Whole Roasted Chicken Marrakesh



I just made this up, (in a rush), using ingredients on hand… it looks a bit messy in the picture,   but was very delicious, so I had to share!


1 whole organic chicken roaster

fresh garlic

fresh herbs, such as oregano, thyme, mint, parsley 

kosher salt 

fresh black pepper


green olives

1 onion, sliced

olive oil

fresh lemon juice

jarred tomato sauce (about a cup)



Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Remove excess fat from chicken, and wash thoroughly  (sometimes I soak the chicken in a bath of water and kosher salt to get rid of the poultry-ish smell).  Place the chicken in a roasting pan.

In mini cuisinart, grind together the garlic, herbs and spices.  Rub this marinade on the chicken and under the skin. 

Pour about 1/4 cup  olive oil  and the sauce over the chicken. 

Scatter the olives and onions around the chicken. 

Bake uncovered for an hour, or until done. 




Veggie Recipes from “Jerusalem”


Picture courtesy of NY Times

Here’s a link to  some delicious vegetarian recipes from the authors of  “Jerusalem”.    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/thanksgiving-from-jerusalem/

These recipes were in an article for Thanksgiving recipes, but these could absolutely be made any time of the year!!  I think I am going to pick up some sweet potatoes today after seeing this picture!

The book, which Ottolenghi wrote with his friend Sami Tamimi , explores the fascinating history, culture and people of Jerusalem through its various cuisines… so try a recipe or two, and get a taste of Jerusalem on your dining table!

Jerusalem Style Eggplant


Inspired by a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks,  Jerusalem. I didn’t have much time and all the ingredients to make the original recipe, but next time for sure I will!


12 – 14  baby eggplants, halved

1/4 cup olive oil

kosher salt

black pepper

1/2 tsp ras el hanout

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

fresh mint, garnish

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

olive oil for frying onions

fresh lemon juice

yogurt (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Lay the eggplants on a baking sheet, cut side up.  Brush them with a good coating of olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with  the salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the remaining spices on the eggplants, and roast in oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat up the olive oil.  Add the onions, and cook for  7- 8 minutes, stirring often until the onions become caramelized and brown in some places.

Take the eggplants out of the oven, and place on serving dish.   Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the eggplants; chop up some fresh mint and scatter over the eggplants, then layer on the fried onions.

~ Note:  can serve w/ a dollop of yogurt on top of each eggplant

Orange Olive Oil Cake (recipe adapted from 4plates2table)

orange cake

I was at Costco a few days ago, and I passed by their huge orange and grapefruit display.  The fruits smelled so refreshing ~ I felt as if I got a whiff of Florida in the midst of our cold dreary winter.   I come home, and see a blog post by my friend Nancy for an “orange olive oil cake”. What a coincidence!   But,  too bad I didn’t buy the huge bag of oranges!

Her recipe looked intriguing ~ I don’t think I ever made a cake with olive oil before.  I am used to putting olive oil in my pasta and chicken dishes – not my desserts!  I decided to try it out – back to the grocery store for some cara cara….

I don’t have much patience for difficult baking recipes, and I must say, this cake was so easy to make, and tastes  just lovely!

Below is the link to the recipe on Nancy’s wonderful blog, 4plates2table


My adaptations:

Instead of 1 1/4 cup flour, I used 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup fine semolina

I greased the pan with butter and sprinkled a little raw sugar to get the bottom of the cake caramelized

Instead of  3/4 white sugar,   I used  1/2 cup white sugar and   1/4 cup brown sugar

….as Nancy said, this is an “adult cake….perfect with a cup of coffee”

Andalusian Tiger Shrimp



20 tiger shrimp (about 5 per person, so this recipe serves 4-5 ppl)

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 -4 slices preserved lemon

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp aleppo pepper

8 campari tomatoes, quartered

1 yellow zucchini, sliced

1 green zucchini, sliced

baby bella mushrooms, sliced (about a cup)

splash of white wine

salt and pepper to taste


1)  In a large bowl, add shrimp, garlic, olive oil and all the spices. Mix well to coat, and let it marinate for 15-20 minutes.

2) Heat a large grill pan on high( I used a large 2 burner grill pan but you can use 2 grill pans).  Add the shrimp to the pan and sear one side.  Cook for a minute or so, and then turn heat to medium.  When the one side is cooked through, flip over and cook the other side (turn heat back up to medium high to get it sizzling again). Add the preserved lemon to the shrimp.

3) Add the chopped tomatoes to the shrimp, and saute for a minute or so. Then  push the shrimp and tomatoes to the back of the pan. Turn the back burner to low to let the shrimp finish cooking.  Add a splash of white wine.

4) Add a little more olive oil to the front of pan, and then add in the zucchini and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.   Saute for about 3-4 minutes.

5) Now  mix the shrimp together with veggies (over medium heat), and you have got yourself a colorful,  healthy Spanish seafood dish which can be served over pasta or with rice.

Pakistani-Italian Biryani


Sunday night dinner:  my kids wanted Italian but the hubby wanted Indian…. Hmmm how can I make them both happy, and in a short amount of time?  A cross between two cultures (well actually three – there’s some Persian thrown in here) did the trick!  The rose petals and saffron add an aphrodisiac touch ~ perfect for Valentine’s Day!!


1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 ginger cube (Dorot frozen- or use equivalent fresh)

1 chili pepper cube (Dorot)

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

6 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cup yogurt

2 tbsp butter

1 cup Lidia Bastianich’s  Arrabiata sauce (or any spicy Italian sauce will do)

4 cups rice

2 tbsp butter

few strands saffron, crushed in mortar

1 tsp salt

sliced almonds and Persian rose petals for garnish


1)  Heat the olive oil in a large pot, over medium heat.  Add onions, and cook for a few minutes until most are caramelized (its OK if some get darker than others)

2) Add in the garlic, ginger, and chili and saute for a minute.

3) Add in all the spices, and saute to blend in.

4) Add the chicken and stir to coat well; cook on medium high until the chicken is about 75 % cooked.

5)  One by one, add the yogurt, butter, tomato sauce,  stirring to incorporate each until you add the next ingredient.

6) Cover, and let the chicken simmer on low.  Stir once in awhile.  Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees.

7) Prepare the rice.  Wash the rice in several changes of water until clear.  Add the rice with a little less than 6 cups of water (use the same cup you used to measure out the rice) into the rice cooker, along with the saffron and salt.  You are going to cook the rice 75% (this method uses some guesstimating).

8)  In a large baking pan, layer the rice with the chicken and masala. You can make 2 -3 layers.

At this point you can add dabs of butter here and there over the rice if you want a richer flavor..

Garnish with rose petals and almonds, cover tightly with foil, and place in oven

9) Bake the biryani for about 20 – 30 minutes (you will soon start smelling the divineness!). You may want to sample the rice to make sure that its cooked all the way. If the rice still  feels too hard, you can sprinkle some water over, recover with the foil, and place in oven for another 10 minutes.

10)  Take out the biryani from the oven. Leave the foil on for a couple more minutes so that it steams a bit more with its own heat.  Remove foil and enjoy!