Saturday, April 9, 2011

Marinade No.1 For Pork Chops...............Time To Grill

A marinade is a composition of ingredients mixed together and added to a piece of protein to tenderize, enhance the taste and to impress your friends.
A marinade can be a liquid or solid. I would like to share with you the best and tastiest way I like to eat my pork chops. 
Your will need:
Serves 4
-  4 pork chops.
-  Olive oil (exctra virgin)
-  Thyme.
-  Salt and lots of freshly ground green pepper.
Method:
-  3-4 hours before you grill the pork chops, add lots of oil, and massage them lovingly with you hands to make sure the oil penetrates the meat and goes everywhere.
-  2 Tbsp. of dry thyme also rubbed in. (Half Tbsp. for each chop)
-  Salt (pork needs lots of salt) and a fair amount of freshly ground green pepper rubbed both sides of
the chops.
-  Cover the platter tightly with cling film till it is time to grill.
-  When the time comes, you will see that most of everything has been absorbed by the meat.
-  Add just a little bit of oil and place over a very hot grill.
-  Leave for 2 minutes pressing hard on top of  them to make the grill lines you enjoy so much. Two minutes later turn the chops by 45 degree angle and press again to obtain the beautiful rhombic marks.
-  Two minutes later flip them and repeat the previous step.
-  With a sharp knife cut along the bone to check for doneness, if the pork is not yet cooked (pork has to be fully cooked but not dry) then flip again and grill for one minute more on each side.
-   When done add some lemon and serve.
Bon Appétit:
Stelio

Note:
Please allow me to share with you a couple of thoughts on grilling vs. barbecuing because very few people are experts in both. I know I am not in barbecueing.
-  I would definetely recommend my readers who love to barbecue to subscribe to http://www.bbq.about.com/  by Derrick Riches. This young man knows his stuff and can give you loads of information on anything you would like to know regarding barbecues, grills, recipes, and how to's.  The full Monty. He will also answer any of your questions personally and quickly.
-  I on the other hand will give you my humble personal opinion and experience.
-  The indoor grill used on your kitchen stove (gas as opposed to electric), is the best for small quantity grilling. Whatever you grill on there comes out perfect because you have full control of the heat.  However you would want to have good kitchen aeration. 
-  The outdoor grill, is more complicated. Everybody talks about barbecuing which by the way is not grilling. Barbecuing is slow, long time cooking. Grilling is quick, over relatively hot charcoal.
-  Modern technology has lately given us the Gas Barbecue. Cooking over lava rock, and the possibility to increase or lower the heat in an instant, makes it quick and easy to barbecue or grill. The lava rock gives a hint of that special charcoal taste that has no match.  Gas barbecue manufacturing companies apparently have now replaced the lava rock with some other means of transmitting heat. I really do not agree.
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Falafel........Gaining Territory As A Snack

Foul (Fool) Beans

Chic Peas
Falafel are definitely vegetarian. A Middle Eastern snack made of either dried chick pease, dried Foul (pronounced fool) a kind of Egyptian bean  or a mixture of both. Egyptians make them out
of foul while in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East make them from chick peas or half and half.

Basically the outcome is the same: they look like small fried balls or patties eaten either dipped in Tahini  or four or five of them crushed in a flat Shami bread with salad, cayenne and tahini.


Spherical fritters in a bowl
Courtesy Of Wikipedia

Foul or chickpeas, are soaked overnight, not boiled but ground in a food processor with lots of parsley, dried coriander, garlic, onion, cayenne pepper to desired heat , freshly ground cumin powder, one whole egg, tsp. of baking soda to render them fluffy.

Ingredients:
-  500 gms of dry chick peas or special dry foul for falafel (they are peeled and split). Foul can be found in any Egyptian or Middle Eastern food store. Soak overnight.
-  1 big bunch of parsley.
-  3 cloves of garlic
-  1 medium onion.
-  1 whole egg
-  3 Tbsp. of dry coriander.
-  1-2 Tbsp. of freshly ground cumin depending on taste.
-  1 tsp. of baking soda.
-  2 tsp. cayenne pepper
-  sesame seeds on a small plate to coat one side of patties, or to roll each ball in before frying.
-  salt to taste.
-  Lots of fresh frying oil.
-  Big plate with kitchen paper to absorb the oil from frying.
-  A frying thermometer.
Method:

Release Falafel Into Oil
Falafel Instrument


Pull Down To Fill
-  In a blender, add the above until and including the cayenne pepper and blend on power 1 for half a minute, then gradually increase to power three till you get a smooth paste.-  Heat oil to 175 degrees Centigrade or 350 degrees Fahrenheit on your thermometer.
-  Use the instrument shown in the photo to make little patties, coat one side with sesame seed and fry. Or if you do not have this instrument, then use the palm of your hands to make the patties or the balls which you roll and cover over the sesame seed.

-  Fry the falafel as you make them, in the very hot oil, for just a minute maximum  on each side or until brown and crisp.
-  Place falafel on absorbing kitchen paper to dry.

Eat while hot with whatever dip you have.  When you are hungry even cold they are good!!

Bon Appétit,
Stelio
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pesto Alla Genovese.......The Ultimate Sauce


Big Flat Leafed Basil
Pesto is a sauce which can be used in many preparations because it contains all the ingredients you would use anyway when cooking. It contains basil, garlic, salt, olive oil, parmezan and pecorino cheese and pine nuts. So by adding some pesto you are done.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lentil Purée........Dhal: A Taste Of India / Pakistan Mixed With France.

Lentils come in many colors. They are very healthy because they contain lots of iron and other minerals. Apart from being healthy lentils are inexpensive meaning that you can eat lentils and stay within a budget, big or small.

Fine Lentils
My Photo
India and Pakistan have very interesting ways of cooking lentils to render them more palatable by using exotic spices to be eaten alone or serving them with lamb or even fish.  Naan bread is always used.http: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vow-kxTPatc
Today I would like to share with you a recipe for lentils. It is a mixture of Indian and French. French being the addition of fresh double cream in the centre at the time of serving or you could add yogurt.
You will therefore need:
Serves 4:
-  2 cups of green / brown small sized lentils well washed
-  4 bay leaves.
-  8 cloves of garlic crushed and thinly chopped.
-  1 Tbsp. turmeric powder.
-  2 Knorr or Maggi vegetable cubes  very thnly sliced to esealy dissolve in the boiling lentils.
-  1 inch worth of fresh ginger root peeled and cut brunoise.
-  2 big onions sliced and separated into rings.
-  30 gms of butter.
-  6 cups of water for the lentils
-  1 cup of water for the onions
-  2 Tbsp. brown sugar for the onions.
-  1/2 red chili very finely cut using kitchen scissors.
-  Double Cream or Yogurt.
Method: 
-  Boil 6 cups of water in a big sauce pan with cover, add the lentils.
-  Add the garlic, bay leaves, turmeric, chili and salt.
-  Bring to a boil, simmer till tender and there isn't much liquid.










 -  In the meantime boil the onion rings with the butter and the sugar on high heat till all the water evaporates and the onions start to caramelize.

Onions Boiling High Heat
With Butter And Sugar And Water
Caramelization Of the Onions
My Photo
-  When the lentils are done, purée them using the vertical hand held blender as in picture.


-  Heat the lentil purée.

Dressing the serving plate:

-  Ladle lentil purée to a soup plate,  disperse some of the caramelized onions but not in the centre.
-  Put some slices of the chili around for decoration and extra heat!! You can discard the chili if you wish.
-  Add some thick double cream in the middle as shown in the photo.



Bon Appétit,
Stelio
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Eggplant Galore!.....Healthy And Delicious.

Sometimes women,  more than men, crave for eggplant.  Maybe they are lacking iron in their system so this recipe is dedicated to ladies who love eggplant. This is not a main dish. It is usually served on the side or as a starter. It is very simple to make...all you need is eggplant, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and an oven preheated to 175 degrees centigrade.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

What R We Going To Have For Dinner Today??....A Big Question For Many Families.

Around 7 pm every day the same question arises: "What are we going to have for lunch or dinner  tomorrow??". 
You would want to keep your fridge and pantry equipped most of the time with as many necessities that could be used at the last minute to prepare something quick. Such as:
Refrigerator:
Eggs  -   fresh vegetables -  milk  -  fresh cream  -  yogurt  -  cheeses -  hams and sausages - Paté.
Deep Freeze:  
Frozen vegetables including mushrooms,  accumulated sauces as I suggested in one of my postings, sea food which thaws quickly. Then you would have your pork, chicken, beef, liver, turkey breast etc.
Pantry stuff:
Pasta of all kinds including chinese noodles  -  different types of rice  -  tomato paste  -  cartons of tomato cut up in stmall pieces in juice  -  canned sardines or tuna  -  chicken /  beef broth cubes  -    pulses  -  potatoes  -  sugar  -  flour and anything you can think of that you feel is necessary for your meals.
So if at the last minute you still haven't decided what to cook or you forgot to thaw anything from your freezer the night before, or suddenly you have guest,  then you can put together something nice.  That's where imagination and quick thinking kicks in. 
Therefore the better your fridge, freezer, pantry is stocked the easier it is to prepare. So you would want to check everything once a week and replenish. 
The following is a meal you could fix with ingredients you already have at home: Country sausage, mashed potatoes and broccoli. 
Grilling Country Sausages On
Gas Stove Grill
Serving plate












For a company of five you will need:

-  5 Country Sausages
-  2 kg potatoes, peeled, cut in four, very well boiled, mashed with potato masher, 1 cup milk, some freshly grated nutmeg, salt and white pepper. mixed well. Butter or sour cream can be added separately at table according to taste.
-  2 big branches of broccoli, steamed "al dente" in cous-cous pot.
Serve with home made mustard-mayonaise for the sausages (my recipe dated April 2nd 2011).
Enjoy!!
Stelio
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Orange Chocolate Mousse........Today Is Sunday Remember?

Sunday is here and it is sweet day !! Yey!! Since I am not very good at desserts, except for a very few, Maria is going to share with you an orange chocolate mousse. It is easy, quick to make, but needs at least three hours in the refrigerator.
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The Famous Moussaká......Very Greek And May I Say Byzantine As Well !!


Elongated Pear Shaped Eggplant
My Photo
The Moussaka
Next Morning
If you ever decide to make a Moussaka make sure to prepare it and cook it the day before and refrigerate overnight. Next day it can be heated or eaten at room temperature. I guarantee you it will be 1000 times tastier forgetting the fact that after you finish cooking it you will be ready to go to bed to sleep for the night!! Specially when you have to cook for lunch of that day as well and wash the pots and pans you have used...we were very spoilt where we came from..... so...are you ready to go on a crusade back to the middle ages??





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