You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Ethnic’ category.

Peaches

Infinitamente
Manchi ma ci sei Silenziosamente
Dentro ai giorni miei
Infinitamente

My friend, your love, your laughter, your support….YOU, warmed my days.  The winter wind blows, the candle flickers and extinguishes, yet I know the ember you ignited in my heart will never fade.  A transition, a short absence, I know, is all that this is…

…yes, you’re silently here.  I will forever bake with you in my heart and in my mind.

 

Quando chiudo gli occhi stai ridendo
Qui con me

KKHH

Recipe Compliments of: http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2011/11/peach-cookies-for-rose-anne/

So this is going to be very short and sweet.  Well wishes to all.  Today I spent a quiet Easter with Ray and we had our typical, ham, scalloped potatoes, pineapple glazed carrots, all accompanied by a salad and crusty dinner rolls.  Pretty tame.  However, I had a hankering for lamb and despite the fact that he won’t touch the stuff, I went ahead and stuffed a leg of lamb.  I found the recipe off of facebook and you can all find it here, it was pretty straightforward and not at all a difficult task.  The stuffing was simply, mint, shallot ( I used garlic and onion) and bleu cheese.  Stuff it, roll it, roast it, simple as that.  To finish it off was a sauce….OMG the SAUCE!!!!!!  Reduced pan drippings, red wine followed by more reduction, thicken with ground roasted pine nuts, remove from the heat and add more bleu cheese.  All I can say is the lamb was divine but truth be told, I would have been content with the pan of sauce and a straw!!!!!!  Try it, you are gonna like it!!!!!!

And again, to everyone out there, “Christos Anesti!”.

dsc_0508

dsc_05131

Here we go again kiddies, DB reveal time!!  (Well, uhhhh, ummmmm, John screwed up!!  Typical post is the last sunday of month but these girls threw all kinds of curves at me and did the last saturday, ahh see if I would have read it all and thoroughly… you’ll understand soon!!)

So, as is typical, the beginning of the month had me dashing to the DB forums to see what awaited me!!  What could it be this month?  Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shelly, of Musings From the Fishbowl came up with a great one!!!  I saw the word lavash and instantly my heart leapt…joy, joy, joy!!!  I come from a very ethnically diverse area of western PA and knew what was in store.  I have had this many a time in my younger years and it was always accompanied by one of my all time favorite meals….Kibbee!!!  The joy truly was overwhelming, as this is not a meal I could ever, without good reason bring to my table.

Let me back tread just a bit…if you have yet to ascertain this from previous posts or if you don’t really know me….Patience is not one of my virtues!!!  That being said let me continue….

Having read the word lavash and it bringing such joy, I read no further.  I was off googling recipes, I was planning shopping lists and I was definitely looking forward to the moment when I would present this meal, lavash and Kibbee, and promptly say, the peanut butter is in the cupboard!!!!  For those of you that have no clue what Kibbee is, let me ‘splain!!!!  Basically it is ground lamb (sometimes beef), cracked wheat and spices, it can be prepared in 2 ways.  The first being it is formed into a loaf and baked…Viola lebanese meatloaf!  The second, and the way I eat it, it is formed into large patty, then slapped onto a plate, drizzled in olive oil, topped with pepper rings, throw a few scallions on the side and serve with a side plate of lavash!!!!!!!!  Yep kiddies you read that correctly, there was no mention of an oven, a stove or even a match!!  Red, raw and rockin’!!  True, not for the faint of heart but if you get the chance, go for it….DELISH!!!!!!

At full throttle I forged ahead, thinking, planning and scheming but then a voice said, go back a read further perhaps these girls have something further in mind.

skim, skim, skim….crackers and dip!!!

HMMMM, the lavash I know is soft, more pita-ish but the way raw Kibbee is eaten can almost be considered dipping.  Not so bad, I will bake a little longer and have a harder lavash, no biggie.

skim, skim, skim….VEGAN?!?!?

OMG!!!  My heart sank…oh hell, it fell out of my ass!!!  My Kibbee out the door it flew… I CRIED!!!!!!!

Ok, I need to read and read thoroughly I thought!!!  Lavash and dip. Lavash baked till cracker stage.  Lavash can be wheat flour or gluten free.  Dip must be vegan but anything you desire.  Ok, I got the basics, I got the recipe but vegan….what’s a carnivore to do??

Cry?

Hell no, a Daring Baker’s Challenge at it’s best for me…I just needed to regroup, wipe a few tears and rethink it all.

Here in the northern hemisphere and in western PA the nights are becoming cool and crisp, the days still get a bit sweltering and this is an indication that fall is upon us.  The colors of the trees are beginning their flamboyant change and the gourds and squash are making their way to the markets.

Squash, hmmmmm, butternut, HMMMMMM, roasted garlic, AHHHHHHHHH!!!

Yea, the lavash was the easy part, it was the vegan dip that was causing me grief but that combo of butternut and garlic got me going.

The lavash recipe can be found here or on numerous other Daring Baker blogs.  As for the dip recipe, well, baking is a precise science, cooking not so much.  Basically, I prepare meals like a grandma…a little of this, a touch of that, throw in a healthy dose of some other…so here you will find but a vague outline of my dip.

  • 1small/medium butternut squash, split, seeded, drizzled with some extra virgin and a smattering of salt and pepper, throw it in a 350 degree oven till soft.
  • 1 large clove garlic ( I’m italian, so large for me is most likely “gi-normous” for most other folk), slice the top off the head, drizzle with EV, wrap in foil and throw in the same oven, again till soft.
  • When both are done, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and put into a food processor.  Scoop the pulp from the butternut ( I did this as soon as it was out of oven, as I wanted the heat to assist with incorporating the next ingredient) and throw it in the processor as well.
  • 1 4oz block of Tofu diced, throw it in the processor!!
  • I had some leftover hazelnuts and I thought they would add a nice texture, so I threw about 1/2 cup of those in as well.
  • S & P to taste.
  • Process on high till smooth.

What emerged from the processor, well it wasn’t Kibbee but this shiznet made this carnivore cry once more!!!  It was very much like a golden, slightly sweet hummus.  In the lavash recipe we were given the option to sprinkle the crackers with seeds,  spices and so on, I chose for mine….get this!!!

Kosher Salt and Cinnamon.

The salt balanced the sweetness of the butternut and the cinnamon complemented, oh so wonderfully, the warm richness of the roasted garlic!  The tofu gave the creaminess any good dip should have.

Now if the truth be told, as I thought of this it sounded wonderful but as I was processing, I began to fear the outcome.  I didn’t do any research for dips and the whole vegan thing had me out of sorts.  I thought, “what catastrophe awaits?”. Again, there was none and I have only Natalie and Shelly to thank for getting me to stretch as I did on this one.  In the past I would not have thought along these lines, there would have to have been some sort of cheese in this or something that would not fit the bill; actually I came damn close to throwing in some honey, luckily something stopped me and I thought it through and came to the forum to find that would have been a no-no.  Obviously, the vegan lifestyle is not for me and luckily I have no worries with gluten but the truth is some very rich and tasty dishes fall into these categories.

-Uh, what ruckus? -I was just in my office and I heard a ruckus. –Could you describe the ruckus, sir? -Watch your tongue, young man. …”

Bakeanistas

Bakeanistas

No, really I am not talking about the Breakfast Club today but the Bakeanista Club, not really a club but it fits with the prose!!! I am however going to refer to a ruckus! And guess who it was that caused said ruckus?? You got it, Moi!!!!!

The Bakeanistas are just a group of folks that get together once every month or perhaps two to chat online and bake. This month we had a a guest visiting with us, just to see what we were about and how this chatty bakey thing worked…Halley it was such an honor to have you want to join in. Now I am not going to explain why Halley wanted to sit in but if things work out I am sure there will be much interest in the future.

So back to this ruckus. We had a few choices of what we were going to bake, we voted and we ended up with Cassata alia Sicilia. Apparently, there are two versions of this cake, one hails from Napoli, the other Sicily. The one from Napoli has a whipped cream frosting while the one from Sicily is typically much more elaborate with Fondant, candied fruit and marzipan fruit decoration. Well it seems I was the only one headed to Sicily on this one, I mentioned fondant in one of the emails back and forth and the ruckus rolled!!!

Cassata in the Garden

Cassata in the Garden

“Fondant? This cake has fondant?” “I hate fondant!” “Oh no, fondant!” and on it went. Well, in defense of fondant I have found a recipe that is tasty, that is easy and that more often than not is eaten as opposed to being peeled off the cake and discarded. Try it, you are gonna like it!!!!!

For me baking day was a little hectic, as I had guests coming that evening and I had a ton of work to do. I didn’t get to spend the time with the Bakeanistas that I would have liked….I missed a ton of fun, I am sure!!! But I was back and forth and caught snippets of the typical Bakeanista behavior!!!!

So let me give ya a quick low down on this cake…. it consists of

  • Pan di Spagna-an italian sponge cake
  • Ricotta filling-think cannoli
  • Whipped cream frosting or a powdered sugar glaze on top
  • Decoration of Fondant (Sicily) or nuts and fruit (Napoli)

Ricotta, candied orange peel, pistachio and chocolate, Oh My!

Ricotta, candied orange peel, pistachio and chocolate, Oh My!

This is not an overly sweet and decadent tasting cake but a very satisfying old world style concoction. For me it brought back many memories of days gone by and I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to make it (it will be made again). It is not a cake to eat huge slabs of and it will serve quite a few people (12-16) easily.

6 people served so far!!!  Dats alotta cake!!!

6 people served so far!!! Dats alotta cake!!!

Unlike the in school detention of the Breakfast Club, this was a much more fun and enjoyable time. Although, like in the movie after all was said and done we all walked off into the afternoon sun to our own different worlds. Now I won’t go through and name the brain, the nerd, the jock and so on, like in the movie but because of my ruckus causing tendencies I think I may be labeled the Rebel. But for your viewing pleasure here are the Bakeanistas who baked

Now that isn’t the entire posse, some for various reasons weren’t able to bake or join in on the chat but check them out nonetheless, there are some very talented folks in this bunch!!!

Here I am, a few days off a WHOPPER of a DB Challenge, and I have another new (to me that is) recipe for all of ya!!

Now I am well aware that I have a bio page here and I am also well aware that said bio page hasn’t been dealt with, so I feel the need for a quick back ground on myself. First, I am born and raised American but I am of primarily Italian descent with a smattering of German to fuel the fires! I was raised in a very ethnic area just outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, I have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances, that come in every color, flavor and background possible. However, my social circle and extended family does not include anyone of the Jewish faith, so I have not been exposed to much Jewish Cuisine. Sure, I know Challah and Matzoh but that about exhausts my knowledge.

Earlier this year during Lent, I was surfing and cruising and happened upon something regarding Passover. Now, I love me some internet and I love me some food and I really really like to learn new things; typically when trying to learn about those I am unfamiliar with, I go right for the food, the cook books, the generations old handed down recipes. So I perused recipes from simple to very involved, my interest was piqued. I must mention that Ray and I were in a bit of a food rut; we had been working very long hours, he was beginning to get ill, I was trying to figure out this world of blogs and blogging so our food intake consisted mainly of the tried and true old stand-by home recipes or the even more convenient take-out! In other words, we were in definite need of a food makeover!! And here is what I found….

Romanian Garlicky Sausages with sour pickle vinaigrette & roasted sweet peppers…Carnatzlach, from the book

Jewish Holiday Cooking:
A Food Lover’s Treasury of Classics and Improvisations

by Jayne Cohen

Spicy sausages with tons of garlic, ok so Ray isn’t a big fan of the ole “G” but I am Italian and dammit, Garlic will not be banned from my cookin!!! We own a candy/fudge shoppe and yes, I have made garlic fudge (Actually, mighty tasty once you get past the initial shock)!! This recipe requires a little time for flavors to blend, so I started it and planned on making it for dinner the following day. Well, next day found Ray in hospital (all is well), so I went to work, ran home whipped these up and then ran off to visit him. Needless to say he didn’t get a chance to try them, so now that the dust has settled and all is as normal as normal gets for us, I thought I needed to let him have a shot at them, as other than the garlic I thought this would be a winner for his taste. As per usual, I was correct!!!

Some comments before the recipe…

  • Simple and easy prep!
  • Smells heavenly when initially mixed and even more so when cooking!
  • The vinaigrette is refreshing beyond words.
  • The mix of spicy, sour and sweet is not anything I expected in a Jewish recipe, most wonderful.

Without, further ado…

I have never been to Temple but I have been to Carnatzlach!! ( Here’s your high five if ya got that Disco reference!!!)(and here’s the remix in case you didn’t get it.)

Garlicky Romanian Sausage w Sour Pickle Vinaigrette

Romanian Garlicky Ground Meat Sausages
(Carnatzlach)
with Sour Pickle Vinaigrette and Roasted Red Peppers

Yield: 4 to 5 Servings

I love pickles, though they never live up to their smell: a siren song of heady garlic, spicy peppercorns, and other enticing aromatics. Crunchy and cold, they provide refreshing respite from the dryness and density of unsauced meats, especially in sandwiches and simple grills.

Eating carnatzlach, I grew tired of alternating one bite of barbequed meat with a juicy chew of pickle, so I turned the pickle into this sauce.

This garlicky Romanian grill is wonderful anytime, but it is particularly appealing for casual Indian summer meals during the holiday. If you’re cutting down on beef, well-seasoned turkey is a good substitute here.

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • About 1 teaspoon salt (more if using ground turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; or fresh,
    hot but not searing, chile (preferably Fresno or serrano,
    but Hungarian wax, jalapeno, or other varieties will do fine),
    roasted (see Cook’s Note), peeled and finely chopped
    (be sure to use rubber gloves when preparing)
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you can substitute ground
    turkey-the ground thigh meat will work best-with fineresults,
    but you may want to increase the seasoning slightly)
  • Oil for greasing the broiler rack or pan, if needed

Accompaniments:

2 large red bell peppers, roasted (see Cook’s Note), cut into strips, and seasoned well with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and a little vinegar or lemon juice to taste; chopped scallions (both white and green parts); Sour Pickle Vinaigrette (recipe follows); half-sour or garlic dill pickles, sliced lengthwise; garlic dill tomatoes

In a food processor combine the garlic, paprika, salt, oregano or marjoram, allspice, black pepper or chile, and 14 cup water and pulse until the garlic is chopped very fine. Add a third of the meat and process until thoroughly incorporated with the seasoning. Add another third of the meat and pulse a few times. Add the final third and continue pulsing, stopping to scrape down the bowl, if necessary, until the mixture is well combined, very soft, and almost pasty.

Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overn1g~t so that all the vibrant flavors will meld together.

When ready to cook the carnatzlach, set out a small bowl of cold water and a large platter. Moisten your hands with the water, take a small lump of the meat mixture, and roll it into a sausage 3- to 4-inches long and i-inch wide (about the size of your middle finger, but a little wider). Place the shaped carnatzl on the platter and continue making more, wetting your hands as necessary, until all the meat is rolled. You’ll have approximately 14 to 17 sausages.

Preheat the broiler, outdoor grill, or (my choice) a heavy ridged cast-iron skillet on top of the stove, to high temperature. (Spray rack or pan lightly with oil first, if not nonstick.) Grill or broil the sausages until beautifully browned, crusty, and cooked to desired doneness, 5 to 7 minutes per side.

To serve, arrange some roasted red pepper strips and chopped scallions on a plate. Nestle a few carnatzlach attractively over them, and spoon a generous amount of sour pickle vinaigrette over everything. Garnish with pickles and garlic dill tomatoes.

Cook’s Note: To roast peppers, spear them with a long-handled fork, and roast like marshmallows over an open flame (a gas burner or outdoor fire). Or place the peppers on a roasting rack set directly over the flame. Keep turning the peppers until the skins are lightly charred on all sides. You can also roast them under the broiler. Place the peppers on a foil-lined rack under a preheated broiler, as close as possible to the heat source. Turn the peppers as the skins blister and blacken.

Put charred peppers in a paper bag and twist the bag closed, or put them in a covered bowl. Let them steam until cool enough to handle-this will make them easier to peel. Rub the skins off with your fingers (if preparing chiles, make sure you are wearing rubber gloves). Don’t worry if you don’t remove every piece of charred skin-a few bits here and there will add smoky flavor. Although this is messy and the peel will stick to your fingers, I don’t recommend peeling the peppers underwater, as some suggest, because it washes away the flavorful oils, making the peppers soggy and flat-tasting. Instead, dip your hands into a bowl of water every so often or wipe them on a paper towel to clean them. Pull out and discard the stem, seeds, and ribs. The peppers are ready to be used in a recipe.

Sour Pickle Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 to 5 Servings

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped half-sour or garlic-dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons liquid from pickle jar
    (include peppercorns and other flavorings, if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons best-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice

Place the pickles and pickle liquid in a blender and process at high speed until pureed. With the machine on, slowly add the oil. Continue processing another minute or two, until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. Transfer to a bowl, and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. You can serve the sauce right away, but it’s best to allow the flavors to mellow for a while in the refrigerator. Stir the vinaigrette before serving.

As you can see in the photo, I served this with a simple buttered noodle, tossed with paprika and oregano…now forgive me if this isn’t the correct side to go with this, but being my first foray into Jewish cookery, it was the only thing that struck me.

Try it, you gonna like it!!!!!