Kyufte (Bulgarian Meatball)

Last time I posted this recipe was 2012!  I made these meatballs over the weekend and changed the recipe a bit.  They are even better now.  Martin said they reminded him of the ones his grandfather made.  Must be the savory.   That is the new ingredient added over the weekend. Either way, with or without savory, they are simple and delicious!  Enjoy!

Kyufte

1 # ground pork (you can use a combo of pork and ground beef if you like. I don’t.)
1 small onion, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin (I tend to use a bit more.  I love that flavor!)
1 teaspoon savory (if you do not have, that’s fine.  It adds a nice flavor though. For a substitution you could use thyme.  I would use 1/2 teaspoon.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Flour
Vegetable Oil

1.  Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.

2. Form each portion into a small meatball and flatten.  Not too big, about 2 inches in width. (you can make them into a normal size burger or meatball, too.  We like them smaller.)

3.  You can grill or fry, whatever is easiest for you.  If frying, add 1 Tablespoon oil to pan.  Depending on the size fry/grill 2-4 minutes each side. When frying I dip each side in flour before placing in frying pan.

We also use this recipe in a gyro.  We use pita bread and fill with the mixture along with a couple of french fries, topped with cabbage and cheese spread (no cheese spread, just feta will do!)  Here is the link to Palichinko, the Bulgarian cheese spread; https://fauxchef5.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/palichinko-spread/

Martin used to enjoy this quick meal when he lived with his grandparents in Sofia.  Always nice to bring back some fond memories in your kitchen for those you love.

All’Amatriciana – DELISH!

I had this dish at a restaurant recently.  I enjoyed it so much I wanted to try making it at home.  Didn’t take long to find a recipe online.  Simple and Delicious!

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

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Ingredients

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or chopped unsmoked bacon (I used pancetta)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion (red or yellow)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
Kosher salt
12 ounces dried bucatini or spaghetti (I like rotini so that is what I used.  Not a fan of longer noodles.  I blame that on my mom. She did not like spaghetti.)  🙂
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino (I used Pecorina Romano.  You could use Parmesan.  Please don’t use the green can.  Buy a chunk of the real thing.  It really makes a difference. You will thank me.)

Directions

  1.  Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. (Be sure to constantly move around to avoid burning. Pancetta cooks fast.)
  2. Add pepper flakes and black pepper, stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes (remember to crush with your hands), reduce heat to low, stir occasionally, until sauce thickens.  15-20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and make pasta per the directions. (Don’t overcook.  Cook to al dente instructions.)  Be sure to add salt. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain in colander.
  6. Add pasta to sauce in skillet and toss. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and mix thoroughly until sauce coats pasta.  Add more pasta water if seems dry.  (1/2 cup was enough for me).
  7. Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potatoes and Okra -Dry Spice

Northern Indian side dish.

Okra and Potato Dry Spice
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Ingredients
1 1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
3/4 pound okra, chopped into half inch pieces
3 medium russet potatoes, cut into half inch pieces
1-onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, diced small
2 chili peppers, deseeded
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Kashmiri Mirch)
1 teaspoon corriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon Chat Masala
pinch of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
Lime, peeled and cut into small chunks
Corriander/Cilantro for garnish
Directions
1.  Over medium heat add cumin seet, then potatoes.  When potatoes turn brown, remove from pan. (Since cut small they should be done.) Set aside.
2.  Wipe out pan with papertowel, add onion and brown.  Add garlic.  Mix until fragrant.
3.  Add okra and cook on medium low for 6 minutes.
4.   Add potatoes and powders, pinch of sugar, garam masala.  Mix together.
5.  Remove from heat, add cut up lime and garnish with cilantro.

Taro – Northern Indian Cuisine

Taro
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Ingredients
6 taro roots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 chili pepper, deseeded
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Kashmiri Mirch)
1 teaspoon corriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon Chat Masala
Corriander leaves/cilantro for garnish
Directions
1.  Wash and clean taro, do not peel yet.
Fill pot with water.  You will boil until done.  They are like a potato.  Check for doneness with knife.  When knife slides through easily they are done.
2. Remove from heat and run over with cold water, peel at this time. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.
3.  Using non stick skillet, add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat.
4.  Add taro slices.  When brown on both sides put in powders above. Mix well.
5.  Remove from heat. Garnish with corriander/cilantroEnjoy!

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice
(6 servings)
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(Per recommendation, this recipe is using a rice cooker)
4 cups Basmati Rice
Water (fill to line on rice cooker)
3 Tablespoons butter (ghee preferable)
2 bay leaves
Cinnamon Stick (2 inch stick)
5 Cardomom pods (I used green)
5 cloves
10 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup green peas, frozen
Directions
1.  Rinse rice until the water runs clear
2.  Add Butter and spices to small fry pan, medium heat.  Stir for 1 minute and transfer to rice cooker insert.
3.  Add rice and water to rice cooker per rice cooker instructions.
4.  When the rice cooker is at the last few minutes (the rice cooker will let you know), add the peas to cook through the last few minutes.
5.  Rice will be done when rice cooker turns off.  Enjoy!

Chicken Curry – Northern India – Punjab

wWe are celebrating Northern India for February.  Saturday I visited the local Indian store to grab some ingredients.  The menu that I chose was red lentil soup, chicken curry and for dessert carrot halwa.  When I went up to the counter with a scant few ingredients, the owner asked me why I wanted the red lentils. I told her the menu I came up with. She said you don’t want lentil dal (not soup) and curry, they do not go together. I ended up spending 2 hours with her. She wrote out recipes explaining how to make chicken curry, okra/potato dry spice and taro.  I didn’t even get her name.  However, I know she was born in Punjab and grew up in Bombai.  She told me that in De Pere the Indian community is mainly from southern India.  The flavors in southern India are with more heat and coconut.  Northern India are with some heat and water/milk.  Then we went back to her writing out this menu to share with my family.  She said next time I come back she will write up Tandoori.  Also, I will get her name!  Thank you owner of Astha Grocery and Gifts, De Pere WI.  If you love Indian food give her a visit and make sure you have time to visit.

Chicken Curry
(serving for 6)

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Ingredients

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons butter (ghee is preferred)
6 – chicken legs and thighs, bone in, cut at joint
2 red onions, diced fine
4 tomatoes, pureed in food processor or chopped very fine
1 head/knob of garlic (yes, that much garlic), diced fine
ginger root, 1 1/2 inch slice, diced fine
3 green chili, sliced, remove seed and diced small
1 bunch coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 small potato, diced, about 3/4 inch in size
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder for marinating chicken and 1/2 teaspoon for curry
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Kashmiri Mirch)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
2  teaspoons Chicken Masala powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
pinch brown sugar
Juice of lime

Directions

  1. Marinate chicken with salt and turmeric. 30 minutes.
  2. Cut ginger root 1 1/2 inches, dice into small pieces
  3. Full head of garlic, dice into small pieces
  4. 2 red onions, diced into small pieces
  5. Green Chilies, slit from middle to end and take out the ALL of the seeds, dice into small pieces. (Next time, one or two more chilies)
  6. Tomatoes, you can cut into small pieces or put in food processor to puree.  It is recommended to use the food processor. Cut out top stem part. No need to deseed the tomato. Cut into quarters and put in processor, puree.
  7.  Bunch of cilantro, chop off ends.  Cut in 1/2.  Chop leaves and set aside.  Chop leaves/part stem and set aside.
  8. In large pot over medium heat quickly brown both sides of chicken.  You do not need to add oil at this time.  Take out chicken and set aside.
  9. In the same pot over medium to medium low heat, put 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of butter (ghee is preferred but for my first recipe she said butter was acceptable.  If I continue to make Indian dishes, ghee is a must purchase item).
  10. Add, cumin seed, ginger, garlic and green chili.
  11. When color changes, put in diced onion, wait until it turns brown.  Add salt.
  12. Saute until the onions are browned, about 30-40 minutes.
  13. Add chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, tomato puree, chicken masala, wait for tomatoes to cook down stock by covering pot.  30 minutes. (Next time I will increase the spices.  Instead of 1/2 I will go to 1 teaspoon.)
  14. Add chicken, potato and 1/2 coriander/cilantro into pot.  Cook until chicken falls off bone.  45-60 minutes.
  15. If the gravy is dry, add 1/2-1 cup water to your liking.  The chicken releases liquid and you may not need to add any liquid at all.  (I did not need any liquid.)
  16. When done add salt to taste, pinch of brown sugar, garam masala, lime juice and cilantro for garnish.img_5060

We all enjoyed the Curry.  Next time I will play around with the dry spices.  I think they could have been kicked up a notch.  It was definitely simple and delicious.

 

 

Classic French Canadian Tourtiere

2017 will be a year of trying different recipes from countries around the world.  When I checked my son, Eric (who enjoys cooking also) which country and recipe we should start with his choice was Canada.  Reason – Poutine.   I started with Tourtiere.  This is a traditional meat pie typically served around Christmas.   I made this for our Saturday dinner.  Kent and I enjoyed it.

For our first Sunday in January, we had Poutine, Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwiches (used Pastrami that I picked up at Ski’s Meat Market) and Nanaimo Bars.  Each originated from Quebec except the Nanaimo Bars. They originated from Nanaimo, British Columbia.

End result for Canada;  Poutine was passable – go to Canada for great Poutine, this meat pie was delicious but it was a lot of meat (hence, meat pie), the sandwiches were enjoyed by Kent and Martin, the Nanaimo Bars – well I think we know how those went over.  🙂

Classic French Canadian Tourtiere
(Compliments from Kitchen Vignettes)

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Ingredients
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-large baked potatoes, mashed with skins removed (or about 1 cup mashed potatoes.)
3/4 cup beef broth (or water)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Pie Crust
Use your favorite recipe or Pillsbury Pie Crusts (that is what I used!)

Egg Wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1.  In a large skillet add olive oil medium heat.  Add chopped onions and saute until soft and golden.
  2. Mix ground meats together in a bowl.  Add the ground meat to the onions and cook for about 10 minutes.  Stir to break up the meat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.  Reduce heat to medium low and cover.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat.  Taste the meat and add more salt, pepper or spices to your taste.  Refrigerate 2 hours, until completely chilled.
  5. Line a 9 inch pie place with pie dough.  (I prebaked the crust.  That is up to you.)
  6. Spoon in the meat mixture (all of it, this will fit in the pie plate). Patting down lightly to compress it.  Brush rim with water and place on top dough.  Trim and flute.
  7. Brush egg wash on top dough.  It is worth the time to do this.  The egg wash gives you a nice golden crust.
  8. Cut some steam vents on top of your pie.
  9. Place in oven.  Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes or until the top of the crust is golden.

Kent and I enjoyed this dish.  It was great for leftovers too. Next – Pakistan.

Enjoy!!

 

Nanaimo Bars

I would like to make foods from other cultures each month for 2017. I thought the last Sunday of the month was a good day for this.  In January we chose Canada.  The dessert chosen was Nanaimo Bars.  This is a rich, layered bar.  Simple and Delicious.

Nanaimo Bars
(compliments King Arthur Flour)

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Crust
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg
1 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut (I had sweetened)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Filling
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
2 Tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
2 Tablespoons milk

Icing
1 cup bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
1/4 cup heavy cream or 2 Tablespoons butter (I used cream)

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 9×9 or 11×7 pan
2.  Make Crust; Place all of the crust ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Beat at medium speed until combined. (I hand mixed this entire recipe.)
3.  Press the mixture into a prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
4.  Make Filling; Using a medium sized mixing bowl, combine softened butter, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.
5.  In a small bowl, combine the vanilla pudding and milk.  Mix together until thick and smooth.
6.  Add the pudding mix to the butter/sugar mixture.  Stir to combine.
7.  Add the remaining sugar, beat until the filling is smooth.  Spread over the cooled crust.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  (about 2 hours)
8.  Make icing; Combine chocolate and cream in a saucepan or microwave safe dish. Heat the cream until steaming.  Stir until smooth. (I use the microwave-30 second intervals)
9.  Spread the frosting onto the bars.  Refrigerate until set.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

delli

 

Baklava – Simple and Delicious

I have wanted to make Baklava for at least 10 years.  I have been a bit hesitant and decided this year to just do it.  Martin called his grandma to get her recipe.  We discussed and we did her recipe with a few tweaks of our own.

Baklava

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Ingredients

16 ounces Phyllo dough
1 Tablespoon vegetable oi
3 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Filling

4 cups of chopped walnuts (If you have leftover nuts, place the extra on a baking sheet and toast at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of lemon
zest of orange (you could do both or just one fruit)

Syrup

2 cups of water
1 cup sugar
1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1.  Layout phyllo dough and cover with damp towel. They dry out fast.  I learned that today!  I cut the dough in half and that was the perfect size for my 9×13 metal baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt those sticks of butter.
  2. Mix together the nut filling ingredients.
  3. Here is where Grandma Olga comes into play.  Her way of making baklava is not the usual process you see and read about. Lightly oil the baking pan.  I used sunflower oil. You can use vegetable oil.
  4. When you layer the phyllo you do not butter each piece.  Layers as follows;  6 pieces on bottom, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces phyllo dough. Top layer is not covered with nuts, as you see from the above photo. (When layering be sure to layer one by one not just grabbing six pieces and setting down.)
  5. Cut the baklava into squares/diamonds.  Make sure you are careful when you are doing this.  (You want to be sure you cut all the way through. The melted butter and syrup have to get through the entire pan.)
  6. Pour the 3 1/2 sticks of melted butter into every nook and cranny.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. While the baklava is baking, make the syrup.  Put all ingredients in saucepan.  Over medium heat stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
  9. When baklava is done baking.  Set aside to cool. (I put in the cold garage as my fridge was full.  If you are lucky enough to have room in your fridge this time of year, after it cools a bit put it in there.)  When cooled pour the warm syrup over the entire pan.
  10. Lightly cover with a towel. Let set for at least 6 hours.  Overnight is best.

This was absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to make again.  Next time, pistachios with almond flavoring.  Hmmm, maybe for New Years Eve!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hasselback Potatoes

For some reason Kent and I have been discussing these kind of potatoes.  It seems ever since we started talking about them I have seen tons of recipes.  I chose a Food Network recipe, courtesy of Ree Drummond.  Kent wanted to know why they were called Hasselback potatoes.  This dish originated in Sweden.  It takes its name from Hasselbacken, the Stockholm restaurant where it was first served. These seasoned potatoes turned out crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Set aside some of the butter/chive mix to brush on just before serving. Simple and Delicious!

Hasselback Potatoes

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Ingredients

6 Russet Baking Potatoes
8 Tablespoons, softened butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven  450 degrees.
  2. Stir together the softened butter, olive oil, chopped chives, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place a potato between the handles of 2 wooden spoons or 2 chopsticks (I used wooden spoons). Slice the potato into thin slices, leaving 1/4 inch at the bottom unsliced; the spoon handles will prevent you from slicing the potato all the way through. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, place potatoes on baking sheet and brush on the butter mixture. Make sure to get in between all the slices. (I also brushed on every 15 minutes to be sure the butter/chive mix would get in between those many layers.)
  5. Bake until tender and crisp, 55 to 60 minutes.

Enjoy!!