Tag Archives: Festive Mains

Parmigiana di Melanzane (Eggplant Parmesan )

Name: Ramona Marks
Class Year: 2002
Country of Residence: Germany

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

During the 2015 refugee crisis in Germany, I became involved with our local volunteer group. After many projects and changing priorities, we founded a Verein, or club, at the beginning of 2020, and now have a similar social and tax status as a non-profit in the U.S. I’m the committee leader of the group we call Kulinarik, or culinary. We only had one cooking evening before the shutdown, but we are hoping to have cooking classes and a recipe exchange in the near future. 

I studied abroad in Italy when I was a student at MHC. I love Italy, and of course Italian food. Here where I live in Germany, there is a very large population of Italians, many of whom arrived in the 1970s as economic refugees and had children who have had children. They are a part of the community now, and refugees who arrived during the 2015 crisis are also becoming our neighbors and friends. Cooking together helps, whether Syrians, Iranians, Italians, Afghanis, this American, or of course Germans, among others.

The recipe I chose is an Italian recipe that surprised me: Parmigiana di Melanzane, or Eggplant Parmesan with eggplant that is not breaded. Unlike what I knew in the U.S., this recipe calls for quickly deep frying the eggplant before layering it between a simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves. As with so much of Italian cuisine, the recipe is deceptively simple and the outcome depends on the quality of the ingredients.

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Pasta al Sugo Rosso

Name: Giulia Bernardini
Class Year: 1991
Country of Residence: Currently USA, grew up in W Europe, esp Rome, Italy

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

This is a common, everyday dish in Rome. But what makes it special – festive – is that at parties, because it’s so quick to make, it often gets served at 1 or 2 am when everyone has been dancing and having fun and needs a little pick-me-up to keep going!

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Greek Chicken with Handmade Pasta

Name: Madeleine Hewitt
Class Year: 1984
Country of Residence: Greece

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Delicious chicken recipe, with subtle flavors of cinnamon, garlic and oregano blending to create a savory taste. My Greek family made this for me, and we all enjoyed the hand made egg noodles topped by the tasty sauce made from peppers, onions and tomatoes with the signature spices. Find a good greek wine to go with it and you are all set!

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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Name: Barbara Schmidt
Class Year: 1969
Country of Residence: Ireland

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Corned beef is also called “salt” beef which is prepared by rubbing the beef with coarse salt and brown sugar and marinating for a week or longer. The leanest cut is called silverside or tail end, brisket is a mixture of fat and lean. In Ireland this beef can be bought pre-prepared in a butcher’s or in a supermarket. The dry mustard makes the beef really tender – I use it with boiling ham as well.

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Fesenjoon (Persian Pomegranate & Walnut Stew)

Name: Elizabeth Taeed
Class Year: 2009
Country of Residence: Portugal

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

My husband is half Persian and raised in the Bahai faith, and grew up eating this stew on special occasions. He shared it with me on our first date, we served it at our wedding, and now we make it whenever there is an important holiday, festival or event. I am excited to share it now, as we are between two important Bahai festivals: the inter-calary days Ayyám-i-Há (4-5 days between the last two months of the year, which allow the Bahai calendar to be solar, and happen every year at the end of February) and Naw-Rúz (the Bahai and Iranian New Year, which occurs at the spring solstice). This dish is made and served in Iran on all sorts of special occasions, but is primarily an autumn dish due to its main two ingredients: pomegranates and walnuts. The secret is low and slow cooking to release the oils from the walnuts, and using duck instead of chicken for extra celebration. It is delicious served with saffron basmati rice with a crispy bottom (tahdeeg) and a side of Mast-o-khiar (yoghurt mixed with shredded cucumber, minced mint leaves, and celery salt).

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Seafood Casserole Deluxe

Name: Jane Zimmy
Class Year: 1974
Country of Residence: United States

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

I was looking to create an easy Lobster Casserole recipe that could be good for a “solo” celebratory dinner in the holiday season. This recipe is very versatile and it can be made with other seafood or even thick white fish. I used what I had on hand (heavy cream) but milk is also a good option and I replaced the sherry with wine.

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Cozido à portuguesa (meat and vegetable stew)

Name: Elizabeth Taeed
Class Year: 2009
Country of Residence: Portugal

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

My husband and I had lived in Madrid for two years, and during that time ate a lot of Cocido madrileño, a traditional stew made with vegetables, chickpeas, and about a thousand types of meat. When we moved to Portugal, we were delighted to discover Cozido à portuguesa, a distinctly Portuguese take on our beloved cocido. There are also regional variations, so the recipe below is typical of the Alentejo region, where we live.

The joy of both types of Cozido is that you can have it as one course, or you can turn it into a few, with soup and fideo pasta. The Portuguese cozido uses rice and red beans, versus Spain’s emphasis on just chickpeas, and also adds in turnips or pears, bread sausage and pig ears. It also has a much shorter cooking time than Spanish cocido, but we’ve found that the longer you cook it, the better it is. So while a typical Portuguese cozido may only technically require an hour and a half, we’ve found that stewing it for 4-5 makes for a much tastier, tender-er dish! Whatever method and ingredients you use, there is one guarantee: you won’t be going home hungry, and your belt will definitely need loosening. Enjoy my slightly Spanish take on Cozido à portuguesa!

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