This recipe became my ultimate Christmas treat. Just like my other seasonal favorites — Medieval British Fruitcake and German Spiced Christmas Cookies — panforte Margherita is made with a lot of dry fruit and nuts. It also gets better with time when properly stored. But it seems easier and faster to make because there are no time-consuming steps. The original recipe comes from a collection of traditional Tuscan recipes.
I came across this warm eggplant salad 10 years ago, when discovered harissa. Unfortunately, this salad is less know than zaalook, another Moroccan eggplant salad — with tomatoes. Or, let’s say there are fewer references to it available out there in English.
It is sweet and sour, refreshing and citrusy, mildly spicy, with very pronounced Middle Eastern flavors. Pairs well with crispy grilled flatbread.
Цвіклі (pol. ćwikła) is a hot beets appetizer in Poland and Western Ukraine. It is made with boiled or steamed beets, grated, seasoned, and mixed with some horseradish puree and spices. The level of heat and the list of ingredients vary from region to region and from family to family. Besides all kinds of vinegar, the acidic elements range from lemon juice to dry red wine. Just make it to your taste.
During the winter, my parents fermented cabbage in 3-quart glass jars known as баллоны, making batch after batch. В момент заквашивания капусты нужно быть неподалеку, чтобы досталось самое вкусное в капусте — кочерыжка, the core! A juicy, crunchy, sweet stem that holds cabbage leaves is relatively small, so kids had to fight for it!
This salad recipe is a tribute to my childhood memories. It is as simple as the core of all things. Kohlrabi sticks are seasoned with salt and pepper, lightly drizzled with aromatic oil and white balsamic vinegar, and tossed — that’s it.
Delicately dehydrated (aka sun-dried) tomatoes are extremely popular as a vegetarian snack, appetizer, or a dish element for many reasons. First of all, they add a concentrated flavor of fully ripe tomato to the dishes. They are sweet and tangy, light in calories and with an intense aroma. Now, imagine adding some campfire-like tasting notes to sun-dried tomatoes! It takes 10 minutes using Cameron’s stovetop smoker. Keep smoked tomatoes refrigerated in a jar and serve them on grilled bread rubbed with garlic, or on top of pasta and rice dishes, or add them to your favorite sauces and salsas. Enjoy the summer!
Today, canning vegetables at home is mostly reasonable for farmers, I guess, who grow vegetables and need to preserve their harvest. Pickling, on the other hand, is a simple and quick cooking method for summer vegetables. Unlike many overwhelmingly spicy, salty, and vinegary store-bought pickles (they have to be that way for shelf life), homemade pickles can be forgivingly gentle. We can protect their natural flavors, texture, and most importantly, keep their nutrients! Make a few jars at a time, keep them refrigerated, and enjoy your cold, crunchy, refreshing, healthy, comforting vegetables — a great snack to survive Texas summer.
For those who have never tasted most of the greens on the picture, it probably looks bizarre. A few of my followers commented the same: “It’s a flowerbed!” The truth is, all flavors here are balanced, all herbs work together. It’s fun to taste one of each and recognize a special note that belongs to a plant, and then let your salad fork work and create a perfect load for a full of spring bite.
Everybody knows what Limoncello is. Not everybody knows how it should taste. I don’t. I haven’t been to Italy and didn’t have a chance to get a sip of “as good as Nonna’s” Limoncello. Nevertheless, there is an ideal flavor I am looking for every time I buy a promising bottle of this authentic, imported from Southern Italy liqueur. So far, it’s always been a disappointment. Maybe an authentic Limoncello is about lemon zest, not a lemon? Maybe our local lemons are not good enough?
Talk to people from the Middle East about hummus, and the first thing you hear is that this dip in the U.S. is nothing like the one they enjoy at home. According to my Israeli friend, the right variety of chickpeas play the leading role. Latin American chickpeas are better for soups and salads because they are larger, firmer, and stay whole when cooked. The best for hummus are pea-size chickpeas known as Baladi in Israel. They become soft and easily smashed between fingers when cooked. Unfortunately, in the United States, all chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are labeled the same, unless you shop for them at ethnic stores. And even if you make a trip to an ethnic grocery store, Indian for example, the chickpea names will be specific to Indian cuisine — larger Kabuli and smaller Desi aka chana dhal. Choosing the right chickpeas variety is not really an option for an average grocery shopper who craves for amazing hummus. What is the option then?
The original chutneys come from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal cuisines. They can be made of fresh or cooked ingredients. Their texture varies from smooth to chunky. To prolong their shelf life, they can be fermented or cooked with vinegar, citrus juice, or tamarind puree. There are many variations, and recipes vary from region to region.
Today chutney is a large category of condiments made of spiced fruits and vegetables. In addition to traditional Asian condiments, there are American and European (aka Major Grey’s style) chutneys that became popular in western cuisines. This recipe is based on the classic Anglo-Indian version with apples and raisins. Serve smoked apple chutney with mild cheddar, ham, roasted pork, poultry, on top of baked brie, etc. This chutney will beautifully flavor brown stock and demi-glace sauces.
May this holiday season bring joy to your heart and a pleasure to your taste buds! Thank you for being Lyukum Cooking Lab friends!