This is one the appetizers I prepared for Thanksgiving dinner.
Dough: I used Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza from the refrigerator section of the supermarket. Rolled it out a bit, but it doesn’t have much give.
Filling (for 3 rolls): 1 can pure pumpkin puree, 1 cup pesto, small amounts of crumbled bacon, shredded mozzarella, parmesan, dried fried sage leaves.
Spoon or brush pumpkin on one-half and pesto on the other. Layer crumbled sage and bacon on pumpkin. To pesto side add a sprinkle of parmesan and some shredded mozzarella. Roll as tightly as you can, wrap in plastic wrap and store in freezer. Be careful to roll in the direction that will give you both sides when sliced. In this photo it would be left to right (not top to bottom).
Slice frozen and layer on cooking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees till golden brown (about 20 minutes).
This post is about a different kind of food…it’s food for thought.
I’ve come to learn in the past few months that food bloggers are a very generous lot. They are supportive of each other and, more importantly, they take on causes. They urge readers to support local farmers, sustainable agriculture, local and global food charities to feed the hungry, etc. They are also not above commenting on social and political issues. Earlier this month, in between posts offering up spaghetti carbonara or grandma’s goulash, there were messages of urgency to get out and vote. Afterwards, there were celebrations and many rushed to make victory cupcakes and chili for President-Elect Obama! It was funny…and sweet.
I recently was contacted by Ivy of Kopiaste about a new social media network she and 2 other food bloggers have created to raise funds and awareness about World Famine called Blogger Aid. It is still in its fledgling stage but I am committing to be part of it so you will be seeing more info in the coming weeks — and, especially, in early 2009 when I launch a new series on my blog regarding traveling around the world (with stops for traditional meals in each destination, of course.) Hope that spikes your interest!
Meantime, this morning, I was struck by a post from Dine & Dish called “Acts of Kindness” and I wanted to pass it on to my readers as food for thought. In this time of economic hardship and fiscal uncertainty…and, particularly, at this time of the year when we are/were accustomed to celebrating abundantly with lavish holiday dinners and generous gifts, so many people are despondent or near to it. No matter how tight your belt strap, there are many needier. There never was a greater time to practice random acts of kindness. Imagine the delight and the lift to someone’s psyche that your act will provide.
You and your family may already do something charitable in the spirit of the season, but a random act of kindness is more spur of the moment…as Kristen suggests, “pay for someone’s lunch or buy something off someone’s wish list on Amazon and have it sent. You could turn another person’s bad day around.” If you visit her blog, you’ll see many reader comments about how they practice random acts of kindness. It doesn’t have to be monetary…it could be community volunteering, raking a neighbor’s lawn, or sending Christmas cards to servicemen*.
I’m sure if you just look around while out and about, living and performing your daily routine, you’ll find some way to bestow a random act of kindness. Pay a toll for the car behind you especially if it’s old, beat up and packed with kids; look at the person behind you on the express line (only 10 items) in the supermarket…maybe he or she could use a lift. I’m sure once we open our eyes, we’ll see lots of opportunities.
While we all like to think we live our lives with kindness, I challenge everyone to practice as many random acts of kindness from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Who knows? Maybe it’ll stick through 2009 and beyond. Go out and pay it forward.
*A Recovering American Soldier, c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20307-5001
Some times a photo makes a dish look really good. Some times a really good dish doesn’t photograph well. I found black as difficult to capture as white. But don’t let that dissuade you from trying this. MOLTO delizioso!
Ingredients: calamari, shrimp, black spaghetti (infused with squid ink), grape tomatoes, finely minced garlic and onion, smashed black calamata olives, capers, olive oil, white wine, fresh lemon juice, chicken broth, pepperocini, 1 can Goya cuttlefish and sprinkles of S&P, thyme, red pepper flakes.
• flash saute the shrimp and calamari in EVOO and set them aside
• add the garlic and onions to the same pan, followed by the can of Goya cuttlefish which acts as a base (sofrito) to the sauce you’re building
• add crushed and pitted calamata olives, capers and pepperocini
• start adding some liquid (I used both white wine & a little chicken broth) scraping along the pan to get up every bit that may be left from the fish
• season with salt, red pepper flakes and thyme
• return seafood to the pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes to finish cooking and let flavors meld
• add grape tomatoes which have been halved and shut heat. They just blister, rather than cook down. [Though the finished photo doesn't show it, I had close to 2 cups of tomatoes in the pan.]
• toss with pasta
I love my finishing touches…a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Has it ever grabbed you? Have you seen it? tasted it? used it?
I saw this in a local supermarket and was intrigued. “What a great item for my blog”, I thought, and then I found out the price…$13 each! Like a hot potato, it was quickly out of my cart and back on the shelf. While I didn’t have my camera with me (bad blogger…I should never be without my camera), I remembered my cell’s capabilities and snapped this (not-so-good) photo.
Still intrigued, I came home and researched it on Wikipedia.
FYI: This is the way it grows.
From Wikipedia: Buddha’s Hand, Buddha’s Hand citron, or Fingered citron (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus) is a fragrant citrus fruit. It grows on a shrub or small tree with long, irregular branches covered in thorns. Its large, oblong leaves are pale green and grow about four to six inches. Its flowers are white or purplish and grow in fragrant clusters.
The fruit itself is a type of citron and is often described as lemon-like or lemon-esque. The fruit is segmented into finger-like sections. It has a thick peel and a small amount of acidic flesh and is seedless and juiceless. It is very fragrant and is used predominantly by the Chinese and Japanese for perfuming rooms and personal items, such as clothing.
The peel of the fruit can be candied into succade. In Western cooking, it is often used for its zest. The inner white pith is not bitter as is usually the case with citrus, so the fingers may be cut off and then longitudinally sliced, peel pith and all, and used in salads or scattered over cooked foods such as fish.
The fruit may be given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples. According to tradition, Buddha prefers the “fingers” of the fruit to be in a position where they resemble a closed rather than open hand, as closed hands symbolize to Buddha the act of prayer.
The origin of Buddha’s Hand is traced back to Northeastern India and is believed to be the first citrus fruit known in Europe. It is speculated that the Greeks and Romans brought them back from Asia.
The tree itself is sensitive to frost, as well as intense heat and drought. It grows best in temperate conditions. Areas such as the coast of Southern California as well as inland valleys are considered ideal for its planting. Trees can be grown from cuttings taken from branches two to four years old. One must bury the cuttings (replete with foliage) deep in the soil.
It is thought that in some areas it is given the name goblin fingers due to the frightening aspect of the “open” position.
This post is as much about photography and the new technique my son just showed me as it is about food, maybe more so. ‘Stitched’ photos is something I’ve admired on other sites but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. I checked it out on Flickr, Picnik, and Picassa (which does not support Macs), all to no avail. It winds up that my son, a graphic designer, had set me up in a program called ‘InDesign” for a newsletter I was doing a while back and it’s in this program that we were able to design a few templates. I love having a new creative avenue to explore — and I’ll try not to pepper (pun intended) my food blog with too many as we go forward, but it may take a while until I find a new ‘toy’.
Meanwhile, the “Cheater’s Rum Raisin Frozen Yogurt”.
Soak raisins in rum (mine was coconut-flavored) for at least one-half hour. Blend store bought low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt with the raisins, rum and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s very refreshing and authentic tasting.
While everyone in the Royal Foodie Joust forum seemed to think these 3 ingredients would be a tough challenge, I let out a resounding YES! I already had a dish I’d prepared when I first started blogging but never got around to posting.
Here’s my Tex-Mex Salmon with a Coffee-Crust.
Ingredients: ground coffee, Goya Sázon, chile powder, fresh ground black peppercorns, olive oil and honey. Blend all to make a paste and add some panko breadcrumbs.
Pat the paste on the salmon and bake. Since salmon shouldn’t be cooked for too long (it gets dry), I might have put it under the broiler for a second or two at the end to crust up.
Serve it with a corn salad made of corn niblets, radish, jalapeno, tomato, scallion and a splash of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. S&P, of course.
P.S. As I post this, I’m struck by the improvement in my photography over the past couple of months. Off-center and an unwiped dish wouldn’t make it these days.:)
The other day Peter M of Kalofogas posted his recipe for Krasate (pork chops a la Grecque). It was a simple recipe but, in the end, it had me racing out to my local Publix (supermarket) to buy pork chops. You never know how things will grab you, do you? While I did not follow Peter’s recipe per se, what I did is not so far from it. It’s all Mediterranean-inspired, be it Greece or Italy. And if it’s Mediterranean, as we know, it’s ‘all good‘.
I already had lots of Swiss Chard* in the house from yesterday’s Family Food Fight and I was thinking Pork Chops would be a great way to go.
I put a little olive oil in a pyrex dish, passed the chops through it to coat and spiced them very simply…salt, pepper, rosemary and a couple of leaves of fresh sage. They went into a 375-degree oven to brown and start cooking. About half-way, I added a 1/4 cup of chicken broth and 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar mixed, some Pepperocini, calamata olives and pimento. Several times during the cooking process, I turned and basted the pork chops. At the end I gave a squeeze of fresh lemon over the top.
So simple…so good.
*I cooked swiss chard in chicken broth but what really it took it to the next level was pouring the warm balsamic vinaigrette from the baked pork chops over the top. Ah, that would be a YUM in capital letters.
This is my contribution to the latest Family Food Fight (our usual Sunday activity). Cassie, my granddaughter, picked the theme which was 3 greens. And, I must say, we all did an exceptional job. For really good food porn, take a quick trip to my son’s photolog to see all 3 delicious courses. You won’t be disappointed!
Since I knew Jim & Cass were planning light, first course-type dishes — Jim a chilled soup & salad and Cassie a zucchini pasta - I decided to go with meat.
This Ain’t Yo Mama’s Pigs in a Blanket
It’s 3 Greens Wrapped Around Italian Pork Sausage
and Served with Caramelized Onions & Garlic Croutons
It’s almost healthy…if you don’t count the pork sausage.
Ingredients: 3 greens, Italian pork sausage, chicken broth, garlic; sweet onions, butter, Balsamic syrup; day old crusty bread.
To market, to market…to buy greens. I came home with 3 bouquets (swiss chard, escarole and dandelions). Next step, cleaning them — the dandelions were sandy buggers and required about 3 baths.
Method: I quick blanched each leaf just to get it malleable and, after that, it was pretty much layer one green on top of the other, place the sausage down, and roll. I cooked them in chicken broth filled half-way up with a few garlic cloves for about 45 minutes (turn a few times during process).
I caramelize thinly sliced onions with a slow cook method starting with a pat of butter and olive oil, S&P. If, during the process, I feel the onions need a little more liquid rather than more butter or oil, I add a few drops of my trusty friend, chicken broth. Once the onions have softened, add Balsamic syrup. I let them continue to hang out over low heat for about a half-hour.
Garlic Croutons: Drizzle olive oil, kosher salt and bake till toasty. Rub garlic clove over surface.