Sunday, October 12, 2014

Simchat Torah Menu 2014

Is it too late to post my Simchat Torah menu? Being bogged down with catering, Simchat Torah is the only meal I can manage to entertain over Sukkot and I like to make it interesting. I try to do a combination of some traditional foods (stuffed cabbage) and interesting additions (coconut chicken) and somehow every Simchat Torah, even after the previous many days of eating way more heavy meals than can possibly be healthy, my guests and I manage to muster our appetites for one more delicious meal. Hope this menu inspires you as you make yours! Enjoy!

Challah with Homemade Apple Butter

Pickled Salmon

Baby Greens with pears, shallots, roasted beets and sweet potatoes, candied pecans

Coconut Chicken Strips with Curried Mango dipping sauce
Stuffed Cabbage

Spinach Leek Kugel
Kasha Pilaf

Caramel Pies with Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
Duo of Mango-Lime and Pomegranate Sorbet

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Roasted Pepper and Shallot Salad

An abundance of cheap, gorgeous peppers were the inspiration for this versatile salad. Put it on some toasted bread and call it bruschetta. Slather it on your challah and it takes the form of a first course "dip". Put it on your next steak sandwich and watch it be transformed, or, just eat it plain with a spoon like we have and enjoy the sweet, tangy, herb scented and savory flavor of this delicious salad.  Enjoy!

3 red peppers
2 yellow or orange pepper
2 green peppers
2 large shallots
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
1 Tbl capers, optional
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the broiler setting on your oven and place the peppers and shallots in a pan, drizzle with a little oil and broil for about 20 minutes rotating the peppers and shallots every so often so they blacken evenly. Remove from broiler and place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. After 25 minutes or so the peppers and shallots should be cool enough to handle. Peel the skin off the peppers and shallots and slice them into thin strips and place in a mixing bowl. Add the oil, garlic, vinegar, parsley, basil, capers and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld together. Serve cold or room temperature.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Asparagus Soup (Pareve or Dairy)

Remember those 8 bunches of asparagus I was telling you about? Well three of them made their way into this soup and since the August weather here is cold and rainy I thought it was the perfect time to whip out this recipe. I made it pareve and served it with some herbed dumplings but it is extra delicious with some heavy cream added at the end to make it dairy. This soup is creamy and tastes like summer especially with some gorgeous, fragrant basil added in. Summer's not over and asparagus is still abundant so there is still plenty of time to make this soup! Enjoy!

2 Tbl olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallot ( about 1 large one)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 pounds asparagus
3 starchy potatoes such as Yukon Gold, cut into chunks
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional if making dairy)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the shallot and garlic, and saute until the shallot is translucent. While the shallots are cooking prepare the asparagus by cutting off the woody stems and discarding them and slicing the rest of the asparagus into about one inch pieces (you can reserve some of the tips for garnish if you prefer.) Add the asparagus to the pot, season with salt and pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes and the stock, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook for about 35 minutes. Add the basil to the soup and cook another 2 minutes. Puree with immersion blender. If adding the cream add after the soup is pureed and let it simmer another 5 minutes with the cream inside.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Beets, Pears and Feta Cheese

All summer I 've been hearing about a version of this salad that is served in a popular restaurant in Cederhurst, NY called Upper Crust.  Everyone who has eaten it there has raved about it and after all the hype I had to recreate it for myself. This is my version. I used baby kale because I love it, and it is super healthy but feel free to use spinach or even romaine lettuce. The roasted beets are sweet and lend a great texture and the pears lend a juicy sweetness as well. The shallots and pecans add crunch and texture and the Feta, well Feta on anything is great but in this salad it adds creamy, salty component that really makes this salad though some goat cheese would work well here as well. Dressed with a sweet and savory vinaigrette this salad absolutely lived up to its hype and I plan on making many times throughout the summer. Enjoy!

8 cups baby kale or spinach or romaine hearts
3 red beets
2 Tbl oil
2 large ripe pears, cubed
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Chinese or Glazed pecans, roughly chopped
3/4 cup  crumbled Feta cheese (substitute goat cheese for Feta if desired)

Preheat the oven to 375. Peel the beets and cube them. Place them on a baking sheet and toss with the the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes. Cool the beets.
Place the baby kale in a bowl. Top with the roasted beets, cubed pears, sliced shallots, glazed pecans and feta cheese. Drizzle dressing on top and serve.

For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup light olive oil or canola oil
3 Tbl agave nectar or honey
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to tatste

Whisk together all ingredients until emulsified.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

9 Days Recipes 2014

9 Days Recipes 2014

Back by popular demand it's the 9 days recipe collection! Last year I got lots of feedback about how helpful my 9 days recipe round up was so here we go again! Though we may make dairy meals often during the year, many of us find menu planning for 9 days worth of them daunting. So here are a whole bunch of awesome recipes to help you out! Enjoy!

Soups and Salads:
Salmon and Kale Chowder
Roasted Tomato Soup

Corn Chowder
Summer's Bounty Soup
Blooming Onion and Cheese BreadEdamame Quinoa Salad
Mango and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Tortellini Salad

Greek Salad with Lemony Garlic Dressing
Summer Wheatberry Salad
Caprese Wheatberry Salad

Tuna Croquettes with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Fish Tacos
Kani Avocado Salad

Halibut Piccata
Maple Sesame Salmon
Pesto Halibut with Roasted Tomatoes
Panko Parmesan Crusted Salmon

Wasabi Ginger Salmon
Pan Fried Halibut with Lemon Cream Sauce
Sun Dried Tomato, Basil and Pine nut Crusted Salmon
Crispy Golden Fish Sticks

Quiches and Tarts:
Rustic Salmon Tart
Zucchini Galette

Tomato Basil and Goat Cheese Quiche
Asparagus and Leek Quiche
Potato Leek "Soup" Quiche
French Onion Quiche
Swiss Chard and Leek Tart
Spanakopita Strudel

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas
Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
Cherry Cheese Knish

Cheesey Cheddar Zucchini Bread
Eggplant Meatball Subs
Savory Cheese and Onion Noodle Kugel
Baked Blintzes

Eggplant Involtini
Not Your Grandmother's Tuna Noodle Casserole

Penne ala vodka
Asparagus and Rigatoni with Boursin Cream Sauce
Fettuccine Portabella

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Pasta
Cheese Latcakes
Broccoli and Cheese Stromboli
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
Veggie Chili
Salmon Pasta Pesto
Salmon Papardelle with Lemon Cream sauce

Baked Eggplant Spaghetti
Baked Butternut Squash and Cheese Polenta
Chickpea Burgers with Lemon Garlic Aioli

Cheesey Broccoli and Rice Gratin

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes
Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
Banana Buttermilk Pancakes
Zucchini Blueberry Bread

Asparagus and Leek Quiche

Quiche is one of those foods that I never get sick of. You can make endless varieties and there is something about a good buttery crust that is just lip smacking good. I also  love to be playful with my quiche combinations as you can tell by my French Onion Soup Quiche and my Potato Leek Soup Quiche and in this case I spent a lot of time coming up with strange but delicious sounding quiche combinations for my daughter's party. In the end, though, when I went to shop for these interesting ingredients I found bunches and bunches of gorgeous asparagus that was so cheap that it was a crime to leave it in the store, and being deprived all year of asparagus, I bought 8 bunches. So asparagus leek quiche it was. The asparagus taste here is subtle but definitely noticeable and it's just different enough to get people's attention. Enjoy!

1 9 inch pie crust (store bought or home made)
2 leeks, cleaned and white and light green parts sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 pound asparagus
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream or half and half ( in Israel use either the 38% cream or the 15% cooking cream)
3/4 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan and add the leeks. Saute for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Remove the woody stems for the bottom of the asparagus and slice them on a diagonal into half inch slices. Add them to the leeks, season the whole mixture with salt and pepper and cook together until the leeks are soft and the asparagus is crisp but tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Place the leek and asparagus mixture on the bottom of the pie crust. In  a bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the leek mixture and top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until the quiche is set.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Caprese Wheatberry Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

This week was my daughter's annual birthday party where adults outnumber the kids significantly thereby requiring me to serve more than just pizza. Every year I spend lots of time coming up with interesting salads to make to serve to my guests who travel a few hours to get to the party. This year the salads were the biggest hit and this was one of them. This is my take on the classic Italian Caprese salad which is usually slices of fresh mozzarella and tomato and fresh basil leaves but with the heartiness of my favorite grain, the wheat berry. Here, the basil element is in the form of the vinaigrette and since I love basil so much I added lots of fresh basil to the salad as well. Dressing the wheat berries while they are warm is key to them absorbing the most flavor and if you can avoid devouring this salad right away, keep it in the fridge for a day because it tastes even better the next day, just re-season with a little salt and pepper and you are good to go. Enjoy!

3 cups wheat berries or farro
2 cups red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
8 oz or 1 cup baby mozzarella balls or whole mozzarella sliced into cubes (the Gad brand in Israel makes small pearl mozzarella balls
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Rinse the wheat berries with cold water and place in a pot. Fill the pot with triple the amount of water as there is wheat berries, salt the water as you would with pasta and bring to a boil. Cook the wheat berries for about 25-30 minutes (some brands need to cook longer, some shorter) until tender (wheat berries when fully cooked will still have a chewy texture) While they are cooking assemble the vinaigrette.  Drain the wheat berries and add 3/4 of the dressing to the wheat berries while they are still warm. Cool the wheat berries and add the tomatoes, mozzarella, the rest of the dressing and the chopped fresh basil.

Basil vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.