November 3, 2011
There is a vast expanse of Europe between the Black and Baltic Seas commonly known as “Eastern Europe.” Millions of Americans can trace their ancestry from this region, but many of them don’t know exactly where. They came through both the front and back doors of the East Coast in search of something more. They came to mine coal, bend steel, crunch numbers, and maybe raise hell. Many of them saw the horrors of the 20th century up close, and came here to escape. They might not have brought much, but they brought their culture, their spirit, and their food.
At the center of this culinary tradition are Pierogi. It’s the unofficial national dish of Poland, and they are eaten, with different names, from Ukraine to Latvia. They are traditionally filled with potato, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruit preserves.
But most importantly to me, it’s Hades’s favorite food and the in-laws’ official celebratory dish. Needless to say,
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October 24, 2011
It’s simply the best of the last of the garden. Eight ears of the last of the sweet corn. Cobs scraped completely clean, releasing all that sweet corn “milk.” I think it’s what makes this soup special.
But perhaps, too, it’s that I added in the last few peppers still standing on my counter. Another handful of tomatoes that were picked green in the back garden, but managed to ripen despite that deep insult. And green onions picked up at the farmer’s market. Plus two palmfuls of teeny purple potatoes (that were a growing experiment by me) from a more experienced gardener friend. Generous pinches of fresh thyme from the terracotta pot on the patio. Twists of pepper. A blessing of salt.
Poach a few shrimp in the hot soup to make it more substantial. Or some smoked haddock would be perfectly at home. Or if you have leftovers, top bowls of soup with a crumbled a link of andouille and some sauteed shrimp for a take on a gumbo. That’s what I’m going to do.
Corn Milk Soup, serves 6 to 8
4 strips bacon, sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
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May 30, 2011
This started with my current obsession, which is oddly and plainly, roasting potatoes.
From which rose a lovely collection of small plates that we passed and shared over a couple of glasses of wine. Well, Cherub didn’t have any wine.
It was all easily pulled together a Monday night on a long weekend, Memorial Day here in America and Bank Holiday for those across the pond. It’s a leisurely way to enjoy a meal or entertain. It’s basically the more familiar tapas only with Mediterranean flair. In fact many a Greek meal begins and ends entirely with mezedes.
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May 4, 2011
I’ll admit to a slight amount of jet lag. By slight I mean passing out after dinner and waking up at four the next morning.
So I haven’t really blogged dinner in as timely a manner as I’d like; but there you go.
This lovely dish was inspired by a restaurant we happened upon in Brussels the first night we were there. It was called Hemispheres and it was an ode to the southern hemisphere in all it’s diversity. From Indian curries to tagines, the menu ran the gamut. The sauce on the salmon was heavenly. I almost thought there was coconut in it, but it was simply the combination of cream with the deeply yellow colored spices that evoked that sweetness.
This salmon dish could be done in any manner of ways. In fact, why even use salmon? Try it with
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March 15, 2011
So much of Irish cooking was born from necessity. But from Ireland’s extraordinary hardships came simple, delicious farmhouse dishes that rely on cheap, available ingredients. In this case, there are a mere four ingredients – pork ribs, bacon, onions, and of course, potatoes. Then, with a little heat and a little time, they transform themselves into a comforting, nourishing, almost healing stew that makes the house smell beautiful. Plus, its inexpensive and bountiful – it easily makes enough to feed a sizable group. So make the most of not very much and bring the family around your table. And that’s a lot more Irish than green beer.
Irish Pork Rib Stew, Serves 6
2 lb pork ribs (not baby back), cut into six pieces
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, sliced
4 large potatoes, approximately 2 lbs, two peeled and sliced, two peeled and cubed
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until lightly browned, then add ribs and cover with four inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim off any fat and foam that rises to the surface. Add onions and potatoes and cook for another three hours.
Serve with brown bread and homemade butter. (The easiest recipe which I’ll post tomorrow.)
Playlist included Only Shallow, by My Bloody Valentine.
March 14, 2011
Steaks are the ultimate in quick cooking. Fifteen minutes and dinner can be on the table. Plus if you’re feeling a little sluggish, maybe you need a little more iron, or perhaps a Guinness. Tonight’s Gaelic version was topped with sauteed onions, watercress and a whiskey reduction. This is a wonderful combination, perhaps the best way to eat a steak, and like the Guinness it goes so well with, it gives you strength.
Gaelic Steak, Serves 3, Inspired by The Scottish Irish Pub and Hearth Cookbook
1 one pound rib steak
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