"It IS all about the TASTE"
RSS icon Home icon
  • Potato Kugel from Iran ..

    Life at times is rather strange. How strange? I tend to help people with technical problems, and ask for rather interesting items in return.

    Say a certain media web site for Muslim women, was helped out of a bit of a bind, and I asked for authentic mid-eastern recipes, in return. What I received was a mid-eastern recipe all right, for potato kugel, Moroccan style potato kugel to be exact. Some what of a kosher dish..

    The whole megillah sounds similar to this..

    Kugel (Yiddish: קוגעל; also קוגל kugl, pronounced IPA: [ˈkʊɡl̩]) is a baked Ashkenazi Jewish pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from egg noodles (Lokshen kugel) or potatoes, though at times made of zucchini, apples, spinach, broccoli, cranberry, or sweet potato. It is usually served as a side dish on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

    The first kugels were made from bread and flour and were savory rather than sweet. About 800 years ago, cooks in Germany replaced bread mixtures with noodles or farfel. Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency which is common in today’s dessert dishes. In Poland, Jewish homemakers added raisins, cinnamon and sweet farmer’s cheese to noodle kugel recipes. In the late 19th century, Jerusalemites combined caramelized sugar and black pepper in a noodle kugel known as “Jerusalem kugel,” which is a commonly served at Shabbat kiddushes and is a popular side dish served with cholent during Shabbat lunch.

    Savory kugel may be based on potatoes, matzah, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, spinach or cheese.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Fabada Asturiana (Yet Another Casserole)

    BAH!, more pneumonia weather. Warm enough during the day, you forgo a coat leaving for work, cold enough in the evening you freeze returning from work. Hearty foods are a MUST to prevent pneumonia.. (As are warm and potent drinks, but that is another post)

    The fabada asturiana, a typical and very traditional dish from Asturias, (A Spanish Provence situated on the north coast (Bay of Biscay), made with beans, sausage, ham, meat and tomatoes, is almost a national dish, found throughout Spain .

    The basis of the stew is a variety of large white beans known as fabes in Asturian and fabas in Spanish, accompanied by pork shoulder, morcilla, chorizo and saffron. The pork products are taken out after cooking and served up separately.

    The fabada possibly originated at the end of the 19th century as a hearty and wetter stew made with white beans, cabbage, other vegetables and the usual porcine parts.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Chutney!

    One of the more infrequent visitors to the lair brought me a very nice little gift. A chutney, not any of the store bought crap, but, a very nice, very textured, very tasty mix of fruit, onion, sugar, vinegar, and spices.

    This specific chutney was cranberries and apples, with a hint of orange, molasses, and fresh ginger. It is a NATURAL for my bourbon glazed pork chops or chicken, better yet, mixed with a bit of sesame oil and mirir to make a killer salad dressing. Quite the pitty, the jar was so small. (I even had a bit on an english muffin…)

    Chutney is a loan word incorporated into English from Hindi-Urdu describing a pasty sauce in Indian[1] and other South Asian cuisines. It is a term for a class of spicy preparations used as an accompaniment for a main dish. Chutneys usually contain an idiosyncratic but complementary spice and vegetable mix.

    Chutneys are wet or dry, having a coarse to fine texture. The Anglo-Indian loan word refers to fresh and pickled preparations indiscriminately, with preserves often sweetened. At least several Northern Indian languages use the word for fresh preparations only. A different word achār applies to preserves that often contain oil but are rarely sweet. Vinegar or citrus juice may be added as preservatives, or fermentation in the presence of salt may be used to create acid.

    In the past, chutneys were ground with a mortar and pestle made of stone or an ammikkal (Tamil). Nowadays, electric blenders replace the stone implements. Various spices are added and ground, usually in a particular order; the wet paste thus made is sauteed in vegetable oil, usually gingelly or groundnut oil.

    American and European styled chutneys are usually fruit, vinegar and sugar, cooked down to a reduction. Flavorings are always added to the mix. These may include sugar, salt, garlic, tamarind, onion, or ginger.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Meatless Monday – “Home” Fries with Peppers and Cheese

    It’s cold, I am quite busy, and have a yen for some comfort food. The original comfort food was the potato, crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside. But I want a bit more flavor and texture…

    Maybe I’ll par-boil some potatoes, slice or quarter them, and fry them up in my heavy cast iron skillet, maybe adding some cheese and a Jalapeño, along with some spices to kick up the flavor a notch.

    Home fries, house fries, or cottage fries are a type of basic potato dish made by pan or skillet frying diced, chunked, wedged or sliced potatoes (sometimes unpeeled) that have been par-cooked by boiling, baking, steaming, or microwaving.

    While it is possible to make “home fries” without par-cooking the potatoes, these are technically raw fries. The texture will be more chewy, and the longer cooking time increases the likelihood of burning the potato pieces. Home fries are also made, as the name suggests, as a simple homemade potato dish and can be prepared even by people with modest cooking skills as a meal or a snack.

    The frying is typically done in vegetable oil or butter. Other ingredients may be added. If chopped onions and bell peppers are added to diced potatoes it creates a dish referred to as Potatoes O’Brien. If sliced potatoes and sliced onions are sautéed together with seasonings it can create a dish referred to as Lyonnaise potatoes.

    The consistency depends on the type of potato used. Although various types of white potatoes are the most popular base, sometimes waxy (usually red-skinned) or sweet potatoes are used.

    In the United States, home fries are popular as a breakfast dish and are sometimes served in place of hash browns. Home fries may be served with a condiment such as ketchup or maple syrup.

    Patatas bravas or papas bravas is a dish of the cuisine of Spain, often served as a tapa in bars. It typically consists of white potatoes that have been cut into 2 centimeter irregular shapes and then fried in oil and served warm with a spicy tomato sauce. This dish is commonly served in restaurants and bars throughout Spain, where it is traditionally accompanied by a shot of orujo or a glass of wine.

    The potatoes are boiled in brine for several minutes to tenderize them. They are then rubbed dry and fried in oil in a manner similar to the preparation of potato chips.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Creme Caramel

    Caramel Custard or Crème caramel, is a rich custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top. Also known as a flan in France.

    A very simple, and very flavorful, very elegant desert. One of the ones I can not pass up when it is on the menu. This is a wonderful way to use items soon to expire, eggs, milk, a basic flan takes only three ingredients. The recipe is simple, but does require reading closely, and a rigorous attention to the details…

    In making this specific flan the first task is to make the caramel sauce for the top of the flan, basically a sugar and water syrup that has been cook to a amber / brown color, aka caramelized, which would also be known as a malliard reaction, where the act of caramelization adds a rich nutty flavor to the syrup.

    Once this is started it goes rather quick, so mis-en-place is quite key. Most people would bake the flan in individual ramekins, but since that is less than authentic, I’ll steam mine. This recipe should deliver 10 mini-flans, so 10 ramekins need to be prepared, buttered and ready for the steamer. (One can half the recipe..)

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • London Broil

    The Loyal Critics club, and the denizens have been clamoring for “real beef protein”. It seems that the unrully weather with it’s periods of spring, (which means grilling), and it periods of winter, (which means roasts), is driving peoples taste for hardy, rich foods..

    London Broil is a beef dish made by broiling or grilling marinated Flank Steak, then cutting it across the grain into thin strips. This supposedly was developed by Pubs / Ale Houses in the Docklands… (I have questions about this as I’ve never seen this dish served in London.)

    Many butchers will label a cut of meat “London broil”. This is incorrect as the term does not refer to a specific cut of meat, but a method of preparation and cookery. The cut of meat traditionally used is flank steak, but in recent years butchers have erroneously labeled top round roast/steak as London Broil.

    The preparation of London broil typically involves marinating the meat for several hours followed by high heat searing in an oven broiler or outdoor grill. In both heating methods the meat is placed approximately three inches from a direct heat source and turned several times to promote even cooking and avoid burning. It is then served in thin slices, cut across the grain.

    Read the rest of this entry »