Monday Meal Review: Algeria

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This is meal #3 in my personal challenge to eat one meal from every country in the world. "Great." My husband smiled. "I think dinner was really great." Our friends quickly nodded in agreement. I might as well have won an Oscar. We sipped our Ceylon tea with fresh mint sprigs, savoring the memory of the meal we just enjoyed. Although we were going on four hours of sitting around the dining room table, no one made a move to get up. If that's not indication of an enjoyable … [Read more...]

Recipe: Hot Algerian Lasagna

Hot Algerian Lasagna

Serves 8 Hot Algerian Lasagna blends traditional Italian lasagna with chickpeas, potatoes, ground lamb, and a healthy dose of cayenne pepper. Make this unusual dish once and you will crave the flavors for life. NOTE: Cayenne pepper's heat is rated in "heat units." This recipe was made with a 35,000 cayenne, which is on the low-end of the scale. If you have a 90,000 cayenne, you only need 1/3 of the cayenne pepper for the same kick. The label on your spice jar should give you this … [Read more...]

Recipe: Algerian Green Beans

Algerian Green Beans

Serves 4 Algerian green beans, called Loubia, are a nice side dish to almost any meal. Make them ahead and reheat in the oven at the last minute. Ingredients: 1 lb fresh green beans 3 Tbsp peanut oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp paprika a hefty pinch ground cloves 3 Tbsp slivered almonds Method: 1. Steam green beans until tender, about 15 minutes (or if youlike them firmer, that's okay too). 2. In a small skillet over medium heat, combine oil, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Algerian Sunset Salad (Blood Oranges, Fennel, & Black Olives)

Algerian-salad

Serves 4 Blood orange give this salad a reddish hue. The anise of the fennel combined with the salty black olives and sweet oranges makes for an unusual combination. Ingredients: 2 blood oranges, the rind cut off and sectioned 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced thinly 1/4 cup black olives, sliced 1/4 cup mint leaves, sliced thinly 1/4 cup olive oil 2 Tbsp lemon juice salt pepper Method: 1. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and mint … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spicy Chickpea Soup (Hummus bi’l Kammun)

Chickpea soup drizzled with olive oil

Serves 2-4 Hummus bi'l Kammun is velvety smooth. The smoky blend of cumin, paprika, harisa, and garlic make this soup a wintertime treat. As a special bonus, this soup is vegan. NOTE: Much like chili, our soup benefits from a day of rest while the flavors deepen. When reheating, thin to desired consistency with a little water. Ingredients: 2 15 oz cans drained and rinsed chickpeas (or 3 cups prepared, dried chickpeas) 4 garlic cloves, crushed 1/4 cup olive oil 1 tsp ground … [Read more...]

While I’m cooking: Algerian music videos

Here's an Algerian music video...the singer got in a lot of trouble for this and ended up fleeing to France: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfSBOByoz4M] Here's a video slideshow of Algerian people, places, foods, etc. Towards the end there are some beautiful pictures of the countryside. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5-pjLl7gFw] … [Read more...]

Recipe: Harissa Chili Paste (or Harisa)

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Harissa (also Harisa) is chili paste used to flavor many north african dishes, specifically in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and western Sicily. The condiment can be made mild, medium, or hot. For those who don't feel like making Harissa from scratch, middle eastern markets sell the paste in cans. Whole Foods sells Harissa in the spice aisle (you just add water and olive oil to make the dry mix into a paste). The main components of Harissa: 2 ounces dried Guajillo chili peppers, soaked … [Read more...]

Menu: Algeria

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This menu represents what I found most exciting about Algerian food: the flavors are intense, the spices are hot, and the foods are a blend of the proverbial melting pot. Hummus bi'l Kammun (Chickpea Soup) [Recipe] Pureed chickpeas laced with garlic, cumin, paprika, and harisa. Algerian Sunset Salad [Recipe] Blood oranges, fresh fennel, black olives, and mint make up this unusual salad. Hot Algerian Lasagna (Shakhshukha al-Bisakra) [Recipe] This lasagna contains ground lamb … [Read more...]