Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zucchini From My Parents Garden

Last year my parents started small garden in their beck yard. They are complete novice to gardening. While I was with them in Split I wanted them to try to develop bio-dynamical garden and I bought some books on bio-dynamical gardening, but I have to admit that it was all little bit SF for us, city slickers!

I'll try again when I go beck to Split, but I do not have high hopes.

Anyway, they do have small garden but with a help of their neighbor, who is experienced garnered, they do grow some very tasteful vegetable like: zucchinis, paprikas, beans, cabbage, beetroot, melons, tomatoes...

So, here it is, risotto with the zucchini form my parents garden. This summer was their very first harvest! And this zucchini is maybe the last one form this season. All we can do now is wait next spring and new zucchini.

Brown risotto with the zucchini
1 big zucchini
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
1 cup of brown rice
3 cups of hot vegetable stock
1 cup f sweet corn
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to serve
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Toast brown rice on low heat in fraying pan. Toast rice for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly so that grains do not burn. Rice should turn a medium brown. You will know that it is ready when you smell "bread like" aroma.

Toasting rice will reduce cooking time of rice. Also, I was told that it is good to toast rice in fall and winter because this way rice will give more energy to your meal and keep you warm.

Slice the onion and zucchini. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and fry onions over a medium heat until softened. Add the zucchini and fry until zucchini let its fluid. Add a pinch of cinnamon.

Stir in the toasted rice. Pour in the stock and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add more stock and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock and simmering until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice becomes soft as you like it (some people like rice to be "al dente" and some like to be little overcooked).
Add sweet corn and stir into the risotto. Add salt and pepper. Sparkle with some olive oil. Serve with freshly choped parsley and Parmesan cheese.

I'll submit this recipe to this months Grown Your Own blogevent.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin and Pomegranate Layered Cake

This was busy weekend. I played a lot with pumpkin preparing sauce, dessert... And once I started I couldn't stop playing! So I decide to try some new fun staff and I prepared this layered so called cake which I'll send to this months WTSIM...

I just hope it will be accepted as layered cake since it is not baked, but I'll try and we will see!

Pumpkin and pomegranate layered cake

Prepare Pumpkin Pudding as described here. Once pudding has completely set up, cut it carefully into three slices.

Mix 5g of gelatin with 2 spoons of cold water and leave it for 10 minutes to swell up.

In medium saucepan bring to boil 250 ml of water and 2 spoons of brawn sugar. Add 150g of pomegranate. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Move from the heath, add gelatin and stir for additional 5 minutes. Live it to chill for about 15 minutes, Stirring occasionally.

Rinse quickly under cold water four cups wider than molds used for pumpkin pudding. Don't dry cups in order to facilitate unmolding them.

First pour small amount of pomegranate mixture in cup, just to cover the bottom. Put one slice of pumpkin pudding in the center. Cover with some more pomegranate mixture. Be sure to pour mixture around the pumpkin pudding slice too. Add another slice of pumpkin pudding. Pour more pomegranate mixture to cover it. If your cup is big enough add one more pudding slice and cover it with pomegranate mixture.

Let it cool first on room temperature and then transfer them into fridge to set up which will take at least 4 hours.

To unmold, carefully dip bottom of the cup in hot water briefly. Run a thin knife around edge of the cup. Place the cup on chilled serving plate (topside down). Shake gently to release cake from the cup and carefully lift it off.

Pumpkin &Me

When I first came to Zagreb, some 14 years ago, I wasn't really fan of pumpkins. In Dalmatia we do not use it much (if at all), and I have to admit that the first pumpkin based meal I had , most probably, I had after I arrived in Zagreb, and, again most probably since I do not really remember it, it was cake called Bučnica (after Buča - pumpkin) which is very popular in Zagreb and continental part of Croatia.

I fall in love with bučnica immediately but it took me few more years before I started to cook with pumpkin myself.

Well, to be honest, I did start just last year. But it was a good start and I couldn't wait this year fall to go to the open market (it is called Dolac) which turn all pumpkin-orange in this part of the year, and by myself some pumpkin!

I started with the Pumpkin and Shitaki sauce for "In The Bag" event, but I wanted to do something sweet so I started my search. On Internet, off course! I find so many great recipes like Pumpkin Creme Brulee or Pumpkin Panna Cotta.

And I did what I do best, read all recipes, commingle them a bit, and voilà!... I'll name it Pumpkin and Coconut Pudding! (not to original but... whatever...)

Pumpkin and Coconut Pudding
300g pumpkin (peeled, de-seeded)
180ml milk
180ml cream
50g brown sugar
50g coconut flour
10 g of powered gelatin

Cut the pumpkin into small cubes. Cook it in medium saucepan together with milk and sugar. Bring it to boil stirring constantly. When pumpkin starts to soften add coconut flour and cook on medium heath for additional 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Mix the gelatin with 3 spoons of cold water and leave it for 10 minutes to swell up.
Puree the pumpkin mixture (with stick blender of in food processor), add gelatin and stir (without bringing it beck to heath) for additional 5 - 10 minutes until gelatin melt completely.
Pour the mixture into cups and let it cool first on thee room temperature and then transfer them into fridge to set up which will take at least 3 hours.

Step by Step Photo Recipe: Pumpkin and Shitake Sauce

Full recipe for this Pumpkin and Shitake sauce read here!

1. prepare: pumpkin, Shitake mushrooms, butter, white wine, leek, rosemary, salt, paper.

2. Slice leek into thin slices and fry them in deep pen with butter.

3. Add pumpkin cubes, splash with with wine and cook until wine evaporates then add 1 cup of stock.

4. Cook until pumpkin turns soft and fluids evaporate. Take half amount of pumpkin from the pan and mince it in food processor.

5. Meanwhile, clean Shitake and sliced them into thin slices. Put the minced pumpkin back in pan and add sliced mushrooms.

6. Stir lightly for additional 10 minutes. At the very end add rosemary, salt and paper.

7. Serve with Lentil patties.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Step by Step Photo Recipe: Lentil Patties

If you are like me and you need to see what you have to do, here it's step by step photo recipe for Lentil Patties that I've prepared few days ago!

1. Prepare lentil, walnuts, breadcrumbs, onion, tomato puree, water, salt.

2. Puree lentil, chop walnuts and onion. Mix all ingredients.

3. Add tomato puree and water to help you form the patties.

4. Preheat your oven to 180 C. Put patties on oven pan.

5. Bake in oven for 20 - 25 minutes.

6. Serve patties with some sauce or alone as snaks!

FAF gone crazy: Leeks are not Lentils!

I've already stated that I'm going crazy, and this is the true story that proves that actually I have completely gone crazy.

When I first read the list of ingredients for this month In the Bag: Pumpkin, Mushrooms and Leeks, it seemed to me it will not be easy to combine them. I spent few days thinking what could I do since I really wonted to take a part in this blogevent.

After some serious thinking I realize that I've came up with several solutions and I can't decide which one to choose. At the end I reduced my dilemma to two choices:
Pumpkin gnocchi in mushrooms and leek sauce
Leek patties in Pumpkin and Mushrooms sauce

I decided for the later thanks for my broken English. I mistakenly took leeks for lentils. And I realized my mistake just today, three days after I have prepared the meal and ate it!

Well, history is full of fortunate mistakes and I'm so happy for this one because thanks to it I prepared delicious meal that I'll for sure prepare very often in the future.

Luckily I did use leeks too and I could use this recipe for "In the Bag" event!

So, what I really did prepare was Lentil patties in Pumpkin and Mushrooms sauce.

And I choose lentil patties solely because I remembered one recipe I read long ago that sounded very interesting but I've never try it. It was combination of lentil and walnuts and I remembered author claimed that he succeeded to convince his friends that it was meat patties. And since S. isn't trilled to have meatless lunch this seamed as very good compromise.

Since I couldn't remembered exactly were did I find this recipe I had to improvise. As a starting point I took recipe from Aine McAteer's cookbook Recipes to Nurture for Lentil loaf. Interestingly, Aine also noted next to this recipe that she served it to some young surfers and they were also convinced that it was meat.

In her recipe Aine didn't use walnuts, but that didn't stop me since, as we have already affirm, I'm crazy.

At the end it all turned just fine and Lentil patties were such a success with S. although he didn't confused it for meat (or leeks?!). The walnuts are great combination with lentil giving it smooth, discrete taste while melting in your mouths. Infect they go so well together that I'm planing to pair them in some sweet combination like Lentil and walnuts cookies!

Lentil patties in Pumpkin and Mushrooms sauce

Lentil patties (it makes +/- 30 patties)
If you prefer visual recipe you can read step by step photo recipe.
2 cups of lentil puree
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup of finely sliced onion
1-2 spoons of tomato puree
tomato juice

Mix all ingredients. Add tomato juice to help you form the patties. Preheat your oven to 180 C. Put patties on oven pan and bake it in oven for 20 - 25 minutes.

Pumpkin and Shitake sauce
30 dag of pumpkin
4 pieces of Shitake mushrooms
5 dag of butter
1 glass of white wine
1 leek (yeaaa!!!!)
salt, paper
1 cup of stock

Peel, de-seed and cut pumpkin into small cubes.
Slice leek into thin slices and fry them in deep pen with butter. Add pumpkin cubes, splash with with wine and cook until wine evaporates then add 1 cup of stock.
Cook until pumpkin turns soft and fluids evaporate. It will take around 30 minutes.
Take half amount of pumpkin from the pan and mince it in food processor. Meanwhile, clean Shitake and sliced them into thin slices.
Put the minced pumpkin back in pan and add sliced mushrooms. Stir lightly for additional 10 minutes. At the very end add rosemary, salt and paper.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Teach a Man to Fish...

...and you have fed him for a lifetime.

There is little hero fish that has fed generations of fisherman and their families for thousands of years. Of course, it is sardine! It is typical staple food of Dalmatia. And it is considered prefect sustainable seafood choice.

Today Sardines are popular as "brain food" thanks to the high level of omega 3 acids and many others nutrition elements like vitamin D, vitamin B, Calcium...

You can enjoy sardine in so many different ways: fried, marinated, pickled, salted, grilled, raw...

I'll send this simple fisherman lunch to blogevent Sustainable Seafood Blog Event organized by Leather District Gourmet.

Fried sardines with "restovani" potatoes

How to prepare fries sardines you can read in my post Fried fish.

"Restovani" potatoes
This is my favorite to eat potatoes. I do not know what would be English name (or in any other language) for this way of preparing potatoes and I'll be more than glad if anyone could inform me about it.

The preparation is quite simple.

Cook the whole potatoes without peeling them.
This way all nutrition elements will be kept in potato and will not dissolve in water.
When potatoes are almost cooked, take them out, peel them and slice into small cubes.

Meanwhile, in the pan heat plenty of oil and fry the onion sliced in tin "moon halves".
When onion has turn gold add potatoes.
Fray the potatoes so that they get golden-brown crust.
Potatoes should "burn" a little. when they are nicely golden-brown, put them on the plate and season with sweet paprika, salt and lots of fresh parsley.

Buying fresh fish
Fried fish
Grilled fish

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Step by Step" Photo Recipe: Fig Cake - HIB

I was going through same photos from this summer and I realized that I could post step by step photo recipe for fig cake - hib. You can read the recipe in my post that was entry to the September edition for SHF!

Grind figs, walnuts and fennel. Toast the walnuts in advance.

Knead the mixture as a dough.

Add few drops of domestic brandy to help you form the small "scone".

Leave to dry in the sun for ten days, turning it regularly.