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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Photo by: FotosVanRobin’s photos via Getty Images
aceite de semillas, aceite de ajonjolí, Ar. dun al-semis, taheeni, Eng. sesame oil. It is extracted from the seeds containing 40-60% fixed oil in the same way as almond oil. There are various types, some are removed from the dried seed itself and others are extracted from the flowers. These have an odor similar to the flowers. It has been used as fuel in lamps, especially in Babylonia where only sesame oil was available. Syrians and Jews incorporated it into their cuisines and medicines. Frequently, the oil has been added to volatile oils and balsams. It is nutritive, demulcent, laxative and emollient. Avenzoar claimed it is not as good as almond oil and was not used as frequently in cooking as it increases stomach gases and produces other alterations. It is less astringent, slower to digest, more pernicious and noxious. It has been popular in pastries. See aceite de almendras. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:50; ES: Shamsuddín Sep 21, 01; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:117; and Stuart. 1987:263]


(The beauty of this recipe is that it can be prepared months ahead of time and freeze it. It can be baked the night before so the day it is to be served it only needs oven space for 5 min. )

Ingredients for Dough

2 pks phyllo dough
sesame oil to brush the dough

Serve with a dip 
1 plain yogurt
1 tbsp chopped mint


Spread one layer of phyllo dough on a cutting board. Brush the topside with sesame oil. Cover the layer with another layer of dough; brush it with oil, and cover this layer with a third and then a fourth layer. Cut the layers into 2” squares or circles. (Cover with a damp cloth while making the filling if not already prepared so that the dough does not dry out.) Brush the edges of the squares or circles with oil, and put 1 tsp of stuffing on each square or circle. Make triangles by folding the squares diagonally or half moons by folding in half and pinch the edges together. (It is good to be creative with the shapes making one type of filling in one shape and another type of filling in another.)

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350º F / 180º C

Brush cookies sheets with oil. Put the pasties on them and bake 25 minutes. Pasties can be baked in advance reheated for 5 minutes on 400º F / 200º C to make them crisp.
Eggplant Fritters – Molley
(With a parsley Christmas tree)
Photo by: avlxyz
For about 40 pasties:

1 eggplant
3 slices of white bread, crumbled without the crust (1 cup)
3 tsp coriander ground
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mashed saffron
1 tsp chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp. chopped almonds
½ tbsp chopped walnuts
1 hard-boiled chopped egg
salt to taste


Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the cut sides with salt and place them face down on a paper towel for 30 minutes. Rinse off the salt with cold water and pat dry.

 Put the eggplant in a saucepan. Add 1 tsp salt and cover with water. Bring it to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes. Remove from the eggplant from the water, pat dry and let cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin.

Mash the flesh to a pulp in a blender. Add the bread and spices. Blend this mixture well. glass from the blender and stir in the nuts and egg.  Use this as stuffing for half the pasties.

For about 40 pasties)

Spinach pastry from Shilla
Photo by: yarn abuse

2 lbs spinach
2 tbsp. sesame oil 
1 sm onion chopped
2 cloves mashed garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
1/3 c Parmesan cheese

Wash the spinach. Put it in a pan without adding water. Heat until the spinach has lost its volume. Drain well; squeeze to remove the last excess water. Then chop.

Heat sesame oil in a frying pan. Reduce to simmer and add the onion and then the garlic. When it begins to brown, about 5 minutes, add the spices. Mix and add the spinach. Stir-fry until well mixed.
Let the spinach cool to room temperature before stuffing. Beat the egg yolk and mix it with the spinach and the cheese. 

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