Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Holiday Cooking around the world

Have fun with these!

4 Holiday Traditions

Ric Orlando
New World Bistro Bar, Albany
New World Home Cooking and
New World Catering, Saugerties

America the The Melting pot offers great culinary holiday traditions. Learning about our neighbor's feasting is a great way to create better understanding among ourselves. Food is a great bridge.
These 4 recipes, derived from Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Catholic Christmas Eve and Traditional English Christmas are all delish. Almost makes me reconsider...

Hanukkah Latkes

In this recipe we will learn a classical French cooking technique that will keep your latkes light and crisp. Yes, I have been honored in the past to be the the Woodstock Jewish Congregation’s official Latke Maker for Hanukkah, and they are a discerning group to say the least! Remember, to keep them from being greasy, shred the potatoes two ways and go easy on the squishing.

Makes about 10
2 large Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes, peeled
1 small onion
1 tbs horseradish
potato starch, flour or corn starch as needed, about 1/4 cup
2 free range eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2 cup duck fat, schmaltz or neutral flavored vegetable oil

To prepare the potatoes and onion.
Use mandoline and julienne the potatoes about half way down and then finish the potatoes on the large side of box grater. This will give you two textures. the grated with get creamy while the julienne will give you your crisp.
Put in a mixing bowl. Now peel and grate the carrot on the box grater, or grind until smooth in a food processor.
Now season a bit. Sprinkle with salt. Toss, Sprinkle a little more. Taste. Salty enough?
Don’t add too much. Well season again later. This step helps to bring the water out of the potatoes, but contrary to many Jewish home recipes, we WANT the water. You will see why next step.

Now add the horseradish. Scramble the eggs and pour over the potatoes. Hit it with a few generous grinds of the pepper mill. as you like it.
Mix it all together very well.
Now we are going to add the starch. Sprinkle a about 1/4 cup on the mix and toss it together. The accumulated water will begin to get white. You goal is to get the water to look and feel like heavy cream.
Depending upon the potatoes you use, there will be more of less water. If you need to add a little more starch, do it.
So now you ave a bowl of shredded potato mix sitting in a pool of creamy, starchy slurry. Very good!
Heat a heavy pan with 1/4 deep of fat or oil. Now we will make a taster. Pick up a golfball size handful of the mix and don’t squeeze it dry. Carefully drop. it in the hot oil and allow to cook on one side, looking like a little haystack until you notice that the edges are getting a bit brown. When this happens, gently turn it over. Press gently, making it about 1/3 inch thick. When it is sufficiently brown remove it and taste it. If necessary, you may adjust the salt.
Cook the remaining latkes off in batches making sure you don’t crown the Pan and keeping the oil temperature steady and hot enough. You can put the cooked latkes on a cookie sheet and reheat to order.

Homemade Applesauce
This is soo easy--all you need are apples, a pot and a food mill.
8 nice apples

Wash the apples and remove the stems. Leave whole.
Put in a pot and cover with water. Boil until the apple collapse, around 1 hour. adding more water if necessary. Use a slotted spoon and run through food mill.
Use some of the cooking water to achieve a soft applesauce consistency.
If you like to add sweetener or spices, and then AFTER you have pureed the sauce.

Kwanzaa Peanut Soup
Peanuts are a New world food. they were brought to Africa in the Slave ships in the 1600s and have become a staple food there ever since. This recipe is derived from a dish from Ghana, called Ground Nut soup. It is also used as a sauce for chicken.

makes 1 gallon
1/2 cup chopped celery, reserve leaves
2 cup diced onion
2 smashed cloves garlic
1 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
vegetable oil
1 tsp cayenne plus a tiny bit for garnish
1 tbls coriander ground
1 tsp cardamom ground
1 tsp fennel ground
2 cups canned tomatoes
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
3 qts vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups natural peanut butter or lightly salted peanuts, ground in a food processor

In a heavy pot, saute the vegetables in oil until softened. Add the spices. Cook for a few minutes to release the aromas. Add the tomatoes, parsley and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes to amalgamate. Puree untl smooth in a blander. Whisk in he peanut butter to thicken. Garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne and celery leaves.

Zuppa di Pesce
This is the feast of the 7 fishes, representing the 7 sacraments of the Catholic religion. It is based upon not eating meat in honor of the sacrifices and hardship of Mary and Joseph, birthing in a barn, riding mule with no air conditioning, using a star instead of On-Star...etc. If you have only 5 or 6 fish variations, don’t fret. unless you are exceedingly pious.
This is a relatively simple dish with loads of regional and family variations. Most important--keep it simple, make the sauce and then add the fish in the order in which they take to cook,--- and don’t overcook the fish.

makes 4 portions
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbls minced garlic
1 tsp crushed pepper
olive oil
1 cup fennel, sliced
1 cup or more white wine
32 oz clam juice
2 cups water
1 small can tomato paste
1 can plum tomatoes, squished through your fingers.
parsley, basil, oregano, bay leaf
1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente
4 shrimp, peeled and deveined (save peels)
4 scallops
8 clams, scrubbed
16 mussels, scrubbed, debearded
2 hard crabs
4 oz crabmeat
4 oz calamari, cut into medium rings, tentacles intact
8 oz mild white fish- bass, cod, pollack, hake, cut into 4 pieces.
salt to taste.

Fist we will make the stock and sauce.
In a heavy pot saute the shrimp shell peelings and the two live crabs in a little olive oil.
When the crabs and shells turn pink. Add about half of the onions, half of the fennel and half of the garlic and saute until golden around the edges. Add the tomato paste and saute some more, cooking it into the veggies. Add a bay leaf, a small hand full of parsley and the wine and cook vigorously for about 5 minutes. Add the clam broth and the water and cook at a medium simmer for 30-40 minutes. Strain and reserve the broth.
Meanwhile you can build the base sauce.
In a another pot, saute the remaining onions, crushed red, fennel and garlic and saute until golden. Add the tomatoes and rinse the can with water and add a half can of water and allow to come to a boil. Reduce to simmer gently while the stock cooks.
When the stock is done, strain it and add it to the tomato sauce.
Now we will choreograph he finish! You will need a pot for pasta and a pot with a tight fitting lid for the seafood.

Put on your pasta water, nice and salty. When it boils add the pasta and stir.
At the same time put on the sauce. As soon it it reached a boil add the baby octopus, fish filet pieces and the clams and cover tightly. After about 5 minutes,,,the clams will begin to open a bit (anticipate this). This is when you add the shrimp and scallops, When the shrimp are pink, add the calamari, crab and mussels. As soon as the mussels start to open turn off the heat, fold in plenty of parsley and basil and cover again. It can stay off he heat, uncovered for 15-20 minutes without overcooking the fish. As long as it is not boiling, the fish will be fine.!

Strain pasta, put into bowls and ladle on the seafood!

We Want Some Figgy Pudding
I tested a few recipes and like this one best-- It is from
This is very Dickens!

• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup molasses
• 2 cups mission figs (buy 1 lb. chop yourself)
• 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 2 cups brandy
• cheesecloth
1. 1
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. 2
Grease a 9-inch tube pan.
3. 3
Beat butter until soft.
4. 4
Add eggs and molasses and beat till fluffy.
5. 5
Add chopped figs (try to use good quality figs), grated lemon rind, and buttermilk.
6. 6
In another bowl combine all the rest of the ingredients (all dry ingredients).
7. 7
Pour dry ingredients into fig mixture and stir well.
8. 8
Pour into tube pan and cook for about an hour or until toothpick comes out pretty clean.
9. 9
After about 15 minutes, try to dislodge cake and put out onto a baking rack.
10. 10
Soak enough cheese cloth to go around the cake a couple times in brandy.
11. 11
When cake is cool, wrap it up well and soak for 24 hours.
Serve with brandy caramel
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup brandy
Melt the sugar until amber colored Add butter and whisk. Remove from heat and add the cream and brandy and wisk togther!.

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