiling hard, it should just be simmering. If it is boiling, turn down the heat.
  4. Cook for 1 hour or until the shanks are tender. A fork should penetrate the shank down to the bone without too much resistance. You will know because the bone starts to protrude from the bone as shown below.
  5. Add the okra and mix in.
  6. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the okra is tender, but not mushy.
  7. Serve with white rice or saffron rice. We did it with saffron rice because our daughter loves it so much.

Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, September 5, 2009

You Can Build an Improved Stone Pizza Oven : Stone Pony II

The Stone Pony is the nickname for my beloved home made stone oven. I use this to make anything from pizza to barbecue, including my annual Thanksgiving turkey. I have measured temperatures up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit (390 degrees Celsius) before my oven thermometer self-destructed.

This is a follow up project to You Can Build a Stone Pizza Oven. Which was posted in December of 2007.  Before reading this article you should read You Can Build a Stone Pizza Oven
first. I have since updated that article with pictures of the cement creation process.

The oven is shown below with the electric rotisserie attachments. Also note the added warming rack above the oven. The picture on the right is a roast in cooking in the over in a rotisserie basket. 

I have been using the oven for almost 3 years now and I must say that I am very happy with it. For one thing it cooks food with an absolutely phenomenal flavor. Also, it can be used in any weather and it is very versatile in terms of the foods that can be cooked in it. The following recipes have been made using the Stone Pony for this site.

Anything that you can make on a grill can also be made better using this oven. I regularly make steak, barbecued ribs, and chicken. I usually cook with apple wood because it is a mild smoky taste, also I live in Apple Country.

Like I said before, rocks vary widely in size, so this set of instructions gives you the general idea, but your own creativity is the key to building an oven.

As any technologist would tell you; there is always room for improvement. Rustic stone ovens are no exception. I wanted to increase the capacity of the oven and also be able to cook things at different temperatures simultaneously. The changes to the oven all center around the chimney area:

  1. Increase the size of the Chimney. Even though the diagram does not show it, I also made the chimney taller, as well as wider. 
    1. A taller chimney gives you a greater temperature gradient between the top and the bottom of the oven. This will result in an improved draft. 
    2. An improved draft will add a convection effect which will cook food faster and more evenly.
  2. Take advantage of the increased chimney volume and create a secondary cooking chamber inside the top of the over. 
    1. This gives a good place to cook things that you want to cook with slightly lower heat. 
    2. I use this space for baked potatoes and corn on the cob. The great thing is that these can be cooking at the same time as the main dish in the main cooking chamber.
  3. Take advantage of the increased surface area on top of the chimney to create an external cooking surface.
    1. This is great for things you want to grill slowly on low heat such as sausage, ribs, or natural casing hot dogs
    2. I sometimes use a grill cover on the top if cooking sausage in cold weather to give more even cooking.

The extra cooking space has been great. For example while cooking the Thanksgiving turkey inside the main chamber, I can be making extra wings on top of the Chimney while baking potatoes inside the secondary chamber. Also since I can cook everything at once, I end up using much less wood for cooking.


  1. I removed the old chimney leaving the back of the oven open. You have to be careful to not remove anything structural, but my old chimney was just stuck on to the back of the superstructure.
  2. The second picture below shows you the plan for inserting a grill to create the secondary chamber. I took this pictur while measuring it.

  1. Mix up a batch of fresh mud based cement, see You Can Build a Stone Pizza Oven for illustrated instructions.
  2. Lay down a generous layer on the stone that forms the base for the chimney. 
  3. Spread evenly to a thickness of about 2 inches (5 cm).

  1. Place a layer of carefully selected rocks
  2. Fill the gaps between the from the top with cement. Push the cement in between the rocks.
  3. Cover the rocks with another generous layer of cement.
  4. Keep repeating this process until it is time to add the grill for the secondary cooking chamber.

  1. Now it is time to add the grill, which will be structurally supported by the chimney on 3 sides.
  2. Lay down a generous layer of cement on top of your last layer of rock 
  3. Press the outer end of the grill into the cement. 
  4. Add more cement on the 3 sides of the grill that correspond to the chimney walls.
  5. Add a layer of rocks above the grill.
  6. Continue to build up layers of rocks until you reach the desired height for your chimney. For me this was about 6 feet (~2M)  above the ground. This way I can stand on a large rock when I am cooking on the top.

This is what the finished chimney looks like with and without a top grill.   

Now that I have  near perfect stone oven, I would really like to start from scratch and build a really great one. For example I would point the firebox in a different direction from the cooking chamber. I would also make a larger cooking chamber. Of course any change would force me to re-design the electric rotisserie that built for this oven.

Again, this is only a rough guideline. I encourage you to use these ideas, but you will have to solve many problems yourself, depending on the type of material you have in your area. For example, in Morocco they build ovens completely out of mud. They are able to cook an entire lamb in such an oven.

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Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Savory Roast Chicken

My kids love chicken, especially roast chicken.  This a simple and yet easy recipe.  We used a large roasting chicken which weighed about 8 pounds which will give you a nice meal with leftovers for sandwiches or salads.  Also, it can be a great alternative for a small Thanksgiving- a huge feast for two.  To make it extra special, we stuffed the bird with a savory sausage and Lizabetti's bread crumb stuffing.  It was absolutely delicious.  All you need to complete the meal is a vegetable and a side of rice or potatoes. 


  • 1 roasting chicken, about 8-10 lbs.
  • 2 tbsp of sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of dried, minced oregano
  • 2 tbsp of minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • Lizabetti's sausage stuffing
  • 1 portabello mushroom, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  1. Trim the chicken, if necessary.  I like to trim some of the fat around the neck and cavity opening.  I also give the bird a rinse and pat it dry.
  2. Gently, pry the skin on the breast loose.  You don't have to loosen the whole thing, just enough to get some of the seasoning mix between the meat and skin.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together.   I like to use a whisk.
  4. Sprinkle the mix all over the chicken.  Make sure you coat the inside cavity of the bird.
  5. Coat the area between the breast and skin with the dry mix.
  6. Coat the inside cavity as well as the section between the skin and the breast meat with the fresh minced garlic.
  7. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken which will help the seasoning to adhere to the chicken.
  8. Cover the chicken with plastic or foil and let it marinade overnight or for a few hours in the refrigerator.  Make sure take the chicken out about an hour before you are going to start roasting it.  Its best if the chicken is not ice cold.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  10. Soak about 2 feet of cooking twine in warm water.
  11. Place the sliced portabello and onion on the roasting rack and set the bird on top of the mixture.
  12. Stuff the bird with the stuffing.  I find that you need to really stuff the cavity tightly.  It might look small, but you will be surprised as to how much stuffing you can get into the chicken.  Just keep pressing and adding the stuffing, until the entire cavity is tightly stuffed.  I know that there are many camps on whether to cook the stuffing in the bird or not.  For this recipe, I like the stuffing cooked in the chicken.
  13. In order to keep the stuffing in the bird, I use a big sewing needle and the twine to "sew" the cavity shut.  You may not be able to get the opening completely closed, but just having a bit of twine across the opening will help to keep the stuffing from completely falling out.  Wrap some of the twine around the drumsticks and trim the twine.
  14. Take the 2 tbsp of butter and slather them between the breast meat and the skin.
  15. Roast the bird at 400 F for about 30 minutes.  Then turn the temperature down to 375 F and continue to roast for another 2.5 to 3 hours.
  16. Let the bird rest for about 15 minutes and then its ready to be carved.  
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tasty Mediterranean Meat Pies - Fiteer Bil Lahma

These meat pies have a great Middle-Eastern flavor and are pretty easy to make. They make a great school day lunch or a perfect party hors h'oeuvres. They don't need to be served hot and can be made in a variety of sizes.
They freeze well and will easily last 6 months in the freezer.

I like to make them with lean ground lamb, but you can also make them with a mixture of lamb and beef. I just feel that lamb gives a more authentic flavor, but a little lamb goes a long way in taste, so go ahead and mix in other meats. No reason that you cannot substitute chicken or turkey for that matter.

These pies can be eaten warm or at room temperature. The meat mixture in recipe is very tasty and can also be served over rice or pasta. It also works as a vegetable stuffing. One time I even ate the stuffing in a sandwitch

  • 1/4 Cup Lizabetti's Mediterranean Dry Rub
  • 1/2 Lb. Ground lamb
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Small Can of Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese - Not a traditional ingredient, but it helps seal in the juices. You can omit this to reduce fat.
  • 1 lb ball of pizza dough or bread dough. You can make your own dough, my local pizza parlor sells gread dough balls that I use for all kinds of dishes.
  • 1/4 Cup of Sesame Seed. Substitute flax seeds for a boost of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • 1 Tbsp Milk. Use any type you have, this is just to hold the sesame seeds to the pies.

Meat Mixture:
  1. Pre-Heat a fry pan to medium high and then add the olive oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook until the onions are clear then push them to one side of the pan.
  3. Add the meat to the empty side of the pan and spread it out. Do not mix the meat with the onions at this time.
  4. Brown the meat to a light tan color.
  5. Mix the garlic into the onions.
  6. Add the dry rub mixture to the meat and work it in.
  7. Add the onion/garlic mixture to the meat and stir.
  8. Stir in the pine nuts.
  9. Stir in the tomato paste. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 2 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat and transfer the meat to a mixing bowl.
  11. Mix in the cheese. Let the mixture cool. Meanwhile you can work the dough.

Build the Pies:
    1. Punch down the dough and roll out with a rolling pin. Roll it into a large rectangle.
    2. Place small piles of the meat mixture along the edge of the dough about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
    3. Use a basting brush to moisten the dough just beyond the piles of meat.
    4. Roll the edge of the dough over the meat piles
    5. Cut the rolled portion of the dough off from the rest of the dough.
    6. Cut the individual pies, use a fork to press down all the edges.
    7. Repeat this process until you use up the dough or the meat mixture.
    8. Poke each of the pies with a toothpick at least 5 times. It is important that you do this or the pies will explode in the oven.
    9. Coat a cookie sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.
    10. Place the pies on the cookie sheet.
    11. Brush the milk on the pies and quickly sprinkle with sesame seeds before the milk soaks in.
    12. Bake on 375 for 30 minutes or until the pies are a golden brown.
    13. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spicy and Heart Healthy Fish Taco

This is a quick and nutritious meal that can be prepared in a jiffy. The fish can be ready in less than 15 minutes. The condiments take a little more time. I think that it is worth the time to make the salsa and guacamole to go with this dish.

This dish also gives you a great way to rotate fish into your diet. Because it is a spicy dish, you can use a fairly low cost fish. We use Pollock because it is a tasty white fish that happens to be very economical right now.

For a healthy meat version of this dish try my Heart Healthy Meat Taco .

  • 4-6 oz of white firm fish such as haddock, cod or pollock
  • taco seasoning either store bought or home mix
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp of finely minced garlic
  • salt/pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of finely ground cornmeal
  • finely chopped lettuce
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • soft taco shells
  • Lizabetti's Spicy Chunky Salsa
  • Lizabetti's Zesty Guacamole


  1. Rinse the fish in cold water. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. It is really important to pat the fish dry or it will stick to the pan when you are cooking.
  2. Cut the fish into serving portions of about the size of your palm
  3. Salt and pepper the fish.
  4. Coat the fish with the minced garlic.
  5. Sprinkle the fish with the taco seasoning. Be generous with the seasoning.
  6. For an extra kick, sprinkle cayenne pepper on the fish.
  7. Drizzle olive oil on the fish. This will help the seasoning to adhere to the fish. Set the fish aside.
  8. Prepare the salsa and guacamole.
  9. Just before you are ready to cook the fish, lightly coat the pieces with cornmeal. Use a small strainer which will help to evenly distribute the cornmeal. The cornmeal will give the fish a nice crunch.
  10. Using a nonstick frying pan, coat the bottom with olive oil and heat on medium.
  11. Saute the first side of the fish for about 2 minutes. When the sides begin to turn opaque, its time to flip the fish.
  12. Cook the second another 2 minutes or so.
  13. To heat the tortilla, place them in a warm skillet for a few minutes. Warm one side, then flip and warm the other side.
  14. Serve with all your favorite taco toppings, salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce and cheese.
  15. Just before serving squeeze some lime juice onto the fish.

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Zesty Guacamole

Guacamole is an amazingly easy side dish to make yet it adds a hearty authentic texture to Mexican food. Avocados have a buttery flavor that makes for a great chip dip, or as a condiment on tacos or enchiladas.

Unlike bean dip, which can be bought in a store with high quality, guacamole really needs to be freshly made. Never fear though, as long as you can find a ripe avocado, this dish only takes 5 minutes to make.

  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 Plum Tomato, diced.
  • 1/4 Medium Spanish Onion, chopped.
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper (Adjust to Taste).
  • 1 Large Lime, or 2 Key Limes.


  1. If the Avocado is not fully ripe, dice it into small cubes.
  2. Add the spices and squeeze the lime onto the Avocado
  3. Mash thoroughly with a fork.
  4. Mix in the onions and tomatos. You can skip this step if you are using this dish as a condiment for Tacos since you will be adding other stuff to it.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips and Salsa.

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Copyright © 2007, 2008, All Rights Reserved