Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lenten Recipes: Bamia & Veggies

Mixed Baked Vegetables

2 c (1 can) diced tomato
2 c (1 can) tomato sauce
4 c small whole fresh okra
1 large eggplant, peeled
6 small red potatoes
4-5 red pearl onions, or onion to taste, chopped
Dry Oregano
Dry Basil
Black pepper
Water
Salt to taste (none if canned tomato has salt)

Method: wash okra and cut off top, place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1
cup white vinegar. Add one cup of water and set aside at least 2
hours.

Peel and slice eggplant into 1-inch cubes, sprinkle with salt, put in
colander to drain bitterness, wait at least half hour, rinse eggplant.

Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes or 1-cm slices.

in a small pot, cover bottom with olive oil and briefly sauté onion,
add dived tomato and a little of tomato sauce and cook about 20
minutes, add sprinkled oregano, pepper, basil. Set aside.

In a baking pan - mom uses Corningware, sprinkle olive oil. Place
mixed vegetables, pour sauce over and sprinkle again with olive oil.

Bake at 375 for approximately 1 hour, but check at 30 minutes. You can
cover with foil, and may need to raise temperature. Lenten/vegetarian!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

8 Course Menu, One Hot Philadelphia Night

Chef Nicholas Elmi.
Photos By Dimitra DeFotis
I was honored to be a guest at a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Philadelphia dinner at the petite Laurel Restaurant.

Our party of eight spoke briefly with owner-chef Nicholas Elmi, who was named reality television's Top Chef in 2013. He told us the restaurant has applied for a liquor license, though it remains BYO for now. So each household brought at least two wines. There was alchohol left over - and much tasted and tossed.

Some highlights:  The first course, at left, was one of my two favorites: a light vegetable start, with nearly indiscernible slices of razor clam. With smoked trout roe, green tomato gelatin, cucumber and ponzu, accompanied by Pol Roger 1999 champagne. Some of our wines needed to be on ice -- it was 90 degrees and we were outdoors.

Second course was pink and blue: Foie gras with rhubarb, granola. The Chenin blanc was too heavy - I enjoyed a Sauternes. I think sweet-and-puffy grains belong in breakfast bowls - whole wheat berries might be better.


By the fourth course, with enough bottles tasted to lose count, I was never happier to eat starchy gnocchi - a light ricotta version. It was served with pickled spring onion, potato espuma. It was served with two Italian red wines. And there were still four more courses.

Gnocci, Tuscan & Altesino 
Brunello di Montalcino
Next was a risotto with Australian truffle, which is a new phenomenon that is already $1,100 per pound. But Chef Elmi said Australian truffle is $300 cheaper than the typical truffle. Less fragrant, still earthy. He said it wasn't ready for harvest for years. My review: it's fine but still not fabulous. See the photo of the biggest mound of truffle I will ever see on my plate.

My notes, at this point, say "Lord Have Mercy." This was my other favorite course: fish from the Carolinas, called Walu. Peach Chanterelle, Swiss chard, seaweed butter. Two white wines.

Subsequently there was duck. There was a tiny loaf of bread, and there was a lot of water. The rear garden was pretty.
Tokaji Hugarian dessert wine.

Dessert was just what the doctor ordered: caramelized white-chocolate pudding, almond and cherry. Port and a Sweet wine served. I begged for a coffee. Amazing experience.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nutty Coconut Honey Granola

Appalled at the price of granola, I made my own, finally. It certainly smells amazing as it bakes. I modified Martha Stewart's recipe using my stash of ingredients, including a two-pound container of oats ($6) -- the minimum a New Yorker pays for puffed-out, puny portions of granola.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fish Soup & Kalamari

Found an irresistible special on a chalkboard menu today: ψαρόσουπα-- with carrot, potato, just a bit of flaky white fish and lots of fresh lemon. It may have had a little tomato, or okra, for flavor. And it was not pureed, but not too chunky. I had καλαμαράκια and pita bread on the side.
This is my favorite taverna in Astoria: Tiny, nice menu with a few twists, the server with hazel eyes always calls me sweetie, and today he's playing the best acoustic rebetika. Antiques and old photos on the shelves, below wood beams. Νow playing: "Φεύγω, γιασου γιασου!"
This fish soup recipe is quite simple.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tanoreen: Olives, Lemons & Za'atar

The fates sent me to Brooklyn instead of Wall Street tonight.
I love an adventure and "Fell Back Alone" listening to World Party, staying on the train to Bay Ridge and Tanoreen - a Michelin-rated bib gourmand Middle Eastern restaurant. It won't disappoint unless you can't handle red wine, heavy spices and the next table's raw kibbeh.
I had a cumin-spiced lentil-butternut squash spread, "a Gaza specialty," and mhammara, a red pepper, walnut, spicy spread. (It's similar to the Turkish salsa-like appetizer spread esme, but not as chunky nor sweet-sour.)
Accompaniment: za'atar toasted flatbread. And a nice French Pinot Noir (Cote du Rhône).
Innovative Palestinian Chef Rawia Bishara, with recipes influenced by the Mediterranean and Middle East, is a well-kept New York foodie secret. Her new cookbook is number two to Ottolenghi's latest cookbook. Check out "Olives, Lemons & Za'atar,"a beautiful cookbook. Only complaint: the index doesn't cross reference traditional names, which is what you find on restaurant menus.
Tanoreen's menu and website has Bishara's interesting story: she started the restaurant later in life, in the 1990s, with inspiration from her mother, a teacher-cook. Bishara says:
"What I truly loved and respected about my mother’s cooking and indeed the woman herself, was that she somehow “colored outside the lines” and enlivened her life and therefore her food with many creative flourishes."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Easter - Καλώ Πάσχα

Χριστός Ανέστη ! Resurrection liturgy 10 p.m. - 3 a.m. (half of that finagling a seat.) Broke the fast at Psistaria with margiritsa soup and grilled lamb at 3 a.m. Then got the light all the way home without setting Dad's car on fire - 4 a.m.

The margeritsa soup recipe, which calls for organs, is gamey and soothing, and requires that someone is cooking a whole baby lamb. Trust me: best tasted once per year, and prepared by a distant relative or a restaurateur.

Before Christ, the blood of a sacrificial lamb was used to mark doors so that evil would pass over the house. When at a Greek home, look above the front entrance for the symbol of the new new protector: scorch marks shaped in the sign of the cross, from the Resurrection night candle. More on the Lamb, and roasting lamb on a spit, in today's John Kass column in the Chicago Tribune. (registration required.)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Egg Bread

A Sicilian tradition on display at Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery this Sunday morning.
A true local bakery, this place still has Lenten cookies for Greek customers waiting for Orthodox Easter in early May. Someone really needs to unite our calendars.
In the meantime, I will be reading recipes for the "bread" at right and other delicious concoctions on this interesting cooking blog, "The Italian Dish" and its recipe for Italian Easter bread.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Last Night in a Dream

In a very deep sleep last night, I felt a pain in my heart.
It was the kind you feel briefly when you get sudden, unexpected bad news.
In the Balakian memoir I am reading, (see below), the grandmother tells stories in allegory, and she recites and interprets dreams.
I haven't been recalling nighttime brain wanderings of late. But in a dream last night, I was missing my grandmother who I never knew. In the black-and-white world she inhabits, she looks very proud and unmovable, with a somber, wise smile and a 1920s wave in her dark hair. It's her sweet bread recipe we repeat every Christmas, every Easter.
Recently I said that I can see her, but I wish I could hear her.
And then, in my dream, she sent me a text.
She simply wrote: "I'm here."


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Balakian Book: Baking Choereg & Fate

In a nod to Armenian Christmas on Sunday, the fates left on my office desk today a book apparently delivered in August - !!! - that was lost in the bowels of our mail room.
It was Peter Balakian's historical memoir that I ordered long ago: "Black Dog of Fate." It starts with a timely description of making a bread called "choereg."
I am amazed that my mom, when I said the word choereg, which I don't recognize and can't quite pronounce, conjured up some Greek: "Of course. Tsourek-i. Our recipe for holiday sweet bread."
Balakian writes of spending an afternoon with his Armenian grandmother, who was born near Turkey but lived in New Jersey. They prepared bread, which helped her tell deeply buried, moving stories:
"To make choereg, we mixed milk and melted butter into a ceramic bowl. I poured [yeast] into a glass measuring cup and watched it fizz. Eggs, sugar, salt, rising agent, and my grandmother poured in the mahleb."
Mahleb, or mahlepi, is a spice that looks like a small nut, but is the essence of a cherry pit, his grandmother explained. Then she quoted the Song of Solomon on spices and praised the merits of memorizing the Bible and prose.
"She sifted flour and we mixed it all with a large wooden spoon until it was dough. Then she scooped the dough out and put it on the flour-glazed bread board. We squeezed and pressed it with our hands. I liked how the wet dough stuck between my fingers. I liked how she took it to another bowl and turned it all over its oiled surface, then covered the bowl with a towel and put it in the unlit oven. It was warm there and free from drafts, and when we opened the oven two hours later, the dough was an airy saffron-colored mound. I loved punching the dough down so that it's porous insides collapsed. We pulled it into pieces and made ropes, braids, and rings."
You can see ours, a vasilopita, but always with mahlepi and sesame.
Perhaps it was again fate, but tonight I also received the latest Columbia Journalism Review offering this feature: "Where Truth Is a Hard Cell: Although Seen as Modern & West Leaning, Turkey leads the World in Jailing Journalists," by Stephen Franklin, a former Chicago Tribune Middle East correspondent.
"The most dangerous problem is self censorship," according to one veteran Turkish editor who's quoted. "You don't even ask questions. And that kills journalism."
A recipe for disaster, not bread, in that case.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ezme Spread

SUNNYSIDE, QUEENS -- This delish meze called ezme or esme is a bit spicy, with walnut, tomato and garlic. Trying it at Turkish Grill and wondering if my γιαγιά made it.
What I liked at "Smyrna," a Turkish (!!) resto in Hell's Kitchen, and at Turkish Grill, is crunch, sweet and sour.
But online recipes are full of variations. Fresh tomato alone won't work and you have to hand chop everything superfine. Turns out "ezme" translates to "crush" and is like a salsa but more of a paste. So, based on an amalgamation of recipes below and what I have tasted, the strategy seems to be: mash onions, salt with sumac, de-seed fresh or canned tomatoes, then  drain tomatoes of all liquid after chopping - flavor may be best using canned plum tomatoes whole no skin. Plus, tomato paste. Another key: pomegranate syrup or paste. Right! Green and or red pepper has been very subtle, so probably put lemon directly on that before blending. I have had ezme at three different places with a few walnuts and some garlic chopped.
But none of these recipes recreates all this. So until a Turkish chef weighs in, ezme goes down as Turkish secret sauce! Recipes: From a Mediterranean charter tour company, a surprisingly good recipe and explanationTurkish Cookbook's version. Food.com's take. Some sites call it Acli Ezme. This version from the blog "Saffron and Lemon" is written by a Middle-East food enthusiast in Japan and has some good meat recipes for after lent. I like this site for Turkish cooking tips, but it's not archived well so there isn't an obvious ezme recipe.