Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: June 2020

America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought their cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

A pasty is a baked meat pie, a traditional variety of which is usually associated with Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is made by placing an uncooked filling, typically meat and vegetables, on one half of a flat shortcrust pastry circle, folding the pastry in half to wrap the filling in a semicircle and crimping the curved edge to form a seal before baking.

The traditional Cornish pasty, which since 2011 has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in Europe, is filled with beef, sliced or diced potato, swede (also known as yellow turnip or rutabaga) and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper and baked. It is regarded as Cornwall’s national dish and accounts for 6% of the Cornish food economy. The origins of the pasty are unclear, though there are many references to them throughout historical documents and fiction. The pasty is now popular worldwide due to the spread of Cornish miners and sailors from across Devon and Cornwall, and variations can be found in Australia, Mexico, the United States, Ulster and elsewhere.

Michigan Pasty (Meat Hand Pie)

When Cornish miners migrated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1800s, they brought with them their beloved national dish, the pasty. The Finnish miners that followed adopted these meat pies as their own (easily transportable for long subterranean days!), and the pasty became such a large part of the regional culture that there’s an annual pasty festival in early July. In this recipe, beef, carrots, onions, and potatoes are essentially steamed within the dough pocket.

6 hand pies

Ingredients

Pastry Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 cup shortening or lard ( I use Spectrum)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup ice-cold water
Filling
8 ounces boneless steak such as sirloin, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
Ketchup, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, shortening, and salt in a food processor and run the motor until the dough starts to clump together. With the motor running, drizzle in the water. Stop the motor when a ball begins to form.

. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour. This step allows the gluten to relax and makes for easier rolling.

Mix together the steak, carrots, onions, potatoes, and parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to form the pies.

Cut the dough into 6 even pieces, about 5 ounces each, and form into balls. Flour a work surface and roll out each ball of dough into an 8-inch circle. Or roll each piece of dough between a sheet of wax paper and a piece of plastic wrap.

Evenly divide the filling (about 3/4 cup per pasty) on one half of each dough circle. Brush the edges of the circles with egg. Fold the dough over to cover the mixture and crimp the edges using a fork. Cut 3 small slits on top of each pie. This prevents steam from building up and splitting the dough. Brush the pasties with the egg and refrigerate the baking pans until ready to bake for dinner.

Bake on the prepared baking sheets until the crust is golden brown and flaky about 1 hour. Serve with ketchup, if desired.Pasties can be baked and then frozen. To reheat, place in a 300 degree F oven until warmed through, about 20 minutes.


Blueberry Loaves

Makes two loaves that are good for breakfast or dessert.

Ingredients

1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 small to medium very ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Optional Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper cut to fit.

Combine the berries with the ¼ cup flour and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the 3 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl combine the yogurt, banana, milk and lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the yogurt mixture. Add the flour to the egg mixture mixing just until combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pans dividing the mixture in half. I weigh the baking pans as I add the batter to each pan so that they are equal.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes, then remove the loaves from pan and cool on a rack.

For the glaze:
Stir the sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Drizzle over the Blueberry Loaves.


Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Ingredients

1 1/2-pound beef tenderloin roast, all visible fat and silverskin removed
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Tie the meat in three or four places with kitchen twine. Put the roast in a medium-sized heavy nonstick roasting pan and coat the roast with the olive oil. Rub the garlic all over the meat and sprinkle on the herbs and pepper. Scatter the shallots on top of the meat.

Cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes per pound for medium-rare, or to your desired doneness. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the salt. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Slice the roast and place it on a serving platter. Drizzle the pan juices over the meat and serve.

Roasted Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients

4 small to midsize zucchini
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or substitute unseasoned breadcrumbs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Split the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a serrated spoon scrape out the seeds, digging a trough in the center of the zucchini. Sprinkle the zucchini shells with salt and turn them over on a paper towel to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

For the filling: Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onions until tender. Add the garlic. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add tomato, breadcrumbs, herbs, and cheese. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Place the filling down the center of each zucchini half. Place the zucchini in a greased baking dish and roast in the oven until the zucchini shells are tender and the topping is lightly brown (about 25 -30 minutes). Serve as a side dish in this meal.

Basil Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

Pesto
4 packed cups washed basil leaves
½ cup shelled pistachio nuts, pignoli or walnuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pasta
! cup grated parmesan cheese
One lb bucatini or other long pasta, cooked al dente
2 tablespoons room temperature butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

Place the nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a processor bowl. Process until the nuts and garlic are chopped.

Add the basil leaves and process for a minute or two. In the opening spout at the top, pour the olive oil as you process. Keep processing until the mixture is smooth.

Place the sauce in a large pasta serving bowl. Add the hot drained pasta, parmesan cheese, and butter. Gently toss until the pasta is coated in sauce. Serve as a side dish in this meal.



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