Tony is all about food. His ongoing food events and special projects have been featured in the press. To learn more, you can view his gallery, read his blog, or simply contact him directly.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Lahme B’ajeen

Aleppan Meat Pies (Lahmeh B’ajeen)

yields approximately 24 pies

Components

Dough

  • 1kg flour*
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar or honey
  • lukewarm water

Meat mixture

  • 500g ground beef, ~85% lean
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 5-7 sprigs of mint
  • 2 red bell pepper
  • 500g tomatoes, ~2-3 large tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp red pepper paste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tsp allspice, ground
  • salt, to taste

garnish (optional)

  • eggplant pulp
  • plain yogurt
  • mint leaves
  • arugula
  • aleppo pepper

Putting them all together

  1. Mix together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar until well combined (if you’re using honey, add it with the oil in the next step). Add the canola oil (and honey) and begin mixing in the lukewarm water into the dough. Stop adding water once a smooth dough is formed.
  2. Cut the dough into individual balls slightly bigger than golf balls but smaller than tennis balls (~65 grams each).
  3. Brush some oil to prevent the dough balls from drying, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest overnight or until you’re ready to make the meat pies (no more than 36 hours).
  4. Add all the ingredients except the meat into the food processor. Pulse until you have a a pulpy mix. Mix the processed vegetables with the meat mixture and refrigerate until you are ready to make the pies. The meat mixture can also be made the day before.
  5. Add a touch of canola oil to a clean working surface (I use a large plate). Open the dough by pressing on it with your hands until you reach an ultra thin disk.
  6. Add a very thin layer of the meat mixture.
  7. Carefully transfer the meat pie onto a hot griddle. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Transfer to a low oven to keep warm.
  8. Continue forming the pies in this manner until the meat mixture is done.
  9. Serve the meat pies with the option for guests to add some of the garnishes.

Notes: The amount of water you use for the dough will vary on the flour, the season, and how dry the weather is. This dough isn’t fussy — gradually add the hot water until the dough comes together.

Print

France challenge: Tarts

The first leg of our Mediterranean excursion starts in France. Not a bad place to start, don’t you think? Home to the Eiffel Tower, Les Champs-Elysées, The Lourve, yes; but let’s not forget about the food.

I still remember the first time my family took me to a local French patisserie as a child. My parents love to tell me the story of how I stood in front of the glass case mesmerized by all the pretty sweets on display. It’s amazing how, within a single memory, the mind can recreate the scent of freshly baked baguettes or the image of sweets perfectly aligned on display.

I like to think that that memory played a pivotal role in me wanting to pursue cooking, but who knows. One of the things I remember most from that shop growing up is the array of tarts, sweet and savory, that the head chef was known for. Seeing as this is the first installment to A Taste of the Mediterranean and we’re on our way to France now, I thought we could make tarts for the first challenge.

The tarts could be sweet or savory, it’s up to you! Probably many of you (with exception of the kiwis and aussies) are wondering where you can find fresh berries like these this time of year without having to pay an arm and a leg for them.

The simple solution is to not limit yourself to summertime berries! Luckily, one of my favorite French food bloggers, Fanny from Foodbeam, is not only our lovely co-host for this month, but she also has a couple of amazing posts for some tart inspiration.

On her blog, Fanny has a milk chocolate passion fruit tart with roasted pineapples inspired by Pierre Hermé – of course in French that all rolls off the tongue as as simple as Tarte chocolat au lait et fruit de la passion, ananas rôti. How’s that for inspiration? Not only that, but Fanny also offers a beautiful step-by-step tutorial on how to make your very own pâte sucrée at home, here.

The first challenge for A Taste of the Mediterranean is to create your own tart, sweet or savory. The blogger with the winning tart will receive a $50 gift certificate to igourmet.

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2009

home || rules & how to enter || banner: sm, lg || ATOM archives || questions

A Taste of the Mediterranean

The start of a new year is always exciting. Whether you buy into resolutions or not, there’s something special about starting anew with a clean slate. The holiday season certainly take its toll on foodies and I hope everyone survived alright – I got away with only a couple minor scratches and a miserable 16-hour stay at the airport (but that was so last year). I’m finally back and ready to talk food.

For those who know me (by now that should be most of you), you’ll know that I have an slight affinity for Mediterranean food. My dream would be to travel and get to know every single region that makes up this culinary paradise, but I doubt that’ll fly with the jefe. In the meantime, I thought we could all go together. Shall we?

A Taste of the Mediterranean is a contest I’ve been putting together for the past few months. Of course this itinerary would’ve never become a reality without the help of some pretty amazing people (names to follow). The premise of this culinary excursion is to virtually travel to the different regions of the Mediterranean through food and our blogs. Hold on, it gets better. Each month a traditional dish of the region we are visiting will be presented. The goal is to then blog about your own spin on that dish for a chance to win that month’s prize.

Whether you turn regular pesto into basil, sun dried tomato & hazelnut pesto or doctor up traditional hummus with some special scotch bonnet pepper sauce, the possibilities are endless. These are two of the winning entries from a pilot of the contest launched last summer. Now some sweeter prizes have been added to the mix, courtesy of igourmet, and a awesome panel of Mediterranean bloggers are determined to make this trip the best thing in 2009.

igourmet has agreed to sponsor the contest by offering prizes from their extraordinary selection of fine foods. And of course, a trip to the Mediterranean is also not complete without friends waiting to greet you at your final destination. For this I’ve asked a few of my favorite Mediterranean bloggers to help host this delicious journey to the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean Panel

Stay tuned for January’s challenge – it will be posted by tonight!

Enjoy!

rules & how to enter

loch ness zucchini monster

what on earth should i do with this much zucchini?

My friend Emily has a bountiful garden and every summer she is faced with the same dilemma: what to do with the abundance of fruits and veggies.  (I know, sad story, hm?) Well, this past weekend she gave me one of her zucchinis.  She gave me one not because she’s stingy – she gave me just one because this zucchini is the zucchini that dwarfs all zucchinis, vegetables and most other edible objects.  

Check it out:

I’m open to suggestions guys!  I figured there’s no better people to ask than fellow food bloggers. What would you do with it?!

My Food Odyssey, online

I finally got around to posting all the food related pictures from my trip on my flickr account. For those who just joined, I just got back from a month-long research project in Syria, Lebanon and Italy where I got to experience firsthand different cultural dining experiences and explore flavors that were out of this world!!