Thursday, May 30, 2013


Meat being cooked on a spit to make Shawarma

Lamb Shawarma, foul (fava beans) and pickles at a Cairo fast food chain
Chicken Shawarma made at home using a store bought seasoning packet, tomatoes, and onions.

Chicken Shawarma on pita bread with cucumbers and tahina
Shawarma is a popular street food in Cairo. It is made by stacking marinated meat on a vertical spit. It is then shaved off and sauteed on a flat grill with tomatoes.  You can serve it on long rolls, round rolls, or any type of pita or flat bread. Top it with Tahina or hummus and some pickles if you like and you've got a great sandwich.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Reckless Banana bread

As the weather heats up the bananas in my kitchen have started to brown a little faster. Although it is really too warm to bake I have been unable to resist the temptation to make Banana Bread.  The girls and I free styled this recipe: Guestimative measuring, reckless use of the wrong pan size, and creative ingredient substitutions made this a fun baking experience. My measuring cup broke and since we are moving in three weeks I haven't felt like buying a new one.  I've been using a coffee mug that is more or less a cup(although I have no way to measure it) and eyeballing the half cups and such. I also don't have a loaf pan so I found a basic recipe that used a cake pan. I always thought of baking as science rather than an art and so it never interested me before. Quick bread recipes, however, are the exception to this rule. You can substitute one mashed fruit for another, use a different type of oil, add nuts or chocolate chip... and as long as the consistency is basically the same and the things like baking soda are fairly accurately measured you can usually come up with something edible in the end.

Here is what we came up with (this time) but feel free to substitute, be reckless and experiment away...

 Reckless Banana Bread

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon each of vanilla extract and almond extract
  • 1 cup of mashed ripe bananas (2 large or 3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream or yogurt (flavored is fine... just reduce the sugar by a couple of teaspoons)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) . In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Beat together in a mixer the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and mashed bananas.
3. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the sour cream, then the other half of the flour mixture.
4. Spread batter evenly in a greased 10x15 baking pan. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned and the surface bounces back when you press it with your finger.

 I hope this puts a smile on your face.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cruising the Nile on the Christina

Tonight my husband and I are leaving the kids with a sitter and going on a boat called the Christina Yacht.  You can bring a potluck or hire someone to cater and travel down the Nile while the boat staff serves you drinks and sets up a buffet. Some of the teachers at the school set up this trip for an end of the year party so we are going to dine on the Nile and visit with friends while the sun goes down. It is a little fancier than a felucca but still a relaxing way to go. I still think that I prefer the ease and economy of sailing rather than traveling by Yacht... but there is something really nice about sipping drinks and just enjoying the view.

I whipped up a pasta salad that I'm taking.

8 ounces dry pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
3 small to medium tomatoes diced
4 medium red onion, diced
2 cucumbers, sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chili paste
2 garlic cloves. minced


In large pot with boiling water, cook pasta.

Drain, rinse pasta with cold water and let drain again. Place pasta in a large salad bowl, add broccoli, next 3 ingredients and toss well.

In a small bowl or jar with lid, combine soy sauce and remaining 6 ingredients. Whisk together or cover tightly and shake vigorously. Pour mixture over pasta and toss gently.

Here a few photos from past Christina Cruises


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