Thinking about Montalbano

Hey there, fellow travelers! As a lot of you know, I do a lot of Sicilian cooking and from time to time feature Sicilian recipes on this blog.

When I was doing a lot of research into the food of Sicily, I came across references to a book and television series by the name of Inspector Montalbano written by Andrea Camilleri. From what I can gather, Montalbano is a Sicilian detective who has a penchant for solving hard cases and a great love for Sicilian cooking.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about getting into either the book or television series and would like some advice as where I should start. I’m a big fan of mystery novels, especially ones with exotic settings.

Please let me know in the comments section below which books or episodes I should check out first.

PS, Just like Montalbano, I love Pasta Ncasciata and think it’s a dish worthy of Mount Olympus.

 

 

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Recipe Suggestion

Hey, all! In a month or two, I’m thinking of putting up a Sicilian seafood recipe on the blog and I’d like your help deciding what you’d like to see.

 

Being an island, seafood is a big deal in Sicily and there are all sorts of very delicious recipes that can be found there. Probably two of the most famous are involtini di pesce spada (rolled stuffed swordfish) and sarde a beccafico (stuffed fresh sardines), two incredibly delicious dishes stuffed with bread crumbs and various seasonings like raisins, capers, citrus zest and parsley.

Some lesser known but equally lovely dishes include tunnina alla Palermitana (tuna steaks marinated in lemon juice, white wine and various herbs) and sogliola alla Saccense (flounder with olives and fennel marinated in orange juice).

 

Which of these recipes, if any, would you like to see featured on the Road? Let me know in comments below and I’ll get to work writing the recipe. 

 

 

Recipe Suggestions

Hey, all! In about a month or two, I’m going to be putting up a new Sicilian recipe and I’d like all you fellow travelers out there to help me decide what you’d like that recipe to be.

I really would like to feature a dessert of some kind, but at the same time I’d really like to feature a pasta recipe or perhaps even a recipe for something else entirely.

So, what would kind of Sicilian recipe would you all like to see featured nextLet me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

Recipe Review: Seffa (Sweet Moroccan Vermicelli)

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Hey, fellow travelers! Today on the road, I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before on this blog. I’m going to review a recipe I recently made.

If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you know that I’m a guy who likes to try lots of different stuff. A while back, I somehow found out about seffa or sfa (pronounced ss-fuh), a traditional Moroccan dish that consists of broken vermicelli (sometimes rice or couscous), raisins, cinnamon and icing sugar. It’s eaten as a dessert or sometimes paired with chicken, beef or lamb, which is usually buried beneath the pasta.

I’ve been wanting to make this for a while now, so So I did a little bit of research on Pinterest and stumbled across Farih Mohamed’s recipe for seffa.  After reading the recipe for a little bit, I decided to give it a shot.

Before I go on, I have to acknowledge that I had to make a few changes to the recipe, but I did follow the exact procedure given.  First, I had to do quite a bit of mathematics to break down the recipe to a single portion, which involved me having to subtract the recipe by 80 percent.  Second, I reduced the amount of sugar and cinnamon.  And lastly, I used to pistachios in place of almonds (I’m too lazy to open my bag of almonds , plus I’m saving them for a future recipe).

So the first thing I did was steam my vermicelli. Yeah, you read that right. Steamed vermicelli. Sounds kind of weird, at least to a guy who grew up eating pasta boiled in water. I guess it’s a traditional method for preparing some pasta dishes from Northern Africa.  It’s kind of a pain though, because you don’t just drop the pasta in a steam basket.  Instead, you have to keep taking it out and mix it with water and oil and return it to the steamer until it’s done.

Nuisance though it was, I steamed anyhow.  First, I poured about 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of olive oil over the pasta and mixed it around.  I put it in my steam basket and cooked for about 15 minutes.  After the first steaming, I took out the vermicelli and poured a tablespoon (15 ml) of water mixed with salt over it.  I mixed the pasta again and put it back to the steamer.

10 minutes later, I took out the pasta and poured 1 1/2 tsp of salted water over the pasta, added the raisins, mixed it together and put back in for another 10 minutes.  One thing you can say about this recipe is that it’s practically an upper body workout in itself.

Anyway, I took the vermicelli out 10 minutes later and drizzled a  teaspoon of olive oil over it.  Then, I piled the pasta up into a large dome and sprinkled the cinnamon, icing sugar and chopped pistachios over it.

Then, after 35 minutes of cooking and 5-10 of trying to get decent pictures (which is a real battle when you’re in this kind of business), I finally got to taste it.

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And honestly? I didn’t like it. At least, not at first. It was sweet, but it other than the raisins, it seemed like all the sweetness was stuck on the top. I know that the sugar and cinnamon is usually sprinkled over the seffa for visual effects, but that’s honestly about all that’s good for.  Only sprinkling spices, sugar or nuts on the surface of something will leave the sweetness topside.  Once you get down to the bottom layer, all you end up with is spaghetti with raisins.  And that’s kind of boring.

Don’t get me wrong though.  I’m not saying the recipe itself was bad.  I liked the combination of flavors in the dish, I just think it would’ve been better if those flavors had been more evenly distributed throughout the seffa.

So in closing, my conclusion is that this recipe for seffa was okay.  I liked the blend of flavors, I just think he would’ve worked better had they been more spread out.

So, that’s my review for today.  Not sure how many of these I’m going to do, but it’s kinda fun.  And before I go, I’m going to leave you with a quick recipe for the seffa I’d made:

 

Seffa (Sweet Moroccan Vermicelli)

 

  • 1 cup (100 g) broken vermicelli
  • 2 1/2 tsp (12 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) water mixed with salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) water mixed with salt
  • 2 tbsp (15 g) raisins
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
  • Icing sugar, to taste (based on my calculations, I was really supposed to use 2 tbsp, but I only used 1/2 tsp)
  • Finely chopped almonds or pistachios, to taste (You probably need about 1/4 cup or 20 g)

Instructions

 

In a pot, prepare your water along with your steam basket.  Once the water is boiling, place the vermicelli on a large dish or bowl and pour the olive oil over the vermicelli. Mix well then place in the steam basket, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the vermicelli and mix with a tablespoon of salted water.  Return to the steamer and cook an additional 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the vermicelli and add the raisins, along with 1 1/2 teaspoon of salted water.  Return to the steamer for another 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the pasta should be tender.  If not, return to the steamer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Once the vermicelli is tender, place on a large dish and mix with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Now you have a decision: you can either pile the vermicelli into a large mound and sprinkle it with cinnamon, the icing sugar and the chopped nuts or you can mix everything together and then pile it up. I’ll leave it up to you decide.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. If you want to see some recipes that I made, all you have to do is scroll down. Or you can check me out on Tumblr, YouTube, or  Pinterest. See ya on the Road!

Mexican Gorditas

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Hey, fellow travelers! I’m back again with another new recipe, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Today, I’m going to teach you how to make gorditas, tasty little Mexican morsels that have few ingredients but are big in taste.

Now, what exactly a gordita is and how it is prepared varies greatly depending on where you are in Latin America. There are some gorditas that are more like pitas or puffy tortillas that are cooked on the stove top and then are split open and stuffed with a variety of fillings. There are other gorditas that look more similar to tortillas and are not stuffed, but have toppings placed on them after cooking. There are even other gorditas that are more similar to empanadas and are stuffed before cooking and then deep fried.

The gorditas that I will teach you how to make today are something of a cross between a tortilla, an American biscuit and an English muffin. This style of gordita is very similar to some varieties that are traditionally prepared in the northern states of Mexico. My gordita recipe is made with a mixture of all purpose flour and Masa harina (corn flour) along with a little salt, water and baking powder. They are cooked on the stove top and will inflate while cooking. This makes them perfect for stuffing with any kind of filling that you wish. Refried beans, guacamole, shredded chicken or pork, ground beef, salsa… the possibilities are endless.

These gorditas cook up in less than 10 minutes and are an excellent quick breakfast or great addition to any meal. And what’s even better is that you don’t need any oil to cook them. While some recipes for gorditas are either deep fried or fried in lard or oil, my recipe is simply cooked in a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. If you want to have gorditas that are golden brown, you can use one to two teaspoons (about 5 – 10ml) of olive oil, but that isn’t required.

So what do you say we head on over to the kitchen and whip up something good?

 

Ingredients

1 cup (100 g) Masa harina (see footnote 1)
3/4 cup (100 g) all purpose flour (I use enriched and presifted)
salt to taste (I like to use about an 1/8 teaspoon for myself)
3 teaspoons (12 g) baking powder
about 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (175 ml) warm water (see footnote 2)
1 – 2 tsp (5-10 ml) olive oil (optional)

 

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the Masa, all purpose flour, salt and baking powder until well Incorporated.

Pour in about half the amount of water and begin to mix. Continue to mix while gradually adding more. You’ll want to stop once you get a dough that has the texture and consistency of Play-Doh, not too dry but not too wet.

Break off pieces of dough and shape into balls about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Using your hands or a glass, slightly flatten the balls. You’ll want the gorditas to look like small fat pitas: you don’t them to be as flat as a tortilla, at least not for this recipe. Leave them to rest on a large dish.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, place the gorditas inside, keeping them spaced apart from one another so they’re easier to turn. Cook gorditas for about 3 – 4 minutes per side. You want the gorditas to be slightly brown and blistered on each side. Once the gorditas are done cooking, transfer them to a dish and allow them to sit for about 2 – 3 minutes, until they cool slightly. Using a fork, slightly split open the gordita and stuff with filling of choice.

Makes about six 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) gorditas.

 

Notes

My gordita recipe is partially adapted from a recipe made by former MasterChef Season 4 contestant Adriana Guillen. my recipe is essentially the same as hers, except I use slightly more flour and less baking powder.
1. Masa harina is a type of flour made from ground corn that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. You can find Masa harina in Mexican grocery stores, as well as in most chain supermarkets. You can even find small bags of it at some dollar stores in North America. There’s one particular chain where you can get a small bag of Masa for just a dollar. My American readers will probably know which one I’m referring to. 😉 Let’s just say money grows on it.

Masa harina is much different in texture then cornmeal, so I would advise against trying to substitute cornmeal in place of it.

2. As with most recipes for bread or any kind of recipe that requires you to make a dough, the amount of water given is very suggestive. I’ve learned in the last few months while making various kinds of traditional Sicilian breads that depending on where you live in the world, the amount of water needed in bread recipes varies wildly. The amount I’ve listed is a rough estimate based upon my own experience.

When making any kind of bread or similar recipe with water and flour, it’s a good rule to start with about half the amount of water given and to gradually add the rest in small increments. Depending on where you live, you may or may not need extra water. It’s better to start with a dough that’s too dry and to work your way up from there then to end up with a dough that’s too wet and difficult to work with.

Mexican Gorditas

DSCN1488

Hey, fellow travelers! I’m back again with another new recipe, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Today, I’m going to teach you how to make gorditas, tasty little Mexican morsels that have few ingredients but are big in taste.

Now, what exactly a gordita is and how it is prepared varies greatly depending on where you are in Latin America. There are some gorditas that are more like pitas or puffy tortillas that are cooked on the stove top and then are split open and stuffed with a variety of fillings. There are other gorditas that look more similar to tortillas and are not stuffed, but have toppings placed on them after cooking. There are even other gorditas that are more similar to empanadas and are stuffed before cooking and then deep fried.

The gorditas that I will teach you how to make today are something of a cross between a tortilla, an American biscuit and an English muffin. This style of gordita is very similar to some varieties that are traditionally prepared in the northern states of Mexico. My gordita recipe is made with a mixture of all purpose flour and Masa harina (corn flour) along with a little salt, water and baking powder. They are cooked on the stove top and will inflate while cooking. This makes them perfect for stuffing with any kind of filling that you wish. Refried beans, guacamole, shredded chicken or pork, ground beef, salsa… the possibilities are endless.

These gorditas cook up in less than 10 minutes and are an excellent quick breakfast or great addition to any meal. And what’s even better is that you don’t need any oil to cook them. While some recipes for gorditas are either deep fried or fried in lard or oil, my recipe is simply cooked in a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. If you want to have gorditas that are golden brown, you can use one to two teaspoons (about 5 – 10ml) of olive oil, but that isn’t required.

So what do you say we head on over to the kitchen and whip up something good?

 

Ingredients

1 cup (100 g) Masa harina (see footnote 1)
3/4 cup (100 g) all purpose flour (I use enriched and presifted)
salt to taste (I like to use about an 1/8 teaspoon for myself)
3 teaspoons (12 g) baking powder
about 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (175 ml) warm water (see footnote 2)
1 – 2 tsp (5-10 ml) olive oil (optional)

 

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the Masa, all purpose flour, salt and baking powder until well Incorporated.

Pour in about half the amount of water and begin to mix. Continue to mix while gradually adding more. You’ll want to stop once you get a dough that has the texture and consistency of Play-Doh, not too dry but not too wet.

Break off pieces of dough and shape into balls about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Using your hands or a glass, slightly flatten the balls. You’ll want the gorditas to look like small fat pitas: you don’t them to be as flat as a tortilla, at least not for this recipe. Leave them to rest on a large dish.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, place the gorditas inside, keeping them spaced apart from one another so they’re easier to turn. Cook gorditas for about 3 – 4 minutes per side. You want the gorditas to be slightly brown and blistered on each side. Once the gorditas are done cooking, transfer them to a dish and allow them to sit for about 2 – 3 minutes, until they cool slightly. Using a fork, slightly split open the gordita and stuff with filling of choice.

Makes about six 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) gorditas.

 

Notes

My gordita recipe is partially adapted from a recipe made by former MasterChef Season 4 contestant Adriana Guillen. my recipe is essentially the same as hers, except I use slightly more flour and less baking powder.
1. Masa harina is a type of flour made from ground corn that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. You can find Masa harina in Mexican grocery stores, as well as in most chain supermarkets. You can even find small bags of it at some dollar stores in North America. There’s one particular chain where you can get a small bag of Masa for just a dollar. My American readers will probably know which one I’m referring to. 😉 Let’s just say money grows on it.

Masa harina is much different in texture then cornmeal, so I would advise against trying to substitute cornmeal in place of it.

2. As with most recipes for bread or any kind of recipe that requires you to make a dough, the amount of water given is very suggestive. I’ve learned in the last few months while making various kinds of traditional Sicilian breads that depending on where you live in the world, the amount of water needed in bread recipes varies wildly. The amount I’ve listed is a rough estimate based upon my own experience.

When making any kind of bread or similar recipe with water and flour, it’s a good rule to start with about half the amount of water given and to gradually add the rest in small increments. Depending on where you live, you may or may not need extra water. It’s better to start with a dough that’s too dry and to work your way up from there then to end up with a dough that’s too wet and difficult to work with.

Maccu di Fave: Sicilian Cream of Fava Bean Soup

Hey, Fellow Travelers! I’m finally back with a brand new recipe! Today, I’m going to teach you how to make maccu or macco di fave (pronounced mock-oo or mock-oh dee fahv-eh), a traditional Sicilian soup or stew of crushed fava (broad) beans.

As I said in a previous post, one of the reasons that I have not been posting very faithfully on here is because I have been very busy cooking a lot of different recipes, mostly Sicilian ones. This recipe in particular is one of my personal favorites that I have discovered recently. I’ve made it several times and I can say that I love it more and more every time I make it. And I’m sure that once you make maccu for yourself, you’ll agree.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Per the unwritten food bloggers code, I have to blather on and on a little bit more before I give you the actual recipe.  😉

Like I said earlier, maccu is a traditional soup of pureed or crushed fava beans that is widely eaten throughout Sicily. It was a meal that according to tradition was eaten by Sicilian farmers before or after a day in the fields. No doubt the beans would either give or replenish some much-needed energy before or after a long hard day of work. It is also a dish that is sometimes eaten on the Feast of St. Joseph, which is observed on March 19th.

Traditionally, maccu is prepared with dried fava beans and often paired with one or more different types of vegetables (for a more detailed discussion of some variants of maccu as well as explanation of the dish’s name, see footnotes 1 and 2). Usually, fava beans are soaked overnight and then boiled for several hours until they turn into a thick mush.

My version, however, takes a much more simplistic approach. Instead of using fresh or dried fava as is usually the case, I use canned fava beans along with the liquid they’re packed in. The beans are cooked until tender or heated through and smashed into a thick paste with a potato masher. Also, my version consists of six simple ingredients: olive oil, spring onions, garlic, fava beans, black pepper and fennel fronds. I love the rich, meaty taste of the fava beans along with the refreshing bits of onion and garlic. The fennel fronds are a very nice finishing touch, adding a subtle sweetness to the dish.

The beautiful thing about maccu is that it is such a versatile dish. It can be eaten as a soup or stew. It can be served hot or cold as a party dip. It can be used as a filling for panini or a topping for bruschetta. It can even be used as a pasta sauce. The earthy, meaty taste of the beans is lovely on pasta. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can even prepare maccu and mix it with a little bit of tomato sauce and plant milk and make a delicious meat-free ragu they even your meat-eating friends will love. You won’t believe it’s not meat!

The not so beautiful thing about maccu is having to skin the fava beans. Ugh. It doesn’t matter if you use fresh, frozen, dried, fresh or canned favas; if you want a relatively smooth and creamy texture, you have to take the skins off the fava beans. It’s an annoying step, but it beats eating the soup and constantly chewing on the skins. Although I have to admit, most of the time I skin only the really big fava beans in the can and leave the smaller ones with the skin on. Nobody said that you can’t always cut a few corners here and there. 😉

While maccu may not be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, I guarantee it will be one of the tastiest things you will ever eat.

Note: the following recipe makes enough maccu for about two people. If you want to make more maccu, I recommend doubling the recipe. If you find the maccu too thick, you may wish to water it down a little. I have not yet attempted this as I like maccu very thick. You may also wish to water maccu down slightly if you decide to use it as a pasta sauce, but again I’ve never done this.

 

Ingredients

 

2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced or chopped

1 14 oz. (400 g) can fava/broad beans, drained with liquid reserved (see footnote 3)

Salt and pepper

Fennel fronds, to taste (see footnote 4)

 

Instructions

 

Chop the onions and garlic and put aside.

Drain the fava beans, reserving the liquid until needed.

Remove the skin from the fava beans by grabbing the sides of the beans with your thumb, index and middle finger and gently apply pressure. The skin should slide off easily. Discard the skin. You may wish to not skin the beans or to only skin the larger ones. Be advised that not peeling the beans will give the maccu a much more chewier texture.

Pour the olive oil into a large deep pot. Set the fire to medium-high and once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Fry for about 2-3 minutes.

After 2-3 minutes, turn the heat off and allow the oil to cool slightly. Then add the reserved bean liquid, along with the fava beans.

Turn the heat back on and bring the beans to a boil. Depending on the toughness of the beans, you may need to cook the beans for a few minutes until they become tender. If the beans seem fairly tender before cooking, just bring them up to a boil (see footnote 5).

Remove from heat, then take a potato masher and crush the beans into a thick paste. If you find the puree to be too thin, you may need to simmer it for a few minutes.

Pour the bean puree into bowls to serve as a stew. Garnish with fennel fronds. Alternatively, you can use the puree as a pasta sauce, as a filling for panini, a topping for bruschetta, or serve cold as a party dip.

 

Notes

 

1. The name maccu/macco is believed to be derived from the Latin word maccare, meaning to crush or smash. This seems likely since the soup consists primarily of crushed or smashed fava beans. If this is the case, it can be assumed that this dish had its origins during the period of Roman rule in Sicily (241 BC–476 AD). Recipes for stews consisting of either crushed or pureed fava beans or peas were well-known to the ancient Romans (see Apicius, De re coquinaria V.3.189-191).

2. Throughout Sicily, there exist numerous variants of maccu. Some versions consist merely of fava beans cooked for a long period of time until they become a thick mush. Others consist of crushed fava beans with some type of vegetable, such as carrots, celery, or chopped fennel. In Catania, it is common for fava beans and peas to be paired together, whereas in Palermo there exists a version of maccu with fava and pumpkin. In southeastern Sicily, there also exists a version of maccu with fava beans and other various mixed beans and vegetables that is eaten on the feast of Saint Joseph. There is also a version of maccu that once prepared is allowed to cool completely and is then sliced, breaded and fried, much like the Sicilian chickpea fritters known as panelle.

3. In the United States, fava beans can easily be found in most Italian or Middle Eastern markets, as well as some grocery stores. If you are unable to find fava beans or do not like them, butter beans may be substituted.

Butter beans can be peeled in the same manner as described above, although they tend to be a bit more delicate and are more likely to break apart. This isn’t much of an issue since you’re going to smash the beans anyways. The maccu made from butter beans tends to be a bit more watery then fava based maccu. If it seems too watery, simmer the puree until it thickens.

Maccu made with butter beans tends not to be as meaty tasting as fava bean maccu, but instead tastes very similar to chickpeas, at least to me.

Another bean that can be used in place of fava beans are black eyed peas. These are my favorite beans to use in place of favas since they do not require peeling and their taste is relatively similar to favas, although slightly less bitter. However, maccu made with black eyed peas may need to be simmered in order to thicken, just as when using butter beans.

4. You can also use fresh or dried oregano, thyme, rosemary or basil in place of fennel fronds.

5. The tenderness of canned fava beans tends to be very subjective, at least in my experience. I’ve had cans where the beans were soft and others that felt like they were raw.

A new direction = a new name?

Hey, fellow travelers!

 

Last night, I put out a post in which I’m considering changing the direction of this blog to focus more on Sicilian cuisine and slightly less international food, while not completely abandoning it entirely.

If I do change the direction of the blog, I am considering changing its name to more accurately reflect this transition. But this is something that I’m not certain of.

What you think? Should I change the blog’s name or keep it? Let me know in the comments below.

 

A new year, a new direction?

Hey, fellow travelers! I’m back here today to talk to all of you about something that’s been weighing on me for the last few days, if not the last few months.

As you all know, I started this blog with a very simple goal: to share my cooking knowledge with the world. My intention from the very beginning was to share with you a plethora of recipes from all around the world, but to do so at a very slow pace (maybe a little too slow). I wanted to avoid the kind of commercialism that many people sometimes fall into and share with you only the highest quality of recipes.

I still intend to do this. However, I have been considering changing the focus of this blog.

Over the past few months, I have found myself preparing more and more Sicilian recipes than others. And I feel as I have made more and more of these recipes that I have found my place in the culinary world. I still make other kinds of recipes as well, I’ve just begun to focus more on Sicilian cuisine.

This is the reason why this blog has been neglected so much, along with life in general getting in the way. I’ve been reluctant to share these recipes with the world as I’ve felt that I was straying away from the original intent of this blog. However, I’ve made so many good things that I’ve felt foolish not to share them with all of you. After all, what good is knowledge if it isn’t shared?

So now, I find myself asking this question: what do I do? My culinary direction has slightly changed and I have gained a lot of knowledge, but I have been letting the knowledge go to waste.

This is why I am considering changing the focus of this blog. I feel that it would more accurately reflect where my culinary journey has taken me. I have become a Sicilian cook and as of now, I feel as if I should change this blog to more accurately reflect my culinary path.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I will totally abandon international cuisine entirely. If I revamp that this blog, I still will feature international cuisine from time to time. The majority of the time, it will mostly be Sicilian food. At least, that’s what I’m thinking right now.

But there still a part of me that feels uncertain about changing direction of this blog. Is this a wise decision? Should I change the focus of this blog or  just stay the course?  Will changing the blog cause me to gain or lose more readers (and not that there are many anyway)?

What do you think? Should I feature more Sicilian cuisine and feature international cuisine every now and then? Is this a good idea or bad idea? Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad’s Roasted Potato (or Sweet Potato) Wedges and Season’s Greetings

 

Hey, fellow travelers! I know it’s been a while since I last posted a recipe up on this blog. As you know from my last post, I’ve been busy working on new recipes and some other things. I am planning on posting more content in the year to come and this may or may not be my last post for the year.
Since (American) Thanksgiving is just days away, I felt I should contribute something to the cooking blogosphere by giving all of you a helpful quick recipe for roasted potatoes. Unfortunately, there are no photos or videos this time. I might repost it again sometime in the future with photos and a video, but since I’m pressed for time with t and he holiday approaching, this will have to do for now.
Before I get to the recipe, I have to do what most food bloggers do and rant on and on before I give you what you came for. This wouldn’t be a food blog if I didn’t do that, would it? 😋
So anyways, this method for cooking potatoes (it also works for sweet potatoes as well) comes to me from my dad. For years, my dad has struggled trying to come up with a perfect recipe for roasted potatoes. He’s tried so many methods for making roasted potatoes in the oven, only to have them come out undercooked and inedible.
But one day, he discovered a way of making roasted potato wedges that were both soft and crunchy at the same time. What he does is he cuts up some potatoes, pours some olive oil over them and mixes them well. He then puts them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, seasons them (He does it in the bowl, I do it in the pan sometimes), covers them with an equally large sheet of aluminum foil, long enough to cover the entire pan. This traps steam from the potatoes inside of the foil, causing them to soften up.
After about 20 minutes, he uncovers the potatoes and turns them over and cooks them a little while longer, until they get nice and brown. The potatoes are crunchy on the outside, yet soft and flaky on the inside.
I’ve used this method numerous times and I’ve had great success. However, there is one very critical thing that I need to point out: You need to use smaller potatoes.
I once tried doing this recipe with one of those colossal sweet potatoes you can get at a big box store and the darn thing never cooked properly. So whether you use real potatoes or sweet potatoes, make sure they are small to medium in size.
Also, the recipe I’m giving you is for one pound (that’s about 450-500 grams for everybody outside the United States, Myanmar and Liberia) of potatoes. So if you have a large gathering, you may want to consider doubling for increasing the size of this recipe even more. Since I live in a relatively small household, this is typically the amount of roasted potato wedges we make for ourselves.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to the recipe!

Dad’s Roasted Potato (or Sweet Potato) Wedges

Ingredients:

1 pound (450-500 g) potatoes or sweet potatoes, cut into half inch 12-13 mm wedges

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

Seasonings of choice

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit / 190 degrees Celsius.
To prepare the potatoes, slice each potato in half straight down the middle. Then, take each half of potato and slice it vertically down the center again. Then take each strip and slice off half inch 12 – 13 mm wedges.
Place the wedges inside of a large mixing bowl and then pour the olive oil over them. Mix well with your hands until the potatoes are well coated.
Take a large baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Spread the potato wedges evenly across the surface, then take whatever seasonings you wish (I like to use salt, pepper and a mixture of oregano, sage and rosemary) and sprinkle them over the potatoes.
Take another sheet of aluminum foil, enough to completely cover the top of the pan, and seal it tightly over the tray. This will trap steam inside, causing the potatoes to soften.
Put the tray in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes (your cooking time may vary, but in my oven it usually takes 20 minutes), check the potatoes by poking them with the fork. If the fork goes through, you’re good to go.
Remove the top layer of aluminum foil and flip the potatoes over. Cook them on the other side uncovered for 5-15 minutes, depending on how dark you want them to be.
Remove them from the oven and enjoy!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s one of my favorite ways to prepare either regular or sweet potatoes, which aren’t even really potatoes in the first place. But that’s a story for a different day.
As I said at the beginning of this post, this might be the last time you hear from me this year. I got big plans for 2019, and hopefully I’ll be able to share with you some new tasty recipes as well as some helpful tips. So unless I make another post before year’s end, have a Merry/Happy/Joyous holiday season and I’ll see you in the new year!
See you on the road!