Gourmet Menu #1

Oct/Nov/Dec 2000

"Cuisine of the Continents"

First stop: The Middle East, North Africa & India

Mezeler-Turkish Appetizers:

Toasted Pita Wedges served with Ali Nazik Kebabi (eggplant puree) & Raita (yogurt dip)
Mini Lamb Chops served with a Minted Vinegar Dipping Sauce

Wine selection: Estancia Pinot Noir

African Peanut Soup
Tagine of Chicken Smothered in a Cracked Green Olive Sauce
Moroccan Spiced Vegetables served over Cous Cous

Wine Selection: William Hill Chardonnay

Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)
Spiced Chai Tea (Can be found at "Food for Thought" on 7th St.)

Wine Selection: Domain Des Perruches Vouvay

*Wines may be purchased at a 10% Discount at International Wine Gallery, Nassau Blvd.



Couple 1/ Host:

Mini Lamb Chops
Tagine of Chicken

Couple 2:

Ali Nazik Kebabi & Raita w/Pita Triangles
Estancia Pinot Noir

Couple 3:

African Peanut Soup
Moroccan Spiced Vegetables & Cous Cous
William Hill Chardonnay

Couple 4:1

Domain Des Perruches
Spiced Chai Tea



Ali Nazik Kebabi – Eggplant Puree

Olive Oil
1 eggplant
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fine-chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup yogurt
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1 tablespoon of fresh bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste.

Brush a baking pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice the eggplant in half, the long way, and place it, cut side down, on the oiled baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until soft.

Cut the eggplant, including the skin, into small pieces, and place in a blender. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and garlic. Blend until smooth.

Add the yogurt, cream cheese, and bread crumbs. Blend again, and add salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with pita chips.

Raita (Indian Yogurt Sauce)

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and minced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 minced garlic cloves
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate. Let flavor marry for at least 4 hours before serving. Can be prepared ahead and stored up to two days in a covered dish in the refrigerator.

Serve with toasted pita triangles.

Pita Triangles

15 -5" or 6" pita pockets cut in half horizontally
1 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons paprika
Salt to taste

Stir together oil & paprika. Brush rough sides of pita breads with paprika oil. Season with salt. Cut each pita round in 8 triangles or wedges. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. May be made 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Tiny Rib Lamb Chops with Minted Vinegar Dipping Sauce 

For the dipping sauce

1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint leaves
8-12 single New Zealand baby rib lamb chops, wholly frenched to the eye (about 2 pound)
1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
White pepper to taste

Make the dipping sauce:

In a small saucepan combine the vinegar and the sugar and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the mint and let the sauce cool. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and transfer it to a small bowl.

Pat the chops dry, rub them with the cut sides of the garlic, and sprinkle both sides of the chops with the thyme and the white pepper. Grill the chops in a well-oiled ridged grill pan over moderately high heat for 1 minutes to 1 1/2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops, on each side for rare meat. (Alternatively, the chops may be broiled under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes on each side for rare meat.) Serve the chops with the dipping sauce.

African Peanut Soup

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup tomato paste
1 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 cups low-salt chicken broth

In a saucepan heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste, peanut butter, cayenne, and 1/2 cup broth and stir until smooth. Stir in remaining broth and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Simmer soup, uncovered, 10 minutes, or until oil floats to the surface, and skim oil.

Serve with a pita triangle crumbled on top (reserve 8 triangles from hors d’oeuvres for use in soup)

Tagine of Chicken Smothered in a Cracked Green Olive Sauce

4 split chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs, 4 chicken legs (bone in all)
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
1teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Water to just cover chicken (in pot)
1 1/2 cups green olives, rinsed, pits removed, chopped
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice—juice of 3-4 lemons

To prepare chicken: Clean and remove fat from chicken pieces. Rinse chicken under cold water. Drain on paper towels. Mix 4 cloves crushed garlic with 2 tablespoons salt in a small bowl. Rub garlic salt mixture all over chicken and let chicken stand for 10 minutes. Rinse chicken and drain well. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in Dutch oven or large stockpot (with lid) over medium heat. Cook onions 3 minutes in oil. Add spices: ginger, pepper, turmeric, paprika, cumin and chopped garlic. Cook gently until aroma is released (about 5 minutes). Place prepared chicken in the pot. Add cilantro and parsley. Add water (as little as necessary), bring to boil then turn down to simmer. Cover and stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, place olives in small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain. Add olives to chicken. After chicken has been simmering for 30 minutes, add lemon juice. Stir. Continue cooking chicken until tender (about another 30 minutes) and sauce thickens slightly.

Transfer chicken to large platter, spoon olives and sauce over chicken to serve. Serve with Moroccan vegetables and cous cous.

Moroccan Spiced Vegetables

2 cups carrots, 1 inch pieces
2 cups turnips, 1 inch pieces
2 cups zucchini, 1 inch pieces
2 cups fresh cheese pumpkin (optional, double carrots if not available), 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup raisins
3 to 4 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded (or 1 large can whole tomatoes)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Melt butter in large skillet (with lid). Add cinnamon, turmeric and cayenne. Cook for 3-5 minutes until spices release aroma. Add vegetable chunks and onions. Stir well. Sauté for several minutes until vegetables are coated with butter. Add parsley, cilantro, raisins, and tomato. Add water (just enough to cover vegetables), cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 45 minutes). Add chickpeas to pot. Remove 2 cups of vegetable broth from pot, reserve for cous cous preparation. Serve warm over cous cous, see below.

Cous Cous

Buy 1 10 oz box plain cous cous. If unable to find "plain", buy seasoned but eliminate "seasoning packet" when preparing.

Prepare plain cous cous according to package directions using vegetable broth (above).

Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

1/2 gallon whole milk
3/4 cup uncooked Basmati rice
4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (to prepare: shell nuts, blanch for 3 minutes in boiling water, pat dry, remove skins). Reserve a handful for garnish.
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/8 teaspoon crushed cardamom

Soak rice in water (enough to cover rice) for 1 hour. While rice is soaking, crush rice with hands. Rinse and drain rice. Boil milk in saucepan. Add rice. Simmer on low heat for approximately 20-30 minutes until fairly thick. Stir occasionally. Add condensed milk, stir and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add sugar, raisins, chopped pistachios. Cover and cool. Stir in cardamom. Refrigerate. Serve in individual dessert dishes sprinkled with crushed pistachios.



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Last modified: October 10, 2000