Saturday, June 18, 2011

Feta On Lettuce Wrap....Cool!

With this heat one cannot eat anything except cold right out of the fridge fresh vegetables with some protein...Feta...or if you prefer low fat Ricotta or cottage cheese.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Pasta E Fagioli....Pasta And Beans

Pasta e fagioli must be one of the most popular dishes in Italy. It is what it says it is...pasta and small white beans. The ultimate family meal. It is cheap, and it is nourishing because of the beans and filling because of the pasta.
In the United States of America, Pasta e Fagioli is very much eaten amongst the Italian-American community specially those originating from Sicily and Naples. They call it "Pasta e Fazool". Even Dean Martin in his song " That's Amore " mentions it.  If you would like to hear the song and see the video with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis please follow the link...Jerry Lewis was my favorite commedian when I was little.
File:Pasta fagioli.jpg
Pasta E Fagioli With Tomato
Courtesy Of Wikipedia On Google.
File:Pasta e fagioli rapida.jpg
Pasta E Fagioli Without Tomato
Courtesy Of Widipedia On Google.

As you can see from the above two photos Pasta e Fagioli can be made both ways.  With tomatoes we have an added expense.  Oh yes, when times are hard, every cent counts.
So, to make Pasta e Fagioli without tomatoes you will need:
Serves 3
-  200 gms of dry white small white beans soaked in water overnight.
-  100 gms of dry small cut twisted egg noodles (better if they are home made) or tubular short cut dry pasta.similar to photo on the right above.
-  Fresh or dried sage finely cut.
-  2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
-  1 bouillon cube of mixed vegetables.
-  1 boullion cube of braized beef (vegetarians omit this cube and add two vegetable cubes).
- Extra virgin olive oil
-  Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The following method is the way I prepare this dish.
-  Cook the white beans in lots of water with the two cubes. Cooking time depends on the quality of the dried beans. Usually one hour, low heat covered.
-  Drain reserving 1 liter of the cooking liquid.  If the remaining liquid is not enough add plain water.
-  Divide the beans in two, purée half the quantity and keep the other half whole.
-  Add some liquid to the purée and then add the rest the of the whole beans. 
-  Mix to get a homogenious mixture. Set aside.
-  In a small skillet, fry the sage, and garlic in the olive oil.
-  Add to the bean mixture, stir, add the 1 liter of the reserved liquid  and bring to a boil.
-  Add the pasta and cook until they are al dente.  If the pasta is dry, cook about 10 minutes.  If the pasta is fresh but dried, boil for 5 minutes.  If the pasta is fresh  home made, cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
-  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve in a cereal type bowl.

Note:  This dish is delicious hot, tepid, or even cold.
Bon Appétit,
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tabbouléh.....Refreshing For Hot Days

Fichier:Flickr - cyclonebill - Tabbouleh.jpg
Courtesy Of Wikipedia On Googl
Taboulé is definitely Lebanese and is pronounced  «Tabbóulé» where the accent is on the "o " and the ending is as it is written with an " é ".  My aunt Mary from Roum, near Beirut, showed me how to do it when I was a little boy.
It can be a meal by itself specially when eaten with whole leaves of lettuce. To make a proper Tabbouleh, you need a lot of parsley. This is the base. Then you need to cut everything very very small with the Makhrata as is called in Arabic or the Mezzaluna. These are the two secrets of Tabbouleh and of course the Bulgur (cracked wheat).
You will need:
Serves 8
-  4 bunches of parsley very very thinly cut with the mezzaluna.
-  150 gms of cracked wheat soaked in cold water for 2 hours in the fridge.
-  5 big tomatoes seeds taken out, and finely chopped with the mezzaluna.
-  2 large onions thinly chopped with mezzaluna.
-  Juice of 3 lemons.
-  1 bunch of fresh mint very finely cut with the mezzaluna.
-  6 Tblsp. olive oil.
-  salt and pepper to taste.
-  One bit lettuce separated from base and very well washed, rinsed, and let upright to dry.
-  Add all the above, except the lettuce, together and mix well.
-  Place in a large salad bowl and stick in the lettuce leaves standing around the Tabbouleh.
How to eat:
-  Take the large leafy part of the lettuce and stuff it with Tabbouleh, wrap and eat.
Bon Appétit and Bil Hana Wal Shéfa!
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

String Beans With Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic, Ginger And Penne Riggate.

So today we shall cook together string beans with sun dried tomatoes and garlic, fresh ginger, dry coriander, tomato paste, penne riggate and topped with fresh chopped coriander.  The penne riggate are included to make the dish more filling.  Of course they could be optional.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken Curry With Potatoes.....Simple Every Day Meal

This Recipe Is For My Friend
Sikander Memon From Mohenjo-daro, Sindh, Pakistan,
who taught me what I know about his type of food.
(he is alive and kicking by the way) 

Every curry powder mix is not the same.  As previously mentioned in past blogs about Pakistani/Indian foods, the main ingredient is a mixture of spices which produce a curry, a tandoori, a tikka, a biryani etc. By changing the ratio, addition or the  omission of one or more spice will change the taste of the resulting dish. If you basically like all these ingredients you will like Pakistani or Indian food.
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Koko-ret-si ........Pieces Of Lamb Ofal Marinated In Oregano, Thyme, and Juniper Wrapped With Intestine

Greek Kokoretsi
Kokoretsi Courtesy Of Google

Fifty days ago was Easter Sunday. Today is Pentecost.  I propose something completely Greek which is eaten in what the Greeks call P s i s t a r i é s, taverns where everything is cooked on charcoal (lamb, pork, beef, kebabs, chicken etc.). Kokoretsi  can be eaten anytime of the year. However, during the Easter period (Spring) when lambs are young, Kokoretsi is very good and lean. Basically I eat it once or maximum twice a year during Easter.
Lots of charcoal needs 1½ hours to properly light, becomes grey...not too hot.  Only then you can either start grilling or barbecuing.
Kokoretsi is a typical Greek appetizer. It is not to be eaten as the main course.
The following video will show you, in Greek, how to make a Kokoretsi, courtesy of You Tube, on Google. Some of you who do not know Greek will enjoy the pictures and maybe the music. It comes from the north west of Greece, Epiros...typically mountain music.  Those of you who can read Greek, will feel the nostalgia for the home country as well as get first hand information on how to make one.
Please follow the link to view the video.
I also can explain to you how to make one because I have made it many years ago but I should warn you that it is a pain in the neck and to tell you the truth I have never made it since.
Anyway you can try anything once and, in this case, if not at all I wouldn't blame you!!
I however feel obliged to blog and share with you our culture and one of the classic Greek appetizers.
For 1 meter's worth you will need:
Serves minimum 12
-  2 sets of lamb offal such as liver, spleen, heart, lungs.
-  3 sets of lamb's small intestine.
- Oregano, thyme, salt, lots of pepper, chilli pepper powder, ground juniper seeds, and lemon juice.
-  Cut offal in 4 inches in diameter, wash well with plenty of fresh water. Strain, and dry.  Marinate with oregano, thyme etc.
-  In the meantime wash the intestines.  Unfortunately this is the most "difficult" part of the whole process.  The intestines MUST be extremely well washed with running water.  You wash them by running the water through them either by putting a special adaptor on your kitchen faucet similare to the one in the video, or by putting the end of the intestine in the thiner part of the funnel and have the water run though.  This process must be done until the water coming out is as clear and odorless as the water running through it.
-  Once you are sure the intestines are clean,  get a roasting spit where the kokoretsy will be made and thread alternative pieces of the piece of heart, then one piece of liver, then one piece of lung, spleen, and so on until all your offal is finished.
-  Then you will have to use the intestine to wind and contain all the ofal inserted on the skewer.
-  Place on the charcoal, sear it, then barbecue it for around 3 hours away from the charcoal.
-  When ready, no more juices will come out of the kokoretsi, the color will be dark-brown, and the intestine will be crisp.
-  Serve as an appetizer with mustard, Greek salad, French fries, and retsina, the Greek resinated wine.
Kokoretsi Not Yet Barbecued
Searing Kokoretsi

Barbecuing Kokoretsi Away From The Charco
Note: You can buy them ready at your butcher whom you trust....No fuss!!
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