Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pork Cevapcici (Ćevapčići)

Cevapcici is a national dish of Balkan states that formed former Yugoslavia. It consists of grilled minced or ground meat (lamb, beef or pork alone or any combination) formed into an oval sausage and is served with chopped onions, mustard and potatoes or rice. Besides Balkans all countries of central Europe has their own version. Wikipedia has an excellent entry on this summer meal favorite.
I prefer pork and lamb combination.

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground lamb
1 egg white
1 tsp. salt
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 small onion, minced
1 tsp. hot Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs. hot Dijon mustard

Preheat a grill to medium-low heat.
In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, lamb, mustard and egg white.
Add the garlic, salt, baking powder, sweet and hot Hungarian paprika.
Mix well using your hands, and form into thick sausages about index finger long.
Oil the grill grate and grill sausages for about 15 minutes or until cooked through, turning till all sides are light gold.
Serve with boiled potatoes, chopped onions and mustard.
I served my Cevapcici on bed of chopped Napa cabbage and arugula.

Note: If grill is not available it is just as good to shallow fry with lard in heavy skillet. It takes about same time to cook on medium high heat.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Italian Style Stir Fried Chicken Breast

This is my version of typically Italian pasta dish eaten with chopsticks. Yes, very weird but tasty and practical.
We just love wide egg noodles, especially the short twisted ones, but they are so difficult to eat with knife and fork so now we always use chopsticks and since there is no knife with table setting all ingredients have to be cut into bite sized pieces. It is that simple, just like any Chinese stir fry. I used chunky and thick tomato sauce with chopped zucchini, onions, garlic and roasted peppers.
First, cook noodles of your choice, drain and toss with little butter and olive oil. Set aside and keep warm.
While the noodles are boiling heat up non-stick skillet, add little olive oil and stir fry chicken breast that was cut into small, bite sized strips, together with julienned zucchini, sliced onion and sliced cremini mushrooms. At same time add the sauce, mix and cook till chicken is done, about 2 minutes.
Serve noodles on preheated plate, top with chicken, sauce and veggies.
That’s it. If you have a sauce ready it takes well under half an hour total.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Japchea with Baby Cuttlefish

This is my take on one of the best known Korean dishes. Actually, just like with so many Oriental dishes, there are as many versions as there are people that cook it. Very simple and fast to prepare and yet so tasty.

1 Lb. bag frozen baby cuttlefish, cleaned
1 small carrot, julienned
6” piece of seedless cucumber
3 green onions
1/2 small cooking onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped and divided into 2 equal parts
1” piece of ginger, chopped and divided into 2 equal parts
Soy sauce
Peanut oil
Sesame oil
1/2 package of dangmyeon noodles (sweet potato starch noodles)
You can substitute cellophane noodles (mung bean or glass noodles) for dangmyeon but Korean noodles have nicer texture.
Defrost cuttlefish in refrigerator overnight. Wash, pat dry and marinade in a bowl with 1 tsp. of peanut oil mixed with 1/2 tsp. of sesame oil and 1 part each of chopped garlic and ginger. Mix well and marinade in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Cook noodles till al dente, about 3 minutes, drain and drop in bowl with cold water. Drain again, cut into 6” long pieces and toss with 1 Tbs. of soy sauce, 1 tsp. of sesame oil and 1 tsp. of peanut oil and reserve.
In a skillet heat 1 Tbs. of peanut oil till haze forms over the pan. Stir-fry rest of garlic and ginger for few seconds and then drop in cooking onions, carrots and cuttlefish. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, add green onions, mix well and then transfer into bowl with noodles. Mix well and season with hot sauce and/or soy sauce to your taste. Serve on individual plates and garnish with cucumber slices.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Salmon with Pan Roasted Vegetables

I must have posted about half a dozen salmon recipes since I started writing this blog. It is such a versatile fish. Originally I was planning to cook the salmon with julienned vegetables in a paper envelope (Saumon en Papillote) but after working in the garden whole day I have decided on a simpler but still delicious pan roasted version. Since the salmon and vegetables cook very fast, less then 5 minutes, it is better to have the mashed potatoes cooked before and kept warm in toaster oven (my preference) or regular oven.
For vegetables I used julienned red pepper and zucchini and thinly sliced onions and cremini mushrooms. The fish and vegetables were cooked in same frying pan and at the same time, in olive oil and butter and on high heat. Cook the salmon good side down first for 3 minutes, turn salmon over, stir vegetables and cook for 2 more minutes or till fish just starts to flake. Do not over cook. During my prep I made a sauce that had a mayonnaise base with wasabi and maple syrup mixed in.  

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Shishkebab

I love anything that is on skewers and grilled on barbecue. Pork tenderloin is one of the best cuts for quick grilling but it does need help from bacon to keep it moist. I always use smoked and cooked bacon because of the short cooking time. In this version I used pork, bacon, onion wedge, red pepper piece and zucchini slice. For sauce I used hickory smoked BBQ sauce. Together with steamed rice and lettuce and cucumber salad on side it makes a wonderful warm weather meal.
When I use skewers, especially wood or bamboo, I always put triple layer of aluminum foil under to prevent skewers from burning.