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Progressive Dinner For Oct 10

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    Posted: 03 October 2013 at 08:32
We've really been pulling out all the stops, so far, and I hope we can keep it up.

There seems to be a little confusion on some aspects of the progression. So, just to prevent any further confusion, let's keep the following in mind.

1. The meals are (or should be) built around the main courses. So, in order to assure good balance, the seafood and main courses should be posted first. Then the other categories should be chosen to work well with them.

2. After posting here, repeat the recipe on an appropriate other thread. The progressive dinner threads should be confined to the dishes and any direct discussion about them. Further commentary, discussion, etc. should take place on the other forums. That will keep these from getting cluttered with extraneous posts.

Here's the line-up. Recipes are due no later than Thursday, October 10:

Appy: Ron
First: Margi
Soup/salad: Hila
Seafood: Brook
Main: Anne
Dessert: Ahron
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It’s no secret that we’re seafood freaks in our household. If it wasn’t for the cost we’d likely have some form of fish or shellfish every night. So I was really happy when it became my turn for this course.

Choosing a dish was a problem, though. I wanted something that would use readily available ingredients; be a little different; not too difficult to make, and somewhat affordable.

First thought was for my seafood lollipops with peach gastrique. But I decided that was too complex a dish for many people (ingredients aside, there are four major steps). And it certainly isn’t cheap to prepare.
In the end, I decided on:

MARYLAND-STYLE CRAB CAKES ON FRIED GREEN TOMATOES WITH BRETONNE
                   SAUCE & SHOESTRING POTATOES

Although there are multiple steps, none of them are particularly complicated. And they all use common techniques.

CRAB CAKES

1 tbls minced onion
1 large egg, beaten
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tbls Old Bay seasoning (or sub other seafood seasoning)
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 lb lump crabmeat, picked over
Oil for frying

In a bowl combine the first eight ingredients. Mix in the breadcrumbs. Then gently fold-in the crabmeat trying to not break it up too badly.

Form the mixture into six burger-like patties.

Pan fry the patties in hot oil until browned and crisp on each side. Set aside to keep warm.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

2 large green tomatoes (you want them as wide as the crab cakes) sliced ¼” thick
1 cup (approx.) buttermilk
Flour for dusting
1-2 eggs beaten with a little hot sauce
Cornmeal

Soak the tomato slices in enough buttermilk to cover.

While they marinate, set up a three-stage fry station with the flour, eggs, and cornmeal. Working with one or two slices at a time, drain the excess buttermilk, dust with flour, dip in the eggs, then the cornmeal.

Fry in the same skillet as the crab cakes until golden brown on each side. Set aside to keep warm.

BRETONNE SAUCE

Bretonne is a “daughter” sauce of béchamel, one of the classic “mother” sauces. So you have to start with the béchamel, then add the other ingredients.

1 tbls butter
1 tbls shallot, minced
1 tbls flour
1 cup warm milk
Pinch nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste
Thinly sliced white parts of leeks, celery, onion, and mushrooms, totaling ¼ cup
2 tbls butter, divided use
¼ cup fish stock

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Gently add the milk, in a steady steam, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until sauce starts to thicken. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and cook until thick.

Melt one tablespoon of the remaining butter in a small skillet and sauté the vegetables until tender. Add them to the béchamel and stir in the fish stock. Remove from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter to finish the sauce.   

SHOESTRING POTATOS

3 large russet or 6 Yukon gold potatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbls sea salt
Oil for deep frying

Combine the chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Using a mandolin with a small julienne blade, cut the potatoes into long, thin “shoestrings.” Alternatively, do this by hand: slice the potatoes very thinly the long way, then cut each slice into shoestrings.

Heat the oil to 350-375F. Working in batches, add the potato strings, stirring initially to separate them somewhat. Fry until golden brown and crisp.

Drain the potatoes on racks. While still hot, and still slightly oily, sprinkle with the salt mixture.

For service I prefer either a rectangular or square plate. Start by puddling two or three large spoonsful of sauce. Press the back of the spoon into the center of the puddle and draw it across the plate in a slightly curving smear.

Arrange two slices of tomato on the sauce. Top each with a crab cake. Place a portion of potatoes on the plate.

Serve, with additional sauce on the side.




     


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 02:21
I just have to use my new toy.
Main course will be classic.....

Carbonara.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 02:25
I will do a pictorial over the weekend. I feel a bit lazy doing this as a main, but I am a firm believer in 'simple-done-well'. 
I just hope my pasta making with the 'toy' will be up to it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 04:52


I shall be posting a Wild Mushroom, starter later this evening and taking a photo of the product I
just purchased from the Farmer´s Market. 

Navarra is  in season now ... 

Thank you.

Look forward to hearing all.
Margaux.  
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This is looking really good so far, everyone - I am pretty excited to see how everything turns out!

 
As for an appetiser, I will do a little thinking and searching; I've got a couple of ideas that I think should work well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 11:38

ASSORTED WILD MUSHROOMS


Navarran ecological extra virgin olive oil
garlic cloves minced to taste
sea salt sprinkled to taste
fresh minced parsley to taste


1) Rinse and cleanse your mushrooms of all soil debrée
2) place the evoo in a skillet ( I use 1 tablespoon per person as rule plus 2 extra )
3) heat the evoo on low to médium flame
4) pat dry mushrooms, slice off stems and slice the large morsels into half or 3 parts
5) sauté the minced garlic,using wooden spatula, clockwise turn until slightly tender, add the gorgeous morsels and sprinkle with sea salt and minced fresh flat leaf Italian style parsley
6) sauté until Golden

Do not over sauté them ...


PHOTO TO FOLLOW ...

Simplicity, and divine ... NOTE: Navarran wild mushrooms such as Edulis Boletus, Níscalos, Shitake are all a meal unto themselves. They are not light; I repeat, so all you need for 2, are an 1/8 or 1/4 kilo. Serve with rustic country bread.

SERVE with a semi sweet pinot noir sparkling rosé wine of choice to balance the bitterness of wild mushrooms. 2nd choice, a semi sweet White sparkling wine of choice.

Kind regards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 12:29
Alright, my friends - I think that I've got something good here. I've made it before, and really enjoyed it. For me, it was a breakfast, but I think that it would serve as an appretiser as well - then again, I kind of get the early courses a bit confused, so who knows? In any case, it is delicious, and looking at the recipes and dishes listed so far, I believe it has a lot of complimentary and contrasting characteristics to make it not only relevant but also interesting for this particular meal.
 
(NOTE: All photos below are "borrowed" from various internet sources (right-click on the photo for the source link); The next time I make this I will take my own and prepare a full pictorial.)
 
My choice is a beautiful, traditional Italian dish called Uova in Purgatorio - Eggs in Purgatory.
 
 
The recipe comes from a cookbook that The Beautiful Mrs. Tas got for me based on The Sopranos television show, and is full of many Italian and Italian-American dishes that I would like try try.
 
You can read a "back story" on the book as well as the dish by following this link:
 
 
There are also a couple of photos there, but they are not mine, since I took no photos when I made this dish.
 
Another great attribute of this dish is that it is very easy to prepare; here is the recipe (NOTE: as an appetiser, I would be using the same recipe to serve 8, not 4):
 
Quote Uova in Purgatorio
Eggs in Purgatory
 
To serve 4:
 
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups canned tomato puree
4 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces, or a pinch of dried oregano.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino Romano
 
In a medium skillet, cook the garlic in the oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until lightly golden. Add the tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Discard the garlic.
 
Break an egg into a small cup. With a spoon, make a well in the tomato sauce. Slide the egg into the sauce. Continue with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle with the cheese. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until the eggs are done to taste. Serve hot.
 
Nothing difficult here, but results are very good, and look incredible! There are some preparation notes and an "after-action" report on the link above, so please do check it out.
 
As far as presentation goes, for myself, I would do something rustic and simple, such as this:
 
 
But for my friends, I would like to step it up a bit - perhaps this:
 
 
Or this:
 
 
The only other thing I might add would be a bit of toasted, crusty garlic bread with which to sop up the sauce.
 
In any case, there it is ~ buon appetito! Hug
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Pretty!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 13:43
Tas,

Truly lovely presentation ...

Thank you for your contribution.

Kind regards.
Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 14:09

I would love to claim that I had researched and written this, sadly despite having done the research, I am no writer, so I have attached the credit for this at the bottom.


Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Premise:

Perhaps more than any other recipe in the Italian gastronomic canon, spaghetti alla carbonara and its origins have perplexed and eluded gastronomers for more than five decades.

Most food historians group the currently and popularly accepted theories of the etymon into three groups: the origin of the dish can be ascribed to
  1. coal miners;
  2. American soldiers who mixed “bacon and eggs” and pasta after occupying Italy in the post-war era;
  3. Ippolito Cavalcanti, the highly influential nineteenth-century Neapolitan cookery book author, whose landmark 1839 Cucina Teorico-Pratica included a recipe for pasta with eggs and cheese.
There is also a fourth theory that points to the restaurant La Carbonara, opened in 1912 in Rome. According to its website, it was launched by “coal seller” Federico Salomone. But the authors of site do not lay claim to the invention of carbonara nor do they address the linguistic affinity (even though they mention that their carbonara was included in a top-ten classification by the Gambero Rosso).

Origins and historical meaning of the word carbonara

The “coal miner” hypothesis is highly unlikely in my view. Carbonari are not coal miners but rather makers of [wood] charcoal (colliers in archaic English). If we agree that carbonara (the dish) began to appear in industrialized Italy (see below), we also have to take into account that the word carbonaro/a also had a different and more prevalent meaning for Italians at that time. The carbonari were members of a Neapolitan secret revolutionary society (similar to the Free Masons) called theCarboneria. The nineteenth-century group took their name from a fifteenth-century Scottish group of rebels who masked their subversive activities by pretending to be colliers.
In early twentieth-century Italian, alla carbonara meant (by association) in a secretive or subversive fashion. And while there is no doubt that alla carbonara can also be interpreted as relating to coal (also called carbonein Italian), it’s implausible that the dish is related to coal or coal miners. It’s more likely — in my view — that it’s related to charcoal or embers (see my proposed etymology below).

It’s worth noting here that alla carbonara is used as a designation in Sicilian cuisine for dishes using cuttlefish or squid ink. Seppie alla carbonara are cuttlefish that have been cooked in their ink. While pepper is generally accepted as a sine qua non condiment for this dish, few would describe carbonara as black as coal.

“Bacon and egg” hypothesis is improbable (early occurrences of carbonara in Italian literature)

The American soldier hypothesis is also untenable. Although the designation carbonara doesn’t begin to appear in Italian literature and in English-languages guides to Italian and Roman food until the mid-1950s, I have found an occurrence of the term in the Lunga vita di Trilussa (The Long Life of [the great Roman popular poet] Trilussa), published in Rome in 1951, the year after his death. In this hagiographic account of the poet’s “long life,” the author refers to spaghetti alla carbonara as one of Trilussa’s favourite dishes. It’s unlikely (for all the obvious reasons) that the biographer would include a dish that was introduced by American soldiers who arrived in Rome in 1944.
I also found instances of the term in Alberto Moravia’s wonderful short stories Racconti Romani (Roman Tales), first published in 1954, a delicious collection of vignettes of classic Roman characters, including a waiter (“Il pensatore” or “The Thinker”) who gets into a lot of trouble after insulting a rude guest under his breath. (Look for the 1956 translation published by Farrar, Straus and Cudahy [yes, Cudahy].) Again, the fact that the dish is invoked in a portrait of a classic character would seem to indicate that Italians and Romans considered it a typical dish of the Eternal City.

Cavalcanti and the Neapolitan origins of carbonara

None point to Cavalcanti as the inventor of the dish. But many cite his preparation of macaroni “co caso e ova sbattute” (“with cheese and beaten eggs”) as its precursor. As with any philological endeavor, we need to look at the original text in context to understand its meaning (and its role in understanding the origin of carbonara). The recipe appears for the first time in the second edition of Cavalcanti’s wildly successful book, in an appendix written not in Italian but Neapolitan. With his treatment of “Cucina casareccia in dialetto napoletano” (“Home Cooking in Neapolitan Dialect”), Cavalcanti created a distinction between the haute cuisine of his milieu and the familiar, popular cuisine of the Neapolitan proletariat. (This fantastic book, btw, is a precursor of the popular cuisine mania that has gripped our imaginations in current era of gastronomic awareness.)

“Co caso e ova sbattute” is literally the last of a long series of simple preparations for macaraoni (short pasta). And it’s worth noting here that it’s also one of the dialectal Cavalcanti’s preparations for peas. In other words, by 1839, we can be certain, pasta with eggs and cheese was a well-established dish, especially among the “common” folk.

(For a solid overview of scholarship on carbonara and its origins, see Anthony Buccini’s “On Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Related Dishes of Central and Southern Italy,” in Eggs in Cookery: proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2006, Prospect, 2007; like many food historians, Buccini neglects to address the meaning and usage of carbonaro/a in twentieth-century Italy and he fails to look closely at Cavalcanti’s text.)

 
Above: In his 1957 guide to “Eating in Italy,” Hammond omits carbonara from the chapter devoted to Rome but includes it in the pan-Italian overview.

Carbonara, a new theory of its origin
In the course of my research to date, the earliest description of carbonara that I have identified is found in Eating in Italy; a pocket guide to Italian food and restaurants by Richard Hammond, published by Scribner in 1957.
In it, he includes carbonara in his shortlist of pan-Italian dishes and omits it from his chapter devoted to Rome.
“[Spaghetti] alla Carbonara: in a sauce made with egg, cheese and bacon, or prosciutto (ham).”
The gloss is significant: not only is it the first known description of the dish (1957) but it also reveals that it was commonly prepared with different types of cured pork (not just bacon or pancetta); and the fact that it is included in the general overview (and omitted from the Roman overview) also gives us an indication that the dish was already popular in other major urban centers in Italy by the mid-1950s.

While I have no solid evidence of this, my philological intuition leads me to believe that the innovation of carbonara was the inclusion of cured pork. To my knowledge, no gastronome has made the connection between carbonara and carbonata, a term widely used in Renaissance Italy to denote a type of salt-cured and smoked pork.

And with this post, as we eliminate previously proposed theories for the origin of this dish, I’d like to propose that the designation carbonara could have been inspired by the use of salt-cured pork that had been smoked sotto carboni (by means of [wood] charcoal or embers).
Philology is an inexact and rarely conclusive science. Its name comes from the Greek, a love of language.

Even though we may never find the true origin of the dish, its appearance lies somewhere between Cavalcanti’s macaroni co caso e ova and Trilussa’s spaghetti.

The one thing that I’m certain of is that I love spaghetti alla carbonara as much as I love the history of words.
Wrap your tongue around that! And thanks for reading.



Recipe:

Ingredients

4 servings

  • 100g pancetta
  • 50g pecorino cheese
  • 50g parmesan
  • 3 large eggs
  • 350g spaghetti (De Cecco is very good)
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • A little white wine
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • Maldon salt and freshly grated black pepper
1. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Finely chop the pancetta, having first removed any rind. Finely grate both cheeses and mix them together. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, season with a little freshly grated black pepper and set everything aside.
2. Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add the spaghetti and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).
3. Squash the garlic with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the pancetta with the garlic. Drop the butter into a large wide frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic. Leave these to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so take it out with a slotted spoon and discard.
4. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine and cook out the alcohol.
5. When the pasta is ready lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta (see left). Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the rest of the pasta water away yet.
6. Mix most of the cheese in with the eggs, keeping a small handful back for sprinkling over later. Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. 
7. Add a ladle-full of the hot spaghetti water to the beaten eggs and quickly whisk, this tempers the eggs.
8. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese and, using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated. Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don’t want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.
9. Use a long-pronged fork to twist the pasta on to the serving plate or bowl.
10. Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of the remaining cheese and a grating of black pepper. If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and the glossy sauciness will be revived.
Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2002 with additions by me.
Revised recipe and Pictorial here

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 October 2013 at 04:10
Anne,

Excellent job on the research and history.

Thank you for posting.
Margaux.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 October 2013 at 06:28
Sounds great, but I want to see it, no I want to eat, no I.....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2013 at 03:19
Originally posted by MarkR MarkR wrote:

Sounds great, but I want to see it, no I want to eat, no I.....


me 2 .

dessert  is ready nice and fluffy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2013 at 03:21
Ron the Uova in Purgatorio looks divine .
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2013 at 17:12
So far this meal looks the best we have chosen so far, to my tastes anyway.....

But whats for pudding? I can't wait.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 October 2013 at 23:40
The decision on what to do for dessert ,was based on two facts .
1 . time
2 . it is strawberry time.
i give you .
strawberry mousse  dairy-free .



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 October 2013 at 08:45
pretty hard to beat that ~ terrific carbonara and outstanding strawberry mousse ~ great job, everyone!
 
my thanks to everyone for the compliments on the Uova in Purgatorio. i'll have to make this again soon!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Addtotaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 October 2013 at 03:07
I will have pictures a little later but just want to get the recipe up for now. Such a lovely and rich menu I decided a fresh and different salad would be in order.
 
Broccoflower zesty salad
 
Ingredients:
1/2 head broccoli
1/2 head cauliflower
2 spring/green onions
handful parsley
1 clover garlic
1 tomato
juice half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
 
Directions
Chop everything as small as possible. Deseed the tomato, mix the seeds with the lemon juice and chop the tomato up small. Mix together with the lemon juice and tomato dressing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 October 2013 at 10:14
Well, boys and girls, we really outdid ourselves this week. Every dish seems perfect on its own, but they all work with each other as well.

Good job everyone. Here's the recap:

Appy: Eggs in Purgatory
First: Sautéed Wild Mushrooms
Soup/Salad: Broccoli Zesty Salad
Seafood: Crab Cakes on Fried Green Tomatoes with Bretonne Sauce &
        Shoestring Potatoes
Main: Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
Dessert: Strawberry Mouse
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