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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Calas (New Orleans rice fritters) (Creole)

Before doughnuts (and beignets) became popular, the world of Creole New Orleans craved only one warm treat above anything else: the crispy calas. A staple of historical New Orleans, especially in the French quarter, calas were extremely popular as breakfast or a quick mid-day snack.

Most Calas street vendors were African or Creole women, but occasionally a male vendor could be encountered on the streets of New Orleans. The street cries of the vendors announced to the world that warm calas were available, and few could resist this cry.

Usually, such a cry consisted from multiple stanzas, such as:
"Belles calas...Belles calas,
Tou cho, tou cho, tou cho!
Madame, mo gaignin calas,
Madame, mo gaignin calas,
Tou cho, tou cho, tou cho"
("Fine rice fritters...fine rice fritters; 
All hot, all hot, quite hot! 
Madame, I have rice fritters; 
Madame, I have rice fritters; 
Quite hot, quite hot, quite hot!")

The cries of the cala women could be very varied and quite inventive, though. So, if we could take a short trip back in time and walk on the streets of early 20th century New Orleans, there's no guarantee that we would hear that particular chant from the example above :).

Made from pre-boiled white rice, they're also a perfect solution to leftover rice, if you have it on hand from cooking Asian dishes, for example.

The taste resembles that of doughnuts and rice pudding, and the contrast between the crispy exterior and soft interior is addictive. They're especially good with Creole cafe au lait (and you're actually supposed to enjoy them together). They're fast to make and delicious, so what are you waiting for?

For other New Orleans Creole goodies, also try the Red beans and rice.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Ensalada de quinoa con chonta (Central and South American) (vegan).
Five years ago: The Sidecar (cocktail).
Six years ago: Pears with rosemary sugar dust (raw vegan).
Seven years ago: Beefsteaks in apple juice.
Eight years ago: Broccoli and pancetta orecchietteNoodle salad with black sesame (vegan) and Chocolate and stout cupcakes (Irish).

Friday, February 15, 2019

Red beans and rice (Cajun New Orleans version)

Beans and rice are a staple in many parts of the world, and for good reason, too. This combo is very nutritious and has kept people healthy for ages. Some nutritionists say that combined, rice and beans create some proteins that can compensate for an otherwise poor and unvaried diet. Cool, right?

So, almost every area of the world has its own version of rice and beans (or lentils or chickpeas... basically just rice and legumes). But out of them all, red beans and rice is probably my favorite, because it's spicy and savory due to the tomato, chilies and smoked meat, and these kind of flavors are right up my alley. 

The Creole and Cajun communities around Louisiana and New Orleans have perfected the art of this dish and made it into something wonderful. I've already made the Creole New Orleans version of the dish, so now it's time for the Cajun one. It's all very easy to throw together and the result is delicious even when reheated. Enjoy!
Recipe source: ClosetCooking.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Shrimp pizza with cherry tomatoes and parsley.
Five years ago: Flourless chocolate cake with choco-whiskey sauce.
Six years ago: Poulet Vall√©e d'Auge (Chicken, apple and Calvados cream stew) (French).
Seven years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Eight years ago: Chinese fried riceBroccoli and ham torte and Cardamom lassi (Indian).

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Jahlova Kase (Chadian millet porridge)

Millet is much more used in other regions compared to how often it's used in Europe, where I grew up. Africa is one of the areas where this cereal is a staple, so in my explorations of African cuisine, I also stocked up on millet. I discovered the subtle flavor, the hearty feel and the wonderful texture of this grain and slowly fell in love with it. Now I add a bit to almost every bowl of breakfast cereal, even if I'm not cooking anything special. 

In this porridge from Chad, millet is the centerpiece and all of the other ingredients only make it shine more. It's sweet, make as a nice breakfast or snack, but can also be a meal in itself, especially for kids. I actually made it for my little girl Mira and even if she tends to be scoffy towards new foods, she loved this one (she was a toddler at the time). 

Try it as it is and I'm sure you'll love it too. Or play with extra toppings, if you must, but I prefer sticking to the authentic version. 

Recipe source: here.

Last year: nothing
Two years ago: nothing
Three years ago: nothing
Four years ago: Syrniki (Sweet Cheese Pancakes) (Russian-Belarusian-Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian).
Five years ago: Harissa and truffle potato puree with mozzarella-olive sauce.
Six years ago: Crispy cheese and guacamole tortillas.
Seven years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Eight years ago: Tirolese spinach and cheese dumplings (Austrian)Spinach and cheese crostini and The perfect fluffy fried bananas.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Pistachio milk (home-made)

I'm a fan of milkshakes and smoothies and flavored milks of all sorts. And I am also a great fan of pistachios, thus this glorious drink was born :) It's sweet and very foamy and intensely flavored. It will be on repeat for a long while ahead.

Last year: Kuvana Krtola (Potatoes with yogurt and fresh cheese) (Montenegrin).
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: nothing
Five years ago: Pizza Diavola (Italian-American).
Six years ago: Deep fried Brie with tamarillo relish.
Seven years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Eight years ago: Mashed potatoes with caramelized shallots and ParmesanPork in spice crust and Banana bread with nuts (American).

Friday, February 8, 2019

Peanut butter and banana cheesecake (no bake)

A cheesecake for when you can't or you won't use your oven, or you fancy the idea of something cool and fresh (you will need to put it in the freezer to firm up). 
The banana and peanut butter combination is a classic. It was about time it made it into a cheesecake as well :). Enjoy.
Recipe source: here.

It's the birthday of my little girl again so I had to post a recipe for something nice and which she liked. It wasn't made for her birthday per se, because she always prefers store-bought cakes with cartoon sugar decorations on this occasion, but I'll keep posting cake recipes that she liked on a different occasion, nonetheless. 

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Blue skies cake (Curacao and orange cake)
Five years ago: Sholezard (Iranian rice pudding with saffron, almonds and rosewater).
Six years ago: Ti ki burfi (sesame seed burfi) (Indian).
Seven years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Eight years ago: Pickled mustard and Marliesentorte (German hazelnut, chocolate and cream cake).

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ensalada chilena (Chilean salad) (vegan)

A light and tangy salad, combining red onions and tomatoes with chili peppers, cilantro and tart vinegar. It's a staple side to many Chilean cuisine mains, and a beautiful way to add more fresh stuff in your diet. 

I made it as part of a multi-course Southern American feast and it's the thing that was finished by my guests first. Too bad I didn't make more:).

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Classic grilled cheese (British and American).
Five years ago: Turkey bites with vodka sauce.
Six years ago: Smoked salmon pizza (Italian).
Seven years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Eight years ago: Bacon-wrapped baby cornSpicy chocolate truffles and Pissaladi√®res (French caramelized onion tarts).

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Classic Havana frittata (Cuban)

A beautiful recipe for a quick meal, this frittata enfolds fried onions, potato and banana slices in its creamy, velvety layers. Try it whenever you have plantains on hand, for a taste of authentic Cuba. 

This is the kind of dish you probably can't obtain in a Cuban themed restaurant, and it's closer to what people actually cook in their homes down in that gorgeous island. The good news is that it's also super-easy to make, so you don't need to spend half a day and set fire to your kitchen just to get a Cuban-flavored fix. 

Recipe source: Epicurious

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Kumquat vodka (vegan).
Five years ago: Tuna parsley fritters with mustard Bechamel sauce.
Six years ago: Tortellini and vegetable souffle.
Seven years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Eight years ago: Chicken with cream and mushroomsSingapore noodles with chicken and Mexican-style scrambled eggs.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Riba na Rostilju (Whole Grilled Fish with Lemon) (Croatian)

A simple and fresh recipe from the sea-faring tradition of the Croatian coast. People usually think only about Italy and Greece whenever the topic of Mediterranean foods comes up, but this leaves out the wonderful cuisines of adjacent countries with a less glam promo.

Such is the case of Croatia, whose coast knows an unbroken tradition of hundreds of years of cooking with seafood and most of the ingredients we label as Mediterranean. They even have a black risotto recipe with cuttlefish ink! But that's a story for another time. 

This is a recipe for when you have limited time, and once you have the barbecue grill going it will be pretty straightforward. It's great for a quiet home dinner, or larger crowd parties as well. 
Source: Saveur

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Rice waffles with cream cheese and chia seeds.
Five years ago: Guacamole de granada (Guacamole with pomegranate) (Spanish-Mexican) (raw vegan).
Six years ago: Chili and lemon fried shrimps.
Seven years ago: Sprinkle butter cookies (Italian).
Eight years ago: White rice pudding with rosewater and almonds (Turkish)Florentine pie (with spinach and egg) and Bramboraki (Czech potato pancakes).

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Osso buco alla milanese (Italian)

The ossobuco is a truly scrumptious and deliciously historical dish from Italy. It's not a fast-to-make dinner, but there are good chances that once you make it exactly how it should be prepared, respecting all the steps etc you won't want to have beef any other way. Yes, that includes the comfy burgers. At least that's how I feel after eating it. It's precisely its "slow cook" technique that allows all the flavors to get very friendly with each-other and to mature together into a final harmony that will blow your mind.

When accompanied by a side of risotto alla milanese (with saffron), the ossobuco becomes a glorious Ossobuco alla milanese (what I did here). So, besides the butter-like soft meat and the flavorful roast vegetable bed, the dish contains a golden risotto serving and it's generously sprinkled with gremolata (a raw combination of garlic, parsley, lemon zest). Your taste buds will go mad with joy.

The special ossobuco meat cuts play an important role in the final flavor (because of the large quantity of marrow), so don't even think about replacing them with regular beef pieces. Trust me, it will be worth the extra effort to gather all the precise ingredients. :) 

P.S: It goes perfectly with a sweet red wine. :)
Recipe source and guidance: the lovely Kiss the Cook.

Last year: nothing
Two years ago: nothing
Three years ago: nothing
Four years ago: Potage de garbanzos con chorizo (Spanish).
Five years ago: Turkish baklava.
Six years ago: Endive and apple salad with poppy seed vinaigrette (raw vegan).
Seven years ago: Dagaiku imo (Japanese sweet potatoes with honey and sesame) (vegan).
Eight years ago: Winter wheat berries soup with capers (vegan) and Endive and bacon pasta.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Mascarpone, cranberry and pistachio tart

I made this as a modern version of Pasca (a Romanian Easter cake) during the Easter holidays of 2013, when I was visiting my parents back home. Tradition calls for a tart filled with sweetened cream cheese with eggs and dried fruits (raisins, usually). Here, I made it creamier by using mascarpone and by filling it with cranberries and pistachios for a more interesting mix. It was really delicious, moderately easy to make and the flavors reminded me of Italian desserts. 

You can ignore the ethnic background and the fact that I took inspiration from the Pasca cake for it and just look at it as a cream pie or tart. It won't be that different from other sweet pies and tarts. But what it will be for certain is delicious. Enjoy :)

Last year: nothing
Two years ago: nothing
Three years ago: nothing
Four years ago: Patatas alioli (Spanish tapa).
Five years ago: Avocado "fries" in Parmesan coating (raw).
Six years ago: British country apple cake.
Seven years ago: Creamy potato and artichoke salad (very light).
Eight years ago: Bacon and eggs breakfast with a fresh touch (British) and Vegetable stock from scratch.

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