Recipes from around the world

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My friends from the senior center, Rob and Joan Weeks, lent me "Around the World Cookbook." It is an interesting book featuring 34 countries and popular foods from each country, with a brief write-up about the culinary importance of that country. I really have enjoyed reading it and learning a little something new on every page.

The United States dishes the authors chose were chicken Maryland, corn oysters, shrimp gumbo, lemon rice, chili con carne and pecan pie to include in the book. I am not sure I would have chosen those dishes, but I will probably have to give them a try all the same.

Frikadeller

From Denmark, Frikadeller made the book. This is an egg-shaped version of meatballs and one of Denmark's most famous dishes. It's usually served as a hot early-evening meal and most families eat them at least once a week.

1 pound finely ground pork

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2/3 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1 small onion, minced

1/2-teaspoon ground allspice, optional

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Put the ground pork in a large bowl, sprinkle in the flour and very gradually stir in the milk to mix thoroughly. Stir in the egg, onion and allspice, and season with salt and pepper. Heat half the melted butter in a skillet. Dip a tablespoon in the remaining butter and then scoop up a heaping spoonful of the pork mixture. Shape and saute frikadeller over moderate heat for 5 minutes on each side, adding more butter as needed and dipping the spoon in the butter each time. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and keep hot while you saute the remainder. Serve hot.

Potato and Bacon Dumplings

From Germany, served with sauerbraten, roast beef or other meat dishes.

1 pound potatoes

Salt

3 slices Canadian bacon, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 cup soft white breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Vegetable oil, for greasing

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, brush the base of a large heavy-bottomed skillet with oil. Put the chopped bacon in the pan and sauté over moderate heat, stirring several times, for 3 minutes. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Drain the potatoes well and mash until smooth. Stir in egg, breadcrumbs, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg and bacon. Mix then shape into dumplings by patting a round shape of the dough. Then cut the round into 8 wedges and shape each wedge into a ball with well-floured hands. Lower the dumplings into the boiling salted water and boil gently for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to a warmed serving dish and serve hot with beef.

Hot Lime Pickle

From India, this pickle is traditionally served with Madras beef curry, and the pickles tartness cleverly offsets the rich spiciness of the beef.

Thinly pared rind and juice of 3 to 4 limes, about 1/2 pound

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 green chilies, finely chopped

Put all the ingredients except the lime rind into a blender or food processor. Work for a few seconds until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly blended. Cut the lime rind into matchstick strips and put them into a 2-pound screw-top jar. Pour over the sauce, cover tightly with the lid and shake the jar well. Leave the hot lime pickle in a cool place overnight to allow the flavors to develop before serving with the beef curry.

Beef Stroganoff

From Russia, a 19th-century French chef, who was faced with the hazards of a Siberian winter and the demands of his gourmet Russian patron, developed this rich dish. The chef was frustrated in his attempts to cope with permanently frozen beef, so he decided to cut it in tiny, thin strips, then saute it and serve it in a sour cream and mushroom sauce.

1 pound fillet steak, trimmed of fat

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cups thinly sliced small button mushrooms

1 1/4 cups sour cream

2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, according to taste

Salt

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Lay the meat flat and beat it well with a wooden rolling pin. Cut it in 1/4-inch thick slice. Cut each slice across the grain in 1/4-inch wide strips, 1 to 2 inches long. Sprinkle with pepper and set aside. Heat half the oil and butter in a wide shallow pan; add the onion and saute over low heat for 10 minutes until soft and golden, stirring frequently. Increase the heat a little; add the mushrooms and sauté for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and set aside. Heat the remaining oil and butter in a separate, large shallow skillet. When sizzling hot, add half the beef strips and sauté over high heat for about 1 minute, turning constantly until the beef is sealed. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep hot in the covered pan with the onion and mushrooms. Saute the remaining meat in the same way. Stir the sour cream and mustard into the beef and vegetables, add salt and pepper, to taste, then place over gently heat and bring to just below the boiling point, stirring constantly. Spoon the beef stroganoff onto warmed individual dishes. Garnish the top of each portion with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and serve the Stroganoff at once, piping hot.

Guacamole

From Mexico, this recipe uses avocados, which have been cultivated in Mexico as far back as 7000 B.C. This is an ancient Mexican dish which remains as popular today as it has ever been in Mexico and the United States.

2 ripe avocados

1/4 pound peeled tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 teaspoon hot green chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves or flat-leaved parsley

Salt

Lemon slice and parsley, for garnish

Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds. Scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon and put it in a large bowl. Mash the avocado flesh well with a fork until it is smooth and creamy. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly to blend. Transfer the guacamole mixture to a serving bowl. Fork it up and garnish with a lemon twist and parsley sprigs. Serve the guacamole at once.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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