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Posts Tagged ‘yellow pepper’

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend. In Canada we have Good Friday as a holiday. Some things like the LCBO are closed on Sunday as well. Saturday will be a busy day, so better get there early to stock up for the family dinner!

My earliest memory of eating Hungarian Lecsó was when I was about 8 or 9 years old and my father made it for us. We were a typical Eastern European family in that the father virtually never cooked, that was ‘woman’s work’ but my Dad did step up on the occasion that my dear Mom had to go into the hospital and have an operation. I don’t remember much else about this time except that Dad cooked lecsó. One other thing, my 6 or 7 year old brother was beside himself with worry when our parents told us that Mom was going to be away in the hospital for a few days, and through tears a great degree of anxiety he asked, “Who will cook for us?” Our obsession with food runs deep.

160-1974b_IMG

Circa 1974 Edward’s Gardens in Toronto. Dad, my little brother and I. Mom was taking the photo. What the heck is going on with my hair????

My experience has been that Lecsó is to Hungarians what Lasagna is to Americans or Bangers and Mash are to the English, it’s a fairly common staple. It’s easy enough to put together and it’s comforting and satisfying without being overly filling. The Hungarians generally use a Hungarian green pepper which is more like a Cubanelle, longer and lighter in colour with a more subtle flavour than the green peppers we are accustomed to in North America. I switched up this dish by using colourful red, yellow and orange peppers (capsicums) and Vidalia Onions which are much sweeter.

The traditional protein accompaniment in our household was Debreceni Kolbász which is like a thick hot dog, named after the city in which it was made. Most Hungarian sausages are coarsely ground pork seasoned heavily with paprika and garlic where as a Debreceni is subtly seasoned very finely ground pork that has the texture that resembles what you would know as a hot dog. The only difference from North American hot dogs and Hungarian Debreceni is that Debreceni has a very distinct ‘pop’ as you bite through the casing. I haven’t had a Debreceni in many years for the same reasons I haven’t had a hot dog — they are just too unhealthy to be worth it for me. I made poached Cod to eat with this dish and it was exceptional.

Lecso_2296

A delicious and warming brothy sauce with cooked peppers, onions and tomatoes.

Hungarian Lecsó

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 orange peppers, sliced
  • 2 yellow peppers, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped (peeled and seeds removed)
  • 1 medium sized Vidalia onion, finely sliced
  • 200 mL home made tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (sweet or hot)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (sweet or hot)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish

Directions:

  • In a light spray of olive oil, cook the onions until translucent.
  • Add the sliced peppers and tomatoes and cook until very slightly softened.
  • Add the tomato sauce and seasonings and cook for about 10 minutes on a medium temperature.
Lecso_2293

Spice it up a notch by adding some hot peppers to the mix.

Notes:

  • Hungarians traditionally use lard as the fat which adds flavour but is extremely unhealthy so I add a pinch of smoked paprika which also adds to the depth of flavour that the debreceni would bring.
  • Traditionally the peppers are cooked until limp but I prefer a little texture to my lecsó so I don’t cook them as much.
  • Like most stewy dishes this is a lot better the second day.
  • Consider adding a poached egg to this dish (Hungarians might eat this with scrambled eggs).
  • Sour cream or yogurt are also used as a garnish to this dish.
  • Cubanelle peppers come in both hot and sweet varieties and look virtually identical. You will want to make sure you buy the right one and not make the same mistake we did for a meal we served at the cottage several years ago — that was a rude awakening!

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What goes around comes around right? My friend Charles at Five Euro Food posted this recipe last week and coincidentally I was just thinking about making a chick pea salad for dinner, so I thought, why not his recipe? His recipe incorporated all the flavours I love in Hummus but he made it into a delightful summer salad; and with the heat wave we’ve been having, it’s a perfect summertime dish (well, maybe not declared perfect by guest, but certainly perfect in my mind!). Of course, I didn’t have time to get to the green grocer, so I used vegetables I had on hand, which is exactly what Charles had prescribed.

I actually made it with two rather healthy sized cloves of garlic, and woe, it was strong; in fact, so strong, I had to rinse a portion off for JT so he doesn’t offend his customers! I ate mine full octane, because, well, it’s been rather slow these last couple of weeks so I just thought, what the heck! I’ll be eating the entire parsley plant later!

I took a bit of artistic license by adding roasted red and yellow peppers and tomatoes

Deconstructed Hummus Salad

A recipe from Five Euro Food, slightly altered.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 540 mL (19 oz) chick peas
  • 1-2 mini cucumbers, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 each roasted red and yellow peppers, cut into small cubes
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalopeño, finely chopped
  • 2 oven roasted tomatoes, diced (please see this post for oven roasting tomatoes; because of the heat, I did it on the BBQ)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) EVOO
  • 59 mL (1/4 cup) lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Combine the vegetables and chick peas and mix well. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately. If you wish the vegetables to mix with the dressing in advance, I would suggest leaving out the cucumber until serving as it tends to get a bit on the mushy side.
  3. Serve over greens or spinach, as below.

It was a light, refreshing and garlicy dinner. Lunch will be wonderful tomorrow.

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Ann at Cooking Healthy for Me and Kelly at Inspired Edibles have proven time and time again, that you need not suffer eating healthy, just a few smart choices in the kitchen will take your recipe from high in fat, to low in fat and full of flavour. Today’s recipe chooses a pork loin over pork chops because the loin is far less fatty and the fat that it does have can be easily removed before cooking. It can also be easily measured for portion control (we are using 100g (3 ounces) for a portion size). Today we are using the vegetables as thickeners so that we need not add a roux, or cream or butter saving you oodles of fat intensive calories (you should actually try writing down everything you put in your mouth over one day, and you would be surprised! and then you’ll thank me for this recipe).

That's not butter chicken, it's Pork Medallions in a Sweet Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Coulis

Pork Medallions in a Sweet Red Pepper and Caramalized Onion Coulis

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g loin of Pork, all fat removed, cut into medallions about 25g each
  • 1 yellow pepper, roasted, skin removed (see notes and tips)
  • 1 red pepper, roasted, skin removed (see notes and tips)
  • 4 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable stock (I like to use Pacific)
  • around 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (or slightly more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 green onion and jalopeño pepper finely diced as garnish.

Directions:

  1. Lightly spray a medium sauce pan (large enough for the onions to be about 3 cm thick on the bottom). Add the onions and shallots and cook over medium heat until they are golden, add the white vinegar to deglaze the pan. Add the vegetable stock as required so that the onions and shallots don’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. When the onions and shallots are caramelized, add the roasted peppers and heat through.
  3. With an immersion blender, blend very well until silky smooth. Add the Dijon, salt and blend. If the consistency is too thick, add water until you have your desired consistency (should be the thickness of butter chicken sauce).
  4. Pre heat the oven to 350°F.
  5. In another pan lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, sear the pork until you get a nice caramelization on the crust. Once done, add to the sauce and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the desired done-ness of the pork (in Canada you can have pink pork as they have bread the salmonella out of it).
  6. Serve over greens or rice or use a flat bread to scoop it up. We’re keeping this on the healthy side, so we’ve put it on greens.

Notes and Tips:

  • If you were not able to peel your peppers, push the finished coulis through a fine sieve to remove the tough skin bits of the peppers.
  • By adding a bit more stock or water, this would make a lovely soup, perhaps with a dollop of fat free Greek Yogurt.
  • We roasted our peppers on the BBQ for a nice smokey flavour.
  • I added smoked paprika to the sauce for my lunch the next day…YUM!
  • As an alternative flavour, I think one tbsp of garam masala and one tsp of meat masala would be fantastic in this sauce.
  • If you’re down right convinced this is not a good sauce, then add a 1/2 cup of cream or a 1/4 cup of butter and be done with it.

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