Meatless Monday – Fried Yellow Squash
Again a dish from my youth. Fresh from the garden squash, (yellow, summer, crook-neck, or zucchini), sliced thin, tossed in seasoned corn meal and quick fried, usually served hot. (actually, we just stood around the stove grabbing pieces off the plate as they came out for the frying pan.)
Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus Cucurbita native to Mexico and Central America, natively grown in parts of North America, Europe, India, and Australia. In North America, squash is loosely grouped into summer squash or winter squash, as well as autumn squash depending on whether they are harvested as immature vegetables (summer squash) or mature vegetables (autumn squash or winter squash). Well known types of squash include the pumpkin and zucchini.
When used for food, squash are usually picked when under 8in/20cm in length and the seeds are soft and immature. Mature squash can be as much as three feet long, but are often fibrous and not appetizing to eat. Squash with the flowers attached are a sign of a truly fresh and immature fruit, and are especially sought by many people.
I have started playing with a fusion diet of Mediterranean, Mid-Eastern, and Far Eastern cuisines. Heavy on Rice, Noodles, Breads, Pastas, fuits, veggies, nuts, beans, olive / sesame oil, and very light on red meat. A fair amount of fish, lighter on poultry. This does not mean I will run screaming at the sight of a a steak, (or at least run screaming AWAY..)
One item that keeps popping up is preserved lemons, used in all kinds of dishes around the Mediterranean, it really should be called preserved lemon peel, as that is the component most used.
Preserved lemon or lemon pickle is a condiment that is common in Indian and North African cuisine. It is also known as “country lemon” and leems. Diced, quartered, halved, or whole, lemons are pickled in a brine of water, lemon juice, and salt; occasionally spices are included as well. The pickle is allowed to ferment at room temperature for weeks or months before it is used. The pulp of the preserved lemon can be used in stews and sauces, but it is the peel (zest and pith together) that is most valued. The flavor is mildly tart but intensely lemony.
Pieces of pickled lemon may be washed before using to remove any surface salt, or blanched to remove more of the salt and bring out the natural mild sweetness. They may then be sliced, chopped, or minced as needed for the texture of the dish. The rind may be used with or without the pulp.
Preserved lemon is the key ingredient in many Moroccan dishes such as tagines. In Cambodian cuisine, it is used in dishes such as Ngam nguv, a chicken soup with whole preserved lemons. They are often combined in various ways with olives, artichokes, seafood, veal, chicken, and rice. Lemon Pickle is a standard accompaniment to curd rice, which is often the last course in South Indian Cuisine.
The pickled pulp and liquid can be used in Bloody Marys and other beverages where lemon and salt are used. The flavor also combines well with horseradish, as in American-style cocktail sauce.
In Ayurvedic cuisine, lemon pickle is a home remedy for stomach disorders, and its value is said to increase as it matures. In East African folk medicine, lemon pickle is given for excessive growth of the spleen.
From a VERY OLD COOKBOOK (Elizabeth Raffald (1786). The experienced English housekeeper )
They should be small, and with thick rinds: rub them with a piece of flannel; then slit them half down in four quarters, but not through to the pulp; fill the slits with salt hard pressed in, set them upright in a pan for four or five days, until the salt melts; turn them thrice a day in their own liquor, until tender; make enough pickle to cover them, of rape-vinegar, the brine of the lemons, Jamaica pepper, and ginger; boil and skim it; when cold, put it to the lemons, with two ounces of mustard-seed, and two cloves of garlic to six lemons. When the lemons are used, the pickle will be useful in fish or other sauces.
Note: When I speak of “Fresh” dried spices, I am stalking about items recently acquired, not sitting on a back shelf for a year. This should yield about a quart, so having a sterilized quart jar and lid is necessary. As a point, it is easier to manipulate the lemons in a wide mouth jar.
Valentine’s Day Special – Chocolate Soup
So thinking of all the things I WISH to be doing, and all the things I will be doing, I think, I should think about what to prepare for Madam Bad Wolf, once I escape all the things I must do.. But enough thinking, it leads to drinking…
Dinner is a given, but after dinner, perhaps a very thick, very rich chocolate drink, just made for dipping small cookies into, or perhaps fresh strawberries, or bananas. To describe chocolate soup, it’s somewhere between rich hot chocolate, (the richest and most sinfully good) and chocolate mousse, (smooth, stiff, and irresistibly rich).
This is not a fondue, but really more like a very thick hot chocolate. Thick enough you can eat it with a spoon. Topped with freshly whipped cream it is a dream.. Hmmmm, Chocolate and whipped cream, how much fun can you have with that…… (especially this whipped cream)
But wait, where is the BadWolf Howl and the Rogue Chef twist… Perhaps I will use some very good spicy chocolate I was gifted, or maybe I’ll use a orange flavored chocolate, and nothing like this is complete without a hint of good bourbon…
Thank you to ilisa for such a wonderful graphic
It is close to the holiday of Purim, and one thing I do so love is the cookies, and one of the things I do miss about my good friends. Aka Hamantaschen.
A hamantash is a pastry in Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. It is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim. While occasionally seen other times of year in secular contexts, this is not traditional. Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional variety), prunes, nut, date, apricot, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate, dulce de leche, halva, or even caramel or cheese. Their formation varies from hard pastry to soft doughy casings.
The name hamantash , is commonly known as a reference to Haman, the villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. The pastries are supposed to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people, and thus resemble the “ears of Haman”.
“Naked Archaeologist” documentarian Simcha Jacobovici has shown the resemblance of hamantaschen to dice from the ancient Babylonian Royal Game of Ur, thus suggesting that the pastries are meant to symbolize the pyramidal shape of the dice cast by Haman in determining the day of destruction for the Jews.
Another possible source of the name is a folk etymology: the original Yiddish word מאָן־טאַשן (montashn) or German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches, was transformed to Hamantaschen, likely by association with Haman.
In Israel, they are called Oznei Haman, Hebrew for “Haman’s ears” in reference to their defeated enemy’s ears.
As usual, the holidays are here, and between the weather, the Friday afternoon crisis, and the travel, I am ill. I need something to help clear my head, chest, and sooth my body.
A bit of ginger as an aromatic to help loosen the crap in my head, and a fruit / sugar to help feed my body.
After this has steeped and is ready, I’ll microwave this to a nice warm temperature (not boiling, just hot).
Sounds like a job for Soojunggwa, as per wikipedia:
‘Sujeonggwa’ is a Korean traditional fruit punch. Dark reddish brown in color, it is made from dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn and is often garnished with pine nuts. The punch is made by brewing first the cinnamon, ginger and peppercorn at a slow boil. The solids are then removed for clarification and the remaining liquid is boiled again after adding either honey or brown sugar. The dried persimmons are cut into portions and are added to soak and soften after the brew has completely cooled. This is usually done several hours before serving, as extensive soaking of the fruit may thicken the clear liquid to a murky appearance.
Tomato and Bacon Soup
High winds, rain, not a day fit for man and beast, luckily I can curl up at the lair upstate and ignore the waeather.
Time for Cold Weather Comfort Food. This is comfort food, but the stuff you really crave when the winds are howling, the rain is blowin, and nothing is moving on the streets… Soup is a natural, Onion Soup, (did that last storm), Chicken Soup, (did that Storm before last), Tomato, yeah, that’s a winner, but with basil, and Olive oil, and crust bread and cheese….
This will be similar to to my stone cutters soup, but I’ll kick it up a notch with a bit of chili, and maybe some pancetta, or proscuttio, or maybe some thick chunks of browned bacon.