Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm So Thrilled So Many Have the Gypsy Spirit

First off gypsy sisters I've gotten the stomach flu....
Finally had to get anti nauseous drugs... so hopefully I will be back in no time...

When I get sick I like to have Matzah Ball Soup... It's warm and for me an anti-dote.

And I thank you Sonia for reminding me of a safe, snugly place for Jacquie and her travels with us.
This is for you Jacquie...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Growing Clan of Gypsy Sisters

Since our family is growing I thought I'd better add a few new caravan's.

We acquired a couple more horses as well...

Azure (meaning blue)

Tsurirsa (meaning light of dawn) and Nura (meaning gypsy)

Lets have lunch!

Warm Pita Bread

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 TBS white wine vinegar
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt
1 TBS dried mint
2TBS fresh mint to garnish

Peel and slice the cucumbers (if their seedy cut the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise and cut away seeds) Place slices in bowl and toss with a little salt. Set aside for 15 minutes or longer to draw some of the liquid out.
In a bowl in which you will serve the tzatziki use the back of a spoon to mash the garlic to a pastes. ( I use my garlic press... it's faster) then stir in the oil. Ass yougurt and dried mint and mix well.
Rinse salt from cucumbers and pat dr. Fold them into the yogurt mixture.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (over 2 cans)
3 cups water
1/2 cup tahini
1TBS dark sesame oil
1tsp salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
juice of 2 lemons or more to taste
1 garlic cloves finely minced
1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
pinch gound hot chili (not chili powder)

Place chickpeas in a saucepan with the water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer gently until the chickpeas are very tender but not falling apart. Time depends on age and size, but count at least on 30-40 minutes. Remove form heat and drain saving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Place the chickpeas in a food processor with about 1/4 of the cooking liquid. Process in brief bursts until the chickpeas are a coarse grainy puree, adding more liquid if necessary.
Combine the chickpea puree in a bowl with the tahini, sesame oil, salt and cumin. Add the lemon juice and stir to mix well, then stir in the minced garlic. Spread puree on a platter swirling the top with a fork and drizzle with olive oil~

This is one of the best garlic chickens you'll ever eat.

Lebanese Garlicky Roast Chicken
*Caution for true garlic lovers only*
1 4-5 pound roasting hen
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS extra-virgen olive oil
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
*1/2 cup Lebanese Garlic Sauce*

Clean and pat dry the chicken (the recipe has the skin on but I take it off)
Mix together the garlic, oil, lemon juice and smear all over the bird inside and out. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, inside and out. Set aside to marinate for an hour or more.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken on a roasting rack, pouring over it any excess marinade. Roast for about 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with pan juices. Reduce heat to 325 degrees for another 30 minutes... I find I need a bit more time.

This is what makes it so garlicky ~
Lebanese Garlic Sauce
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1 inch slice of country-style bread, crust removed
3 TBS exra-virgin olive oil
3 TBS boiling water
1 TBS fresh lemon juice.

Using a mortar and pestle (which I don't have so I improvise) crush the garlic with the sea salt until you have a very smooth paste. Tear the bread into chunks and place them in bole in a bowl. Cover with warm water, then squeeze the bread as dry as you can. Add the bread to the garlic, a little at a time, and continue pounding to get smooth. Stir in the olive oil 1 TBS after another, and then the boiling water, 1 TBS after another. Stir in the lemon juice. Yum this is good if you like garlic and I think for Gypsy's it's a must.
Wheww.... who wants dessert?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Of Course We Need Horese and more...

Lyuba (meaning love used by the Romani) one of our best and strongest stallions.
 Nadya (meaning hope in Romani)  another wonderful stallion

Simza (meaning joy) rambunctious and a bit on the unruly side.

And my favorite Sheldon in memory of Renee's nephew.

We are close, we are family. Sisters of the heart and soul.We survive the best we can

     Renee is of course our resident tarot card reader.

Sonia our voodoo doll maker and curse sayer.

     KJ our famous, slippery pickpocket.
     I'm your hostess, cook, story teller, magic maker.

If you are new here you will be in for a wonderful journey~

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Mediterian Diet

Good Olive Oil, lemon, olives, tomatoes...

Grains and eggs. Cheese and ham...

One of my favorite cook books is The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. I've cooked this recipe and with out a doubt it is good! So here you are.

Daube De Veau Au Phare (Mrs. Ramsay's Proventcal Stew)

For the Marinade:
*It calls for 2 and a half pounds of veal but I substitute chicken and it's just as good. So...*

2 and a half pounds of chicken (1 whole chicken)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot peeled and sliced
1 medium onion slices
1 celery rib sliced
3/4 cup robust dry red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brandy
2 TBS coarsely chopped
3/4 4 inch strip of orange zest
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
3 bay leaves broken in two
freshly ground pepper

For the stew:
a little instant flour for sprinkling on the chicken
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
18 fat shallots peeled
24 pitted olives, preferably a mixture of black and green
1 14-16 ounce can whole tomatoes. drained and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper.

Put the meat in a deep china ot glass bowl and pour all the marinade ingredients over it. Turn the meat with your hands (fun!) to distribute the aromatics evenly throughout. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight or 4-5 hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the pieces of meat, reserving the marinade. Dry the meat well with paper towels and sprinkle a little flour over it to help the browning. In a large heavy casserole, brown the meat in 2 TBS of olive oil over medium-high heat. (You may have to do this in batches,  removing pieces as they brown.)

When all the meat is brown, return it all to the pan and pour the marinade over it. There should be just enough liquid to come to the top of the meat. Add a little wine if necessary. Set the pan over medium-low heat and while it and while it is warming up, prepare the carrots, shallots, and olives and add them to the pan with the tomatoes.

When sauce is simmering, cover the pan tightly and bake for at least 3 hours. It is actually better prepared a day ahead of time, in which case you can refrigerate the daube once it is cooked, first letting it cool down to room temperature. Before you heat it upthe next day remove the fat, which willhave congealed on the surface. Taste the daube and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if you wish.

These daubes are often served with wide noodles, all though Mrs. Ramsay likes her's with potatoes. I like mine with  cous cous...

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Gypsy Lore, Recipes and Dwellings...

I thought I'd show you a couple of the insides of our beautiful gypsy caravan's... They are a delight to the eye!

Can you imagine who would like this one?

Hmmm I might have to claim this one!

I love this tight little sleep nook.

How wonderful is this light filled room~

Gypsy Lore:

The world has always been fascinated by the shadowy ambiguity of the Gypsy people, or Rom, as they call themselves. An ancient nomadic race, their origins shrouded in mystery, they have traveled the world perpetuating many myths about themselves for many reasons. Whether to gain sympathy, by saying they were of a certain following, or to further the mystery about them to enhance their qualifications for fortune telling.

Nobody is really sure at this time where Gypsies originated. Today Gypsies are everywhere on Tyrra and their close knit society and strange customs alternately fascinate and irritate the gaje, or non-Gypsy.

Local people usually regard Gypsies with curiosity and suspicion. Gypsies are notoriously reticent about sharing their secrets and love to cast nets of intrigue and cause confusion. Their very lifestyle depends upon such skills.

History has seen the Gypsies persecuted for many reasons. Their roaming lifestyle causes them to always be the outsiders, belonging to no country, as well as vagabonds roaming the countryside to make a quick buck. Additionally their close knit, secretive aspect causes fear and confusion in those not of the Gypsies. Generations of Gypsies have endured persecution by the gaje (not of the Rom/Gypsies) as a result of their aura of strangeness. Political leaders have historically branded Gypsies as undesirables, making them scapegoats of gaje problems. In the past it was common place for anyone who gave them refuge to be punished, anyone who killed a Gypsy could keep his property, any local authority who did not arrest the Gypsies in his area would have to pay for any damage they did. This was the treatment in the past. Local people still believe in Gypsies as thieves and untrustworthy, although this is not always the case.


Gypsy Soup

Olive oil for sauteing
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, passed through a press
3 smallish sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped, membrane and seeds removed
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
4 cups water

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon tamari

In a dutch oven, warm the oil and saute the onions, garlic, celery and sweet potatoes for 5 minutes.  Add the seasonings, except for the tamari, and the water.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the remaining vegetables and the chickpeas and continue to simmer for 10 minutes more, until the vegetables are as tender as you'd like.  Stir in the tamari and adjust the seasonings.

Paella Recipe from Spain… On the Road Again

*  1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
*  6 large scampi or Dublin Bay prawns in the shell
* 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
* 1/2 cup pureed ripe tomatoes
* 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
* 1 teaspoon saffron threads
* 1 tablespoon sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
* 1 pound cleaned cuttlefish (or substitute calamari), cut into 1-inch pieces
* 2 quarts Fish Stock
* 2 cups Bomba or other short-grain rice
* 1 pound monkfish tail, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
* 1 pound Manila clams, scrubbed

Preheat a 14- to 18-inch paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the scampi and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree, stirring it into the onions, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the salt, saffron, pimentón, and cuttlefish and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the cuttlefish firms up slightly. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to distribute it evenly. Add monkfish and clams, arranging them in nicely, bring the stock back to a boil, and cook, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Reintroduce shrimp to paella, taste for salt and add it if needed, then cook, again without stirring, for 10-15 more minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed and the pan starts to make a crackling noise (don’t worry, this is what you want). Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Enough for one day don't you think? : )

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Let's Begin our Journey

A dear friend of mine Renee and I had this idea to have gypsy caravan's and travel to places of delight. At that time I told her I'd be her personal chef which I am so honored to be. Then Sonia wanted to come on board for the adventure... Of course! Renee and I said... then Kj wished to be apart of this adventurous group!

Here I am going to host our adventure's... I have them on my other blog but will transfer them to here. I'll post recipes, photo's, highlights of our journey. Please be our guests and come along!