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Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

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Written by Heather Jones   
Sunday, 17 May 2009

ImageThere are so many wonderful things that can be said about Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros that I just don’t know where to begin.  Of all the cookbooks that I am fortunate enough to see on an annual basis, very few completely blow me away, but this one did.  Cookbook Author, Wife, Mother, and World Traveler Tessa Kiros has managed to take the reader on an extraordinary journey with her latest release and Gourmet Magazine Cookbook Club selection Falling Cloudberries.  One part scrapbook, one part travelogue, and one part cookbook, this book will awake the armchair traveler in all of you and inspire you to gather your own recipes and create one of your own.

Tessa who is of Finnish and Greek descent spent her childhood in South Africa, and her adult years traveling, journaling, and learning the cuisines of Greece, Mexico, and Australia just to name a few. She eventually found her way to Italy where she met her husband and still resides.  The book showcases some of her favorite recipes collected during her travels over the years, and instead of listing recipes by course or season she lists them by country, Finland, Greece, South Africa, Italy.  The book ends with a bright collection of favorites appropriately titled Suitcase of Recipes.  Not only does this book make you want to walk the same places she did, and meet some of the wonderful people she met.  But the photography is also incredible, I had to keep myself from removing pages, matting them, and hanging them on my walls. How many cookbook photos have you wanting to do that?

Choosing which recipes to try was equally difficult, because they all looked and sounded amazing.  In the end I decided to try one of her Finnish recipes and one from her time in Cyprus to symbolize her dual heritage (Pork Schnitzel & Bourekia, see recipes below). The Pork Schnitzel was so easy and basic, which is what was what made it so good. As for the Bourekia, I dare anyone to say that they don’t like deep fried pastries with a delicious cream filling, dusted with powdered sugar. What a great treat, and it gave me a reason to purchase a bottle of fragrant Orange Blossom water.  I know Mother’s Day has come and gone but if you didn’t get anything for that special Mom in your life do consider Falling Cloudberries or better yet, treat yourself to it.

ImagePork Schnitzels

From Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2009

Serves 3

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 6 (2 1/4-ounce) slices pork loin (1/2-inch thick)
  • 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • butter, for frying
  • lemon wedges, to serve

This easy dish can be made at the last moment or way beforehand. Schnitzels are great for a picnic or in sandwiches and are quite adaptable to any smorgasbord. You could add a little ginger and soy to the marinade for an oriental touch, or leave out all the garlic and herbs and make it completely plain, using any type of meat - chicken, lamb chops, veal, beef, or turkey. Serve plain, with lemon, or with a special mayonnaise such as balsamic or lemon tarragon. We always made an enormous pile of these in our house as they are great eaten cold the next day. The pile would get smaller and smaller until eventually just the empty plate sat alone in the fridge and my mother would be left serving salad, sautéed potatoes, and bread for the next day's lunch.


Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the garlic, paprika and rosemary. Put the slices of pork in the egg mix, turning them over to make sure they are all well coated. Leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Put the bread crumbs on a plate. Take the meat out of the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and then pat into the bread crumbs on both sides, pressing down with the heel of your palm to make sure that the bread crumbs stick.

Heat enough butter in a saucepan to shallow-fry the meat. Add the pork and fry quickly, turning so that both sides are nicely golden brown and the meat is cooked through. You could add a little olive oil if you are nervous about the butter burning, but it shouldn't be a problem. If your pan is not big enough to accommodate all the slices, cook them in two batches, but you may have to wipe out the pan between batches. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold, with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little extra salt if necessary.

Bourekia (Deep-fried cream cheese & cinnamon pastries)

From Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2009

Makes 24

Pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, diced
  • finely grated zest of 1 small lemon


Filling:

  • 3/4 cup ricotta or smooth cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar

 

  • light olive oil, for deep-frying
  • confectioners' sugar, to serve


These are normally made with anari cheese, but you can use ricotta or a smooth cream cheese or something else similar. These deep-fried pastries are scattered with confectioners' sugar and are best eaten warm.


To make the pastry, put the flour and butter in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Mix in, sifting and working it through your fingers until it forms large crumbs. Add 5 tablespoons of water and the lemon zest and knead gently and quickly with your hands until the dough just comes together in a mass. Knead for 20 to 30 seconds or until smooth. Take care not to overwork the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave for about 1 hour in a cool (but not cold) place.

To make the filling, mix the ricotta or cream cheese with the cinnamon, orange blossom water, and superfine sugar. Refrigerate until needed.

Roll out the pastry very thinly. Cut rounds of about 3 inches, using a biscuit cutter or sharp-rimmed glass. Put a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each round. Wet your finger with a little water and run it around the edge of the pastry, then fold it over into a half moon. Press the edge to make sure it is sealed.

Keep all the pastries on a tray dusted with flour until you are ready to fry them. Fill a saucepan or deep fryer one-third full of oil and heat for deep-frying. Fry the pastries a few at a time for 30 to 40 seconds, turning them around until they are golden. Lift them out with tongs onto a tray lined with kitchen paper to drain off the oil. Arrange on a serving plate, dust very generously with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately.

About Falling Cloudberries

ImageThe New York Times calls Tessa Kiros's work "exuberant and colorful." And that is just what her gem, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes, is. The book is full of personal touches and stories. It is a beautiful collection of family anecdotes, history, and traditions all documented with stunning photography, unique illustrations, and a warm dialogue that will simply pull you in.

Available at Amazon.com

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 May 2009 )
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