Sunday, December 7, 2014

Friday Night Dinner Project: Israeli Dinner

This week's menu for the Friday Night Dinner Project is the Israeli Dinner.  This was my first week back to fulltime work (complete and utter chaos), so I was not sure if I would be able to get a menu done, but I did.  I find I am making big batches of dishes so that I can have meals for us at least until Wednesday from these menus.  Also, I am really in love with the Egg and Smoked Trout Salad with Capers from last week's menu.  I actually picked up more smoked trout yesterday so that I can make it again this weekend.  I have been taking it to work with crackers for breakfast.  I digress....

First up on this week's menu is Pomtinis.  I made the non alcoholic version, which is essentially pomegranate juice mixed with ginger ale.  These drinks always seem festive to me, so I am still putting them in the Christmas glasses.  They would be oh so refreshing in the summer in a nice pitcher full of ice, sliced oranges, and pomegranate seeds.

Kebabs on Cinnamon Sticks
These are meant as a lovely appetizer, but I actually wanted to use them as meatballs so I made them without the cinnamon sticks (although making them this way would be wonderful for a party!).  I was delighted to read that I could put them directly into the oven and bake them without browning them first (skipping this step just means they do not have a nice glaze to them).  I made them using all beef, but they would be amazing with lamb or the beef/lamb combo that is recommended.  These meatballs were so fast to make and taste wonderful.  They are excellent for a party appetizer or for a quick dinner.

I served the Kebabs (or meatballs as I made them) on top of Couscous with Preserved Lemon, Dates and Almonds.  This is another dish that was so quick and easy to make.  You could easily make the meatballs and couscous along with salad in 30 minutes.  The dates add great flavour and moisture to the couscous.

Grilled Eggplant with Tahina and Tomato Lime Salds
Well I have to be honest and say this dish was not my favourite.  Likely because it features eggplant front and centre, and I do not like eggplant.  Although in other dishes from the book (like the vegetarian lasagna and the roasted ratatouille) eggplant also makes an appearance, and I like them, I just couldn't embrace this one.  I did make it so I could try it but......this girl just does not love eggplant.  It looked very pretty though, and I'm sure eggplant lovers would thoroughly enjoy it.

Chicken Tagine with Honeyed Tomatoes and Chickpeas
This is a lovely chicken recipe, full of flavour.  It pairs well with the couscous and a salad (sorry I forgot to take pictures of the Salad with Pomegranate dressing).  The really nice thing about this recipe is that it makes lots of meat, and it is very tender.  If you are cooking it for a small family it could last for several meals.
Spice Mix

This is what it looked like coming out of the oven

Individual Halvah Soufflés
If you are looking for a "wow" dessert that is quick and easy to make, this might be it.  These look very beautiful and have a lovely flavour.  They are surprisingly rich.  I tried them both with a chocolate sauce and sprinkled with icing sugar.  I loved it with chocolate sauce.  My husband preferred it with just icing sugar.  A very nice way to finish the meal.

That's it for now.  Happy cooking!

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