Tag Archives: Ham

Crustless Ham, Potato & Spinach Quiche

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Adapted from Shannah Coe
My Suburban Kitchen
October 2017

A perfectly protein packed dish that can be served  any time of the day that you desire.  Serve for breakfast, brunch or even for  a light dinner with a mixed  greens side salad.  It is fast and easy to prepare and so delicious!

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
8 ounces cooked ham, diced
6 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 package of commercially prepared refrigerated Southwestern shredded potatoes
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Lightly grease a 9- inch pie pan and line  with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add in ham, cream chili powder, curry powder and cumin. Stir in potatoes and 3/4 cup cheese. Stir in spinach, bell pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake in the  preheated oven for 25 minutes. Increase heat to
400°F, remove foil and bake for an additional 10- 15 minutes or until the middle of  the quiche is set.

Cook’s Notes:
You can easily use Swiss cheese to replace the Gruyere and use kale in place of the spinach. Any type of commercially prepared shredded potatoes can also take the place of the Southwestern  seasoned version. The combination of the mild spices from the Southwestern potatoes give and extra punch of flavor to the fresh spinach used in this dish.

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Poulet Basquaise

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Poulet Basquaise (Basque-Style Chicken)

When most people think of the Basque Country, they think of Spain.

Bilbao began the so-called Guggenheim effect. You see, the opening of the GuggenheimGuggenH.jpg Museum in Bilbao in northern Spain in 1997, shows how an imaginatively designed museum commissioned by an energetic mayor can help turn a city around. Visitors’ spending in Bilbao in the first three years after the museum opened raised over ($110m) in taxes for the regional government, enough to recoup the construction costs and leave something over.  In 2012, more than 1m people visited the museum, at least half of them from abroad. This was the third-highest number ever, so the building continues to attract visitors even though the collection on display is modest. Other cities without historic cultural centers now look to Bilbao as a model for what vision and imagination can achieve……hence the “Bilbao Guggenheim Effect”.  In addition, San Sebastián has all those Michelin star restaurants. And Pamplona, notoriously, lets bulls run through its streets once a year.week-pamplona_2611466b.jpg

The Basques are an ancient people who have inhabited this territory for thousands of tt2years.The Basque Country is made up of three distinct  administrative regions (the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France)  and  seven provinces, three of which are in southwestern France.

44MapBasquecolToday, the Spanish part is an autonomous region with a Basque government, while the French part answers to the central government in Paris. The Spanish side has had a strong independence movement, which has lately been eclipsed by Catalonia’s. At the height of its activity in the latter part of the last century, ETA, the Basque separatist group, did most of its fighting on the Spanish side, saving the French side as a hideout…….but I digress. That is another history lesson for another time.

Basque cuisine is influenced by the abundance of produce from the sea on one side and the fertile Ebro valley on the other. The great mountainous nature of the Basque Country has led to a difference between coastal cuisine dominated by fish and seafood, and inland cuisine with fresh and cured meats, many vegetables and legumes, and freshwater fish and salt cod. The French and Spanish influence is strong also, with a noted difference between the cuisine of either side of the modern border; even iconic Basque dishes and products, such as txakoli from the South, or Gâteau Basque (Biskotx) and Jambon de Bayonne from the North, are rarely seen on the other side.

Basques have also been quick to absorb new ingredients and techniques from new settlers and from their own trade and exploration links. Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal created a chocolate and confectionery industry in Bayonne still well-known today, and part of a wider confectionery and pastry tradition across the Basque Country. Basques also embraced the potato and the capsicum, used in hams, sausages and recipes, with pepper festivals around the area, notably Ezpeleta and Puente la Reina. And last but not least, in keeping with the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is more commonly used than butter in Basque cooking.

And with all of that local produce  available to the Basque, it is no wonder that Poulet Basquaise  or Chicken Basquise (or Basque Chicken)  is a local favorite. Chicken Basquaise is a dish that defines the simple elegance of French Basque cooking.

So, I know you are asking, “exactly what is Chicken Basquaise”?  Well, first of all, a basquaise is a type of dish prepared in the style of Basque cuisine that often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers. Chicken Basquaise originated in the town of   Soule . Originally consisting of vegetables and bread, this dish typical consists of  browned chicken pieces, then cooked in a casserole with a Pipérade, which is a mixture of ripe tomatoes , red and green peppers, garlic, onions and Espelette pepper.

And before you start to  cook this dish, you will need to make the Pipérade before you begin.10987_piperade_3000

Pipérade trumpets the versatility of French Basque cuisine.  This simple sauté is enlivened with the local cured pork, Bayonne ham, and a spicy paprika known as piment d’Espelette. In my version of this dish, I added a little of bit of Creole smoked sausage and bacon, for smokiness. Pipérade  is  great over braised chicken and baked fish, but you can also heed Julia Child’s advice and use it to top a plain omelette. Simply divine!

Chicken Basquaise is guaranteed to make your heart sing and your belly cry out for more. This  is a dish where Espelette peppers and chicken go together like the French and kissing,…….. Chicken Basquaise is a dish to smooch over. So make it a date – Chicken  Basquaise is one meal you’ll want to enjoy and get up close and personal with!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 medium tomatoes
4 chicken quarters, leg and thigh portions, skin on
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced Bayonne ham, cut into 1/2-inch squares
4 ounces smoked sausage, sliced
4 ounces bacon, diced
4 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves, coarsely chopped.
1 medium dried bay leaf
2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons piment d’Espelette
2/3 to 3/4 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a medium bowl halfway with ice and water. Using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain and immediately immerse the tomatoes in the ice water bath. Using a small knife, peel the loosened skin and cut each tomato in half. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds, then core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.

Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-1/2- or 5-quart casserole or large Dutch oven.

When oil shimmers, add chicken pieces in a single layer (do this in batches, if needed) and let cook until very brown, turn, and repeat until pieces are well-browned all over, about 10 minutes per batch. Remove browned pieces to a plate and set aside. Discard excess oil and wipe out the pot with paper towels.

To the same pot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the ham, smoked sausage and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat mixture to a plate and set aside.

Return the pan to heat, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and, once heated, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring rarely, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring rarely, until the peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

Deglaze the pot with wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Add the chicken stock. Stir in the diced tomatoes, meat mixture, and piment d’Espelette. Return the chicken to the pot.  Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

To serve, remove the bay leaf  and sprinkle fresh parsley over the chicken. Serve with rice or potatoes, on the side, if desired.

Suggested wine pairing: Domaine Ilarria Irouléguy Rouge, France.

Go all-in on the Basquaise with a not-well-known Basque wine. Made from a blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Irouléguy’s not a delicate wine, but nor is it as big as wines made with these varieties in the New World. Its smoky flavor and dark fruits will merge nicely with the rustic onions, garlic, and red Espelette peppers in the sauce!

Cook’s Notes:
The traditional recipe calls for 2 pounds fresh cubed tomatoes, but one 14-ounce can of whole peeled canned tomatoes can  also be used as a substitute, in this recipe.

It is also a tradition to use a  3- to 3-1/2-pound broiler chicken, cut into 8 pieces, for this dish. You can always  ask your butcher to cut up the chicken for you at your local grocery store.

Bayonne ham is a cured ham product from the French Basque country. If you can’t find it in your local area, you can always use prosciutto or bacon.

Piment d’Espelette is France’s only native pepper, and it is so highly revered that it is protected by AOC status. It has a nice heat and is worth seeking out at a gourmet grocery or online. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute cayenne pepper or paprika.

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Poulet Rochambeau

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Poulet Rochambeau (Chicken Rochambeau)

The tradition of Réveillon, the dinner parties held by the French on Christmas Eve is alive and well in New Orleans.  In order to stay awake until Midnight Mass, French families would draw out dinner right up till it was time to leave for church.

That means lots of good Creole-French food, of which Chicken Rochambeau is one of my favorites dishes. This is a great dish to make around holiday time because it calls for roast chicken, and there’s bound to be lots of roast chicken or turkey leftovers around many a New Orleans household at Christmas time.  Traditionally, this Louisiana Creole dish is half a chicken (breast, leg, and thigh), which is boned , leaving the skin intact. The chicken is then  roasted and served as a layered dish – first a slice of baked ham, followed by a brown, Rochambeau sauce made of chicken stock and brown sugar, with a final nap of Béarnaise sauce covering the chicken

Personally, I like to serve this dish with a rich  Marchand de Vin Sauce. which I used in this recipe. The  traditional brown sugar sauce is listed below, if you want to serve the dish in that  fashion.

Trying  to find the origins of this dish is just as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel.  Antoine’s,  the  oldest family-run restaurant  in the United States, established   in New Orleans, Louisiana  in 1840, is famous for this chicken dish. The story is that the restaurateur Antoine Alciatore,  a French immigrant and the restaurant’s namesake, created the dish to honor the Comte du Rochambeau.

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The most famous Frenchman known in America was the Marquis de Lafayette, an American Revolutionary hero who has  parks named in his honor throughout the United States. However there is another French aristocrat who fought on the side of the Americans during the Revolutionary War and has been long neglected by history and his name was Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau (1725 – 1807). In 1780, he was was given the rank of Lieutenant General along with 7,000 troops to help George Washington defeat the British. Eventually his forces left Rhode Island for Connecticut to join Washington on the Hudson River. This culminated in the march of their combined forces, the siege of Yorktown, and (along with the aid of the Marquis de Lafayette) the defeat of Cornwallis.

Upon his return to France, Rochambeau was honored by King Louis XVI and was made governor of the province of Picardy. He supported the French Revolution of 1789, and on 28 December 1791 he and Nicolas Luckner became the last two generals created Marshal of France by Louis XVI. When the French Revolutionary Wars broke out, he commanded the Armée du Nord for a time in 1792 but resigned after several reversals to the Austrians. He was arrested during the Reign of Terror in 1793–94 and narrowly escaped the guillotine. He was subsequently pensioned by Napoleon and died at Thoré-la-Rochette during the Empire.

A statue of Rochambeau by sculptor Ferdinand Hamar was unveiled in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square, by President Theodore Roosevelt on 24 May 1902, as a gift from France to the United States. The ceremony was made the occasion 300px-comte_de_rochambeau_statue_dcof a great demonstration of friendship between the two nations. France was represented by ambassador Jules Cambon, Admiral Fournier and General Henri Brugère, as well as a detachment of sailors and marines from the battleship Gaulois. Representatives of the Lafayette and Rochambeau families also attended.

In 1934, American A. Kingsley Macomber donated a statue of General Rochambeau to the city of Newport, Rhode Island. The sculpture is a replica of a statue in Paris. It was from Newport that General Rochambeau departed with his army to join General Washington to march on to the Siege of Yorktown.

Ironically, Lafayette Square in New Orleans has neither a statue of Lafayette, nor one in Rochambeau’s honor, but the city does have a way of creating monumental culinary dishes. Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans is famous for its Poulet Rochambeau.

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 slices French bread toast, 1/2 inch thick rounds, toasted under the broiler on both sides
4 large slices roast chicken
4 large slices boiled or baked ham
1 Tablespoon minced parsley
Dash Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Béarnaise Sauce
1 cup Marchand de Vin Sauce (See Recipe Below)
Parsley, finely chopped for garnish (See Recipe Below)

Directions:
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and fry the ham. Warm the chicken slices.

To assemble:
In the center of two heated serving plates, place the French bread rounds. Next, place the ham and top with a generous portion of Marchand de Vin. Place the chicken on top of the Marchand de Vin, finish the dish with a generous portion of Bearnaise. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

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Marchand de Vin Sauce
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely minced ham
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup red wine
Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste.
Dash of Cayenne

Directions:
To make the Marchand de Vin Sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté the ham, scallions, mushrooms, and garlic over medium heat until the whites of the onions are translucent. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for about 5-7 minutes. Add the beef stock and red wine  and bring to a boil. Add seasonings. Let simmer for about 40 minutes. The sauce should  be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set sauce aside until ready to serve.

Béarnaise Sauce
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 Tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon cold water

Directions:
To Make the Béarnaise Sauce: Add the butter in a small heavy saucepan and let it melt slowly. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Heat the shallots, vinegar, peppercorns, salt and tarragon in another saucepan and cook until all the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat and let the saucepan cool slightly. Add the egg yolks and the water to the shallots.

Return the saucepan to the stove and stir the yolk mixture vigorously over very low heat. Do not overheat or the mixture will curdle. Remove the saucepan from the heat and place it on a cold surface. Add the melted butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. After incorporating the butter, remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.

For the Chicken Rochambeau with Brown Sugar Sauce

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Ingredients:

Brown Sugar Sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup dry vermouth

Directions:
Prepare the brown sugar sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until mixture is a caramel color.  Slowly whisk in the brown sugar ,salt and vermouth.  Increase heat to medium high and whisk constantly until mixture is  slightly thickened, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.

Prepare the  toasts, ham , chicken and Béarnaise sauce as indicated above.

To assemble:  Spoon a portion of the brown sugar sauce to the center of the  plate. Place the French bread toast on top of the brown sugar sauce and add the  ham on top of the bread. Top the ham with a generous amount  Béarnaise sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Thank you so much!

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Chicken Pontalba

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Chicken Pontalba is one of the many signature dishes served at old-line New OrleansMicaela_Pontalba Creole restaurants. This dish was created in New Orleans by Chef Paul Blange in the early days of Brennan’s in the French Quarter during the early 1950s and was a well-established local favorite when the Delmonico re-opened. The recipe is very similar to Chicken Clemenceau, but without the inclusion of green peas. The name Pontalba denotes richness, as the dish is named for  Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester y Rojas, Baroness de Pontalba (1795- 1874) who was a wealthy New Orleans-born aristocrat, businesswoman, and real estate developer, and one of the most dynamic personalities of that city’s history.

As  the wealthiest woman in New Orleans she built the opulent Pontalba buildings in 1848, that still flank Jackson Square in the historic French Quarter. The construction of the Pontalba Buildings cost more than $300,000  and she was a constant visitor to the construction sites, often supervising the work on horseback.

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The cast-ironwork decorating the balconies were also her personal design and she had her initials “AP” carved into the center of each section. Considered the oldest apartments in Potatoes Pontalba wrought ironthe country, the buildings continue to house elegant residences upstairs and fine retail shops downstairs. The Baroness was also instrumental in the name change of Place d’Armes to Jackson Square; as well as the decision to convert it from a parade ground to a formal garden. It was alleged that when she was landscaping the garden, she threatened the mayor with a shotgun after he tried to prevent her from tearing down two rows of trees.

Andrew_Jackson_(14130889).jpgShe also helped finance the bronze equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson which features prominently in the square.Legend has it that her friend Andrew Jackson, once failed to raise his hat to the Baroness, so when she funded the statue baring his likeness she insisted that sculptor Clark Mills depict Jackson forever raising his hat toward her apartment building. Probably not true, but it is a great  story.

The Baroness  was also known to give  lavish parties and served rich creative Creole dishes to her guests during these affairs. And in that same  spirit , what could be any more different than the simple ingredients of cooked chicken napped with Bearnaise sauce all on a bed of deep fried potatoes, diced ham, mushrooms, onions, garlic and white wine? Chicken Pontalba, of course, which is a rich and lavish dish that is truly Creole in creation  and meant to be enjoyed as fine  dining.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, lightly pounded
1 large baking potato, cut into 1/2- inch dice
3/4 cup ham, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 1/2 cups baby Portabella mushrooms, thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground  black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Vegetable oil

For the Bearnaise Sauce , click here for the recipe 

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 400 ° F.

Toss the Potatoes in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Layer on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and crispy.

In the meantime, season the flour with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Season the thighs also, then dredge pieces in the flour.

When the potatoes are almost ready, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a saute pan. When the fat is hot, brown the chicken quickly on both sides, place on a ovenproof dish and finish in the oven.

In the same saute pan, add the ham and onions, saute until golden brown and the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and a tablespoon more butter. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until the alcohol evaporates.

Fold in the brabant potatoes from the oven and 1 tablespoon of the parsley, taste for seasonings. Just before serving, incorporate the last tablespoon of butter.

Split the potato mixture between two heated plates. Top each with a chicken thigh, and finish with a generous drizzle of Bearnaise sauce. Garnish with minced parsley.

Hello Friends!

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Shrimp Purloo

 

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Purloo (pronouced pur-low) is a simple dish, with origins from West Africa , that survived the Middle Passage establishing the Gullah Culture centered around South Carolina’s Low-country.

The name “Gullah” may have been derived from Angola, a country in Southern800px-Location_Angola_AU_Africa.svg.png Africa, where  the ancestors of some Gullah people may have likely originated. As an enslaved people, they created a new culture from the numerous African peoples brought into Charleston and South Carolina. Some scholars have suggested it may have come from Gola, an ethnicity living in the border area between present-day Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa, where many of the Gullah ancestors originated. This area was known as the “Grain Coast” or “Rice Coast” to British colonists in the Caribbean and the Southern colonies of North America and most of the tribes there are of Mande or Manding origins. The name “Geechee”, another common (emic) name for the Gullah people, may come from Kissi, an ethnicity living in the border area between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Gullah1.PNGThe Gullah people have been able to preserve much of their African cultural heritage because of climate, geography, and patterns of importation of enslaved Africans. Taken as slaves from the Western region of Africa in primarily the Krio and Mende populations of what is present day Sierra Leone, and transported to some areas of Brazil (including Bahia), the enslaved Gullah-Gheechee people were also traded in what was then Charlestowne, South Carolina. According to British historian P.E.H. Hair, Gullah culture was formed as a creole culture in the  European colonies and in the  United States from elements of many different African cultures that came together there. These included the Baga, Fula, Kissi, Kpelle, Limba, Mandinka, Mende, Susu, Temne, Vai, and Wolof of the Rice Coast, and many from Angola, Igbo, Calabar, Congo Republic, and the Gold Coast.

rice.jpgAfrican rice has been cultivated for over 3,500 years. Between 1500 and 800 BC, Oryza glaberrima propagated from its original center, the Niger River delta, and extended to Senegal. However, it never developed far from its original region. Its cultivation even declined in favor of the Asian species, which was introduced to East Africa early in the common era and spread westward. African rice helped Africa conquer its famine of 1203.

The Moors brought Asiatic rice to the Iberian Peninsula in the 10th century. Records indicate it was grown in Valencia and Majorca. In Majorca, rice cultivation seems to have stopped after the Christian conquest, although historians are not certain.

Muslims also brought rice to Sicily, where it was an important crop long before it is noted in the plain of Pisa (1468) or in the Lombard plain (1475), where its cultivation was promoted by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and demonstrated in his model farms.

After the 15th century, rice spread throughout Italy and then France, later propagating to all the continents during the age of European exploration.The Ottomans introduced rice to the Balkans.

In the United States, colonial South Carolina and Georgia grew and amassed great wealth from the slave labor obtained from the Senegambia area of West Africa and from coastal Sierra Leone. At the port of Charleston, through which 40% of all American slave imports passed, slaves from this region of Africa brought the highest prices, in recognition of their prior knowledge of rice culture, which was put to use on the many rice plantations around Georgetown, Charleston, and Savannah.By the middle of the 18th century, thousands of acres in the Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry, and the Sea Islands were developed as rice fields. African farmers from the “Rice Coast” brought the skills for cultivation and tidal irrigation that made rice farming one of the most successful industries in early America.

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Not only did they bring the technology, the how-to, they brought the cultivar.West Africans had been growing varieties of rice for several thousand years before the start of the slave trade with the colonies.

Many ethnobotanist believe that African slaves carried the rice in hair while crossing the Atlantic Ocean in chains. Once in the colonies, slaves grew the rice in their own garden plots for food and slave owners took note.

In 1685 , a storm-battered ship sailing from Madagascar limped into the Charles Towne harbor. To repay the kindness of the colonists for repairs to the ship, the ship’s captain made a gift of a small quantity of “Golden Seed Rice” ,named for its color, to a local planter and based on their  observations, plantation owners in the Carolinas started experimenting with a rice variety that produced high yields and was easy to cook.

The slaves used their rice-growing know-how to convert the swampy Carolina lowlands to thriving rice plantations replete with canals, dikes, and levies, which facilitated periodic flooding of the field. The so-called Carolina Gold variety quickly became a high value export crop, primarily to Europe.

The subtropical climate encouraged the spread of malaria and yellow fever, carried by mosquitoes. These tropical diseases were endemic in Africa and had been carried by slaves to the colonies. Mosquitoes in the swamps and inundated rice fields of the Lowcountry picked up and spread the diseases to English and European settlers, as well. Malaria and yellow fever soon became endemic in the region.

Because they had acquired some immunity in their homeland, Africans were more rice3.jpgresistant to these tropical fevers than the Europeans were, and as the rice industry was developed, planters continued to import African slaves. By about 1708, South Carolina had a black majority. Coastal Georgia later developed a black majority after rice cultivation expanded there in the mid-18th century. Malaria and yellow fever became endemic, and fearing disease, many white planters left the Lowcountry during the rainy spring and summer months when fevers ran rampant. Others lived mostly in cities such as Charleston.

The planters left their European or African “rice drivers”, or overseers, in charge of the plantations.These had thousands of slaves, with African traditions reinforced by new imports from the same regions. Over time, the Gullah people developed a creole culture in which elements of African languages, cultures, and community life were preserved to a high degree. Their culture developed in a distinct way, different from that of the enslaved African-Americans in states such as North Carolina and Virginia, where the enslaved lived in smaller groups, and had more sustained and frequent interactions with whites and British American culture.

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And now we come full circle. Many of the traditional rice dishes found through out the Southern United States , are African in origin, like Hoppin’ John, Limpin’ Susan, or Red Rice.

Pilau, or Purloo as the Gullah call it, is one of the classic  rice dishes of the South Carolina Low Country.This dish, requiring no little more than rice and whatever meat that might be on hand. Any time you add meat to rice and cook it all together in one pot, that’s a purloo.

Purloo’s beauty lies in its versatility. You can substitute oysters for shrimp or add sausage or chicken earlier in the cooking  process . It’s a simple dish based around the Low-country’s one-time staple crop: rice. When cooking the rice, use less liquid. If you put in too much liquid, the dish will become a boggy soup. For a full flavor, make sure to cook your rice in a stock, not just water.

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pound shrimp
2 1/2 cups shrimp stock*
2 Tablespoons seafood seasoning
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2  tomatoes, chopped
2 slices bacon
3 Tablespoons chopped ham
1 cup white rice
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Cooked okra (optional)
Parsley, for garnish

Directions: 
Peel and devein the shrimp. Reserve the shells.

Prepare the stock. Place all of  the reserve shrimp shells  into a pot of water and boil for an hour or two.  Strain out the peels and put the stock aside. This is the traditional way of making stock for a shrimp purloo.

Cook the bacon and ham in a medium  saucepan  over medium heat. Add onion and garlic.

Add tomatoes, seasoning, and  stock. Bring to a boil.

Add rice. Reduce heat and cover. Cook about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in the shrimp, cover, and let cook about five minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink.

To serve family style, spoon onto a platter garnish with parsley.

 

Cook’s Notes :
*Chicken broth  or fish stock can be substituted for the shrimp stock.

If you want to add okra, cook it in a separate pan until the thick sap dissipates. Scoop it out and add it to the saucepan when you add the shrimp.

 

 

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Croque Madame

Bonjour !

Je vous présente la tartine du petit déjeuner ultime… la Croque Madame!

The croque madame, the classic French ham and cheese sandwich covered in cheesy bechamel, with a fried egg placed on top of it.  Ham and cheese never tasted so good!

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Hello Friends!

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Revuelto Gramajo

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At its most basic, this dish is a plate of scrambled eggs with ham, onions, and fried potatoes mixed together. Commonly served in cafes and bodegas all over Argentina, the  presentation varies widely. But that is merely a reference point.

There are many different stories about the  culinary origins of this dish. It truly is a ‘scrambled story‘, pun intended……

One version claims that its creator was Arturo Gramajo (1838–1914), a colonel who served in the Argentine military  and was later  appointed minister of war in 1877.Cao101.jpg

Legend has it that Colonel Gramajo  who was aide to General Julio A. Roca   and accompanied him for years during the late 1870s  in the  campaign to conquer the “desert”, or the Pampas. The colonel, a roly poly sort, was a bit of a gourmand, a bit of a dandy, and, apparently, a fairly accomplished cook.

There are three versions of his part of the legend. The first, and seemingly most common, is that prior to heading out into the battlefield, Colonel Gramajo had been accustomed to starting his days with a couple of fried eggs, a slab of ham, and some potatoes fried with onions – or at least that’s more or less what it amounted to. Sounds like a typical North American diner breakfast. Preparing all of the items in a tent, in inclement weather, became a bit of a chore, but being unwilling to give up his beloved morning platter, he simply fried up the onions and potatoes in a skillet, threw in some chopped up ham, and scrambled in a couple of eggs. Not as pretty, but the lack of technique certainly got the job done.

Version two of the story is quite similar, but asserts that the person who was accustomed to said breakfast was General Roca, who  was a food lover, became bored with standard military fare and so it was for his breakfast that this field ration was created by the Colonel.

And,  in version three, also involving Artemio, has it that this all happened post-war in 1880, when he was  billeted or ensconced at his “club”, El Club del Progreso where  the Rio Bamba a public restaurant was housed in the club. One day, a bit hungover, he wondered into a completely empty kitchen at the Rio Bamba, only to find that the cook had left some potatoes, ham, onion and eggs in the pantry. Perhaps he was feeling that  the detailed work of cooking the components ingredients separately was just too much to take on with a hang over. With these simple ingredients he decided to combine  them all  in his own special way; Mixing ham, shredded potatoes browned in a pan with very little oil and a pinch of butter and adding eggs to the preparation. Delighted with himself, Gramajo took his creation straight to the top by serving it to his boss, the twice-president-of-the-nation General Roca. The result, a egg tousled dish, which was christened scrambled Gramajo, by the owners of Rio Bamba.

 And, voila! the King of Argentinian minutas was born.

Now we move on to version four, which not only takes us to a different country, France but bringing in a different Gramajo, Arturo, a socialite, and some what of a playboy. This  Pasaje de la PiedadGramajo was born Arturo Gramajo Cardenas (1860-1934) and  was an Argentine lawyer  who served as a diplomat  in France and Great Britain and took over as mayor of the City of Buenos Aires during the last stage of the presidency of Victorino de la Plaza, from February 1915 to November 1916.Mayors of Buenos Aires have been hand-picked by the President, pending Senate approval, much like U.S.Supreme Court justices for most of Argentine history. Only in 1996 did porteños obtain the right to elect their top position.

Gramajo is credited with the idea of Pasaje de la Piedad, the passage of the Mercy , an architectural housing that created small u-shaped streets for carriages, just to satisfy the whims of his wife.The land on which the buildings and the passage rose were inheritance of his wife, Maria Adela Atucha Saraza (1833?-1885?), and she insisted on the project, which was under construction for a two decades between 1888 and 1900. And their spectacular mansion was also built in the area. Gramajo also had the role of President of the Commission that gathered funds for the erection of the Church of Our Lady of Mercy, facing  his property. The street, Pasaje de la Piedad is right off of the present day street Bartolome Mitre between Parana and Montevideo, and is addressed at 1525-1573 on that street. But I digress.

The story has it  that as a wealthy playboy who loved good living, Gramajo was stayingGramajo-Arturo-Doctor.jpg at the Hotel Ritz in Paris when he got a little peckish. However, it was late and the kitchen was closed and he  insisted on preparing his own breakfast, he looked over what was lying around, basically throwing together a scramble of whatever looked good sitting on the counter and created the revuelto Gramajo: scrambled eggs mixed with ham and fried matchstick potatoes. While it’s not impossible that a 20-something Arturo would have been cavorting about in Paris in the early 1880s he wasn’t yet a particularly well known figure in Argentine society, at the time. The dish became popular after his return to Buenos Aires. Given that the revuelto was all the rage in the late 1880s and early 1890s, and has continued to be a staple of local cuisine since, it just seems unlikely that something a young dandy threw together one morning in a Paris hotel after a night of carousing would become a dining hit back home within moments. Of course, even that story is up for debate. Some claim that Coronel Artemio Gramajo who served with General Roca decided to break the monotony of army fare and created the dish that bears his name. In the best of all possible worlds, it could have happened, but to me it makes more sense that the influence of military leaders like Roca and Artemio  Gramajo would have had that impact  on  Argentine cuisine upon their return from the military campaign.

Slide1.JPGAnd then there  is Francis Mallmann, author of Seven Fires,  who tells an origin tale that is close to his heart. He claims that the dish was was created by Arturito Gramajo,  another Gramajo and husband of the famous tango singer Elisita Gramajo. Mallmann’s grandmother, or Tata, told him that she was once courted by Gramajo all the way back in 1919.

But the time lines do not add up  here……………..hmmmm.

Romantic stories aside, which ever story  you believe will in, will   most likely be the one each foodie can relate to for him or herself. And in casting myself in the  “Doubting Thomas” role here,  one would have to question where  would General Roca and Colonel Gramajo get the eggs, potatoes and ham in the desert in the middle of war in the 1870s which would have been be so expensive to transport to the battlefield in that era. So there is a possibility that the the creator  of the Scramble was Arturito Gramajo,  another wealthy dandy of the 1930s and possibly the son of Arturo Gramajo, whose life came to abrupt end.   Arturito died from eating a poisonous mushroom that he had gathered in his field and had cooked for his friends. And since then, suspicions about his wife … sole heir to an immense fortune were never obviated or ruled out.

And  with most oral histories and in particular, culinary histories,  there is a kernel of truth,  but like a game of telephone, the myths are created and in all likelihood, we will probably never know, “the real story”.

As for the preparation, in the  early 20th Century a Scrambled  Gramajo was typically made ​​with thinly sliced ​​potatoes, ham (according to taste, raw or cooked),and onion. Many restaurants  chefs and home cooks alike, have made ​​more elaborate versions of this simple dish choosing to  add other ingredients to the base preparation, such as chicken,  turkey, green peas, bell peppers, garlic, olives, bacon, mushrooms, hearts of palm, avocado, seafood, or parsley. Sometimes, a little heavy cream is add to the eggs to ensure a velvety texture and creaminess to the dish.

But  the only true recipe contains scrambled eggs, ham, julienne potatoes  sprinkling of salt and pepper and nothing else. According to purists, if you add peas or anything else, you are already talking of the transformation of scrambled eggs that are not the real authentic  Gramajo.

Whether it was a colonel, a  mayor or playboy who created the Revuelto Gramajo, it’s one of the heartiest plates on traditional Argentine menus.

 

 

Serves 4

 Ingredients:

4 red potatoes, about 6 ounces each, scrubbed
1 medium onion, finely c hopped
Vegetable oil, for frying
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 thin slices  air-dried ham , coarsely chopped, (jamón ibéricos, serrano or proscuitto)
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
Ground black pepper to taste
Sliced scallions, for garnish

 

Directions:

Peel the potatoes. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the potatoes into a fine julienne. Put the potatoes soak in cold water to eliminate starch, for 1 hour. Remove the potatoes from the water and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat the vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven to 360°F. Add the potatoes, in batches if necessary, and cook for about 2 minutes, until golden. Remove with a slotted skimmer and drain on paper towels.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in the same cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the ham and crisp for about 15 seconds. Remove to paper towels to drain.

In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoons of butter and add the onions. Saute until translucent and remove for the skillet side aside on a clean plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in  the same skillet over medium heat. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the cream and pour them in. Add the potatoes, onions and ham and scramble—if necessary, lower the heat so that eggs do not brown. Use a wide spatula to to gently fold the ingredients into the eggs. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and garnish with scallions and  serve immediately.

Milanesa a la Napolitana

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The milanesa is a dish common in Latin American countries where generic types of breaded meat fillet preparations are known as a milanesa.

As with much of Argentine cuisine and culture, the roots of the Argentine milanesa are traced back to Italy. The milanesa was brought to the Southern Cone of South America by Italian immigrantspict--political-map-southern-cone-southern-cone-political-map.png during the mass emigration called the Italian diaspora between 1860-1920s. Its name probably reflects an original Milanese preparation, cotoletta alla Milanese, a thin steak or veal chop, dipped in breadcrumbs and friedwhich is similar to the Austrian Wiener Schnitzel.

Generally, a milanesa consists of a thin slice of beef, chicken, veal, or sometimes pork, and even eggplants or soy. In its most basic form, the Argentine milanesa is a simply breaded, thin slice of prime beef from the peceto(round roast cut) or the nalga (eye of round). When selecting your steaks, make sure to look for steaks with little fat and no sinew, which makes the milanesa curl up as you cook it.Ask your local butcher to thinly cut the meat for your milanesas to about 1/4-inch. Once you get them home, soak them in the fridge for an hour or so in a mixture of beaten egg, a splash of milk, a sprinkle of salt, and some finely chopped parsley and garlic. Add a touch of oregano or dried chilies if you crave a spicy taste. When you are ready to cook, dip cutlets in the breadcrumbs (or occasionally flour). I personally like to use Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. You can use whatever yo unlike, as long the breadcrumbs are dry.

Traditionally, milansesa are shallow-fried in oil, one at a time. Some people prefer to use very little oil and then bake them in the oven as a healthier alternative.

There are a million if not more recipes and variations for milanesas. If you wcaballo.jpgant the pure and traditional milanesa experience, squeeze lemon over the crispy hot delicacies and serve with creamy mashed potatoes or fries. But if you want to go a bit fancy, serve it a caballo – on horseback – where a fried egg tops the delicious concoction.

Milanesa napolitana is a variation of the breaded fried steak dish that is popular in Argentina and Uruguay. Milanesa a la Napolitana did not originate from Milan or Naples – it’s thought to have been invented in the 1940’s at a Buenos Aires restaurant called “Nápoli”.

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                                                                       Sandwich de milanesa.   Photo Credit:  Ian Carvell, 2015

Milanesa napolitana is also very  similar to veal Parmesan, but with South American touches – after the steak is breaded and fried, it’s topped with a slice of ham, tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese, and served with french fries.Leftovers make great sandwiches, especially when paired with a soft but crusty roll, just like the lunchtime classic – the sándwich de milanesa. For a basic sandwich, add tomato and lettuce, and you are good to go. Milanesa completa is the slightly souped up version with lettuce, tomato, cheese and ham.

 

Serves 6
 
Ingredients:

6  thinly sliced skillet steaks, such as top round
3 eggs
Dried  oregano, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2  cups panko  bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 slices of deli ham (or proscuitto)
2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
Lemon wedges, for serving
Fresh chopped  or sliced tomatoes,  for garnish (optional)
Oven baked fries, for serving

Directions:
Whisk together the eggs, parsley, milk, garlic and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.Place the steaks in the egg mixture, cover with plastic wrap and leave the steaks soaking for 30 minutes to one hour in the fridge. The more time the better.

In another shallow pan, stir the Parmesan cheese and garlic into the bread crumbs and set aside.

Remove the steaks from the egg mixture and one by one, dredge the steaks in the crumbs, turning and pressing firmly until they are well coated.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet, and cook steaks for several minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Drain steaks on paper towels. See the Cook’s Notes for the oven baked cooking method.

Place the  cooked steaks on a  baking sheet. Turn on the oven broiler. Top each steak with a slice of ham, 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with oregano  over the cheese and place steaks under broiler until cheese melts.

If desired, top the finished dish with chopped  or sliced tomatoes and serve warm, with fries.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Alternative Oven Baked Cooking Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush   a baking sheet with oil and heat it up in the oven.

Place the milanesas on the prepared baking sheet and place the steaks in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.

Turn over the milanesas and spread on a layer of 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce, a slice of ham, 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese and  sprinkle with oregano. Turn on oven broiler. Place steaks under broiler until cheese melts.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Easter Sunday Dinner 2015

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Easter Sunday Dinner was a simple affair this year. Normally I would have three different proteins: a fish, a rack of lamb, and Cornish Hens and lots of side dishes and at least two desserts.

This year I opted for a more simpler menu,  by serving an appetizer,  a spiral honey baked ham with a few side dishes, and a cake for dessert.

We started off the meal with an appetizer of Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs.

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A  simple salad with sliced pickled baby beets, baby arugula and cherry tomatoes was dressed in a lemony vinaigrette.

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The salad  was followed by main course, a honey baked spiral sliced ham garnished with Blood Oranges and Baby Arugula. The side dishes included Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Green and White Asparagus, and Cinnamon Spiced Carrots.

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And finally, for dessert a simple ” White Rose” yellow cake with butter cream frosting.

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The great thing about a simple menu means that you spend less time in the kitchen and more time sharing stories and fond memories in the making with your family and friends at the dinner table.

Cuban Sandwich with Yuca Fries and Cilantro Lime Mayo

Cuban Sandwich with Yuca Friesand Cilantro Lime Mayo

The best Cuban Sandwich that you can find in the U.S. of A. is where  it originated….in Ybor City, Tampa Florida.The Cuban sandwich was originally called the “mixto” – ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard – and made for Ybor City cigar workers. Sicilians and immigrants from other parts of Italy joined Spanish and Cuban immigrants in the cigar factories, and Genoa salami was added, transforming the mixto into Cuban sandwich. Take a trip to Ybor City to taste the Cuban sandwiches for yourself! Graze your way down 7th Avenue and try each restaurant’s version of the Cuban sandwich. And trust me, you are gonna LOVE each and every one of them!