Archive for May, 2010

 

Kufta, grilled meat on skewers

Kufta, grilled meat on skewers

You’ll LOVE KUFTA

It has many names, Kufteh, Cufta, Kifta…..depending on country of origin Lebanon, Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, or Iran.  It all stems from the Persian word “to grind” or “meatball”.   Kufta is a mixture of meat, parsley, onions, bulgar wheat, spices and egg. They are usually formed into cigar shaped cylinders, then grilled, baked, fried, steamed, or poached.  They can also be served with a spicy sauce.  One thing is without question, this is a delicious ancient food, with endless ethnic variations.  The following recipe is one I have used for years. It is made with lamb and beef and then grilled. I also use a special an ancient middle eastern spice called BARAHAT, a mixture of allspice, cardomon, cassia bark, cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and paprika. See if you can find it, because it adds a special exotic flavor to the kufta.

KUFTA

¾ lb ground lamb

¾ lb ground beef

¾ cup finely chopped or grated onion

1 toe finely minced fresh garlic

¾ cup chopped parsley

3 TBS chopped fresh mint leaves

1 egg (beaten)

1 tsp BARAHAT

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp sea salt

Optional: flat wooden skewers (soaked)

Optional:  Labna or Laban (Lebanese  yogurt)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients
  2. Form into 10 equal balls, then into cylinders
  3. If using skewers, run skewer through cylinders
  4. Grill until med rare, residual heat will continue to cook
  5. Don’t over cook. 
  6. Serve with dollop of labna, garnish with chopped parsley or chives

 

Kufta, cooked on Grilling Stones
Kufta, cooked on Grilling Stones

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook, Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group  Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years. For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try www.cookingwithcordier.com 

Photo and recipe by Doug Cordier.  All rights reserved, Cooking with Cordier 2010

 

Strip Steaks on Vermont Grilling Stones

Strip Steaks on Vermont Grilling Stones

The Ultimate Grilling Experience

I have been a “grill guy” forever. I am always looking for the next best grill, or grill gizmo.  Well, my search was over when my daughter Erica gave me a pair of Vermont Grilling Stones http://www.vermontcountrygrillstone.com/ for Christmas.  I read all the directions and claims on the box and I couldn’t wait until the weather got a little warmer and I could try them out. Now it’s a month later, I have used my stones at least ten times, and the claims are TRUE.  Yes, “every time you use them it gets better”. Honest.  Vermont Grilling stones are made of heavy basalt (igneous rock), they measure about 6” x 14”  x 1” I would suggest buying two ($39.95) …….that way you can grill larger items, and even pizzas!   The first thing you do is oil them.  The oil soaks into the stone and provides an almost non-stick surface. This is especially great for fish and seafood,  (the residual heat provides perfect temperature control) which turns out fantastic. If you hate to clean your grill, this is also amazing because these stones clean themselves!  So far I have grilled, chicken, lamb chops, burgers, kofta, and lots and lots of seafood.  These grilling stones are just the best thing that could ever happen to a “grill guy”.  Enjoy…………

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook, Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years.  For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try  www.askthecooks.com

Photo by Doug Cordier.  All rights reserved Cooking with Cordier 2010

 

Calamari in Wine Sauce with peas and rice

My first encounter with calamari was in San Sebastian, Spain where calamari fritos are sold on the streets. Big rings of sweet squid are breaded and then deep fried in lard (pig fat rules)  until crispy.  It just doesn’t get any better than that! Over the years calamari has become my favorite treat. I love it fried, sautéed, broiled, grilled, marinated in salads, or in a seafood stew like the recipe below.

Calamari needs to be either cooked FAST or VERY SLOWLY and LOW or it will turn into rubber. Nutritionally, squid is a very good source of protein. 4 oz yields 16 grams of protein, 92 calories and only 1.5 grams of fat……….however, and this is a WARNING for some of you………4 oz of squid is loaded with LDL cholesterol (250 Mg bad cholesterol! ) The highest concentration appears to be in the tentacles.  So if you’re a calamari lover and watching your cholesterol limit your intake of this versatile seafood delight.  

Calamari in wine sauce

Squid in classic wine & tomato sauce

1  2 LB package of frozen squid (thawed)

3 toes garlic minced

2 TBS oyster sauce (optional)

3 TBS tomato paste

1 cup finely chopped red onions

2 TBS flour

1 small can tomato sauce

1 ½ cup dry red wine

2 TBS chopped thyme leaves

1 cup parsley leaves

Fresh ground pepper

Pinch sea salt

2 TBS olive oil for frying

Finishing olive oil and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

  1. Thaw calamari in frig, drain, pat dry
  2.  Add olive oil to heavy pan, fry squid for two minutes, add onions & garlic
  3. Sauté onions, garlic, add paste, oyster sauce, flour, thyme, salt & pepper
  4. Add wine, cook 2-3 minutes to reduce
  5. Cover and cook for 50 minutes in 285 oven
  6. Anoint with finishing olive oil & sprinkle of parmesan cheese (optional)
  7. Serve with rice, peas, light salad & crusty bread.

Yields 4-5

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook, Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years. For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try www.askthecooks.com                 

Recipe and photo copyright 2010 , Cooking with Cordier, All Rights Reserved

First layer of zucchini, cheese, and bacon

My Wife’s Favorite Zucchini  Dish

I love zucchini in nut breads and ratatouille but have never been able to create a savory dish that really lets this versatile veggie shine.  My wife, “MB” is always asking me to prepare special zucchini dishes but I fall short each time. Perhaps it’s the fact that zucchini “weeps” a lot of liquid, or the way I slice it.  I’ve tried slicing on a diagonal, shredding, julienne, chopping, stuffing, and of course just plain cross sections.  Well, I finally have a dish that she loves.  It combines, some great flavors that marry perfectly with zucchini…….fresh ricotta, parmesan, provolone, green onion, lemon and just a touch of BACON……(everyone loves bacon).  So MB, here’s your dish, and I dedicate it to you.

Zucchine con tre  formaggi e lemone

2 small zucchini (thinly sliced on cross section)

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

6 slices provolone cheese

½ cup parmesan cheese

2 green onions (sliced on diagonal)

½ the juice of a lemon

1 strip of bacon (cooked crisp and diced)

2 TBS olive oil

Sea salt & fresh Pepper

  1. Coat a 7” x 10”  baking dish with oil
  2. In a bowl, toss sliced zucchini with oil and lemon
  3. Layer in pan like scales, one layer of zucchini,top with dollops of ricotta, and onions.
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan and bacon, top with provolone.
  5. Repeat with second layer
  6. Bake at 325 for about ½ hour or until bubbly.

 Serves four

Recipe and Photo by Doug Cordier