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Beef & Bulgur Croquettes  - (Makes 15)



1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat

3 cups beef broth

3 cups, plus 1 tablespoon vegetables oil, divided

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 medium onion, minced, divided

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup mint, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano



1.  Place the bulgur wheat in a medium heatproof bowl.  Heat the beef broth to almost boiling and pour it over the wheat.  Soak wheat for 1 hour, then drain well and set aside.


2.  Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add ground beef and half the minced onion.  Cook, stirring often, until the meat is well browned, about 5 minutes.  Drain fat, and season beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.  set aside.


3.  Place the drained wheat, mint leaves, garlic, oregano, remaining onion, and remaining salt, in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse mixture to mix, adding a tablespoon of water or broth if needed until the mixture starts to clump together.


4.  Take 2 tablespoons of the wheat mixture at a time and shape into balls.  Make a well in the center of each and fill it with a spoonful of beef.  Fold the wheat around the filling, seal, and form croquette into an oblong shape with pointed ends.


5.  Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a deep skillet or heavy saucepan to 350 degrees F.  Cook the croquettes in batches, turning once or twice, until they are well browned and crispy.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve warm.



Couscous Fish Cakes - (Makes 12)



2 cups chicken or fish stock

2 cups instant couscous

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 medium lime

Hot pepper sauce, to taste

1/2 lb. fish fillets, such as flounder or haddock

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 large hard-cooked eggs, shelled & thinly sliced into rounds

Fresh parsley, for garnish



1.  In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a simmer and stir in the couscous.  Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.


2.  Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, onion and salt then cook until onion is soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add lime juice and hot sauce to taste.


3.  Add fish and cook, turning once, until coked through and flaky, 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness.  Remove fish mixture from skillet and use a fork to break the fish into pieces.


4.  Stir the fish mixture into the couscous, and toss gently with a fork to mix.  Generously brush the wells of a regular size muffin pan with vegetable oil.  Place a slice of egg in the bottom of each well.  Evenly distribute the couscous mixture between the wells and press down gently with the back of a spoon to pack the couscous firmly.  Set aside for 5 minutes.


5.  Gently unmold the couscous cakes with a knife.  Garnish with parsley and serve.



Plantain Chips - (Makes 6 servings)



4 green plantains, peeled

2 cups vegetable oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon curry powder



1.  Working quickly, use a mandoline or very sharp knife to cut the peeled plantain lengthwise into the thinnest slices possible.


2.  Heat the oil in a deep skillet or heavy saucepan to 350 degrees F.  Working in batches, cook the plantain slices until golden brown and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes.


3.  Remove plantain slices from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with sea salt and curry powder then serve warm or at room temperature.



Cheese Crackers with Guava Paste - (Makes 20)



8 tablespoons salted butter, softened

6 oz. grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 oz. guava paste



1.  Place the butter and cheese in a food processor and pulse several times until well mixed.  Add flour and pulse until mixture comes together in a dough.  Roll the dough into a log and chill for 30 minutes.


2.  Preheat oven o 350 degrees F.  Slice the chilled dough crosswise into 20 rounds and place them on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until crackers start to brown around the edges, about 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.


3.  Serve crackers topped with slices of guava paste, or pipe softened guava paste onto the crackers.



Breaded Shrimp - (Makes 18)



18 large shrimp, peeled with tails

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 1/2 cups milk

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 cube chicken bouillon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups panko or regular bread crumbs

3 cups vegetable oil

1 cup tartar sauce, for dipping



1.  In a large bowl, marinate the shrimp in the lime juice and salt for 30 minutes.


2.  In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat.  Saute garlic and onion about 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add the shrimp and the chicken broth then cook for 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove shrimp and let cool.  Strain and reserve the cooking liquid.


3.  Place the reserved cooking liquid in a medium saucepan.  Whisk 1/2 cup flour into the cooking liquid and heat the mixture over low heat.  Whisk in milk, mayonnaise, bouillon, and salt.  Add another up of flour as needed to form a soft dough.  Remove from heat.


4.  Divide the dough into 18 pieces.  Wrap each shrimp in one of the pieces of dough, leaving tail uncovered.  Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.  Dip each dough-wrapped shrimp in the egg wash and then in the bread crumbs to coat.


5.  Heat the oil in a deep skillet or large heavy saucepan to 350 degrees F.  Fry shrimp in batches, turning occasionally, until shrimp are golden brown.  Remove shrimp carefully with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Serve warm with tartar sauce.



Crispy Meatballs - (Makes 15)



1 lb. ground beef

1/4 cup onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 medium French bread roll, or 5 pieces of baguette, cut into cubes

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, panko, or very fine bred crumbs

3 cups vegetable oil

2 limes, cut into wedges, for garnish



1.  Place the ground beef in a large bowl with the onion, garlic, salt pepper, Parmesan, oregano, and parsley.  Mix gently with your hands until evenly combined.


2.  In another large bowl, soak the bread cubes in the milk for 5 minutes, then crumble them and add to the meat mixture.


3.  Divide the meatball mixture into 20 to 25 portions, and roll them between your palms to make smooth balls, without compressing them too much.  Place the flour or bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and gently roll the meatballs in the flour to coat.


4.  Heat the oil in a deep skillet or large heavy duty saucepan to 350 degrees F.  Fry the meatballs in batches until well browned and cooked through (about 8 minutes).  Serve warm with lime wedges.

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