Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Cuttlefish With Red Hot Spinach......Something Different

Above left: skin on cuttlefish / above right
skin taken off, cleaned and washed
 Cuttlefish, Calamari, and similar can be eaten during Christian Orthodox Lent and any other time of the year. When they are well cleaned as the two on the picture to left it is very easy  to cook them.  They are treated just like any other protein but need some extra time cooking.
I usually cook this dish with tomato sauce, tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes lots of garlic, sliced olives, capers, origano, white wine and.....CHILI  peppers (or one Habanero pepper).

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Tender Turkey Breast With Vegetables And Noodles....Chinese Style

Semi conventional wok with
front handle. Cost: 7 Euro
Fancy wok with Grid and Cover
Cost:  115 Euro

Two tier Chinese bamboo steamer
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Roast Beef With Yorkshire Pudding And Baby Carrots---Sunday's Best

Today is "T s i k n o  -  P e m p t y" in Greece. Tsikno means meat grilling over hot charcoal with the aroma and smoke filling the air, and Pempty mean Thursday. So, today, Thursday, according to the Greek Orthodox Church, all who follow the religious traditions (even those who don't), can eat as much meat as they want due to the coming 40 day abstinence from eating anything alive before Easter.
We, as a family do not follow this tradition.  We intend to follow the Jamie Oliver Greek inspired spinach pie and feta cheese. I found his way of preparing the spinach pie more interesting compared to mine. (My recipe dated December 16th 2010).
However I would like to share with you a typically Enlish Sunday meal called Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding. Fix this meal today if you have time or some Sunday.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Home Made Cured Boiled Ham.......Now That's A Yummy!!

Fig.1 Meat Syringe to pump brine/cure
 into meat
Fig.3 Pot with brine cure and pickle

Fig.2  Equipment used
 to hold herbs attached to meat.

Fig.6 Meat after curing fat side down

Fig.4 Curing meat in pot refrigerated for a few days
at a temperature between 0 - 4 degrees C.
Fig.7 Rosemary - Thyme - Sage from
my terrace. 

Fig.5 Meat after curing fat side up
Fig.8 Herbs attached to meat by
special net.

Fig.11 Cooking the ham.
Fig.9 Waiting for water to reach 75 degrees C.


Fig.10 Cooking the ham keeping temperature
at around 75 degrees C
My friends today I would like to share with you an experiment I did. I am trying make a cured and boiled ham at home.  Of course it is far from being the boiled ham you buy at the store but it is home made and I know what I used.  The outcome though was delicious and we enjoyed it. 
There are several steps to obtain a boiled or a smoked ham.  Today we shall speak of boiled.
Step 1 :  Using a meat siringe Fig.1 , pump a piece of pork with the required liquid to cure it.  Add any spices and herbs you like, cover it and refrigerate it for a few days Fig. 3 & 4. The refrigerator temperature should be between 0 and 4 degrees C. The result will be a pinkish color of the meat Fig. 5 & 6 similar to the hams you buy.
Step 2:  Remove the pork from the herbs and spices, wash well, under running cold water. Retain the spices and herbs, discard the liquid. 
Step 3:  Since the meat is still raw, at this point,  you have to cook it. So you can either boil it or smoke it. In this case I boiled it. I used a special net to hold the herbs Fig. 7 & 8 in place.
Step 4:  Fill a suitable pot  Fig.9 with enough water to cover the meat but do not put the meat in yet. Add the spices and herbs, and heat the water to about 75 degrees C and kept at that temperature +/- 5 degrees.
Step 5:  Put in the pork and let it cook by using a meat thermometer Fig. 10 
Step 6:  When the inside temperature of the meat (using a meat thermometer)  reaches about 67 degrees C it is ready Fig.11.
Step 7:  Take out the ham, let cool in cold water for an hour, and  refrigerate. Next day it is ready to slice.
For the above steps you will need:
Serves 12 
-   3.4 kg of fresh pork leg. No bone, no skin.
-  3 liters of water.
-  235 gms of salt.
-  1/2  cup of honey.
-  3.3 gms of curing powder.
  • Herbs and spices: 1 Tbsp. each of ground coriander, dry garlic powder, dry onion powder, rosemary, basil, thyme, dry parsley, paprika, mango powder, black pepper corns.
  • 5 Bay leaves crushed.
  • 1/2 tsp. dry clove powder. 
-   Meat syringe as per Fig. 1
-  Dissolve salt and curing powder in ice water in a suitable pot with cover.
-  Using the syringe, pump liquid mixture in various places of the pork which has been well refrigerated. Repeat 5 times. Pump 10% of its weight and add the rest to curing pot.
-  Mix spices and herbs and add to the water. Cover the meat with a capsized plate.  The meat should be well immersed in the spice/herb/curing mixture liquid.
-  Refrigerate for about 5 - 7 days at a temperatue of 0 - 4 degrees C.
-  Follow from step 2 above.
Note:   You can attach the branches of herbs to the meat with a string if you wish.
Suggested wine: a soft red burgandy, or a light Cabernet Sauvignon*.
Good Luck and Bon Appétit,
*As suggested in Hugh Johnson's pocket wine book 2011.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Juicy Omelet With Wild Mushrooms.....Great For Lunch

I like my omelet juicy and fluffy. This means that I don't like it to be dry, flat and overcooked. I will share with you my way of cooking an omelet.  Mind you a good omelet is difficult to prepare.
When preparing an omelet for someone you do not know you should always ask how he/she would like it :runny or dry.
Any additions to an omelet, except cheese, must be precooked, dry, ready and warm. You don't want any juices running into your omelet.
You will need:
Serves 2
-  6 big fresh eggs
-  100 gms of wild mushrooms roughly chopped.
-  30 gms of good fresh butter.
-  1/2 tsp. of baking soda.
-  2 Tbsp. fresh parsley very finely chopped.
-  Salt and pepper to taste.
-  In a small non stick frying pan melt half of the butter over medium heat, add the mushrooms and some parsley and stir until all liquids are expelled, strain, keep the liquid and freeze for future use.
-  In a bowl break eggs and beat very well, add baking soda, salt and pepper to taste.
-  In a larger frying pan, melt rest of butter over high heat, add beaten eggs, mushrooms and parsley leaving some for the decoration.
-  Using a flat sharp edged wooden spatula quickly move around cooked omelet thus giving space for the liquid. Keep on doing that until there is no more liquid flowing, but still damp.
-  Immediately take the frying pan away from the heat, carefully fold in half and slide onto a platter, sprinkle the rest of the parsely on and serve immediately.
 Note:  The larger in diameter frying pan the thinner the omelet for 6 six beaten eggs. So choose a big enough pan which, when the beaten eggs are poured in, will produce a consistent but thin enough omelet which will not break when folded.
Extra Note:  When somebody says "I don't even know how to boil an egg"... it is true and serious because it is difficult to perfectly boil an egg!
Serve with thin slices of parmezan cheese over rocket in a vinaigrette dressing on the side.
Suggested wine:  a very light new Beaujolais very slightly chilled.
Bon Appétit
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Spicy Swordfish Slices In Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, and Ginger.....Healthy

Sometimes it is great to cook something very quickly and not to have to hassle around for a long time in the kitchen. Skillet cooked swordfish slices is quick and easy. The slices of this fish are usually roundish and big so it really depends on your appetite. Fish in general cooks quickly, is very light, and full of water.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Robber's Lamb....Ar-na-ki Klef-ti-ko 1821

Arnaki Kleftiko means the Robber's way of cooking lamb.
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