Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reasons Why Beer is Better Than Religion

Thanks to Marco for triggering this post.  
  1. No one will kill, or torture, you for not drinking Beer.
  2. Beer won't insist you drink the entire bottle.  
  3. Beer labels are generally true.  
  4. Beer can make people look more attractive.  
  5. Beer doesn't tell you how, when or why to have sex.
  6. Beer has never caused a major war.
  7. No one will insist that you try their favorite beer. 
  8. Beer does not care if you don't like beer best.
  9. They don't force Beer on children who can't think for themselves. 
  10. You don't have to wait 2000+ years for a second Beer.
  11. You don't have to die to meet the brew master. 
  12. Beer does not care about your personal life. 
  13. If you've devoted your life to Beer, there are groups to help you stop.
  14. Beer and food go together well.  
  15. Beer will make you sleepy......oops...
This is an old internet meme -  the oldest page I found is here.
http://ifaq.wap.org/society/beerandreligion.html

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ashure, Aşure, Noah's Pudding: A Turkish Delight

Aşure  with walnuts, pistachio and pomegranate
July 18, 2015 - David Cohen
Aşure,  or Ashure,  also known as Noah's Pudding , is a Turkish dessert porridge made of a mixture of grains,  legumes, fruits and nuts. It is an ancient and symbolic dish.  The word comes from the Arabic for ten or "tenth" -  ashura -  عاشر   - derived from the Aramaic and Hebrew word for tenth,  asor .  It is served during the first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram.    The Day of Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراء‎ ʻĀshūrā’ , colloquially: /ʕa(ː)ˈʃuːra/; Urdu: عاشورا‎; Persian: عاشورا‎ /ʕɒːʃuːˈɾɒ/; Turkish: Aşure Günü),  is on the tenth day of Muharram. 


Recipe Template for Aşure: 

Note: Not all ingredients are needed -  the basic idea is to have at least one of each group: grain, legume, fruit , nut and spice. The dish can range from simple to quite elaborate.

Grains

  • Wheat, dehusked (Aşurelik Buğday or dövme=dehusked wheat (buğday) ) 
  • Barley, dehusked (dövme arpa)
  • Rice - dry

Quantity

  • ~250 ml - 200 gm

  • ~200 ml ~150 gm

  • ~60 ml  - 50 gm

Processing

  • Boil - water ~ 500 ml add water as needed
  • similar
  • Boil - water ~200 ml

Legumes

  • White beans
  • Chickpeas



  • 100 ml ~60 gms  dry
  • similar.


Soften by soaking overnight  - then boil  about 400 ml  water , add water as needed.

Nuts

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios



150 ml   ~60 gms



Note:  not all types are needed

Fruits

  • Apricots - dried
  • Figs - dried
  • Raisins
  • Fresh orange



  • ~60 grams
  • one small

Sweeteners

  • Sugar



~200 ml ~150 gms

Sweeten to taste

Spices

  • Cinnamon
  • Orange peel
  • Rose water
  • Cloves



  • Two sticks
  • Optional
  • Optional
  • A few

Spice to taste
---
A bit dry at this point

  • Cook, or par-cook, each grain and legume separately.
  • Combine for final cooking in a double- boiler. (~ 60 minutes)
  • Add the spices to the combination..
  • Add water if needed to keep the mix liquid.
  • Add some diced, dry apricots or other fruit . 
  • Add sweeteners carefully, we don't want it too sweet.  
  • Taste in process. The mix should be soft but some body should remain. We are not making baby food. :)
.
.

.
Add water as needed - note the use of the double-boiler
technique.
Do not add nuts to the hot mixture. Allow the mixture to cool.  We want the fresh flavors in the final mix. 

.
.
.

---- text 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cold Soups - Gazpacho, Ajoblanco and Okroshka

Gazpacho is a Spanish cold soup from the region of Andalusia. It's similar to the Russian  okroshka and popular in warm weather. In this post I focus on gazpacho and note the differences with okroshka. and ajoblanco.

The standard gazpacho base ingredients are tomatoes and cucumbers. Ajoblanco , sometimes called  "white gazpacho" is based on almonds. Okroshka is special in that it is uses kvass ; a low-alcohol, beer-like, beverage made from rye bread. Typical okroshka ingredients are raw vegetables, potatoes, ham, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs.

Basic Gazpacho Andalus Recipe

  • Fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded. - ~ 1 kg
  • Raw cucumbers - peeled and seeded. - ~ 500 gm
  • Raw sweet pepper - any color. - ~300 gm
  • Onion - ~ 200 gm - amount depends on mildness.
  • Garlic - to taste - I like to add several cloves of lightly fried garlic in olive oil, or one clove of raw mashed garlic.
  • Olive Oil - ~ 60 ml
  • Lemon juice - ~ 50 ml - the amounts, and ratios, of lemon juice and vinegar depend on your preferences.
  • Vinegar - ~ 50 ml - I like an interesting tasting, wine, or sherry, based vinegar. Balsamic is a nice choice.
  • Salt - to taste - I add it slowly after everything is mixed together. Salt can mask sour flavors so you need to balance sour, sweet and salt as in any soup.

Additional Flavors and Spices (optional but interesting)

  • Cumin - fine ground (lightly toasted in a bit of olive oil)
  • Black pepper
  • Hot chili pepper e.g. Tabasco sauce.
  • Jalapenos
  • Coriander leaf or seed
  • Fennel
  • Basil

Texture Options and Thickening

Typically soaked, mashed, white bread is added to thicken the soup if needed. Gazpacho texture can range from completely smooth to very chunky. If you choose to make it very smooth, you can add garnishes before serving. Not all ingredients need to be blended in total You can choose to leave some in chunk form.

Garnish Options

  • Croutons
  • Chopped cucumber or other vegetables
  • Chopped nuts
  • A blob of mayonnaise or aioli,
This is it so far. Updates likely


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Russian Food #3: Pancakes

Russian Pancake Types.  

Blini (Russian: блины)  Somewhat thicker than crepes.
Blinchiki, Blintzes  (Russian: блинчики ) are thin crêpes made without yeast.
Filled blintzes are also referred to as nalysnyky (Ukrainian: налисники), nalistniki (Russian: налистники) or nalesniki (Russian: налесники)

Anna's Cabbage Oladyi 
 Oladyi (оладьи) (diminutive: oladushki оладушки, further abbreviated as ladushki ладушки), oladky (Ukrainian: оладки).  Small thick pancakes made from yogurt-, kefir- or soured milk-based batter (without yeast).  The batter may contain various additions, such as apple and raisins.

Draniki   дранікі -  Potato pancakes -  Belarusian (as дранікі draniki), Czech (as bramborák or cmunda), German (as Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen), Hungarian (as tócsni and other names), Iranian, Jewish (as latkes or latkas, Yiddish: לאַטקעס, Hebrew: לביבה levivah, plural לביבות levivot), Latvian (as kartupeļu pankūkas), Lithuanian (as bulviniai blynai), Luxembourg (Gromperekichelcher), Polish (as placki ziemniaczane), Russian (as draniki, драники), Slovak (as zemiakové placky,haruľa or nálečníky), Ukrainian (as deruny) and any other cuisines which have adopted similar dishes. It is the national dish of Belarus.

 Syrniki (Russian: сы́рник[и]; Ukrainian: сирники; Belarusian: сырнікі) are fried quark pancakes, garnished with sour cream, varenye, jam, honey, or apple sauce. The cheese mixture may contain raisins for extra flavor. In Russia they are also known as tvorozhniki (творо́жники). The name syrniki is derived from the word сыр in Russian or сир in Ukrainian (transliteration: syr), meaning "cheese" in both languages.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Russian Food #2: Stews

Russian stews

In Russian, the names of many cooking methods are based on the Russian word for heatжара  (zhara).   

Fried -  жареные,  zharenyye
Broil -  жарить ,  zharit
Roasted - жареный - zharenyy

One Russian stew is called Zharkoye .   Here is a photo of one of Anna's versions. 

more to come.