For our ‘Soup du jour’ may I suggest ‘Pozole‘, a Mexican soup, or soupy stew, depending on your preferred soup consistency. I am given to understand that this is the soup of soups in parts of Mexico, and as soon as I get over the image left in my brain by some of its distant history, I will prepare it and share it. It seems that this very delicious soup, or a variation of it, was originally served with human flesh which, if you had a contact at the local temple, could be obtained following Thursday’s Aztec sacrificial rituals. Of course, following the conquest by the Spaniards, cannibalism was banned, and pork was substituted, owing to its similarity in taste. I am always amazed at the bizarre relationships our religions, past and present, have with the foods we eat…but that’s a topic for a later post. The area of Mexico most famous for this delicacy is Guerrero where the weekly event is known as Jueves Pozolero. Specific restaurants are open only on Thursdays for the sole purpose of serving this dish. So click on the link, happy Pozole Thursday and may you enjoy you meal.
Who doesn’t like to share good food and drink? From time to time I come across a recipe, or a good wine, beer, or single-malt, that I simply must share with friends. This section of my blog is dedicated to just that, food that really “schmeckts” and beverages that satisfy the soul.
Make your own Pasta
I have decided that there is no pasta like home-made pasta. It is smooth, silky, and its flavour can be adjusted to your own liking. You will have to invest in a couple of useful tools to make the process easier and, quite frankly, more fun.
Creating the desired pasta can be accomplished free-hand, with a manual press and cutter, or with the very useful KitchenAid machine attachments.
Finally, you can create the all important pasta dough manually on a board, or use a food processor, which is my choice. It is quick and easy and almost guaranteed to come out right every time.
Recipe for pasta dough:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
½ cup of semolina flour
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp + of cold water
1 tbsp of oil
Add the moist items first (hold back the water) and follow with the dry.
Add water gradually as the dough changes from dry, to pea size granules, and finally forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the food processor. That’s it… knead the dough a few times, then wrap it in clear plastic and rest (you with a glass of wine, the dough with its plastic wrap) for a half hour at room temperature.
Now comes the fun part. Cut the dough ball into 2 to 4 smaller portions, flatten them a bit and start to run them through the rollers. Start with the largest setting and progress to the desired thickness. Remember to roll all portions through each setting before you set a new thickness. You may also have to sprinkle the individual sheets of pasta with flour to prevent them from sticking to the roller, or each other. When you have reached the desired thickness you can begin the cutting process with theappropriate size of cutter (spaghetti, fettuccine etc.).
Hang each batch of cut pasta from your pasta dryer; wait 10 to 15 min. then cook in salted water for 3 min. or so. Remember, as with dry pasta, al dente! Have a great time adding your own homemade pasta sauce and your choice of wine.
I cannot recall when I have had such initial misgivings about a recipe, and have had to swallow those misgivings (so to speak) after tasting the resulting dish. Somehow Feta cheese and shrimp did not sound right. Don’t take my word for it, try it. I suggest you savour this shrimp dish with steamed rice.
1 1/2 pounds shrimp , peeled and deveined (size is your choice)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons ouzo (I used Pernod)
5 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press
Grated zest from 1 lemon
salt and ground black pepper
1 small onion , diced medium
1/2 medium red bell pepper , diced medium
1/2 medium green bell pepper , diced medium
teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomato , drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
6 ounces Greek feta cheese , crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
1. Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add remaining garlic and red pepper flakes and cook about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to active simmer. Reduce heat to medium simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavours have combined and sauce is slightly thickened (not completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain light simmer.
Remove pan from heat and sprinkle liberally with feta. Drizzle oil evenly over top and finish with dill. Serve over steamed rice immediately.
This is an easy recipe to prepare and one that will please everyone in the family. I assume that you will be able to adjust the volume and quantity of the ingredients to suit the number of portions you prepare. To this end I will not add precise amounts, rather let you decide what would work best for your situation. (with a couple of exceptions)
Beef, cubed or sliced (I prefer slices similar to a flat French-fry), onion, garlic, chervil, mushrooms, bouillon cubes or beef broth, paprika, tomato paste, parsley, liquid from caraway seeds, sour cream, noodles.
Soak 2 tbsp. of caraway seeds in a ¼ cup of boiling water. To a medium hot skillet add oil, onions, garlic and mushrooms, tomato paste. Meanwhile cover meat with beef liquid and simmer covered until meat is tender and liquid almost evaporated. Remove beef and remaining liquid to the skillet. (Containing the onions and mushrooms). Season with paprika, chopped parsley, liquid from caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Turn down heat and carefully add sour cream.
Serve over flat noodles.
I came across this recipe a couple of years ago while looking up the the procedure by which hominy corn was made by Mexican housewives. The process of creating this unique soup (chowder if you will) is about as easy as boiling water. The flavour is all about cumin, as it is with many Mexican dishes, and cumin flavouring is something I crave every now and then. Try it and I guarantee that you will make this dish every time you need to depart from everyday flavours.
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup chopped green onions (scallions)
½ cup hot salsa
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes in sauce
1 (28 oz.) can white hominy (approx 3 cups kernels and juice)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 + tsp ground cumin (to taste)
½ tsp dried thyme
4 cups chicken stock
1.5 cups corn kernels (fresh or canned-without the liquid)
fresh cilantro (leaves and stems) finely chopped (to taste)
Add chili powder to taste (or pepper flakes)
Add salt to taste
Heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic, onion & scallions
Cook for 3 minutes
Add the rest of the ingredients including the hominy corn, (hold back corn and cilantro)
Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes
Stir in the corn and cilantro
Bring soup to a boil and serve
Serve with lots of French bread or Portuguese buns. This soup keeps well if refrigerated.
Glen Breton Rare – A smooth all Canadian Single Malt
So the word is now out for all to see
A single malt from this side of the sea
A lowland taste, or a highland smile
Or the tang of the sea, like a malt from the Isle.
These secrets reside in the walls of the cask
And those bouquets and flavours are with us at last
Ten years in a complex of oak and of smoke
Now we reach for the glass, for the cask has awoke.
And we’ll toast with Glen Breton with more than a dram
For the dream of Glenora has captured our land
From the shores of Cape Breton to our mountainous west
Our friends now toast with their very own best.
To Glen Breton ‘Rare’