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Summer Sauce Pasta

Summer Sauce Pasta 01

You occasionally run across recipes for ‘No-cook’ Italian Pasta Sauces in which diced fresh vegetables marinate together and are then tossed with piping hot pasta just before being served. Sometimes, these preparations are referred to as ‘Crudo’ or ‘Fresca’ sauces, but you also see them called ‘summer sauces’, presumably because they are ideal for weather in which it is too hot to do much cooking. Today’s recipe is a fairly good illustration of the basic idea but in this case I have added a bit of a twist by including some Prosciutto which is very quickly sautéed in butter before the pasta and remaining sauce ingredients are added…  Read more

Greek Salad

Greek Salad 01

I have read, and been told, on many occasions that a ‘true’ Greek Salad never (ever) contains lettuce. I never questioned this assertion before but, when I came to actually reflect upon the notion, it began to strike me as a bit suspect. Think for a moment… one can probably encounter scores, if not hundreds of different types of salad in Greece so trying to specify the ingredients of a ‘Greek Salad’ is no different than dictating what constitutes an American, or a British Salad. What people mean by ‘Greek Salad’ is, I suspect, something that contains (vaguely) Greek ingredients but is only made in restaurants outside of Greece…  Read more

Recipe: Souvlaki

Souvlaki 01

For ages, I thought Souvlaki was just a Greek version of the Donair, except with grilled chunks of meat rather than the slices cut from those huge rotating cylinders of meat that always look rather like somebody stole a spare thigh from the local morgue. In fact, Souvlaki, in Greek cuisine are simply grilled skewers of meat and, while they can certainly be served Donair-fashion on pita bread with sauces and toppings, they may also be eaten out of hand as is, or come with fried potatoes, rice, or other sides. If asked, I probably would have guessed that lamb would be the most popular souvlaki meat in Greece but Wikipedia tells me it is actually pork and it is pork souvlaki I am making for today’s post…  Read more

Foodstuff: Guava

Gauva 1

As far as I can recall, my only experiences with guava have been a jar of Guava Jelly I once received as a gift, and a can of Guava Juice at one time or another, neither of which left any lasting impression with me. Until now, I had not only actually seen the real article, I really had no idea what a guava looked like. Just the other day, however, some appeared at our local Northmart store and, as my readers already know, I can’t resist giving new foods a try…  Read more

Recipe: Vietnamese Coconut Water Braised Pork

Vietnamese Coconut Water Pork 1

When I introduced you to Coconut Water in my last post, I mentioned that it is quite often as a braising medium in Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnam has two very popular pork dishes: One called ‘Pork braised in Coconut Water’ and the other known as ‘Caramelized Pork’ (or Thit Kho To in the native tongue). Each has many versions and permutations but there is such an overlap between them that, really, they could almost be considered variations on the same basic dish. Fish sauce and caramelized sugar syrup is essential to the basic flavor of both but Thit Kho To is likely to be the sweeter preparation and may, but often doesn’t include coconut water. Naturally enough, that particular ingredient is an absolute requirement for today’s recipe…  Read more

Foodstuff: Coconut Water

Coconut Water 1

Not that many years ago, you would have a hard time finding Coconut water, or coconut juice, on the shelves of our local stores but, nowadays, one can usually select from 6 or 8 different brands packaged in both cans and cartons. This relatively new trend is, I suspect, largely due to the product being touted as a ‘health beverage’ or ‘sport drink’, with all sorts of extravagant claims being made along those lines.

Coconut water is the clear juice inside coconuts and, though I have occasionally seen it referred to as ‘coconut milk’ that term is more properly reserved for the thicker preparation made with the pureed flesh. Coconut milk is widely used as a cooking ingredient, particularly in India and South-East Asia, and you will find a number of recipes employing it here at Sybaritica. The ‘water’, however, is primarily sold as a beverage but it does have its culinary uses too and that is what interests me the most… Read more

Grilled Frog Legs

Grilled Frog Legs 01

The first time I ever had frog’s legs was the on first or second night of my family’s arrival in Canada some forty years ago. Even allowing for the size distortion of childhood memories, those legs, served in some sort of white wine sauce were, as I recall, huge and meaty, with just a single joint being some 4 inches long. Since then, the only frog’s legs I have been ever able to acquire have been tiny in comparison and, as such, a little limited in their versatility. Generally, it has been my experience that the smaller varieties are best suited to the sorts of preparations one might use for chicken wings. Today, I have chosen to grill some on my barbecue in the sort of chili-cumin seasoning very popular in Western Chinese cuisine…  Read more

Experiment: Scallop ‘Shu Mai’

Scallop Shu Mai 01

I was experimenting with a dim sum dumpling filling that would normally be more associated with a variety fried in wheat starch dough rather than steamed in the Basic Wheat Flour Dough I’ve used here. The filling in question is composed of chopped scallop and chives with some light seasoning but that is all I am going to say about it here because, quite honestly, it didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.

The reason I have featured this experiment today is the particular shape of the dumplings. While browsing recipes online I came across one for dumplings that were described as Shu Mai despite not having the usual ‘pleated purse’ shape. Possibly, purists might say these are not actually Shu Mai for that reason but they are ‘open-faced’, steamed, and use a flour wrapper so possible they still fit the general category.

Anyway, the end result is, I think, much prettier than the standard shape and is much more easily formed. One simply puts a dollop of the filling in the middle of a dough circle and then pinches each ‘corner’ causing the sides to come up around the middle. My readers might like to try it themselves with filling mixtures of their own creation or possibly with the more standard Shu Mai filling used in my Shu Mai with Pork and Shrimp

 

Grilled Zucchini Appetizer

Grilled Zucchini Meze 01

While in Halifax this summer, I enjoyed an interesting and very nice Mediterranean appetizer at the Efendy Restaurant I enjoyed it very much and, while I wanted to play around with the general theme, I departed from the original by basing it on grilled zucchini rather than fried eggplant…  Read more

Foodstuff: Gnocchi – Delverde Brand™

Gnocchi Delverde Brand 1

When I came across this pre-made, packaged Potato Gnocchi from Delverde I wasn’t aware that such products existed and I was rather surprised to eventually learn that they are actually quite common (albeit not in my part of the world). I am not a huge gnocchi fan, indeed I have probably made the potato variety no more than a dozen times, but this product intrigued me and I had to check it out… Read more

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