Cut up a box of mandarines( about 25). Be sure to cut small and with skin. Remove pits.Place in a large sauce pot.
Add 1/2 the amount of sugar equivalent to the fruit quantity (add less and taste during the cooking period in case you like it more tart). Cover with water and boil on low heat covered for about 3hrs. Allow to cool and place in jars.
If you like it more dense, and a couple of sheets of gelatin that were already soaked in cold water or about 2 tablespoons of the powdered gelatin during the cooking period.
Once jared , and sealed tight place jars in a large sauce pot with cloths in between and cover with cold water. Boil on low heat for about 3-4 hours. Shut off fire and allow to cool naturally .
Meatball Basil Pesto Sandwich
A little old fashion toasted bread a few slices of fresh mozzarella with some left over meatballs and a touch of basil pesto go a long way.
Simply break up the meatballs , add tomato sauce and slices of mozzarella. Cover and simmer till melted . Scoop mixture on to the base of a piece of toasted italian bread.Add some blots of basil pesto, top with another bread toast and serve ( fresh slices of basil optional ).
Steamed Garlic and Parsley Meatballs
In the old days, moms would make use of the gas being used during long cooking periods- my mom did! If you have a stew boiling or a pot of soup cooking away, try this old fashion way of steaming - all you need are 2 deep soup dishes with wide edges.
Add a good amount of ground beef in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, small amount of raw chopped garlic and some cut parsley. Leaves the leaves large, do not chop to much.Important you do not add any eggs or bread crumbs to this.
Roll the meatballs into small balls.
Place mini meatballs in a deep soup bowl ( reminder ; that has a thick edge to it in order to sit on pot easily). Cut lots of garlic and fresh parsley and top the meatballs- be sure to keep the garlic and parsley leaves large. Add a good splash of olive oil. See photo
Place the soup bowl on top of a pot with boiling water ( or if you have a stew or soup going). Keep the boil on low heat.
Cover with another soup dish and allow to steam in its natural juices
Chef note:easily substitute ground beef for ground chicken. The best part is dipping some good crusty bread in the natural juices that remain on the base of the dish.
Mussels Fra Diablo
Grab a friend and "Mussel Up" .
Wash your mussels and allow to drain well using a colander. Rotate from time to time to help drain all the excess water. Remove any excess " beards".
Sautee lots of garlic with a good splash of olive oil. Allow to turn brown.Add some dry pepper flakes at this point if you like it very spicy, add extra.
Add the mussels and a good splash of white wine and do not cover , allow wine to reduce about 5 min on high heat.
Add a good amount of fresh tomato or a couple of cans of a good quality plum crushed tomato some salt/pepper, parsley and mix it well . Cover and continue to cook until mussels open .
Separate the sauce and place into individual dipping dishes when serving .
Chefs note: Want to get even more for your money , make a delicious Spaghetti with mussels from this diablo sauce.
Boil some spaghetti in salt water until aldente. In the meantime, remove the meat from the mussels and add to the diablo sauce.Drain the pasta , add to sauce. Toss well and taste for seasonings. Top with some fresh chopped parsley.
If I can get Josephine to handle octopus anyone can do it. Octopus isn't as difficult to prepare as one may think. During the old days the octopus would be beaten against rocks in order to make them tender. Luckily my dear friend Chef Fatima from Lisbon taught me the tricks- and no rocks necessary.
Simply cover the octopus with cold water (about 5 fingers above octopus), cover pot and boil on low heat for about 1 hour - could go as long as 1hr/30 minutes depending on the size. Cut a piece to taste for tenderness after 1 hr passes. Do not add salt to the water! Octopus holds plenty of natural salt that will wash away and season the water during the cooking period.
Drain the octopus and place it on a sheet pan or dish to cool down naturally. Clean the head part by removing the mouth and the interior "junk" . The rest is all eatable.
Place the octopus in a large bowl and season with chopped raw garlic, lots of parsley, black pepper and a splash of olive oil. Do not add salt .
Throw it on a hot grill for a few moments flipping from time to time until you get a good chard look to it. Place it back in the same dish you had it marinating in and add a splash of balsamic vinegar ( optional ).
Baked Cast Iron Cheese and Asparagus Farm Eggs Omelet
If you're in the country get your hands on them fresh farm eggs.
Preheat oven to 375. Simply beat the eggs in bowl.Add lots of chopped chives , asparagus, mozzarella, cheddar, brie salt and pepper.
Using a good olive oil , grease the cast iron pot and pour the egg mixture . Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked to preferred consistency. Serve with some potato and bacon.
Chefs note: use any mixed cheeses for this omelet.