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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Oregano Ricotta Knots and more awards 11/23/2010

Filed under: Awards,Baking,Breads,Cheese — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 23:35
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I know, I said I’m not going to post any recipe by Thanksgiving but I have some recipes I didn’t have time to write about when I made them and if I don’t post know I have the feeling I’m not going to do it soon. Plus, I still have to give the Lovely Blog Award to 30 more bloggers.

Today I’m going to share with you a Oregano Ricotta Knots recipe. Those of you who don’t like baking will say : ahhhh, another baking recipe but this is an easy one, actually I rarely do hard ones (I’m afraid of failure).

The ricotta cheese makes the knots stay moist even after 2-3 days, but for best results serve them warm to appreciate the oregano flavor.

Let’s start baking.

Gather on your working bench

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 package dry yeast

~ 1 1/2 cup warm milk

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

2-3 tsp dry oregano

2 tbsp butter

1 egg for brushing

and leave them at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour.


In a small bowl cream the dry yeast with a little lukewarm milk. Leave aside 5 minutes or so.

In the mixer’s bowl mix flour, ricotta, oregano, diced butter and yeast mixture.

Slowly add enough milk to form a soft dough.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with foil and leave until doubles in volume.

Divide the dough into 12 balls

Take one piece of dough and roll it on your working surface into a rope.

Lift one end of the rope over the other to make a loop. Push the end through the hole to make a knot.

Place the knots on baking sheets, cover with foil and leave to rest for about 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size. Brush them with egg wash.

Bake them in preheated oven at 425F for 16-17 minutes or until golden brown.

 

inside view

 

 

Yesterday I posted the list with 15 lovely blog, tonight I’m going to post 15 more blogs and for the rest 15 please let me know which blog you think deserves the award and I didn’t mention.

1. Lisa from Korean American Mommy

2. Sara from CaffeIna

3.Andreea from Andrea’ s wellness notes

4.  Raven from Ravie Nom Noms Blog

5. Nancy from Spicie Foodie

6. Lindsey from Gingerbread Cake

7. Koci from La Kocinera

 

 

8. Yesim from Yesim Style Kitchen

 

 

9. Zerin from Give Recipe

 

 

10. Dionne from Try Anything Once

11. Cardamom Hills

12. Spice Sherpa

13. Black Book Kitchen Diaries

14. Torview

last but not the least, ladies first, right?

15. Chef Dennis from More than a Mount Full

I also want to thank you all for you kind comments, they make me go on and brighten my day. From the bottom of my heart a big Thank you

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, hope you are surrounded by great people and delicious food

 

Spicy Braid 09/28/2010

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