Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lo Mein Noodles In The Year Of The Dragon For A Long Healthy Life

Long noodles equal a long healthy life. Remember don't cut them. Gung Hay Fat Choy 2012 Year Of The Dragon.

"The earliest written record of noodles is from a book dated to the Eastern Han Dynasty period [25–220]. Noodles, often made from wheat dough, became a prominent staple of food during the Han Dynasty [206 BCE - 220 CE]. During the Song Dynasty [960–1279] noodle shops were very popular in the cities, and remained open all night."

"During the earlier dynastic periods Chinese wheat noodles were known as "soup cake" [湯餅], as explained by the Song Dynasty scholar Huang Chaoying [黃朝英] mentions in his work "A delightful mixed discussion on various scholarly topics" [Chinese: 靖康緗素雜記; pinyin: jìngkāngxiāngsùzájì, Scroll 2] that in ancient times dough foods are referred collectively as "bing" and differentiated through their cooking methods."

"Lo mein [simplified Chinese: 捞面; traditional Chinese: 撈麵; pinyin: lāo-miàn] is a Chinese dish with wheat flour noodles. It often contains vegetables and some type of meat or seafood, usually beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or wontons."

"The term lo mein comes from the Cantonese lōu mihn [撈麵], meaning “stirred noodles”. The Cantonese usage of the character 撈, pronounced lōu and meaning "to stir", differs from the character's usual meaning of "to dredge" or "to scoop out of water" in Mandarin, in which case it would be pronounced làauh or lòuh in Cantonese [lāo in Mandarin]. In Mandarin, the dish is more typically called bàn miàn [拌麵], not to be confused with bǎn miàn [板麵]."

"Traditionally this is a variation of wonton noodle soup. The soup is simply separated from the noodles and other ingredients, and served on the side. A version sold in many places in western North America is sometimes labeled as chow mein. However, the two are prepared differently, with very different noodles."

"In American Chinese restaurants, lo mein is a popular take-out food. In this setting, lo mein noodles are usually stirred with a sauce made from soy sauce and other seasonings. Vegetables such as bok choy and cabbage can be mixed in and meats like roast pork, beef or chicken are often added. Shrimp lo mein, lobster lo mein, vegetable lo mein, and "House" lo mein [more than one meat] are sometimes available."

Lo Mein VidCap Cooking With Kai wikiHOW
From wikiHOW
Lo Mein Noodle Recipe

1/2 lb Cooked Egg Noodles
1 Cup Chopped Chinese Cabbage [Bok Choy]
1 Chopped Carrot
2 Chopped Green Onions
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce [A sweet and spicy soy paste]
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Rice Cooking Wine or Chicken Stock
1 tsp Sesame oil

Combine the Hoisin sauce, Soy sauce, rice cooking wine or chicken stock, sesame oil, and sugar. Set the sauce aside. In medium high heat wok or frying pan add 1 tsp vegetable oil. Add chopped vegetables. Stir approx 30 seconds. Add the sauce to vegetables. Stir approx 1 minute. When the sauce begins to bubble add the pre-cooked egg noodles. Stir approx 1 minute.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || Wikipedia || wikiHOW

Image Credit: wikiHOW

Monday, January 23, 2012

Potstickers aka Chinese Dumplings, For Luck, In The Chinese New Year, Year Of The Dragon

Potstickers aka Chinese dumplings, are symbolic of wealth because of their golden color and shape [ignot], and are one of the dishes traditionally eaten for luck during Chinese New Year. 2012 is the year of the dragon.

"Shallow fried dumplings (guotie) lit. "pan stick", known as "potstickers" in N. America, (鍋貼; pinyin: guōtiē), also referred to as "dry-fried dumplings" (煎餃; pinyin: jiānjiǎo)."

"Jiǎozi 餃子 or 饺子 (Chinese transliteration), or pot sticker is a Chinese dumpling."

"Jiaozi are one of the major foods eaten during the Chinese New Year and year round in the northern provinces. They look like the golden ingots yuan bao used during the Ming Dynasty for money and the name sounds like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them is believed to bring prosperity. Many families eat these at midnight on Chinese New Year's Eve. Some cooks will even hide a clean coin for the lucky to find."

"Jiaozi were so named because they were horn shaped. The Chinese for "horn" is jiǎo (角), and jiaozi was originally written with the Chinese character for "horn", but later it was replaced by a specific character 餃, which has the food radical on the left and the phonetic component jiāo (交) on the right"

"Jiaozi typically consist of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping. Jiaozi should not be confused with wonton: jiaozi has a thicker, chewier skin and a flatter, more oblate, double-saucer like shape (similar in shape to ravioli), and are usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce (and/or hot chili sauce); while wontons have thinner skin, are sphere-shaped, and are usually served in broth. The dough for the jiaozi and wonton wrapper also consist of different ingredients."

"According to folk tales, jiaozi were invented by Zhang Zhongjing, one of the greatest practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in history. They were originally called "tender ears" (娇耳; pinyin: jiao'er) because they were used to treat frostbitten ears."

"Jiaozi are eaten all year round and can be eaten at any time of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can constitute one course, starter or side dish, or the main meal. Every family has its own preferred method of making them, with favourite fillings, and of course, jiaozi types and preparation vary widely according to region."

Gung Hay Fat Choy! ["Congratulations and best wishes for prosperity"!] Chinese New Year 2012, also known as Spring Festival, the year of the dragon, arrives January 23, 2012.

Potstickers aka Chinese Dumplings Photo wikiHOW
From wikiHOW
PotStickers aka Chinese Dumpling Recipe

Dumpling wraps
Minced or ground pork or lamb
Napa cabbage
Black pepper
Sesame oil
Balm, a green vegetable also know as 蔥 in Chinese or Japanese.
[Balm is scallions or green onion in English.]

Tai bai fen, cooking starch made from potatoes or cassava
[or substitute with arrowroot powder or corn starch.]

Shred the cabbage and put into a stainless pot. Mix the cabbage and minced meat together by hand. Ground meat is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder. Pork and lamb are generally preferred for Chinese dumplings, but beef, chicken, and turkey may be used as well. In South Asia, both lamb (mutton) and goat meat are popular. The process of mincing is usually done manually. Add the balm, salt and a little tai bai fen (cornstarch/cornflour) and mix again.

Massage the cabbage mixture with your hand for 10 minutes. to make it dry. While you massage the mixture, if you feel that there is not enough tai bai fen, you should add more.

Put the mixture on the wrapping. Two types of wrappers are readily available in supermarkets and Asian food stores. Wonton wrappers (also called skins) are delicate and paper-thin, usually about a thirty-second of an inch thick. They typically come in three-inch squares and are made from flour, eggs, and salt. These wrappers, which are Chinese in origin, are suitable for boiling, steaming, deep-frying, and pan-frying. You can also make your own.

Wet the edge with a damp finger and fold the sides together, crimping (pressing together) with your fingers to seal the contents inside. To do this, first fold it in half and press together the top of the edge. Then press each side together, while crimping it so that it looks like the picture below. Simple mechanical "dumpling presses" are also available to simplify this process.

Wrap the crusts and pinch/crimp the edges. Put the dumplings in boiling water. To make sure that they are thoroughly cooked, one method in China is the "3 boil" method: Add the dumplings to boiling water, and return the water to a boil. Then add 1 or 2 cups of water (cold or room temp). Wait for it to boil the second time, then add water again. After the water boils the third time, it's done!

[Damage In The Kitchen Editor's Note: To increase the golden color for the dumpling after boiling, place in a frying pan with little or no oil for 3-5 mins or until they literally gently stick to the side of the pan, then remove for serving.]

Text Credits: Wikipedia || wikiHOW

Image Credit: wikiHOW

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken Paprikash aka Paprika Hendl

"Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl", and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians." ~ Excerpt from Bram Stoker's Dracula

"Chicken paprikash (Hungarian: paprikás csirke or paprikáscsirke) or paprika chicken is a dish of Hungarian origin; one of the most famous Hungarian stews. Cooked paprikas are common in Hungarian cuisine, and dishes cooked in a creamy, red paprika stew have been referred to as a Hungarian staple. The meat is cooked with a paprika roux."

"The dish is traditionally served with "dumpling-like boiled egg noodles" (nokedli), a broad noodle similar to the German spätzle. Other sides that it may served served with include tagliatelle (boiled ribbon noodles), rice or millet."

"The columnist Iles Brody's recipe called for chicken, onions, butter or lard, sweet paprika, green peppers, tomatos, clove garlic, flour, and sour cream. Other recipes are similar. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are typically used. Veal (borjú) may occasionally replace chicken (csirke) in the recipe."

"Hungary is a major source of paprika and is thus more commonly used."

"In modern times, the word paprika is derived from the Hungarian paprika or the Serbian word paprika [паприка]; meaning pepper (Capsicum). The Hungarian paprika is a diminutive form of the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian/Montenegrin papar, derived from the Latin piper or Modern Greek piperi. It came into currency in the 19th century. Many European languages use a similar word whilst examples from other languages include the Hebrew paprika [פפריקה] and the Japanese papurika [パプリカ]."

"The édes nemes Noble Sweet, the most commonly exported paprika; bright red and slightly pungent, is the preferred kind of paprika; it adds a rosy color as well as flavor. Sometimes olive oil and sweet red or yellow peppers and a small amount of tomato paste are used. The dish bears a "family resemblance" to goulash, another paprika dish."

Paprika Fruits Three Photo by Joy From wikimedia"Capsicum peppers used for paprika are unusually rich in vitamin C, a fact discovered in 1932 by Hungary's 1937 Nobel prize-winner Albert Szent-Györgyi. Much of the vitamin C content is retained in paprika, which contains more vitamin C by weight than does lemon juice."

"Paprika is also high in other antioxidants. Prevalence of nutrients, however, must be balanced against quantities ingested, which are generally negligible for spices."

"The color of paprika is primarily due to the xanthophyll carotenoid zeaxanthin."

"According to the USDA, 1tbsp (6.8g) of paprika has the following nutritional content: Calories :19 Fat : 0.88g Carbohydrates : 3.67g Fiber: 2.4g Protein: 0.96g"

From wikiHOW
Chicken Paprikash aka Chicken Hendl Recipe

1 lb. chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
2 chopped onions
2 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 cloves of garlic (optional)

Defrost and/or clean chicken and cut into serving-size pieces. Sauté chopped onions in a large pot in oil until brown. Blend 1 tbsp paprika with the onions. Add tomato juice, garlic, and raw chicken to the mix. Cover the pot, and let it simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the stew. Blend in remaining paprika, flour and sour cream. Use a mixer of some kind, if necessary. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Ladle sauce over chicken, and enjoy.

Text Credits: Gutenberg.org || Wikipedia || Wikipedia || wikiHOW

Image Credits: wikimedia

Saturday, January 21, 2012

German Chocolate Cake

Was ist das? Deutsch Chocolate Cake ist Amerikanisch? Ja es ist wahr! Yes it's true German Chocolate Cake is American. The dessert is named for American chocolatier Sam German.

From Wikipedia ~ "Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake did not originate in Germany. Its roots can be traced back to 1852 when American Sam German developed a brand of dark baking chocolate for the American Baker's Chocolate Company. The product, Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, was named in honor of him."

"In 1957, the original recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake" was sent by a Dallas, Texas, homemaker to a local newspaper. This recipe used the baking chocolate introduced 105 years prior and became quite popular. General Foods, which owned the Baker's brand at the time, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers in the country."

"Sales of Baker's Chocolate are said to have increased by as much as 73% and the cake would become a national staple. The possessive form (German's) was dropped in subsequent publications, forming the "German Chocolate Cake" identity we know today and giving the false impression of a German origin."

"In the US German chocolate cake, originally known as German's chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to American Sam German, who developed a brand of dark baking chocolate used for the cake."

"Sweet baking chocolate is traditionally used for the chocolate flavor in the actual cake, but few recipes call for it today. The filling and/or topping is a caramel made with egg yolks and evaporated milk; once the caramel is cooked, coconut and pecans are stirred in. Occasionally, a chocolate frosting is spread on the sides of the cake and piped around the circumference of the layers to hold in the filling. Maraschino cherries are occasionally added as a garnish."

There is a cake whose name does take it's origin from Germany: The Black Forest Cake or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte which translates to "Black Forest Cherry Torte". It takes it's name from a liqueur from the region "Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser)", which is distilled from cherries.

German's Sweet Baker's Chocolate From wikiHOW
From wikiHOW

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

Chocolate cake:
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 oz (57g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped (the original was sweetened; up to you)
6 tbsp water
8 oz (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup (250g) + 1/4 cup (50g) sugar

4 large eggs, separated
2 cups (250g) all purpose

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (200g) sugar
3 egg yolks, large
3 oz (3/4 stick or 85g) butter, cut into small bits
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (110g) pecans, toasted, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted
Syrup: 1 cup (240 ml) water
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 tbsp dark rum
Chocolate frosting:
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 1/2 oz (45g) unsalted butter
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
Maraschino cherries
Extra toasted coconut
Chocolate shavings
Small pecan pieces

German Chocolate Cake From wikiHOWThings You Will Need: 2 9-inch cake pans, springform style. Parchment paper
Double boiler or microwave non-plastic bowl. Mixing bowls mixing spoon or electric mixer. Flour sifter. Small bowl. Egg whisk Wire. Cooling racks. Toothpick or skewer.
Saucepan. Large bowl. Small saucepan x 2 (or wash and use again). Serrated knife
Butter knife for adding and smoothing frosting. Cake serving plate/stand.
Frosting piping tool.

Prepare the cakes pans: Either grease or line the sides and base with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C. Melt the chocolate (both) with 6 tbsp of water in a double boiler. Alternately, use the microwave if you have one (and a non-plastic microwave proof bowl). After melting, stir the chocolate into a smooth paste and leave to one side. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cups of sugar to the mixing bowl. Beat until the two ingredients cream together smoothly. Once smooth, pour in the melted chocolate and fold through. Add the egg yolks one at a time and fold through.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Take half of this mixture and add it to the butter mix. Mix in briefly, adding the buttermilk and vanilla. When mixed through, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix through quickly. Beat the egg whites to the point of forming soft peaks, and add the 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold these egg whites through the cake mixture gradually until you cannot see the egg white showing anymore. Pour half of the cake mixture into one pan, and the other half into the other pan. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake test comes out clean (use a toothpick or a skewer to test). At this stage, make the filling, syrup, and frosting. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on two cooling racks (leave in pans).

Make the filling: Add 3 oz of butter and the salt, toasted coconut and pecan bits to a large bowl and leave to one side. Mix together the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a saucepan. If you haven't already toasted the coconut, do so prior to making the filling.

Heat the saucepan and cook the cream mix. It is really important to stir continuously or the base will burn - be sure to drag the spoon across the bottom of the saucepan as you stir. The mixture is ready once it thickens and sticks to the mixing spoon. Pour the heated mixture over the coconut and pecans in the large bowl. Stir until the butter melts and runs through the whole mixture evenly.
Put to one side to cool. As it cools, this mixture will thicken.

Make the syrup after the filling as been made: Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar melts and remove from the heat. Pour in the rum and stir through.

Make the frosting: Place the chocolate bits into a bowl. Pour in the corn syrup and butter. In a small saucepan, pour in the cream and heat to boiling. Remove immediately and pour over the chocolate, corn syrup and butter mix. Let it rest for one minute, then stir to smoothness. Allow to cool.

Assemble the cake: Take the completely cooled cake layers from the cooling racks. Undo the springform latch and release the layers from the pans.

Cut the cake pieces into additional layers: Using a serrated knife, cut each of the two layers in half again, horizontally.

Start layering. Place the base layer on the cake plate or stand and proceed as follows: Brush this layer with the syrup. Spread with 3/4 cup of filling (coconut and pecans) over this layer, evenly to edges. Place the next layer on top. Brush with syrup and spread with the filling as before. Add the next layer and repeat the syrup and filling. When you reach the top layer, repeat.

Frost the whole cake: Once all the layers have been added, frost the sides together with the frosting, making it smooth and even.

Decorate the top of the cake: Pipe small wisps of frosting at even intervals around the outer edge of the cake. Add maraschino cherries in between each "wisp". Sprinkle toasted coconut and pecan pieces across the entire cake top. If wished, add chocolate shavings, but only the merest hint; don't overdo this.

Text Credits: translate.google || Wikipedia || wikiHOW

Image Credits: wikiHOW || wikiHOW

Monday, January 16, 2012

Peking Duck And Chinese Pancakes

"Peking Duck, or Peking Roast Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered one of China's national foods."

"The dish is prized for the thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven."

"The meat is eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names."

"In 1864, the Quanjude (全聚德) restaurant was established in Beijing. Yang Quanren (楊全仁), the founder of Quanjude, developed the hung oven to roast ducks. With its innovations and efficient management, the restaurant became well known in China, introducing the Peking Duck to the rest of the world."

"By the mid-20th century, Peking Duck had become a national symbol of China, favored by tourists and diplomats alike. For example, Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State of the United States, met Premier Zhou Enlai in the Great Hall of the People on July 10, during his first visit to China. After a round of inconclusive talks in the morning, the delegation was served Peking Duck for lunch, which became Kissinger's favorite. The Americans and Chinese issued a joint statement the following day, inviting President Richard Nixon to visit China in 1972."

Gung Hay Fat Choy! ["Congratulations and best wishes for prosperity"!] Chinese New Year 2012, also known as Spring Festival, the year of the dragon, arrives January 23, 2012.

"It traditionally is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. "On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers."

"Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone."

Peking Duck and Chinese Pancakes Photo Courtesy wikiHOW
From wikiHOW

Chinese Pancake Recipe

10 1/2 ounces (300 grams) of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
8 1/2 ounces (240 ml) of boiling water
flour (for dusting)

Combine the flour and sugar, then slowly mix in the boiling water. Try to get a sticky dough mixture. Sprinkle flour in the mixture and onto your counter/work space.

Scoop the dough onto the surface and begin to fold the flour into the dough. Knead for a few minutes and add more flour if necessary. Stop when you have reached a consistency that does not stick any more. Cover the dough with the towel for 30 minutes and place it on the side.

Remove the towel and divide the dough in half. Dust your rolling pin with flour and roll each half into a thin layer about 1/2 cm in thickness. Use your cutter and cut out circles in the rolled dough. Place the excess dough on the side; don't throw it out. Use a bit of oil on one side of each circle and put two circles together. While storing the circles, place them under the towel to keep in the moisture.

Repeat the flouring stage as you re-roll them each pair together. Dry heat a frying pan over medium heat. Dry heating is basically heating something without liquid, such as oil. When the pan is hot, add a pancake to it. Cook each side for about 1 1/2 minutes and then remove the pieces in half. Store under the towel until ready to serve or after all of the pancakes has been made.

How To Roast Duckling/How To Make Peking Duck

Choose a tender bird, usually labeled as duckling. Prick the duck's skin all over. Do not truss the bird. Put a steamer or rack inside a large, deep pot. Add 1 inch (2 to 3 cm) of stock or water.Place the duck on the steamer with the breast side up. Bring the stock or water to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it steam gently for 1 hour.Take the partly cooked duck out of the pot and carefully pat the bird dry. Take care not to rip the skin.

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Place another rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Combine 1/4 cup (235 ml) hot water, 2 tbs. (30 ml) dark soy sauce, and 1 tbs. (15 ml) honey. Prick the duck all over once again and brush the bird with the mixture of water, soy sauce and honey.

Set the duck on a cake rack on the middle oven rack or directly on the oven rack. Put a large pan to catch the drippings on the rack under the duck. Roast the duck for exactly 20 minutes. If you want meat that is more well done, lower the oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) after 20 minutes and roast the duck for 30 minutes more. Remove the roasted duck from the oven. Let the bird rest for 10 minutes prior to carving.

Cut the back of the duck into about 15-30, quarter-inch thick, 2-inch long pieces, and put on platter. Prepare condiments. these can range from cucumbers to bean sprouts to fermented black beans, or anything that suits your fancy.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || Wikipedia || wikiHOW || wikiHOW || wikiHOW

Image Credit: wikiHOW

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush ~ "Baba ghanoush, baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug (Arabic بابا غنوج bābā ghanūj)is a Levantine dish of aubergine (eggplant) mashed and mixed with virgin olive oil and various seasonings. A popular preparation method is for the eggplant to be baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste. Often, it is eaten as a dip with khubz or pita bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes. It is usually of an earthy light-brown color. It is popular in the Levant and Egypt."

"It is somewhat popular in areas heavily influenced by the Middle Eastern diaspora, as in Southeastern Brazil (see Arab Brazilian), and its presence has made eggplant more popular in almost all countries, although it was first introduced by either Iberians or West African slaves."

"In Romania, the eggplant spread is called "Salată de vinete" (eggplant salad). The eggplants are prepared and cooked the same as above (roasted over open-flame fire or oven). Then they are peeled, drained very well, and chopped with tocator de vinete, a special wide-blade wooden knife, which resembles a small meat cleaver. It is said that the eggplant is not to touch metal in the process; however, with the convenience of food processors for chopping and mixing, people nowadays stray from the old ways. After finely chopping the eggplants into a paste, seasonings are added and everything mixed together: salt, ground black pepper, (olive) oil, and traditionally, finely chopped (or grated) onion."

"A variant is replacing the onion with garlic "mujdei de usturoi". It is served (spread) on a slice of bread. Traditionally, the chopped onion is served separately and mixed at the table by each guest. The light color of the spread and the absence of seeds are most appreciated."

"In Lebanon, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer; in Egypt it is mostly served as a side dish or salad. It is made of aubergine blended with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. It is made of roasted, peeled, and mashed aubergine, blended with tahini, garlic, salt, white vinegar and lemon juice. Cumin and chili powder can be added. It is normally served with a dressing of oil and pomegranate concentrate. A similar dish is known as mutabbal in the Levant."

Baba Ganoush Photo By Boreka Diary At Flickr"In the traditional method, the eggplant is first roasted in an oven for approximately 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the size of the eggplant) until the skin appears almost burnt and the eggplant begins to collapse. The softened flesh is scooped out, squeezed or salted to remove excess water, and is then pureed with the tahini. There are many variants of the recipe, especially the seasoning. Seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, mint, and parsley. When served on a plate or bowl, it is traditional to drizzle the top with olive oil."

From wikiHOW
Baba Ganoush Recipe

1 eggplant
4 tablespoons sesame tahini
1/2cup yogurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Optional Ingredients After Preparing The Baba Ganoush
Pita bread
Extra virgin olive oil
Pomegranate seeds

Wash the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Poke the eggplant all over with a fork. Place eggplant on foil. Bake whole eggplant until well done (around a half an hour). You want the eggplant to be soft. Peel off the skin of the eggplant. Put all of the ingredients listed above with the eggplant in the food processor. Cool and stir.

Text Credits: Wikipedia wikiHOW
Image Credit: Flickr

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Niçoise Salad/Salade Niçoise

Niçoise Salad/Salade Niçoise (French pronunciation: [niˈswaz]), is a mixed salad consisting of various vegetables topped with tuna and anchovies. The salad or "salade" is displayed on a flat plate or platter and arranged on a bed of lettuce. Ripe tomato wedges, wedges of hard-boiled eggs, are topped with canned tuna (tinned in oil), and Niçoise Cailletier olives. Finally the salad is garnished with tinned anchovies. The salad is served with vinaigrette.

The original version of the salad always included raw red peppers, shallots, and artichoke hearts, never potatoes. The French, especially in the Nice area, will clearly state no cooked vegetables are to be used: "la salade Niçoise ne contient pas de légumes cuits."["Niçoise salad contains no cooked vegetables"]

Rumours suggest the famous choreographer Balanchine may have influenced the creation of this dish during his tenure in Monte Carlo. Others claim it is a Provençal dish. This salad was made famous in America by "the French Chef", Julia Child.

Salade Niçoise and its ingredients are often debated by purists. A common debate is the use of lettuce, which differs from village to village.

The ingredients in the wikiHOW recipe differ from the traditional version in that the vegetables are cooked and potatoes are included. Also lettuce is used. Before choosing this one, i came across several Niçoise recipes, one of which uses fingerling potatoes of a variety of colors rather than new potatoes. i think the fingerlings make for a more interesting presentation and flavor. Also steaming rather than boiling the haricot verts retains crispness and flavor.

From wikiHOW

Niçoise Salad/Salade Niçoise Recipe

6 small new potatoes
7 ounces (200 grams) green beans
3.5 ounces (100 grams) lettuce
6 cooked artichoke hearts
4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 eggs, hard boiled and halved
5.5 ounces (150 grams) black olives, pitted
7 ounces (200 grams) tuna

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Niçoise Salad/Salade Niçoise Photo By Denni Schnapp Flickr
Simmer the potatoes in a saucepan filled about halfway full with saltwater. Wait until the potatoes are cooked, rinse them under cold water, and then drain the water. Place the potatoes on the side. When they're cooled, cut them in half.

Trim the ends off of the beans and place them in a saucepan of boiling, salted water for about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the beans and refresh them in water. Drain again and place the beans on the side.

Get a bowl and mix the garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt, mustard, and pepper together. Slowly add the olive oil to the mixture while whisking.

Create your salad. Take a big bowl and add the lettuce, potatoes, artichoke hearts, green beans, tomato wedges and olives. Drizzle the vinaigrette on the top. Dress the salad with basil and parsley. Season with salt and lightly toss everything together.

Serve the salad on a serving plate. Garnish the salad with hard boiled eggs and chopped tuna.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || wikiHOW
Image Credit: Flickr

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Ravioli ~ "Ravioli (plural; singular: raviolo) are a traditional type of Italian filled pasta. They are composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough and are served either in broth or with a pasta sauce. The word ravioli is reminiscent of the Italian verb riavvolgere ("to wrap"), though the two words are not etymologically connected. The word may also be a diminutive of Italian dialectal rava, or turnip."

"The earliest mention of ravioli appear in the writings of Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Venice in the 14th century. In Venice, the mid-14th century manuscript Libro per cuoco offers ravioli of green herbs blanched and minced, mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese, simmered in broth, a recipe that would be familiar today save for its medieval powdering of "sweet and strong spices"."

"In Tuscany, some of the earliest mentions of the dish come from the personal letters of Francesco di Marco Datini, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century. In Rome, ravioli were already well-known when Bartolomeo Scappi served them with boiled chicken to the papal conclave of 1549. Ravioli were already known in 14th century England, appearing in the Anglo-Norman vellum manuscript Forme of Cury under the name of rauioles. Sicilian ravioli and Malta's ravjul may thus be older than North Italian ones. Maltese ravjul are stuffed with rikotta, the locally produced sheep's-milk ricotta, or with gbejna, the traditional fresh sheep's-milk cheese."

"Today, ravioli are made in worldwide industrial lines supplied by Italian companies such as Arienti & Cattaneo, Ima, Ostoni, and Zamboni. Italian fresh pasta has a shelf-life of 30 days. "Fresh" packed ravioli have in USA seven weeks of shelf life."

"Canned ravioli was pioneered by Chef Boyardee. This type of ravioli is filled with either beef or processed cheese and served in a tomato, tomato-meat, or tomato-cheese sauce. Canned ravioli has more in common with other canned pastas than with traditional ravioli dishes. Its roots are in traditional American "red sauce" Italian-American restaurants opened by Italian immigrants in Boston, New York and other cities. Toasted ravioli, ravioli that have been breaded and deep fried, were first developed in St. Louis, Missouri, and are a popular appetizer or snack food."

ravioli di lattuga Photo by fugzu at Flickr
From wikiHOW
Ravioli Recipe

To Make The Dough:
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 a teaspoon salt
2 eggs

1/4 cup (50ml / 3 1/2 tablespoons) olive oil
1/2 cup (120 ml / 8 tablespoons) water
Extra flour on hand for “dusting”
To Make The Filling: 15 oz (425 g) container Ricotta cheese
5 oz (142 g/about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) "3 Cheese Italian Blend" (Parmesan, Romano & Asiago)
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/2 a teaspoon salt
1/2 a teaspoon pepper

"You can experiment with the filling by using different cheeses, depending on your preferences. For example, you can use a 1/2 cup Mozzarella instead of Cheddar. You can also try cheeses like Fontina or Gruyere."

Make the ravioli filling: Use a small mixing bowl. Use a small mixing bowl. Add in the 3 Cheese Italian Blend, Cheddar cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix all ingredients thoroughly until you have a smooth, paste-like consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about a half hour.

Make fresh ravioli dough: Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat them with a fork. Add water, oil, and salt. Mix together. Add 1 cup of flour to the bowl. Use a fork to mix the flour with the eggs, water, oil, and salt. Repeat with the rest of the flour. Mix until a smooth dough is formed. Clear and clean off a large work surface and dust it with flour. This is where you are going to roll out your dough.
Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and place it on your work surface. Ball up the dough and knead for at least 10 minutes or until it becomes elastic.

Dust a rolling pin with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll out dough until it is about 1/8 inch (1/3 cm) thick, or about the thickness of 2 stacked quarters. Turn a water glass upside-down and “cookie cut” out circles in the dough (will make about 15-20 dough circles). Ball up the unused dough and either repeat or place in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for another time (*dough can keep for about a week or so in the freezer).

Make the dough into ravioli: Take ravioli filling out of the refrigerator and place a tablespoon of it in middle of the dough circles. Fill small ramekin or bowl with water, dip finger in the water, and moisten top half of the dough circles.
Fold dough circles in half, making sure all filling stays inside, and pinch circles into a half moon shape. Place 1/2 cup of flour in a mound on the counter.

Dust ravioli with the flour. This will prevent the ravioli from sticking together.
Seal the edges of the ravioli with a fork. Make sure to press firmly and go all the way around. This will add a “homemade” touch as well. Alternatively you can roll the dough into two sheets and use a ravioli maker, like in the video, or a small cookie cutter.

Cook the ravioli: Put your favorite sauce in a small pot and heat until hot.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place the ravioli in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, or until they float. Take ravioli out of boiling water with large slotted spoon and place on plates.

(*If you don't want to make all of the ravioli at one time, you can freeze the rest.)

Text Credits: Wikipedia wikiHOW
Image Credit: Flickr

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Bouillabaisse ~ "What makes a bouillabaisse different from other fish soups is the selection of Provençal herbs and spices in the broth; the use of bony local Mediterranean fish; the way the fish are added one at a time, in a certain order, and brought to a boil; and the method of serving. In Marseille, the broth is served first in a bowl containing the bread and rouille, with the seafood and vegetables served separately in another bowl or on a platter."

"According to tradition, the origins of the dish date back to the time of the Phoceans, an Ancient Greek people who founded Marseille in 600 BC. Then, the population ate a simple fish stew known in Greek as 'kakavia.' Something similar to Bouillabaisse also appears in Roman mythology: it is the soup that Venus fed to Vulcan."

"The dish known today as bouillabaisse was created by Marseille fishermen who wanted to make a meal when they returned to port. Rather than using the more expensive fish, they cooked the common rockfish and shellfish that they pulled up with their nets and lines, usually fish that were too bony to serve in restaurants, cooking them in a cauldron of sea water on a wood fire and seasoning them with garlic and fennel. Tomatoes were added to the recipe in the 17th century, after their introduction from America."

"In the 19th century, as Marseille became more prosperous, restaurants and hotels began to serve bouillabaisse to upper-class patrons. The recipe of bouillabaisse became more refined, with the substitution of fish stock for boiling water, and the addition of saffron. Bouillabaisse spread from Marseille to Paris, and then gradually around the world, adapted to local ingredients and tastes."

"The name bouillabaisse comes from the method of the preparation - the ingredients are not added all at once. The broth is first boiled [bolh] then the different kinds of fish are added one by one, and each time the broth comes to a boil, the heat is lowered [abaissa]."

"Generally similar dishes are found in Portugal [caldeirada], Spain [sopa de pescado y marisco, suquet de peix], Italy [zuppa di pesce], Greece and all the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea; where these kind of dishes have been made since the Neolithic Era."

Bouillabaisse Photo By Stu Spivak Wikimedia Commons/Flickr
From wikiHOW

Bouillabaisse Recipe

1/2 cup of olive oil
1 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of leek
4 cloves of garlic, mashed
3 large, ripe tomatoes
2 1/2 quarts of water
Sprigs of fresh basil, parsley, thyme, and fennel fronds

1/2 teaspoon of saffron
1 tablespoon of sea salt
3 to 4 pounds of fish heads, bones, trimmings
1 1/2 pounds of peeled shrimp and their shells
1 1/2 pounds of wild cod chunks

1 1/2 pounds of halibut chunks
1 1/2 pounds of sole chunks
1 1/2 pounds of debearded, scrubbed mussels or clams
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. anise liquor such as Ouzo or Pernod
Fresh bread or garlic bread

In some recipes, tomato paste mixed with anise liquor is added to the stew. To do this, strain out the fish before serving. Mix 2 tbsp. of tomato paste with 2 tbsp. of anise liquor such as Ouzo or Pernod, and whisk this mixture into the stew before serving.

2 tall pots are needed to prepare the bouillabaisse. Pour the olive oil into one of the cooking pots and heat it over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and leek until they're soft and slightly translucent. Stir in the garlic. Let it cook for approximately 1 minute until it releases its fragrance. Add the salt, saffron, fresh herbs, tomatoes, water, as well as the fish heads, bones, trimmings and shrimp shells. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly until the stew slowly bubbles, but does not boil. Allow the stew to cook for 30 minutes.

Strain the stew over the second cooking pot. Take the solids out of the strainer and discard them. Put the second pot, now holding the strained stew, on the stove and bring the stew to a boil so the olive oil thoroughly mixes into the rest of the stew instead of floating on top.

Add the shrimp and let them cook for 1-to-2 minutes until they turn pink. Add the wild cod, halibut and sole as well as the mussels or clams. Cover the stew and let it simmer. Check it every few minutes to see if the mussels or clams have opened. Taste the stew. If necessary, add extra salt or pepper, or whatever herb is your personal preference. Serve the bouillabaisse with fresh bread or toasted garlic bread.

Text Credits: Wikipedia wikiHOW
Image Credit: Flickr

Monday, January 2, 2012

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake ~ "Carrots have been used in sweet cakes since the medieval period, during which time sweeteners were scarce and expensive, while carrots, which contain more sugar than any other vegetable besides the sugar beet, were much easier to come by and were used to make sweet desserts. The origins of Carrot Cake are disputed but it is thought to come from Gothenburg, Sweden. The popularity of carrot cake was probably revived in Britain because of rationing during the Second World War."

"Carrot cake closely resembles a quick bread in method of preparation [all the wet ingredients, such as the eggs and sugar, are mixed together, all the dry ingredients are mixed together, and the wet are then added to the dry] and final consistency [which is usually denser than a traditional cake and has a coarser crumb]."

"Many carrot cake recipes include optional ingredients, such as nuts, raisin, pineapple, or coconut. The most common icing on carrot cake is a cream cheese icing [icing sugar, butter and cream cheese]."

"Carrot cake is often referred to as Passion cake. Carrot cake was voted as the favourite cake in the United Kingdom, according to a survey in the Radio Times in 2011."

From wikiHOW

Carrot Cake Recipe

For The Cake:
2 cups (250g) self-rising flour
2 cups (400g) sugar
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) oil
4 eggs

1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. black walnut flavoring
3 cups (330g) shredded carrots
1 cup (120g) chopped black walnuts
For The Frosting:
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup (120g) butter milk
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 tbs. Caro syrup

Carrot Cake Photo By thinktankmommaFor The Cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease and flour a bundt pan. In a large bowl, mix oil, sugar, eggs, and flavorings. Add flour and cinnamon to the mixture. Mix in carrots and nuts. Pour the mixture into a pan. Bake for one hour. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan. For The Frosting: To a small sauce pan add baking soda, buttermilk, sugar, and syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil. Pour mixture over the cake and let it sit.

Text Credits: Wikipedia wikiHOW
Image Credit: thinktankmomma

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hoppin'John ~ Happy New Year

Hoppin' John ~ "The origins of the name are uncertain; one possibility is that the name is a corruption of the Haitian Creole term for black-eyed peas: pois pigeons pronounced: [pwapiˈʒɔ̃]. The Oxford English Dictionary's first reference to the dish is from Frederick Law Olmsted's 19th century travelogue, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States. "The greatest luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call 'Hopping John'."

"Throughout the coastal South, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, cabbage etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money."

"Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth -- being the color of gold. On the day after New Year's Day, leftover "Hoppin' John" is called "Skippin' Jenny," and further demonstrates one's frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year."

"During the late Middle Ages, there was a tradition of eating beans on New Year's Day for good luck in parts of France and Spain. The European tradition mixed with an African food item to become a New World tradition."

"The Oxford English Dictionary's first reference to the dish is from Frederick Law Olmsted's 19th century travelogue, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States. "The greatest luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call 'Hopping John'."

"Hoppin' John is the Southern United States' version of the rice and beans dish traditional throughout West Africa. It consists of black-eyed peas [or field peas] and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock or fatback for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere."

Hoppin' John From Lana's Secret Recipe Club
"One tradition common in the Southern USA is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to assure that the New Year will be filled with Luck, Fortune and Romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck [or wealth] that the diner will have in the coming year."

From Lana's Cooking Secret Recipe Club

Hoppin' John Recipe

2 Cups Water
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Rice
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
2-3 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
2 15-oz. Cans Black-eyed Peas, Rinsed and Drained
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
2 Green Onions, Chopped
1 Large Tomato, Seeded and Diced

Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the rice.
Cover, reduce heat to low and cook approximately 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent. Add the black eyed peas, stock, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Serve the peas over a bed of rice. Garnish with chopped green onions and tomato.

Text Credits: Wikipedia
Lana's Cooking Secret Recipe Club
Image Credit: Lana's Cooking Secret Recipe Club