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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Healthy Italian Cooking

 

Mexican Americans have lived in the United States for most of the country’s history. Ethnically, Mexican Americans are a diverse population, but the majority are Mestizo, which in colonial times meant to be a person of half European and half Native American ancestry. Nonetheless, the meaning of the word has changed through time and currently refers to the segment of the Mexican population who do not speak indigenous languages.

The United States is home to the second-largest Mexican community in the world, second only to Mexico itself, and comprising more than 24% of the entire Mexican population of the world. Mexican American families of indigenous heritage have been in the country for at least 15,000 years, and Mestizo Mexican American history spans more than 400 years, since the 1598 founding of Spanish New Mexico. Spanish residents of New Spain in the Southwest included New Mexican Hispanos and Pueblo Indians and Genizaros, Tejanos, Californios and Mission Indians. Approximately ten percent of the current Mexican-American population are descended from the early colonial settlers who became U.S. citizens in 1848 following the conditions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican–American War.

Generally, when Americans speak about Mexican food, they are usually referring to Tex-Mex (or Cal-Mex) cooking, an extremely popular cuisine that follows the long border between the United States and Mexico. The food of the southwestern US state of New Mexico and the dishes of many of the Native American peoples of the southwestern US have similar names to many Tex-Mex and some Mexican dishes but they use different flavorings and cooking techniques.

Dishes like chili, fajitas, salsa, tortilla chips, chimichangas, quesadillas, burritos, and nachos are actually homegrown American inventions. Even dishes that exist in Mexico like enchiladas, tacos, and tamales are cooked and served differently in the United States. True Mexican dishes are not as spicy as many US versions. American versions of Mexican entrees add prodigious quantities of cheese, either shredded or melted, to nearly every dish, a practice rare in Mexico. The same heavy hand applies to the American use of sauces of all kinds. North of the border portions are larger, plates are filled so that the food items tend to run one into the other. In Mexico, the soft corn tortilla performs the function that bread on the table performs in the United States; it is a side starch. In the United States, fried tortillas, become an ingredient in nearly every dish.

Like most immigrant groups, Mexican Americans have remained loyal to the food traditions of their homeland. Many shops in small ethnic markets carry Mexican specialty foods. When they cook, they follow recipes handed down to them by their parents and grandparents and their cooking styles have certain things in common. Meat, usually pork or beef, is central to the diet. It is often eaten with salsa on the side. Corn, beans, rice, and root vegetables are also staples, especially sweet potatoes, yams, yucca, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, and taro. Also popular is a pear-shaped squash called chayote. Here are some Mexican American recipes for you to make at home.

Carne Asada

Carne asada means grilled beef in Spanish. The best cuts for making carne asada is Arrachera or skirt steak. It’s the taste that comes to mind when you think carne asada.

In Mexico, there are several marinating techniques that vary depending on the region of the country.
In the south and in the Gulf of Mexico area, where bitter oranges are grown, cooks will add some of its juice to the meat they are using to make Carne Asada; in other regions, they will add lime juice, and others will add a splash of beer.

Carne asada is traditionally made using a skirt or flank steak. The two cuts are very similar, but I prefer flank steak. When cutting the cooked meat, be sure to cut against the grain. It is quite easy to see the grain running through the meat in both of these cuts. It looks like long lines. Do not cut parallel to these lines, always cut perpendicular to them.

 

Carne Asada

Adapted from Rick Bayless, Chicago Chef

Servings: 6
Ingredients

2 limes juiced
4 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 jalapeno minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 pounds flank steak

Directions

In a gallon size resealable bag, combine the lime juice, crushed garlic, orange juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil, jalapeno, and vinegar. Squeeze the bag to mix it up.
Put the entire flank steak into the resealable bag. Seal it up tight. Make sure all the meat is exposed to the marinade, squashing the bag around to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight is better.
Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan over high heat.
Remove the flank steak from the marinade, and discard the excess marinade. Cook on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side.
Once done, remove from the heat and let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain, and serve.

For Carne Asada Tacos

Thinly sliced grilled flank steak
Sliced tomato
Sliced avocado
Sliced red onion
Shredded lettuce
Cotija cheese, crumbled
6 tortillas
Blood oranges, cut into eighths

Grilled or Roasted Corn On the Cob

Ingredients

4 ears corn
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Chopped herbs (your choice)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or use the grill when cooking the meat.
Remove husks and silks from the corn. Place the corn on sheets of foil.
Butter corn and sprinkle with herbs and Parmesan cheese. Enclose the corn in foil and press the edges to seal.
Place wrapped corn on a cookie sheet or on the grill and roast for 25-30 minutes.

Mexican Red Rice

Arroz Rojo Mexicano
Adapted from Rick Bayless, Chicago Chef

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
1 ¾ cups unsalted chicken broth or water
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 1 to 2 serranos or 1 large jalapeño), stemmed and cut a slit down the side of each one
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

Directions

Place the garlic into a blender or food processor, add the canned tomatoes and process to a smooth puree.

In a large saucepan, stir together the oil and rice. When the rice is thoroughly coated, stir in the tomato puree, broth (or water), carrots and 1 teaspoon salt. Nestle in the chiles. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Gently stir the rice, re-cover and let the rice cook about 20 minutes. or until tender Taste a grain of rice: It should be very close to done at the core. If not, sprinkle in a little water, re-cover and cook 5 minutes more.

When the rice is done, uncover it and sprinkle in the peas and the parsley or cilantro. Use a fork to gently fluff the rice, reaching all the way to the edges of the bottom, to release steam and slow the cooking. Re-cover, let stand 5 minutes.

Black Beans with Chiles

Ingredients

1 pound dried black beans
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
2 whole serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Rinse beans. Place beans in a large bowl. Cover with water by several inches. Let soak overnight.
Place oil, onion, and carrot in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until the onion is tender. Drain beans and add to the Dutch Oven. Add whole chiles, cumin, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Uncover and simmer until beans are very tender, about 15 minutes more.

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Pork
2 boneless loin pork chops, about 1 inch thick, all fat removed
2-3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Vegetables
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large white mushrooms, quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Noodles, 3-4 oz uncooked

Directions
Pat the chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour with the Italian seasoning. Coat the pork chops in the flour mixture.
Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to serving platter and tent with foil.


Cook the noodles according to package instructions.


Add mushrooms and zucchini to the skillet and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, cream, roasted peppers, and Parmesan cheese and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened about 5 minutes. Add the pork chops back to the skillet and heat.


Serve over cooked noodles.


The majority of Norwegian immigrants lived in the farming communities of the upper Midwest making their homes in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and North and South Dakota. They settled in cities such as Brooklyn, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Seattle.
Once the first Norwegians came to an area, others often followed, particularly after the Homestead Act of 1862 that made Minnesota land available almost free for the asking. Norwegian immigrants developed commercial fishing along the North Shore, worked in the Iron Range mines and offered trades needed in their areas.

Norwegian immigrants pose for a picture on the passenger and freight steamer America sometime between 1900 and 1910. (Photo courtesy of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center, Duluth)

Why did Norwegians leave their homeland?

In the 19th century, Norway was a difficult place for the common folk. Its population was increasing and they were squeezed onto the slivers of land that could be cultivated — only 3 percent of the country. Farm mechanization pushed out landless laborers, and a rigid social hierarchy gave them no chance to improve their situation.

So, they left. Starting in the late 1830s, Norwegians came to America.

Those who had a farming background headed to Norwegian settlements in the coulee country of southwest Wisconsin, the bluff country of southeast Minnesota and Iowa and then the fertile Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota. Norwegians who fished headed for the shorelines of Door County and Minnesota’s North Shore. By 1915, Norway had lost 750,000 people to the United States, contributing, after Ireland, the highest percentage of its population to the new country. Norwegians often chose land that reminded them of home.

They also tried to carry on their Norwegian traditions here in America. Each Christmas, Norwegian-Americans headed to the nearest Norsk deli to buy lutefisk that once was a staple for peasants in Norway. They grated potatoes for lefse, a flat peasant bread, and rolled thin butter cookies on krumkake irons for their holiday celebrations. There are more than 4.5 million people of Norwegian ancestry in the United States today. Norwegian Americans actively celebrate and maintain their heritage in many ways. Much of it centers on the Lutheran-Evangelical churches they were born into. Culinary customs, national dress, and Norwegian holidays (Syttende Mai, May 17) are also popular.

Norwegian cuisine in its traditional form was based largely on the natural materials readily available in Norway and by its geography. Norwegian fare had a strong focus on fish and game. A gradual transition to American life weakened immigrant folkways. Some traditions and customs survived and were cultivated, others were reintroduced and given importance as a part of their ethnic heritage. Toward the end of the century, lutefisk became known as a Norwegian American dish. It was served at lodge meetings, festive banquets, and church suppers, most regularly during the Christmas season.

One tank holds about 900=950 pounds of lutefisk ready for packing, at the Olsen Fish Company in Minneapolis, which produces about 450,000 pounds annually from dried cod. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Lutefisk is whitefish — which refers to several species of finned fish such as cod, ling, or burbot — that has been air-dried and may or may not be salted. It is first soaked in cold water for five or six days, with the water changed daily. The saturated fish is again soaked for two days in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye. Lye is a substance obtained by leaching ashes and is also known as sodium hydroxide. After this weeklong process, the fish loses half of its protein and gains a jelly-like consistency. At this point, it needs another four to six days of soaking in cold water, refreshed daily, before it is ready to be cooked. Since the saturated fish is quite delicate, a layer of salt is added about a half-hour before it is cooked. This releases some of the water being held in the fish. It is then placed in a sealed pan and steam cooked on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or wrapped in aluminum foil and baked at 435 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Since Minnesota has a large population of Norwegian immigrants, lutefisk is quite popular in the Twin Cities and their surrounding areas. It can be served a number of ways, but some of the more common ones are with boiled potatoes, green peas, melted butter, small pieces of bacon, horseradish, or cheese.

Aquavit is Norway’s famous exported liquor made from potatoes. Distillers flavor it with spice bags of caraway seeds or star anise. After the warm alcohol passes through the bags, it is aged in wood barrels. Cold-pressed, clear Aquavit isn’t aged but is served slightly chilled with herring, cold meat, and fatty dishes. Norwegians serve dark Aquavit, that has been aged for several years, after dinner.

Here are some Norwegian American style recipes for you to make at home.

Pan-Fried White Fish

Ingredients

1 lb white fish fillets
White pepper
Salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
6 tablespoons butter
Norwegian Lemon Butter Sauce, recipe below

Directions

For the Pan-Fried White Fish

Check to make sure all the fish bones have been removed. Season the fillets with the salt and white pepper.

Lightly whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl combine the breadcrumbs with ¼ teaspoon salt.

Dip the fillets in the egg and then dredge in the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Fry the fillets until they are golden brown.

Place the fillets on a paper towel. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and drizzle with the lemon sauce.

Norwegian Lemon Butter Sauce (Sandefjords Mor)

Ingredients

1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

Place the lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Add cream; whisk to combine. Continue to cook until the cream reduces and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 or 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Whisk in a few pieces of cold butter, stirring until the butter melts before adding more. Continue adding the butter a few pieces at a time until all the butter is emulsified into the cream. Add salt, cayenne pepper, and chopped parsley. Whisk until well blended. Keep sauce warm until ready to use.

Sour Cream-Chive Mashed Carrots & Parsnips

Norway has a long history with root vegetables. They are grown in many parts of the country and can generally be easily stored. Norwegians have favorites – like rutabaga, carrots, and potatoes – but more and more, others are being used more frequently in cooking, such as turnips, parsnips, and beets.

Ingredients

8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions

Place carrots and parsnips in a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan.

Use a potato masher or ricer to finely mash the vegetables. Add sour cream, 2 tablespoons chives, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until heated through. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chives.

Green Beans with Dill Vinaigrette

Ingredients

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 pound green beans

Directions

Stir together the vinegar, mustard, and salt in a small bowl until the ingredients are combined and the salt has dissolved. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the oil and continue to whisk until emulsified. Gently stir in chopped dill and set aside.
Steam green beans until tender. Drain. Arrange green beans in a serving dish and season with a little bit of salt. Pour the dill dressing over the green beans. Mix well and leave at room temperature until serving time.

Rhubarb Rolls

For the bottom layer

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen and thawed)

For the top layer

1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the bottom layer

In a large bowl mix the butter into the brown sugar with a pastry blender until crumbly. If using frozen rhubarb, dry on paper towels after draining. Stir the rhubarb into the brown sugar and butter. Divide the mixture evenly into a well greased 12 cup muffin pan. Do not use muffin papers. Set this aside.

For the top layer

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the egg and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Once blended, add to the creamed butter mixture in small amounts alternating with the cream.

Spoon the batter mixture evenly over the rhubarb layer in the muffin cups.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top of the batter is golden brown.

Remove from the oven, set on a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Place a serving dish on top of the muffin pan and flip the two over so that the bottom of the buns are right-side up.

Serve while still warm.


Italian Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
One 26-28 ounce container Italian diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano
Salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan.
Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Then, stir in the broth and undrained tomatoes, bay leaves, herbs, salt to taste and red pepper. Cover with the lid ajar and simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until the sauce is very thick, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.

Chicken Fontina

Ingredients

2 large boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
All-Purpose or low carb flour
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, made from regular or low carb bread
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large slices Italian Fontina cheese
Italian Tomato Mushroom Sauce, recipe above.

Directions

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the pounded chicken breasts in flour. Dip in the beaten egg white and then into the bread crumbs. Press the crumbs onto the breasts. Place the breaded cutlets on a plate and refrigerate for several hours.


In a large skillet with a cover heat the butter and oil. Add the cutlets and brown on both sides.

Cover each breast with tomato mushroom sauce and a 1 1/2 slices of cheese. Cover the skillet and heat until the cheese begins to melt.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Serves 4

1 pound medium asparagus, woody stalks removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
l garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the asparagus with oil in a large baking dish.
Roast for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the minced garlic and lemon zest on the asparagus and roast an additional 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt & pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


About 1.3 million Americans are of Greek descent and have the majority live in New York City, Boston, and Chicago. However, Tarpon Springs, Florida is home to the highest per capita representation of Greek Americans in the country (11%).

In 1768 about 500 Greeks from Smyrna, Crete, and Mani settled in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The colony was unsuccessful, and the settlers moved to St. Augustine in 1776. The first significant Greek community to settle in the U.S. was in New Orleans, Louisiana during the 1850s. By 1866, the community was numerous and prosperous enough to have a Greek consulate and the first official Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. Immigration picked up again in the 1890s and early 20th century, due largely to economic opportunity in the U.S. Most of these immigrants worked in the northeastern cities in the United States; while others labored on railroad construction and in the mines of the western states. Many Greek immigrants expected to work and return to their homeland after earning capital and dowries for their families. However, due to conflicts between Greece and Turkey, Greek immigrants lost the right to return to their homeland and were made refugees. Additionally, in 1924 the first widely implemented U.S. immigration limit against non-Western European immigrants created an impetus for immigrants to apply for citizenship and permanently settle in the U.S.

Greeks began to arrive in large numbers after 1945, fleeing the economic devastation caused by World War II and the Greek Civil War. From 1946 until 1982, approximately 211,000 Greeks emigrated to the United States. In the aftermath of the recent Greek financial crisis, there has been a resurgence of Greek emigration to New York City with the majority of the immigrants settling in Astoria, Queens.

As immigrants from various Greek areas, they settled in different regions of the United States and became “Greek Americans”. Many of their traditional foods and recipes depended on the availability of those ingredients in the U.S. so these recipes often developed into new traditions. For example, Greek Salad is called Horiatiki in Greece and the salad is made with feta and cucumber, but no lettuce—only the Greek American version of the salad contains lettuce. Greek cuisine has certainly influenced American cuisine not only with the popularity of Greek salad but also with foods like gyros, souvlaki, and baklava.

Contemporary Greek cooking makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and meats that include lamb, poultry, rabbit and pork. Also important are olives, cheese, eggplant (aubergine), zucchini (courgette), and yogurt. Greek desserts are usually made with nuts and honey.

Below are some traditional Greek recipes for you to try.

Spanakopita (Spinach Triangles)

Ingredients

10 sheets of phyllo dough
500g spinach washed and roughly chopped (18 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
200g feta cheese, crumbled (7 ounces)
Pinch of grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Melted butter for the pastry
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until soft and turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted. Let the mixture cool down in a colander to drain. Pour into a mixing bowl. Mix in the feta cheese, eggs, nutmeg, dill, salt, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread one sheet of the phyllo dough on the kitchen counter and keep the rest covered with a cloth.
With a cooking brush drizzle some melted butter on the phyllo sheet on the counter. Spread one more sheet on top and drizzle with some more butter.

Cut the phyllo sheets in 3-4 lengthwise pieces (depending on if you like the spanakopita triangles to be small or larger). At the end of each piece add one tablespoon of the filling. Fold one corner over the filling to form a triangle and continue folding the triangle upon itself, until the entire piece of phyllo is used. Continue with the rest of the phyllo sheets and filling.

Oil the bottom of a large baking dish, place the spanakopita triangles in the dish and brush them with more melted butter. Bake in the preheated oven at 25-30 minutes, until golden and crispy. Serve with Tzatziki Sauce.

Greek Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh dill chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, grated

Directions

Chop the cucumber into tiny pieces, place in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 20 minutes. Squeeze dry in a paper towel. Place in a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

Grilled Zucchini and Lamb Chops

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
4 loin lamb chops
Marinade
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Greek seasoning or oregano
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Cut the zucchini into quarters. Combine the marinade ingredients in a ziplock food storage bag. Give it a shake. Add the lamb and zucchini, seal the bag and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat an outdoor or stovetop grill. Place the lamb and zucchini quarters on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Greek Couscous

Ingredients

1 cup couscous
1 cup of water
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Prepare couscous as directed on the package. (Boil the water, add couscous, stir quickly. remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes). Do not add butter and salt.

In a large bowl, mix peppers, tomatoes, and olives together well. Add couscous and stir with a fork to fluff the couscous.
Add the oil, pine nuts, and feta and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with parsley.


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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