Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Anna Sultana’s Marinated Cherry Tomato Pasta and Grilled Chicken with Fresh Herbs


Goodness!!! This has been an incredibly hot start to the summer of 2021.

Here in Manitoba the general rule of thumb is to have everything planted by June 10th so that the plants will have a good system of roots before the heat becomes a problem.

Even though the plants have had their usual few weeks to prepare for the heat, it’s a good idea to give them deep watering regularly.
Don't be fooled by those clouds.
They haven’t given us any decent rain since May.

In my garden a basil plant has become happily established surrounded by its two dozen cherry tomato neighbours.
The tomatoes aren’t ready for picking, but the basil plant has added a bit of flavour to a few of our meals.


Hints:

About the Marinated Cherry Tomato Pasta…
If you're just cooking for two, no problem.
It’s just as delicious after being refrigerated 2 or 3 days.

The marinated cherries don’t have to be served on spaghetti.
Use any pasta you prefer, such as linguine, or anything you have on hand.

This pasta dish can be served warm, room temperature or cold.


About the Grilled Chicken with Fresh Herbs…
You can use other herbs, such as Thai basil, cilantro, mint or parsley, or a mixture of herbs.

If the herbs aren’t pureeing or the mixture seems dry, add a little more olive oil.

The marinade also works with cubes of chicken or pork, if you’d like to make kabobs.

The breasts can be marinated up to 8 hours.

You can make extra sauce to pour on the chicken after it has cooked.
If you’re making extra sauce, omit the salt and just add salt to taste.


The marinated chicken can be broiled. Perfect for when the weather gets cooler.
Yes, it will get cooler.
Place the marinated chicken breasts on a broiler rack about 6 inches below heat.
Broil 20 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Brush the chicken occasionally with the marinade.
Serve very hot.


                        Marinated Cherry Tomato Pasta

Serves:
6 people

Slice thinly
2 large shallots

Mince
2 garlic cloves

Halve
3 pints cherry tomatoes

Place the halved tomatoes in a large bowl and add
1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
the sliced shallots
the minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/3 Cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Mix together until the tomatoes are coated with the marinade.
Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, place in a large pot
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Stir in
1 pound spaghetti
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta well and add the spaghetti to the bowl with the marinated tomatoes.
Toss to evenly coat.
Add
1 Cup fresh basil, torn
1 Cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Toss until mixed.


                        Grilled Chicken with Fresh Herbs

Put in a food processor
1 1/2 Cups loosely packed basil
3 cloves garlic
1/3 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Puree until a smooth paste forms.

Halve, rinse and pat dry
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Place in a resealable plastic bag
the prepared chicken breasts
Add the marinade, seal and shake to coat the chicken surfaces.
Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat grill until hot.
Grill chicken 10 to 15 minutes on each side.
A thermometer inserted into the middle of the breast should read 165°F.
Serve very hot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Pasticchio and Moussaka, family-size Folklorama recipes


Pasticchio
 

About two years ago I spent a few months posting recipes from the Folklorama pavilions which had been on display during the summer of 1980.


I also described what they were like and what they thought was important to share with visitors.
It was interesting seeing how the cultural mixture in Winnipeg has changed over a span of forty years.


The crafts and dances have always been varied and unique.
But, no matter where people came from, they all have had great food.

One of our favourites has always been the Greek pavilion.
What’s not to love? They have it all - great food, unique displays and dancing!


When I posted about the pavilion I included their recipe for pasticchio.
Of course it was authentic and delicious.
But, to be honest, a bit too much for the average family.
Especially now when we can’t invite friends and family to share the feast.


Because of Covid-19, Folklorama has been cancelled for its second summer.
Just like last year, we’ll miss going to it, but it’s understandable.
Covid-19 won’t prevent us from enjoying a plate Greek food anytime we want.
Maybe we’ll sip some ouzo and watch Zorba or My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Opa!!


Hints:
If you don’t have ricotta, you can substitute
cottage cheese.
Serve either recipe with a crisp salad or a cooked vegetable, such as garlic green beans.

The seasoning is a start.
If you want your dish more or less spicy, adjust to taste.

About the Pasticchio
I usually use penne, but ziti or elbow macaroni or any tubular pasta will also work.
The eggplant is optional. Don’t have it or like it, no problem.

If you ever go to a Greek restaurant and see Pastitsio or Pasticcio, it’s the same dish as Pasticchio.

About the Moussaka

If you don’t want the layer of cheese in the middle you could leave it out.
Or you could just use a layer of the cheese you prefer... or have on hand.


                        Pasticchio

Have on hand 2 8-inch square pans

Wash and cube
1 small eggplant

Chop
1 small onion

Have on hand
1 pound ricotta

Place in a large pot
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring water to a boil.
Add
1 pound macaroni 

Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente - about 8-10 minutes.
Drain, blanch with cold water in a large bowl, and set aside.

Place in a dutch oven
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Add the cubed eggplant and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Place the cooked eggplant in a bowl and set aside.

Place in the same dutch oven
2 Tablespoons butter
Add
the chopped onion
6 ounces lean ground beef
Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked.
Stir in
5 1/2 ounces tomato paste
1 Cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
the cooked eggplant

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, prepare the cream sauce.
Melt in a large pot
1/2 Cup butter
Stirring continuously to avoid lumps, add gradually
1/2 Cup flour
Cook 1 minute.
Add gradually while stirring
4 Cups milk
Stir until the sauce is thickened.
Stir in
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
Stirring, cook another 2 minutes.
Remove 2 Cups of the sauce and set aside.

Add to the sauce remaining in the Dutch oven
the cooked pasta
3 large eggs
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Stir well to combine.

Preheat oven 350º F

Place one fourth of the macaroni mixture in each pan.
Top each pan of macaroni with
1/2 pound ricotta
Cover each pan with half of the beef eggplant sauce.
Top the beef eggplant sauce with the remaining pasta.
Pour 1 Cup of the reserved sauce over each pan.
Sprinkle over each pan
grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Bake at 350º F for 30 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes before serving.


                        Moussaka

Grease 2 8-inch square pans

Thinly slice
2 pounds potatoes

Place in a dutch oven
2 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add the potatoes slices.
Blanch the slices in for two minutes and drain.
Set aside.

Combine in a bowl
1 Cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Cups ricotta
Set aside.

Chop
3 medium onions

Place in the same dutch oven
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Add
the chopped onion
1 pound lean ground beef
Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked.
Add
5 1/2 ounces tomato paste (optional)
4 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon flour
Simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
Stir in
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons milk

Preheat oven 350º F

Place one fourth of the blanched potato slices in each pan.
Top each pan of potatoes with
1/4 of the meat sauce
1/2 of the cheese mixture
1/4 of the meat sauce
the remaining potato slices

Bake at 350º F for 30 minutes.

While the potatoes are baking, prepare the cream sauce.
Melt in a large pot
1/2 Cup butter
Add gradually and stir continuously to avoid lumps
1/2 Cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
Cook 1 minute.
Add gradually
4 Cups milk
Stir until the sauce is thickened.
Add
Pinch ground nutmeg
Stirring, cook another 2 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven after they have baked for 30 minutes.
Pour half of the sauce over each of the two pans of potatoes.
Bake at 350º F for another 20 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes before serving.