FROM PETA.ORG …
By Chef Joey
Holiday! Celebrate! Madonna had us singing that tune, but let’s face it: holidays can be stressful! Who came up with the idea that we had to buy gifts for everyone AND entertain, making a dent in our savings?
When I was a kid, my mother used to tell us: “When Christmas came we got an orange.” Well, it was World War II, and they did move all the way from Europe … . But I was a kid and the neighbors had virtual Egyptian pyramids of gifts!! So the point was not coming across! My cousins and I would discuss the various items we received that were all going to be items we would use during the year: pajamas, stationery, pens – you get the point.
However, my mother did take us out shopping after Christmas and bought us things that were on sale. She was all about the spirit of the holiday season, NOT the commercialization that starts in October with decorated pine trees in mega superstores.
As I got older, I realized she was a forerunner for my frugal view of the holidays, so I stopped buying gifts for adults. Instead, I started making donations to food banks, homeless shelters, and I requested letters for the donations and I handed them out as gifts. It helps the community and eliminated the need to re-gift or become a closet hoarder!
Little kids, on the other hand, are the exception. And college-bound youths get the necessary items that I received, and those with a driver’s license get gas cards.
Now that I explained the gifting part – there is the food! In my last column I explained how to make nutritious and delicious meals for a low cost. Like the guy in poltergeist, “I’m BAAAAACK!”
Turkey is a staple for the holidays, and it is affordable: usually on sale for $.89 to $1.50 a pound. To quote Nike “Just do it!” Pork roasts are also a great way to go and are often less than $2 a pound.
Veggies … Load up on your vegetables and you will have a sure fire holiday. feeding up to 20 people for less than $50. Price it out: a 20 pound turkey at $.99 is $10. Butternut squash unpeeled is $.99 a pound. Roughly you’ll need 5 pounds so we are at $15 now. A 10 pound bag of potatoes is $3.99 so we are at $19. Add another veggie – and go frozen here – lots of nutrition – and it is already clean. Store brands are packaged by major companies and usually the store brand is $2 a bag so let’s get 4. Now we hit the $27 mark and we have $23 to go.
Dessert comes to mind … I am going to give you a cake recipe that costs under $2 that you will pass down for generations to your family. You will never buy a cake mix again!
The other recipe is a rub you can use on your roasts that seal in the juices and makes your meal perfect.
The cake recipe is so simple:
2 ½ cups sifted flour
2 cups sifted sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
Mix together – it will be kind of like a paste. Add ½ teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of baking POWDER on top.
Now add ¼ teaspoon of baking SODA and pour 2 cups of HOT WATER on top, and the foaming begins.
Whisk together until it all comes to a creamy consistency with no lumps.
Pour into either two 9” cake pans or a rectangle sheet pan that is greased, floured and has a greased and floured wax or parchment paper lining in it.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes – depending on your oven, test with a toothpick for doneness.
When done, let cool slightly. Take it out of the pan and when it is cool – cover it in whipped cream.
This is your $2.59 cake topping: Get a pint of heavy or whipping cream. Whip it up, add vanilla and a couple tablespoons of sugar … and there you have it! Fewer calories than frosting and nature’s goodness.
To add dimension to your cake, you can add 6 tablespoons of cocoa to the dry flour when sifting for chocolate cake … or ¼ cup orange juice and reduce water to 1 ¾ cup and add zested orange to your cake – or add lemon or lime or even coconut – your choices are endless!
Now that rub –
¼ -1/2 cup brown sugar or regular sugar
depending on the size of your roast, 1 cup oil
pinch of salt
¼ cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Rub your ROOM-TEMPERATURE roast and there you have it!
No matter what your holiday traditions, have a safe, healthy and delicious holiday season!
I’ve got a lot of vegetarian cookbooks and recipes. Maybe you don’t. Here’s your chance to “grow” your own little culinary library! – R.T.
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Well, it’s that time of year again! This, of course, can mean a plethora of things: Beautiful leaves, cold-, or like this year, warm-weather spurts. With Columbus Day behind us, we look forward to events like Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving … dare I mention the “Holiday Season” that launches that Friday?
Let’s go to a fun spot!! Mine is Halloween! I threw parties back in the 80’s with DJ’s prizes galore, and every year they got bigger and bigger and more creative. I used to transform my house into Kansas corn fields, of the Sputter Inn from Moby Dick. I had carnivals, pirate themes, even ancient Rome … so much fun. Then there are the creative costumes: I had a swarm of Bees – Do Bees, Don’t Bees, Spelling Bees – even one with “Double D’s.” Memories for a lifetime.
So I know what you’re thinking … What’s Halloween really about? Glad you asked! It’s a centuries-old tradition that was originally called Allhallowtide, basically encompassing the Western Christian observances of All Hallows’ Eve (Hallowe’en), All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’) and All Souls’ Day, which last from October 31 to November 2 every year. Allhallowtide is a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints. The word Allhallowtide was first used in 1471, and is derived from two words: the Old English word halig, meaning saint, and the word tide, meaning time or season Oh Yuletide! DUH.
So real old stuff here, folks, and our now a days Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (Nov 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (Nov. 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.
The custom of wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white. Go back to the late 1800’s where this was called “Guising” – this practice was recorded in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise were carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.
The practice of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, reported children going “guising” around the neighborhood.
The term “Trick-or-Treat” has traces back to 1927, Aland just about all pre-1940 uses of the term “trick-or-treat” are from the western United States and Canada. Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, but was seriously stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.
Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given that year in the October 1947 issues of the children’s magazines Jack and Jill and Children’s Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. Trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip for the first time in 1951. So all this made the custom become firmly established in popular culture by 1952.
Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to rechannel Halloween activities away from vandalism, there are very few records supporting it. Back in the late 40’s children often had to explain the tradition of trick-or-treating to baffled parents, not the other way around. Post war was tricky too – some families looked at it like extortion, and others were embarrassed to be “begging.”
Well it took off!! The National Confectioners Association reports that there will be $2.5 billion made in candy sales this year!! Statistically, it is people 60 and older passing out the candy. In addition, shoppers in the Midwest will hand out more candy than any other region, as 79 percent plan to par take in the activity compared with 76 percent in the south, 74 percent in the west and 71 percent in the northeast, according to the Association. IBISWorld estimates retailers will rake in $7.6 billion from the spooky holiday this year, with $1.4 billion going to adult costumes alone!
Well, there you have it, folks! Insight on Halloween and its origins. No matter how you celebrate, do it responsibly – and take lots of pictures!! For some really neat Halloween snacks for parties visit: http://www.picshunger.com/pictures/halloween-snacks – lots of easy ideas and healthy things to make!
Text and recipe by Chef Joey
When Latin comes to mind, most of us older folk picture a stern professor in circa 1960 glasses with a ruler reciting strange words that, to me still, go with Algebra. In reality Latin opens a plethora of doors today: culture, food, destinations, celebrations etc.
Let’s face it: The American Melting Pot is still a pot, and what’s melting are the walls that were built by our forefathers. What’s in the pot still is cultural in many ethnic households and remains a strong staple at meal time, from starters to sweets.
This period just happened to be “Hispanic Heritage Month.” It is not an actual month, but a 4-week period starting September 15 to October 15 every year. So now your wheels are turning …”Why September 15?”
Glad you asked! September 15 is the Independence Day for five “Latin” South American countries. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and of course Nicaragua. Then let’s add Independence Days for Mexico (September 16) Chile (September 18) Belize (September 21). Someone did their homework!
Ok, now I hear you ask: “When did this happen?” Well, it just so happens that President Lyndon B. Johnson, oh you remember LBJ, approved a week-long celebration years ago, but it was Ronald Reagan who changed it to a 30-day celebration back in 1988!
… other important “Latino and Hispanic” things happened…October 12, 1492 – I feel like I was there with Columbus when he discovered the Americas – I can’t even remember an anniversary but THAT date I can remember!
Additionally, there are maps dating back to 1776 that depict outposts in California from Alta and San Francisco to Texas, then all the way to the Fortress in St Augustine, Florida, that started in 1692. By the way, the first continuous European settlement was founded in 1565, way before Jamestown Virginia, or even Plymouth Mass in 1620. I guess you could say there’s history!
So … history brings company and company bring food! What does one bring to a Latin celebration during this 30 day festive period? Common threads are Rice and Beans, then there are Tamales, Papussas, Meat pies, and Empanadas, all basically “Stuffed breads.”
There are many different types of stuffed breads, this empanada – which is sort of a Chilean one, is the easiest one to make for beginners.
It can be made with ground beef or you can substitute cooked lentils for vegetarian and eliminate the eggs for vegan. It’s delicious because everything is chopped by hand and flavorful!
INGREDIENTS FOR MEAT STUFFING
– 2 tblsp oil – 2 # chopped beef or (4-6 cups cooked lentils) – ½ tsp paprika cumin & oregano – 1 tsp salt & Pepper each – ½ cup warm water – 1 Onion chopped and 1 Tbsp Flour
Beef: In a large frying pan, heat oil at medium to high heat**. Sauté the meat for 3 minutes without mixing. Then flip it and brown for another 3 minutes – or add the lentils and heat through.
Add paprika, oregano, salt, pepper and cumin, and mix well.
Add water and the chopped onion.
Cook for 30 (until onion is nice and soft) minutes on low heat. Add flour and mix well, modifying the seasoning if you like. Turn off heat, leave to cool off.
SWEET STUFFUNG – 20 black olives – ¼ cup raisins – 2 hard-boiled eggs (Optional use cooked tofu for vegan) – Olive oil for brushing on top …
DOUGH RECIPE – Take 2 tsp Salt -4 cups all-purpose flour-1/4 cup oil- ½ cup milk (soy milk for vegan). Make a brine with milk, water and salt.
Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
In a separate bowl, add the flour and oil and knead for a good 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. If it is too dry, add a little more water or milk. NO SALT!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Separate dough into 10 portions, shape into a ball and roll out on a floured surface until the size of a small plate (about 8 inches) – fill each circle with 2 tbsp beef, ¼ egg or tofu, 2 olives and some raisins.
Fold over the circle and remove any trapped air before closing.
Lightly brush edges with water to seal them pressing firmly – you can roll the edges for effect or crimp. Brush the top with oil so they brown nicely.
Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes – keep an eye on them if the swell or bubble make a small hole with a toothpick so they won’t split.
Serve hot or warm.
Make them in advance and have a healthy lunch!! See you next issue!!
Savory soups, stews and other rib-stickin’ fare! You don’t add meat to any of these tasty autumn warm-ups. So many meals and soups taste great and have no animal fat in them! For instance, the best “meatballs” I’ve ever eaten in my life are vegan, made by pal Kathy. As I wolf ’em down, I always ask her: Are you sure these are totally meatless? You didn’t slip a little meat in? … They have flavor, texture, mmmmm … they are amazing. They are totally meatless.
Soups/stews are a yummy ways to ease yourself into a diet with less/no meat. – R. T.
There’s no better way to welcome the cooler months than with a hearty vegan stew but it’s important that the dish not only warm your soul and please your palate—it should also nourish your body with nutrients, minerals, protein, and fiber.
Text, recipe and photo by Chef Joey
Chef Joey (pictured above) made these yummy “pies in a pan”!!!
Why is it that in the fall seems to be the time to make a plethora of pies? Albeit Pumpkin, Apple, Blueberry or America’s favorite Strawberry Rhubarb.
Pies have existed since the Ancient Egyptians started making them and drawing them. Romans also make pies…maybe Cleopatra’s chef gave out the recipe, but the Greeks also made pies or as we now call them Pitas. The first actual published pie recipe was a Roman rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.
Old England pies or Pyes as they wrote appeared around the 12th century and predominantly meat filled and had very thick crusts that were called “coffyn”. Then in the 1500’s along came and fruit pies or tarts and pastries were born and the British take credit for the 1st cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth the 1st.
Pies came to the States with the settlers and the crust was seldom eaten and just the filling was consumed. It was around the time of the American Revolution that the word coffin was changed to “crust” – we sure showed them who means business. Pies nowadays are “the most traditional American dessert”. Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now often use the term “as American as apple pie.”
Now that the trivia part let’s get to the basics, everyone has a pie recipe and quite frankly they are as easy to make as toast – weather it is an open pie like the Skillet Blueberry in the picture, lattice top or crusted on top – it’s an inexpensive and wonderful desert that goes with everything. Here is my favorite and easiest crust recipe – they are basically all the same – I only use butter in my crusts as I am not a fan of shortening.
For 1 crust combine 1 ¼ cup flour – add ¼ tsp salt then take ½ yes ½ pound of butter and cut it into tiny pieces and mix (cut) it in with the flour until it is sandy like – add up to ¼ cup COLD water form into a ball and refrigerate until ready to use – roll it out and fill it up! Double the recipe for 2 crusts.
Any fruit will do for the filling or even puddings – bake the shell first – a couple other things you can do – substitute orange juice for the water to add a zing to your pie – and for the flakiest crust – whip up some egg whites and paint the top shell of your pie then sprinkle a little sugar to the wet surface – it comes out awesome!!!
For a regular apple pie – peel and core 8 or so apples and cut into small pieces (the smaller the pieces the faster they cook) toss 3 tbsp sugar and 4 tbsp flour (you can add raisins too- Just soak them first so they don’t dry up and stay plump) put the apples in the shell – dot with butter – place the top crust seal it and bake 375 for about 30 mins depending how you cut your apples – use a long thin skewer to test the pie – if you feel chunks it is not done – it should go in smooth. You can substitute just about any fruit for the apples – ENJOY!
The always handsome Chef Joey! (and talented, too!)
By Chef Joey
Well, Labor Day has come and gone. Worcester was kissed by a Tornado – and not the sports team! Now we have another “Whirlwind”: Election Time!
Back in the day we got postcards and they always brought a smile to your face with quick quips about how the trip is going, or to remind us about an appointment. This time of year they are flying around like letters from Hogwart’s academy. They are all very impressive and full of information about the candidate’s hopes and dreams – let’s hope whoever wins is not a candiDONT! … They also invite us to political gatherings, which involve food – albeit an evening pasta party, afternoon cookout or a pot luck dinner.
Then, after all is said and done, post election – there is another party after the polls close, mainly snack food and appetizers.
Originating from the French word, “Hors d’oeuvre,” literally means “After work.” They are food, usually served before the main course(s) of a meal, and typically smaller than main dishes, and often meant to be eaten by hand (with minimal use of silverware).
There is a plethora of things you can make! Recently, when I was cooking at my Shelter Island location, we were having a Labor Day Party and closing the restaurant for the season and, being a Thai restaurant, I wanted to make things seem more Asian and use up all the food items we had.
So I created “Asian Hummus-like dip.” Made from fava beans, 5 spice powder garlic, Thai basil and Oil.
It was incredible and so easy! I’ll give you the break down to make it with a few other items that are quick simple and delicious! I fried Wonton wrappers for the “Scoop” (have to avoid the silverware!), but pita crisps or even fresh pita will work, too.
Other fast, tasty items are Bruschetta – traditionally diced tomato garlic basil with dressing on a toasted baguette slice – Cold Cuts gingerly arranged with small slices of the mini pumpernickel bread – Deviled Eggs (add Dijon mustard for a zing) – Smoked salmon, with a dollop of sour cream on a cracker garnish with a sprig of dill – Pigs in a blanket are a hit with kids, tiny cocktail hotdogs rolled with a strip of puff pastry (freezer section of your market) – and my favorite Spanakopita – Spinach triangles wrapped in filo (recipe to follow).
Pita bread’s origins, by the way, are Greek. Traditionally a soft, slightly leavened flat bread made from wheat flour and baked. It is used in many Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisines and resembles other slightly leavened flatbreads such as Iranian nan-e barbari, South Asian flatbreads and Central Asian naan, and the ever popular pizza crust. Over the years the making of the filo dough make for a fancier presentation versus travelling food back in the day.
Now for the recipes: Joey’s Spanakopita
1 large bag baby spinach, ¼ cup Feta cheese, 3 Eggs, 2 sticks Butter 2 tbsp Oil, olive is best and one package of fresh filo for best results. I’m not going to tell you where to buy it but there are 2 places on Pleasant St in Worcester that can accommodate – Just sayin’. So In a food processor add the baby spinach leaves, feta and the 3 eggs blend – I do this for the apps because it makes them smooth and easy to eat.
Melt one stick of butter and add the oil and stir – you will need a pastry brush to spread this on the filo. Open up the filo and cover with a clean cloth take one sheet out, place it horizontally and paint it with butter. Then cut it into 6 or 7 strips (3 if you want lunch size ones).
Take a teaspoon and place 1 teaspoon (or more if making bigger slices) approximately 1 inch from the bottom. Take one corner from the bottom left and fold a triangle to the right side. Then take the right side and fold it over – like folding a flag. Place on parchment paper because it keeps your cookie sheet clean …
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees F for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden and puffy and egg is cooked. It seems lengthy but it’s not and goes fast once you get the knack!
For the Lima bean Hummus spread – One large can of lima beans ¾ drained – 2 cloves garlic – 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder and 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing (no Kidding!) put everything except the dressing in the blender – as it is blending add the dressing and watch out for splashes – when the consistency gets smooth enough – you are done!
A pinch of salt may be needed, depending on the dressing you used. Have fun and REMEMBER TO VOTE in November!!!