Today's recipes take somewhat of a global trot to Italy, Germany and Panama.
We have an interesting Tuscan pasta dish, Paglia & Fieno; sauerbraten from Germany; and "Panama Sues," which likely have nothing to do with the country except for a catchy name.
Lou Miles of West Ashley asked about the "straw and hay" pasta that was served by the Med Deli in the late '80s and early '90s.
"Paglia e Fieno" translates to "straw and hay" in English. It is an Italian classic, a mixture of egg (yellow) and spinach (green) pasta. It may be prepared with different sauces but often will include peas and prosciutto, the Italian ham.
No word from any Med Deli folks, but Audrey Clarke-Pounder of North Charleston shared her experience and a recipe.
"I never had the Med Deli version but here is a Tuscan version of Paglia & Fieno. I was used to eating this dish with lots of cream and butter when living in Bologna, and only found this lighter version after returning to the U.S. I don't care for prosciutto and this dish tastes fine to me without it. You can go vegetarian by omitting the bacon, also, but you lose some of that rich taste.
"If you are adventurous and make your own egg noodles, you can make the Fieno (hay) noodles green by adding 1/2 cup of cooked, pureed spinach to the dough."
This recipe appeared in "The Tuscan Cookbook" by Wilma Pezzini in 1978.
Paglia e Fieno
Serves 6 people as a first course
2 ounces dried mushrooms or 8 ounces fresh
1 medium onion
1 small carrot
1 stalk celery
4 ounces bacon
4 ounces prosciutto
1/3 cup olive oil
1 (14- to 16-ounce) can of peeled plum tomatoes
1 bouillon cube or salt
3/4 cup dry white wine
7 ounces tiny peas
1 1/4 pound green and yellow egg noodles, combined
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
Soak dried mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. Chop onion, carrot and celery fine. Dice bacon and ham (prosciutto).
Heat diced bacon in saucepan, allow to crisp, and add ham. After a few minutes, add the oil. When the oil is heated through, add the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Stir, allow the vegetables to wilt and the onion to become golden. Meanwhile, clean the soaked mushrooms and chop coarsely.
Add the mushrooms to the pan, let simmer another couple of minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Squash the tomatoes one by one, removing the hard parts, then add to the pan along with any juice from the can. Stir, lower the flame, and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
Taste the sauce, add salt or bouillon cube to your taste, and add the wine. Allow to come to the boiling point, add the peas, stir, lower the flame, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
Check the sauce to see if thick enough. If the sauce is too liquid, cook it uncovered until it is the consistency of marmalade.
Cook egg noodles in boiling, salted water until al dente (8-11 minutes depending on size of noodles). Drain when done.
Pour sauce over the pasta, mix well and serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and ground black pepper.
Back in June, Tom Hudson of Mount Pleasant put in a request for a sauerbraten recipe. He was fond of the version served at the former Max & Moritz restaurant that also was in Mount Pleasant.
Sauerbraten is German for "sour roast." A beef roast soaks up a sweet-and-sour marinade for a few days, is browned and then braised until very tender.
Tom's patience has been rewarded. Klaus Lapine, the former owner of Max & Moritz, downsized his unwritten recipe as best he could for the home cook.
Max & Moritz Sauerbraten
2 large carrots
1 medium to large onion
2 ribs celery
12 ounces red wine vinegar
12 ounces red wine
12 ounces water (or as much needed to cover the meat)
1 large bay leaf
8 whole cloves
1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
7 pounds eye of round (or any other piece of beef meant for slow cooking)
For braising and sauce:
Salt for seasoning
12 ounces beef broth
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 ounce cornstarch
1 to 2 tablespoons sour cream
Before the meat can be cooked, it needs to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days. Use a container (salad bowl, pot, pail, tub) large enough to hold the meat, vegetables, liquid and spices with room enough to turn the meat periodically throughout the week, but small enough not to have to dilute the marinade with too much water to keep the meat submerged in liquid.
Wash, peel and rough chop the carrots, onion and celery. In your container, combine vegetables with red wine vinegar, water, bay leaf, cloves and black pepper. Do not salt. Place beef in mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Rotate the meat once a day to ensure uniform penetration of flavors.
Remove meat from marinade, strain vegetables from liquid and save liquid. Preheat the oven and a roasting or braising pan at 500 degrees.
Pat meat dry and season generously (according to size of piece) with salt and place in roaster. Sear all sides of the meat and add vegetables, continuing to cook in the oven until they brown. It will take about an hour.
Add an inch of marinade to roasting pan and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Maintain a consistent amount of liquid in roaster; as liquid evaporates and cooks down, keep adding marinade and later water to the pan. Braise for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove meat. In a blender puree roasted vegetables with remaining liquid and beef broth. Strain into sauce pot, add some of the sugar and bring to a simmer.
Season the liquid with sugar to a pleasant tangy taste; it should not be overly sour or even acrid.
Mix cornstarch and with some cold water in a small bowl until a slurry-like consistency, then slowly and cautiously add it into the simmering liquid to thicken the sauce to your liking.
Finish the sauce by whisking in a dollop of sour cream.
Nancy Gouse of Charleston sends a recipe that, to her knowledge, has been in her family for more than 80 years.
Serves at least 4
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon pickling spices
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery tops, chopped
3-pound beef rump roast
19 gingersnap cookies, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups well-packed dark brown sugar
For marinating: Mix all ingredients through celery tops, pour over meat, cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 days, turning meat daily.
For cooking: Mix broken gingersnaps with sugar and add to the marinade in a heavy cooking pot, stirring well to dissolve the brown sugar.
Add meat, bring to a slight boil, then simmer over very low heat for 2 to 3 hours. Stir every half hour to keep from sticking. Remove the meat, strain and discard the vegetables from the gravy. Serve with potato dumplings, red cabbage and crusty Russian rye bread.
Also thanks to Mary Johnson of Mount Pleasant.
Lastly, Elsie Clees of James Island inquired about a bar cookie called "Panama Sue" or "Panama Sal." A friend raves about them.
Libby Perkins of James Island found a recipe in the "Alligator Stew" cookbook published by some women from Seabrook Island.
Libby notes, "A strong family favorite and my family is always asking me to make it so they can take it to meetings at work, bake sales at school and makes a nice holiday gift."
She adds, "This is more like a bar cookie. Cut small squares as this is very rich but it is absolutely wonderful and almost foolproof."
1 box yellow cake mix (see cook's note)
3 eggs, divided use
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 box powdered sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
Cook's note: Must be Duncan Hines butter recipe and no pudding in mix. Do not substitute.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter. Batter will be stiff. Spread in large pan (22x12-inch).
In same bowl, beat the 2 eggs. Add softened cream cheese. Beat well, add entire box of powdered sugar. Beat well. Pour over crust in the pan. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, depending on oven temperature.
Margaret Sams of James Island also sent the identical recipe, except for 1/2 cup of chopped nuts being added to the batter. She says this recipe also goes by the name "Gooey Butter Cake."
Who's got the recipe?
--A caller wants to know if Fiery Ron's Hometeam Barbecue will share its recipe for white barbecue sauce.
--Agnes Pat Nelson's blueberry crop is nearly done, but now the pears are ripening. She is planning to make jellies and mock apple pie with them, and notes that the hard pears that grow in our area also are suitable to grate like a potato for adding to pancakes and muffins and to make pear sauce. However, she would like other ideas for using pears.
Looking for a recipe or have one to share? Reach Food Editor Teresa Taylor at 937-4886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.