Sunday, June 11, 2017

Day 15 Ramadan 2017

Ramadan Kareem,

Half-way through Ramadan, this was my domestic day.



I'm big on smoothies for suhour.  The yogurt and juice go down quickly.  My favorite is pineapple juice, powdered coconut drink, yogurt and ice in the blender.  Yes, it's a pina colada!  In most apartment living, you'd be waking people up with the blender noise, but not for us.  At 2:30 he children are all up and the moms all yelling at them.  A blender is actually quieter than they are.



After praying, I stayed up a little, but then went back to sleep.  I've been very tired these days at home.  It's almost easier to be at work!

Upon waking up at 9:00, I washed three loads of clothes and washed the dishes.  Water is a luxury.  It really is.  In the West, we treat it as a God-given right, but in most of the world, it is a precious commodity that isn't always available and/or clean.  We keep running out of water in our neighborhood.  The high-demand times have us going without.  It truly is a choice on how and when we can use the water.  Shower or dishes?  Clean body or clean sink?

I then got busy making the iftar meal of goulash.

Yosra's Goulash Recipe

Although the goulash recipe  can be found elsewhere on the web, I will give you my instructions, not because I'm better----the opposite really!  I'm such an average cook that if I can do it, so can you.

I first received these instructions orally from an Egyptian lady living in the U.S.  Mashahallah, this lady helped me a lot in my first years in Islam and may Allah reward her for the good she's done and forgive the bad.


Frozen phyllo sheets and take them out to thaw when you are starting to cook.

Have either minced meat (we used camel, but of course you can use beef) or a spinach and ricotta mix.

On Hand

2 eggs
2 cups of milk
BIG GOB of soft butter
salt and pepper

1 small onion, minced
2 small cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, grated
1/4 c. (3 big spoons) tomato paste

Arabic spice mix
My mother-in-law makes her own, and I never knew what was in it until I checked for ingredients now.  If you don't have everything, then use what you've got from what is listed

2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 teaspoon ground cardamom


In a small pot (not a pan), cook the meat, the onions, garlic, and carrots.  Once the meat is browned, but not yet dry, add the tomato paste and salt, pepper, and spices.  Turn off the heat.  Mash the spices into the sauce, cover and let sit.

Take the phyllo sheets and place the first sheet into a buttered pan.  I used a cake pan, but I know that a rectangular pan would have been easier.  Each successive sheet gets ugly blops of butter here and there.  DO NOT SMOOTH THE BUTTER!  In fact, keep everything wrinkled as it helps with the texture.  Lay down half the sheets, then place the meat mixture on top without patting it down.  Layer the remaining sheets on top.

Next, you're going to do something that doesn't seem to make sense.  We always cut our food AFTER it's cooked, but this time, I want you to cut squares into the phyllo and meat BEFORE it's cooked.  When you have done that, you can either start cooking it, or place it in the refrigerator to cook later.  I let it sit in the fridge for hours and I think it helped the flavor.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat together the two large eggs and the milk.  Set this aside to add during the cooking process.


On the middle rack, place the pan on medium-high heat.  How long to cook it?  Listen.  Yes, actually listen to the food.  Open the oven door and listen to hear if it is sizzling.  Once it has been sizzling, you can take the pan out and pour the egg/milk mixture slowly over it, so that it seeps down through those cuts.  It makes sense, right?  Place it back in the oven for more time.

The pan of goulash will rise up and start to solidify.  When it has stops making any noise, and it's a bit brown, move it to the top rack.  Now, you'll need to switch the oven to broil.  It's time to brown the top, but it's a really tricky time that could easily burn that layer and ruin the whole effort.  Watch it carefully.  My Egyptian friend used to keep her oven door open to keep an eye on it.

Once that last tricky part is done, it's yours to eat!

Cheese Sambousas

I thought that would be the end to my cooking for the day.  I only asked my hub to pick up a package of cheese sambousas to go with the goulash.  He returned with the wraps only.  I had a couple of choices:  forget them, yell at him, cook them.

Only one choice would have me eating sabousas, so I cooked them for the first time subhanallah.  Actually, they didn't taste too bad considering I didn't really have the right cheese for them.  Adding the mint (and the secret to my mint is that I add mint herbal tea which is supper fine) makes them taste really good.  I served them with apricot jam---and I might be the only person in the world to have ever done that.  I was channeling my inner Indian who would have liked mango chutney.




We sat down and for the first time in a few days the drink wasn't the focus.  We were all anxious to try the food.  That's success!  My husband, who has kept tight-lipped around many of my recipe attempts was very complimentary and said that we'd have to do it again soon inshahallah.  We went through a whole pan of it for iftar---except for the piece that El Kid saved for suhour the next day.

For desert, I had made creme caramel from a package.  We ate that later of course.

Alhumdulillah for small successes at keeping alive, healthy, and happy.

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