Esfiha

Spinach Filling by Food & Wine Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Official statistics say there are at least 6 million Lebanese descendants living in Brazil, but the real number is most likely closer to 10 million.  The Lebanese have influenced us in many ways.  The way that interests me is food!  I would like to share the recipe for a Lebanese pastry I love to prepare…and eat.  Esfiha.

The traditional Esfiha filling contains ground meat.  You know what an empanada is, right?  Well, in my opinion, the Esfiha is much better than an empanada.  The dough is remarkably soft and light, almost like an Italian milk bread.  My cousin, Carla, gave me the recipe for her Esfihas and taught me how to prepare them more than 20 years ago.

Esfihas are featured on the blog today because I received a request from my dad: “What’s the name of that thing you make with the meat inside?”  What he meant by the question:  “Can you make that thing with the meat inside?”  The problem with Esfihas is they are just like cats.  You can never have just one.  Let’s make a deal.  Don’t ask me about my cats and I won’t ask you how many Esfihas you ate.

Note: Prepare either of the fillings first and refrigerate. Then work on the dough.

Tangy Spinach Filling

1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon ground sumac (see Note) or fresh lemon juice
Salt
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, toss the onion with the sumac and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the spinach and stir in the pine nuts, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Sumac is a fruity, tangy spice that is ground from the dried berries of a wild Mediterranean bush. It is available at Middle Eastern markets.

Meat  Filling

Raw ground beef
Vegetable oil
Juice from half a lime
Salt to taste
Chopped tomatoes
Cilantro
Onions
Green onions

In a bowl, mix together the ground beef and other ingredients.  Roll the meat into small balls, about 3/4 inch in diameter and place onto a baking sheet and cover the sheet with plastic wrap while you prepare the dough.

Dough

1 ½ cups warm milk
3-4 packets Fleishmann’s active dry yeast
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
salt to taste
1 pinch of sugar
1 kilogram flour

Combine the yeast, butter and flour (Don’t add all the flour at once).  Slowly add the milk while the dough forms.  Add more flour until the dough no longer sticks to the hands.  Knead the dough until it becomes soft and silky.  Pinch a small piece of the dough and roll it into a ball the size of an M&M.  Place it in a cup of cold water and set aside in a quiet spot.  Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a clean, damp dishtowel.  Set in a quiet spot away from drafts or heat sources.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  When the dough floats to the top of the cup, the dough is ready.  Form the dough into balls (the size of a golf balls).  Roll out each one, then place a meatball inside and pinch to seal, in the form shown in the photos.  Brush egg wash on the formed pastry.  Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for approximately 20-30 min.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  If you like Tabasco or hot sauce, use it.


Hoje pai perguntou: “Como é que chama aquele negocio que você faz…aquele de carne?”  Ele explicou mais um pouco e aí eu lembrei (Esfiha).  E tambem entendi que a pergunta era a maneira dele pedir para eu fazer Esfiha.  Realmente, Esfiha é tudo de bom!

A receita para a massa e o recheio de carne vem da minha prima, Carla.

Massa

1 1/2 copo de leite morno
3 ou 4 pacotinhos de fermento em pó
1 tablete de manteiga
Sal (a gosto)
1 pitada de açucar
Farinha de trigo (+/- 1 kilo)

Junto e fermento, a farinha e a manteiga (não toda a farinha) e va colocando o leite, pouco a pouco.  Acrescente a farinha até a massa não ficar grudando na mão.  (Coloque uma bolinha da massa no copo de vidro com agua e quando a bolinha subir, já pode fazer a esfiha)

Recheio de Espinafre

1 cebola picada
1 colher de suco le limão
Sal
1 pacote de espinafre congelado, descongelado e espremido para secar
1 colher de sopa de pinhões
1 colher de sopa de azeite de oliva, extra virgema

Misture todos os ingredientes.  Abra a massa e coloque uma colher do recheio no meio.  Dobre a massa e aperte para fechar, como mostram as fotos. Passe a gema de ovo por cima da esfiha com um pincel.  Asse no forno entre 20-30 minutos, no fogo (350F).

Recheio de Carne

Carne moida crua
Tomate
Cheiro verde
Cebola
Cebolinha verde
Limão
Sal
Soyu
Azeite

Misture todos os ingredientes do recheio e faça os bolinhos de carne.  Abra a massa e coloque o bolinho de carne no meio.  Dobre a massa e aperte para fechar, como mostram as fotos.  Passe a gema de ovo por cima da esfiha com um pincel.  Asse no forno entre 20-30 minutos, no fogo (350F).

 

 

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Cherries Poached in Red Wine ~ Cerejas Escalfadas no Vinho Tinto

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

The color of cherries makes me think of medieval times.  Those deep-colored, velvet royal cloaks, the echo of voices and footsteps inside cold stone castles.  Long wooden tables overflowing with hearty food and plenty to drink…

Cherries happen to be in season.  So…to commemorate the last week of the Brazilian soap opera, “Deus Salve o Rei” (God Save the King) we will have Cherries Poached in Red Wine.  In our home (not exactly a stone castle where you can wear a cloak but more like a sunlit sauna) the approval rating for this dessert was very high.  My dad made two comments:  “What is this dessert called?” and “This tastes perfect.” Dad knows his sweets.  Mom liked the aroma of wine and savoured her serving of cherries with vanilla ice cream…then she added whipped cream for good measure.

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.  Place in glass serving bowls and add a dollop of whipped cream.  Or…if you’re feeling inspired, mix 2 1/2 tablespoons of honey with 1 cup of mascarpone cheese.

*When I halved and pitted the cherries, I didn’t use gloves on purpose.  I wanted to color my hands and get my fingernails dirty…like they did back in those times.  It’s cool.


Esta é a ultima semana da novela, “Deus Salve o Rei”.  A cor das cerejas me faz imaginar como era naquela época…os tempos medievais. Eram tão lindas as roupas que usavam.  As capas de veludo que vestiam os membros da realeza, os castelos feitos de pedras pesadas, o frio e o eco dos passos de quem caminhava pelos corredores.  E na sala de jantar… mesas compridas transbordando de comida e bebida.  Para comemorar o final da novela e para destacar a cor daquela época, escolhi esta sobremesa de cerejas.  Foi aprovada por todos aqui em casa.  O meu pai é uma pessoa de poucas palavras.  Ele fez dois comentários:  “Como se chama esta sobremesa?” e “Esta perfeita!”  A mãe saboreou as cerejas e a calda de vinho, ainda quente, com sorvete de baunilha…e depois ela adicionou chantilly.

2 copos e meio de vinho tinto
1 copo de açucar
1 tira de raspa de laranja
1 kilo de cerejas doces, retiradas as sementes, partidas no metade

Numa panela inoxidável, junte o vinho, o açucar, e a raspa de laranja.  Quando começar a ferver, adicione as cerejas e deixe ferver novamente.  Reduz o fogo, tampe a panela parcialmente, e ferva levemente durante uns 5 minutos ou até as cerejas amoleçerem. Despeje-as numa tigela de vidro ou inox para evitar que as cerejas cozinhem demais.  Sirva (frio ou quente) em taças de vidro acompanhadas de chantilly, sorvete de baunilha ou queijo mascarpone com mel.

Bacon and Leek Quiche ~ Quiche de Bacon e Alho-Poró

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photo by Priscillakittycat

You might have noticed…but it has been a couple of years since I stopped including recipes for foods that contain red meat on this blog.  That’s because I don’t want to promote the purchase or consumption of four legged beings.  I try to eat mostly seafood, but sometimes…there are exceptions.  The FIFA World Cup Finals will be this weekend.  Let’s celebrate France.

The recipe for the bacon and leek filling comes from Food & Wine Magazine.  I’ve never tried a Food & Wine recipe I didn’t like. Their test kitchen only puts through fail-proof (and delicious) recipes.  Wish I could be a fly on the wall in that kitchen.  For the shell I use a recipe that a family friend shared with me many years ago.  It’s the only one I use for quiches and such.  Try making this quiche using your own crust recipe and let me know if the results are good.

1 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
8 ounces cave-aged Gruyère cheese, shredded (I use more than 8 oz)
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
Salt

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon, leaving 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Add the leeks and thyme to the skillet, season with salt and white pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bacon and cheese.

Divide the bacon-and-leek filling between the tart shells. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks and heavy cream. Season lightly with salt and white pepper. Pour the custard into the tart shells and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through for even baking, until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer the quiches to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the rings, cut the quiches into wedges and serve.


Você deve ter percebido…faz alguns anos que não aparecem receitas para pratos de carne vermelha no blog.  Isto é porque não quero promover a venda ou o consumo de seres que caminham com as quatro pernas.  Tento comer frutos do mar ao inves de carnes, mas existem exceções.  Por exemplo, a Final de Copa vem aí.  Vamos comemorar a França com um quiche.

A receita para o recheio vem da revista, Food & Wine.  Todas as receitas que aparecem na revista são boas.  Queria ser uma mosca na parede da cozinha que usam para testar as receitas.  Há muitos anos, uma amiga da familia me ensinou fazer a crosta e só usa a receita dela.

1/2 kilo de bacon, em fatias grossas, cortado em pedaços de 1 cm
3 ramos grandes de alho-poró, somente a parte branca e a parte verde mole, cortadas em rodelas finas
1 colher de chá de folhas de tomilho picadas
250 gr de queijo Gruyère, ralado (eu sempre uso mais)
4 ovos grandes
2 gemas de ovos grandes
2 1/2 copos de creme de leite fresco
sal a gosto

Numa frigideira grande, no fogo meio alto, cozinhe o bacon, misturando de vez em quando, até ficar marrom e crocante (+/- 7 minutos).  Escorra quase toda a gordura, reservando 2 colheres de sopa na frigideira. Adicione o alho-poró e o tomilho.  Tempere com sal e pimenta branca (a gosto).  Cozinhe no fogo médio, mexendo de algumas vezes, até o alho-poró amoleçer, uns 7 minutos.  Não deixe dourar.  Transfira para uma tigela e deixe esfriar.  Adicione o bacon e o queijo.

Coloque o recheio nas fôrmas, já forradas com a massa.  Asse no forno (350F) durante 30 minutos.  Aumente o temperatura para 375F e deixe mais uns 15 minutos.  Sirva ainda quente ou em temperatura ambiente.