Sunday, June 5, 2016


Well, I thought I’d be able to snatch up a job really quickly, but that didn’t pan out how I imagined. I don’t get it, and I never do. However, I am working on starting a new business venture doing what I was doing before, except instead of writing a newsletter about commercial real estate, I’ll be writing about education, something a little closer to my heart. It just takes a little time to get started, I think. Hopefully by the time school starts back up, we’ll be fully ready to go. The kids start summer break this week, and I’m definitely ready for that. 

I snacked on these while I was waiting for everything to cook. I struggled to save some for everyone else.
What I’m also ready for is this Maltese meal I’ve picked out. The first thing I made was Pastizzi, which is like ricotta-stuffed puff pastry. I started out mixing 10-11oz of ricotta cheese, 3-4 Tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, and parsley to taste (you can also add in anything else, like spinach if you wanted) until everything was mixed well. I bought some puff pastry sheets from the store and rolled it out, cutting out circles that are about 9 cm wide. I used a biscuit cutter, which made it kind of easy. I put a little bit of the ricotta mix in the inside of each circle, egg washed the edges, and folded it in half, squeezing the edges together, and egg washed them again. The recipe calls for a “medium to hot oven,” so I just set it for 375ºF. I laid each pastry on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and put them in the oven for about 20-23 minutes. I didn’t get the egg wash put on some of them very well, and a few of them opened up a bit. But the flavor was good. I almost felt like I cheated with this one because I bought my own puff pastry sheets instead of making it. But puff pastry takes a while to make (if you want to make it right), and sometimes store-bought stuff helps. It certainly saves time. They were flakey, cheesy, and went very well with my meal.  

Surprisingly good. The recipe called for one can of tuna, and I ended up using two packets since one wasn't enough.
Next, I made a Maltese Tuna Pasta Salad. I boiled some tri-color rotini pasta until it was al dente and cooled it, putting it in a bowl. In the same bowl, I mixed in two packets of tuna, some diced red bell pepper, some diced onion, some capers, some chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, some salt and pepper, and a pinch of dried mint leaves. Then I sprinkled the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I was supposed to add in a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice, but I forgot. I mixed this up and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Everyone really liked this except my son who has all of a sudden decided he doesn’t like cold pasta. I think it could’ve used a little more balsamic vinegar, but my husband told me it was fine. 

I was glad this turned out really well. It was quite tasty and will make a good lunch for tomorrow.
My main dish for today is Bragjoli, which is like a beef roll-up. I bought four cubed steaks from Aldi and beat them until they were flattened out. In a small bowl, I mixed in some chopped bacon, some chopped hardboiled egg, parsley, salt and pepper, and some bread crumbs. With a spoon, I spread some of this mixture onto the flattened cubed steaks and rolled them up, securing them with toothpicks. When each of them was rolled up, I fried them slightly in olive oil to help seal them, even though it didn’t work all that great. I moved them to the outer edges of the skillet, and I added in some chopped onions in the hot olive oil before adding in some basil, some oregano, a little garlic powder, a little tomato paste and diced tomatoes and let it simmer together for a few minutes. Spooning the tomato mixture on top of the beef and adding in some water to cover halfway, I let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then I added in the peas and let it simmer for another 45 minutes or so. This had a good flavor. The tomatoes thickened up toward the end, and the meat surprisingly wasn’t too tough. The egg and bacon on the inside wasn’t quite as pronounced as I thought it was going to be, but when you did get a piece of bacon, it was really good. 

Another big surprise. I was worried how the anise would taste with the potatoes, but it turned out pretty good. Who knew?
To go with this, I made Maltese-style potatoes, or Patata il-Forn. I peeled and chopped up some potatoes and put them in a casserole dish that I greased with butter. I sprinkled in a little olive oil and stirred to coat. Then I seasoned the potatoes with salt and pepper. True Maltese-style potatoes are seasoned with fennel seed, but my husband absolutely hates fennel seed, so I read that a good substitution is anise seed (another one is caraway seeds), both of which I have. So, I used ground anise seed and mixed it throughout really well. I baked these for nearly 45 minutes in a 400ºF oven, until they were crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. These were really good. I used small golden potatoes and kept the skins on. They were quite soft, and not so much crunchy on the crunchy side, but that’s ok. I kept the anise seed light, and I think it was better. 

Overall, this was an excellent meal. Definitely recipes to repeat.
I thought this meal was really good. And I certainly learned a lot about this country, besides where it is. But the thing that fascinated me the most is their language. I knew absolutely nothing about it before hand. As a cross between Italian and Arabic, I can somewhat hear the influences of both languages when I listen to it spoken. Granted, I have no idea what they’re saying, but I can hear the sounds. (I studied some Italian diction in college as a requirement for being a voice principal music major.) But I think it’s interesting. I never know what I’ll learn about when I come across these countries. Maybe that’s why I keep doing this.

Up next: Marshall Islands

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