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Saturday, June 24, 2017

INTERNATIONAL: BORDELESS CUISINE 4 - Peruvian Pesto, Italian Pesto, French Pistou and Persillade and Argentinian Chimichurri

LINKS TO PREVIOUS BORDERLESS CUISINE POSTS


Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verdes)

Waves of Italians from Genoa poured into Peru in the mid-1800's.  Instead of peppery basil, parmesan and pine nuts the Italian immigrants in Peru used sweet spinach, cream (replacement for oil) and queso fresco (replacement for Parmesan). Walnuts or pecans were substituted for pine nuts. (When they first came these items weren't readily available basil, olive oil, pine nuts and pasta.)




Serving suggestions (with lime wedges and/or Parmesan)
  • over tenderloin
  • with fish
  • with pasta
  • with rice
  • with potatoes
  • over fried egg(s)
  • with green beans
  • with steamed or slightly sauteed zucchinis, asparagus, fava beans and peas.

Italian Pesto (Pesto Genovese or Pesto alla Genovese)




Serving suggestions: 



Other Pestos: Pesto alla siciliana, sometimes called pesto rosso (red pesto), is a sauce from Sicily similar to pesto alla genovese but with the addition of tomato, almonds instead of pine nuts, and much less basil. Pesto alla calabrese is a sauce from Calabria consisting of (grilled) bell peppers, black pepper and more; these ingredients give it a distinctively spicy taste.



Pistou (a French version of pesto)




The sauce is derived from the Genoese pesto, which is traditionally made of garlic, basil, pine nuts, grated Sardinian Pecorino, and olive oil, crushed and mixed together with a mortar and pestle. The key difference between pistou and pesto is the absence of pine nuts in pistou.




Pistou is a typical condiment from the Provence region of France most often associated with the Provençal dish soupe au pistou, which resembles ministrone and may include white beans, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, potatoes, and pasta. The pistou is incorporated into the soup just before serving.


Gruyere cheese is used in Nice. Some regions substitute Parmesan Cheese. In Liguria, Pecorino, a hard sheep's milk cheese from Sardinia or Corsica is used. Whatever cheese is used, it is preferred that it not be a "stringy" cheese, so that when it melts in a hot liquid (like in the pistou soup, for instance), it does not melt into long strands.

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a green sauce, traditionally used for grilled meat in Argentina. The dish’s main ingredients include minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley, olive oil, and wine vinegar. It normally contains oregano as well, and variations often include paprika, cumin, lemon, basil, thyme, tomato, cilantro, and red bell pepper.
You will most frequently see chimichurri served with grilled meats like steak and lamb, especially throughout Argentina (Basque section of France sent a lot of Basques to Argentina - Basque name of sauce:   tximitxurri) and Peru. This incredibly flavorful sauce is quite similar to Italian basil pesto, but with parsley instead of basil.  SERVING SUGGESTIONS: The fresh garlic and parsley pair really well with grilled steak or lamb and roasted vegetables, but it is also delicious served over lentil burgers, mixed into pasta salad, or as a condiment to perk up sandwiches and wraps!



Persillade

Persillade is the culinary term for a chopped mixture of garlic and parsley, usually in equal parts by volume. The root of the word is persil, the French word for parsley.  Simple to make, but a common ingredient in many dishes, it is often included in a sauté cook's stapes. It can be added early in a dish for a mellow flavour, added at the very end of the cooking to provide a garlicky jolt, or even used raw as a garnish.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS:  A classic French bistro dish is Pommes persillard, basically cubed potatoes fried in small amount of oil, with persillade added at the end of the cooking. New Orleans chef Austin Leslie's signature dish was Fried Chicken with Persillade--basically fried chicken with the garlic and parsley mixture added as a garnish.





INTERNATIONAL: GREECE: Part 11: Macedonia and Thrace


Macedonia and Thrace, the northeastern part of mainland Greece (the areas officially became part of Greece in 1913), are home to a wonderful mosaic of people from various ethnic backgrounds and diverse culinary traditions. 





In addition to the descendants of the transhumant Vlach shepherds, there is a Muslim, Turkish-speaking community in Thrace, and people of Slavic or Bulgarian origins throughout Macedonia.

Pontians, Greeks who have lived in the Black Sea regions of the ex-Soviet Union, gradually made their way to Greece in large numbers from the early 19th century until the 1990s. They settled in many parts of the country, but mainly in the north. 

Although you won't find many restaurants serving Pontian dishes such as korkoto (buckwheat pilaf)


or a favorite sorvas (soup made with yogurt and coarse cornmeal or cracked wheat), 




you will find Pontian cheeses, such as Pontiako tyri,



a mozzarella-like semisoft buffalo or cow's milk braid, and kapnisto,



the exquisite smoked version of the same cheese. The cheeses are produced in Macedonia and are distributed in small grocery stores all over Greece in neighborhoods where Pontians live.

Unlike Athens, Salonica (also called Thessalonica)—Greece's second largest city, the capital of Macedonia, and one of the most important port cities of eastern Mediterranean—was always a destination, or at least a daydream, for food-loving people. Salonica:  tasting mussels (the delicious plump golden fried mollusks had a crunchy exterior and soft juicy core and were served on a little plate, pinned with a toothpick and arranged in a circle around a dollop of spicy skordalia (garlic sauce).





These kinds of refined yet elementary mezes—small plates that are often called "Greek tapas"—are now fairly mainstream all over Greece but were then unknown in the southern mainland, and the trend began here, in Salonica. The numerous mezedopoleia and ouzerias (meze restaurants) in Macedonia and Thrace still serve a selection of well-executed little plates (the plural is mezes, mezzes, mezedes, or mezethes) with delicious morsels from the sea and land








—accompanied by a karafaki (small bottle) of Tsipouro or anise-flavored ouzo, strong alcoholic drinks distilled from wine residuals, including pits, seeds, and skins.






At the crossroads between the northern Balkans and the Middle East, Salonica was home to many different ethnicities throughout the Ottoman domination, of which the Sephardic Jewish community was probably the largest. The Jews who fled Spain and the Inquisition in the 15th century settled here en masse. Ladino, their language, as well as the wonderful sad-romantic Sephardic songs and some characteristic foods are still part of Salonica's multiethnic identity, although, tragically, the Nazi occupation of World War II almost eliminated the once-thriving Jewish community. Modiano, the captivating landmark Food Market at the center of Salonica, was built in the early 1920s by Eli Modiano, a wealthy Jewish merchant. The glass-covered market extends through a whole city square, and one can find vegetables, meat and fish, spices and cheeses, fresh and dried herbs, as well as flowers.





Some of the meze restaurants in the market are very popular, serving a mixed lunch crowd of tourists, fashion-conscious yuppies, and working-class people.

DURING THE EXCHANGE OF POPULATIONS, AFTER GREECE'S DEFEAT IN THE LAST WAR WITH TURKEY, IN 1922, A VAST NUMBER OF GREEKS WHO LIVED FOR CENTURIES IN ASIA MINOR (THE AEGEAN PART OF TURKEY) CAME TO GREECE AS PROSFYGES (REFUGEES). MANY SETTLED IN MACEDONIA, BRINGING WONDERFUL CULINARY TRADITIONS. IN THE LATE '50S WEALTHY GREEKS, WHO HAD LIVED AND PROSPERED IN ISTANBUL, ALSO MOVED TO GREECE. THESE TWO GROUPS ARE LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TOTALLY IRRESISTIBLE, SUMPTUOUS SWEETS OF MACEDONIA. ALTHOUGH MANY ARE CLEARLY TURKISH, LIKE MY FAVORITE KAZANDIPI,




A KIND OF SMOKY PANNA COTTA WITH AN INVERTED BURNED BOTTOM CRUST, THERE ARE ALSO SWEETS THAT MIX EUROPEAN AND EASTERN TRADITIONS, LIKE KARIOKES, RICH CHOCOLATE, CANDIED CITRUS, DRIED FRUIT, AND NUT COOKIES

The coast of eastern Macedonia and Thrace, especially the Evros river delta, at the far eastern corner of Greece, is famous for its fish and seafood. In Kavala and Alexandroupolis taverns serve the best seafood one can get in Greece. Mussels are served fried, in mydopilafo (mussel risotto),




or braised briefly with white wine, scallions, and herbs, and served topped with crumbled Feta cheese in a dish called mydia saganaki.



There are some fish processing plants in the area, and lakerda, steaks of large mackerel or little tunny salted and preserved in olive oil, is a local delicacy.

For history and culture buffs, The Ethnological Museum of Thrace in Alexandroupolis has exhibits of old cooking utensils and videos and demonstrations of almost-extinct handmade food preparations, including harvesting, pounding, and cooking sesame seeds for halvah and tahini, and making pasta, Turkish delight,



and hard candy.

At the feet of Mount Vermio, in central Macedonia, the vast peach orchards yield

sumptuous white- and yellow-fleshed fruits in the summer. In Kozani, on the western side of Vermio, excellent saffron


is produced by a local cooperative that includes families from 37 villages of the area.

Wines

Wines/grapes native to this region: Brusco (made from Xinomavro grapes), Goumenissa (made from Xinomavro with the Negoska), Cotes de Meliton (from a combination of French Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Greek varieties).

Note: Macedonia produces some of the most important Greek wines. The visionary Yannis Boutaris, a third-generation winemaker, organized the producers of the area, creating a program that propose five itineraries covering western, central and eastern Macedonia, Thrace, and the northern parts of Thessaly. In addition to wine tasting at the various wineries, restaurants offer authentic dishes that are ideally matched with the local wines. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

INTERNATIONAL: GREECE: Link to links for Greek Series Blogposts

LINKS TO EARLIER PARTS


INTRO

 GRIKOS

 CYPRUS

GREEK ISLANDS

IONIAN ISLANDS AND THE CYCLYDES

CHIOS (AEGEAN)

AEGEAN ISLANDS

THE CYCLADES (IONIAN) CONTINUED

IONIAN ISLANDS

 THE DODECANESE

CRETE

PELOPONNESE

http://internationalfoodblog.blogspot.com/2017/06/international-greece-part-10-peloponnese.html#.

MACEDONIA AND THRACE

http://internationalfoodblog.blogspot.com/2017/06/international-greece-part-11-macedonia.html#.




INTERNATIONAL GREECE: Part 10 : The Peloponnese



The Peloponnese—the fertile, palm-shaped peninsula on the southernmost end of the mainland—hosts the breathtaking ancient theater of Epidaurus, as well as the medieval fortified cities of Monemvasia and Pylos. Food fans come for the olives and olive oil, the abundance of vegetables and fruit, and some of the most important Greek wines.





The Peloponnese has lush vegetable gardens, green hills, the clear blue sea, and the two-storied mud-brick homes with the red-tiled roofs in the middle of lemon 
 or apricot orchards—many of which remain, still producing wonderful fruit. Driving down the old narrow winding road through the particularly fertile Argos plain (in the eastern central part of the Peloponnese), we'd trail behind trucks brimming with cabbages, carrots, tomatoes, apricots,
and melons. A modern highway has replaced the narrow road, but the area still has wonderful produce such as the justly famous argitikes melitzanes (long, light-purple eggplants);
and football-shaped argitika peponia (deep-yellow, aromatic heirloom melons).




















From the beautiful ancient city of Nauplion (also spelled "Náfplio" or "Nafplion"), which was the first capital of modern Greece, artichokes. 
 which are cultivated in the fields behind the beach of Kandia. If you visit in spring, you might get to go to the annual artichoke festival, organized by producers to try to reintroduce this wonderful edible bud to young Greek cooks, who seem increasingly reluctant to devote the time needed to peel and prepare them. 
Olive oil, a key ingredient in all parts of Greece, is especially important in the Peloponnese: I have seen locals bring a bottle of their own oil

to taverns and drizzle it liberally over the already dressed salads, the soups, even the oil-drenched vegetable stews that are brought to their table. In Mani, the southernmost tip of the peninsula, pork, the meat of choice in the Peloponnese, is also preserved in olive oil. There are seven DOC (Protected Designations of Origin) olive oil regions here, with most of the oil being made from koroneiki olives (other varieties include athinoelia, kolyreiki, and lesser-known regional strains).  
Tripolis, high in the mountains of Arcadia, and the picturesque villages of the plateau in central Peloponnese are the pastoral center of the area. Wonderful heirloom apples, cherries,
and walnuts are grown there. Locals also produce sweet and creamy Feta 

from the abundance of sheep's milk, some of it still aged in wooden barrels. Trahanas,

handmade pasta made from bulgur, flour or semolina, and milk or sour milk, is particularly good here.
In addition to the renowned olive oil and table olives produced around Kalamata, Sparta, and Mani, the southern Peloponnese has extended citrus groves that produce juicy and fragrant lemons and oranges.
Lemon is ubiquitous in Greek cooking, as it beautifully complements the flavor of olive oil, but in the Peloponnese, oranges also find their way into the pork and vegetable stews. Kalamata is famous for its delicate, white, and sugary dried figs
Oddly, there are very few typical Peloponnesian dishes, except for seasonal vegetables stews, made with vegetables, including zucchini, eggplant, green beans, leafy greens, and artichokes. The stews sometimes contain meat or poultry and are flavored with lemon in the winter and tomatoes in the summer. The area's most interesting peasant dish is lagotó,
a specialty of Tripolis: Pieces of pork are cooked in a very garlicky sauce that is thickened with bread crumbs and spiked with vinegar.

Wine

Wines/grapes native to this region: Nemea velvety red (made from Agiorgitiko), Mandinia aromatic white (from Mavrodaphne and Asproudes grapes), Muscat of Patras, Muscat of Rio, and Mavrodaphne sweet wines (from Mavrodaphne grapes).

PELOPONNESIAN NOTES


  • Brined and barrel-aged cheese called touloumotyri.
  • Olive bread, made with meaty kalamata olives, freshly dug sweet onions, and hand-stretched phyllo dough, to stews of greens and fresh fava beans.

  • Three different kinds: karveli, a sourdough loaf flavored with anise; tyganopsomo, disks of dough fried to a golden brown; and an addictive flat bread called ladopropira, which is punched down onto a sesame-sprinkled cookie sheet,
  • Hollowed-out shells of fried eggplants with a rich lamb-and-veal mixture flavored with onion and cloves, covered them with a thick bechamel sauce, and baked them to create a dish called papoutsakia, or "little shoes." 


Then there are hand-pressed nuggets of pasta dough into curved into shapes called gogyzes, which are boiled  and tossed with grated touloumotyri and sizzling goats' butter. 
  • Enormous mounds of tender greens called vlita.

  • Prepared a dish of pork, which is popular in the region, stewed in a creamy, tangy lemon-and-egg sauce with young celery grown alongside the wild greens in the backyard.

  • The tender goat meat stewed in a delicious allspice-flavored tomato sauce came from a kid,

  • Foraged the mild-tasting hyacinth bulbs that were poached in a peppery olive oil, which in turn had been made from the fruit of a tree growing in the yard. 

  • All the spring produce in the rich eggplant casserole, cooked with plenty of onions, tomatoes, and feta; the mixed roasted vegetables; and the salad strewn with rusks had been grown in the Moriatises' garden. 

  • Even the light-bodied retsina served with lunch had been made by someone at the table:  Used resin from local pine trees to impart the wine's namesake flavor.

  •  Polished off the meal with spoon sweets made from wild pears and green walnuts foraged from the mountains. 


Spoon sweets are made all over Greece, however, each region has its specialties basically depending on the agricultural crops.  In Pelopponnese, red wine country, citrus zest and citrus fruits are employed in spoon sweets with Bergamot (a green-looking orange)


  rind and a variety of orange types, unripened, ripe and sour bitter.


Finally, there were diples. The sweet, ouzo-spiked fritters, a requisite holiday dessert, are bigger and bolder in the Peloponnese than in most other parts of Greece. The fritters are expertly shaped, folding them with the tines of a granny fork into wide, wallet-shaped forms. After frying, the fritters are soaked in syrup. The syrup was made  honey, produced by bees in the yard and carted to locations throughout the nearby mountains so they can feed on seasonal plants and trees. Tasted the very best blend, a heady mix of fir and thyme honeys that gave notes of vanilla and caramel. 


  • Hilopites are a dried pasta.