Cooking is hikmat, and feeding your family and friends is the hallmark of an Eastern home. It is what mothers do, women do, and there is absolute beauty in it. It’s the most direct kind of nurture. We love the people we are surrounded by and the people we choose as friends. Hence, feeding them with fine foods made with thought and effort is a kind of worship to the Maker since, in essence, feeding leads to growth of children, of shared moments with family, of creating bonds with friends and showing warmth to acquaintances.
I am a believer in showing my love through food and, if you knock on my door, you sure aren’t leaving without eating something homemade. I love the feeling associated with having a warm open kitchen, filtering indirect sunlight, the home infused in the aromas associated with, ‘What’s cooking Mom?’
I recently stumbled upon an ancient text that equated cooking to prayer, and that had me thinking. I thought of all the times I have pondered delightful memories of eating, growing up in my maiden home, at nani’s house, at a friend’s place and an aunt’s home. The memories were all associated with someone’s home cooking, trolley, dining table and coffee-table and never with a restaurant. This certainly does not mean that eating out is not fun, I love it, and truly enjoy the idea and reality of dining out, but this article is focused on the scents of the home kitchen, hence I’m staying on topic.
My daughter graduated high school during this pandemic, and, like so many other holidays that have happened during this pandemic, I had to create a celebration at home, a celebration to remember. Truth be told, I wanted to create a breakfast spread that would make her heart happy and make her realise how much she is loved, valued and cared for. Because unlike Eid, birthdays, father’s day and mother’s day that come every year, high school graduations are a very special once-in-a-lifetime kind of a celebration.
Treat your kids with these homemade delicacies
I did a wonderful spread, one fit for a queen, and surely one that you can prepare for the kings and queens in your home to celebrate an occasion, or just because you love them.
Spicy Chicken sausage or sliced sirloin steak
Cubed feta cheese, olives, bell pepper dipped in olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper
Crème cheese, Swiss cheese
A summer fruit platter
A bread-basket, an assortment of croissants, garlic bread, almond croissants, French bread
Quiche (spinach and four cheese)
An assortment of pastries (chocolate tarts, éclairs, crème puffs, strawberry shortcake)
Turkey and cheese croissant sandwich
Orange juice, virgin mimosa, cold coffee, iced tea, tea and coffee
Flowers and balloons for decorations
Spinach and egg Quiche
6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped fresh spinach, packed, chopped
1 lbs chicken, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 (nine-inch) pre-made refrigerated pie crust, fitted into a nine-inch glass pie plate
Combine eggs, crème, salt, pepper and blend. Layer spinach, chicken, and cheese on the base of the crust, pour egg mixture, bake in a 375 degrees pre-heated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until set. Let it cool and serve.
½ cup unsalted butter
1½ lbs potatoes
Pinch of black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt to taste
Using the coarse grater disk on a food processor or the largest holes on a box grater and shred potatoes. Transfer immediately to a large bowl of cold water; stir until water is cloudy. Drain and rinse potatoes well under cold running water to remove any excess starch, which can make hash browns gummy.
Transfer to a large kitchen towel. Gather together ends of towel and twist over sink, squeezing firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Open towel and toss potatoes to loosen. Gather up towel and wring out potatoes once more. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl and toss with pepper, cayenne pepper and salt to taste, mix well.
Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add potatoes and cook, undisturbed, until a deep golden crust forms
on bottom, about five minutes. Break up potatoes with a heatproof rubber spatula and continue to cook, turning occasionally with spatula and adding one to two tablespoons of butter if the pan becomes dry or potatoes start to stick, until crisped and browned all over, eight to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season with salt.
Published in Dawn, EOS, July 26th, 2020