Not too little, not too much

(Sort of) Jambalaya 12/08/2010

It’s starting to get colder and colder and I don’t like, not at all. We even had out first snow, well, just few flakes that melted immediately but it counts, right?

I like this time of the year, I like a white Christmas but that’s it, don’t like snow or cold the rest of the year. They are saying is going to get even colder 😦 .  All I want is just a cup of tea and relax in front of a fireplace, watching the fire crack and sparkle and feeling its warmth.

 

Tonight I’m going to share with you a rice dish. I’m pretty sure that everyone heard about Jambalaya and Paella.

Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meats and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice. It is also a close cousin to the saffron-colored paella found in Spanish culture

Cajun cooking is a regional cuisine native to South Louisiana. Traditional Cajun cooking developed in a diverse and abundant natural environment and a  multiethnic though predominantly French Catholic social environment. In the narrowest sense the word “Cajun” refers to descendants of eighteenth-century Acadian settlers expelled from Canada who eventually settled in South Louisiana among a multiethnic French-speaking population, including people of French, African, Spanish, German, Native American, and other descent. Eventually the Cajuns (short for Acadians) dominated twenty-two parishes of South Louisiana, now called Acadiana. They lived in relative isolation until the twentieth century, when the outside world came to Cajuns in the form of compulsory English education, the oil industry, World War II, mass media, and an influx of outsiders bearing a standard American mass culture. Like immigrants from foreign shores, Cajuns found themselves in a new world of change. Cajun culture was a source of scorn by outsiders and an embarrassment for many insiders, and French speaking declined.
However, a revival of Cajun culture gained steam in the 1970s with the creation of French programs in the schools, a general attention to cultural expressions (music, food, and so forth), and a rise in pride in being Cajun. Part of this pride of identity is as a people who are highly sociable, who know how to enjoy life (joie de
vivre), including the enjoyment of food, and who know how to prepare food that is exceptionally good. It is fitting that Cajun cooking has become a major cultural export and Cajun chefs have become high-profile media personalities.

The aesthetics of traditional Cajun cooking demand that foods have strong, intense flavors. Strong flavoring comes from the use of seasoning vegetables (onion, bell pepper, garlic, celery) and from the careful browning of ingredients. Gumbo and other sauce-based dishes begin with a flour-based roux that is slowly browned to a dark color. Seasoning vegetables are browned. Coffee is dark roasted. The use of cayenne and other hot peppers intensifies flavor. The proportion of hot pepper varies throughout the region and among cooks. Cajuns say good food takes time, and many dishes require long simmering that follows slow browning. For example, gumbo, a soup, or stew that will be served over rice, is simmered for hours until the ingredients soften and break down. Major dishes reflect the practice of combining a flavorful multi-ingredient item with a bland staple, usually rice. Gumbo (of many varieties), étouffée, sauce piquant, and fricassee are served over rice. Jambalaya and rice dressing contain rice. The pattern occurs in less obvious forms, such as rice-containing boudin sausage (the “Cajun fast food”), corn bread dressing, boulettes (rice and meat or seafood balls), vegetables stuffed with seasoned meat and corn bread, and crawfish bisque, which contains cleaned crawfish heads stuffed with a dressing mixture.

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture

Ingredients

2 onions

few garlic cloves

1 habanero chili pepper

1 1/2 cup mixed rice

few celery ribs

1 carrot

2 tomatoes

1 bell pepper

(frozen) cooked shrimps

fresh dill

juice from 1 can of diced tomatoes

3 cups stock

cayenne pepper

oregano

salt and pepper

few tbsp vegetable oil

 

Directions

Heat the oil and add the chopped onions, garlic and chili pepper.

 

Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook for another 1 minute.

Add the shredded carrot, chopped tomatoes, bell pepper and celery.

Add the stock and tomato juice, cover well and simmer until liquid is almost absorbed and rice is cooked.

 

Season to taste. If using uncooked shrimps now is the time to add them. Put the lid back on and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.

 

Add the end add the shrimps and chopped dill, stir well and leave few minutes for the shrimps to warm up.

 

Serve warm

 

Closer view

 

 

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Baba Ghanoush and Pide Ekmeği 10/28/2010

No, no, I’m not going to write in Turkish, I only kept the fancy names of what I’m about to write.

I should have written this post yesterday but, due to weather conditions, my internet connection was on and off and I just gave up after a while.

Last couple of days, I’ve been baking every day, not that my neighbors are complaining 😛 . Sometimes I get this baking mood and I bake everyday something else. I’d bake from dawn till sunset if it is up to me 😛 , on the other hand there are days when I have to make bread and just don’t feel like doing it 😦 . I wonder if I’m the only one that feels like this.

 

The other day I made some Yumuşacık Poğaça, still Turkish he he

 

 

The recipe for this lovely breads you can find it on Zerrin‘s website, http://www.giverecipe.com/fluffy-pogaca.html I’m sure that most of you know her, and those who don’t, pay her a visit, you’ll thank or hate me later LOL

I also made some cinnabons  (I’ll post the recipe tomorrow)

 

Yesterday, I made Baba Ghanoush and Pide Ekmeği that stands for eggplant dip and Turkish flat bread

 

Baba Ghanoush (there are a lots of versions of this eggplant dip, this one is my favorite)

 

Ingredients

2-3 eggplants (little over 2 pounds)

juice of 1 lemon

2-3 tbsp tahini paste

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

handful of parsley

few garlic cloves

pinch of cayenne

 

 

Directions

 

Pierce the eggplants several times with a fork.

 

Turn the broiler on and roast the eggplants until very soft and wrinkled.

 

When cooled, carefully peel the skin away.

 

In a food processor, combine the eggplants, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini paste, garlic, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt and puree them.

 

Serve with flat bread

 

 

Pide Ekmeği – I’ve tried different combinations for this recipe and this time I substituted the water with mineral water, and, oh boy, this is the one I kept looking for, the perfect bread to be dipped in good olive oil and nothing else

 

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp dry yeast (little over 1 sachet dry yeast)

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbsp yogurt

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

mineral water (about 1 cup)

1 egg for brushing

nigella or sesame seeds, to sprinkle

 

Directions

Cream the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Leave 5 minutes.

 

 

Pour the mixture over sifted flour. Add olive oil, yogurt and salt.

 

Start mixing adding mineral water until the dough is very soft and moist.

 

 

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it raise until double.

 

Divide the dough in two balls

 

Roll them out (about 1/2 inch thick) and put them on baking trays

 

Turn the oven on to 450F. While the oven is heating,  indent the surface of the breads with your fingers and brush them with egg and sprinkle with nigella or sesame seeds.

 

Bake them for 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden.

 

 

Thanks for reading, hope I didn’t bother you too much.

 

Spicy Braid 09/28/2010

Filed under: Breads — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 20:44
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The flavors of tomatoes, spices and hot seasonings make this piquant, spicy loaf irresistible.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups milk or water

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp tomato paste

4 to 4 1/4 cups bread flour

1 sachet / 7 gr dry yeast

paprika

cayenne pepper

dried oregano

freshly ground black pepper

salt

Directions

Sift the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Cream the yeast with a little lukewarm water and pout it into the flour

Mix the rest of the milk with the butter, tomato paste, oregano, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika. Use between 1 teaspoon and 1 1 /2 teaspoon of each as you wish.

Add it to the flour and knead for about 10 minutes on low speed.

Add more flour or milk if needed.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic foil and leave it to rise in a warm place.

Divide the dough into 3 and roll them into (almost) equal ropes.

Braid it form left to right towards you.

Place the braid on a baking sheet, cover with foil and let it rise again.

Heat the oven to 400F. Meanwhile glaze the loaf with egg wash.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Detailed pictures

 

 
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