Food

A Global Thanksgiving

Emma Sharp Dalton-Brown

Thursday, December 06, 2012    

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Traditionally, Jamaicans do not observe American Thanksgiving, but in recent years, through close family ties which many here have with Americans, people have started celebrating the fourth Thursday of November. Although I have never seen the need, in light of President Obama's re-election, it seemed apt to pay tribute to the occasion this year. With an eclectic following of voters supporting Obama, I came up with the idea of hosting a global dinner party at my house, which would tie Thanksgiving with ushering in the festive season.

So a few weeks ago, 24 of us dined together, feasting over 15 dishes, which were each brought by a guest or pair of guests. The rule was it had to be a specialty from their country. Unfortunately, a few people could not make it on the night, but they sent along their country's culinary creation for all to enjoy. Thank you.

Greeted in the front hall by a full Appleton bar where the superb bartender Dwayne served the most divine Appleton Passion Cocktail I have ever tasted, our friends made themselves at home, with much chatter, laughter, and rum! Thank goodness for the quantity of hors d'oeuvres we all consumed, otherwise we would never have made it to the dinner tables!

The guests were seated, keeping spouses and any best buddies at separate tables so that everyone had a chance to get to know new people. Rum and wines flowed, and in order to taste all the food, we had to go back for seconds and thirds, as the fare simply would not fit on the plate in one round!

Getting late, it was time to bring out the board of Dutch cheeses and the two scrumptious French Chocolate Yule logs. Tradition in Europe was that a huge Yule log was brought in from the woods and placed on the fire for the 12 days of Christmas. The French, at some point in time, decided to stop burning theirs, and started eating it! Hence La Buche de Noel!

Once again, company shuffled from table to table, taking the chance to mingle with more people. We hadn't done the customary going around the room saying what we were each thankful for, but I did ask the sole American, Meredith Walker, what it was she was thankful for. "Friendship," rolled off her tongue. She couldn't have put it more perfectly, as old friendships were now being entwined with new ones right in front of our eyes. What a start to the Christmas season!

Emma's Global Table:

Hors d'oeuvres:

Aloo Roti Bites - India

Holubsti with Mushroom Sauce - Ukraine

Creamy Jack Daniel's Thyme & Turkey Vol-au-Vents - France

Entree:

Roasted Olympia Isle Chicklets - Greece

Beef & Guinness Casserole - Ireland

Rakott Krumpli - Hungary

Moudardara - Lebanon

Lasagne alla Crema di Zucca e Gorgonzola - Italy

Potato Gratin - The Netherlands

Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes - Jamaica

Glazed Carrots - China

Pumpkin Choka - Trinidad & Tobago

Dressing 'Cookies' - America

Dessert:

A selection of Dutch cheeses: Gouda, Edam, Goat - The Netherlands

La Buche de Noel - France

Aloo (Potato) Roti Bites

Serves 6-8 — by Barbara Calo & Denise Lee

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

Dash of baking soda

2 fl oz vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Aloo Filling:

3 medium Irish potatoes, peeled and diced

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 escallion stalk, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped, to taste

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt and a little water with your hands, and make a big ball.

Break into three balls, and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Pour the oil in a bowl.

Roll out each ball of dough into a 10-inch wide circle, and brush a thin layer of oil over the top surface of each circle, and roll back into a ball.

Repeat with all balls of dough, and leave to rest for 1/2 hour.

Roll them all out again, and oil them.

Rub a Tahwah or flat metal plate with oil and heat.

Put one of the roti skins on the hot plate and cook for a minute.

Turn it over, and brush the top surface with a little oil.

When there are some golden spots on the roti, it is ready.

Put the roti under a cloth to keep it soft and warm while you cook the remaining dough. If you are not inclined to make the roti skins yourself, simply call Barbara Calo (472-9886), order what you want, and she'll make them fresh for you to use.

Make aloo filling: boil the potatoes with the salt and garlic until soft, then drain. Mash the potatoes, garlic and salt and with the scallion, onion, Scotch bonnet if using, and black pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet until hot, then stir in the potatoes and fry for 5 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Roll the roti: Spread the potatoes on the roti skins and roll. Cut into bite-size pieces and serve.

These reheat very nicely in the oven at 300ºF.

Holubsti (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Kiev)

Serves 12 — by Andrea Kinach "From my Step-grandmother Tamara."

Ingredients:

1 packet of chicken mince and one packet pork mince (roughly 1/3 lb each)

Small onion or two medium shallots, diced very fine

One medium garlic clove, minced

One small egg, beaten

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into medium strips

2 stalks celery, tops and tails removed, cut into medium strips

One large head napa (Chinese) cabbage

8 pimento berries

1/2 tsp celery salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

chopped fresh dill or parsley (use thyme if you prefer)

Method:

Bring a very large pot of water to boil and turn off the heat. Peel away any soiled or torn outer leaves of the napa (Chinese cabbage). Cut off the thick white bottom portion of the cabbage. Plunge rest of cabbage leaves into pot and leave to soften (blanch) for 4 minutes. You will need the leaves to be soft enough to roll with the meat stuffing inside of them.

Take the cabbage leaves out of the pot and lay on a clean dish towel to drain off most of the water.

Prepare the meat stuffing by mixing the chicken and pork mince with the beaten egg, onion or shallot, garlic, celery salt and ground black pepper. It should come together into a moist ball. If the meat stuffing is too wet, add some breadcrumbs to make it cling together. Put in a mixing bowl.

Prepare a table or other large space, and assemble the bowl of meat stuffing and cabbage leaves in front of a cutting board. Take a cabbage leaf and spread it out on a cutting board. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the cabbage leaf lengthwise into two long strips. Then, using the point of the knife, cut out any part of the thick tough white core at the bottom of each section of leaf.

Take a small portion of meat stuffing and form into a thick finger-sized shape. Put the shape at the bottom of the cabbage leaf and roll. If there is cabbage on the side either fold it in as you roll, or cut off with a small sharp knife after you finish rolling, so that you make a clean edged roll. Pack cabbage rolls tightly into a roasting dish or foil pan.

When you have finished rolling the cabbage, use any leftover meat to make a tasty rice with mince, or hamburger patties.

Put carrot and celery sticks amongst the cabbage rolls. Add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan mixed with 1/4 teaspoon salt, herbs, and pimento berries and cover tightly. Bake at 375ºF for 45 minutes. Drain excess broth into separate container, leaving enough to spoon over the cabbage rolls (strain the extra broth and use it for soup or stew another time).

Allow to cool before serving with mushroom or other sauce (tomato puree flavoured with a little garlic and pepper also works nicely). The cabbage rolls can be frozen and re-heated before serving.

Traditional Ukrainian Mushroom Sauce: Serves 8 — by Andrea Kinach "From my great-grandmother Baba Katia."

Ingredients:

1 lb chestnut mushrooms, sliced finely

Small onion or two medium shallots, diced very fine

One medium garlic clove, minced

1/2 of a stick of butter

2 fl oz dry white wine

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

4 oz sour cream (use heavy cream if you prefer)

chopped fresh dill (use parsley if you prefer)

Method:

Heat butter, onion or shallots, garlic, in a large skillet with the mushrooms on medium heat. Allow the mixture to soften a little, then cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes, until the mushrooms release their juices. Do not allow them to brown.

If you are using white wine, add as the mixture is softening and allow the alcohol to evaporate for a few minutes before covering the skillet.

Uncover skillet and allow pan to cool slightly. Before serving, add dill or parsley, salt and pepper and slowly stir in the sour cream or heavy cream, then reheat gently to avoid curdling.

Mini Creamy Jack Daniel's & Turkey Vol-au-Vents

Makes 5 doz — by Emma Dalton-Brown

Ingredients:

1 pack raw frozen puff pastry

2 egg yolks

Filling:

2 1/2 oz butter

3 shallots, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped thyme

6 fl oz Jack Daniel's whisky

16 fl oz heavy cream

1 lb cooked turkey meat (baked in oven with scallion, thyme, salt & pepper)

Black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Roll out both sheets of pastry to 1/8 inch thickness.

Stamp out 120 rounds with the larger pastry cutter. With the smaller pastry cutter, stamp out a circle from the centre of half the rounds.

Brush the pastry rounds with beaten egg, then place the pastry rings on top, and press gently to seal.

Place rounds on a floured baking sheet and brush with beaten egg.

Bake until well risen and golden, about 10 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Heat the butter in a pot, add the shallots and cook until softened.

Stir in the garlic and thyme, and cook for another few minutes.

Pour in the Jack Daniel's whisky, bring to the boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4.

Add the cream, bring to the boil, stir in the turkey, then season to taste with black pepper.

Assemble the vol-au-vents: reheat the hot creamy Jack Daniel's and turkey sauce, add a teaspoon of it to the top of each pastry, and serve.

You will have leftover turkey. Freeze this and serve with pasta on another day!

Roasted Olympia Isle Chicklets

Serves 4 — by Alexx Antaeus

Ingredients:

2 Isle Chix Chicklets, washed and dried (these are available in most supermarkets)

1 1/2 lbs small Irish potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

Marinade:

8 fl oz Kalamata extra-virgin olive oil

8 fl oz fresh lemon (or lime) juice

8 fl oz fresh orange juice

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp lemon (or lime) zest

1/2 tsp classic yellow mustard

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp rosemary

1 1/2 tsps salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

Method:

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.

Generously rub the Chicklets and potatoes with salt and pepper, and add to the marinade.

Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for 5-6 hours before roasting.

Preheat the oven 400ºF, and roast the Chicklets and potatoes in a roasting pan for about 1 1/2 hours.

Split the Chicklets in half. Serve hot.

Beef and Guinness Casserole

Serves 6-8 — by Lisa Heavey & Laura Somers

Ingredients:

2 tbsps of olive oil

2 Ibs stewing beef such as rib steak or shoulder (cut into thin slices)

1 onion, chopped

2 leeks, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 pint well reduced beef stock

1/4 pint Guinness

2oz butter

3oz streaky fatty bacon, trimmed and diced

4 oz wild mushrooms, quartered or sliced (optional)

2 oz shallots or small onion left whole

1 oz plain all-purpose flour

Salt and ground black pepper

1 tbsp ketchup or Worcester sauce or Pickapeppa sauce

1 tbsp chopped thyme

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

1 tbsp chopped parsley (to serve)

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan and brown the meat. Transfer to a casserole dish.

Saute the onion, leeks and carrots for 5 minutes in a pan.

Add these vegetables to the meat.

Stir in the garlic and ketchup/Worcester sauce/Pickapeppa sauce.

Pour in the stock and the Guinness.

Heat the butter in a separate pan and cook the bacon. Add the mushrooms if using, and the small whole onion/shallot. Cook for a few minutes.

Stir in the flour, then add some of the liquid from the meat pot, and stir well. Pour this all back into the meat pot.

Cover the casserole and bring to the boil, then reduce and heat and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours, either on the stove or in the oven at 325ºF. You want the meat to be very tender.

Add the potatoes in the last 1/2 hour of cooking and simmer gently, skimming off any fat at the top.

If there is a lot of liquid in the stew, pour most of it into another pot, turn the heat right up under it, and reduce to a thick gravy before returning it to the meat pot along with the thyme and rosemary.

Reheat and serve with parsley sprinkled on top.

Rakott Krumpli (Hungarian Potato & Sausage Casserole)

Serves 4-6 — by Laszlo Bakon

Ingredients:

8 large Irish potatoes

8 eggs

12 oz Polish sausages

Oil

Salt

Breadcrumbs

8-10 fl oz sour cream

Method:

Slice potatoes into thin circles, salt them and pour 2 spoonfuls of oil on them.

Boil eggs until hard, and peel.

Slice the sausages and eggs into thin circles.

Sprinkle oil and breadcrumbs on the inside of baking tray.

Put half of the potatoes on the bottom of the tray, add sliced eggs on top of the potatoes in a layer and then put a layer of the sliced sausage on top of potatoes.

Put the other half of the potatoes on top of the sausage layer.

Cover the top with the sour cream evenly.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cover the tray with foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the foil and bake the potatoes until the top is golden brown. Serve hot or warm.

Moudardara

Serves 4-6 — by Nivine Rouphael

Ingredients:

2 tbsps olive oil

3 red onions, finely sliced

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1-2 pinches of ground cumin

1/2 cup short-grain rice, soaked in water for 1/2 hour

1 cup dried brown lentils

Method:

Cook the lentils according to instructions on the packet and drain.

Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onions and fry for 10 minutes or more, until brown and crispy.

Remove half the onion for later use.

Add water and the seasoning to the onions in the pot.

Drain the water from the rice, then add to the pot and bring to the boil.

Cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Add the lentils, and slowly stir.

Bring to the boil again, turn down to a low heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed into the rice.

Place on a serving plate and garnish with the caramelised onions you saved at the start.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Lasagne alla Crema di Zucca (Pumpkin) Gorgonzola

Serves 4 — by Monica Minelli

Ingredients:

2 lbs pumpkin, peeled and diced

Olive oil

1 bunch of escallions, chopped

6-7 oz Gorgonzola blue cheese (or any blue cheese), cut into small pieces

A little milk

1 pack lasagna, parboiled and drained

6 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

Saute the escallion in a little olive oil until soft and translucent.

Add the pumpkin, season with a little salt, and cook until the pumpkin is soft.

Crush with a fork or potato masher.

Stir in the blue cheese and a little milk, to make the pumpkin smooth and creamy.

Assemble the lasagna: spread a layer of pumpkin and blue cheese into a baking dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Add a layer of parboiled lasagna. Spread with another layer of pumpkin and blue cheese, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and another layer of lasagna. Repeat a third time, finishing with another layer of pumpkin and blue cheese, and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Preheat the oven 370ºF, and bake the lasagna for 1/2 hour, until slightly golden.

Dutch Potato Gratin

Serves 8-10 — by Natasha Hooper

Ingredients:

1 large knob of butter

7 fl oz semi-skimmed milk

1/2 pint heavy cream

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

5-6 lbs Irish potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced

Handful of fresh thyme

Handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

6 rashers of streaky bacon

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish, around 12 inches x 12 inches, and at least 3 inches deep.

Pour the milk and cream into a large pan with the garlic. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes and most of the thyme leaves and stir well.

Spoon into the gratin dish and shake to even everything out.

Sprinkle with the Parmesan, then cover with an oiled piece of foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a little olive oil until crispy and golden. Add the remaining thyme.

When your gratin is ready, remove the foil and spoon the bacon over the top.

Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes until gorgeous and crispy on top.

Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6-8 — by Rachael Henriques

Ingredients:

2 fl oz cup vegetable oil

2 lbs sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 tbsps brown sugar

1 tsp Jamaican ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Pour the oil in a 9x13 Pyrex dish and heat in oven for five minutes.

Add sweet potatoes and bake for 20 minutes.

Mix all other ingredients together and sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.

Bake in the oven for about another 10 minutes, or until done.

Chinese Glazed Carrots

Serves 4 — by Barbara Calo & Chris Lee

Ingredients:

3 cups carrots, washed and chopped on the diagonal 1/4-1/2 inch pieces

6 fl oz water

2 tbsps light soy sauce

2 tbsps brown sugar

2 tbspns butter

1 tsp five-spice powder

Method:

Combine water, soy sauce and sugar and set aside.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the carrots.

Add the five-spice powder, stirring in with the carrots.

Stir in the water, soy sauce and sugar mixture, bring to the boil.

Lower the heat, cover and simmer the carrots for about 10 minutes, until they are tender and pierce easily with a fork.

Remove lid and turn the heat high and cook carrots, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated.

Serve hot.

Trini Pumpkin Choka

Serves 8 — by Natasha Bakon

Ingredients:

2 lbs pumpkin, peeled & diced

2 tbsps vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped

Salt

Method:

Saute the onion, garlic and pepper in the vegetable oil until the onion is soft and not burnt.

Add the pumpkin, cover and cook down until soft (add a little water if needed).

Mash with a spoon, add salt to taste.

If the pumpkin is a bit tasteless, add a little sugar at the end.

Serve hot as an accompaniment.

American Dressing 'Cookies'

Makes 50 'Cookies' — by Meredith Walker

Ingredients:

1 loaf wheat bread

1 loaf white bread

1 loaf rye bread

1 round pumpernickel

1 loaf French bread

8 fl oz bacon grease

1 1/4 oz dried sage

1 1/4 oz dried oregano

1 1/4 oz dried thyme

2 x 1 litre boxes chicken broth

2 sticks of butter

Method:

Tear bread into bite-size pieces three days before cooking, in order to dry out, or use stale bread. Leave covered out on counter in pans.

On the day of cooking: Melt butter and chicken broth until hot. Combine bread, spices, and broth liquid. Do not get too wet, but wet enough to form a cookie that sticks together. Pour equal amounts of bacon grease on cookie sheets. Put cookies on cookie sheets right next to each other and cook at 350ºF for approximately 40 minutes.

Buche de Noel (Christmas Yule Log)

Serves 10-12 — by Emma Dalton-Brown

Ingredients:

6 eggs, separated

3 tbsps white sugar

6 oz dark chocolate

6 tbsps butter

Chocolate Cream Frosting: For 3

Ingredients:

10 fl oz heavy cream

6 tbsps cocoa powder

6 tbsps icing sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)

Ganache Filling:

Ingredients:

4 fl oz heavy cream

4 oz dark chocolate

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (metal bowl over a pan of simmering water), stirring until smooth.

Remove from the heat, cool slightly, and slowly stir in the egg yolks.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar and beat again.

Let the chocolate mixture down by mixing in 2 big spoons of meringue mixture.

Gently fold the remaining meringue into the chocolate until smooth.

Pour into lined jelly roll pan and bake for 10 minutes, or until cake just comes away from sides of pan.

Spread a dish towel flat and lay a piece of baking parchment on it. Sprinkle with icing sugar to dust.

Turn the cake onto the paper, and carefully peel the parchment off the back.

Slowly roll up the cake, with the paper inside. Wrap the towel around the cake and leave to cool.

Make the ganache filling: heat the heavy cream in a pan slowly, and stir in the chocolate to melt and form a smooth ganache. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Make the cream frosting: whip the cream, stir in cocoa powder, and sweeten with the icing sugar.

Assemble the cake: when cake is cooled, unroll it. Coat the roll with the ganache and roll up again.

Lift the cake to a serving platter. Coat with the chocolate cream frosting and etch log lines on it with a fork.

Decorate with Christmas trimmings, like holly or ivy. Keep in fridge until about 20 minutes before serving.

Slice into 1/2-inch pieces and serve.

WINES & COCKTAIL SERVED PRIOR TO DINNER:

Baron Philippe Sauvignon Blanc

Appleton Passion Cocktail

Appleton Passion:

Ingredients:

2 fl oz Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica rum

1 fl oz passion fruit juice

1/2 fl oz fresh lime juice

1 fl oz simple syrup

2 large mint leaves

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a twist of orange rind

Method:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Add all the ingredients, except the nutmeg, and shake well.

Strain into a chilled martini glass, sprinkle a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg over the top, and garnish with a twist of orange rind.

APPLETON ESTATE RUMS & WINES SERVED DURING COCKTAILS AND DINNER:

Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum

Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum

Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old Jamaica Rum

WINES SERVED DURING DINNER:

Baron Philippe Escudo Rojo

Baron Philippe Escudo Chardonnay

WINE SERVED DURING DESSERT:

Veuve du Vernay Demi Sec

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