Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The 2nd Annual Sister's Retreat: What Makes a Fabulous Muslimah?


This weekend the sisters of Charlotte, NC hosted the 2nd Annual Sister's Retreat with the theme "What Makes a Fabulous Muslimah?" The retreat was a big success, and everyone had a great time. Over the course of the weekend we had different women lead workshops on something they have expertrise, training or experience in. I lead a workshop on food, which was titled "A Fabulous Muslimah Takes Care of Home".

The focus of the workshop was on creating healthful meals at home, even when you are short on time. Myself and some wonderful volunteers lead a demonstration on making homemade pizzas, a quick and easy meal for even the most novice of chefs. Most of the ingredients can be purchased or prepared ahead, including the crust, garlic oil, roasted garlic, and artichoke hearts. We started out with two types of pre-made crusts from Trader Joe's grocery store, the regular white and whole wheat. We topped the pizzas with fresh toppings, garlic enfused oil, and cheese (*yum*).

Our pizza and salad lunch was also meatless. Having a meatless meal a couple of times a week is something I have started doing at home, and it really is a good and easy habit to start. In this meal we had cooked and fresh vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lots of vitamins and minerals. Check out my recipes for Caprese Pizza and Spinach and Artichoke Pizza, and give them a try. Even the biggest meat eater will love this meatless meal!



Caprese Pizza
1 pizza crust, rested & at room temp
2 cups Italian cheese blend
1 roma tomato
1 tablespoon garlic oil
2 cloves roasted garlic , chopped
Fresh parmesan to taste


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put in your baking sheet or pizza stone. Before you begin, make sure your crust is at room temperature. Take it out about 20 minutes before you start your preparation for it to rest. Slice the tomato in thin slices and set aside. Flour your work surface, the dough, and rolling pin (A can covered in foil can double as a rolling pin if you don't have one). Roll out your dough to a 12 inch round. Remove your preheated pan, and brush lightly with oil. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, and par-bake for 4-5 minutes, or until the top layer of the crust has baked. Remove the crust, and add the cheese. Add the sliced tomatoes and roasted garlic, making sure to leave an edge for the crust. Brush the edges of the crust with the garlic oil, and sprinkle any remainder over the top. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly (you know what good pizza looks like!). Remove the pizza and add the chopped basil. Top with freshly grated parmesan. Slice and serve!

Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
1 pizza crust, rested & at room temp
2 cups Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup frozen spinach, drained thoroughly
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon garlic oil
2 cloves roasted garlic , chopped
Fresh parmesan to taste


Follow the directions above for preheating the oven and pans, preparing the dough and parbaking. Chop artichoke hearts. Use either marinated hearts from a can or jar, or make your own with the recipe below. Thaw the spinach and drain by placing the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeezing out the water, then chop. After the crust is parbaked, add the cheesse, spinach, artichokes, and garlic. Bake another 10-12 minutes then top with the parmesan.

Garlic Oil
1 cup E.V. Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves


Heat the oil over a low heat (warm, if you stove has that setting) and add the garlic cloves. Heat until the garlic is soft and browned. Voila! Garlic oil AND roasted garlic at the same time! Store in an airtight container with or without the garlic cloves.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts
5-6 artichoke hearts or 1 bag frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 ts. salt
1/2 ts. red wine vinegar


Chop the artichoke hearts, or thaw and drain the frozen and chop. Add to a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil, salt, and vinegar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.