Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the tag “lemon”

Baklava

Baklava

Want to know what I’m doing right now?  Well, aside from typing (duh), I’m eating the last piece of this baklava.  Good doesn’t even begin to describe it.  If you’ve never had baklava before, allow me to explain what you’re missing out on: crispy layer upon layer of buttery phyllo filled with sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts all topped (drenched?) in a honey-lemon syrup.  Simply amazing.

This particular recipe is an adaptation from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking.  Everything I’ve tried from this cookbook thus far has been excellent, but what would you expect?  How could you go wrong with the Recipe Club of Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral?  Church ladies know good food.

While baklava is not difficult to make, it is a little fussy and time consuming.  The very best advice I can give you would be to, first, make sure you have all of your ingredients, tools, and whatnot ready to go and within reach.  Make a little baklava station for yourself.  Second, don’t make this when you’ve got other stuff going on or if the wee ones are running mad all around you.  If you must, wait until nap time, bed time, or whatever other quiet time you have so that you don’t end up a stressed out, grumpy mess.  Third, keep whatever phyllo sheets you aren’t working with hiding under a lightly dampened paper towel or tea towel.  If those sheets dry out, they’ll crackle into pieces before your very eyes–and before you’ve had a chance to finish that baklava.  And last of all, if you’re going to make one batch, why not make two?  One package of phyllo dough will make two 8×8 pans of this glorious goodness and it freezes beautifully.  Trust me, once you’ve tasted this dessert, you’ll be glad you’ve got a whole ‘nuther pan stashed for a rainy day.

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Grilled Cajun Shrimp

Cajun Shrimp

One of my favorite dishes in the world is New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp.  If you’ve never had it, you should know it isn’t really barbecued at all.  Rather, the shrimp are seasoned with herbs and spices and then cooked in compound butter and beer, amongst other things.  Served in the shell and with crusty bread, you’ll soon lose any sense of shame as you wolf down each spicy shrimp as quickly as you can peel them, no mind the sauce running down your arms (or chin).

These little lovelies are a bit different.  While I didn’t want anything swimming in butter on such a hot summer day, I did want that flavor.  And how can you go wrong with grilled shrimp?  So I tossed together a marinade with many of the star ingredients found in barbecue shrimp, skewered the lot, and then threw them on the grill.  The results, I must say, were delicious.  Though they really can’t be compared to the real thing, these were loaded with flavor and perfect for a hot summer night.  Crack open your favorite beer and enjoy!

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