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Those who know me well also know that I like to experiment and nothing fascinates me more than a new ingredient that I have no idea how to use and that I haven’t heard of before.

mahleb

mahleb

This time that ingredient is something called Mahleb which is also known as Mahlab, Mahalab, Mahlepi or Mahlebi. Mahleb has roots in Turkish, Armenian, Syrian, Lebanese and Greek baking. It is a bittersweet and fragrant spice made from the innerkernel of the sour black cherry pit. The fragrance is somewhat floral and reminiscent of almonds and cherries. 

I’ve done a little research and discovered that it is best used in baked goods in the same kind of quantity that you would use something like nutmeg. Two of the recipes it is commonly used in are Cheoreg (Armenian Coffee Cake) and Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread).

I purchased whole Mahleb from my favorite spice store, The Spice House, and I will need to grind it before using. I’m still not exactly sure as to how I am going to use it but I will post any recipes here if I have success with it. I’m hoping to create a recipe that is totally unique and pushes the envelope a bit. The flavor apparently pairs well with tea so I see some sort of breakfast cake concoction in my future.

Here are the links to a few other recipes I found online…

Mahleb Syrup
Armenian Butter Cookies
Flaounes (Easter Cheese Pies)
Ma’amoul (Lebanese Filled Cookies)

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bamboo rice & red quinoa

bamboo rice & red quinoa

I love it when the mail-lady comes to my door with a parcel. Often times it is gear to review for our website Outdoor Adventure Canada or copies of newspapers and magazines that my cookbook has been reviewed in. Then there are days like today where the parcel is some unusual ingredient that I have purchased online last Thursday. Talk about speedy delivery!

Today’s ingredients arrived from a company called Shalit Foods who is a Canadian distributor for Indian Harvest. I am very impressed with the ease of ordering and the delivery time.

I ordered 2 pounds of red quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) which is often more difficult to find than the more traditional white quinoa. I also ordered 2 pounds of bamboo infused rice. The bamboo rice is a really pretty shade of pale green.

I plan to use these ingredients to create some new dishes for my second backcountry cookbook and for the mainstream cookbook I am working on. I might even have to share a few sneak peeks on Craveable.

daikon radish sprouts — day 4

daikon radish sprouts — day four

It’s day 4 for the daikon radish sprouts and I’ve noticed that these grow a tiny bit slower than some of the other varieties I’ve grown. With that said, they should be ready for consumption tomorrow. I can’t wait.

Daikon radish sprouts have a mild radish flavor. Next time I might try China Rose radish sprouts which have a bit more bite. The China Rose variety are also quite pretty with a pink hue.

As you can see, the sprouts have little green leaves and the hulls have fallen away. The volume in the mason jar has also increased. These are going to be delicious on a roast chicken sandwich made with some sort of Artisan or Farmer’s bread.

daikon radish sprouts day three

daikon radish sprouts — day three

Well it is the morning of day three for my daikon radish sprouts. I can’t wait until late Monday or Tuesday when they are big enough to use in a nice wrap or on a sandwich.

If you are growing sprouts you have to remember to rinse/water them twice a day. Once they reach the desired size you can stop watering and put them in the fridge.

I thought I’d share a photo of the progress just so you can see how simply and easy this process is.

It is a great thing to do with your young children too. After all, we all remember the seed in the little cup with the damp paper towel and how exciting it was to see it grow.

I’ve been blogging at www.wildernesscooking.com for quite some time now and starting a more mainstream cooking blog was bound to happen sooner or later.  I love to cook and  share my cooking experiences with others which is only fitting seeing as I am a published cookbook author and am working on a second book.

So what’s going on in the craveable kitchen today?

daikon radish sprouts

first day of sprouting

Well I am growing sprouts in a mason jar on my counter. It’s pretty easy to do. All you need is a clean glass jar, a small piece of cheesecloth, an elastic, water and some sprouting seeds.

I started the daikon radish seeds on Thursday around 3:00 pm. I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of sprouting seeds from www.sprouting.com to 1 cup of water in my mason jar. I gave them a swirl and let the seeds rest in the water until about 8:30 pm. Then I put the cheesecloth and elastic on the bottle and drained the water. I sat the jar upside down in a bowl for about 30 minutes to let them drain well.

Friday morning I rinsed and drained them and I am about to do another rinse before I go to bed.

By Monday or Tuesday I should have a great crop of spicy sprouts for wraps, sandwiches, salads or a garnish for soup.

I’ll post another photo later in the day on Saturday or early Sunday morning so you can see the progress for yourself.