Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Steak with Onion and Tomato Sauce

We had a long day working at home and we craved something a bit decadent for lunch. It was a matter of minutes before we realized we had two beef fillets waiting in the freezer! With no extra thought we defrosted the steaks and threw together an incredible onion and tomato sauce to go with them. The result was just perfect.

1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbs chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tbs black peppercorns
1 large onion
1 tomato, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine (can use also red)
25ml balsamic vinegar  
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbs salt
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp dried red chili

The Recipe:
Heat the olive oil in a medium pot. Over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, peppercorns and ginger for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Mix in the tomato and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients, first the fluids, then the spices and mix well. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until only thick fluid remains.

This is the time to make the steaks. We made ours by rubbing olive oil and chopped garlic over the steaks and searing them in a very hot skillet on all sides. Then we let them cook for 10 minutes more on each side over medium heat.

When the steaks are ready, place them on a plate and pour the sauce on top. Voila!

Served with cooked wheat and steamed carrots

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Walnut Sage Olive Oil

In a moment of creativity we arranged a few toasted walnuts, 3 leaves of sage and a clove of garlic in a small glass jar and filled it with olive oil. We left it untouched for 3 weeks on a shelf in our kitchen. When we finally opened the jar a few days ago, we discovered it really worked! The aroma and taste of the walnuts, sage and garlic blended into the oil. You can add it to salad dressing or sprinkled it on soups. Try it out, or even better - try your own combination.

Pasteles de Carne, Salonika Meat-Filled Pies

The recipe for these meat pies comes from the traditions of the Sefaradi Jewish community in Salonika, Greece. Our job last weekend required us to plan a Shabbat meal for 16 teenagers and we were sure these pies would be a success. Like many other recipes we've been trying lately this one was adapted from the excellent Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden. The recipe requires some work, but is well worth the effort.

Ingredients (makes 15-18 pieces):

(for the dough)
125ml sunflower oil
125ml warm water
1/2 tsp salt
about 350 gr flour

(for the filling)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tbs sunflower oil
250 gr minced beef
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 hard boil egg, chopped
1 egg lightly beaten
4 tbs finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

The Recipe
The dough 
To make the dough mix the oil, water and salt with a fork in a large bowl. Gradually add the flour, first mixing with a fork and then continuing with your hands. Continue to add flour until the dough feels soft and springy, like the lobe of your ear. Leave aside covered in saran-wrap at room temperature (do not refridgerate).

The filling
To make the filling fry the onion in oil until golden. Add the beef, salt and plenty of pepper. Stir occasionally until the meat changes color. Mix in the sugar, cumin and cinnamon. Also add the pine nuts if you choose to use them. Add about 4 tbs water and cook for 5 minutes more. Let it cool, then add the rest of the ingredients.

To make the pies
Take lumps of dough the size of a small egg and shape into a ball. Hollow them out with your fingers and shape into little pots with straight sides. Make the walls as thin as possible. Fill with the mixture. Cover each pie with a flat lid made by flattening a tiny ball of dough. Pinch the edges together all around to seal the pies.

Arrange on trays and brush the top with a beaten egg. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes or until golden. 

Kumquat Marmalade

Come winter, kumquats start to appear everywhere and we couldn't resist buying a large package of these sweet and delicate treats.
We also found a wonderful recipe for kumquat marmalade at Gothamist, a New York based web magazine we like to read. We combined our adoration of kumquats, marmalade and winter and filled a few jars with excellent results.

750 gr kumquats
4 cups water
4 cups sugar

The Recipe:
Slice the kumquats very thinly, reserving the seeds.
Transfer them to a large pot, add the water and seeds (tied in a cheese cloth). Let sit for 24 hours.
The next day, bring the mixture to a boil on the stove. Lower the heat and let simmer for an hour, reducing the mixture. 
Add the sugar while constantly stirring, and then cook for another 20 minutes.
Check to see if the marmalade is ready by dipping a teaspoon and watching the marmalade turning into jell when it cools.
Remover the bag of seeds, transfer the marmalade to jars (using whatever caning method you choose) and store in the fridge. This marmalade is so amazing you'll finish it up in no time...