Veal Paprikash ~ A Taste of Hungary!

A CLASSIC HUNGARIAN dish that combines tender chunks of veal in a rich,  complex and aromatic paprika-cream sauce

Hungarian Paprika

Hungarian Paprika

A PERFECT WINTER DISH! It multiplies well for entertaining and is always a winner! Hungarian Veal paprikas is a stew. Do not mix it up with Hungarian goulash ( gulyás ). Which is a soup.  You will sometimes see Porkolt written, which is the proper Hungarian word for paprikas.
VEAL PAPRIKASH is another great dish you will want to add to your comfort food list. This recipe comes from my glamorous and clever neighbour, whose birthplace is Hungary.  This ‘RECIPE’  hails from a ‘no recipe’ blend…. like many talented chefs! The ingredients are exactly the way that mother made it – back home in Hungary!  Larger quantities are easy to make, when hosting a dinner party. Always a big hit with friends and family. The flavour satisfies many gourmands. My Hungarian neighbor is quite adamant about all the ingredients and the method.  A traditional recipe at home in Hungary. A very popular ‘Heart Healthy’ dish!
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RECIPE
papprika--image2INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons or more olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 1/2 pounds veal shoulder cut into about one inch or bite sized pieces
2 large tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 large or 2 small red peppers, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to tast

OPTIONAL: A splash of wine.  ( WIne tenderizes the meat. )

INSTRUCTIONS
1. In a heavy cast iron pot place onions and olive oil. Add more olive oil if necessary so that the onions are covered. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the veal and cook for another 5 minutes. IMG_1567
3. Add the other ingredients; tomatoes, paprika, caraway seeds, garlic, and red pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for one hour checking occasionally to make sure it is not boiling. If it is too watery, simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.IMG_1576
Aromatic “Health Smart” Sauce that is incredibly smooth.

OPTIONAL cooking method : Use an enamelled cast iron pot ( with lid on ) in the oven for large quantities. Mix all the ingredients ln top of the stove. Then place in the oven. Set oven temperature to 350F  Check after 1/2 hour. Cook for another 1/2 hour. Ready to plate.  Hint: All ovens are different. Adjust accordingly.

Comfort Food #1

Simply Splendid Comfort Food

FREEZER_freidnly33Serves 8-10. Leftovers are stored in the fridge or freezer or given to friends. A tasty  to take home!
didyouknow2PAPRIKA comes loaded with vitamin A and carotenoids along with vitamin E, iron and lutein. Vitamin A aids in night vision. Carotenoids gives paprika its deep red color plus preventing harmful light rays from damaging the eye tissues. Paprika pairs well with humus (chick peas), carrots, butternut squash and pumpkin soup. Caraway, also known as meridian fennel, or Persian cumin is common in European cooking  for breads, cakes and added to pork roast (Germany, Austria and Hungary)  and in Moroccan dishes.  The  flavor is nutty and bittersweet.

HAT2 FOOD TIP: Use paprika as a salt substitute .  You can add paprika  to  “HOT” roasted potatoes and vegetables, right out of the oven.  FUN STORY:  I got this idea from a seaside shanty.  Hot, curly fries with salt and paprika came out of the kitchen! The  “chef” added it for you.  (without me asking for paprika)   Actually, they were amazing! (If you let the fries cool, even a little bit and add the paprika later ~ it was not the same taste).  Oven veggies: add the paprika the last 5 minutes of baking, before you take them out of the oven to heighten the flavour.  Do the same with roast chicken, scallops and more. CARAWAY seed comes from the parsley family. Grind it up and add it to your  family  coleslaw or potato salad and falafel (add very little ~ to taste).  Caraway spice is a storehouse of minerals attacking free radicals in you body.

Ratatouille ~ With Pizzaz

I am so in love with the beautiful flavour of the fresh tomatoes that linger on in the season that I had to make some to enjoy them.  So I decided to make ratatouille.   In the beginning of the process the eggplant got charred to carbon in  literally minutes in my Vulcan convection air oven.  So not to give up I moved to a frying pan and made the ratatouille anyway substituting poblano peppers for the eggplant.  My Italian friend said it was the best ratatouille she had ever had!  Gone was the bitterness that was imparted by the eggplant and the heat of the poblano was not really noticeable.  It added just a background of mild heat and umami if you will.  We used this as an accompaniment for our meal and as a filling for our omelets the next morning.  Yummy!  Here is the recipe. Yet another healthy sugar free, gluten free one.
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INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
2 zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon thyme
1 yellow bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
2 tomatoes (skin removed)
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INSTRUCTIONS

1)  Dice and saute onion in oil a few minutes until translucent
2)  Dice and add garlic and saute for a few minutes longer
3)  Dice zucchini and add to pan  along with the lemon thyme
4) Next add diced yellow and poblano peppers and saute a few minutes longer
5)  Dice the tomatoes and add to the pan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook a few minutes longer.
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The resulting ratatouille will taste more like vegetables and is not dripping in tomato sauce.  It lacks the bitterness that eggplant imparts.  It is so fresh, tasty and versatile.  Serve it with your meal, in your lasagna,  and in your omelets.  Adding this with cheese to your morning omelet will also enhance the flavours and it is great for single servings and it has multipurpose uses.  This is for the “who’s- got-time?” – to cook – crowd  but we want to eat tasty and healthy food!

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Your Foodie Tip

The easiest way to peel a tomato is to cut an “X” on the end, place it in boiling water or whatever water you may have boiling on the stove like stock, soup, pasta water. After a minute or two drop it in ice water and it will peel very easily. The procedure is the same for peaches, nectarines and the like.

tomato-xxxtomato-xxxx
didyouknowDid You Know?
If you drop your lemon into boiling water for a minute or two and then roll it on your counter, you will get more juice out of it?   I watched one of our most famous Italian chefs in the city do this.  Of course he had lots of pots boiling at any given time.  You then roll it on the counter, cut it and juice it.
lemon_boiingIn addition, if you use one of those new juicers that you just press, cut the end off the lemon and you will find it’s easier to juice and again you will get more juice. If you have too many lemons, you can grate and freeze the rind and then juice the lemons and freeze the juice.

lemon-blue-plate lemon-squeezer

Recipes from Tomatoland

Good Morning,  It’s quiet in Toronto this week. The traffic is thinner than usual.  There are more seats on the subway.   But by golly, there are a ton of tomatoes.  Tomatoes are so bountiful at this time of the year as well as beautifully ripe and flavourful. They are at the market.  They are growing on the backyard or even balcony vines(such as mine)!  We can take advantage of this and make dishes such as soups to enjoy now and freeze to enjoy throughout the winter. This is also a great time to make oven dried tomatoes and freeze the in those tiny mason jars. The flavours are amazing on your salads, sandwiches , pastas and pizzas throughout the winter. So delicious! And the health benefits are off the charts as well.

didyouknow     If you cook tomatoes more lycopene is released by the tomatoes. Lycopene is reported to protect against heart disease, prostate  and cervical cancer.  In addition, if you ingest tomatoes with oil then the lycopene is made more bio-available.  Your body will absorb four times as much of the lycopene.  This is another reason to avoid “fat-free” salad dressings.  Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K as well as many other nutrients. One cup of tomatoes has only 27 calories.  Food chemists at the university of California found that organically grown tomatoes have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than conventional tomatoes so it is worthwhile to buy them organic or grow your own.  This is not true for all vegetables for example organic bell peppers. Tomato paste and ketchup are two of the richest sources of lycopene in our North American diets.

We can enjoy the health benefits of  cooked tomatoes by utilizing  the following tomato soup recipe.  Please see my earlier tips on freezing soup. I experimented and developed this by trial and error over a 10 year period of time.  Next week I will post a recipe for broccoli soup and I like to combine this with the tomato soup to give a yin/yang appearance with contrasting colour and flavour.  Stay tuned…..

Oven-dried Tomatoes

These are so easy to make and freeze to enjoy throughout the year.  Great on salads, sandwiched, pasta. pizza.  The flavour is concentrated.
INGREDIENTS
6 to 8 tomatoes, slices about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, fresh oregano, fresh basil, whatever you have
1 tablespoon  olive oil
DIRECTIONS
1.  Preheat oven to 250 F or 120 C
2.  Place sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet  on a piece of parchment or silpat sheet.

Sliced fresh tomatoes with salt, pepper, herbs, olive oil

Sliced fresh tomatoes with salt, pepper, herbs, olive oil

3 Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt pepper and fresh herbs.
4.  Bake for one to two hours checking every half hour until pieces have shrunk slightly, edges are shriveled and juices no longer run.  They are not completely dried but are still juicy.

tomatoes that have been backed and out of the oven

Sun (oven) Dried Tomatoes

5.  Cool slightly and put into glass jars covered by olive oil.  Leave about 1/2 inch of head room and freeze if you will not use them up in the next week or two.  Yummy!

Oven-dried tomatoes in glass jar with olive oil and thyme

Oven-dried tomatoes in glass jar with olive oil and thyme