Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where Am I?

Asalaamu alaykum wa rahmatallahi wa barakato~

I haven't updated in quite a while, so here's the drop-in to say where I am and why.

I ended up having to move quite abruptly, and this was obviously stressful, but alhamdullilah I have moved now and everything worked out fine.

I just graduated from uni in May, and was searching for jobs.  I found one, Alhamdulillah, teaching at an Islamic school in my area.  However, now that I have a job, I am trying to pull together all of the resources that I need.  As a first year teacher there is a lot to plan and do before school begins.

Ramadan is quickly approaching, as you all probably know, and thus I have been trying to prepare myself mentally and spiritually.

I have a four month program to learn Arabic, so I've been working hard with that.  One of my goals this Ramadan is to complete the Quran in Arabic.  My reading skills have really been improving lately, Alhamdulillah, so inshAllah I will be successful (I usually just read in English...).

I am travelling to Chicago next week, the week before Ramadan.  My husband and I, being the airheads that we are, did not consider the timing of this trip and are now realizing how close we are actually cutting it.  We will be back on July 8th, and Ramadan begins inshAllah July 9th.  Yikes.  Very little turn over or resting time before then.

So, things have been happening quite rapidly and unexpectedly for awhile now.  If you read my previous post on my inability to deal with changes, you know that this has not been fun or easy for me.  Alhamdulillah for everything though, and things do seem to be falling swiftly into place.

I hope anyone reading this has a beautiful day, inshAllah, and a beautiful summer.

More to come soon about our trip to Chicago, and of course, Ramadan...


Monday, June 10, 2013

Lebanese Cooking: Stovetop Kofta on Rice

Asalaamu alaykum wa rahmatallahi wa barakato ~
May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you ~

Today, I was making one of my favorite Lebanese foods, stovetop Kofta, and I thought I'd share the recipe. It's delicious and fairly easy to make, once you get the hang of it.  I make it exactly as my mother-in-law taught me, who is from the Zahle region of Lebanon (Northeast near the Syrian border).

Without further ado, here we go!


1 lb. ground beef
1 bunch parsley, minced
1 onion, diced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced width-wise
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
3 tsp. salt (meat mixture)
1 can tomato paste
2 cups hot water
1 Tbsp. salt (water mixture)


First, prep all of your ingredients.  Mince the parsley, dice the onion, and peel and slice the potatoes.

Potatoes should be about 1/2 an inch thick.

Next, combine parsley, onions, olive oil, spices, and meat in a mixing bowl.  While you mix, prepare to fry the potatoes.  Fill a frying pot with about an inch of oil and heat on high.  Wait about 5 - 10 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven) for the oil to warm.  When you put a potato in and the oil boils, it's hot enough.

You can adjust the spiciness and saltiness to your liking!

When the oil is hot enough, it's time to fry those potatoes!  Drop them in, enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and fry for about 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.

While the potatoes are frying, put the meat mixture into a 9 inch by 13 inch METAL baking pan.  (If it's glass, it will explode!)

Press the meat into the pan with a spatula.  As the potatoes become browned, drain them of oil and then place them on top of the meat mixture in the pan.

Once all of the potatoes are fried to (near) perfection, it's time to make the tomato sauce.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine about 3/4 of a 6 oz. can of tomato paste with 2 cups of very hot water and about a Tablespoon of salt. 

Mix the ingredients until fully combined.  I have found that adding small amounts of hot water to the tomato paste and mixing makes the tomato paste easier to dissolve. 

Now, pour the sauce mixture over the meat and potatoes.  It should cover the entire thing completely, but some potatoes or onions or parsley may float to the top.

Place the dish on two burners vertically, and cook on medium heat for about 15 - 20 minutes.

While the Kofta is cooking, prepare the rice.  To feed two people for about three meals, I make 1 1/2 cups of rice.  Here's my rice recipe:

1 1/2 cups of basmati rice
3 cups of water
Dash of salt
1 Tbsp. oil

Combine all ingredients and heat on high until boiling.  When boiling, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes without opening.  Then, the rice should be perfect!  

After your 20 minutes is up, the food should be ready to go!  Serve the Kofta on top of a bed of rice with plenty of tomato sauce.  

Sahtain!  :)