Balinese Sambal Matah

Many of you may or may not have heard of sambal. Sambal itself is typically a mixture of chilies and a variety of other ingredients making it one really, really good condiment. Most of us are probably aware of the default Asisan sambal oelek, the red condiment found in Asian markets, or in your ethnic aisle at your grocery store, however there are lots of other varieties. Sambal matah is one of those, and it’s a force to be reckoned with. Simple ingredients make this sambal super addicting.

Sambal Matah Recipe
Sambal Matah Recipe

This is what is known as a raw sambal using fresh ingredients such as chilies, shallots, and lemongrass.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 5 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 8 Thai bird’s eye chilies, thinly sliced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, tender parts (near the bottom) only, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (Red Boat or 3 Crab brand)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, warmed until a liquid

That’s it, and trust me when this is all mixed it is a powerhouse of flavor.

Once you have done all of your chopping and slicing, mix everything in a bowl. That’s it.

This sambal matah goes great (in my opinion) with pretty much anything. I’ve even caught myself just eating it by the spoonful. If you love the combination of shallots and chilies, then this will be right up your alley. This sambal is sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator (if it lasts that long) and serve as a condiment with your favorite dishes throughout the week.

You can find the fish sauce, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves at any of your local Asian markets. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Baklava using D’Vash

I find it interesting that over the last few months there are a couple of boxes of fillo dough and puff pastry in my freezer. I’m almost certain I had a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head during those purchases, but it was not until team members from D’Vash Organics contacted me once again to partner with them in creating yet another great recipe using their amazing D’Vash Date Nectar.  That’s when I knew exactly what I was going to make. A traditional baklava, in some ways, but using D’Vash date nectar in replace of honey. The result was mind blowing to say the least.

Homemade Baklava using D'Vash
Homemade Baklava using D’Vash

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 rolls or 1 box of fillo dough, thawed
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups of shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups of walnuts
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of D’Vash date nectar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Start by making your sweet sauce that will be used after the baklava has baked. You will want to do this ahead so that it has time to cool.

Add 3/4 cup of sugar, water, lemon juice, and D’Vash date nectar to a small pot. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, then once boiling reduce the heat and cook for about 5 more minutes. Stir along the way. After 5 minutes, remove from the heat and let it cool.

Now the backbreaking work. Just kidding. This is the only time consuming part, and if you are having your kids help, this can take a bit of patience as unlayering each piece of fragile fillo can be a bit nerve wracking. Just make sure your fillo dough is completely thawed. I set mine out the day before and place it in the refrigerator overnight for a day or two to ensure it is completely thawed.

Get a baking sheet out, or if your are super detailed get a baking dish out that will fit your sheet of fillo dough. I go with my baking sheet and make sure that when I layer each fillo that it matches up with the previous fillo dough.

Make the sugar and nut mixture. To a food processor, or use a knife if you desire, pulse the nuts into a fine chop. Add the nuts to a bowl along with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon and give that a good mix.

Get your bowl of melted butter ready along with a pastry brush. Unroll a roll of fillo and get ready to baklava!

Place 10 fillo sheets onto the baking sheet one at a time, and brush each sheet with butter once it’s in the pan before adding the next sheet of fillo.  After the 10th sheet, spread about 1/5 of nut mixture over the fillo dough.

Do the same process, but this time layer only 5 sheets, buttering each sheet, then on the 5th sheet, top with the nut and sugar mixture.

Do this about 4 more times with the 5 sheet layer process, then on the final top, go back to the 10 stack of fillo, ensuring that all nut mixture is used up before layering the top 10 sheets of fillo.

Butter the top of the 10th sheet, then gently push down and form the baklava.

Homemade Baklava Ingredients using D'Vash
Homemade Baklava Ingredients using D’Vash

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Now let’s cut the baklava. Cut the fillo into about 2 inch strips, lengthwise, then make diagonal cuts to make somewhat of a diamond shape. If you want to keep things simple, just cut into rectangles, it’s up to you.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for about 1 hour, up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Once the baklava is a great golden brown, remove from the oven, and immediately ladle over the cooled syrup you made earlier, ensuring that you get into all of those crevices.

Now the hard part… waiting.

The goal is to not only let the baklava cool, but you want that syrup to penetrate all of that great fillo that you took your time stacking. After about 4 hours, go ahead and try the baklava, but trust me the longer you wait, the better it gets. Kids approved, neighbors and friends approved, and chef approved.

If you are looking for a great treat that will be sure to please everyone (with the exception of those with nut allergies), then give this baklava a try. The replacement of D’Vash really made this baklava stand out. It had this subtle tartness that really made this delicious baklava pop.

If you are wanting to try D’Vash Organics Date Nectar (and I highly recommend it), then head over to their store and pick some up. My lucky readers can use the coupon code DVASHSIMPLECOMFORTFOOD upon check out! Hope you enjoy D’Vash as much as we do!

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

We are probably not unique this time of year whereas we are sitting on a bunch of tomatoes. I’ll admit that my wife loves tomatoes a lot more than I do, but when they are hanging from the vine or loaded in a bowl on my counter from a recent harvest, well I’m about to do something about it. That’s when I typically think about harvesting the rest of our basil from outdoors and making a fresh sauce to be used on pizzas or lightly tossed with some pasta, but this time around I decided to take a generous handful of tomatoes and slowly roast them. Why? Well, because I had some great day old bread on the counter, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil, and that screamed one thing and one thing only. Roasted tomato crostini.

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe
Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

This is a super simple recipe to make, can feed a crowd, and is really delicious especially with the roasted tomatoes.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 loaf day old French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly torn
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • mozzarella balls, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place into the preheated oven, cooking for about 45 minutes

During this time, slice the bread. Remove the tomatoes, and let them cool.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the bread to the oven, and cook just until lightly crisped.

Take the bread out and rub each piece of the bread with the garlic clove.

Chop up the cooled tomatoes, and add to a bowl with the freshly torn basil. Add in the olive oil and gently stir.

Lay out your bread onto a serving tray, and spoon on the tomato and basil mixture.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the mozzarella balls in between some of the crostini for those that want to add a bit of cheese to their bite.

Dig in and enjoy. That lightly toasted garlic bread topped with fresh basil and roasted tomatoes really make this a perfect bite for any occasion. Hope you enjoy!

Dill Pickle Peanuts

In the past month we have been harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs from the garden. Typically my wife snags a cucumber and handful of tomatoes for lunch, which is a great thing. Me on the other hand, well, think about ways I can make meals using whatever produce we can harvest. As I was walking along the garden, I realized I had a bunch of dill to use. As I typically love buying fresh dill, the reality is it doesn’t last but a day, if that, before it gets limp and unusable. That is if you don’t freeze it, which I recently found out!

So while looking at the dill, that’s when it popped into my head, why not try making some dill flavored peanuts. I’ve been tinkering with mixed nuts this summer, I love dill, my kids love snacking on nuts, and let’s just see what happens. What happened was pretty darn delicious as a snack.

This recipe is super simple.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Spanish Peanuts
  • 1 tbsp your favorite seasoning blend (make sure it has some dill in it)
  • 1 tbsp dried onion
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh dill fronds, lightly chopped, packed
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Begin by preheating your oven to 325.

To a mixing bowl, add everything but the baking sheet and parchment paper, and give a good toss, incorporating all of the seasoning and oil onto the peanuts.

Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe
Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe

Spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and place into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the peanuts while they are baking and feel free to give them a gentle stir halfway through.

Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts
Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts

Once cooked, remove them from the oven and place them into a serving bowl. Let them cool down before digging in. These are a perfect game day snack, balanced with hints of dill and a seasoning blend. Give these a try if you are looking to use up some dill in the near future! Hope you enjoy!