parsley tagged posts

Summer Food: Eggplant Napoleon

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The summer is almost over (with 2 weeks left to it), but the summer food does not have to go. Summer comes with all these fresh veggies at their peak of ripeness giving us endless possibilities for creative cooking, that does not have to be confined in the salad making. In this recipe I am making a dish that is largely inspired by a Raw Food class I recently attended in New York City. The class is regularly offered in California by Gisselle Gordon, but if you are lucky you might catch Gisselle in one of her trips. My views on Raw Food as a diet perspective are outlined in the previous posts, but regardless the fact that I largely disagree with the claims, I cannot overlook the taste aspects of it especially what it comes loaded with fresh ingredients in a way you have never seen before. This is actually a great way to few all these diets, focus on the taste and the appearance of the food, don't dismiss them just because you don't agree with their claims. It is called being open-minded, and in the culinary world it can take you very very far.

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Quinoa Salad

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The last few years there is a growing number of grains that have hit the market. Many of them have been around for a while (a few thousand years) but their nutritional value was hardly been recognized. In their majority they emerged as an alternative to the existing grains that recently have been under the gun for not being as healthy as we though they were. A major concern is gluten. Gluten is a form of tough network of proteins that is created by the cross-linking of gliadin and a gluten with the help of water. Both gliadin and a glutenin are in abundance in many grains, primarily in wheat, rye and barley. Several people have a immunogenic response to it, in which the body recognizes several molecules (gliadin in this case) as an intruder. This is causing a cascade of effects that can lead to unpredictable results. This is considered part of the Celiac Disease and is not recognized as an allergy due to the unusual response of the body ranging from stomach cramps to joint pains.

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Baba Ganoush: An inevitable plate

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This is an inevitable post. Inevitable since just in the previous I presented the sibling dish of this one, the hummus. This one is all about eggplant. The one plant that has become a stable food around Mediterranean and primarily in the middle-eastern countries. Most of these countries rely heavily on vegetables as power source. Eggplant is not one of them. It is a plant, but not a power source. With a mere 25 kcal per 100 g of the fruit, eggplant is food with low energy value. It does have some other minerals and vitamins, but again they are not even enough to make eggplant a "super-food". Then why do we eat it? Why is it so valuable in Middle East, India etc?

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The Greek Adopted Dish: Hummus

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Greek restaurants across the USA had to adapt and adjust their menu and recipes. This usually happens with in three ways: i) the adaptation of classic recipes to whatever ingredients are available ii) the adaptation to the taste palette of the locals and iii) the adoption of dishes from other countries just because the locals seem to like them. Actually one of the most classic dishes, the poster child of the Greek food, the gyro sandwich originated in its final form in New York by Greek food track vendors out of necessity to battle tacos and shawarma as a fast food alternative. In the restaurant scenery, one of the Greek adopted dishes was, and still is, the hummus.

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Bruschetta (?) My Way

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Since it is summer, I am more keen in making and creating dishes, that are summery and fresh that combine a large number of various elements: texture, flavors and engage all the senses. This is what I making today. A take on a bruschetta, the italian delicacy that is been around since the 15th century. It was a fun recipe since it is largely similar to the the previous post in regards to the ingredients. It showcases that sam ingredients put together in a different way results in such a different result.As you probably noticed on the title next to the bruschetta is a question mark. Why? Because I think that in the melting culinary pot in america many cuisines were merged, fused, combined and unavoidably either lost their origin meaning or got a load of new ingredients, that changed drastically their appearance and flavor profile.

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Tempeh Cake

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This is the second very special post. It is one other special recipe that was made for some good friends long time ago and it was promised that will be featured on the blog. Promises in a way work like thermodynamics. They tell you if something is going to happen and in what degree, but not when. Time is the elusive dimension that although very interesting does not belong to this blog. Here we talk food… Speaking of which… This is recipe the was kinda featured before to the blog, but never full. It is based largely on the meatloaf cake that I made before for Kathryn for her birthday. This one is very particular, however. Oaklianna, a dear friend, is among the people that have the intolerance to gluten the wheat protein. Damian, her then boyfriend, had always been vegetarian and never head meat. So the plan for the alternative cake had to find another base. That base is non-other than the best thing that ever happened to soy, tempeh.

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Cretan Diet I: Green Salad

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The last few years there is a big buzz about the health benefit of the Mediterranean with Unesco the agent for the national and international heritage recognizing the Mediterranean diet as a distinct way of dieting and nutritional habits. The text of the announcement is not really related to the specific eating habits since the these are completely different between the various Mediterranean culture. It is mostly related to the way of cooking and the general eating habits rather the ingredients. The eating habits include the large consumption of vegetables, little meat, many grains, and a distinct touch of olive oil. The recipes are passed from one generation to the other, among the special bond between mother and daughter. However from one culture to the other there are many different aspects that change completely the ingredients and the methods of cooking making each culture completely distinctive from the others.

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Pineapple Mango Salsa

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This is an alternative salsa, something you do not see very often. It is a sweet and hot spicy salsa, that is very good compliment to white meat like fish (tilapia, mahi-mahi etc) and chicken or pork. A quick method to turn this to a marinate is to pass it through a blender. This will pulverize the salsa to a thick marinate. An additional effect of this is the papain. It is an enzyme primarily found in papaya and it has the ability to break down proteins like collagen. This will tenderize the meat making it juicer. Its primary utility actually is the breaking down the tough meat fibers and has been utilized for thousands of years in its native South America. 

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Summer Food: Squash Casserole

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The butternut squash has been featured before on this blog, in the very famous, but elaborate recipe about the butternut squash ravioli. I just quote from that blog the few words about the humble star of the dish. Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), also known in Australia as Butternut pumpkin, is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste that is similar to pumpkin or sweet potato. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It grows on a vine.

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Summer Food: Stuffed Tomatoes

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Tomatoes is one of the most stable, vegetables around the world and especially around the Mediterranean, and more pronounced in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey. What a proud title for a vegetable that was not even known 500 years ago in that region. The Spanish brought the tomato to Europe. It grew easily in Mediterranean climates, and cultivation began in the 1540s. It was probably eaten shortly after it was introduced, though it was certainly being used as food by the early 1600s in Spain. The earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources. However, in certain areas of Italy, such as Florence, the fruit was used solely as tabletop decoration before it was ever incorporated into the local cuisine until the late 17th or early 18th century.

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