Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) youth, parents, siblings, non-siblings, and avid readers alike,

The evening begins with a quick chat about how to attain inner peace. Raad has something to say!

The evening begins with a quick chat about how to attain inner peace. Raad has something to say!

The weather Friday evening proved to be a tad bit on the cold side. What better way to warm up than to get in the kitchen, turn on the ovens, pull out the old cutting knife and board, and bask in the aroma of a delicious, home-cooked meal? Every semester, our mentors orchestrate multiple life skills workshops to teach our youth real-life techniques and traits to help our young men as they grow and mature into adulthood. A consistent workshop we have conducted in the past is a culinary cooking night where our young men attempt to create unique dishes that are part of a particular culture or region of the world. Tonight, we took a quick trip to the Mid East to explore the flavors and spices commonly tasted by native citizens of this particular region of the world. Working in small teams of 4-5 partners, under the supervision of our Master Chef – Br. Ihsan – our young men learned how to prepare four complete dishes – chicken shawerma sandwiches, shisk taouk (barbequed chicken cubes), bashamel (cheese and pasta casserole), and for dessert, a chocolate cake! Okay we admit chocolate cake isn’t the first dish that comes to one’s mind when thinking of the Middle East, but in our minds the dish fit in perfectly with tonight’s menu.

Before breaking up into teams, our youth took part in our weekly discussion. After reviewing last week’s lesson about Po the panda bear’s journey to achieve inner peace (in King Fu Panda 2), we tried to figure out how we can achieve inner peace (a stress-free state where both the mind and heart are content) using the Qur’an and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (peace be upon him), as our tools. In the end we concluded that to gain inner peace, we have to constantly try to keep Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, in our minds and try to perform good actions which please Him and earn His Love (such as being good to our family, exhibiting a positive attitude and character, respecting and sticking to rules, and trying our best to stick to the rituals we are asked to perform daily – such as the 5 daily prayers).

After our short discussion, Br. Ihsan provided recipes, final words of wisdom, and then we were off to the races to cook! How did our youth perform in their culinary test? Check out the pictures below to find out!

The table is set for dinner...wait a minute, where did all the food go?

The table is set for dinner…wait a minute, where did all the food go?

Br. Ihsan supplies our young chefs with a final set of instructions before they depart for their stations. Remember no running with a knife in the kitchen!

Br. Ihsan supplies our young chefs with a final set of instructions before they depart for their stations. Remember no running with a knife in the kitchen!

Let's begin! NurEdin and Mohamed pop open our bag of chocolate cake powder...

Let’s begin! NurEdin and Mohamed pop open our bag of chocolate cake powder…

...Mustafa adds 1.5 cups of water...

…Mustafa adds 1.5 cups of water…

...Mohamed cracks open 3 eggs...

…Mohamed cracks open 3 eggs…

...and the guys use their Superman muscles to vigorously stir the cake batter! Yum!

…and the guys use their Superman muscles to vigorously stir the cake batter! Yum!

Meanwhile, Raad and Hamza cut pieces of chicken for our spicy  shawerma sandwiches...

Meanwhile, Raad and Hamza cut pieces of chicken for our spicy shawerma sandwiches…

Then they decide to look chill as their meat cooks on a pot on the stove. Yes Nabeel, we see your face blurring by us.

Then they decide to look chill as their meat cooks in a pot on the stove. Yes Nabeel, we see your face blurring by us.

Muhammad and Abdelrahman add lots and lots of cheese to our bashamel casserole. I doubt the surgeon general would approve of our cheese overdose but excess cheese is okay every now and again (right?)

Muhammad, Abdelrahman, and Muhammad (yes there are 2 of them!) add lots and lots of cheese to our bashamel casserole. I doubt the surgeon general would approve of our cheese overdose but excess cheese is okay every now and again (right?)

Mujtaba marinates our shisk taouk chicken while Danyal marinates his mouth...with hot sauce.

Mujtaba marinates our shisk taouk chicken while Danyal marinates his mouth…with hot sauce.

They then barbeque their delicious marinated chicken to produce our shish taouk main course.

They then barbeque their delicious marinated chicken to produce our shish taouk main course.

Ahmed, Raad, and Mustafa decorate our lovely chocolate cake...

Ahmed, Raad, and Mustafa decorate our lovely chocolate cake…

Nabeel and Hamza pose next to their completed shawerma sandwiches. Great work gentlemen!

Nabeel and Hamza pose next to their completed shawerma sandwiches. Great work gentlemen!

Our bashamel crew of chefs left to go play tag in the multipurpose room. Hamza gladly agreed to submit his official statement of approval of the completed casserole dish.

Our bashamel crew of chefs left to go play tag in the multipurpose room. Hamza gladly agreed to submit his official statement of approval of the completed casserole dish.

After viewing all of the completed products, undoubtedly your mouth is probably watering just a tad bit. We’re working to post the official recipes of the dishes made tonight so you and your family can enjoy making these dishes with your children at home. Until next week, we bid you adieu!

Advertisements