Hatch season is relatively short. There are only so many Hatch dishes we can have within a few weeks — we cannot possibly try them all. That’s why I anticipate every next harvest — to discover and enjoy new recipes. This year, mild Hatch stuffed with crabmeat is my new find. The combination was featured by Central Market. I adjusted their original idea to my taste and kept making it every other day — so good!
When on the island, at least one of my dinners is a grilled abalone. It’s a Big Island treat I must to have! I visit the farm with a cooler and ice to buy them. Once abalones get cold, they fell asleep and travel well for a few hours on ice. They are easy to cook if you have a grill or an oven where you stay. Just follow my instructions!
Antipasti, or little cold and hot appetizers used to be served before the main course with the intention to whet an appetite. Modern eating habits have changed. A variety of small plates often replaces a complete meal. This warm artichoke and seafood salad with melted cheese is an example of how versatile this traditional combination of ingredients is. Slight preparation modifications and you can serve it as a warm salad or appetizer, or with pasta, or on pizza. No herbs, spices, or other strongly aromatic ingredients overpower the delicate flavors of artichokes and seafood. Moderate seasoning and good extra virgin olive oil are all we need to make this dish shine.
They are fascinating for many reasons. First of all, they attract everybody’s attention because of their semi-transparency, which is stunning with colorful filling. Secondly, they are gluten-free by nature. The wrappers are made of starches that do not contain any gluten. Finally, they are totally delicious with incredible texture.
For years, every season I’ve been looking for a pumpkin which taste would come close to those my parents were growing in Ukraine in nineties. There were so many varieties of pumpkins and winter squashes to try, yet I couldn’t find a single one exciting — too bland, colorless, and fibrous for my taste, especially after cooking. I was ready to give up after my latest disappointment with Sugar Pie pumpkin, when decided to give a try to a larger Cinderella pumpkin I avoided earlier because of the size. Well, so far this variety is the closest to Ukrainian pumpkins I remember. The taste is still not as bright and fruity-sweet as I’d like it to be, but the color and texture are exceptional! Sunny orange and silky juicy, it’s a pleasure to eat it just roasted or cook with its puree. To really enjoy this soup recipe, use your favorite, the best tasting pumpkins and always start from scratch.
My journey into the Bangladeshi cuisine started with making Kasundi and learning about one of its most popular dishes Shorshe Ilish, hilsa shad in mustard sauce. Just like some other ethnic recipes in my collection, this one is not authentic. I think of it as some sort of bridge between West and East for mustard aficionados.
Empanada Gallega is popular all over Spain and around the world, it is one of the most known Spanish dishes.
The dough is made of wheat flour, fat (lard or oil), and water. The base for the filling is sofrito — onions and peppers — plus seafood or meat. Empanada Gallega is served freshly cooked or cold, sliced into portions, as an appetizer or tapas. The most common versions of this pie are made with canned tuna, scallops, and chopped pork sausage. My absolute favorite are scallops.
Empanadas Gallega can be large or small, round or square; they can be shaped as a large crescent and named empanadillas. As it often happens with famous dishes, there are many recipes of this pie. Mine is based on the original recipe in Spanish from recetaempanadagallega.com, which is featured as one of the best recipes of this pie. It uses a very interesting cooking method to prepare vegetable filling — peppers and onions are poached in oil, strained, and the same flavored oil is used for making pie dough. Which is genius!
My version only looks like De Fa Chang restaurant lotus dumplings. The dough recipe belongs to Andrea Nguyen, and so far it’s the best I tried for steamed dumplings. It has a balanced chewy texture — not too soft and mushy, not too rubbery. Cooked dumplings keep their shape well. If brushed with some oil or melted butter right after steaming, the skins do not overdry and look appetizing. The stuffing is not traditional either. To practice shaping I used round slices of fresh peach dusted with dry mix of sugar and corn starch. I also changed Andrea’s recipe by replacing boiling water + oil with scalded milk + clarified butter. Peach dumplings were served with cream and peach syrup. Then I found another “lazy” stuffing for savory dumplings — large scallops, and another “lazy” sauce to serve them — Gulf Brown shrimp compound butter.