Monday, June 18, 2012

Russia - Shashlyk

Sounds fancy doesn't it.  Well Shashlyk is simply kebabs, marinated for at least 6 hours but overnight it better.  The research I've done has shown the marinade to be pretty simple.  The most important part is to grate the onion instead of chopping it.  Seems this is standard procedure for most eastern European cooking and really releases the onion flavour (I think this will become my new standard for marinades and sauces!) 

The rest of the Euro 2012 menu is here.

Russia - Shashlyk
Serves 4

  • 1 lb beef or pork
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  1. Cube the beef into 1 inch/2 cm cubes
  2. Dice 1 onion into 1 inch/2 cm cubes
  3. Grate the remaining onion and garlic, place in a shallow dish
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the dish and mix well
  5. Toss in the meat and onion cubes
  6. Marinate overnight covered in the fridge.
  7. Heat the bbq, grill or grill pan to high heat.
  8. Place the meat and onion cubes on skewers, alternating meat and onion
  9. Grill the skewers on all sides until seared and browned.
  10. Serve with steamed root vegetables like turnip and carrots and some pickled veggies like pickled beets.

I enjoyed mine with steamed turnip, pickled beets and some bottle bbq sauce on the side. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Denmark - Smorrebrod (Open Faced Sandwiches)

Smorrebrod literally means 'butter bread'.  These recipes are wonderful for snacking on during the game or for a light meal.  I don't normally do this but this post covers the topic so well that I'm simply going to link to it. 

NPR Kitchen Window:  The Art of the Danish Open Faced Sandwich

You can pick and choose which sandwiches you would like to make.  I'm making the smoked salmon fish cakes but I'm going to use smoked trout instead of salmon and I think I'll also make the blue cheese, bacon and apple sandwich. 


The rest of the Euro 2012 menu can be found here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Greece - Greek Burgers and Salad

Tonight's meal is super simple since I had done up Greek burgers and froze them a couple of weeks ago. 
The rest of the Euro 2012 menu is here.

Greek Burgers
Serves 4

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried mint (I dry my own so the leaves stay whole and maintain a nice flavour.  You may want to try fresh mint, use 2tbsp - 1/4 cup)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • more feta, lettuce, tomato, yogurt, tzatziki, hummus to top
  • buns or pita

  1. Mix beef through to crumbled feta together, divide into 4 equal portions and make into patties
  2. Grill or pan fry until cooked through, about 15 - 20 minutes
  3. Serve with more feta, lettuce, tomato, yogurt, tzatziki and/or hummus
  4. I like mine in a pita!
Greek Salad
Serves 4

  • 1 red and green pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 green onions (scallions)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • black olives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta

  1. Dice the peppers, onions and cucumber into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add in the olives if using
  2. Mix the oil through to lemon and pour over the veggies (or use a nice bottled Greek dressing if you like)
  3. Stir in the feta.
  4. This salad is nicer the longer it sits.  I like to make mine a couple of hours ahead of time.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

England - Chicken Tikka Masala

Many people will say that this popular Indian dish has become the unofficial dish of England.  I'll play along.  I love Indian food, any shape, any size but when it gets a little westernization then it's just fun on the tongue.  I have some serious Indian cookbooks and love to cook authentically.  Most East Indian people I know are Vegetarians so I always get a little chuckle at the meat recipes.  This is an excellent recipe for the western palate.  It's comfort in a dish, perfect for those who haven't been very adventurous when it comes to trying new things.  For all the fish and chips in the UK, it's amazing how many people love 'a curry'.  This particular recipe is deadly simple. 

Add more chili powder if you like it spicier!

Simple Chicken Tikka Marsala
Serves 4

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" /1 cm cubes
  • 1" fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup/small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • Juice and zest 1/2 lime
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup light cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon

  • Instructions:
    1. Mix the chicken with the ginger, garlic, cilantro, lime and 1 tbsp of the oil. Let sit for 1/2 - 2 hours (I like a long marinate time)
    2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a saute pan or wok and saute the chicken until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside
    3. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in the same pan and cook the chili powder and onion until the onion is tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the turmeric and cumin and cook another minute.
    4. Add in the cream/yogurt and simmer 5 minutes.  Add the tomato puree, salt and pepper and lemon.  Simmer another minute.  Add the chicken back and cook another minute
    5. Serve with basmati rice and sprinkle with cilantro. 
    The rest of the Euro 2012 menu is here.

    Spain - Tortilla (Spanish Omelet)

    Getting ready for Italy V Spain.  Should be a big game.  Crap where is Torres?  He has got to make a turnaround in his career.  I know he's capable...  Just saw Italian fans dressed like Venetian boats' men.  Holy crap that's funny.  Gotta love football fans! Sergio Ramos got a haircut.... looking seriously yummy!! I think it makes him look taller...

    Tonight's meal is in honour of Spain.  Usually a traditional Spanish Tortilla is made with just potatoes but there are versions with the veggies as I've done below.  I like to sneak in veggies wherever I can.  This is usually served as a tapas, cut into cubes or slices and served with toothpicks.  Great for snacking on during the game....

    The rest of the Euro 2012 menu is here.

    Spanish Tortilla
    Serves 4 as a meal or 8 as a snack or appetizer

    • Olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 4 green onions, chopped
    • 1 green and red pepper, chopped
    • 11/2  cup cooked and diced potato (mine are new so I didn't peel them but it's up to you)
    • 5 eggs
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 6 ounces/175 g shredded cheddar or Parmesan cheese (if you can find a Spanish cheese use it!)
    • 3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. Heat oven to 375F, prepare a 8" X 11" pan or a round quiche dish by spraying it with some cooking spray and set aside (you can also do 4 individual dishes if you making a main course)
    2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. 
    3. Saute the garlic, onions and peppers until tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool
    4. Add the potatoes to the cooled pepper mix
    5. Beat the eggs, sour cream, cheese and chives together.  Add in the potato mix and salt and pepper as needed
    6. Pour the whole mixture in the prepared pan.
    7. Bake 30 - 40 minutes. 
    8. Remove from pan and serve sliced in cubes if serving as a snack, slices if serving as an appetizer or 4 sections if serving as a main.

    Saturday, June 09, 2012

    Germany - Wiener Schnitzel and Potato Salad

    Welcome to day 2 of the Euro 2012.  If today's games are half as good as yesterday's games (and they should be with the group of death playing!) then we're in for some excellent football!  Wowzers.  It is sad that when they introduced the refs for the Russia-Czech Republic game I said "hey, I know him!" ?!  I think I'm officially an international football fan when I recognize the refs... 

    Okay on to today's meal.  If it is hot and steamy where you are you could just through some nice German sausages on the BBQ and serve the potato salad cold.  As it is here the temp is 12C (56F) on my deck and it's raining to beat the band.  You know it's raining hard when 2 hardy Bouviers (dogs, see pic on right) won't go outside.  So I'm not BBQing!  I love Wiener Schnitzel and this recipe is really simple.  Traditional recipes call for veal but veal can be hard to find around here so I often use pork sirloin which works perfectly in this dish.  It's actually part of my regular menu rotation, just steam some veggies on the side for a super quick weeknight meal.

    Here's the rest of the Euro 2012 Group Stage Menu

    Wiener Schnitzel
    Serves 4

    • 1lb pork sirloin cut into 4 equal portions
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • 2 tsp butter
    • 2 tsp sunflower oil (or any neutral tasting oil)
    • 1lemon, cut into 4 wedges

    1. Place pork between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or place in zip lock bag.  Pound pork out until it's 1/4 inch thick
    2. Beat eggs in a shallow dish
    3. Place flour in another shallow dish
    4. Place bread crumbs in another shallow dish
    5. Dip pork in flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs, set aside
    6. Place butter and oil in a skillet and heat over medium high heat.
    7. Saute the pork portions until golden on each side.  They shouldn't take long, 4 minutes or so on each side.
    8. Serve each piece with a wedge of lemon. 
    Potato Salad
    Serves 4

    • 3 cups diced potatoes (new potatoes work wonderful here) peeled or unpeeled, your choice
    • 4 slices bacon
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 3 tbsp sugar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Grainy Dijon mustard

    1. Place potatoes in a pot of water and bring to boil.  Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile heat a skillet over medium high heat and add bacon.  Cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove the bacon and let drain on some paper towel. Crumble when cool enough to handle.
    3. Cook the onion in the bacon grease until tender.
    4. Add the vinegar, water and sugar.  Simmer until the sugar is dissolved
    5. Toss in the potatoes and bacon and heat through. 
    6. Serve with the Grainy Dijon mustard on the side.
    Add some additional veggies, preferably something green to make this a complete meal!'  Ill be adding a side of brussel sprouts.  Yum!

    Thursday, June 07, 2012

    Euro 2012 Menu

    As most of you know, I love to make international sport events into culinary events.  It's nice to give your menu meaning and it makes menu planning a little more interesting.  Food and sports.... yeah, pretty much my happy place.  Join me.

    I love international Football (or soccer to us North Americans) and Euro 2012 should be a be a blast.  I was just starting to go into sports withdrawal as the NHL playoffs wind down and we're a ways away from the start of NFL, EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A,.... well you get the idea...  There is that Olympics thingy happening later this summer.  Thanks Goddess!

    Okay here's the menu for the 12 day group round.  I'll link the recipes as I make them so you can check back to this page and get to whatever info you want.  Since there are 2 games a day I added 'simple' to the theme of this menu!  The meal matches one of the teams playing that day.  I know, I'm a little kitchy...

    Euro 2012 Group Round Menu
    1. Poland (since it's one of the hosts, might as well start with Polish cuisine!) - Kielbasa, Perogies and Greens.  No recipes, just saute diced kielbasa with perogies and toss in some greens.  Done
    2. Germany - Wiener Schnitzel and Potato Salad
    3. Spain - Spanish Omelet/Tortilla
    4. England - Chicken Tikka Masala
    5. Greece - Greek Burgers and Salad
    6. Denmark - Smorrebrod (open faced sandwich)
    7. Italy - Pizza (frozen or take out - everyone needs a day off...)
    8. Sweden - Toast Skagan (Shrimp on toast and one of my faves!!) I've claimed this dish to be Danish for the FIFA 2010 World Cup but it's on most menu's in Sweden...
    9. Russia - Shashlyk (kebabs) and Turnip
    10. Croatia - Brodet (Braised Fish on Polenta)
    11. Ireland - Corned Beef Sandwiches and Coleslaw (Summer version of Corned Beef and Cabbage!)
    12. France - Crepes with whatever veggie is freshest at the market and some nice cheese
    There is also this Croatian dish of Swiss Chard called Blitva that I might try one of these nights.  I'll keep you posted...

    As per usual - when Canada is not involved I cheer for Sweden.  Sverge, Sverge, Sverge!

    Bravo to Disney!

    Have you heard the news?!  Disney is taking a stand against junk food by eliminating all advertising on it's various media outlets and in it's theme parks by 2015 (delayed due to current ad contracts already in place).  This is HUGE. They are also looking at improving the health value of the food offerings within their theme parks.  Disney is a highly successful brand and they're setting a new standard. Here's to hoping many follow. 

    Now the question is, will they follow a fresh, natural approach or will they go with a highly sponsored, well advertised 'healthy' processed food approach?  This is the bee in my bonnet that continues to permeate our culture.  Packaged foods with 'blue' labels claiming to be healthy, being low in fat while high in salt or claiming to be low in sodium but high in fat.  Never mind the processed ingredients in these products.  It's been interesting to watch the development of the packaged "healthy" foods market.  And it will be interesting to see what direction Disney heads.  Remember - shortest distance between Mother Nature's hands to your mouth is always best!