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.
Meatless Monday – Breakfast Fry
It’s coolish/ warminsh / coldish / hotish, in short mid spring, I am quite busy, and have a yen for some comfort food. The original comfort food was the potato, crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside. But I want a bit more flavor and texture…
Maybe I’ll par-boil some potatoes, slice or quarter them, and fry them up in my heavy cast iron skillet, maybe adding some cheese and a Jalapeño, along with some spices to kick up the flavor a notch.
Home fries, house fries, or cottage fries are a type of basic potato dish made by pan or skillet frying diced, chunked, wedged or sliced potatoes (sometimes unpeeled) that have been par-cooked by boiling, baking, steaming, or microwaving.
While it is possible to make “home fries” without par-cooking the potatoes, these are technically raw fries. The texture will be more chewy, and the longer cooking time increases the likelihood of burning the potato pieces. Home fries are also made, as the name suggests, as a simple homemade potato dish and can be prepared even by people with modest cooking skills as a meal or a snack.
The frying is typically done in vegetable oil or butter. Other ingredients may be added. If chopped onions and bell peppers are added to diced potatoes it creates a dish referred to as Potatoes O’Brien. If sliced potatoes and sliced onions are sautéed together with seasonings it can create a dish referred to as Lyonnaise potatoes.
The consistency depends on the type of potato used. Although various types of white potatoes are the most popular base, sometimes waxy (usually red-skinned) or sweet potatoes are used.
In the United States, home fries are popular as a breakfast dish and are sometimes served in place of hash browns. Home fries may be served with a condiment such as ketchup or maple syrup.
Patatas bravas or papas bravas is a dish of the cuisine of Spain, often served as a tapa in bars. It typically consists of white potatoes that have been cut into 2 centimeter irregular shapes and then fried in oil and served warm with a spicy tomato sauce. This dish is commonly served in restaurants and bars throughout Spain, where it is traditionally accompanied by a shot of orujo or a glass of wine.
The potatoes are boiled in brine for several minutes to tenderize them. They are then rubbed dry and fried in oil in a manner similar to the preparation of potato chips.
Lettuce and Bacon
It is spring and the first heads of lettuce are coming in, I so must have a dish from my youth. I can not count the number of nights dinner was thick strips of bacon, fried, with a salad of lettuce and onion, or spinach greens wilted with a hot bacon and vinegar dressing, served with a big wedge of corn bread and butter.
One can “class” this up and use spinach greens with a “Hot Bacon Dressing”, but I’ll always think of this as wilted lettuce.
These are the things that memories are made of, (some times, you wish to go back for just one more meal)
As said before
Bacon is a cut of meat taken from the sides, belly, or back of a pig, then cured, and smoked. Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon. Bacon may be eaten fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes.
Sarah Hepola, on Salon.com, suggests that eating bacon in the modern, health-conscious world is an act of rebellion: “Loving bacon is like shoving a middle finger in the face of all that is healthy and holy while an unfiltered cigarette smolders between your lips.”
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.
It is a funny half hot / half cold day, where in the morning you want a hefty jacket, in the afternoon you want a t-shirt, and by early evening you are back in the bomber jacket…
My tastes are that way as well, I wanted a heavy breakfast, a light lunch and a meal with staying power for dinner.
I remember a wonderful dish I had at a local french restaurant, it was a chicken, broken down and browned then simmered in a broth along with Spicy Sausage, “Cajun Trinity”, sinful spices, meaty mushrooms and fresh vegetables to make a really wonder full sauce. Think similar to a beef stew with really big chunks of meat and veggies… The gravy was so thick and wonderful I was soping it up with the french bread on the table. (Yes, I know it sounds soo uncivilized, sooo unsheik, but it seems everyone else at the table was doing the same thing….)
Do note: Do not try this with boneless chicken breast, it just does not work well…
Fricassee or Fricassée is a catch-all term used to describe a stewed dish typically made with poultry, but other types of white meat (like veal, rabbit, or Cornish game hen) can be substituted. It is cut into pieces and then stewed in gravy, which is then thickened with butter and cream or milk). It often includes other ingredients and vegetables.
Cream of Butternut Squash
It is lab night and I need a good and fast meal, looking about the kitchen I find a butternut squash, a marvelous source of food value, and it has such wonderful rich and round tastes. The real issue is getting to all that flavor, it being so tightly locked into the husk. One way to do this is a long slow simmer into a wonderful thick, rich soup.
Bisque is a thick, creamy, highly-seasoned soup of French origin, classically made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. Also, creamy soups made from vegetables instead of seafood are sometimes called bisques. Bisque is a method of extracting every bit of flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market. In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup.
Julia Child even remarked, “Do not wash anything off until the soup is done because you will be using the same utensils repeatedly and you don’t want any marvelous tidbits of flavor losing themselves down the drain.” Bisque are often thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch, or pureed upon the final stages.
Bisque is also sometimes used to refer to cream-based soups that do not contain seafood, in which the ingredients are pureed or processed in a food processor or a food mill. Common varieties include tomato, mushroom, and squash bisque