Monday, March 28, 2011

Anna Sultana's Brodu tac-Canga - Meat Soup, Maltese Style

On Saturday we got back to Lent.  
I find it a little hard to believe Tony ate many salads.

Well, maybe he did during Lent.
Not Janice.  No way.
Meadow, for sure.

Back to Lent, Maltese style.
We had more soups than salads.
The water did wonders to kill the hunger pangs.

Hey, we were on an island.
Water, water, everywhere.
Including on our tables.

We made lots of soups.
That's just our way.

                        Brodu taċ-Ċanga 

Cut into small pieces                                    
4 large potatoes                   
1 onion  
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
2 tomatoes
Place the vegetables in a large pot with                                                     
800 g (about 2 pounds) beef shin
2 litres of water
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Bring slowly to the boil. 
Reduce heat and simmer, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.    
Season with salt and pepper.

A) 1/2 Cup or so of small pasta or rice can be added 
towards the end of the cooking time.

B) The meat can be taken out and served separately 
as a main course with vegetables.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sisters, Sisters - Being 60 (week 47 - by Margaret Ullrich)

In the classic Christmas film White Christmas Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen sang a duet about being sisters.

Even Bing and Danny sang it, but that's another story.
Don't even think it.
We're talking Irving Berlin.
He didn't even think it.

The thing about the song was that sisters are close, up to a point.
Well, duh.

Even that country music icon, Loretta Lynn, had a sister issue.  
Loretta's song Coal Miner's Daughter told about her early life, how her family had a tough time in the hills.
But her sister, Crystal Gale, once told a reporter that her father had moved and was working in a factory by the time she was born.
She was definitely not a "Coal Miner's Daughter", thank you very much.

Last week I wrote about how I thought my sister was Irish.
Well, she wasn't.

But, then again, she wasn't just off the boat.
I was.
Three months after I was born, my parents sailed to America.
As soon as they could my parents got their American citizenship.
Five months after my sister was born.

Since funds were tight, Pop didn't bother paying the $10 to get my papers in order.
It was cheaper to send in a green "Alien Registration" postcard every January for me.
I wasn't going to vote for quite a while, so it didn't matter. 
I was just the family's alien.

The immigrant experience has been the stuff of books and movies for quite a while.
Who can forget little Vito in The Godfather, nine years old and running for his life.

Okay, most of the time it isn't that dramatic.

Kathryn Forbes' book about being the daughter of Norwegian immigrants was turned into a play, I Remember Mama, which then became a movie, and finally a TV series, Mama.
Tarantino wouldn't touch anything like it, but it was still good. 

Every eldest immigrant kid could relate to being the go-between, the translator.
To being shown documents and asked what they meant.
By the parents.
To being in a middle ground: 
helping the adults, yet expected to act as a European child.
The European child being more obedient and reserved than the American child.
Old before your time, yet regarded as a nerd.
By the classmates.
A totally no-win situation.

This month I received my passport.
A Canadian passport.
My very first passport.

It was a bit of a hassle.
I had become a Canadian citizen a few years ago.
Still the forms require the usual "Where were you born?" and "What name is on your birth certificate?"
Being a Canadian citizen wasn't enough.
The clerk at the counter didn't understand why there's an apostrophe in a town's name.
The town where I was born.

I had to show my father's British passport which listed me as an immigrant to America, along with the little green card with my photo as a three months old infant.
All because I was born three months before my parents came to New York.
The paper trail I have to show to explain where I was born.
The paper trail my sister - and brother - don't have or need.

Born in New York.  The USA.  What's your problem?

I didn't expect to feel the way I did when I got my passport.
I finally had 'my own country'.
I finally belonged.

The citizenship paper was okay.
As long as I stayed in Canada.
It didn't feel much different from being a registered alien.

But now I have a document that says I am from a country.
A recognizable country.
A country that people know.

I'm a real person now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Carmela Soprano's Green Bean, Potato and Red Onion Salad

Did you get compliments for making Carmela Soprano's Cream Puffs?
Did folks say "Oh, you shouldn't have?"
A little guilt, when your guest or the family has it, is a good thing.

Okay... speaking of guilt, it is still Lent and we should eat simply.

In the Welcome to the Family chapter of Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos, Carmela throws together a Green Bean, Potato and Red Onion Salad. 

Now this is the chapter with recipes Carm prepares for family gatherings.
Important gatherings.
Baptisms, Communions, and Confirmations.
Once in a lifetime occasions.

Sometimes I just don't know what that girl is thinking.
Well, maybe she made this for the dieters in the family.
Like Janice.
Yeah, right.

This recipe uses some of those capers you bought back in November 

And you could serve it with a tin of tuna for some protein.
Let's live off that hump.  

                        Green Bean, Potato and Red Onion Salad
Serves 4 to 6
Steam until tender
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed, cut (or buy frozen) 
Place on a large serving platter
Put in a medium saucepan
4 to 6 medium Yukon gold or red-skin potatoes
             Peeled, if you want, and cut into cubes.
cold water to cover
salt to taste
Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cook until the potatoes are tender.
Drain and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
3 to 4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt & black pepper to taste
Stir in 
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained.
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
the cooked beans and potatoes
Toss well.
Serve at room temperature.

At this rate you should have an empty shelf or two in a few months.
It took a while to build that hump.
It'll take a while to eat it all.

Would I make Green Bean, Potato and Red Onion Salad again?
And I'd add a tin of tuna... or two.

Another recipe down.  Twenty-five more to go.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anna Sultana's Hot Cross Buns

Last Sunday I wrote about the Catholic Church customs that ruled our meals during Lent.  

Hot Cross Buns are a Maltese Lent staple.
Yes, they are.

Okay, it's originally an English recipe.
But the English had been in Malta since the time of Napoleon.
Thanks to Napoleon, I was born a British subject.
Long story.  Google 'Malta'.

Even though Malta became independent in 1964, some English folks stayed.
They'd been in Malta since the time of Napoleon.
That's quite a long time.

The English weren't going to live on bread and water alone.
Maltese bakers cooked for their English customers, too.
Maltese folks tried the buns.
So, we have Napoleon to thank for Hot Cross buns.
Every cloud, even an invasion by Napoleon, has a silver lining.

There's a little nursery rhyme:
One a penny, two a penny... hot cross buns;
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.

Yeah, right.  
Try getting 2 buns for a penny.  
Okay, these will cost more than a penny, but they're cheaper than store bought, 
and you can serve them fresh and warm from the oven.

                        Hot Cross Buns
Makes 2 dozen buns
Grease a large cookie pan         
preheat to 400º           
Bake 25 minutes 

Combine in a large bowl
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 Cup warm water
Let sit 10 minutes
Stir in
2 Cups warm water
4 Tablespoons margarine
2/3 Cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Beat in
4 eggs
1 Cup raisins
1/2 Cup currants
1/2 Cup diced citron
8 - 9 Cups flour

Knead on a floured board 15 minutes. 
Place in a greased bowl, cover.  
Let rise 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough.
Divide dough into 24 balls.
Shape into buns.
Place on prepared pan.
Cut a cross on top
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Brush buns
Let rise 35 minutes
Bake 25 minutes
Combine for sugar icing crosses:
1 Cup icing sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
enough water to make a firm frosting
Spoon icing in cross grooves on buns.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Stork from Ireland - Being 60 (week 46 - by Margaret Ullrich)

Last week I had a few thoughts about my 61st birthday coming in a few weeks.
This time of year I think about birthdays.
Family birthdays.

When I was born, it was pretty simple for my parents.
I was born at home.
In the same bed in which I was conceived.
Hey, they didn't do kinky.
The doctor came to the house.
That's just what they did in Malta in 1950.

Five years later, Ma was pregnant again.
This time she was living in New York.
Not exactly The Big Apple.
College Point.  Queens.
Ma had to go to the doctor's office.
Then she had to go to a hospital.
Two beds were involved in my sister's birth.
That's just what they did in New York in 1955.

Ah, yes, the American doctor....
Ma had lost two babies, so she was told to see a specialist.
His office was in Forest Hills, not in College Point.
Ma had to transfer to a second bus to get to his office.

Ma tended to handle travel badly.
She wasn't thrilled when we were on the boat coming to America.
Switching buses wasn't her favorite thing.
Pregnancy hormones didn't help.

I know because I was there.

Usually she got on the right bus.
But, there was one time she didn't.

I was delighted, pointing out the different scenery and houses.
Then Ma screamed.
A screaming pregnant woman sure can get attention.
Especially an over nine months pregnant woman.
Due any minute.
And it showed.
By the time the bus driver came to us, Ma was in tears.

Ma waved the doctor's appointment card in the driver's face.  
He took a look at it and told us we'd have to switch to another bus.
Ma howled.
He wrote down the number of the bus on the appointment card.
He promised it would get us near the doctor's office.

Ma got a transfer and we got off at a new bus stop.
A new bus stopped.
I checked the number on the bus against the number on the card.
They matched.
Okay, we were on our way.

It was March in New York.  Everything was green.
We had to walk a little further than normal, but I didn't mind.
The folks in that area sure liked to decorate their houses.
Everything looked so pretty.
Green shamrocks and leprechauns were everywhere.
Some folks even had leprechauns on their lawns.

There were green shamrocks on the doctor's door and on his walls.
He had paper leprechauns on the tables holding the magazines.
There were pots of candies wrapped in gold foil under the lamps.

Okay, I could match numbers.
Geography wasn't my strong suit.
Not when I was almost 5 years old.
I believed that we were in Ireland.

College Point had Irish people, but the stores didn't go in for big Irish displays.
We lived on the main drag, and there wasn't much greenery there.
Most of the customers were German.
Most of the shop owners were, too.
March was just another month.

That was the last time we went to see that doctor.
A week later my sister was born.
Ma and I had just been to Ireland.
It just made sense.
My sister came from Ireland.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Carmela Soprano's Cream Puffs / Baked Sfingi and Ricotta Cream Filling

Time flies.  
Last year I posted Carmela's Sfingi recipe since it's traditional to make them for the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, in both Italy and Malta. 

Ahh, Tradition.  
Gotta love it. 

Okay... I'm trying to get through her cookbook, so I'm not going to repeat it here.  
Just click on Sfingi above and you'll see what I wrote.

In The Final Celebration chapter of Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos, Carmela prepares Cream Puffs. 
To be honest, it's not much different from Sfingi.
Even uses the same filling.

I'm surprised Carmela got away with printing the recipe again.
I mean, she could've placed a small note at the end of the Puff recipe.
Puffs are baked.
Sfingi are fried.
Oh, well.
Another recipe done.

Cream Puffs are simple to make, yet there's something about them that makes guests think you went to a lot of trouble.
Well, let them.
If they feel guilty enough, they'll make something nice when you go visit them.  

                        Cream Puffs
Makes 1 dozen
Preheat to 400º
Bake 45 minutes
Grease and flour a large baking sheet

In a medium saucepan place
1 Cup water
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring to a boil over medium low heat.
Cook until the butter melts.
Remove from heat.
Add all at once
1 Cup flour
Stir well until the flour is completely mixed in.

Return the saucepan to the medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, until the dough
begins to leave a thin film on the bottom of the pan.
Scrape the dough into a large bowl.
With an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat in
4 large eggs, at room temperature
until thoroughly blended, smooth and shiny.

Scoop a rounded tablespoon of dough and, using another spoon, 
push the dough onto the baking sheet.
Repeat to form 12 mounds, spaced about 3 inches apart.
With moistened finger tips, pat the tops to round them.
Bake until golden brown.

Turn off the oven.
Remove the puffs and, with a skewer or small knife, 
make a small hole in the side of each, so the steam can escape.
Return them to the oven for 10 minutes so the puffs can dry.

Using a serrated knife, slice each puff crosswise partway.
Open and remove the soft dough that's inside.
Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Spoon the Ricotta Cream Filling into the puffs.
They can be refrigerated up to 3 hours.
Just before serving, dust with
Confectioners' sugar

If using ice cream, fill just before serving
or fill and freeze until ready to serve.

Ricotta Cream Filling

In a medium bowl whisk
15 oz. container ricotta
3/4 Cup Confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir in
1/4 Cup mini chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon finely chopped candied citron or orange peel
Cover and refrigerate overnight.

If you're making these Puffs for St. Joseph's Day:
Press into each puff's filling a 
Candied cherry, cut in half
Place them on a platter, sprinkle them with
2 Tablespoons chopped unsalted pistachios
Dust with
Confectioners' sugar 

Hey, some people get agita when they eat fried food.
And the Sfingi should be eaten fresh.

Would I make Cream Puffs again?
And not just for St. Joseph's Day.
I'm thinking summer with whipped cream and fresh berries.
A drizzle of chocolate syrup.
For starters...

Another recipe down.  Twenty-six more to go.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NY Daily News' Irish Soda Bread - Margaret Ullrich

Okay... tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day and you want something easy - and cheap - to mark the occasion.

Irish Soda Bread goes well with a corned beef and cabbage dinner, or anything else.  

And the cops will love you.  

Here's the Irish Soda Bread recipe that I clipped from The New York Daily News fifty years ago.  

                        Irish Soda Bread
grease cookie pan         
preheat oven to 375º           
bake 45 min. + 10 min.

3 Cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir in 
   1/2 Cup currants or raisins 
1 1/3 Cups buttermilk

Knead on a floured board 
Shape into a round loaf
Place on greased pan
Cut a cross on top
Bake 45 minutes
Combine for glaze
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
Remove loaf from oven and brush with glaze
Bake 10 minutes

Faith and beggorah!  'Tis a fine recipe.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Don't Tell Me About St. Patrick (part 2 - by Margaret Ullrich)

There's lots of stuff about Ireland on the internet.  
Did you know that corned beef is not the national dish?  It was eaten as a last resort during hard times.  
Irish coffee was the invention of the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco.  
When Irish Eyes are Smiling is an American song.  
And many Irish people consider green to be an unlucky color.
Finally I found The Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe and double clicked.  

Now how was I supposed to know the cosmic forces that click would unleash?  
Before you could say "Faith and beggorah", my computer started to glow, I heard a banshee wail and my printer took on a life of its own printing sheets of I didn't know what.  

Odd characters strolled around my room.  They looked like a touring company of The Lord of Rings.  Some were chanting, some were crying and some were doing tai chi.  

This was not a good thing.
Enough was enough.  I pressed the option and command keys, made the sign of the cross and punched the escape key.  
It worked.  
iMac 1, Druids 0.
The pages were all over the floor.  
Seems somebody is holding a cosmic grudge.  

Acccording to legend, St. Patrick put a curse on venomous snakes in Ireland.  Then he drove all the snakes into the sea.  
Well, according to my visiting Hobbits, the snakes were a popular tourist attraction, their version of the Narcisse Wildlife Management Area.  

You've heard of Narcisse, where thousands of red-sided garter snakes emerge from the limestone sinkholes in late April and tangle in a mating ritual for three weeks.  Ok, it's not Disneyland, but tourists come and spend and that's always a good thing.  
Why wreck a nice little cottage industry?  
Why, indeed.  
I guess History rewrites by the winner is not a new thing.

Oh, among the pages was a recipe for traditional Irish Soda Bread.  
I don't think I'll try it.  
No, the corned beef and cabbage is enough.  
I don't need the bread.  

Hmm... the Atkins diet, which cuts out bread, is sure popular in the Age of Aquarius.  

I think not. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't Tell Me About St. Patrick (part 1 - by Margaret Ullrich)

Remember how we were all gaga about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?  

I mean, even if you didn't know enough Astrology to know your own sign - let alone what house you were mooning - you couldn't avoid Hair, the song, play or movie.  And everybody saw the 5th Dimension on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Remember how they just stood there, swaying and singing When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will fill the stars?  

Ok, Janet Jackson it wasn't.

So who are Aquarians?  
Kim Novak, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeanne Moreau, Mia Farrow, Carmen Miranda and, the comeback king, John Travolta.  We're talking a major sign here.

Some people poo poo all this but I think we'd better start paying attention.  This is a new millennium and cosmic forces are just itching to find any teeny tiny hole where they can get a toehold to shake things up on dear old planet earth.  

No kidding.

Take St. Patrick's Day.  I'm from New York where St. Patrick's was like Christmas.  Everybody - no matter where they came from - sat down to a corned beef and cabbage dinner on March 17.  
Hey, nobody was dumb enough to not notice all the Irish cops, carrying billy clubs, pounding down Fifth Avenue in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  

Trust me, you didn't want to make a New York cop mad.

Then, like everybody else, I discovered Martha.  Ok, she's Polish, but she had a humdinger of a recipe.  I watched her teach it to some Irish lady who said, "Faith and beggorah!  'Tis better than me own sainted Mum's recipe."  

When I heard the 'Tis word, I was hooked.  

I downloaded the recipe from Martha's website and everything went tickety boo.
Until Martha got convicted.
Well, that shook everybody up.  
Her stock took a tumble and you could've shot a cannon through the department store aisles where her household items were gathering dust.  
Frugal housewives were clipping Martha Stewart labels from towels and sheets.  

With visions of mad cops marching in my head, I thought it wouldn't be kosher to whip up a loaf of Martha's Irish Soda Bread.  
Back to the computer.

Anna Sultana's Soppa tal Kirxa - Tripe Soup, Maltese Style

On Saturday I posted Carmela Soprano's Italian Tuna Salad.  
Something she must have dished up for many Lenten meals.
She probably did use imported Italian tuna packed in olive oil.
Well, whoopee for her.
Not everybody has Carmela's 'resources'.

Back to eating off the hump...  Our waists will be slimmer and our shelves will be clearer.

We knew it was Lent when Ma dished up more soups.

In Malta the Catholic Church ruled Sundays, holy days and meals.
Lent was a time of fast and abstinence. 
No fooling around.
You walked around for a whole day with ashes on your forehead.
Lousy meals were a part of the season.
Live with it. 

If you're unfamiliar with those terms, abstinence meant no meat on Wednesday and Friday during Lent.
Actually that was a bit of a joke.
We didn't eat that much meat.
Hey, heard of the Mediterranean Diet? 

But the one-two punch of Lent was fasting.
That meant two half meals and no snacks.
And that one main meal better not make up for what you were missing.
Your Lenten meals were being recorded in a celestial diet record book more strictly than anything Weight Watchers would expect you to do to lose 5 pounds. 

What is it about religion and food?

Okay... Ma wanted to follow the Church's rules.
Ma wanted to avoid living with a hungry family.
Especially a hungry Pop.
He didn't cope well with a rumbling belly.

Catholic Moms knew a few diet tricks.
Fill the belly with water.
Weight Watchers didn't invent that trick.

This is a Maltese Lent staple.
Filling and not something you'd find in a fancy restaurant.
The priests and Pop approved.
So did the budget.
That's just our way.

                        Soppa tal Kirxa 

Simmer for about 2 hours                                                      
800 g (about 2 pounds) tripe, cut into small pieces
2 litres of water
1 cauliflower, finely chopped
1 turnip, finely chopped                                 
1 cabbage, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped                                      
400 g pumpkin
4 large potatoes, finely chopped                    
1 onion, finely chopped  
Bring to the boil. 
Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are done.  
Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Late Lent - Being 60 (week 45 - by Margaret Ullrich)

Here we go... another Lent.
It's a bit late this year.
Easter's not until April 24.
A week before my 61st birthday.

It's a little weird having Easter and my birthday so close together.
Lent is a time to take stock, to make changes in one's life.
The original time to make resolutions.
To see the 'Big Picture'.
This year it's a little bit more.
A last minute wake up call before another birthday comes.

I can't believe how quickly this year went.

It's been a year of change.
I've become more computer savvy.
Who knew I'd be facebooking?
Who knew I'd have 2 blogs in the top 100 at Bloggerstats?
They're being read by folks around the world.
I even joined LinkedIn.

My writing is coming along.
One of my stories is being published this month.
In an American literary publication.
I was invited to come to the launch and read my story.
I had to get a passport.
My first.

I got funding for the trip from both the Winnipeg Arts Council and the Manitoba Arts Council.
After I read my story at the launch, I'm supposed to thank the two government agencies for their support.
Like the British fellows did when they accepted the Oscar for The King's Speech.
I'm now an international author.

Aren't I supposed to be winding down?

When I went to get our prescriptions filled last week, the pharmacist's assistant - a sweet girl - told me that I could look up information on our medical conditions on a computer.
Then she asked if I had a computer and if I knew how to google.
Guess I just have that 'sweet little old biddy' look.

Forget Dr. Who.

I'm Clark Kent.
Don't be fooled by my appearance.
You don't know what I'm capable of.

Another Lent.
Time to do a bit of tweaking.
I'm not an old dog.
I can learn new tricks.

Another birthday?
Bring it on!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Carmela Soprano's Italian Tuna Salad using Canned Tuna

I know... 
it was a bother to make and the vegetarians in the family were giving you The Look.

The Look that Paulie Walnuts gives on a bad day.
A bad day for someone else.
You felt like you were Big Pussy on the boat ride.
The non-return boat ride.

Well, so much for the fancy shmancy dinners.

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday.
We're in Lent.
Time to cut back.
Time to trim the fat.
Eat simply.
Cook simply.
Hey, maybe Lent's a good thing.

In the Fit for a Bride chapter of Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos, Carmela prepares an Italian Tuna Salad. 

Sometimes I wonder about old Carm.
She has some weird ideas on what to serve at a wedding.
There was that Poached Chicken with Pesto incident.
Some whoopdy doo dish for a wedding.
Even for her sister-in-law, Janice.

Maybe it wasn't Carmela's idea.
Maybe she had a chapter on meals for Lent, or regular family meals.
Maybe her editor thought it wasn't fancy enough.
Maybe he just stuck them in this chapter.

Let's give Carm the benefit of the doubt, shall we?

Okay... tuna.  It's just about guaranteed you have a can or two on a shelf.  They're usually featured as a sale or a "buy 20 and get 10 extra airmiles" item.

Let's live off the hump.  

                        Italian Tuna Salad
Serves 4 to 6
Steam until tender
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed, cut (or buy frozen) 
Place on a large serving platter
Top the beans with
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 celery ribs, cut up
1/2 small red onion, sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt & black pepper to taste
2  7-ounce cans of tuna
hard cook 
4 eggs, then peel and quarter them
Just before serving
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well.
Scatter the tuna chunks and egg quarters over the vegetables.
Garnish with 
chopped fresh parsley or basil
Serve immediately.

Okay...  Like I said last week, Carmela can buy what she wants.
This week she called for imported Italian tuna packed in olive oil.
Okay...  I don't recall seeing that in the flyers or on the shelf.

Life is short.
Use what you've got.
We're living off the hump, not going on a food quest.

Would I make Italian Tuna Salad again?
'Shoppers' has canned tuna on sale regularly.
So does everybody else.
With and without the airmiles.

Another recipe down.  Twenty-seven more to go.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Anna Sultana's Maltese Bragoli, Beef Olives with Tomato Sauce with Peas, Maltese Style

The whole idea was: take a bland piece of meat and wrap it around something with a bit more flavor.

Okay... everybody, including Maltese, has been doing something like that for a long time.
If you're on a budget, it's called "stretching".

Most people don't use meat for a stretcher.
That's kind of like gilding the gold.
The meat should be enough as is.
Especially meat as expensive as veal.
If you can even find it.
Not everybody has Carmela's 'resources'.

Normally stretching is a matter of grinding meat and adding bread crumbs to soak up some flavor and give the impression that the meat serving is bigger.
Every chef knows, you eat with the eyes first.
If you see a big enough portion, that's half the battle.

This is a Maltese take on the Rollatini.
No veal.
Beef - your choice of cut.
The filling uses up bits you have leftover.
You can adjust to use up what you have.
That's just our way.

                        Beef Olives / Braġoli
for the sauce
In a large dutch oven fry
2 onions, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 pound tomatoes, chopped (or 28-ounce can)
1/4 to 1/2 Cup water
Simmer for 30 minutes.
10 ounces frozen peas

for the filling

In a large bowl combine
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ham, chopped
1/4 pound bacon, chopped
1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
seasoning to taste

for the braġoli

Lay out
1 pound steak, pounded as thin as possible
Cut into portions.
Put some of the pork mixture in the middle of each portion and roll up.
Either pin with a toothpick or tie them closed with a string.
Add to the tomato sauce and simmer for 30 minutes.

2 pounds spaghetti

Pan fry
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, sliced

Salad (what's in season) or
Frozen vegetables, your choice

Serve the sauce with the spaghetti as a first course,
and the beef olives as a separate dish with salad and fried potatoes.

Here is a recipe for Ma's budget version of Braġoli.