Baklava Rolls

A friend recently asked me to help her make Baklava for her son’s wedding as I had made it many times in the past. It might look difficult to make but it’s pretty simple, and also freezes well… so it is the perfect pastry for a big event!  Since I know another friend who makes them quite often, I called her to compare our recipes and in addition, got a few extra tips from her.

I typically prefer to use the Athens brand of filo(or phyllo) dough which has 2 sealed packets of rolls so if I don’t need a large quantity I can halve the recipe. (There are other brands which come in long rolls with only one sealed packet.) IMG_1749Its easier to roll up the pastry, versus making the traditionally shaped baklava.  I froze the baklava in the cookie tray that I baked them in, covered with heavy duty aluminum foil.  When ready to use them, simply thaw out and arrange the pieces on your serving platter.

Ingredients

1 package of filo dough, thawed
3 cups shelled walnuts, pulsed in a food processor (not too fine or coarse)

IMG_17363/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
4 ounces (1 stick of butter) melted till the solids separate out (or ghee)

Syrup:

1 1/4 sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lime juice

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Use a cookie sheet with sides, and brush the entire pan with butter.

Remove 2 sheets of filo pastry, (keep the remaining pastry sheets covered by a damp cloth) brush very lightly with butter.IMG_1739

Fold the pastry in half, and then take about 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture and place it along one side.

IMG_1741Roll the pastry up tightly. Brush again with butter and stack along the width of the cookie sheet. Continue with the remaining pastry sheets.IMG_1742

Trim the ends and score into 5 to 6 pieces along the entire length (not cut cutting all the way through). As you can tell, I completely forgot to trim the ends before baking to make it look neater!IMG_1737

Bake for 25 minutes until the rolls are medium brown. While baking, make the syrup.

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Syrup:

Place the sugar, water, honey and lime juice in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar has melted. Continue to simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.

Pour the hot syrup over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. When cool remove to serving platter. (If freezing, cover with heavy duty aluminum foil) Garnish with extra chopped walnuts.

Makes about 144 rolls. IMG_1747

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Cilantro-Jalapeño Fish (or Chicken)

A few years ago I was looking for an interesting healthy and low calorie dish and came across a recipe for a marinade. I added a few more ingredients and it became one of our favorite Asian-fusion recipes. I originally used it for chicken but after my daughter tried it as a marinade with fish we realized it was great with both. This has been one of our favorites as it is easy – all the ingredients are added to a blender jar and blended.

I put the fish in a foiled lined glass dish which makes the clean up even quicker. The chicken is skewered and then also broiled or grilled. There is no oil in the recipe but if you’d like you can use cooking spray on top of the fish or chicken. The great thing is that you can make extra marinade and freeze it to use another time.

Cilantro-Jalapeño Fish

6  filets of Tilapia

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup honey

2 bunches cilantro, leaves and stems (approximately 4 cups)

2 jalapeño peppers (more or less, according to taste)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3-4  garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.

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Pour enough marinade over the fish to cover it.

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Set aside for 1/2 hour. Place the dish on the middle rack of the oven and broil for approximately 5 minutes, until the fish is done.  After broiling the marinade becomes a dark green.

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Serve with the remaining marinade and slices of lemon.

Cilantro-Jalapeño Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes (about 2 pounds)

Reserve 1/2 cup of marinade to serve with the chicken. Marinade the cubed chicken in the remaining marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the broiler and place the oven rack one shelf from the top.

Skewer the chicken pieces and grill or place under the broiler, for approximately 4 minutes on each side.  Serve with reserved marinade and lemon slices.

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