Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: April 2019

Stuffed Peppers

This past weekend I grilled a whole chicken and, of course, there were leftovers. The leftovers made a delicious filling for the peppers. Here is the link to the grilled chicken and my recipe for Ranch Salad Dressing.

Ingredients

2 large bell peppers
1/2 cup water

Filling
1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup leftover rice or cauliflower rice
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the peppers and reserve them. Remove the pepper seeds, wash and dry the peppers.
Combine the filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. You need about 1 cup of filling for each pepper.

Fill the hollowed out pepper cups and place them in a baking dish where they can stand upright. Put the tops on the peppers and pour the water in the baking dish around the bottom of the peppers.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Corn and Black Bean Saute

Ingredients

2 cups corn kernels
1 seeded and minced jalapeno
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups canned or homemade black beans, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Saute the corn, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until corn is just tender. Stir in the black beans and cilantro. Season and heat.

Sliced Cucumbers With Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

1 English cucumber
Ranch Dressing (your favorite or my recipe in the link at the top of this post.)

Directions

Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Place on a serving plate and drizzle with ranch dressing.


German Food in the United States

Where most German Americans live.

By most accounts, approximately one-fourth of the American population is of German descent. At one time, German restaurants were found in most major cities; today they are hard to find even in traditionally German cities like Cincinnati, St. Louis and Milwaukee. Nevertheless, both the hamburger and the frankfurter, sausages and cured meats of many varieties, egg noodles and countless other American dishes have German origins. Among popular American foods, sauerbraten, a sweet and sour pot roast, retains its German name as do sauerkraut and the sausages knackwurst (often called knockwurst), leberwurst (slightly changed to liverwurst) and the popular bratwurst. Americans are comfortable using these terms whether or not they are of German background.

German immigrants photographed at Ellis Island in 1931. (German Federal Archives)

German language names have not always been retained over the generations: breaded veal or pork cutlets are no longer called Wiener Schnitzel; the Rouladen is now better known as a “roll up;” the Knödel is a dumpling; Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is better known as Black Forest chocolate cake; Berliner Pfannkuchen are now just a type of doughnut; Kartoffelsalat became German potato salad (the kind served warm, made with vinegar). The German language was alive and well in the United States until an anti-German reaction set in during the First World War; menu names changed (sauerkraut was referred to as “Liberty Cabbage” for a time), but the food kept its appeal.

Helga’s German Restaurant & Deli in Colorado

In 1931, Irma von Starkloff Rombauer put out her first edition of The Joy Of Cooking which is still one of the most influential cookbooks in the country.. Rombauer’s choice of dishes also reflected a strong bias toward the southern end of the German-speaking regions: Austria and Bavaria. The American connection of German food with Bavaria may also have to do with the fact that U.S. soldiers occupied the area immediately after the Second World War. German restaurants in the United States tend toward heavy Bavarian cuisine and decorations like cuckoo clocks. Munich’s famous Oktoberfest celebration is mirrored hundreds of times over by mini-Oktoberfest promotions in American restaurants and communities.

In the Amish and Mennonite communities, Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine (the people are actually of German descent) keeps alive food traditions, and many food names, that reflect the cooking of the Rhineland Palatinate and nearby regions of several centuries ago.

Lager beer, the predominant form of beer consumed today in the United States (and the world) was brought to the country by German immigrants and popularized among the general public by beer companies like Schlitz, Pabst, Stroh, and Busch The Beck’s brand, from the north German port city of Bremen, is the most popular imported German beer, accounting for a full 60% of the German beer sold in the United States. Its sister brand, St. Pauli Girl, has also many American fans.

German Beef Rouladen

Beef Rouladen are called Rindsrouladen or Rinderrouladen in Germany.

Ingredients

One 2 lb round steak or the equivalent of round steak cutlets
Salt and pepper
Paprika
8 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 slices bacon, cut in half
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
8 slices sweet pickles, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the gravy:
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

To thicken the gravy:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

For garnish:
Chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the steak lengthwise into four equal pieces and pound the beef slices until they are 1/4 inch thin and about 4 inches wide by 12 inches long. Cut each steak in half (4×6). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread each piece of beef with 1 teaspoon mustard.. Scatter each with diced onion, dividing evenly between the 8 pieces. Place half a strip of bacon on each piece of beef. Place two pickle pieces down the center of each piece of beef. Take the end closest to you and fold it up and over the pickles. Continue rolling by lifting and rolling until it is completely rolled. {lace a skewer and secure the end of the roll to the main part of the roll, so it doesn’t unroll. Roll up the remaining beef pieces similarly.

Stir together the gravy ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof dish with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef rolls to the pan, skewer/seam side down. Sear for a few minutes until lightly browned, then flip over and sear the other side. Place the rolls on their sides if necessary to sear the entire outside of each of the rolls.

Once the beef rolls are browned, add the prepared gravy mixture to the pan. Bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover the pot and place in the preheated oven. Cook, covered in the oven until tender, about 2 hours (depending on the size of the rolls), turning them over a couple of times during the cooking period.

Remove the pot from the oven and use tongs to remove the beef rolls to a plate. Carefully remove the skewers from the rolls and discard, then cover the plate loosely with foil while making the gravy.
Place the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and add to the liquid in the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, until thickened. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Garnish the beef rolls with chopped parsley.
Serve with the gravy, braised red cabbage, and mashed rutabaga.

German Braised Red Cabbage

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons bacon fat (or butter)
Half a red onion, diced
Half a large head red cabbage, shredded
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Directions

In a large deep skillet, sauté onion in the bacon fat.
Add the red cabbage. Continue to sauté for several minutes, stirring. When the cabbage has softened, add a 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper and the honey. Stir.

Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 – 45 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Add water as necessary to keep the cabbage from sticking to the pan and stir occasionally during simmering.

Add the vinegar. Stir and heat for a few minutes before serving.
This goes really well with almost any German meat recipe. It is traditional with rouladen or schnitzel.

Mashed Rutabaga with Sour Cream

Ingredients

One 1 ½-2 pound rutabaga, peeled and cut into small chunks
Salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Directions

Cover the rutabaga with about 1 inch of cold water in a large saucepot and bring to a boil.

Add a generous pinch of salt and boil until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Drain and dry on paper towels.
Return the rutabagas to the pot.

Place the heat on low and let the rutabaga steam for a minute or two. Mash with a potato masher.

Add the butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, mix in the chopped chives.

 


Modern-day Native American cuisine encompasses all the traditional foods of long ago, such as cornbread, turkey, cranberries, blueberries, hominy, and mush and many of these recipes have been adopted into the cuisine of the United States. The most important native American crops include corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, wild rice, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, peanuts, avocados, papayas, potatoes, and chocolate. North American native cuisine can differ somewhat from Southwestern and Mexican cuisine due to its inclusion of ramps, wild ginger, miner’s’ lettuce, and juniper berries that add subtle flavors to the cuisine.

Staple foods of the Eastern Woodlands Native Americans were corn (also known as maize), beans, and squash. This combination is referred to as the “Three Sisters” because they were planted interdependently: The beans grew up the tall stalks of the maize, while the squash spread out at the base of the three plants and provided protection and support for the root systems. A number of other domesticated crops were also popular during some time periods in the Eastern Woodlands, including a variety of amaranth, sumpweed (marsh elder), little barley, maygrass, and sunflowers. Maple syrup is another example of an essential food staple of the Woodland Indigenous peoples whereby tree sap was collected from sugar maple trees at the beginning of springtime.

Southeastern Native American cuisine forms the cornerstone of Southern cuisine from its origins right up to present times. From Southeastern Native Americans came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: corn (maize), either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy. Corn was used for cornbread, grits, and liquors such as whiskey, which were important trade items. Though a lesser staple, the potato was also adopted from the Native Americans and used in many ways similar to corn. Native Americans introduced Southerners to many other vegetables still familiar on southern tables, such as squash, pumpkin, many types of beans, tomatoes, many types of peppers, sassafras and many other wild berries.

Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains relied heavily on American bison (American buffalo) as a food source. The meat was cut in thin slices and dried, either over a slow fire or in the hot sun until it was hard and brittle. Since it could last for months, it was the main ingredient to be combined with other foods, or eaten on its own. Other foods included pemmican, a concentrated mixture of fat, protein, and fruits such as cranberries, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, cherries, chokeberries, chokecherries, and currants. Staple foods also included turnips, wild berries, potatoes, squash, dried meats (venison, buffalo, jackrabbit, pheasant, and prairie chicken), and wild rice. Great Plains Indians also consumed deer and antelope.

In the Northwest Native Americans used salmon and other types of fish, mushrooms, berries, and meats such as deer, duck, and rabbit. The generally mild climate meant they did not need to develop an economy based upon agriculture but instead could rely year-round on the abundant food supplies of their region. Acorns were ground into a flour that was the principal foodstuff for about 75 percent of the population, and dried meats were prepared during the season when drying was possible.

Puebloans lived in southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado and practiced subsistence agriculture by cultivating maize, beans, squash, and sunflower seeds. They utilized locally available wild resources such as pine nuts from the pinyon pine and hunted game including deer, hare, rabbits, and squirrel. They were also known for their basketry and pottery to hold agricultural surplus that needed to be carried and stored, as well as clay pot cooking. Grinding stones were used to grind maize into meal for cooking.

Chef Sean Sherman, a winner of a 2019 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award, preparing apple blossoms.

Recently, The James Beard Foundation (JBF) announced that Sean Sherman, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota would receive a Leadership Award for his work in helping Native Americans reclaim historic food and agricultural systems. The award acknowledges Sherman’s efforts to recognize the Native American diet and revitalize traditional indigenous food systems in North America.

A Native American Dinner

Grilled Wild Salmon

The foil packets may also be baked in a 375-degree F oven for 15 minutes.

Ingredients

3 whole juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
Top greens from 1 bunch scallions, cut into one-inch pieces
2 wild caught salmon fillets, skin on (about 12 oz total)
Salt
Black Pepper
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill.
Cut two pieces of foil big enough to hold the fish with a couple of inches overlapping all around the fish. Divide the scallion tops in half and place them on each piece of foil. Place the salmon fillets on top, skin side down.
Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
Finely crush the juniper berries and mustard seeds in a mortar.


Brush each fillet with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and sprinkle the top of each fillet with the crushed seeds.
Close the foil and seal the ends. Place foil packets on the grill and cover the grill. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
Use tongs or a metal spatula to remove foil packet from the grill and set it on a plate or cutting board. Allow it to cool enough to handle, then unwrap the foil.

Wild Rice Blend

The blend is a combination of Long Grain Brown Rice, Sweet Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Whole Grain Wehani® Rice, Whole Grain Black Japonica™ Rice.

Ingredients

1 cup (Lundberg) wild rice blend
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Combine rice, water, salt, and butter in a pot and bring to a boil.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low-simmer, and cook 45 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat (with the lid on!) and steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Puréed Squash

Ingredients

One 1 lb butternut or acorn squash
2 tablespoons soft butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 sage leaves minced
1 long chive leaf, minced

Directions

Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds and strings. Rub the insides with the butter; season with salt and pepper. Place on a roasting pan, skin side down. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until fork tender. Remove the squash from the oven, scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor or blender and process until smooth; or mash the squash in a large bowl using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with minced sage and chives.



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