Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catholic Cookies

Oh my goodness! Go check out these Stigmata Cookies and maybe bake a batch on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. We unfortunately, missed the change to bake these on St. Padre Pio's feast day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lasagna


My son's friend loves to come over for dinner. The last time he came he was asked to choose a dish he wanted to eat. He chose lasagna. This is my recipe.


Recipe:

Homemade meat sauce I used a pound of beef and an extra can of tomato sauce for the lasagna sauce.
1 lb. box of lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
1 large loaf of fresh mozzarella (like the one they sell at Costco), sliced thinly
1 large container of cottage cheese, mix it in a bowl with the egg and parsley)Note: If you prefer to use the traditional ricotta cheese, please do so.
1 egg
1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees while you assemble the lasagna.


In a large baking dish, add a ladle full of sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the baking dish. Add a layer of cooked lasagna noodles. Add a layer of mozzarella cheese slices and dollops of the cottage cheese mixture. Add another ladle-full of sauce and continue the layering until everything has been added. Be sure to end with sauce on top.

Cover with aluminum and bake in the hot oven for an hour.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stroll Down Memory Lane - My Mom's Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes


I remembered a dish my mom used to make when my brothers and sisters and I were little. I had not thought about this dish in such a long time. I don't remember having it since then either. It is really such a simple recipe yet I fondly remember enjoying it so much. But I wouldn't call it one of my favorite things my mom made. I just liked it. The dish is meatballs with a marinara sauce served over mashed potatoes. My mom would not call it mashed potatoes though. She called it "pure de papa" or potato puree. What made my mom's potatoes special was that they weren't thick. They were more on the runny side.

What made me remember this recipe was the fact that I found red veal at the local farmer's market. The veal comes from the Big Island. I was pretty intrigued by the fact it was red veal. I bought two pounds of the red veal. I really did not want to make meatloaf as the owner suggested. That is when I remembered my mom's delicious meatball dish. More on the veal on a later post.


Meatballs

1 lb. beef, turkey or red veal
1 egg
1 slice whole grain bread soaked in milk
1 onion, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together. Form into medium sized balls (not too small nor too big either).

Heat up a cast iron skillet. Add approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil. Brown the meatballs until they are cooked thoroughly. Set aside.


Marinara Sauce:

1 large can of good quality tomato sauce. You can use whole plum tomatoes if you prefer.
Fresh basil and oregano
1 onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced.

Heat a saucepan. Add extra virgin olive oil to coat bottom of saucepan. Add the garlic and brown lightly. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the tomato sauce, basil and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low. Simmer one hour.

Mashed Potatoes:

6 large potatoes
Low fat milk
Butter (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until the fork goes through easily. Peel and place in a large bowl. Gradually add the milk until the potatoes are the consistency you want. If you want a thinner consistency, just add more milk. Salt and pepper to taste. If you would like to add butter, do so before adding the milk. Mashed well. Note:  If you are wondering my my hands look so masculine it's because those hands belong to my husband.  He mashed the potatoes for me :-)


A nice tossed salad goes well with this dish. I made a simple salad with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes and Japanese cucumbers all bought at the farmer's market. What is not shown in the photo is the arugula and purslane friends gave me yesterday when I visited their community garden plot.  My mom has purslane growing in her yard but it is a weed!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Dish that Defines Peruvian Cuisine - Ceviche de Pescado

Mention Peruvian cooking to someone and they are more than likely to respond with the word ceviche. Ceviche is a Peruvian creation. It is usually made with fresh fish marinated and thereby cooked in lemon or lime juice. Sometimes other seafood are used...squid, octopus and/or shrimp. It is spicy, tangy and quite delicious!

My mother always told us that the best ceviche was made with Corvina. I usually make ceviche with Tilapia or Corvina when it is available. Today I wanted to try something different. I asked the fish man at a local Japanese market what fish he would recommend for ceviche. Almost without hesitation, he pointed to the beautiful fresh slabs of Mahimahi.

I decided to take his advice and bought a pound of fresh mahimahi for tonight's dinner. Although ceviche is usually served as an appetizer or first course, I thought it would be a good light dinner for my family.

I searched the internet for a good Peruvian recipe to compare it with the one my mom taught me. I found an interesting video of an interview of two Peruvian chefs. One of the chefs gave a couple of tips for making a good ceviche. The video is below. It is in Spanish. One tip is to not squeeze the life out of a lemon in order to get all the juice out. By doing so we run the risk of touching the white membrane which will make the dish bitter.

Another thing I learned is that there is a name for my favorite part of the ceviche. The tasty liquid that remains after the ceviche has been consumed (or served along with the fish) is called "Leche de Tigre"..Tiger's Milk. Here is a description I found here.

Only a true ceviche lover would dare try tiger’s milk (leche de tigre), which is the leftover ceviche marinade served in a small glass. Brightly colored from the spicy chili peppers, and sometimes mixed with vodka, tiger’s milk is considered a great cure for hangovers.
I think the vodka would ruin the deliciousness of the lovely liquid.




My Mother's Recipe for Ceviche

1 lb. very fresh fish (not frozen)
5-6 medium sized lemons or limes or 3 large Meyer Lemons (which I used)
1 Jalapeno or two small Hawaiian Chili Peppers (seeded)
1 Small bunch of fresh parsley is traditionally used, minced OR 1/2 green pepper sliced thinly (optional)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Aji Amarillo (unless you are able to find fresh aji amarillo)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the fish thinly but not too thinly that it falls apart. Place in a Pyrex bowl. Add the lemon juice and blend well. Add the remaining ingredients except, salt, pepper and parsley or green peppers. Cover and let marinate for at least an hour or two, maybe longer. I left mine on the counter top. After a this time, check to see that the fish is opaque. If so, the fish is cooked in the citrus juice. Salt and pepper to taste and top with the parsley or green pepper slices.

This dish is traditionally served on lettuce leaves and accompanied by boiled sweet potatoes and corn.

Don't forget to drink la leche de tigre!