Sunday, February 2, 2014


Today is a lot of things. First, today is the Superbowl, the championship football game between the winners of the AFC and the NFC conferences.  This year, it is between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.  I personally don’t have any huge preference either way. I think my husband is leaning towards the Seahawks, but a lot of people in Indiana are rooting for Denver just because Peyton Manning is on the team.  My prediction is that the team with the most points at the end of the game will win.  Today is also Groundhog’s Day.  It’s a weird holiday, where in the state of Pennsylvania, they have a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil.  If he comes out of his hole and it’s cloudy, then spring will come early.  If he emerges on a sunny day and sees his shadow, then he’ll climb back in his hole, and there will be six more weeks of winter. Apparently, we’re getting more winter. Yeah. Whoop. Dee. Doo. 

Sorry New York, these are better than bagels. I can't wait to have one for breakfast. 
But in an effort to not think about that, I’m cooking food from Egypt, a warm weather country. The first thing I’m starting on is the bread – for this, I chose semit.  It’s like a bread ring topped with sesame seeds. First, I dissolved my yeast in warm water, adding in warm milk with salt and sugar. Then I poured it in the middle of my flour and let it sit before kneading it until it’s smooth.  After it sits for a while, I kneaded it again on my dough mat – and let it sit more.  Then I tore a piece off about the size of an egg and rolled it into a rope and looped it around to make a ring.  After I made about 15 rings, I brushed the tops with a beaten egg and dipped the tops in a bowl of sesame seeds.  They almost look like bagels at this time. At this time, it rests again while I put a pan of water on the bottom rack in my oven until it gets hot. Then it’s time to put the baking sheet of semit into the oven for 15 minutes at 425ºF. I really liked these, and I think the general consensus was that this was the best part of the meal.  It was like a soft bagel.  I have some honey-nut cream cheese that would go nicely with it. 

So, so good. The perfect cold weather comfort food. I'm making this again.
The main meal is koshari.  It’s pretty much considered the national dish.  I cooked the lentils until they were tender, and cooked the rice until it was done, as well as cooked the orzo until it was soft as well.  Once all three of these were done, I placed them in a large pot.  I fried the onions until they were browned and put them with the oil into the rice-orzo-lentil mix.  I topped with tomato sauce and chili powder and mixed everything together until it was mixed thoroughly.  This was really good. Even though I think I was supposed to put the onions, tomato sauce, and chili powder on top of the rice-orzo-lentil mix.  Oh, well. It was easier to mix everything in one big pot. But I loved the subtleness of all the flavors together. Almost like a meatless jambalaya of sorts.  And if it were just me, I'd make it a whole lot spicier. 

Seriously, how do you go wrong with this?

I made the salata arabieh to go with this.  It was pretty easy: I mixed chopped cherry tomatoes, baby cucumbers, onions, garlic, red pepper, green pepper, mint flakes, parsley flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and I topped this with feta cheese (even though I can’t remember if feta cheese was originally in this recipe or not. I might have combined two difference recipes).  I’ve made something similar for past countries, but this one had added mint that I liked.  

This did not disappoint in the least. 
I liked this meal, especially the koshari. No wonder it’s considered the national dish. And THAT was really good. My husband and I talked about making this again but with some added Andouille sausage. (He’s such a carnivore, but I think that would be good.)  I was so excited about this meal, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  I wish things would get better in Egypt so that I felt more comfortable with visiting there.  Perhaps by the time one of my books sell, and I save up the money, it’ll be ok to go.  And that’ll be years and years from now. But until then, I can enjoy their food.  

**And on a side note, I decided I’ll have to delay the next installment of my blog. Because I would be cooking food from El Salvador just a day after I get out of the hospital for an upcoming surgery, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be up for cooking. So, I’ll start posting again about a week after that. 

Up next: El Salvador

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