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#foodbeast Cravings FOODBEAST Restaurants Sweets

Super Stretchy Booza Ice Cream Gets Stuffed Inside This Baklava Sandwich

Not too long ago, images of what appeared to be ice cream being stretched out like Mr. Fantastic’s limbs drew a viral reaction, as everyone wondered where they could get this super stretchy ice cream. But folks in the Middle East had already been on the elastic ice cream wave, which is better known as booza. Think of it as an extra creamy gelato with the excess malleability of taffy, all with an ambrosial taste that’s just as unique as it’s stretch.

Atomic Creamery, a purveyor of fresh made-to-order, all-natural liquid nitrogen ice cream out in Newport Beach, California, has linked up with Foodbeast to create a remix to booza ice cream that involves packing the stretchy stuff in between baklava to create the ice cream sandwich of your dreams. To start, the booza is flavored with sahlab, an ingredient made from dried orchid roots, thus creating the sweet, floral notes in the ice cream. Being sandwiched in between two decadent layers of baklava is a flourish worth documenting on your palates as well as on your timeline.

This exclusive collab item is available for only a limited time at Atomic Creamery’s location inside the Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach, California and will be up for grabs for only 45 days. The Booza Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich is now available and is a fever dream of a dessert and if you’re down to indulge in the stretch, make sure to act quickly!

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Culture Features Feel Good

This Unique Non-Profit Pop-Up Dinner Series Features Refugee Families As The Chefs

An accurate indication of having a good neighbor is sharing; they share tools, holiday cards, and favors, but the single most appreciable thing one can share with another is food.

This past Valentine’s Day, Miry’s List, a non-profit dedicated to aiding refugee families founded by Miry Whitehill, hosted its one year anniversary of a monthly event called New Arrival Supper Club, and on a day to celebrate love, this dinner did exactly that, only through food.

These monthly dinners are catered by a different New Arrival, or newly admitted refugee family, each time; Abdul, Maysa, and Amer Kanjo featured as the cooks for this evening.

 

Hostility and danger targeted the Kanjo home back in Syria, forcing them to leave familiarity and live for four years without a permanent address. Despite going through this tumultuous time of unrest and uncertainty, the Kanjos were able to prepare a meal that brought everyone savoring each bite right back to their mother’s kitchen.

Adbul and Maysa Kanjo dealt with the grueling process of coming into the U.S. to find refuge, and despite their arrival, the trouble of acclimating is what gets most refugees to question their decision.

Without any form of help these new arrival families are left to learn how to jump onto a proverbial treadmill set at max speed, and it doesn’t help that the overwhelming majority of citizens aren’t sure how to handle refugees.

The term itself sounds foreign—  calling someone a refugee already alienates and creates a bubble around these families.

However, Miry’s List, and the families that are a part of it, is finding a different way to speak to the masses — through their stomachs.

“Nobody knows what refugees are, they don’t know what to do with them. But by doing dinners like this we can raise awareness of the problem and help aid anyone in The States who would need help,” Maysa Kanjo said.

Through simple acts of help a domino effect occurred within Miry’s List. More and more people decided that these New Arrival families were asking for nothing more than a helping hand, and, as a neighbor, that’s just what they should give.

“The refugee crisis is unsolvable, that’s a crisis. One family needing a jumper for their baby, that’s no problem, I could do that 100 times a day,” Whitehill said.

After visiting families and experiencing the love of cooking and feeding they all shared, Whitehill decided to host pop-up dinners where a new former refugee family would cater foods from their culture.

“Every time I go visit these families they wouldn’t stop feeding me, it was the most amazing, nurturing thing. It was so exciting to feel taken care of, it really motivated me to continue,” Whitehill said.

These dinners are not only a good way for the families to make a living, as 100 percent of the revenue from tickets goes to them, staff, and the organization they also allow a window into the lives of these refugees that isn’t often portrayed. With Los Angeles being one of the largest hosts of refugee families, this opportunity isn’t something to pass up.

The initiative led by this organization is admirable, to say the least, but the food is what really takes the cake.

Wednesday night was filled with Arabic culture, from food made by the hands of Maysaa and Abdul Kanjo, to Arabic music, and even belly dancing.

Though some attention was diverted from the beautiful dishes by the belly dancers, it didn’t take long for the aromas to catch the crowd.

The Kanjo family was initially worried that their food wouldn’t be finished, another part of Middle Eastern culture is to never leave leftovers, and with such a great number of people in attendance, the family of chefs doubled their quantity in anticipation.

It should be noted, Abdul, Maysaa and son Amer didn’t pick up their plates until every guest in attendance was fed. Standing behind the dishes they proudly served, the family would then explain what each dish was and helped share the best parts to each guest.

Rachel Castillo, a last-minute attendee who tagged along with her friend and member of Miry’s List, attested to the great opportunity this dinner took to better understand the refugee experience.

“Food is so many things, it’s representative of culture, it’s a way to show love as an action, it connects people to the place that they left, it brings life, and it’s delicious,” said Castillo.

And with having such a rich culture to share, the Kanjo family allowed the food to speak for itself.

Three large picnic tables ladened with trays upon trays of traditional Arabic cuisine were the star of the backyard setting. The smells of the rice and chicken lingered out into the front door, and the spinach and cheese pastries were stacked on top of each other like savory pyramids.

A crowd favorite was the fattoush salad, a simple yet decadent offering that consisted of veggies like cucumber, tomatoes, along with feta cheese and parsley. It stood out with the not-so-common fried pita chips on top, which added a perfect texture and crunch to the whole dish.

On the next table came one of my favorites of the night, baba ghanoush, a dip made of eggplant, tahini sauce, and olive oil. Mixing this with hummus might seem blasphemous but it’s a happy accident, as the two pair wonderfully on warm pita bread.

On top of that came Abdul and Amer Kanjo’s favorite dish, the roasted chicken with potatoes. A wonderful tip that I accidentally stumbled upon by way of stuffing my small plate with as much as I could, is to let the baba ghanoush shake hands with the chicken. Coating the chicken with the eggplant-based dish brings out the best of both worlds. The savory, tender chicken is brought to another level with the earthy flavors of the baba ghanoush.

While all the entrees so far were delicious, it wasn’t until dessert that I found my eyes rolling to the back of my head.

The Kanjos laid out their baklava in the shape of a heart smack dab in the middle of the table, knowing full well that this was what the people would want.

Baklava is sticky, it’s messy, and it’s hard to get right. Prepared differently than most other baklava, this one lacked the incredibly sticky exterior and kept all of the flavor right in the flaky middle. The bites were tiny, which made for each one to be savored respectfully and patiently.

After savoring my eighth piece of baklava, there was kanafeh, similar to baklava except it had cheese hidden inside of it. That might sound like a weird sweet and savory thing, but this cheese is buried within the sweet excess of sugar this pastry is dipped in. All of that is then topped with kataifi, a shredded and fried dough used to crown desserts, that fell from atop the kanafeh like snowflakes.

At the end of the night, after the toasts were made and dinner had finished, guests mingled pleasantly and it felt like any other family dinner — the goodbyes were long and many thank yous were exchanged.

The Kanjo family considered the night a success. Maysa Kanjo felt she did a mother’s duty by feeding her guests and Adbul Kanjo was glad everyone had a good time.

Now, their goal is to be a good example for other refugee families trying to adjust in the States, and allowing their son to thrive in a world of opportunity.

“Going back home wasn’t an option, so coming here gave us a chance to settle down. And we now live in a peaceful environment and are helped by many. Now we wish for a better future for our kids,” Maysa Kanjo said.

While the Kanjo family might’ve needed a translator to speak extensively to guests, a homemade meal made with love and care is a language anyone can understand.

Dinners like these are an important part of building a community. While they might seem easy to put together, they rely heavily on the public to keep them running. Donations and ticket proceeds are the primary way these families are able to get the essentials they need to thrive in a pricey place like Los Angeles.

Any and all donations towards Miry’s List are encouraged, helping refugee families get the supplies they need to continue these dinners helps grow a loving and diverse neighborhood.

If you are interested in donating to Miry’s List, donation options can be found here.

Categories
Cravings Culture Video

This Pizza Baklava May Have Just Become Our Summer Romance

The minute celebrity chef Josh Elkin left Canada and moved to Los Angeles, he’s been firing on all cylinders when it comes to dope recipes.

The former Prime Minister of Poutine is considered a jack of many trades. He can cook, he can rap, he’s romantic, and he can style hair better than most people we’ve met.

In his latest video, Elkin creates an amalgam of Italy and the Middle East in the form of this wonderful Pizza Baklava.

Baklava is a Middle Eastern dessert made from phyllo dough that’s layered together meticulously with chopped nuts and honey. Pizza, as we all know, originates from Italy and is life.

We don’t say this lightly, but we might be in love.

Check out the video to see how you can make this insane item from the comforts of your very own home. Because it’s part pizza, feel free to get creative with your toppings.

A post shared by Josh Elkin (@thejoshelkin) on

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Recipes

How to Make Bacon Baklava – Yes, You Heard It Right

Bacon Baklava 24 Seven Cookbook Recipe

We’re guilty. We know we talk about bacon a lot. Heck, it’s more than a lot – it’s frequent to the point of annoyance. See the Bacon Weave Breakfast Burger, Bacon-Wrapped Star of David or this Custom Bacon Snapback Hat. However, once you taste the gloriously brined and crispy texture, the frequency of coverage doesn’t matter since with every perfect strip, weave or bit — we’re all born again.

So when I got pitched on a Bacon Cookbook, the initial thought was negative. Another bacon cookbook? More bacon recipes? Luckily, our love for bacon is equally as strong for our love of everything Sriracha (e.g. The Ultimate Sriracha Burger, UV Sriracha Vodka), so I manned up, did the research and found that the BACON 24/SEVEN Cookbook by Theresa Gilliam has found a way to still bring a contemporary flair to the classic of all classics. Some of the recipes include Gingerbread Bacon Waffles, BLT Mac and Cheese, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates and of course the recipe we chose to feature: Bacon Baklava.

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Bacon Baklava

Makes about 24 servings.

What You Need:

  • 1/2 pound raw walnut pieces
  • 1/2 pound raw pistachio meats
  • 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 package (16 ounces) phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup orange flower water or rose water

How to Make It:

  • In a food processor, pulse the nuts until they are ground, but not turned into meal. Add the bacon, sugar, and cardamom and pulse a few more times until the nut mixture is finely chopped and evenly blended.
  • Begin layering the baklava. Brush a jellyroll pan, or sheet pan with sides, generously with the melted butter. Unroll the phyllo dough and cover the sheets with a piece of plastic wrap and a damp towel. This keeps the sheets from drying out while you are layering the baklava. Read the package for detailed handling instructions.
  • Place a sheet of phyllo on the sheet pan and brush it with melted butter. Repeat with 6 more sheets of phyllo dough and butter for a total of 7 sheets. You do not have to cover every last inch of the phyllo with butter, but try and have it evenly dispersed between all of the layers. Spread 1/ 3     cup of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo. Top the nuts with two more buttered sheets of phyllo. Continue sprinkling with  1/ 3 cup of the nut mixture adding two sheets of buttered phyllo until all of the nut mixture is used. Top with a final layer of 7 buttered phyllo sheets.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the uncooked baklava into 24 diamond shapes. Bake the baklava until it is brown and crisp, 30-35 minutes.
  • While the baklava is baking, combine the water, sugar, and honey in a saucepan. Gradually heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon stick and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, add the orange flower water and cool slightly. Pour the syrup evenly over the baklava as soon as it comes out of the oven. Make sure you get the syrup in every crack and crevice. Leave to soak for several hours. Serve at room temperature and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Baconcover

 

Reprinted with permission from BACON 24/SEVEN, by Theresa Gilliam. Published by Countryman Press. Photos copyright (c) 2013 by EJ Armstrong.

Categories
Recipes Sweets

Jalapeno Beer Baklava

Baklava is a nut-filled dessert that can typically be purchased at Greek restaurants, but did you know that it didn’t originate in Greece. Many groups will claim Baklava as their own. However, it is widely believed that it is of Assyrian origin. Around 8th century B.C., Assyrians baked thin layers of dough with nuts, poured honey over it, and created this awesome treat. So what better to do then to mess with thousands of years of tradition, by adding jalapeños and beer to the mix. Apparently by doing so there is no spicy burn at all, and the alcohol doesn’t jump out at you as being beer. Check out the recipe in the source. (Thx Homebrewtalk)

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Cravings Sweets

Baklava Baked In A Cupcake

Working with food and seeing amazing creations everyday, we’re no strangers to drooling on the job. But it’s those rare moments in the week where you get to see a creation that has a certain wit, flair and smartness to it. I’d like to give that nod to these crazy cupcakes. Megan Seling‘s excellent pairing of a homemade baklava, drenched with the typical honey and rosewater syrup, then subsequently baked into a honey vanilla cupcake is interesting enough. But in order to hold up the integrity of the Baklava, she’s included a spiced buttercream frosting on the dome with a sprinkle of salty pistachios. I think it’s fair to say there is a fair amount of winning in this particular recipe.