Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pesach Recipe Roundup 2014

This year feels like it has flown by! Wasn't I just making my Pesach lists a minute ago? This year, with a house full of guests and catering I have to be especially organized. Menus are made, most of my shopping is done and now comes the worst part, the cleaning! Here are a few recipes that might inspire your menus as you are making them. Chag Sameach!

Appetizers/ Soups
Stuffed Cabbage Soup - (leave out the rice or substitute quinoa)
Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup
Roasted Tomato Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken (Omit the mustard)
Orange and Rosemary Roast Chicken
KFP Fried Chicken
Chicken Marbella
Smothered Caramelized Onion Chicken
Greek Chicken- Not just for Chanukah! Substitute potato starch for flour
Cod Fillet with Melted Leeks, Mushrooms and Tomatoes
Tuna Croquettes with Horseradish Cream Sauce- substitute matzah meal for bread crumbs

Sides/ Veggies:
Spiced Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Pesto Roasted Potatoes
Cajun Potato Wedges
Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Braised Red Cabbage 
Rainbow Quinoa Salad- substitute regular vinegar for rice vinegar

Eggplant Involtini
French Toast Matzah Brei
Broccoli and Rice Casserole- Substitute QUINOA and omit mustard- yum!
Swiss Chard and Feta Latkes
Mini Frittatas
Greek Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Stuffed Sole- substitute matzah meal for the bread crumbs
Potato Leek Quiche with Shredded Potato Crust
Cheese Latkes- substitute  1/3 cup plus 1 Tbl potato starch for the flour

Monday, March 24, 2014

Curried Waldorf Wheatberry Salad

I took a little creative license in adding "Waldorf" to the title. There is no lettuce in this salad nor is there mayonnaise or grapes but I figured the celery, apples, dried cherries and nuts were enough to make it Waldorf-y. My love of wheat berries has already been professed many times on this blog- I love the great nutty and chewy texture of them, how they don't get soggy no matter how long they sit in the fridge and how they are a great blank canvas for lots of different flavors. I went with curry this time and the curry and fruit combination is great here. I added chickpeas for bulk and because I love them and they are neutral enough to be thrown into almost anything, some celery for crunch and toasted pecans for flavor, crunch and texture. Served room temperature this would make a great side dish or add some cubed chicken an it would be a wonderful main dish salad. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups Wheat berries
1 can chickpeas (15oz or about 400 grams) drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
5 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup dried cherries (substitute cranberries if needed)
2 green apples, diced
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

For the dressing:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons curry powder
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste

Place the wheat berries in a pot and fill the pot with enough water to cover them by a few inches. Bring to a boil and cook the wheat until tender, about 40 minutes then drain well. While the wheat is still warm, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the berries allowing the dressing to absorb into the wheat. Once the berries have cooled add in the chickpeas, celery, scallions, cherries, apples and pecans and mix well.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thai Curry Sweet Potato Soup

The weather outside has been frightful! All winter we waited for rain and none came and then as soon as I was taking out the sandals and getting ready for spring a seemingly endless winter storm hit. Hail, sleet, allegedly some snow, thunder and lightening the likes I have never seen in the 10 years I have lived in this country and lots of wind and rain. Well, since winter decided to return to us so abruptly I had to go back to making winter food and make soup. I thought of this soup because it required all the ingredients I had lying around and I wanted something a little more exotic than the usual. I haven't had that much Thai food in my life but what I have had I have loved. I love the curry, coconut, chili and cilantro combo and I love the combination of sweet, salty, sour and spicy that defines a lot of Thai food. This soup is easy, exotic and super duper delicious. Really. I 'm not just saying that. I promise. This soup has an interesting ingredient in it that at first seems absolutely bizarre but that is crucial to the taste and depth of flavor- peanut butter. Thai food uses a lot of peanuts and peanut butter and though many often associate peanut butter with sweets it is deliciously savory in this soup and helps to cut a little of the sweetness of the sweet potato and coconut. Did  I mention that it's really really good? I don't often go on and on about soups which is usually my least favorite course but this one is a winner. Enjoy!

2 Tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 medium onion
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (in a pinch you can use Thai Red Curry Sauce instead)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can (400ml/14oz) coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pot and saute the onion, ginger and garlic together until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the curry paste and saute until just fragrant. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and let it cook on medium heat until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk, cilantro, peanut butter, lemon juice and sriracha and season with salt and pepper. Cook another 20 minutes over medium heat until all the flavors have blended together. Blend with an immersion blender and serve.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Salmon and Kale Chowder

This week I was faced with an existential dilemma. What do I do with a pan full of leftover salmon? Now, this may seem like a ridiculous question to you but salmon is mucho expensivo and eating leftovers as they were originally cooked is actually painful for me. The only option was to turn the salmon into something so different, so unrecognizable that even I would enjoy it. Salmon and Kale Chowder it was. I know Kale is so trendy (read: overused) right now but I don't care, I love it. I am happily throwing it in practically every dish I make from eggs to pizza and I don't think I'm going to get sick of it anytime soon. The best thing about this chowder is that it is a one pot meal. One pot to wash, no side dishes or extras to make with it (though some crusty bread would be divine here) is reason enough to make this. The taste of the salmon in the chowder is subtle- had I used raw salmon and cooked it in the chowder the salmon taste would be more pronounced, but I liked the muted taste of the salmon in the background. Enjoy!

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 zucchini, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
3 medium potatoes, diced
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
2 cups roughly chopped Kale
1 cup corn (canned or frozen)
1/4 cup frozen peas
2-3 cups chopped cooked salmon fillet
1 cup half and half (in Israel use 15% cream)
1 cup whole milk
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter in a pot. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and zucchini, season with salt and pepper and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the stock, potatoes and dill and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for about half an hour until the potatoes and veggies are tender. Add in the kale, corn, peas, salmon, half and half, and milk and season well with salt and pepper. Cook at a simmer for another 20 minutes. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crisp and Classic Hamentaschen

The Jewish blogosphere is full of Hamentaschen recipes in preparation for Purim and the endless variations and creativity have blown my mind. I too am working on a "gourmet" hamentaschen (more on that next week) but to me, though I always appreciate creativity in cooking, when it comes to hamentaschen there really is only one that I crave year after year and that is the simple one that I grew up with. Truth be told, I have an aversion to most hamentaschen- I seriously dislike the big doughy ones and most that I have tasted are more cakey then anything else. I like mine small and crispy like a cookie and that is what these are- more a cookie-taschen then the typical ones you find in the stores. These also don't have margarine in them so I feel better about eating and serving them. When it comes to filling them the choices are endless, but for me I always stick to the classics of my youth- apricot jam, raspberry jam and if I am lucky enough to locate it, prune lekvar. In place of the prune and in nod to my Israeli side I used date spread this year and I'm quite pleased with them. Besides for the dough itself, part of the key to the cookie-taschen is rolling the dough so that it is not too thick. The dough should be thick enough that you can easily manipulate it to crimp but not thicker than that. Enjoy!

1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour + more as needed

Cream the oil and sugar together until fully incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time and then add the orange juice and vanilla. Mix well. Mix the baking powder, flour and salt together and mix into the dough. You may need more flour so add more flour by the 1/4 cup full until it is the consistency of a cookie dough. Flour your rolling surface and taking small portions of the dough at a time roll out the dough so that it is thick enough to hold the filling but not too thick. Using the top of a glass or a round cookie cutter cut circles out of the dough.  Place 1/2 tsp of desired filling in the center of each circle and then form the hamentaschen by first crimping together the top of the circle  to form the peak of a triangle and then lifting up the bottom of the dough and pressing it to the sides to form a triangle. Place on a baking tray and bake at 350 for 7-10 minute or until lightly golden brown.

                                                            Ready for the oven....

                                                              All done!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eggplant "Meatball" Subs

I will never turn down a dish that has eggplant in it and I have yet to taste a dish with eggplant that I did not love. Recently, I was left with a few eggplants after a catering event that needed to be used and I wanted to do something different. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain there was lurking the idea of vegetarian meatballs that I had intended to make out of lentils and suddenly it occurred to me to make them out of eggplant. Turns out, it was a really good idea. These subs are basically like an upside down, inside out version of Eggplant Parmesan (incidentally, my favorite way to eat eggplant) and though they don't taste like meat per-se (they still retain the unique, slightly sweet eggplant taste) the texture and look is reminiscent of meatballs. I piled them on a bun and covered them with marinara sauce and loads of cheese and toasted the heck out of them until the cheese was dripping.
For those of you who have ever craved a meatball sub after watching a Subway commercial (is it only me?) this might just be the kosher answer. Enjoy!

For the meatballs:
1 large eggplant, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
canola oil for frying (about 4 Tablespoons)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
1- 2 cups of Italian flavored bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Marinara Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes until the oil is absorbed. Cover the pan and let the vegetables continue to steam/cook until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Let the mixture  cool slightly and finely chop it either by hand or in a food processor. Mix the egg, Parmesan, basil, parsley and garlic into the mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the bread crumbs adding slowly until the mixture comes together enough to be able to form into balls. You will need more or less depending on how wet your mixture is, mine took about 1 1/2 cups.  Form the mixture into balls. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the eggplant balls on the tray. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until they are golden brown, turning them over once in the middle so that both sides brown evenly.
To assemble, place the eggplant balls on a Baguette or Ciabatta  roll, top with your favorite marinara sauce lots of Mozzarella cheese. Place the sandwich under a broiler or in a toaster until the bread is slightly toasted and the cheese is melted.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cherry-Cheese Knish

 Every pizza store in my neighborhood growing up sold cherry-cheese knishes along with the requisite potato and kasha, but cherry-cheese were the ones that were most often in my house because they were my fathers favorite. Every Saturday night my father would request one from the pizza store and we had to wait to see which one of us would be the lucky (read: annoyed) one chosen to get it. Often, one of us would have one foot out the door and think we were safe when we would get the missive "one cherry cheese knish please when you get back." You could never escape the cherry- cheese knish run. I have been searching for YEARS for a recipe for these famous cherry-cheese knishes of my youth but to no avail and so I finally had to come up with one on my own. I have to say, they come pretty darn close. The filling has the same not too sweet but bursting with cherry flavor that I remember. The crust though is a little different, not the soft almost soggy crust of yore but slightly crispy and I think the crispiness is a good contrast to the creamy center though after refrigeration they get a similar soft texture to the standard knish. I used a very high quality cherry filling made with 70% percent cherries that I happened to have from a gourmet baking store but you can use any cherry filling or easily make your own from canned or jarred cherries. A bite of these takes me right back to JII pizza on Ave J. Great memories of a great knish. Enjoy!

For the crust:  ( from Smitten Kitchen)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water

In the bottom of your mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, vinegar, oil and water till combined. Add to the mixer and mix on low until a dough is formed. Once the dough is formed let the mixer knead the dough until smooth. Alternatively you can do this by hand in a large bowl. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour. Some oil may seep out as it is resting but re-kneading it a little will fix that.

For the filling:
2 1/4 cups farmer's cheese or  500 grams/ 2 packages of Tuv Taam cheese in Israel
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbl flour + extra for rolling the dough
1 cup cherry filling (homemade or store bought)

1 beaten egg for egg washing the dough

Mix together (either by hand or with a mixer) the farmer's cheese, cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla till combined. Add in the flour and mix until incorporated. Swirl the cherry filling into the mixture. You don't want it to be totally combined, you want to see the contrast of pink and white.

To assemble:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (190C)
Flour a rolling pin and board and roll the dough to form a long rectangle. You want the dough to be pretty thin, just thick enough that it will hold the filling without breaking. Place the mixture along the long side of the rectangle and then roll up the rectangle jellyroll style. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and brush the beaten egg over the dough. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until golden brown.