Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Anna Sultana’s East Coast Seafood Chowder

Back in December, 2010, I posted the recipe for Ma’s Fritto Misto di PesceDon’t bother with google translate - it’s a recipe for a mixed fix fry.
I posted it because I had written about Italian and Maltese Christmas customs.
One of these customs involves eating seven fishes on Christmas Eve.
Back in Malta and Sicily Christmas Eve, also known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes, was a night of seafood splendour.

Most of these holiday customs began when families were larger than they are today, and it wasn’t unusual to have about thirty people around the table.
So, you - and six of the other women - could each prepare one dish, each guest could scoop out one piece from each dish, and, wall-ah!, tradition was respected.

As the years went by and younger family members got busy with their own nuclear families, our parents’ generation made a few adjustments in their holiday menus.
They wanted to keep up the traditions, but there was a limit to how much they could eat, and could fit in their refrigerators.
The fried fish is a bit heavy on a senior’s stomach, so they turned to making chowders.
The leftover soup made a nice light supper for two on Christmas Day.

Ah, tradition…

Hints:

For a smokier flavour, replace the butter with 3 slices bacon, chopped, and brown before adding the vegetables.

Add 1/2 Cup chopped carrots, red bell pepper or corn kernels with onions for extra flavour, colour and nutrition.

Want it a bit spicier? Add a pinch of fish seasoning spice blend.
Want some heat? Add 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes with the seasonings.

This recipe can also be used as a base for a turkey or chicken chowder. Just replace dill with thyme and stir in 2 Cups diced cooked turkey or chicken instead of the seafood.

Curious about other traditional Christmas recipes? 
Happy Holidays!!


                                   East Coast Seafood Chowder

Place in a large pot
1 Tablespoon butter
Melt butter over low heat.
Add
1/2 Cup celery, diced
3/4 Cup onions, diced
Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until onions start to brown.
Deglaze the pan with
1/3 Cup white wine 
Scrape until liquid is reduced by half.
Stir in to form a thin paste
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Stir in 
3/4 Cup heavy cream
2 Cups milk
Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
Add
1 teaspoon dried dill or dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper  
3/4 Cup yellow fleshed potatoes, diced
Cook until the potatoes are almost tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, place in another large pot 
2 Tablespoons butter
Melt butter over medium heat.
Add
3 ounces salmon, cut into chunks 
3 ounces halibut, cut into chunks
Cook until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
Add
3 ounces lobster
3 ounces scallops
12 shrimp
12 scrubbed mussels
12 scrubbed clams
Once the clams and mussels have opened (discard any that did not open), transfer the seafood into the chowder base.
Simmer 3 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and place dill and a dab of butter on each serving (optional).
Serve with crusty rolls or bread.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Fish Seasoning, Turkey Stew with Dumplings, and The Full Beaver Moon

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!
Hope it’s a day that has fine weather and safe road conditions, and that it leaves you with many happy memories. 

About two weeks ago I posted recipes for Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend, Sugar and Spice Christmas Blend, Homemade Seafood / Chicken Spice Blend, Meat and Poultry Seasoning Mix.
Hope you’ve been finding them useful.

Susan emailed and, since she loves fish, she asked if I had a second fish blend for a bit of variety.
Here you go, Susan!


                                   Fish Seasoning Spice Blend

1/4 Cup paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/16 teaspoon ground black pepper


Back to Thanksgiving…
Along with being left with the memories, I’ll bet you’re facing leftovers.
I know that in the movie A Christmas Story Ralphie and his family were looking forward to enjoying leftover turkey dinners all the way through to New Year’s.

Yeah, well, sometimes it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
If your family is beginning to flip through their fast food coupon booklets, here’s an easy way to serve leftover turkey that, hopefully, will be new to the family.


Hints:

This recipe will also work with one pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces, or meatballs.
Brown either in oil before adding to the potatoes.

If you want a creamy stew stir in a cup of milk or a 10 ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup. 

You can also use fresh carrots and cook them with the potatoes.

Canned vegetables can also be used, as can more vegetables, such as corn, cubed butternut squash, sliced mushrooms, and/or zuchini. 

Don’t like dumplings? You can serve the stew over rice, or as a soup with some nice crusty bread or biscuits.

Sometimes Ma added some fried bacon. 
Well, that is the Maltese way. 


                                   Turkey Stew with Dumplings


Wash and quarter
3/4 pound small red potatoes
Place in a dutch oven and cover with water or chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound leftover cooked turkey

Cut into slices
1 onion
2 stalks celery

Add to the potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
the cut up turkey
the onion and celery
3 Cups frozen peas and carrots or mixed vegetables
Stir to combine and allow to simmer while preparing the dumplings.

                                   Dumplings

In a medium bowl combine
1 1/2 Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Add
1 Cup milk
Stir until just mixed.
Drop by spoonfuls onto the stew.
Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Cover and cook another 10 minutes.


Another way to use up some leftover turkey is in Chicken Pot Pie.
Really, it will work.


About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

November 23 - The full Beaver Moon at 12:39 a.m. In this phase, the visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Although the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered full for the entire day of the event and appears full for three days. Actually, this Moon has two names. Learn about them in this short Farmers’ Almanac video.

November 26  - High overhead at around 8 p.m. this week is a star configuration that people unfamiliar with the sky often mistake for the Big Dipper. The bowl is composed of the four stars of the Great Square of Pegasus, the Flying Horse. The handle is composed of four bright stars belonging to the constellations Andromeda and Perseus.

November 29 - Last Quarter Moon, 7:19 p.m. In this phase, the Moon looks like a half-Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing, on its way to the new phase.