04 April


Mini Meat (Forfar) Bridies

Meat Bridies April 8: National Empanada Day

Twa bridies, a plen ane an an ingin ane an a.

(Two meat pasties, a plain one and an onion one as well.)

~Scots Dundee Dialect

We have blogged before about empanadas, pierogis, turnovers and dumplings from different cultures. This particular post focuses on the Scottish savory version—a meat bridie.

We usually snack on meat bridies at the Scottish festivals that we attend across North America. Those portable pies are convenient and filling while roaming around the fairgrounds. Though they look like a casual cuisine, meat bridies are also served at weddings, as they are appropriately named for the “bride” (a word possibly derived from the Celtic Saint Brigid). Moreover, its horseshoe shape is considered lucky—especially if it is in the up or U position—and is symbolic of the woman’s womb (bridal fertility).

We also make and serve mini meat bridies to the brides and grooms we sponsor from our church during marriage preparation meetings with them. They appreciate the trivia of this traditional treat associated with the Scottish snack from Highlander’s heritage.

Make some mini meat bridies for bridal showers, teatime, picnics and National Empanada Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Chef James Martin/BBC)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 12 ounces lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3 tablespoon beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 packages frozen puff pastry, thawed (we used Pepperidge Farms brand)
  • 1 egg, beaten

 Directions

In a skillet, heat the oil and brown the onions with thyme leaves for about 2-3 minutes or until the onions are soft and golden. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Mix in the mustard powder.

Meat Bridies

Stir in the beef stock and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the stovetop, drain any grease and allow the mixture to cool.

Meat Bridies

On a clean, lightly floured surface, unroll the thawed puff pastry sheets. Flatten to 1/4-inch to smoothen out the seam of the folds. Cut into 3-inch rounds. Flatten into a horseshoe shape (optional). In the middle of the pastry, place a spoonful of filling. Moisten the edges with a little water. Fold over and press the edges together. Use the tines of a fork to crimp and seal.

Meat Bridies

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving a few inches apart to allow the pastry to puff up and expand in the oven. Continue making the rest of the mini meat bridies. Beat the egg(s). Brush the tops of each meat bridie with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven. Place on a platter and serve hot.

Meat Bridies  

Notes

  • Similar to the meat-and-potato-filled Cornish pasties, Forfar bridies are traditionally made with minced steak, with or without onions, encased in a shortcrust pastry, although flaky (puff) pastry is preferred nowadays. The original recipe uses raw meat before filling the dough, but we sauté our ground beef in seasonings to make sure the filling is cooked through, which saves baking time and prevents the pastry from overbrowning.
  • Some bakers mark the bridies with a hole before baking to indicate the filling—one hole for plain (meat only) and two holes for meat-and-onions; hence, the Scots Dundee dialect statement above.
  • Unbaked meat bridies may be frozen first, then baked at a later time.
  • The origins of meat bridies are uncertain. But one account is that they originated in Forfarshire (now Angus County) and are called Forfar bridies. Another story is that they were named after Margaret Bridie, also from Forfarshire (then Glamis, Scotland), who sold them at the Buttermarket in the 1850s.
  • J.M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan”, mentioned Forfar bridies in “Sentimental Tommy”. He was born in Kirriemuir near Forfarshire.

Garlic Chicken (Local Hawaiian Style)

Garlic Chicken

April 19: National Garlic Day

Garlic chicken (local Hawaiian style) is one of the dishes that Islander and her brother look forward to eating when they visit their parents back on Oahu. They usually order the entrée from En Fuego Restaurant in Kapolei and Side Street Inn on Kapahulu Avenue, although other eateries have their own version of crispy chicken pieces tossed in a distinctive, tasty-garlicky-sweet-soy-sauce. Onolicious!

Islander learned how to make garlic chicken for her family and local friends on the mainland who were craving this flavorful dish from their Hawaii home. Garlic chicken is great to serve at get-togethers with ‘ohana as well as on National Garlic Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Foodland)

For the garlic marinade and sauce

  • ½ cup garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onion, sliced
  • 1 cup soy sauce (we used Aloha Shoyu)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

Chop the garlic. Slice the green onions, reserving a few pieces for garnishing the finished dish. In a saucepan, combine the soy sauce and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.

Garlic Chicken

Lower the heat and add the garlic and green onion. Add the sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened. Remove from the stovetop and cool for 30 minutes.

Garlic Chicken

For the crispy chicken

  • Garlic marinade (ingredients above)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Directions

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Strain the cooled marinade over the chicken. Let stand for 15 minutes. Reserve about ½ cup of marinade for the finishing sauce. Discard the marinade in which the chicken was soaked. In a shallow dish, combine the flour and cornstarch. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix well. Dredge the chicken pieces in the mixture, making sure they are well coated.

Garlic Chicken

Deep fry the chicken in batches until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with the remaining sauce. Dish out and garnish with green onions.

Garlic Chicken

Notes

  • For a stronger flavor, mince a clove of fresh garlic and mix it into the sauce before tossing it with fried chicken pieces.
  • Get more garlic recipes by searching our blog.

Lilikoi Butter (Passion Fruit Curd)

Lilikoi Butter

April 15: St. Damien Day (Hawaii)

Hawaii has a lot of aloha/love for St. Damien of Molokai. He is honored in the 50th state twice—on April 15, his death day, and on May 10, his universal feast day. The Belgian priest was comPASSIONate towards Hawaii’s “outcasts” (those afflicted with Hansen’s disease/leprosy) in the late 19th century. His sacrifice earned him canonization on October 11, 2009.

In celebration of St. Damien’s passion and devotion to his ministry, we made passion fruit curd, also known as lilikoi butter in Hawaii. The recipe below is adapted from a cook book that Islander bought at the Damien and Marianne Heritage Center in Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii. Proceeds from the sales of this cook book and other items at the heritage center go toward the museum and preservation of the history of St. Damien and Blessed Marianne Cope.

Prepare passion fruit curd/lilikoi butter in observance of St. Damien Day. Aloha!

Recipe

(Adapted from Molokai Catholic Community Cook Book)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cup passion fruit pulp, purée or juice
  • 4 eggs

Directions

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter slowly (do not brown or burn). Add the sugar and the passion fruit liquid.

Lilikoi Butter

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add a drop of the passion fruit liquid mix to the eggs, stirring constantly, to temper them. Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the saucepan and keep stirring. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes to thicken, stirring slowly and patiently. Strain any egg residue into clean jars. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate. Serve with toast or crackers.

Lilikoi Butter

Notes

  • Other recipes include the passion seeds from the fresh fruit to give the curd a nice crunch.
  • Learn more about the religious symbolism of the passion fruit flower at the Passion Flower Shop website.
  • Make Molokai-Mainland Sweet Potato Palau as another recipe on St. Damien Day today or on his feast day on May 10.

In Ovis Apalis

(Roman Boiled Eggs)

Roman Eggs

April 21: Birthdate of Rome (753 BC)

Highlander chose to spend his 50th birthday in Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice) a few years ago as a most memorable milestone trip. We went all over The Eternal City (churches, piazzas, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, the Vatican, cafes and more) and were awed by the history, art, architecture and culture!

On Capitoline Hill, we saw the famous statue of the she-wolf suckling twins Romulus and Remus, the mythological symbol of the founding of Rome. According to the popular legend, the unwanted twin sons of the war god Mars and a Vestal “virgin” were cast off into the River Tiber. A she-wolf found the babies and nursed them as her own, until a shepherd came and raised them. When the brothers grew up, they fought over a site where they were to establish a city. Romulus killed Remus and became king of the Italian capital that bears his name.

Romulus and Remus

In observance of the birthdate of Rome, we ate an ancient appetizer called In Ovis Apalis (boiled eggs with a pine nut sauce). There is an old Latin saying “ab ovo usque ad malum” which translates to “from the egg to the fruit,” suggesting the courses of an Italian meal from the beginning to the end (or from antipasti, primi, secondi and all the way to dolci).

Do as the ancient Romans did and eat In Ovis Apalis to celebrate Rome’s birthday!

Recipe

(Adapted from PBS)

Ingredients

  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 2 ounces stone pine kernels (pine nuts)
  • 2-3 tablespoons vinegar (we used white wine vinegar)
  • 1-2 teaspoon honey
  • pinch of ground black pepper

Directions

Boil the eggs. Cool down. Remove the shells. Cut them in half lengthwise. Set aside to make the sauce.

Roman Eggs

Toast the pine nuts by sautéing them in a pan till lightly browned (about 5 minutes or less). Remove to cool. In a measuring cup or little bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and pepper. Stir in the pine nuts. Place the sauce in a small dish or serving boat to accompany the boiled eggs. Pour the sauce on the eggs and eat immediately to avoid making the yolks soggy.

Roman Eggs

Notes

  • In Ovis Apalis is also a good recipe to use up leftover boiled Easter eggs.
  • Ancient Romans added a pinch of lovage (celery leaf) to the sauce recipe.
  • We toasted the pine nuts to accentuate its flavor. Soaking them in the sauce somewhat tones down the acid in the vinegar.
  • Highlander’s birthday is on April 20. Our trip to Italy for his 50th year coincided with Roman (and national) celebrations around the week of April 21. Several museums and public events were free or discounted then, allowing us to take advantage of what the country’s tourism industry had to offer.
  • Search our blog for other Italian recipes.

Chick-in-Eggs

Chick-in-Eggs

April: Easter Week

We dress up deviled eggs as little devils after Halloween, on November 2, National Deviled Eggs Day. But around the Easter season, we make special spring chicks because they look so cute cracking out of their shells.

Eggs are festive food this time of the year as they are symbolic of transformations. The dead of winter is reborn into the hope of spring; the rising of Jesus from the dead represents new life; yolks turn into yummy appetizers.

Do deviled eggs differently during Easter Week and decorate them as spring chicks! Blessings to all our blog readers on Easter!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and shelled
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
  • carrot sliver
  • black food gel tube

Directions

Boil, cool and shell the eggs. Slice a little piece off the bottom of an egg so it could stand on its own. Slice the egg 1/3 from the top, making the bottom 2/3 larger.

Chick-in-Eggs

Remove the yolks to a mixing bowl. Use a sharp paring knife to cut triangular “cracks” from the top and bottom of the egg whites. Set aside. Add mayonnaise and curry powder to the egg yolks and mash with a fork until smooth.

Chick-in-Eggs

Generously fill the bottom of the egg whites with a mound of the yolk mixture (we used a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip). Cap off with the top egg whites. Peel a small part of a carrot. Cut out into tiny triangles for the beaks. Position them on the egg yolks. Lightly touch the tip of the black tube frosting to make the eyes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chick-in-Eggs

Notes

  • Thanks to Lisa L. for the idea of decorating our deviled eggs into spring chicks.
  • Knead the black tube icing and squeeze out the excess liquid on a napkin before decorating the chick-in-eggs to avoid runny smears on the yolk filling.
  • Search our blog for other Easter and egg recipes.

Blueberry Pie Pockets

Blueberry Pie Pockets

April 28:
National Blueberry Pie Day

We posted a recipe for cherry pie pockets for National Cherry Pie Day. Now we are blogging about blueberry pie pockets for National Blueberry Pie Day. The portable, petite pies seem to follow the mini-treats trend. Islander used her $10 toy, a lattice pocket pie mold, that Highlander got for her from the Williams-Sonoma store. The mold makes it quick and easy to prepare the pies. The blueberry filling may be substituted for any other favorite flavor (fresh fruits or canned pie filling) and the lattice crust may be made from scratch or rolled out from refrigerated pie dough. For a sweet snack, prepare something “as easy as pie” and bake blueberry pie pockets for National Blueberry Pie Day.

Recipe

(Inspired by Williams-Sonoma)

  • 1 package refrigerated pie dough, thawed
  • 1 can blueberry pie filling, partially drained (see Notes)
  • 1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water
  • sanding or turbinado sugar (we used Wilton brand white sparkling sugar) 

Directions

Unroll the pie dough on a slightly floured surface. Press out pairs of solid pieces and the lattice tops using the Williams-Sonoma mold. Partially drain the blueberry filling (optional).

Blueberry Pie Pockets

Put the solid side of the dough on the pie press. Place about two heaping tablespoons of the blueberry pie filling in the middle of the dough.  Brush the edges with egg wash. Top with the lattice side of the dough. Press the mold down to seal.

Blueberry Pie Pockets

Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough and blueberry pie filling. Freeze all pocket pies for at least an hour. Remove from the freezer and transfer to a lightly greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the lattice with egg wash. Sprinkle sugar on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the filling bubbles slightly and the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the blueberry pie pockets cool completely on a wire rack.

Blueberry Pie Pockets

Notes

  • Drain half of the liquid syrup from the can of blueberries so the filling is not so runny.
  • If not using the Williams-Sonoma mini lattice pie press, use a large cookie cutter to cut shapes in the dough. Pair them up, place filling in the middle, seal the edges by pressing down with the tines of a fork and brush the sides and tops with egg wash. Cut a few slits on the top as vents. Freeze until firm. Bake as directed above.
  • Do not deep fry the lattice pie pockets. They may be deep fried if both sides of the dough are solid pieces.
  • Re-roll out the pie dough to make more solid pieces and lattice tops.
  • July is National Blueberry Month. Search our blog for more recipes containing blueberries. 

 

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

April 26: National Pretzel Day

We tend to associate pretzels with plane food. But the airlines are getting so stingy nowadays that sometimes only beverages are served, if at all! That is okay as we can do without the salty snacks. A homemade alternative, such as chocolate pretzel cookies, would suffice! They are perfect for passengers on long flights. They look just like the hard pretzel snacks but with a sweet twist—literally—in that the salt is actually sugar on the surface! Try these treats for traveling and prepare chocolate pretzel cookies for National Pretzel Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder (we used Muvaldi brand instant Kona coffee)
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt (we used Hawaiian sea salt)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • sanding sugar (we used Wilton brand white sparkling sugar)

Directions

Combine the cocoa and espresso/coffee powders with the boiling water in a small bowl. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Add the vanilla and coarse salt.

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Beat in the egg. Stir in the cocoa-coffee mixture. Gradually add the flour until a smooth dough is formed. Place on a plastic wrap and flatten out into a disc. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour. Pinch out 24 balls from the dough.

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Roll out a ball into a foot-long rope. Turn it up into a “U” shape. Twist down and overlap into a pretzel shape.

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue making the rest of the cookies, spacing them about an inch apart. Brush each pretzel cookie with egg wash. Sprinkle sanding sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through cooking time. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets for about 10 minutes. Peel the cookies from the parchment paper and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

Notes

  • Danke (thanks) to Lisa L. for the delicate white embroidered apron from Germany on which the chocolate pretzel cookies are displayed in the final food photo above.
  • Prepare these pretzels for a party—German style! These chocolate pretzel cookies make a delicious Deutsch-inspired dessert for Oktoberfest.

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