Monday, June 20, 2011

Caprese Inspired Chopped Salad

I have arrived in the Big Easy. A land overflowing with Costco and Target. A land of supermarkets the size of villages and full of ingredients I can't readily get in Israel. But before I had a chance to make a million recipes with blueberries and asparagus the heat struck and all I could eat was salad. This salad was inspired by the famous Italian Caprese salad which is just simply tomatoes that are at their peak of delicious ripeness, fresh Mozzarella and basil seasoned only with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. My in-laws have huge,overflowing basil plants that waft the scent of summer and combined with beautiful Campari tomatoes from TBSITW (the best store in the world=Costco) that were ripening on the counter I put together this salad that was a delicious accompaniment to a fresh fish dinner. Enjoy!

1 heart Romaine lettuce
1 avocado, cubed
6 Campari tomatoes, sliced
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup cubed fresh Mozzarella
8 leaves basil, sliced thin
Packaged or fresh pita chips, crumbled

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp whole grain dijon mustard
1/4 tsp honey
salt and pepper

Arrange the vegetables in a bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together well and season with salt and pepper. Toss the dressing with the salad and crumble the pita chips on top. Enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Crispy Golden Fish Sticks

I think I can eat fried fish every day. It is one of those foods I never get sick of and even though Gallby protests, I cannot stay away. I love the crisp outside contrasted by the soft flesh inside and its a texture that you cannot attain with fried chicken. It's just goooooooood. Growing up we usually had fried fish on Shavuot and maybe one or two other times a year but not very often, but when we had it it was devoured. Fish here is expensive and I've never seen it on sale and thus I hesitate to buy it- but this week, perhaps in honor of Shavuot, Halibut was on sale for a good price and I grabbed it before they could change their minds. I fried those halibuts to crisp perfection and was in heaven! The buttermilk adds a tangy richness but if you want to keep it pareve you can substitute egg instead. Enjoy- I sure did!

4 Fillets firm white fish such as cod, halibut, or tilapia
1/2 cup flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder
salt, pepper
5 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 Tbl sesame seeds
1 Tbl Mrs. Dash or mixed seasoning
oil, for frying

Slice the fish into nuggets or slices, slicing against the grain. Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce and seasoning. Dip each piece in flour and then let it sit in the buttermilk mixture for 10 minutes. Mix the panko with the sesame seeds and seasoning and season with salt and pepper. Coat each piece well with the panko and press it to make sure the coating is sticking. Heat some oil in a frying pan until sufficiently hot (you know when it's hot enough by dropping a piece of panko in the pan- if it sizzles then its ready) and fry each piece until golden brown and crispy on both sides making sure not to move them to much so the breading doesn't come off.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Glazed Turkey Breast with Rhubarb Apricot Chutney

Rhubarb is one of those vegetables (yes, it's a vegetable) that is just confusing. It looks like celery, it's considered a vegetable but everyone pairs it with strawberries, it's red and the leaves are poisonous-bottom line is, people just don't know what to do with it. I personally love rhubarb, the tart and sweet flavor of it, and because it's so seasonal and therefore hard to get -when I see it I grab it. This time my sister had some leftover and donated it to me. I was making a turkey breast for Shabbat and was trying to come up with a less overused and boring accompaniment to the traditional cranberry sauce and I thought of this. The rhubarb and apricot produce the same sweet and tart flavor that cranberry sauce does but instead tastes fresh especially with the little hint of spice from the ginger and clove. This would be perfect actually for Thanksgiving but in Israel you cant get rhubarb then although in America they sell it frozen year long. I glazed the turkey with some of the sauce to give it great color and to add flavor to the meat itself and my husband could not get over how good this was. Move over Ocean Spray- turkey has a new best friend!!

For the Sauce:
6 stalks of rhubarb, sliced
9 apricots
1/4-1/3 cup sugar (depending on how tart you want it)
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp ginger
1 clove
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp corn starch
2 tsp water

To prepare the apricots, make an "x" mark with your knife at the bottom of each apricot. Place the apricots in simmering water for 2 minutes and then remove. This will let you get the skin off easily. Peel the skin of the apricots and chop them into pieces. Place the apricots, chopped rhubarb, sugar, water and spices into a sauce pan and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the rhubarb starts to fall apart. Mix the water and cornstarch in a cup and pour it into the pot. Let it cook another 3 minutes until it thickens. Reserve 1/4 cup or so for the turkey.

For the Turkey:
1/2 of boneless and skinless turkey breast
salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika
1/4 cup reserved sauce (see below)
2 Tbl brown sugar

Season the turkey breast with the spices, cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. Uncover, spread the sauce over the turkey, sprinkle on the brown sugar and bake another 10 minutes until it is nicely glazed. Serve with the extra sauce.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic

When summer rolls around, eating cherry tomatoes practically becomes like eating a fruit. While cherry tomatoes are sweet all year their sweetness is magnified as the hot weather comes in and they are delicious. The only thing that makes them more delicious is roasting them. Roasting brings out every ounce of their sweetness and adding a few fresh ingredients like fragrant basil, garlic, and good balsamic vinegar makes them magnificent. I serve these as a side dish often with fish but they go equally well with chicken. Another great thing to do with them after roasting is to toss them with all their juice with some spaghetti, top with some Parmesan cheese and you got yourself a fantastic pasta dish that highlights summer! Enjoy!

4 pints cherry tomatoes (leave the vine on for pretty presentation)
6 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
2 Tbl olive oil
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
4 Tbl fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the tomatoes with the garlic, oil, vinegar, basil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until they have shriveled slightly.