From the beginning, it has always been a serious competition to either reinvent or creatively come up with new recipes in tasting-size portions. It starts with our selecting a theme and then we generally operate autonomously. At first, it was all about the food but, as time progressed and we became increasingly interested in recording the process, the art of presentation and creating a photo-worthy dish became significant components of the “battle”.
I think this is a great family activity. It’s fun, it gets the creative juices going, and revolves around the kitchen and sharing meals. And, we genuinely get to enjoy each other’s company…that is, when we’re not vying for a position at the stove or cutting board! And, in the end, we get to eat!
Here is Jim’s process of setting up for the shoot: serious camera, tripod and other equipment (not totally visible), umbrella, foam boards, etc. My modus operandi is plate the food, point, shoot and hope for the best. But with his tutelage, I’m working on being a little more focused (literally and figuratively.)
A week ago our “theme” was shrimp and, interestingly, we independently came up with 3 distinctly different ethnic dishes. I started with a Greek appetizer plate pictured above (recipe below), Cassie followed with a trio of Asian dishes, and Jim went Latin with mojo-marinated shrimp, grilled yuca and pineapple. Here’s my appetizer.
and a Duo-of-Greek-Appetizers and Pita-Chips (phew!)
Shrimp: Marinate shrimp in olive oil, oregano, grated fresh garlic, and a squeeze of lemon. Grill.
Salad: Halve cucumber and hollow out center. Chop fresh tomatoes and dress with lemon, olive oil, garlic and minced parsley. Let sit for a while so flavors meld and then place in cucumber boat.
Dressing: Pulse olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and a few pitted calamata olives. Add crumbled feta cheese and mix.
Tsatsiki: I used 2% Fage Greek Yogurt with some freshly grated garlic and chopped green part of scallions. I did not add cucumber because I was serving the whole cucumber.
Hummus: Store bought , but a good brand. Added a toasted walnut and served on pita chips.
See all photos of this battle and others at foodfight.
FAMILY FOOD FIGHT: Salute to the Feast of San Gennaro
It doesn’t matter that it’s been almost 15 years since I left New York and that I love living in FL, there are certain things that always take me back to “the city”. Comes the end of September I can’t help but think about the Feast of San Gennaro and the smells of Mulberry Street and I definitely long for New York (for a nano second). So this week our Family Food Fight was a salute to San Gennaro and the Italian food of our collective history.
Jimmy gave us a nice first dish of crispy proscuitto-wrapped fresh figs and followed with his version of sausage & peppers…3 varieties of grilled sausage, a delicious combination of tri-colored peppers & onions cooked in a tomato sauce and a hunk of ciabatta bread.
And what is an Italian street fair without zeppoles? Cassie did 3 versions: lemon-scented, orange-scented and cocoa-infused.
Once again, I’m going to send you over to foodfight for all the photos, but present my contribution here:
Rice Parm and Chicken-Spinach Meatballs a la Siciliana
Rice: Saute a little onion, add 1 cup of rice and toss with oil and onion to coat. Transfer to oven-proof dish and add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 3/4 of cup of pasta sauce. Sprinkle a handful of parmesan cheese and mix. Flatten mixture. Cover with more parmesan and a handful of shredded mozzarella. Cover dish and bake for 30-40 minutes. Serves 4-6 as a side dish.
Spinach Mixture: I love this technique which I do in my Magic Bullet (favorite kitchen item). Crack egg into one of the mixing cups, add handfuls of fresh spinach, a little parsley, a little basil and pack down. As it starts to break down, you can pack in additional spinach. Pulse to consistency of pesto. Add S&P, a fresh grind of nutmeg. The resulting mixture perfectly distributes the flavors and color for whatever you’re adding it to. (I came up with the technique when I was making an eggs florentine dish…talk about green eggs!)
Meatballs: Mix 1 lb. ground chicken with spinach mixture, some freshly grated garlic, parmesan and flavored breadcrumbs. For the “a la Siciliana”, I add toasted pine nuts and a handful of yellow raisins. Roll small and bake in oven for about 30 minutes. They were very delicious and fun, especially if you like green meatballs. And they’re healthier too since they contain a lot of spinach and are baked.
On the Way Into the Oven
Next Day Leftovers: Meatball with Peppers & Onions Ciabatta Sandwich