Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘fusion cuisine’ Category

Every year now it seems that newspapers, food blogs, and radio shows debate the merits of turkey or sides as the highlight of Thanksgiving dinner.  Personally, I’m all about the dressing–cornbread stuffing baked in a separate pan for those of you who don’t have Southern roots.  I’ll never forget the year that my sister, accompanied by my mother, ended up in the emergency room the night before Thanksgiving.  The task of making the cornbread for the dressing fell to my father.  He made the mistake of picking a sweet cornbread recipe and using that cornbread for the dressing.  It’s the only year that I didn’t pig out on the dressing.  Needless to say, it was genuinely disgusting.  (Sorry, Dad!)  That dressing is part of family legend.  So is our regular recipe, anchoring us to our ancestors like Americans’ gastronomy nationwide reflect their origins.

As I’ve moved around the country, I’ve discovered that asking the simple question “Dressing or stuffing?” can place a person’s ancestors faster than any other question.  If you want to get more specific within the South, you have to ask more detailed questions about the recipe.  For example, the Georgia dressing recipe that I grew up with included the traditional cornbread as well as a sage stuffing mix, celery, onions, broth, and eggs.  The result was a mixture as solid as canned cranberry jelly.  We could cut it into neat slices.  (I use an all-scratch method now that stays fluffier, and I like it much better, but don’t tell Mom.)    Mr. Homesteader grew up in south Arkansas, and his dressing recipe included chopped boiled eggs.  Those chopped boiled eggs seem pretty consistent across the flatlands of the state and can mark a delta Arkansan faster than any accent.  Newer recipes that are tasty include squash dressing.

I confess to an endless fascination with dressing and stuffing recipes.  I’ve always wanted to compile a catalog of regional variations.  Will you help me to start that catalog?  You can build the recipe catalog one of two ways.  For both cases, you’ll need to answer the following questions.  You can answer directly on the blog, but if you prefer not to tie your ancestry to your regular name here, you can send answers to my email (Ozarkhomesteader AT yahoo DOT com), and I’ll remove names before I post them under anonymous listings.  (And, yes, I’ll preserve your privacy and not share your information with anyone else.)  You may also email photographs in jpg format to that address, and I’ll upload them with this post.  Folks from outside the US are welcome to join in too!

1.  What’s the recipe?  This can be a precise recipe or a vague one, but it needs to include the key components (like boiled eggs, chiles, giblets, fruit, nuts).

2.  What consistency does the product have?  Can you slice it?  Do you spoon it?  Is it fluffy?  Can you see discrete pieces of bread?

3.  What do you call it?

4.  What place do you call home, as in where you learned the recipe?

5.  What is your primary regional and/or state influence in cooking?  For most people, we’re talking about where your mother and grandmother(s) originated.

6.  Do you have any relatives who aren’t from that region?  If so, from where are they?

7.  How long have you used this recipe?

I hope you like mapping food history as much as I do!  Join the fun, and spread the word so that we can get a good sample here.  Remember to include your food origins location!

Update, November 23, 2011:  Please continue to submit your recipes and memories of dressing and stuffing at your house for Thanksgiving.  We’ve still got lots of the country to cover!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

Read Full Post »

. . . a rustic pasta recipe.  Come on back and see it in detail.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader, including photographs.

Read Full Post »

Catalan is the language spoken in Catalonia, near the border of France and Spain, and in the tiny country of Andorra (which was so small it was excluded from the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI and therefore remained at war until the 1950s!).  The food from this part of the world is rich in flavor, inspired by the conquistadors’ travels in the Americas as well as the influence of north Africa and even Asia.  Catalan food was fusion food long before fusion became cool.  Catalan stew over Spanish rice with quinoa draws on the flavors of the old world and new world.

Alfred Crosby coined the term “Columbian Exchange” to bring the proper focus to the era of Columbus’s voyage.  To say that Columbus “discovered” the “new world” is inaccurate; the Columbian Exchange was not just about Europe finding the Americas but rather was people the world over discovering the rest of the world.  The era of the Columbian Exchange all comes together in this dish.  Turkey, avocado, and hot peppers all originated in the Americas yet were embraced by Europeans.  The original Americans also taught Europeans that not all nightshade plants (like tomatoes) were poisonous.  And from Africa and Asia Europeans learned to eat health-giving turmeric (popular in Indian cuisine), which I’ll use as a frugal substitute for saffron in my “Spanish” rice.  Even more recently the world has re-discovered the ancient South American grain quinoa*, which is rich is protein.  This fragrant, nutty stew full of familiar and exotic flavors is a great way to get your family to try new food.

Tip:  Start the onion for the stew first, and while it starts to cook you can prep the rest of the onion for the rice.  You can prep the peppers and garlic while the rice starts cooking.  Just keep working back and forth, and both dishes will be ready at the same time, about 45 minutes from when you start.

3-4 servings

Spanish Rice with Quinoa:

  • 1/4 cup sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small pat butter (about a teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup nutty brown rice, like Basmati or jasmine
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water  (Yes, you can skip the chicken broth and just use 1 cup of water, but why?)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used a combination of red and regular)
  • 1 cup water (again)

rice after sauteing

Begin by sauteing the onion in the oil and butter on low heat.  After the onion has sauteed for a minute or two, add the rice, and continue to stir regularly over low heat for about 5 minutes. Most of the rice should transform from translucent to opaque as it toasts in the oil.  Add the 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric, stir, and then saute a minute more.  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and put a lid on the pot for 20-25 minutes minutes.  Add the quinoa and another cup of water, and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Catalan Stew:

  • 3/4 sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or pushed through a garlic press)
  • 1 Hatch (Anaheim) chile, seeded and sliced lengthwise and crosswise
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted and seeded and finely diced
  • 14-16 ounces diced tomatoes (canned is actually best here, whether home canned or good organic store-bought canned)
  • handful of raisins
  • 1/3 pound cooked turkey (or chicken or raw shrimp, cleaned.  I used leftover turkey, frozen and thawed.  You’re family will never spot it as Tom from Thanksgiving!)
  • handful of toasted, slivered almonds (Toast the almonds in a 325 degree F oven for about ten minutes.  Since ovens vary, watch closely!  You can do this after the stew and rice go on autopilot in the last 25 minutes of cooking.)
  • avocado, sliced in half lengthwise twice and then into thin slices.  (You can do this after you start toasting the almonds.)

Saute the onion in  the olive oil over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and chiles and saute for about three more minutes, taking care to keep the garlic from burning.  Pour in the diced tomatoes with juice.  Add the handful of raisins.  Put the pot on a gentle simmer.  If you are using turkey or chicken, add it now. Otherwise, wait until the last ten minutes of rice cooking to add the shrimp to the stew.  The stew will be ready at the same time as the rice, about 45 minutes after you start.

To serve, fluff the Spanish rice with quinoa and pile it on each plate.  Make an indentation in the middle of each serving, and spoon on the Catalan stew.  Garnish with toasted almonds in the middle and avocado slices around the edge of the stew.  (Unfortunately, I covered the beautiful, nutty, yellow-tinted Spanish rice and Quinoa.  You can see a little of it on the lower right of the plate.)

*Quinoa is a nutty-flavored South American grain that, unlike other grains, contains a complete protein all by itself.  Quinoa is incredibly healthy and raises the protein quotient of Spanish rice.  If you haven’t cooked with quinoa yet, give it a try.  I think you’ll like it.  If you’d like to make this dish tonight and don’t have quinoa, go ahead.  Just use one cup of rice and two cups of water/chicken broth.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Reproduction of short excerpts (not full recipes) with attribution to Ozarkhomesteader and the full URL for the original post are welcome.

Read Full Post »

Cole slaw has the refreshing flavor of summer, but the cabbage that makes up most of cole slaw is primarily a winter vegetable here (although I do get it to keep growing all summer with careful planting placement).  On warmer winter days, cole slaw with pulled chicken barbeque feels like a summer picnic, although slaw is plenty tasty as part of a good vegetarian meal too.  The colors can be bright enough to attract the pickiest kids.  Cole slaw can also be incredibly frugal.  And the fresh veggies are really healthy–just keep the dressing light!I made this cole slaw from all-local, organic vegetables either from our own garden (the peppers via the freezer) or from Conway Locally Grown.  You can vary quantities and ingredients depending on what you have on hand, but this slaw contains

  • thinly sliced green cabbage
  • thinly sliced red cabbage
  • grated carrots
  • grated colorful radish
  • thinly sliced roasted red pepper

I find that it’s easiest to slice the cabbage thinly if I begin by cutting a wedge out of the head and then cutting off the wedge instead of the whole head.

The dressing is what really changes slaw’s flavor.  I like to make mine with leftover pickle juice.  For a frugal, delicious sweet, sour, creamy dressing, I use mayonnaise mixed with bread-and-butter pickle juice.  You could use any sweet pickle juice.  If you are serving the slaw with salmon, try using dill pickle juice.  It won’t be sweet, but it’ll be tasty.  (You may want to increase the ratio of carrots to increase sweetness.)  If you want an Asian flavor, try using pickled ginger juice.  Here’s the basic measurements I use as a foundation.  You may want to add a little more of one of the ingredients after you taste the mix.

  • 1 tablespoon real mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice

Start light with the dressing.  You can always add more later!  Enjoy.  My husband likes to put his slaw on barbeque sandwiches.  You might like it that way too.

Copyright Ozarkhomesteader 2010.  Short excerpts with full links to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome!

Read Full Post »

Today I picked up another order from Conway Locally Grown, a wonderful variation on CSAs.  My father is visiting us, so I went crazy and ordered all sorts of things I ordinarily wouldn’t have, including an emu egg.  Yes, I’ll be blogging about that later this weekend or early next week. Among the things I ordered were snow pea tendrils. I confess that I knew nothing about them except that they sounded tasty.  Oh, my stars, they are!  I made an Asian-inspired meal with lime-ginger salmon; coconut-milk-infused stir-fried vegetables including spicy carrots, shitakes (also from Conway Locally Grown), and yard-long beans (frozen, from our garden) with red-peter pepper, leeks, and garlic; and peanut-sesame soba noodles.  I tossed the snow pea tendrils in the noodles and then added more tendrils to top the noodles.  I couldn’t stop myself from getting even more tendrils to add to the noodles as I ate.

Snow pea tendrils taste like peas but are so much more delicate and fresh tasting.  They smell like sweet clover.  They crunch like sprouts.  You can eat them fresh like we did or stir-fried very briefly.  If you haven’t tried these yet, you should!  I know I’ll be planting extra snow peas to be able to have home grown tendrils–although I can’t imagine how they could be any better than the ones I got today.

Read Full Post »

I can’t help but notice how many people find this blog because they are searching for a recipe for winter squash, especially butternut or acorn squash.  You’ll find both savory and sweet recipes at Ozarkhomesteader, because these squashes are incredibly versatile.

Tonight, for instance, I was working with green European cabbage, red onion, and turkey bratwurst.  These ingredients scream German or Austrian food (at least to me), but I was also staring at a butternut squash with a little damage, one that I needed to fix soon rather than keeping through the winter.  Ultimately, I boiled the brats in beer and then mixed just a touch of molasses in with a tiny bit of the beer to make a glaze, allowing me to get nice grill marks when I put the brats on a hot cast iron grill pan.  I served the brats on cabbage sauteed with red onion, cider vinegar, prepared grainy mustard, a touch of honey, and some soy sauce.  (Darn Alton Brown for mentioning umami right about the time I was reaching for the salt!)  I decided that the squash could be seasoned to stand in for pumpernickle–or maybe gingerbread.

DSCN2091I began by peeling the butternut squash.  Butternut is the only winter squash that peels easily when uncooked. Then I cut the squash into chunks, popped it in a casserole with a little water, and baked it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Then I mashed it with about 2 tablespoons dry ginger and two generous drizzles of molasses (maybe about a tablespoon).

I served the brats on top of the cabbage with the squash to the side, some green beans, and some tiny sliced radishes.  Sure the squash looks like baby food this way, but it tastes rich!  And our entire meal celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall.  It’s hard to believe that was twenty years ago!

Regardless of whether winter squash with ginger is your idea of a good time, know that you can bring its warm, comforting flavor to all sorts of cuisines, including Indian (try it with curry and coconut milk!), Italian (think ravioli with nutmeg, a little garlic), or even New England colonial (acorn squash stuffed with apples and dried cranberries).  Enjoy those squash you found at the farmer’s market, in your CSA basket, or even–like us–in your own garden.

Read Full Post »

Our basic rule for preparing and eating food in our home is that a significant portion of it be homegrown or local, with organic or free range from farther away as something we’ll accept for a much smaller proportion.  I also usually follow the old Southern rule of “meat and three”:  a small portion of some kind of flesh (fowl or fish in our house) accompanied by a bean, a grain, and a leafy green or other high-nutrient vegetable.  Sometimes we skip the “meat” altogether and just do the latter three.

Tonight, after a big time out in town yesterday, I decided to change the formula a bit.  I wanted the lightest meal I could put together with big flavor.  Our “meat” tonight was a splurge in two ways:  it was sea scallops, which are costly, and, while they were a US product, they certainly did not come from the Ozarks.  I paired them with local broccoli and homegrown butternut squash, all organic.

The question was how to get big flavor with a light treatment.  Somehow I thought Asian, but I didn’t want to pull anything standard out of my repertoire.  I began by peeling, dicing, and baking the butternut squash with a generous dose of ginger and a light application of honey.

I started the broccoli (about two cups of florets) by putting it in a fry pan with water sufficient for it to go about half way up each piece.  I sprinkled salt on the top, put on a lid, and turned the burner on high to start a combination steam-boil.  As soon as the broccoli turned bright green, I removed the lid, tossed around the broccoli, and added a couple of tablespoons of orange preserves (no, not local, but at least organic).  Then I starting cooking off the small amount of water that remained, finally adding about 2/3 cup chopped chives with white bottoms (like scallions)* to the top of the mixture after the last toss.  I was working, by the way, in a 9-inch saute pan.  That meant that all the broccoli was in a single layer, and the liquid had plenty of surface area to cook down.

Last, while I was working on the broccoli, I sauteed four cloves of chopped garlic in a bit of organic spray oil, added a little sherry, and cooked the garlic until it started to soften, all in a 7-inch saute pan.  Then I added the scallops (11 total) and started cooking off the liquid.  I turned the scallops three times each to let the thickening garlic-sherry sauce coat them and then removed them for the final cook-off of the sauce.

Although all of the main ingredients in tonight’s dinner are common enough on Euro-American tables, I tried to bring out the Asian potential of each dish without screaming, “I’m making Chinese tonight,” something I do attempt pretty often.  The chives and orange preserves in the broccoli hinted at Chinese food.  The garlic uplifted the scallops and added another common Asian ingredient.  And the ginger, which could have been prominent in every dish in Asian cuisines, brightened the butternut squash.  Ah, homestyle fusion!  Best of all after yesterday’s hedonism, tonight’s dinner was full of flavor and nutrients but virtually fat free.

This same dinner with minor variations could have gone Italian.  Keep the garlic with the scallops but change the seasoning with the broccoli and squash, and you could be along the Mediterranean coast.

*I have scallions in the garden right now but did not want to use them tonight.  On the other hand, I have way too many chives and thought this would be a great opportunity for thinning them.  I pulled 5 or 6 chives and stripped off the dried leaves, damaged ends, and roots.  Ah, scallions with a bit milder flavor!

Read Full Post »