Blog

Semsek Recipe

Oh the LOVE I have for Semsek! This is literally a small side dish that I look forward to for every family gathering. So easy to make, even though there are a lot of steps, but it’s once you pop them into the fryer and start eating, you won’t know when to stop! You’ll thank me later. P.S. my favorite ones are the ones with potatoes! Yes I know carbs on carbs on carbs but it’s sooooo worth it! So let’s start!

 

For the potato filling you’re basically going to be making Mashed Potatoes but with a Middle Eastern twist on it. Here’s what you’re going to need:

 

Potato Filling:

  • 8 Russet Potatoes; Peeled cut into 8
  • 1 White Onion; Chopped
  • as needed salt
  • As needed Mild Aleppo Crushed Pepper
    • If not found you can substitute it for chili flakes

Procedure:

  1. Boil salted water in a pot and add in potatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes. You’re going to be looking for a tender yet firm. Drain out the potatoes and smash them until somewhat smooth; leaving a few chunks is good for this specific recipe. Set in bowl and put aside to cool.
  2. In a separate saucepan heat about 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and then add onions to sauté. Once cooked throughout add in salt and crushed peppers or chili flakes as needed to bring out taste. Add in potatoes and give it a quick stir until all incorporated. Turn off heat and put aside until the time to stuff and sealing of the dough comes.

 

Now here’s what you’re going to need for the meat filling if you decide that you want to opt out the potatoes for the meat.

 

Meat Filling:

  • 2lbs 80/20 Ground Beef
  • 2 Cup Cooked Rice
  • 1 Whole White Onion; finely chopped
  • as needed salt
  • as needed pepper
  • as needed Mild Aleppo Crushed Pepper
    • If not found you can substitute it for chili flakes

Procedure:

  1. Heat up a large pan and add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. When you see ridges starting to form within the oil add onions and cook them until they become translucent. Add in salt, pepper and chili flakes. Once it becomes translucent and spices are added start putting in ground beef chunk by chunk, breaking it down and cooking the meat. You want to make sure that the meat is completely cooked throughout.
  2. Add in cooked rice and mix together until a somewhat mushy consistency is formed. At this point you can go ahead and taste to see if there it any more salt or pepper you’d like to add to bring the flavors all together.
  3. Set aside and cool until stuffing of the dough.

 

SEMSEK TIME!

Now for the dough you’re going to be using puff pastry. I buy the ones that are already pre-cut in circles or squares found in the frozen section of your local supermarket…

 

Hint: head towards the side of the international frozen goods!

 

  1. The first step you want to do before stuffing is to get a fry pan and fill it up halfway with frying oil. Place it on the stovetop on high heat in order for it to get hot enough in time for you to fry the semsek.

 

  1. Next step you’re going to want to make sure you have a clean big surface to work with. Now when it comes to filling these cuties up I don’t like using your ordinary culinary terms “tablespoon” Find the biggest spoon you have in your utensil drawer and that’s what you’ll be using to fill up the puff pastry.

 

So go on…start filling away!

 

  1. Once filling is placed on one end of the dough, take one beaten egg and brush against the edges of the puff pastry, then fold over the other side and seal tight with a fork pressing to create little lines all the way across. Not only will this completely seal your puff pastry but it will also give it a rustic design once it’s fried and ready to plate for serving.

 

  1. Gently place one semsek into the fryer and you should be getting bubbles forming all around….if this is not happening when you put in the semsek wait a bit for the oil to heat up more before putting in the next one. You want to place it in there for about 3 minutes or until GBD (Golden, Brown & Delicious) before flipping it over for the other side to cook. Once you see the beautiful golden color place on a paper towel lined pan and wait for cooling before enjoying!

 

And that all there’s left to this yummy savory filled fried puff pastry goodness! We usually prepare these for special occasions or family gathering but, they’re also the perfect side dish for those summertime BBQ’s cooking up! Whether you make it for a gathering or just for fun to try it out, please let me know! I’d love to hear all about your experience while making these and more importantly what you think of the taste!

 

Make sure to follow our Instagram page: @palateperspective and subscribe to this blog! All of the photos from the food we talk about on here are posted there first so make sure to go ahead and check it out! Thanks for reading!

Mediterranean Shrimp Salad

Ingredients:

2 Romaine Lettuce Heads

½ Bunch Green Basil; Finely Chopped

½ Bunch Red Basil; Finely Chopped

½ Bunch Cilantro; Finely Chopped

¼ Bunch Parsley; Finely Chopped

¼ Bunch Mint; Finely Chopped

2 Tomatoes; Roughly Chopped

3 Persian Cucumbers; Cut into fourths

½ Head White Onions; Roughly Chopped

½ Cup Cooked Shrimp

 

Follow the cutting instructions and place everything into large sized salad bowl, big enough for mixing. I love having all these aromatic herbs such as mint, basil and cilantro in there as it gives such strong flavors that make a beautifully tasting combination. You’re really going to enjoy the fresh and bold taste of all these ingredients combined! And now the time has come for my infamous Mediterranean Salad dressing to top it all off. Here’s what you’re going to need:

 

Dressing:

¼ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 ½ Lemons; Squeeze Lemon Juice

¼ tsp. Dried Mint Flakes

¼ tsp. Aleppo Pepper Flakes

2 Garlic Cloves; Minced

1/8 tsp. Salt

 

 

All you have to do is combing all these ingredients in a bowl and whisk it all together until you see it all coming together. You want to look for a clouded consistency when looking in the bowl and that’s how you’ll know when everything is combined and ready to be tossed in with the rest of the ingredients in the salad bowl. Go ahead and give the dressing a taste before tossing everything all together and you can always add more lemon or salt to your own taste and liking! Next step is to just toss everything all together, place your portion into your own little bowl and enjoy it!

 

I would love to hear feedback from you guys who go ahead and try this recipe. It’s a perfect recipe for seafood lovers that want a take on a light summer and spring fresh salad; plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s so simple to make right at home!

Make sure to follow our Instagram page: @palateperspective and subscribe to this blog! All of the photos from the food we talk about on here are posted there first so make sure to go ahead and check it out! Thanks for reading!

FullSizeRender 3

JUICING GOODNESS

DIY JUICING

It first took me a while to get into the idea of investing into a blender in order to use for juicing fresh fruits and vegetables for my daily morning intake. But now it is something that I use just about every day and it makes everything so much easier as it also saves money in my pocket. I was used to having things made for me, aka Jamba Juice, but things changed after I realized how many unnecessary sugars are added and used to make their smoothie beverages. Why can’t the natural sugars that are contained within fresh fruits and vegetables shine on their own with no frozen yogurts and artificially flavor juices added into them? I mean, hey to each his own but wouldn’t you rather have the fully vitamin and antioxidants enter your body in its purest form? I think yes!

 

I personally use the NutriBullet juicer but you can use any other blender or juicer of your own liking to create a variety of delicious flavors for your juice. The thing I like the most about the NutriBullet is that it’s super easy to clean up after preparing the drink and it even comes with an attachment to make the blender cup piece your very own to-go cup to take with you out on the road or even to your own backyard. Another one I highly recommend next to the NutriBullet is the Ninja! I used this all throughout my journey in culinary school and I absolutely fell in love with it for more than the many reasons that I can state….just know that everything you consumer after using both products comes out smooth and blended amazingly with it’s natural flavors glowing through.

 

Here is my most favorite juice that is packed with so many vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients that it keeps me going for the entire day! Note that there aren’t any exact measurements to this juicing it’s all based on your own Palate Perspective.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Spinach
  • Fresh Italian Parsley
  • Strawberry
  • Blueberry
  • White Grapes
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • POM 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • Water

 

Remember that when using a NutriBullet there is a tiny marked line on the cup labeled MAX so don’t let your liquids such as the water or pomegranate juice pass that line, other than that pack on the nutrients of fresh fruits, vegetables and seeds. Being Middle-Eastern we usually go with the “little bit of this, little bit of that” measurements so just get creative to your own liking!

 

Hope that this was a somewhat helpful post towards the world of juicing and remember to just have fun with anything you decide to create! I’d love to hear about some of the other combinations that you have or are willing to try, so please leave a comment in the section below!

 

Make sure to follow our Instagram page: @palateperspective and subscribe to this blog! All of the photos from the food we talk about on here are posted there first so make sure to go ahead and check it out! Thanks for reading!

VIVA LAS VEGAS

When in Vegas you think of the glam, the lights, gambling, clubbing and seeing the beautiful people from all around the world come together to see and experience one of the biggest tourist attractions all for one thing…the fun and making your own memories with the people that surround you. Also don’t forget the fact of making the memories that withhold the title of “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas” 😉 But the one huge factor that a lot of people are blinded on when going to Vegas is the amazing, one of a kind restaurants to wine and dine and to experience some of the finest foods you can eat in the world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for a one of a kind treat if you have the opportunity to ever experience fine dining in Las Vegas, then take that opportunity and run with it as if your life depended on it. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here, but seriously if you want to do Vegas the right way, make sure to treat yourself to one or two of these exquisite restaurants that the city has to offer.

I’m going to be telling you about my top 3 favorites from this last trip because that’s just how rave worthy the experiences were!

Let’s start off with our first evenings dinner at PRIME by Jean George at the Bellagio hotel, and all I can say is…..O.M.G! Before I start on the food just let me say that the environment and surrounding of the restaurant itself is gorgeous. Being able to eat exquisite food and watching the Bellagio waters dance through the balcony view of the restaurant is one to mesmerize you and make you want to take your time to enjoy the experience as a whole. PRIME offers an amazing selection of steaks and seafood. We started off with their We each enjoyed their house special for the night, which was their Surf and Turf: Filet Mignon and South African Lobster Tail. Never have I had a Surf and Turf this full of flavor and satisfaction! I know for a fact that if I were to go there again and if they were offering that dish I hands down would order it again. I can still taste the buttery and salted flavor of the lobster with it’s incredible fluffy texture it was something that I’ve never tasted before alongside the perfect cooked medium rare filet mignon. PRIME is definitely my must GO-TO restaurant in Vegas and I will be returning time and time again.

The second day we went to the most fabulous of all brunches in Vegas to this little restaurant called LAGO by Julian Serrano, which is again located inside of the Bellagio. You again have this gorgeous view as you enjoy their special Sunday Brunch menu. Bottomless Mimosas? Definitely come my waaaay! I absolutely adore this little place and the fact that it has a one of a kind view with it’s completely glass windows surrounding the entire restaurant you get the gorgeous views of the Bellagio waters dancing as one of a kind entertainment to enjoy your meal. Of course with their bottomless mimosas, it’s hard to say no to order one of those, but if you’re not feeling the mimosa mood try their Blueberry Cucumber Mist cocktail and trust me you will not regret it. It’s the perfect mixture of sweetness and crisp fresh tastes of cucumber to kick start your brunch with a starter of their Ratatouille Bruschetta. And as for your entrée trying the Eggplant Parmesan Benedict is out of this world! There really isn’t anything else like it. Soft, perfect coated with bread crumbs eggplant slices with marinara plus poached egg on top? I mean what more could you ask for! Best part is that it is a complete vegetarian meal and 100% SOY-FREE to not make you feel as if you have entered into a food coma right after eating. Portions are like tapa style but don’t let that intimidate you, you will leave feeling very satisfied with what you ate because as we all know, you NEED to save room for dessert. For Sunday Brunch they have a dessert station where you can go and grab so many different amazing sweets to top off your meal, but the one huge thing I recommend trying is their Cannoli’s! Sweet mascarpone creamy filling with a hint of lemon for that right amount of tartness is literally perfect! It’s served with candied pistachios that are tossed in powdered sugar and topped off with edible gold leaf flakes for the luxurious feel….and let me tell you, you’re going to feel luxurious!

That same evening we went down to the Aria Hotel and dined at a exquisite Italian restaurant called Carbone. Again I would give this a 5 out of 5 stars and as I am raving about all of these restaurants I’m sure you know what type of review is coming your way. Carbone has a very romantic, Dracula, red and black dark tones, type of feel to it and makes you actually feel like you’re no longer in Vegas but actually in Italy dining at a high end restaurant among the locals. The waiters, known as “Your Captain” at Carbone give customer service like no other, really making you feel comfortable and that your request is something they will make sure to get done. To the point where if you’re feeling cold they’ll bring a coat for you from the back to keep you warm and comfortable…(this has happened to me and I was beyond impressed). For starters, their Caesar Alla ZZ salad is a must have! This is made tableside and you can tell your Captain if you have to have any modifications made (we took out the anchovies cause we just can’t deal). Everything here is served family style so we took it upon ourselves to let everyone choose a dish and see what we come up with on the table. We ended up with their Spicy Rigatoni Vodka (MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE), Meatballs, Dover Piccata, Potatoes Louie and lastly their Carpaccio Piemontese. There really isn’t the amount of words to describe how incredible everything tasted…one more than the other and then back…hope I didn’t just confuse you but let’s just say it was that good!!! Ask the Sommelier to choose out a wine that would go great with this meal and they will not disappoint, bringing you the perfect glass to go with the whole meal. This little place has definitely become one of my absolute favorite Italian spot in all of Vegas and I highly HIGHLY recommend it!

So here’s the breakdown: Craving Italian? Carbone at the Aria has got you covered! How about early brunch? LAGO at the Bellagio will never disappoint with their Sunday Brunch! Intimate setting steak house? PRIME by Jean George in the Bellagio is perfect with the gorgeous view of the Bellagio waters making it a once in a lifetime experience. There’s so many options to choose from you’ll need an entire 3-day weekend of non-stop eating to experience everything, but that’s the good thing about Vegas, it’s not too far to always go back and experience something new during every trip.

I know this one was a longer read, but thank you so much for taking the time to read it and I hope you enjoyed it and that you will maybe look into going to these places for your next visit in the amazing Las Vegas!

Make sure to follow our Instagram page: @palateperspective and subscribe to this blog! All of the photos from the food we talk about on here are posted there first so make sure to go ahead and check it out! Thanks for reading!

The Church Key

You’ve got to love finding new little spots to dine at in West Hollywood! The Church Key is someplace that my friends have mentioned to me a couple times before and have raved about their delicious food (especially their brioche donuts)…now that I experienced it for myself, I can definitely join that hype. So here is the story:

Before going to dine at any restaurant I always check out their menus just to see if there’s anything that catches my eye and what their popular items seem to be, so going in I was prepared to order. I decided to start off with the “Stuffed Avocado”-minus the avocado due to my unfortunate allergy-basically leaving the plate to be a beautifully dressed up Ahi Tuna Tartare. The thing I loved about this dish was that you could taste how fresh each and every ingredient was and how it was handled to create such an appetizing starter without it’s star ingredient…the avocado, so sorry avocado, but the tuna won this time around! For my entrée, which I may add ended up arriving to our table before the appetizer did, I took the bolder move and ordered the Tapioca Crusted Tai Snapper, which surprised me, the most out of this entire meal. I’m not usually one to enjoy seafood like Snapper but this was probably one of the most flavorfully creative seafood dishes I have ever tasted with it’s Thai fusion inspired take on the dish. Definitely was a must try and I recommend that dish to everyone that does ever dine at The Church Key.

And finally for the best part: dessert! Of course I had to go with their famous brioche donuts that are covered in a brown butter glaze and filled with cinnamon caramel! Let me just tell you, everything that you have ever heard from anyone about these amazing little fried hot goodies is 100% true! It is bursting with all types of different flavors that blend perfectly as they melt in your mouth with every bite. I honestly would just go to this restaurant just for these donuts…luckily they also sell them by the mini dozen so, as you might’ve guessed I definitely took some home for the family to try. Can’t wait to go back here and try out their happy hour and their “CKFC” Tuesdays!

Best believe there will definitely be posts about that happy hour…

Stay tuned…this weekend I hit Las Vegas and will be posting about the exquisite restaurants we take on in sin city.

 

Give us a follow our Instagram page: @palateperspective for live posts and live streams! Thanks for reading make sure to click that Subscribe button to be the first notified about new posts!

Blu Jam Café

Blu Jam Café…if you have never heard about it, please look it up, and if you haven’t been yet then I don’t really have an idea as to what you’re waiting for. This cozy little spot happens to have 4 locations in Los Angeles and is one of my favorites to go to for a casual Sunday Brunch. For those with special dietary needs, the delicious items on the menu can also be made gluten-free and vegan. Blu Jam Café is known for their very own unique creation of “Crunchy French Toast” and is a must-have when dining. The plate is big enough to share with a serving of 8 pieces per order to go around the table, but with this amazing taste you probably won’t want to share. The café is well known for their different breakfast items that are sure to keep you fulfilled and satisfied with great taste. During my first visit, I tried their breakfast quesadilla and that has been my go-to dish ever since, but all the other items on their menu such as their Blueberry Pancakes, Tex-Mex Burger and El Paso Chicken Sandwich, is definitely worth trying and looks so yummy with their home-style plating. If you ever find yourself in the Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana or Calabasas I highly suggest going into Blu Jam Café to grab a bite to eat. Not only will you feel comfortable and happy with their caring service but also your stomach will be extremely happy with you!

Menu Favorites:

  • Breakfast Quesadilla
  • Crunchy French Toast
  • Blueberry Pancakes
  • Tex-Mex Burger
  • El Paso Chicken Sandwich