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Spanakopita: More than Just a Pie

Spanakopita

Photo Credit: Lokesh Dhakar https://goo.gl/uLHIyu

Spanakopita is one of the best finger foods you can serve for just about any occasion. This savory Greek pie traditionally comes in the shape of a small triangle, and it is a truly attractive, delicious, and welcome addition to any meal.

Food that Comes with Some History

In What is Spanakopita?, wiseGEEK provides an overview of spanakopita through the ages: “This tasty dish may have originated over 400 years ago, and may have been introduced during the Turkish occupation of Greece. A Turkish dish, ispanaki, is almost identical in presentation, though it sometimes has scallions added. Spanakopita is better known as a Greek food, however, and one will find it served in most Greek restaurants outside of Greece, as well as in virtually all restaurants in Greece. Chefs and food historians credit Epirus, Greece with the most delicious spanakopita. [Read more…]

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Indonesian Perkadel: A New Look at Potato Fritter

Perkadel

Photo Credit: Maurina Rara https://goo.gl/9RpJiq

Perkadel is an Indonesian dish that uses firm mashed potatoes as base, and it is frequently made with ground beef. It is one of the most popular street foods in Indonesia, but it is a tidbit you can make at home for a family meal or as part of your canapé tray. Perkadel, alternately called perkedel, begedil, and bergedel, is a popular dish not only in Indonesia but in Java and in Singapore as well.

The Roots of Perkadel

Perkedel Kentang is discussed in Indonesian Food, a website featuring Indonesia’s cuisine. The article partly explains where this dish originates from: “The name “Perkedel” is derived from Netherlands. It’s name “Frikadel”and in Indonesian name we called it “Perkedel”. The dish shows the influence of the Netherlands in the art of Indonesian cooking. In the history of the Indonesia, Netherlands was colonized my country (Indonesia). So this becomes fused with cuisine culinary Indonesia… 
“Original of Perkadel made from mincemeat and then fried, but in Indonesia Perkedel made with potatoes with a little mincemeat. And Now many kinds of Perkedel, some made of tofu, potatoes, Corn and tempeh…”

[Read more…]

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The Ultimate Roast Challenge: Cochinillo Asado (Roast Suckling Pig)

Cochinillo Asado

Photo Credit: katiebordner https://goo.gl/Cx7WF0

The uninitiated would probably describe cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) as a bizarre food deserving of being featured in Andrew Zimmern’s television show. However, those who get past their initial squeamishness soon realize that cochinillo asado is a treat like no other.  

A Well-Loved Dish

Cochinillo Asado enjoys a solid reputation as a truly special offering. Four centuries ago, Cervantes’ included this dish in his famous novel, Don Quixote. Ernest Hemingway likewise mentioned it in his novel, The Sun Also Rises. [Read more…]

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Thai Khao Pat – The Ultimate Fried Rice

Khao Pat

Photo Credit: Mikhail Esteves https://goo.gl/TxibuW

Everyone knows what fried rice is, but until you’ve had a taste of Khao Pat, you cannot know just why all that carbo is so worth every “ooh” and “aah”. In a list of 50, khao pat, the Thai version of fried rice, was named the 24th most popular food in a survey that include 35,000 responses, and it certainly lives up to that esteemed position.

What Khao Pat is All About

Thai fried rice is a very popular dish in Thailand, but it is fast gaining a following all over the world. There are many types of khao pat, and you can choose whatever central ingredients you fancy. You can have khao phat mu, which has pork, or khao phat kai with chicken, khao phat goong which has shrimp, khao phat pu, which has crab, khao phat che which has veggies. You can also ask for mixed seafood, or beef, and some versions of this dish even contain pineapple, or basil, or nuts and raisins. [Read more…]

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Spain’s Incomparable Croquetas

Croquetas

Photo Credit: deramaenrama https://goo.gl/neGmVH

No croquette tastes as good as a Spanish croqueta, and the nicest thing about croquettes in Spain is that you have an unlimited selection of fillings. Spanish croquetas are usually made with béchamel and filled with ham and chicken, but when fish is used as filling, boiled mashed potatoes are commonly incorporated into the filling.

Croquetas are a staple tapas offering, and it is mentioned in the website Expatica as one of the Top 10 Spanish Foods. The website says, “You can find Spanish a plate of croquetas in almost any restaurant or bar, each made to the establishment’s own recipe. It makes food comparison throughout Spain a delight, and not at all a bad idea for judging up a restaurant’s quality (hint: the traditional, scrubbed-down bars serve the best). While the creamy cheese (queso) croquettes pack a smooth flavour, try croquettes filled with a mixture of béchamel and Spanish cured ham (jamon), or the local sweet-spiced black sausage (morcilla) for something stronger…”

[Read more…]

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Classic Tom Yam – The Soup with Thailand’s Aroma

Tom Yam

Photo Credit: ssour https://goo.gl/rOncjc

Tom yam has been referred to as the “national aroma of Thailand”, and it is a hot and spicy combination of tangy lime, lemon grass, galangal (a close cousin of ginger), mushrooms, and chilies. Depending on the kind of tom yam you want, meats and seafood are used as central ingredients in this dish, but prawns are the exceedingly popular choice. To the uninitiated, a first taste of this soup is truly a culinary adventure, and a first sip usually elicits an involuntary indrawn breath from those who are used to Western fare.

The Different Kinds of Tom Yam

This dish is at the very heart of Thai traditional food, but it is also a staple soup in Cambodia, Laos, and some Malay territories; these were part of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which began in the 18th century.

Some versions of seafood based tom yams feature the addition of coconut meat, or coconut milk, or both. If you want your dish to have the creamy flavor of coconut milk, ask for tom yam nam khon. [Read more…]

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Protein Plus and Extremely Delicious Fabada

Fabada

Photo Credit: Javier Lastras https://goo.gl/Z8aztV

One of the most popular dishes throughout Spain is Fabada Astusiana, often simply referred to as fabada.  Fabada is a bean casserole that is rich yet simple, flavorful, and easy on the budget. Fabada, boasts of many variations, but it is usually eaten during the cold winter or autumn nights, accompanied by good crusty bread and red wine or cider.

Fabada Cousins

Countries all over the world have their own version of it, and maybe that is why easy-to-like fabada never seems strange even to people who taste it for the first time.

In My Kitchen in Spain’sFabada, Maybe the Best Beans in the World”, Janet Mendel says, “I like all kinds of beans, but possibly my favorite bean dish is fabada asturiana, beans and sausages cooked in the style of Asturias. Asturias, in the chill northern Cantabrian coast, is noted for its cheeses (such as blue Cabrales), its fabulous seafood and this singular bean dish. Fabada is so popular that it turns up all over Spain. Sort of as Boston baked beans are not limited to Boston…”

Americans have their Boston baked beans, the French have their cassoulet, and Mexicans have their frijoles charros. First-time diners will take to it as if it were something they have always had on their tables. [Read more…]

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Putting the Sizzle in the Steak

sizzling steak

Credit: bionicgrrrl https://goo.gl/9l6lII

Most people love steaks, but these slabs of meat often lack the sophistication that other dishes (like duck in orange sauce) have. Giving a steak extra sizzle is one of the best ways to dress it up and enhance its taste; that’s why many restaurants today will serve steaks in a sizzling plate.

The Plate that Gives the Sizzle

Most sizzling plates need to be “seasoned”, particularly if they are made if cast iron. In Proper Use of a Sizzling Plate, Pinoy Kitchenette gives detailed instructions on how a sizzle plate can be prepared for successful use. The blog says, Before using the sizzling plate, it must be put directly to the burner of the stove to remove the carbon. Let the plate cool down before washing it with water, then wipe the plate using clean cloth. After drying the plate, it can now be used. After using the plate, wash using steel wool pads/scrubbers and soap. Rinse with water. After washing, wipe the plate using a clean dry cloth. After wiping with a clean cloth, wipe again using cooking oil to avoid rust during storage. You may also use a tissue to wipe off excess oil…”

Following these instructions will prevent your sizzle plate from rusting. These steps are to be followed each time the plate is used, but the effort is well worth it when you hear the sizzle as you serve an otherwise boring steak. [Read more…]

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Ham at its Finest: Jamón Ibérico

Jamón IbéricoThere’s the sliced ham that you get at the deli, there’s the plump leg that you serve on Christmas, and finally there’s jamón ibérico. Retailing at around $200 per pound, it is a delicacy in the same league up there as caviar and civet coffee.

What the Fuss is all About

Jamón Ibérico or Iberian ham is a special ham produced mostly in Spain, although some regions in Portugal have their own version of this treat. Jamón Ibérico, also referred to as carne negra or pata negra, is made from black Iberian pigs. Cross bred pigs may also be used as starting material for this special ham – as long as they are 75% Ibérico [Read more…]

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Fondue – When a Dip is Pure Magic

FondueAlthough the Swiss have named fondue their national dish, like the Alps, they share it with the Italians and the French. The essence of fondue is the pot of cheese melted over a portable stove. Using long-stemmed forks, diners dip pieces of bread into the cheese. It is a singularly magical food, simple and yet sophisticated.

The Origins of Fondue

A recipe for fondue in its current format was first published in 1877. The dish was generally made with wine and cheeses like Gruyère or Gouda, a combination that did not always stay creamy and stable until 1905, when cornstarch was introduced as an ingredient. [Read more…]

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