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Chosen as one of 16 Volumes Worth Staining by The Washington Post Since marrying into an Egyptian family ten years ago and traveling extensively in the region, culinary expert Amy Riolo has been discovering the cuisine of Arabia at lavish parties and palaces, in simpler homes, stylish restaurants, and marketplaces. Now she brings this rich and exotic cuisine to American cooks of all levels, giving time-honored techniques, step-by-step recipes, and lively menus for many occasions and the everyday. Sample breakfast delights like Wild Thyme Glazed Croissants. Savor Gulf-Style Calamari Soup and Chicken Kabsah, a delicious rice and chicken casserole that exudes the aroma of dried limes and the traditional Saudi spice mix. Dip into delicious dessert recipes like Melon K nafeh, and Chocolate Covered-Almond Filled Dates. Sip mouthwatering drinks like Rose Water Cooler, and a variety of Arabian cocktails like Golden Dream, made with mandarin juice, peach, honey, saffron and milk. Though Amy Riolo entertains like an Arabian princess, she is a practical American, as she reveals how to create an Arabian tea party worthy of royalty, and a Laylat ul Henna, the ultimate girls' night in, when brides-to-be gather with female friends and family members for a night full of beauty, pampering, henna-tattooing, music, dancing, and of course, an array of tempting culinary treats. Most ingredients are available at your local supermarket, though the 'Where to Buy Guide' gives mail-order sources for any that may be hard to find.
Sample a recipe from Arabian Delights from A Royal Wedding Menu: Eggplant, Tomato, and Chili Pepper Salad ( Salata Bat njan bil Tomatum wa Filfil) This is a hot and healthy salad that takes only minutes to prepare. It works well on buffets or as a simple side dish during a busy weeknight. When choosing eggplants, look for small ones with smooth, shiny skin and no bruises. Tomatoes should be bright red, firm, and kept outside of the refrigerator to yield the best flavors. 2 1/2 cups canola oil, divided 4 small (4- to 5-inch-long) eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices 4 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices 3 green chili peppers, seeded 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar Salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Pinch of chili powder or paprika Plain yogurt for garnish, if desired Heat 2 cups canola oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully lower eggplant slices into pan. Do not crowd skillet. Fry eggplant 3 to 5 minutes per side until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a platter lined with paper towels. Continue with remaining eggplant. Fry roma tomatoes in the same manner and place onto a platter lined with paper towels. Fry chili peppers in the same manner and place onto a platter lined with paper towels.
Whisk remaining 1/2 cup canola oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili powder or paprika together in a small bowl to form a dressing. Place fried eggplant, tomato, and pepper slices onto a large serving platter. Top with dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4.
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