Friday, April 25, 2014

Middle Eastern Snacks 101: Green Almond لوز أخضر

Spring is here, at least in California. Actually Spring never left California this year, this has been a hot dry winter. So how do we know that Spring is here? Green Almonds! In the Middle East you know that spring is here when you see green almonds in the store. Green almonds are just young unripe almonds. The almonds are still soft and the shell is still green, crunch and slightly sour. You eat green almonds by dipping them in some salt. I prefer to use sea salt. It is important to wash them thoroughly in cold water because they have some fuzz. I know that I sometimes sound like a broken record but I am so lucky to be living in California where almond orchards are abundant. You can find green almonds in Middle Eastern markets from April to early June. As almonds ripen, the shell becomes hard and inedible, but of course it is protecting a delicious snack inside it. How beautiful and perfect nature is!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Black Forest Cake A La Libanese: Happy Birthday to Me!

The problem with being the baker in the family is that I get to bake everybody's birthday cake and I am expected to bake my own birthday cake! But there is a silver lining to every cloud, I get to pick the cake. Black Forest or Forêt Noire is one of my favorite cakes, but not any Forêt Noire, and definitely not the original German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. The Original dessert is made with layers of chocolate cake filled with layers of whipped cream and cherries. Cherry liqueur is sprinkled on the chocolate cake before layering it and is absorbed by the cake. Then it is frosted with whipped cream and decorated with chocolate flakes and cherries that had been soaking in the same liqueur.