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Mother Linda’s Update  © Mother Linda's

  

April 2004 

The 60th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2004

On March 16, 2004, I attended a press conference at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., held to announce the activities being planned in Normandy for the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

That’s me standing by a beautiful bouquet in the residence’s reception area (picture courtesy Mary Gallagher). 

The French ambassador to the United States, H.E. Jean-David Levitte, waxed poetic about French-American relations, especially in relation to tourism. “Tourism is more than travel,” said Levitte. “It is also a wonderful opportunity to better know and understand each other. On the 6th of June this year, we will commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day. And, believe me, it will be a wonderful opportunity to say again, ‘Thank you, America.’ We worked together in the early days of your independence. You saved France twice last century, at the end of the First World War and at the end at the Second World War. And we will never forget.”

For more of the ambassador’s comments on the history of French-American relations, see www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2004/levitte_florida032204.asp

This June, France is welcoming the return of D-Day veterans by arranging complimentary, private home stays for them throughout Normandy during the celebration. For more information see, http://www.normandiememoire.com and http://www.normandy-tourism.org

Reynolds does Right

In the article “My Pots and Pans” (see http://www.motherlindas.com/pots_and_pans.htm), I explain why I am not a fan of aluminum in the kitchen, the most important reason being that acid foods can leach the metal into the food. The only aluminum in my kitchen is four aluminum cookie sheets—which I always line with sheets of parchment paper. Nor am I a fan of Teflon-lined muffin tins.

 Over the years, Reynolds has sent me many samples of their new items, but finally something caught my attention that is worth mentioning and worth bringing into your kitchen. Reynolds has just come out with a line of parchment-lined aluminum baking cups for muffins and cupcakes. They say it’s for easy cleanup—but I applaud the fact that the batter is not touching the aluminum. The cups are freestanding so you don’t even need a muffin tin. All you have to do is set them on a cookie sheet, fill, and bake. If you’re spring cleaning, throw out the Teflon-lined muffin tins and switch to these aluminum/parchment baking cups. Bravo Reynolds!

Pastel di Carne con Massa Fina

This Bulgarian Sephardic* recipe is from my cookbook Bulgarian Rhapsody: The Best of Balkan Cusine. It will make a beautiful addition to your Easter or Passover table. The meat/eggplant filling is encased in an incredibly tasty crust. I bake mine in a 12-inch quiche pan by Villeroy & Boch, which unfortunately is no longer available—so any family-size baking dish will do.

Dough:

2 1/2 cups white flour

pinch of salt

5 1/2 oz. butter, softened

1 Tbsp. oil

1/4 cup sparkling water

1 Tbsp. vinegar

 

Sift the flour and salt, onto a flat surface and make a hole in the middle. Pour in the oil, butter and margarine. With your fingertips, mix the flour lightly with the poured in ingredients. Gradually add the sparkling water and the vinegar. Knead the dough and shape it in the form of a ball. Wrap in plastic or parchment paper and refrigerate while making the filling.

For the stuffing:

1 small eggplant

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb. ground beef

2 eggs

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

1 tsp. salt or to taste

1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

1 egg yolk, for eggwash

1 Tbsp. water, for eggwash

Roast, peel, and chop the eggplant in advance. Fry the onion with a little oil until it becomes slightly brown. Add the meat and cook until it changes color. Add the chopped eggplant, eggs, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well and cool.

Roll out slightly more than half of the dough; transfer to the bottom of a well-oiled 12-inch baking dish. Pour in the stuffing and spread out evenly. Roll out the remaining dough and cover the stuffing with it. Roll the edges together to create a seal. Brush the upper crust with eggwash and use a fork to poke a few holes in the top. Bake in a 350EF oven until the pie acquires a golden color, approximately one hour. Serve hot.

*The bulk of Jews who settled in Bulgaria came from Spain in the fifteenth century. Seeking refuge from the Inquisition, thousands of Sephardic Jews migrated to the Balkans. The Spanish influence on Bulgarian Jewish food is evident. It is an intriguing blend of Spanish and Balkan cuisine, with some dishes even mixing the two languages and blending the traditional foods. All Bulgarian Jewish cookbooks are written in Ladino, the Jewish dialect of Spanish developed during the Jewish diaspora by Sephardic Jews who settled in the Balkans and some Middle Eastern countries.

 

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