Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Broccoli Potato and Cheese Latkes

These latkes are my take on a broccoli potato knish, one of my favorite knishes to eat. The bonus here is that in latke form they are super crispy rather than doughy and the cheese flavor is enhanced. With all the oil and fried food we are consuming over the next few days, I  feel somewhat better about eating a latke that though fried at least has a vegetable and protein element to it as well. I often add cheese to latkes (see Mexican Latkes) because they help the latkes crisp beautifully, and the taste of toasted crispy cheese is divine (think Frico, or Parmesan crisps.) Served with sour cream (no apple sauce with these) the latkes were out of this world! Oh, and Happy 4 year Blogaversary to me!

1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked broccoli
2 1/2 cups grated potato (about 2 medium potatoes, grated)
1/3 cup flour
2 large eggs
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
salt and pepper to taste
canola oil for frying

In a bowl mix the broccoli with the potato and then stir in the flour which will also help absorb some of the moisture of the potato. Add the eggs, cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan and put about quarter cup fulls of latke mixture into the pan, press down with the back of a spoon and fry about three minutes on each side or until crispy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Red Kubbe Soup

I am a sucker for any kind of dumpling. Name the culture, if they have a version of a dumpling, I love it. From kreplach to dim sum, from ravioli to pierogi, fill some dough and serve it to me and I'll be in heaven. So it's actually surprising that it has taken me so long to make these Middle Eastern dumplings called kubbe. Different countries across the Middle East make their own versions but the basic premise is the same- a semolina dough filled with a seasoned ground meat mixture boiled in a vegetable soup. The soup itself varies, some serve their kubbe in a hot beet soup, some in a clear vegetable soup and some in a tomato based soup. After reading numerous recipes I came up with my own combination. Beets may sound strange to add but they add a delicious earthiness. You can change the vegetables to your liking and use chicken, beef or vegetable stock- I used beef stock to add richness and to compliment the beef filled dumplings. The soup was rich ,delicious, and hearty from the chunks of vegetables and dumplings, practically a meal unto itself. I served it with some Moroccan bread and it hit the spot.  Enjoy!

For the Kubbe:
1 1/2 cups semolina flour (solet in Hebrew)
1 cup water
2 tsp oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 pound ground beef or chicken
one small onion, finely diced
2 Tbl finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Mix the semolina, water, oil and salt together in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. The dough should be soft and pliable but not too wet and sticky. Mix the ground beef with the onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Take small portions of the dough and flatten it in the palm of your hand. Put a small amount of filling in the center and pinch the dough closed around the filling. Refrigerate until ready to cook in the soup.

2 Tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 large zucchini, cut into large slices
2 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small piece of pumpkin, cut into chunks
10 cups of beef, chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup of 22x tomato paste (in America you can use a small can of tomato paste)
2 cups roughly chopped kale or swiss chard or beet greens
2 tsp sugar
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the sweet potatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, beets, and kale and saute another two minutes and then add the stock and tomato paste, sugar, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for half an hour. Add the kubbe to the simmering soup and cook for another half an hour.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chicken N' Dumplings

When the weather gets cold, all you want is some good, hot, comfort food and this one pot dish fits the bill. It is sort of like a southern style chicken soup but a little thicker and with a deeper, richer flavor than the typical Jewish chicken soup. Then you get to the goodies inside- the meat of a whole shredded chicken, hunks of hearty veggies and big pillowy dumplings, it is goodness in a bowl. I very rarely have time to make my own chicken stock but I had been planning on making this dish for a while and wanted to put as much love in as possible. Using chicken stock made this dish super flavorful and rich tasting though you could use vegetable stock or even water because the chicken simmering in the soup will give it plenty of flavor. With winter around the corner, I highly recommend you add this to your dinner or Shabbat menus! Enjoy!

1 2-3 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup flour
2 Tbl olive oil
5 carrots, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 tsp turmeric (optional but gives great flavor and a rich yellow color)
15 cups chicken stock (you can use water, the chicken simmering in the water will give it flavor but the end result is much richer when you use stock)
3 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Season the flour with salt and pepper and coat each piece of chicken in the flour. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven and brown both sides of each piece of chicken, then remove to a plate. Add the carrots, celery and leek and saute scraping up the brown bits from the chicken and cook until the leeks are translucent. Add the stock, turmeric, season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back in, lower to a simmer and simmer for half an hour. Add the zucchini in and simmer for another half an hour, add the parsley and taste for seasonings. Remove the chicken and shred the meat off the bones and add it back into the soup. Prepare the dumpling mixture and while the soup is at a low boil add the dumplings in by heaping tablespoons full, Depending on the size of the dumplings they need to cook for between 20-30 minutes.

For the Dumplings:
2 3/4 cups flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold water

Mix the flour and salt together and stir in the eggs. Slowly add in the water until a sticky, gloppy dough forms.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wild Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash

I know it isn't Thanksgiving yet, but it is Fall, which also happens to be my favorite season and by my rules you can eat Thanksgiving inspired food all Fall long. I am one of those people that Pinterest makes fun of with all their pumpkin memes; the second Summer passes and I can start making orange fleshed things I am on it! Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, persimmon- orange is my food color! This is a great, healthy, pretty, and  easy side dish with lots of presentation wow factor and would make a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any other Fall meal. I used wild rice for the color and the texture it provides but you can also use quinoa, brown or white rice,wheat berries or lentils or a combination of a few of them. Either it way it will taste and look fresh and delicious. Enjoy!

2 butternut squash, halved, seeds scooped out
1 cup wild rice
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
3 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup dried cranberrries
1/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans (optional)
2 Tbl freshly chopped parsley
salt, pepper, granulated garlic

Preheat the oven to 375. Drizzle some oil over the squash halves, season them with salt and pepper and roast in the oven till just tender about 30 minutes and then let the squash cool.

While the squash is cooking, rinse the wild rice and then put it in pot with the stock or water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 35-45 minutes until the rice is tender but still has a little bite and some of the grains have popped open. Drain the rice and cool.

In a saute pan, heat the 3 Tbl olive oil and saute the onion, celery and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper until the vegetables are soft.

Once the squash is cool, gently scoop out the flesh leaving some to line the squash skin. Cube the squash and place it in a bowl. Add the rice, onion mixture with its oil, cranberries, toasted pecans and parsley and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic to your taste and mix gently. Gently place the mixture back into the squash halves and serve. Best served lightly warmed or room temperature.

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.