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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Italian American Sunday Gravy! With veal meatballs!
In New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia, a rich tasting old fashioned Italian meat flavored tomato sauce is often called gravy. Ask an Italian American from the northeast a question about tomato sauce and you may up being corrected with an answer like "Oh! You mean gravy!" Many Italian Americans refer to gravy as Sunday Gravy. Sunday is a big day for family and friends to get together and share a big afternoon meal. The Sunday Gravy is always something special to look forward to!
There are many required basics for Italian cooking and there are many required ingredients for Italian recipes. Each Italian chef that I have worked with, while apprenticing, added their own personal touch to each recipe that they made. A special refined cooking technique, a choice ingredient or a little adjustment to a recipe by an experienced Italian chef can make a big difference in the flavor and texture of a recipe. The same goes for home style Italian family cooking. I have to admit, there has never been a meal that was cooked by an Italian that I did not like! Italians know how to cook!
As you can imagine, because a Sunday Gravy is a special item, great care and attention is placed on the gravy as it cooks. A Sunday Gravy cannot be left to cook on its own. A Sunday Gravy needs to be tended. A Sunday Gravy also needs to be guarded! A Sunday Gravy that is left alone may fall prey to kitchen visitors that are attracted by the great aroma of a Sunday Gravy simmering away. Many times, it is all a cook can do, to keep the Sunday Gravy from disappearing before dinner is served!
There are many options for a Sunday Gravy that are covered later in this recipe. There are options beyond the ones that I mentioned. The main thing to keep in mind, is to make a Sunday Gravy special, like cooking with one's heart.
The choice of pasta for Sunday Gravy is usually spaghetti or capellini. Any traditional Italian pasta that is served with a ragu style sauce is good for a Sunday Gravy. Pennoni Pasta is native to the Campania Region of Italy. Pennoni is commonly served with Napolitean and Genoese meat ragu sauces. Pennoni is also nice with Sunday Gravy.
San Marzano tomatoes are the best tomatoes for sauces. San Marzano tomatoes originated in Peru. They were a gift from Peru to the kingdom of Napoli in the late 1700's. The region of Campania Italy is where some of the very best San Marzano tomatoes are grown. California tomatoes just cannot be compared to the superior Italian San Marzano tomatoes. The climate and soil in Campania is perfect for tomatoes. Imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes were my choice for this Sunday Gravy recipe. They are the best tomatoes that money can buy!
Sunday Gravy Recipe:
This recipe makes about 2 large portions of gravy! The meatballs can be made and baked, while the Sunday Gravy slowly simmers.
Cut a 12 ounce pork shoulder steak into 2 or 3 large pieces. Do not trim the fat off and leave the bone attached.
Place the pork steak pieces into a roasting pan that was brushed with vegetable oil. Do not season the pork steak!
Roast in a 400 degree oven, till the pork steak becomes browned.
The Sunday Gravy can be started while the pork steak roasts!
Place a 28 ounce can of imported whole seeded Italian San Marzano plum tomatoes that are packed in their own juices with basil into a mixing bowl.
Note: The juices of the can should look thick and rich like puree. This type of Italian San Marzano tomato product may not be easy to find and it does cost more. If none can be found, then add 6 ounces of imported Italian plum tomato puree to a 28 ounce can of regular imported Italian plum tomatoes packed in their own thin juices.
Hand squeeze and crush the tomatoes, till no big chunks remain.
Heat a stainless steel or enamel lined pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add about 2 1/2 ounces to 3 ounces olive oil. (The olive oil proportion should be about 1/10 of the volume of the tomatoes.)
Add 9 cloves of chopped garlic.
Add 1 small handful of finely chopped onion.
Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped carrot.
Saute and stir often.
Saute till the onions turn clear in color, but do not let the vegetables brown.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
Add the hand squeezed San Marzano tomatoes and their juices to the pot.
Add 1 teaspoon of oregano.
Add 8 chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried basil.
Add sea salt and ground black pepper.
The roasted pork shoulder steak pieces should be browned by now.
Remove the pork pieces and bone from the roasting pan and place them into the pot of Sunday Gravy.
Deglaze the roasting pan with 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water.
Add the deglazed jus to the pot of Sunday Gravy.
Add 1/2 cup of Italian certified Chianti wine.
Allow the Sunday Gravy to slowly come to a simmer.
Adjust the temperature to low/very low heat.
Very slowly simmer the Sunday Gravy for 4 hours. Leave the pot uncovered. (Never cover a pot of Italian tomato sauce with a lid, or the sauce will be like stewed tomatoes!)
Scrape the sauce that clings to the insides of the pot back into the Sunday Gravy occasionally.
Stir the Sunday Gravy from the bottom up, once every 5 minutes. (This is very important when making large batches!)
After 3 hours of slow simmering, add 2 tablespoons of minced Italian parsley.
Note: At this time, taste the Sunday Gravy. Only adjust the salt and pepper seasoning if necessary.
After 4 hours of very slow simmering, the flavors will meld and the Sunday Gravy will have a medium thin tomato sauce consistency. The excess tomato juices should be reduced into the sauce at this point. The olive oil and pork fat juices should be well combined with the tomatoes, because the sauce was stirred often.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
Stir the virgin olive oil into the gravy. (This adds a nice finishing flavor!)
Remove the Sunday Gravy from the heat.
Allow the sunday gravy to cool to almost room temperature.
Remove the pork shoulder pieces and the bone from the Sunday Gravy and set them aside.
Run the Sunday Gravy through an old fashioned hand turned food mill into a second pot.
Note: A food processor can be used to smooth the sauce, but care must be taken to not aerate the Sunday Gravy. Only pulse the food processor for 2 to 3 seconds at a time. Pause for about 15 seconds between pulses. Mill the Sunday Gravy till it becomes a nice smooth tomato sauce texture.
Keep the milled Sunday Gravy warm over very low heat, till it is served.
The pork bone can be discarded.
The pork shoulder meat can be shredded and returned to the sauce or it can be used for another recipe. (Many Italian chefs mince the pork shoulder meat from the gravy and save it for a cannelloni pasta stuffing recipe.)
Sunday Gravy Options:
Optional additions for a Sunday Gravy are popular. Roasted Italian sausages can be added to the Sunday Gravy. Roasted large bite size pieces of veal, pork or beef can be added to the Sunday Gravy. Meatballs can be added to the Sunday Gravy. Many Italian chefs add these items toward the end of the simmering of the Sunday Gravy or after the Sunday Gravy has been run through a food mill.
Many Italian chefs also serve the Sunday Gravy with the roasted pork shoulder meat removed and with no addition of meat or sausage. This was how I was trained to serve Sunday Gravy during my last Italian apprenticeship. Meats were only added upon customer request.
Today, I am the customer! I removed the pork shoulder meat, then milled the Sunday Gravy. I shredded the pork shoulder meat and returned it to the gravy. I added the veal meatballs to the milled Sunday Gravy too.
If you add meatballs, sausage or roasted meat after the gravy has been milled, it is best to let the gravy slowly simmer for a little while, before serving. This helps the flavors to combine.
Polpette di Vitello Recipe:
Place 1 pound of ground veal into a mixing bowl.
Add 9 cloves of finely minced garlic.
Add 1 small handful of finely minced onion.
Add 1 whisked egg.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 3 to 4 pinches of oregano.
Add 3 to 4 pinches of basil.
Add 2 tablespoons of finely minced Italian parsley.
Add 2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese.
Add 4 tablespoons of fine plain Italian bread crumbs.
Add 2 ounces of water soaked Italian bread pith that was squeeze dry. (Squeeze the water out of the pith before adding.)
Mix the ingredients together, just like kneading bread dough.
Scoop the meat mixture into medium size meatball portions. (About 2-3 ounces is a regular size meatball.)
Hand roll the meatballs, so they are all the same size and shape. Roll the meatballs, so the surface is smooth and even.
Place the meatballs in a roasting pan that is lightly brushed with oil.
Bake the meatballs in a 350 degree oven.
Note: The pan will need to be removed from the oven once in a while, so the excess grease can be poured off. The meatballs will need to be turned occasionally, so they brown evenly. Use a thin metal spatula to loosen the meatballs from the pan.
Bake the veal meatballs, till they are fully cooked and lightly browned. Do not overcook the meatballs or they will become dried out. The meatballs should be nice and juicy inside.
Add the veal meatballs to the Sunday Gravy after the gravy has been run through a food mill.
Slowly simmer the veal meatballs in the Sunday Gravy over very low heat for a little while, so the flavors combine.
Pennoni Pasta with Sunday Gravy and Polpette di Vitello:
The meatballs and the Sunday Gravy should be finished cooking before the pasta is boiled. The garlic bread can be baked while the pasta cooks!
Garlic bread can be made with olive oil, butter or both.
Simmer 2 ounces of olive oil or unsalted butter over low heat in a pot.
Add 6 cloves of minced garlic.
Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
Add 2 pinches of oregano. (Optional)
Simmer till the garlic becomes tender, but not browned.
Cut a 5" or 6" section of Italian bread in half.
Generously brush the bread with the garlic oil or butter. Try to get the minced garlic on the bread too.
Place the garlic bread on a baking pan.
Bake the garlic bread in a 350 degree oven, till it becomes toasted.
Boil 1 or 2 portions of pennoni pasta in salted water over high heat, till the pasta is cooked al dente. (Pennoni have thin walls, so the pasta must be stirred gently and stirred often. Only use a wooden pasta stick or wooden spoon to stir pasta!
Drain the hot water off of the pennoni pasta.
Place the pennoni into a mixing bowl.
Add just enough of the Sunday Gravy to barely coat the pasta while gently tossing.
Place a mound of the lightly sauced pennoni on a plate.
Spoon a generous amount of the Sunday Gravy over the pasta.
Place 3 or 4 veal meatballs on top of the pasta.
Spoon a little more of the Sunday Gravy over the meatballs.
Sprinkle some thinly grated parmesan cheese over the pasta.
Place the 2 pieces of toasted garlic bread on the plate.
Sprinkle a couple pinches of minced Italian parsley over the pasta and garlic bread.
The best tasting Sunday Gravy is the one that you make yourself! This one that I made tastes pretty good too. Give a Sunday Gravy your care, love and attention, because you will be rewarded with smiles and compliments! Yum! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna
A modern Las Vegas style biscuits n gravy breakfast!
Home made tea leaf and spice smoked salmon is easy to make, but the kitchen must have adequate ventilation. If you have an outdoor char grill and the weather is nice, then the salmon can be smoked outdoors. I only smoked one salmon filet portion, so the smoke was manageable in my kitchen.
Cold smoking only involves smoke with no heat. Hot smoking involves heat. The hot smoking method was used for this recipe, so the smoked salmon was fully cooked and it had a nice tasting smoked flavor.
Tea leaves and whole dried spice seeds with peppercorns were mixed with coarse kosher salt. This created a very light smoke flavor for the salmon!
Buttermilk biscuits are an old fashioned treat for breakfast. I had to make a batch at chef school today and the school recipe turned out to be the same as my own recipe, so it was like making the biscuits that I usually make at home or in restaurants. The chef school only needed 25 biscuits, so I made the biscuits by hand, instead of with a mixer.
The biscuits turned out to have a perfect biscuit texture and I got compliments from an executive chef teacher that rarely pays compliments. That teacher said that they were honestly the best biscuits that he ever had! The teacher was from Chicago and Chicago is a biscuit eating town, so the compliment was really solid!
No matter what method is used to make milk gravy for biscuits, a milk gravy is still a bechamel sauce. The full French step of making a studded onion pique is not necessary for most bechamel sauce applications. It definitely is not necessary for making a standard bechamel milk gravy for a breakfast item that will be flavored with an exotic smoked salmon. The tea and spice smoked salmon has plenty of flavor of its own.
This tea and spice smoked salmon buttermilk biscuits and gravy entree should appeal to those who like milk gravies for breakfast, but do not like sausage milk gravies. Even with salmon instead of sausage, this is still a very satisfying full plate of heavy breakfast food. This breakfast entree will stick to the ribs!
Smoked Salmon Baste:
Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small mixing bowl.
Add 2 pinches of ground anatto.
Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
Add 2 pinches of paprika.
Add 2 pinches of kosher salt.
Add 2 pinches of black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of thyme.
Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Stir the ingredients together.
Remove the bones from a 6 to 8 ounce salmon filet. Leave the skin attached to the filet.
Brush the salmon with the seasoned basting oil.
Set the salmon filet aside for a few minutes.
Tea Leaf and Spice Smoked Salmon Smoking Mixture:
Place 4 tablespoons of coarse kosher salt into a small mixing bowl.
Add 3 tablespoons of tea leaves.
Add 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns.
Add 1 tablespoon of pink peppercorns.
Add 1 tablespoon of coriander seed.
Add 1 tablespoon of cumin seed.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of fennel seed.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of mustard seed.
Stir the ingredients together.
Tea Leaf and Spice Smoked Salmon:
It is easy to assemble a small smoking box with ordinary old worn out kitchen items. Once used for smoking, the items of the smoking box should only be used for smoking. An old worn out pot makes a great smoking box!
The smoking mixture is placed on the bottom of small cheap pot or a worn out pot. (Never use a good pot or a new pot for this smoking method!)
A couple of metal spacers of some kind, like old rusty ring molds or a metal coat hanger that has the paint stripped off are used to elevate a wire screen roasting rack above the spices and tea leaves.
Set the wire screen in place about 1 inch above the smoking mixture, so it is propped on top of the metal spacers.
Place the basted salmon filet on the roasting rack.
Place a lid on the pot. (The lid should not fit tightly. There should be a tiny space for the excess smoke to escape.)
Place the smoking pot over a burner that is set to medium heat or directly on medium hot embers in a char grill.
Allow the salmon to smoke undisturbed for 7 minutes.
Check the salmon for doneness.
Continue smoking or baking with the home made smoker, even if the smoke is exhausted, till the salmon becomes fully cooked.
Note: The home made little smoking box will work as an oven as well as a smoker. Only some smoke is needed for flavor. The salmon does not need to be heavily smoked all the way through the baking process in the hot smoking box! After the smoke is gone, the salmon will slowly cook as if it were in an oven.
Remove the salmon from the smoking box after it is fully cooked and smoked.
Set the Tea Leaf and Spice Smoked Salmon aside to cool.
Note: For the home made smoker, just scrape the carbon black residue out of the pot. Sanitize with soapy water and rinse. The home made smoker can be used any time that a small amount of meat needs to be smoked!
This recipe makes several biscuits. The amount of biscuits depends on the size of the biscuits. Extra biscuits can be frozen for later meals.
Place 2 cups of all purpose flour into a bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
Add 1 small pinch of baking soda.
Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
Sift the ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
Add 3 ounces of cold butter that is cut into 1/2" cube pieces.
Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or a baker's cutting tool, till the flour looks like it has been riced to a small pea size.
Add 1 cup of buttermilk.
Gently stir, till the ingredients just barely combine.
Only knead till a dough is barely formed. Only knead the dough, till it holds together. (Do not over mix biscuit dough!)
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, till it is 1" thick.
Use a 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" round biscuit cutter to cut biscuits or cut 2 1/2" squares. Cut several biscuits.
Combine the scraps and roll them out again to cut a few more biscuits.
Place the biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking pan or a baking pan that is brushed with melted butter.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with milk.
Bake in a 425 degree oven, till the biscuits become fully cooked and lightly toasted on the tops. (About 10 to 15 minutes)
Remove the biscuits from the oven and let them cool to a serving temperature.
Keep the biscuits warm on a stove top.
Tea and Spice Smoked Salmon Gravy:
A white gravy is a very basic bechamel sauce!
Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 5 pats of unsalted butter.
Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring, to form a roux.
Stir till the roux combines and till the roux becomes a white color.
Add 1 1/2 cups of milk, while stirring.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 very tiny pinch of nutmeg.
Stir the white gravy as it heats and thickens.
After the white gravy comes to a gentle boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.
Stir the white gravy occasionally as it simmers.
Simmer and reduce the white gravy, if it is too thick. Add milk if the white gravy is too thin. The white gravy should be a medium thin bechamel cream sauce consistency.
Cut the tea and spice smoked salmon filet into medium bite size pieces. Separate the better looking pieces and save them for later in the recipe. Keep the nice looking pieces of the tea and spice smoked salmon warm on a stove top. Any rough looking pieces or crumbled pieces will be added to the white gravy!
Add the crumbled or uneven pieces of the tea and spice smoked salmon to the white gravy.
Keep the sausage gravy warm over very low heat for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
Tea Leaf and Spice Smoked Salmon Buttermilk Biscuits n Gravy:
All of the ingredients for this entree should be warm or hot at this time! Biscuits and gravy is basically just an assembly style entree.
Split 3 biscuits in half and place the bottoms halves of the biscuits in a row across a plate.
Spoon some of the tea and spice smoked salmon gravy across the biscuit bottoms.
Lean the top half of each biscuit against the biscuit bottom halves on the plate.
Generously spoon the tea and spiced salmon gravy between the biscuit tops and partially over the biscuit tops. Parts of the bare biscuit tops should be exposed, so the part of nicely toasted biscuit tops can be seen!
There should be plenty of the tea and spice smoked biscuit gravy on the plate.
Cascade the reserved nice looking bite size nuggets of the tea and spice smoked salmon over the white gravy and biscuits.
Sprinkle some very thin sliced green onion top over the white gravy.
Serve with a grilled tomato and a home fry potato of your choice. I have posted many grilled tomato and home fry recipes in this blog. The home fries in the pictures were flavored with thin julienne sliced jalapeno and paprika.
This fancy biscuits and gravy recipe tastes like no other! The tea and spice smoked salmon has a very appealing breakfast flavor that is nice with a white gravy. The better the biscuits, the better this breakfast entree will be. Tea and Spice Smoked Salmon Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy is tasty and hearty! Yum! ... Shawna
Monday, May 28, 2012
Traditional Red Red Stew from Ghana, Africa! Black eyed peas!
Black eyed peas are referred to as cowpeas by many African chefs. Black eyed peas are in the cowpea family of bean plants. Black eyed peas were originally from West Africa and now they are popular worldwide.
Ghana is located on the western coastline of Africa. Many of Ghana's traditional recipes are pounded mixtures of healthy root vegetables and yams. Many western world foods like peanuts and corn, from the age of the Colombian Exchange, have become main staples in Ghana cuisine. Peanut soup is popular in Ghana. Maize from the Americas is used to make a fermented maize dough dumpling called Kenkey. Kenkey dumplings usually accompany stew. Stews and stewed pounded pastes are a major part of Ghanaian and West African cuisine.
Because Ghana has a large Atlantic coastline, seafood is a main staple in Ghanaian cuisine. Fresh seafood was traditionally only cooked in the local coastal areas, before the age of refrigeration. Like most of the world during the age before refrigeration, dried seafood, smoked fish and salt cured fish were the only choices for making a seafood dinner in regions that were located away from the coastal areas. Many inland cuisines of Africa, China and the mediterranean countries still prefer old fashioned dried, smoked or salted fish for traditional recipes, even though refrigeration for fresh fish is now available. Inland Ghanaian cuisine is one of the few cuisines left in the world that prefers the tradition of dried, smoked or salted seafood!
The umami taste sensation is easily applied to tasting the dried fish broths or dried shrimp broths of asian cuisine. Ghanian cuisine makes use of the same umami taste sensation. Many Ghanaian stews have crawfish, dried shrimp, dried shrimp powder or dried salted fish in the recipe. The dried seafood not only adds protein, it adds a rich desirable flavor!
Palm oil is used for cooking in tropical areas worldwide. There are species of palm trees that are only used to make palm oil. Palm oil is one of the few oils that is a naturally saturated fat. Palm oil is nearly solid at room temperature and it is very stable at high frying temperatures.
Red palm oil has a very high beta-carotene content that gives the oil a rich red color. Red palm oil is very healthy to eat.
The problem with red palm oil is that where oil palms are grown, the natural canopy of trees is razed. Asian palm oil tree plantations are quickly causing the extinction of the wild orangutan. So, when choosing a brand of palm oil of any kind, choose a palm oil that is manufactured in an area where palm oil production is properly managed. Do not support asian palm oil plantation deforestation of endangered species habitats!
Ghana has been producing red palm oil for a very long time and African wildlife protection keeps becoming stronger with each passing day. Africans now protect wildlife with stricter laws, because wildlife tourism has become a major source of commerce. Brazilian red palm oil is another option, but Brazil's protection of rain forest land is in question.
Red palm oil is hard to come by, even in international marketplace stores. Red palm oil can be found on the internet at Amazon and other on-line stores. Read the description of the red palm oil product before purchasing. Be sure that it is true red palm oil and make certain that the red palm oil does not come from environmentally sensitive areas of the world!
If no red palm oil is available, then substitute regular vegetable oil! A red palm oil color can be achieved by adding paprika, tomato paste and achiote paste. This way, the Ghanian cowpea stew can still be called Red Red!
Ghana Red Red Stew Background:
There are many variations of Red Red Stew recipes. Some are plain and simple. Some are vegetarian. Most Red Red Stew recipes have smoked fish, salted dried fish, dried shrimp or dried shrimp powder in the recipe. Dried shrimp powder is used like a spice in West Africa. Dried, salted or smoked seafood items can be found in international food markets or grocery stores.
Ghana Red Red Stew Recipe:
Note: Red palm oil from Ghana is the only red palm oil that I recommend, due to deforestation of endangered species habitat issues in asia and Brazil. Regular vegetable oil can be substituted and a combination of achiote paste (anatto), tomato paste and paprika can be added to give this Ghana black eyed pea stew its characteristic red color.
The second red in the name Red Red Stew refers to the color of fried ripe plantains. Today was one of those rare days that I chose a ripe plantain banana that only needed a few minutes of frying time for it to become fully cooked! Ce est la vie! So, the fried plantain in the pictures is golden colored instead of the usual red brown color. The same plantain banana remained a golden color in the Chipotle Marinated Pork Steak recipe that I posted the other day. A golden color on a fried plantain is kind of rare, so do not be surprised if the plantain that you fry becomes a reddish brown color!
Soak 2 cups of dried black eyed peas in water overnight in a refrigerator.
Rinse and clean the black eyed peas with cold running water.
Rub the damp black eyed peas between your hands to remove the skins. (This is an optional step, but it is traditional in Ghanaian cuisine. I do not mind black eyed pea skins, so I left the skins on.)
Place the soaked black eyed peas into a sauce pot.
Cover the black eye peas with 1" of extra water.
Gently simmer the black eyed peas over low heat, till they become tender. (This only takes 30 minutes to 1 hour.)
Heat a pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 4 ounces of red palm oil. (Use the instructions above for additives to vegetable oil, if no red palm oil is available.)
Add 1 handful of coarsely chopped onion.
Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic.
Saute till the onions start to turn clear in color.
Add 1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped peeled eggplant.
Saute till the eggplant starts to become tender.
Add 1 chopped Roma tomato.
Drain the hot water off of the cooked black eyed peas.
Add the cooked black eyed peas.
Add enough light fish broth to cover the ingredients with 1" of extra broth.
Add 3 tablespoons of peanut butter.
Add 1/2 cup of tiny dried shrimp. (1/2 cup of chopped smoked fish, 1/2 cup of chopped salted dried fish or 3 tablespoons of shrimp powder can be substituted. I just happened to have dried shrimp on hand and it adds a nice traditional flavor to Red Red Stew!)
Add 1 chopped red Thai chile pepper.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of paprika.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
After the stew starts to simmer, reduce the temperature to low heat.
Gently simmer the Red Red Stew!
The plantain banana can be fried while the stew is simmering.
Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
Add about 1/2" of vegetable frying oil.
Cut a ripe plantain banana in half. (Only half of a plantain is needed.)
Peel one half of the plantain.
Cut the plantain piece in half lengthwise.
Cut the 2 long plantain quarters into bite size pieces.
Fry the plantain pieces in the hot oil, till they become tender.
Place the fried plantain pieces on a dry towel to drain off any excess grease.
After the Red Red Stew has simmered and reduced till a thick stew gravy is formed that clings to the black eyed peas, then the stew is ready to be served!
Ladles the Red Red Stew into a large serving bowl.
Place the fried plantain bananas around the rim of the bowl as a garnish.
I know! It is hard for many people to imagine, but this Ghana Red Red Stew tastes delicious! There is no other stew that can even be compared to the flavor of Red Red Stew. Peanut butter commonly thickens traditional African stews. There are not many bean stew recipes in this world that call for fish broth. There are even fewer bean stew recipes that call for dried shrimp, smoked fish or dried salted fish in the recipe. Ghana Red Red Stew does require a dried seafood flavor and it creates a one of a kind good tasting healthy black eyed pea stew! Yum! ... Shawna
A Greek style pork sandwich with classic Grecian spice flavors!
This Grecian Grilled Pork Sandwich is easy to whip up and it cooks fast! People around the world seem to think that the only meat that Greeks are famous for is lamb. Far more pork and seafood is served in Greece than lamb. In fact, most gyro sandwiches in Greece are made with roasted pork and not kefta style lamb meatloaf.
Northern Greece offers great pork recipes that are often overlooked by western world chefs. This Grecian style sandwich is a good example of how traditional Greek spices can wake up the flavor of pork!
Grecian Grilled Pork Sandwich Recipe:
Split a 6" to 8" Italian baguette style sub sandwich roll in half.
Brush the bread with olive oil.
Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Grill the bread till it becomes toasted.
Keep the bread warm on a stove top.
Keep the saute pan on medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 splash of olive oil.
Add 3 cloves of sliced garlic.
Add 1 small handful of thick sliced bermuda onion.
Saute till the onions start to turn clear in color.
Add 5 to 6 ounces of paper thin sliced pork loin. (Pork loin has to be partially frozen to be cut into paper thin slices. A butcher shop can cut the pork loin paper thin on request. Asian market butcher shops have paper thin sliced pork loin in stock for Korean bulgogi, so an asian market is a good choice if you have one nearby.)
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of oregano.
Add 1 pinch of fennel seed.
Add 1 pinch of cinnamon.
Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
Add 1 small pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
Add 1 pinch of cumin.
Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
Saute the ingredients, till the pork is fully cooked. (This only takes a few minutes!)
Add 1 tablespoon of finely grated Grecian Kefalograviera Cheese for flavor. (Italian romano cheese can be substituted is no kefalograviera cheese is available. Both of these cheeses are aged hard sheep's milk cheese.)
Toss the ingredients together.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Mound the Grecian grilled pork mixture on the bottom half of the sub roll.
Place the the sandwich on a plate and lean the top half of the sub roll against the grilled pork.
Garnish the plate with an italian parsley sprig, a lemon wedge and a gherkin dill pickle.
This Grecian grilled pork sandwich has an awesome flavor! The lemon wedge is meant to be squeezed over the pork to add a crisp fresh flavor. This is a quick sandwich that is worth trying! Yum! ... Shawna
Another nice Italian frittata! Never a boring breakfast in my blog!
Frittatas and flat omelets are popular everywhere. It is always better to use a composed presentation when making a frittata. The featured ingredients should be placed on a frittata with a sense of order to increase the eye appeal.
Garlic is something that many people cannot get enough of. It is surprising to see how many people actually crave garlic for breakfast. Many chefs never offer any items that contain garlic for breakfast. In my opinion, chefs like that have broken the golden rule of not letting personal taste determine what is offered to customers. Female chefs used to always be accused of cooking to personal taste instead of traditional taste by male chefs many years ago. Nowadays, the tables have turned!
Garlic has many beneficial medicinal properties, including the ability to thin blood and boost immune system capability. Garlic lovers already know this and more. The effects of garlic are immediate after ingestion, so garlic lovers also know that the best time to eat garlic is early in the day.
Items with raw garlic may be a bit strong for breakfast. Roasted garlic is very mellow and sweet tasting. The traditional Italian way of cooking garlic does take the sharpness out of garlic too. The sauteed sliced garlic in the pictures above are cooked exactly like how a great chef from Medina Italy showed me how to cooked garlic during my first Italian apprenticeship. The sliced garlic on this frittata is gentle and mellow tasting and it is perfect for the tomato, mozzarella and eggs!
Frittata di Aglio Pomodoro e Mozzarella Recipe:
Heat a small saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 tiny splash of olive oil.
Add 4 cloves of sliced garlic.
Saute till the garlic turns a golden brown color. (Undercooked garlic will not taste mellow and browned garlic will taste bitter. Golden or golden brown colored garlic is best!)
Remove the sauteed sliced garlic from the pan and set it aside.
Leave the pan on the heat.
Add 5 slices of Roma tomato to the pan.
Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Grill each side of the tomato slices for only a few seconds, so they just start to cook.
Set the tomato slices aside.
Heat a non-stick saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
Add 2 whisked eggs. (Two egg frittatas and omelets are nice portions for breakfast. Use 3 eggs if you are hungry!)
Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the frittata.
When the eggs start to become cooked firm on the bottom half of the frittata, remove the plan from the heat.
Place the 5 grilled tomato slices on the uncooked eggs on the top half of the frittata.
Sprinkle the sauteed sliced garlic on the eggs, but try not to get any on the tomatoes.
Sprinkle 2 pinches of coarsely chopped Italian parsley over the frittata.
Sprinkle some finely grated mozzarella cheese over the frittata.
Place the frittata and pan into a 350 degree oven.
Bake until the eggs become fully cooked and till the cheese melts. Do not brown the mozzarella or it will become bitter in flavor!
Slide the frittata onto a plate.
Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.
Now the garlic lover readers of my food blog will be happy! Finally a chef has posted a breakfast entree that has garlic featured in the recipe. It is Italian style perfection cooked garlic too! Yum! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna
A nice quality Italian sub at Parma!
The Parma Pastavino & Deli is located in a shopping plaza at 7591 West Washington Avenue in Las Vegas. That is really a confusing address for many people to find, so this next description is much easier. The Parma Pastavino & Deli is at the intersection of Buffalo and Summerlin Parkway in the plaza that is located on the northeast corner. Most people travel on the Summerlin Parkway to get to this area and very few travel on Washington Avenue.
The Parma Pastavino & Deli has a nice cozy atmosphere for dining on authentic Italian pastas and quality Italian delicatessen sandwiches. The deli has an old fashioned hand written board that lists all the items available in the deli case. A to-go style menu is also posted.
The Parma delicatessen carries choice high quality imported Italian meats and cheeses. Italian American artisan crafted deli meats are also available. If you have been seeking real Italian government certified Parma Prosciutto, then the Parma Deli is the place to go! Everything from mortadella to gorgonzola is offered at the Parma Deli. The Parma Deli also offers their own hand crafted Italian sausages and antipasti creations.
A nice selection of Italian dried pastas, olive oil, imported Italian canned tomatoes and many other products are offered at Parma. It seems like grocery stores out in the western states have a problem with stocking imported Italian canned tomatoes. Back along the east coast and in Chicago, every grocery store stocks Italian tomato products. Canned California tomatoes are too acidic and they have the wrong flavor profile for making Italian tomato sauces, but they are great for Spanish and Mexican cuisine. I was happy to find many name brands of imported Italian canned tomatoes that I am familiar with at the Parma Pastavino and Deli!
I sat down in the Parma dining room to have a sub sandwich after attending French chef school a few days ago. It was a lecture day at school and there was no cooking to do, so I was hungry. An old fashioned Italian sub really sounded good the afternoon meal!
The dining room at Parma has a large seating capacity. The dining room was clean and comfortable. The service was attentive and polite. When I had questions about menu items, I got good informative answers.
It has been such a long time since I have worked in an Italian family style restaurant, that I had forgotten what Sunday Sauce was. Sunday Sauce was offered with a few of the Parma subs and pasta creations. The Sicilian owner kindly reminded me that Sunday Sauce was a tomato sauce that is simmered with a large amount of roasted pork or sauteed pork.
The caramelized pork is added to a tomato sauce for flavor, then the pork is removed, before the sauce is strained through a hand turned food mill. The pork meat can be returned to the milled sauce. Then sausages and meatballs can also be added. I used to roast whole pork shoulders just for making large batches of family style Italian Sunday Sauce many years ago. The memories really started coming back, while the owner described the Sunday Sauce! A good Sunday Sauce is something that you must try and the Parma Pastavino and Deli has it on the menu!
I had a half order of The Parma sub sandwich for lunch. I was really craving good old fashioned Italian deli meats after suffering through many weeks of French food that was cooked by students at the French chef school! The flavors of a good Italian sub can make any day better.
A tapenade style olive spread was used to flavor The Parma Sub. The olive spread added a very nice select Italian olive and garlic flavor! Imported Italian mortadella and provolone with a few other choice Italian deli meats were on The Parma. I was more than just satisfied with the quality of The Parma sub! The meats were authentic and the bread was perfect.
Italian artisan bread is also stocked at the Parma Deli. A local Las Vegas artisan bakery that specializes in regional Italian bread delivers fresh bread to the Parma Deli everyday. I needed some ciabatta bread for making panini sandwiches and I was pleased to find a large loaf of ciabatta at Parma.
In many small Italian restaurants that I worked in, the specialty breads were contracted from a local Italian bakery. The bread was always consistent in quality, when a bakery was making the specialty bread for the restaurant each day, instead of when an overburdened chef made the bread.
The paisano comradery of Italian food service relations does create an atmosphere of pride in the quality of authentic Italian bakery products. All of the great Italian chefs that I have worked with do demand high quality bread. Italian chefs do not simply sign a bread delivery ticket blindly. They inspect each loaf of bread and sample the bread for quality!
I have seen Italian chefs smile and congratulate Italian bakery delivery guys when the bread is up to the chef's expectations. Very few times have I seen an Italian chef send the bread back to the Italian bakery, but when that did happen, it was like the world came to an end. All the paisano comradery goes right out the window and the messages of hate are sent with the delivery driver, with the bread, back to the bakery. Then the phone calls start coming in and a loud argument in Italian language over the phone can be heard coming from the chef's office. Times like this are great for bystanders to learn how to properly curse in Italian!
An hour later, the Italian bakery owner shows up at the restaurant with a new delivery of perfect Italian specialty breads. Scowling looks of hatred soon turn to smiles. The Italian bakery owner and the Italian chef then sit at a table and they tell us cooks to make a nice lunch for them, while they sit and talk about old times, sporting event odds and regular Italian stuff.
Those same events happened every time that the bread was sent back to the Italian bakery by the chef at the last Italian family restaurant that I worked in. One such day, just after the bread was sent back with the delivery driver, I asked the Italian chef if he wanted me to start cooking lunch for when the Italian bakery owner showed up with the new batch of bread. The Italian chef said to me "What are you? Some kind of a wise guy or something?" Us cooks just started laughing, because we could not wait to hear the Italian chef use the old Italian cliche "wise guy" question routine. The Italian chef knew that we liked to hear his wise guy routine, so he saved it for opportune moments! Good Italian bread has a way of making everybody smile!
Yes, I highly recommend the Parma Pastavino and Deli for visitors of Las Vegas and locals alike! The Parma Pastavino and Deli does have a catering permit and they have a seating capacity that is capable of handling large parties. If you have been seeking a good Italian deli or Sunday Sauce in Las Vegas, then the Parma Pastavino and Deli is the place to go! Yum! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna