How to make | Olive Oil Mushrooms | Futtr bi Zeit | Mediterranean Mushrooms | Chef Chaza Smith

Olive Oil Mushrooms | Futtr bil Zeit
Chef Chaza favorite from her childhood, Futtr bil Zeit is an Olive Oil Mushroom dish cooked with Garlic, Cilantro and Lemon Juice

Eat it with Rice and make it a meal, or just enjoy it like Chef Chaza and plate it with toasted Pita Bread.  Futtr bi Zeit (Olive Oil Mushrooms, or Arabic Mushrooms) compliments many occasions, from a snack to buffet to entre, it’s a hardy dish that prepares quickly and easily!


Time to Prepare:  15  Minutes


Click HERE to view Chef Chaza Smith preparing Olive Oil Mushrooms on YouTube


Ingredients for Mushrooms in Olive Oil:

2 lbs x Mushrooms (any kind, Chef prefers White or Portobello when available)

1 x Lemon

3 Cloves x Garlic

1 Head/Bunch x Cilantro

1 Cup x Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Preheat Oil in a pot to Medium-High.  Wash and clean the Mushrooms, then remove the stems and slice Mushrooms (Chef saves the stems in her freezer to later use for future Mushroom stocks).  Pour Mushrooms into the heated Oil.  Don’t Salt (yet)!

While Mushrooms are cooking (and shrinking) in the Oil, de-stem and chop the washed Cilantro (Chef saves those stems to later use for future Veggie broths).  Peel the Garlic and put Garlic into a Mortar, to Mortal and Pestle.  Add Salt, and smash the Garlic into a smooth paste in the Mortar using the Pestle.  Add a large pinch on Salt (to taste) and the juice of the whole Lemon to the Garlic mash.  Add two tablespoons of Olive Oil too.  It should smell delicious!

Add Pepper to the Mushrooms cooking in Oil (do not Salt yet!).  After about 7 to 10 minutes, Mushrooms should be sufficiently cooked (don’t worry, it’s very difficult to over-cook Mushrooms!), removed the Mushroom-cooking pot from the heat, and add the Mortared-and-Pestled Garlic mash, and the chopped Cilantro to the hot Mushrooms.

It’s ready to serve, enjoy!

How to make Roasted Beets | How to Roast Beets

Red and Yellow Beets
Yellow and Red Beets wait to be covered with foil and roasted in the oven


Click HERE to view Chef Chaza preparing Roasted Beets on YouTube

Ingredients for Roasted Beets:

3 x Red Beets

3 x Yellow/Golden Beets

2 x Sprigs of Rosemary

6 to 7 x Cloves of Garlic

1/4 Cup – Olive Oil

Time to prepare:  45 – 55 Minutes (10 Minutes prep)

This is the basic roasting Beet way it’s so versatile.  Make roasted Beet hummus, make it into a yummy salad, or just eat it with Lemon Juice, or even enjoy directly out of the fridge.

No matter what you want to do with it you want to save those drippings!  Roasting Beets is an opportunity to make a delicious dressing to eat with the Beets.  Use whole cloves of unpeeled Garlic; once roasted, squish Garlic paste out for delicious roasted Garlic paste perfect to make a salad dressing (see recipe for Roasted Beet Salad)!  All the drippings that will come-out of this pouch with the roasted Garlic will make the most delicious and aromatic and fresh dressing for either the Beets by themselves, or a Beet salad (or Beet anything!).

To prepare:  Separate beets by their colors, so they don’t steep into each other and change that yummy color.  Using two big nice pieces of tinfoil, and make two pouches with three Beets each (separated by color).  Into each pouch add a generous pinch of Salt and Black Pepper, a sprig of Rosemary and 3 to 4 Garlic Cloves, along with a generous drizzle of Olive Oil.  Close the pouches.

Put pouches into a pre-heated oven four-hundred degrees for between 35 to 45 minutes, so check after 35 minutes.  They’re done when they’re soft with a nice bite in the middle.

Be careful opening pouches and avoid burning hot steam!  Remember to collect all the juices, oils and Garlic paste to use for a fantastic dressing!

Click HERE to view Chef Chaza preparing Roasted Beets on YouTube

Marinara Sauce | Authentic Italian Red Sauce

Ingredients for authentic Italian Marinara Sauce
Chef Chaza worked in kitchens Italy’s Amalfi Coast where she learned the secrets of authentic Italian Marinara sauce.

Starting with a few basic ingredients and easy-to-follow techniques, anyone can make this simple but perfect Marinara with flavors straight from Italy!

Time to prepare:  45 Minutes

Click HERE to view Chef Chaza making this on YouTube


3 Cloves – Garlic

½ – White or Yellow Onion

3 cans – San Marzano Tomatoes

¼ to 1/3 Cup – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

10 leaves – Basil




The order you start cooking your ingredients with makes a difference. If you start Garlic before Onions in the Olive Oil, it tastes like toasty garlicy sauce.  If you start your sauce with the Onion it would have a sweeter oniony taste without that super garlicy taste.  It’s really up to you.  Chef Chaza starts with the Garlic, then adds the Onions…

Peel, chop and sauté the Garlic on medium heat.  Don’t allow the Garlic darken, cook to a lightly golden color.  Once the Garlic is golden-brown delicious, add the Onions and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Season with a ¼ teaspoon of Salt.

Every couple minutes check the Onions and give them a little stir, cook until Onions are translucent.

Either use an immersion blend to blend everything together in the pot or take Tomatoes from can into your blender and blend them and then add the pureed sauce.

Lower the heat to low and add the Tomatoes; the Tomatoes are a little bit more dense and tend to splatter.  After they’re all added, turn it back up to Medium-Low and continue heating.

Cover it and set alarm for thirty or thirty five minutes.

When fully cooked, turn off heat, check to see if it needs Salt, and add the Basil.  Add the Basil leaves at the very last minute, tear them with your fingers to prevent bruising the leaves and get black on the edges.  Add a tablespoon or two of raw Olive Oil (like they say in Italy ‘Al Crudo’) to give extra depth to the flavor.

Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah

A favorite Chef Chaza meal from her childhood, her mother’s special Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah

How to make Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah by Chef Chaza Smith

Usually reserved for special occasions, Mjedrah has been a favorite across the Middle East for generations, and Chef shares the traditional family recipe she remembers for favorite Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah.


Time to prepare:  90 Minutes

Click HERE to see the video on YouTube


Ingredients for Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah:

1 lb x Lentils (rinsed and cleaned)

2 Cups x Coarse Burgle Wheat * (to make Gluten Free, use a natural form of Rice instead of Burgle)

2 x Large Onions

1/2 to 1 Cup – Olive Oil

1/2 Tsp – Cumin

1 Tbsp – Cornstarch

Salt (approx. 1-2 tablespoons)

Water (8 cups H2O for Lentils + ~1 Cup H2O for Burgle)


Chop the Onions julienne (half-moons).  Add the Cornstarch to the Onions, making a coating of the powder over the Onions.  Put that aside as is while the Lentils are prepared.

Put the Lentils into a pan with eight cups of water.  Heat on Medium.

In another pot, pour about a half-cup of Olive Oil, turn heat on Medium-High to High, and add the Onions coated with Cornstarch.  Separate the Onions with your fingers to help prevent them from sticking together.  Stir the Onions to make sure the cook evenly, add a tablespoon of Salt to extract extra liquid and to help cook faster.  Stir about every five minutes, and and Cook until golden-brown.

Check on the Lentils to make sure water is boiling.  Do NOT add salt to beans that are cooking, but add the Cumin after 10 minutes.  The Lentils should take about 15-20 minutes to cook to where the Lentils still have a little crunch, not too soft or mushy.  Drain Lentil cooking water into a bowl when done cooking… save that water for later use, and put cooked Lentils aside for now.  Remember to keep stirring the Onions.

Skim the Lentils cooking water and discard the darker water at the bottom.  This is the secret to great Mjedrah!  Put the less-dark Lentil cooking water aside for later use.  Do NOT USE the dark water!

Scoop a 1/2 Cup of the Oil that is cooking the Onions into a new pan to cook the Burgle.  Pour in the Burgle, and stir to toast.  When you can smell the nutty smell of toasted wheat, and they look white, the grains are toasted.  You may need more oil, and a few onions are okay too.  Season with 2 teaspoons of Salt.

Check on the Onions (they should be done by the time the Burgle is cooked).  When the Burgle is mostly toasted, pour-in 3 cups of liquid, starting with the leftover Lentil cooking water.  Supplement with regular water if there isn’t enough leftover Lentil cooking water.  Heat Burgle on high and simmer uncovered (just like cooking rice).  When the water has been absorbed and you can see little bubbles on-top, lower the heat, add the Lentils and cover (less than 5 minutes).  Check to see if it needs Salt too, and add if needed (remember, the Lentils were cooked unsalted).  Set timer for six minutes to check back.

When the Onions are cooked (Golden-Brown), drain the oil to be saved and used later.  Put Onions aside to add to the top later.

When ‘Burgle timer’ alarms, add the Onion Oil that was saved, and mix into the Burgle, and spread evenly throughout.

Dish the Mjedrah into a serving pan, and garnish with the cooked Onions.  Enjoy!







Arabic Yogurt Cucumber Sauce | Leban bil Khyar

Yogurt with Cucumbers and Garlic
Known to Chef as Leban bil Hier (Yogurt with Cucumbers), this savory sauce pair well with one of Chef’s other favorites, Mjedrah.

Leban bil Hier (Yogurt with Cucumbers) features bold and savory Garlicy flavors floating amongst a soft and subtle yogurt sauce intermingled with fresh and crispy cucumber shavings.  A perfect side for Mjedrah!

Time to prepare:  5 Minutes

Special tools:  Mortar and Pestle


Ingredients for Laban bil Khyar (Arabic Yogurt Cucumber Mint Garlic sauce):

2 x Persian Cucumbers

2 Cups x Greek Yogurt

2 x Cloves of Garlic

1/2 Tsp x Dried Mint

1 Tbsp x Olive Oil



How to make Leban bil Kuhar / Yogurt with Cucumber Sauce…

Grate the Cucumbers.  Add them to the yogurt, along with 3 large pinches of salt (more salt makes is more saucy/watery).  Peel the Garlic.  Put the Garlic with a large pinch of Salt into a mortar.  Smash the garlic into a paste like mixture in a Mortar and Pestle.  Add the Garlic paste into the yogurt, along with the olive oil and gently combine all the ingredients.  It should be ready to serve.

Chile de Árbol Salsa | Mexican Green Tomatillo Salsa with Red Peppers

Chile de Árbol Salsa

Salsa Verde de Aguacate
Salsa Verde de Aguacate, Green Avocado Salsa on Left, Chile de Arbol salsa on the right

Making salsas at home is fun, easy and delicious!  This is a beautiful salsa of smoky green tomatillo sauce with black flakes and specks, with a garlic base.

Time to prepare:  30 Minutes + 1-2 Hours to cool and flavors to meld

Click HERE to view the video on YouTube


7 – Small Tomatillos

2 – Cloves of Garlic

Salt (heaping 1/2 Teaspoon)

1/2 Teaspoon – Cumin

5 to 19 – Chile de Arbol peppers (rinsed)

Water (if needed)

Heat a pan to medium heat (ungreased!), throw in Chilis (to wake-up the flavors)

Add two cloves of Garlic

As soon as you can smell the Chilis roasting, take them out of the pan to avoid burning them

Put the Tomatillos into the pan, allow time for tomatillos to blister and char

Remove the garlic when done roasting, but before burning, garlic should be soft and pasty when removed

Remove the tomatillos after blistering, and the juices pour into the pan, but let some of the juices reduce first to get more flavor

While the tomatillos finish roasting, combine and grind in the blender the roasted Chiles de Árbol with the roasted garlic

When all the ingredients are done roasting in the pan (but not burnt!), put them into the blender and blend on high until combined, taste and add Water or Salt if needed

Chill in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours before serving, this will allow the flavors to “marry each other”


If you want it spicier, and you want the color to be a little bit more brighter red, as I add ten Chiles de Árbol

If you still want it to be the green color with beautiful red specks and also want the taste of the five Chiles de Árbol, but you don’t want to be as spicy, just open your chilis and get rid of the seeds before roasting them.

Salsa Verde de Aguacate | Green Avocado Salsa

Salsa Verde de Aguacate
Salsa Verde de Aguacate, Green Avocado Salsa on Left, Chile de Arbol salsa on the right

How to make Salsa Verde de Aguacate | Green Avocado Salsa

Time to prepare:  30 Minutes + 1 – 2 hours to chill in the refrigerator (for flavors to meld)

Click HERE to view on YouTube

Making your own salsas are fun, easy, delicious and low cost too!

Ingredients for Mild-ish Green Avocado Salsa / Salsa Verde de Aguacate:

2 x Medium Avocados

1 ½ x Lime (for the juice)

3 x Cloves of Garlic

¼ x White Onion

1 x Green Bell Pepper (not traditional)

1 x Serrano Pepper (traditionally 2x for more Chili Heat, or other pepeprs)

1 Bunch x Cilantro

1 Tsp x Vegetable bouillon (traditionally Chicken bouillon)


Heat-up a pan to medium heat to toast the peppers, onion and garlic.  Do not oil pan.

Rinse or wash the peppers to remove dust.

Open Peppers with a knife and remove the seeds and un-edible portions of the peppers (stem, for example), unless you prefer a very spicy salsa, then keep the seeds.  Roughly slice the larger peppers into large quarter-ish sized pieces.  Place pepper parts, along with the onion and unpeeled-garlic, directly onto the pan to toast the skins and open the flavors.

When you can smell the toasted items they’re ready, remove them (not necessarily all at the same time).  Peel the Garlic before placing into blender.  When all items are ready and in the blender, blend until smooth.

Taste to check if there’s enough Salt before removing from blender.  Blend a little bit more if more Salt is added.

Put into the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours to cool before serving.