French Réunion Island where I grew up has a multi-ethnic population, hailing from France, the West coast of Africa, the East Coast of India (Malabar coast), Pakistan (people came when Pakistan was part of the British empire), and Indochina. Its cooking reflects the diversity of its population, each group’s culinary traditions enriching the common cooking pot.
An example is Paté Créole, a savory meat pie probably of French and Indian origins served on feast days, particularly at the beginning of the Christmas or New Year’s Eve meal.
So I think it’s an appropriate pie for Thanksgiving. Read more
It’s funny how some posts draw comments… and what for…Like my post on spring salads prompted requests for the recipe of the potted meat I served with it!
Which, of course, one should rightly ask for the recipe, because it is simple, simply delicious, can be made well in advance, will keep in the fridge for quite a while and requires nothing more than a fresh green salad and a chunk of crusty bread to transport you to a little lunch nirvana. Yes, it will take several hours from start to finish, but most of it is not active time: the pork is slowly (slowly – I say) cooking while you go do something else. When it’s cooked, you let it cool enough to handle, and you use your hands to shred the meat (how fun is that?), pack in pots, cover with melted fat, refrigerate for a couple of days… et voila! Serve it and look like a genius!
(and since I can’t find my pictures of a pot rillettes, and it’s late, this post is without picture. You can always look here…) Update: not the picture I remember, but I found one…
So here’s my picture-free recipe for Pork Rillettes. Read more
I know. It’s not in season. But I am dreaming of it, because of a post from Elise on Simply Recipes. Chayote shoot is a taste of my childhood. Around the holidays, don’t we reminisce about good memories?
At some point I’ll post more info on the chayote, of which the young shots & leaves, the fruit and the tubers are edible, and on how to grow it in Virginia. In the US – at least here in Virginia – , I have only seen the fruit for sale. It’s easy to grow, is not bothered by pest – it just take time to get it started. Once it starts growing after the weather warms up, it will swallow a trellis in very little time, providing plenty of shoots for the kitchen: the more you pick, the more it branches, the more shoots there are – and shoots is what I want to talk about today.
While the fruit is very mild, easily absorbing other flavors, the shoots have a more pronounced taste of their own. It’s worth checking ethnic market for them. They might be carried there. Otherwise, come back here and read what I will write about growing your own. By the way, other name under which chayote (botanically Sechium edule) is known are: christophine or, christophene in the French Caribbean, mirliton in Louisiana, chocho in Australia, chouchou on Reunion Island. It originates from Mexico but has spread to many cuisines of the world, especially in Asia.They braise beautifully – or is that stir-fry since they need cook only 20 minutes or so after the initial few minutes in the hot oil – acquiring an unctuousity that’s hard to describe. A quick and tasty way to have them is Chayote Shoots with Ginger Pork.
Disclaimer added 12/13/08: Both photos were taken in the summer. As of December, here in Virginia, my chayote vine is dead, killed by cold. I will plant a new one out come next spring. You could freeze the shoots, once cooked.
Friday night’s dinner often requires little thought as it often consists of homemade pizza – not much to think about: make the dough, let rise 45 minutes, flatten, spread some toppings (variations are endless). Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile mix a salad, set the table and voila!
Thursday night is sometimes a little more complex: it’s not yet the week-end, and we are still caught up in the week’s activities. Stir-fries and sautéing then come to the rescue, especially if one has thought of taking some meat or chicken out of the freezer the night before. Then all that’s left to do is to take a quick inventory of what’s around in terms of vegetables and throw something together using those classic techniques. Varieties is provided by the vegetables and the spices.
Tonight was such a night. Pork chops (from a local farm, of course) were thawed, we have plenty of home-grown potatoes in the storage area and the peppers and tomatillos picked before the frost, while still perfectly good, need to be used. Impromptu Pork Chops with Chunky Pepper Tomatillo Sauce was forming a picture in my mind. Less than 30 minutes later dinner was ready. The recipe makes dinner for two – but is extremely easy to double or triple. You just need another pan for the extra chops.