… just sayin’!! 😈
A well deserved break, an opportunity to look back. Our Christmas tradition revolves around Christmas Eve, and includes a lot of food. Copious amounts of food, and not only this time of year. It’s in our culture to be overly generous with food. To give you an indication, Tiffany K and I haven’t left the house for groceries since … that’s almost a week. I’m finally reclaiming the fridge as my own, lol. Not to mention I froze leftovers knowing we couldn’t eat everything before spoiling. This year I even tackled baccala. Was very proud of my accomplishment, from sourcing this fish market in the city that carries the best baccala, a part of the city where parking is at a premium, never any spots available, to researching online various methods/rules of thumb preparing it. Generally soaking 1-3 days was the advice, two was better, and three if you had the time. Naturally I opted for the 72 hour soak, with 3-4 changes of water daily. I also researched baccala and potatoes in a tomato sauce recipes as I’ve had this years ago from this great little Italian bakery that used to make it (Fridays only) during the holidays. Alas, they moved, went out of business … not really sure, only know my baccala went along with them. In all my research, nobody bothered to mention the skinning of the fish and removing of the bones might prove challenging if attempting for the first time … thanks internet gurus, lol. Luckily when I bought the baccala I over bought … close to 3 lb, not the 2 lb I was planning to, so I did have some leeway with the wastage. I didn’t settle on any one particular recipe either. I read many to get ideas, that’s what I do, I know my way around a kitchen and felt comfortable enough combining/assembling the ingredients in a casserole dish and baking it without any difficulties. I eyeballed the potatoes I needed (was looking for a 50-50 ratio) and proceeded. And another thing you don’t see in these recipes is for parboiling the spuds before baking? I ALWAYS do to ensure them being cooked through … plus the oven temps they tell you to use are too low (350º – 375º) so I completely ignore that part of the recipe and crank it to 400º – 425º. One thing that did catch my eye, and I was so happy this person wrote this … not sure why others didn’t since it was so helpful? If I was making this recipe, but substituting the baccala with … let’s say tilapia, I’d be seasoning (salting) the you know what out of it. Everything. The fish, my home made tomato sauce … the potatoes … especially the potatoes. But this recipe writer … recipe advisor cautions on doing so due to the baccala’s inherent saltiness. Sure I soaked it, rehydrating it … changing water over and over, but it still retains plenty of salt to sufficiently season the whole dish. And for this tidbit you included, my baccala dish was sublime … and I thank you. It was the highlight of the dinner (but was so busy/preoccupied I didn’t snap any pics to share – sorry), and I was thrilled with my work, accomplishment … my success.
It’s funny after our Eve feast, a long time spent filling our bellies as you can imagine … a mere twelve hours later we’re back at the table for a HUGE breakfast blowout before the troops pack their booty and go on their merry (Christmas) way. Now that our dinner leftovers are done, felt like relieving that today, but on a lesser scale … and in a quieter moment. And now, found time to take a pic. 😆
sunny-side up eggs on toasted jalapeno salsa english muffins, pastizzi, potato pancakes w/ketchup
In the kitchen early in the a.m. making/baking pastizzi – a Maltese delicacy … these are ricotta cheese filled, the most common variety. It’s an annual holiday thing I do for Tiffany K to take to her work for their annual holiday thing that they do … from what I know, and I don’t know much since I don’t ask too many questions (better that way, lol), is that all staff contribute some food for a potluck of sorts. Last year everyone was raving about them (after repeatedly asking, “what are they?” “how do you say the name?” since they didn’t have a clue as to what they were), and who wouldn’t be – it’s cheese stuffed phyllo pastry for Chrissakes!! Naturally she (I) have to out do everyone else, so I order pastizzi from my secret pastizzi place (best in the city by far), drive outta my way to pick them up, and as I previously mentioned, rise and shine extra early (I know, things I do, lol) to bake three baking sheets full, two dozen total. Eight at a time is pretty much the max, you don’t wanna overcrowd them or they won’t puff properly, and at 35-40 minutes per sheet … AND with them having to be done and out the door by 8:00 … well you do the math … did I mention things I do?! 😀
tray #1 of tres
the perfect pastizzi