Rosolje

Rosolje

Rosolje is an Estonian beet potato salad, with a “kaste” (sauce)

Diced Salad

  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pickles
  • Red or White Onion
  • Green Apple
  • Herring Fillets

Kaste

  • Mayonnaise
  • Plain full fat yogurt or sour cream
  • Vinegar
  • Mustard (preferably hot)
  • Horseradish
  • S&P

Beet Salad

  1. Equal parts potato and beets, then whatever you want to add

Kaste

  1. Equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream or yogurt, then the rest to taste

—Serve with boiled eggs and chives or parsley

Pizza

Pizza

Lengthy description under recipe

Makes 2 large pizzas

  • 1 slightly heaping scoops of 1 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup very warm water
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Olive oil for bowl
    Mix flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add water, mix, then add oil.
    Knead for about 30 seconds then oil a large boil. Cover with paper towels
    Let rest for at least 10 minutes and preheat oven to at least 450 with a pizza stone (more info below recipe)
    Spray counter with non-stick spray or use flour, then roll out dough
    Cook until your liking

I have a post in the how-to section just about my adoration for pizza stones.

Pizza is used throughout the world including Flammkuchen and flatbreads.

Italy has created very strict rules on certain types of pizza, including Pizza Napoletana (Neapolitan), and you can check out the official rules here: https://www.pizzanapoletana.org/public/pdf/disciplinare%202008%20UK.pdf

Pizza variations are endless, and you could probably cook a different pizza for every week of your life by browsing all the variations throughout the world. My favorite ways to make pizza are:

BBQ Sauce: Brisket, mozzarella, onions

Horseradish Sauce: mozzarella, pastrami, pickles

Queso: chicken, ground beef or chorizo, tomatoes

Cotletta Alla Valdostana

Cotletta Alla Valdostana

This is a stuffed veal cutlet with prosciutto and fontina. It is basically an Italian cordon bleu.

  1. Pound out your veal cutlets if necessary.
  2. Place some fontina and prosciutto on one cutlet, then another layer of prosciutto and fontina if possible. Top with another cutlet. Pinch edges to seal
  3. Bread in flour, eggs, and your choice of breadcrumbs
  4. Serve with gnocchi, potatoes, or anything of your choice

Arancini

Arancini

More information about Arancini and possible variations is under recipe as always.

Classic Sicilian Arancini – Steps: Risotto, Meat Sauce, and Breading

Arancini is stuffed risotto, classically with a ragù sauce, then battered and deep or pan fried.

Risotto – make sure is it thick and the liquid is absorbed properly for shaping https://food-heritage-archives.com/2020/08/10/risotto/

Meat Sauce

  • Onion sautéed in oil
  • Ground Meat – your choice
  • Tomato Sauce and Paste
  • Peas
  • White or Red Wine
  1. Sautée onions in oil then brown the meat
  2. Deglaze with wine, then add peas, sauce, and paste to finish cooking meat
  3. You want the sauce to be the same consistency or thicker as the photo below as you will need to stuff the rice with this. If you think it is too thin, run the sauce through a sieve and add more tomato paste
  4. Put on a sheet pan to cool quicker

Breading – dip in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs of choice.

  1. Put your risotto into one hand, flatten, and then add a heap of sauce. Cup hand to help shape into a ball, adding more risotto if needed to fill gaps. The size of a small lemon is perfect.
  2. Bread the arancini then let set in fridge for a good 1/2 hour at least. They are great to make ahead of time and then fry when you’re ready.

Frying

  • You oil should be in the the range of 350F if deep frying, but pan fry like any other food, rotating it as needed

Serving – It goes great with tomato sauce and some arugula. You can top with crispy bacon and mozzarella or try multiple cheeses to find your favorite.

More About Arancini, and variations

Arancini has been around for at least 1,000 years, so there have been many variations throughout the years, a very classic Italian way is this Sicilian style. Although most arancini you find in recipes or restaurants is strictly cheese-based, it traditionally has meat, and cheese is optional.

Good variations to do will be to actually add cheeses inside, such as half a small marinated mozzarella ball, or fontina.

A good option for the meat is pancetta or pork jowl, or, chicharrones or cracklings.

Risotto

Risotto

There are thousands of ways to prepare and use risotto, but I will go into detail at the under the recipe as always.

Risotto Bianco – the most basic risotto.

  • The proper rice – arborio, carnaroli, or packages that say “risotto rice”
  • Chicken Stock – the ratio is at least 2.5 or 3.5 of liquid to 1 of rice
  • Diced onion
  • Butter and parmesan
  • White Wine or dry vermouth is optional but is used often to deglaze

Steps

  1. Get your stock warm in a pot, and keep it at a gentle simmer
  2. The rest of the instructions will apply to a separate pan. A wide pan is best.
  3. Add onion and sautée in butter until softened
  4. Turn heat to med-high and toast the rice – cook until translucent without browning. If you see any browning of the rice, stop and go to next step, but it is not the worst for a couple brown grains
  5. Deglaze with wine, cook until almost fully evaporated
  6. I keep my heat 3-4/9 now. Add about 2 ladles of the stock for the first go around, then 1 ladle of stock at a time from there on. Do not add more until it is absorbed.
  7. Stir at least once a minute, going into the rice is cooked to al dente, 15-20 minutes. If it is not done after 20 minutes from adding the stock, the rice needs to be toasted more and/or the heat needs to be higher.
  8. **The classic Italian way is Al Dente, but I personally prefer cooked all the way through.
  9. Add butter and freshly grated parmesan.

More About Risotto

As I stated before, risotto possibilities are endless. Once you have this basic risotto down, you can branch out and do a milanese (which is just adding saffron) use beef stock, add mushrooms, top with pesto; really anything.

My favorite additions: sautée bell peppers or celery with the onions, add crushed tomatoes to stock, top with chicken and/or balsamic reduction.

About the rice: The reason risotto recipes call for certain types of rice is because of their starch content. The creaminess of the end product comes from the rice even before the added butter and parm.

A favorite thing of mine is to make the risotto bianco and then make arancini (fried rice balls) with the leftovers. A post for that will be ready by 08/13 with a link in this spot.

Interesting Fact: During the regime of Mussolini, the wheat and semolina imports to Italy were seen as damaging to self-sufficiency, and the solution was rice. It could be produced domestically, and although the campaign for rice was not fully successful, the many recipes for risotto and free rice given to the people made it more well-known.

Now risotto is a popular Italian dish, with the Croatians and others taking a liking to squid ink risotto among other variants.

Ćevapi, or Ćevapčići

Ćevapi, or Ćevapčići

Like most of the time, I put the description at the bottom to be recipe user friendly.

The best combination plate I have made has the pita or lepinja (somun), ajvar, ćevapi, sliced raw onions, roasted or raw tomatoes, and cottage cheese.

Ajvar

  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Eggplant (traditional), zucchini (if you can’t find or stand eggplant)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic, minced or roasted
  • Salt and Olive Oil
  1. 1:1 ratio of each vegetable by weight, though more peppers if anything. Start by roasting the bell peppers and the other vegetable in the oven on 375 until charred and peelable (zucchini gets soft but does not peel easy). It helps to wrap the vegetables in a towel after roasting for easier peel.
  2. Deseed the vegetables and then depending on your preference: chop finely, food process everything, or blend. I like blending.

Ćevapi – as with all recipes there are different variations but here are the main components

  • Ground meat: can use beef, pork, or lamb. Combine 2 or 3 if you choose.
  • Garlic cloves, pre-roasted in olive oil
  • S&P
  • Paprika
  • Spicy Spice (I prefer berber, cayenne, etc.)
  • No egg needed, though if used, go light so there is less liquid
    Roast garlic
    Mix ingredients, done. Just kidding. Let flavors absorb in meat for at least 30 minutes. They taste great on the barbecue and is common to cook there, but I prefer to catch all of the delicious juices for later.
    Cook in pan with hot olive oil on medium heat, and be sure to carefully rotate them until the outer layer is sturdy. I like to throw raw onion in the pan to get more flavor as well. Continue cooking meat until your liking.
    For extra deliciousness, after the meat is out, deglaze the pan with balsamic vinagar and add some butter, then let the pita soak in the juices.

Pita Bread or Lepinja

  • I don’t have a recipe or ideas on how to make them on my own, and I’m certainly no expert in breads, so my favorite one is from the NYT Cooking app. For breads, they have the best ratings and easy to follow, though I used a different website for these pictures below.
  • One tip I have for pita bread is to make the dough stickier than most breads. The pita does not need pockets, but it is how it is traditionally served, though it is tricky to get the consistency right.

The ćevapi or ćevapčići is a Balkan tradition, though it developed from the Ottoman’s kebabs during their occupation. It is the national dish of Bosnia & Herzegovina but it is shared greatly in the region. Serbia and Croatia are famous for the ćevapi as well, along with the other former Yugoslav states.

Culture side note – You will find that there is a common bond between these countries but there are cultural differences. Religion is a big one, and you are welcome to dive deeper into the conflict that occurred in the region, with tensions still high.

Back to the meal, ajvar is the most common side dish to ćevapi, and goes along with the pita, or lepinja (somun) bread. The main difference with those two is the lepinja (also known as somun) is risen 3x and is more region specific than the pita, which is used in far more countries outside the Balkans.

Geography side note – The Balkans defined by Britanica: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia.

  • These countries, though similar in geography, should not be grouped together as one country, just like you would not group Ireland and North Ireland, Sudan and South Sudan, or Israel and Palestine based on their geography alone.

Hakklihakaste

Hakklihakaste

An Estonian simple meat sauce. “Kaste” in Estonian is a thinner sauce than a thickened cream sauce. Serve with potatoes, rice, barley, or other choice

  • Ground beef or pork
  • Onion and garlic, minced
  • Cream or whole mile
  • Sour Cream
  • Dill, thyme, chives (your choice)
  1. Render ground beef in butter or oil and then add onion, cook to soft
  2. Add cream or whole milk and let thicken a little
  3. Stir in sour cream and herbs if using

Sinappi

Sinappi

A Finish mustard, originally found in “The Finnish Cookbook” by Beatrice A. Ojakangas. It will be runny, and strong!

  • 4T mustard powder
  • 2t sugar
  • 1/2t salt
  • 4T boiling water and 1T vinegar
  1. Mix dry ingredients and wet separate.
  2. Add wet to dry and incorporate gently until dissolved

Lihapyöryköitä

Lihapyöryköitä

Finnish meatballs, the main difference between American meatballs is added nutmeg and the gravy made from the meat. The original recipe found in “The Finnish Cookbook” by Beatrice A. Ojakangas, and I confirmed it with a website in Finnish

  • Ground beef – 1lb
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs soaked in 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp allspice, and salt to taste
  • Roux – 2T flour
  • 2 cups milk
  1. Mix beef, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, allspice and salt
  2. Shape into smallish meatballs and brown in butter in pot, then remove
  3. Add 1 more T of butter if necessary for the roux, then add flour. Cook for 1 minute
  4. Add milk and turn into gravy by thickening slightly (it will thicken more with cooking
  5. Return meatballs into pot and simmer for 15 minutes with lid on until sauce is your preference and meat is finished cooking

Stuvad Potatis

Stuvad Potatis

A Swedish dish – potatoes and a cream sauce with dill. Originally found in “Swedish Touches” by David Wright and Martha Wiberg Thompson, and recipe confirmed by a website in Swedish; I adjusted the flour and butter to equal parts.

  • Potatoes – new or Yukon Gold
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup cream
  • Dill, fresh or dried
  1. Boil new potatoes or Yukon Golds cut in half, set aside
  2. Make a roux with equal flour and butter, 1/4 cup each.
  3. Cook the roux for at least 1 minute to get out flour taste. Then add the cream and cook until thickened to a gravy consistency
  4. Add dill and incorporate, then pour over potatoes

Lescó

Lescó

Lescó is a Hungarian stew. The main ingredients are:

  • Bacon (smoked preferable)
  • Sausage (kielbasa or other high quality)
  • Tomatoes (beefsteak, heirloom, or similar)
  • Hot pepper (Hungarian wax pepper preferably, banana pepper if you cannot find wax pepper)
  • Onion, white, or yellow
  • S&P
  1. Render cubed bacon in a stew pot on medium heat. Add sliced sausage if using raw, or wait until you add tomatoes if smoked
  2. Chop onion then add to pot, let soften a little
  3. Slice peppers, then add, cook while you slice tomatoes
  4. Add tomatoes and smoked sausage if using
  5. Cook until tomatoes are stewed and season with S&P

If you have any memories about a variation in your Hungarian Lescó please let me know. I found ingredients to be the same from “Hungary Today”, and multiple websites in Hungarian.

Más: Tapas Y Vino – Albuquerque, NM

Hilton’s have some of the best cuisine, and this was no exception. It is a Spanish (Spain, not central american) style restaurant in Albuquerque New Mexico. The restaurant itself has a gorgeous balcony and outside patio, located in a historic hotel; built in 1939, it was Conrad Hilton’s first hotel outside of Texas.

The interior of the hotel when you walk in is worthy of Hilton’s Curio Luxury Collection, and to make it even more interesting, it is part of the U.S National Register of Historic Places. I did not personally stay at the hotel, but it is definitely a sight to see.

The food- The portions were generous and delicious. I tried to fill up on carbs before hiking La Luz Trail the next day, and just drank water and very refreshing Sparkling Water.

Meal

Patatas Bravas – “Crunchy potato, spicy aioli, garlic, little herbs” too spicy for my taste, but they made great leftovers the next morning

Green Chile Corn Risotto – “Tomato basil beurre blanc” outstanding. Risotto was cooked perfectly and definitely has a Spanish flair to it.

Vegetable Paella – “Tempura broccoli, artichokes, kale, mushrooms, roasted pepper, saffron calasparra rice”. First paella for me, and I definitely enjoyed it. Vegetables were seasoned well and like the others, the portions were generous.

New Mexico

New Mexico and West Texas were surprisingly mountainous, as this was the first time I have been out there. Great place to drive and get away, and the hiking is something you can’t find in Central Texas.

If I had to pick a trail to hike in New Mexico, it would most likely not be La Luz as there is a boulder path towards the top that is not fun on the way up or down, and the scene from the top was lackluster. I would however take the couple hour journey and go to the Guadalupe Peak (which I did) in Texas. Far better trail and better views.

Of course, there are plenty of trails in the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area that are week-long trip worthy, and I plan to return in the future.

Pizza Stone – best baking sheet

Here is a pizza recipe https://food-heritage-archives.com/2020/09/09/pizza/

Not only can you cook pizza on this, but it is a non-stick baking sheet as well.

I cook frozen mozzarella sticks, fish sticks, bake fish or chicken, broil grilled cheese sandwiches, roast peppers, and many other things on it.

When you clean it, just use boiling water. After a couple uses the stone will darken substantially, but it is natural and will not affect the cooking. I have had my stone for over two years and it is used at least once a week most weeks.

The stone takes a few minutes to get hot, though it holds its heat very well.

I found mine for less than $20 at Target, and there are plenty of options under the $30 range. Just make sure the one you buy can at least go up to 450 degrees.