Archive for August, 2010

30
Aug
10

Sason Grill


Any faithful reader of this blog knows we have never reviewed pizza joints or take out places of any kind; we always confined our reviews to restaurants AND, even then, only to those establishments we could really rave about. So how come, today, I am reviewing a take out place? Why the sudden break from The Kosher Scene‘s usual practice? Truth be told, I never intended to deviate from our ways, however…

Yesterday afternoon, I passed by Sason Grill and the aroma emanating from the place (I’ve been blessed, or cursed, with a very strong sense of smell) suddenly made me hungry. It’s a tiny place, located on a side street off Brooklyn’s Avenue J (1012 East 15th Street; Brooklyn, NY 11230; Tel: 347.307.6647; under the hashgocho of Kehilla Kashrus), off the main street and very easy to miss. It looks extremely unpretentious, hardly enticing, but… don’t let appearances fool you!

Their menu includes only four items: Shawarma, Schnitzel, Falafel, and Hamburger. I ordered a Shawarma Sandwich Platter.

Juicy shawarma on the spit...

It came with two falafel balls, fried potatoes (cut Argentinian style, papas fritas we call them), and grape tomatoes on the plate – and a pickle, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant and tehina with the shawarma inside the pita – as you can see below:

Shawarma Sandwich Platter

The shawarma, made from fresh baby chicken meat, was very juicy; spiced liberally to give it that Middle Eastern flavor of cumin, etc, it was unusually delicious. I got a selection of the three house sauces: chimichurri, olive and tehina. All three made fresh in-house. The best part about this unexpected feast was, surprisingly, its low cost. Though it certainly lacked the presentation I’ve become accustomed to, it more than made up for it in flavor. I know I’ll be back again and again. Next time, I’ll even bring SYR with me.

CS

29
Aug
10

Fish N’ Chips


[Eran Elhalal, regales us yet again with one of his delicious recipes. SYR tested it last night and loved it. CS]

Comfort food is what it’s all about! What is comfort food, you ask? It’s fun food, heart-warming food, food that brings memories of warmth, memories of times past. Interestingly enough most comfort food stems from poverty. Creations relying on inexpensive cuts of meat/fish, and the cheapest ingredients available. There are countless examples: American Soul food,Mac&Cheese, Meatloaf, Rice & Refried beans (also Latin Americas’ protein supplement), Hummus & Fava Beans (the North African protein supplement), Pasta,etc.

Every country has its own array of comfort food, Fish N’ Chips are The British Empires’ greatest contribution to the culinary world! Well… that may be debatable, but it’s definitely the food for which English cuisine is most famous. It became popular in South-East England and London in the early 1800’s. They were even referenced in Charles Dickens’, “Oliver Twist” (published 1838). The first recorded Fish N’ Chip shop was opened between 1860-1865 by one Joseph Malin in London. Selling for Nine Pence in the 1800’s, it soon became the quintessential poor man’s food.

Trawling (pulling nets through the water behind the ship), which became the main fishing method in 19th century England, made fish abundant and thus inexpensive. Along with the fact that potatoes could be farmed on almost any soil and could survive the British Isles’ harsh winter, fish and potatoes became the perfect choice for the hungry working class.

Fish N’ Chips shops and carts are still the main British working stiff’s lunch or traditional Friday night dinner.

Traditionally served wrapped in newspaper, the fish is beer battered and deep fried with the fries. It is then drizzled with malt vinegar or onion vinegar (the vinegar used for pickling onions). Classically a Cod family fish is used (Cod, Haddock, Pollock, Hake), these are lean white flesh fish that are found in great numbers in the Atlantic Ocean.

I developed this recipe while doing my very first stint as Chef, at UnWined, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side:

Photo from: SugarMama Baking Company blog

Fish N’ Chips

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

3 lbs Cod fillets cut to 2 oz pieces
salt & white pepper to taste
oil for frying (for best results use peanut oil – it has the highest smoking point)
2
lemons cut to wedges

Batter:

2 cups flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp oil
1 bottle (12 fl oz) beer – (I use toasted lager!)
2 egg whites whipped to soft peaks
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Chips:

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut to battonettes (1/2 inch wide finger shaped)
cold water to cover fries (keeps potatoes from oxidizing and maintains crispness)

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water and let stand until fully dissolved.
  2. Mix flour, salt and sugar and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, oil and beer and stir to combine only. Gently fold in the egg whites.
  3. Let stand for 1/2 hour until the batter becomes frothy.
  4. Pat the fish fillets and season.
  5. Heat frying oil to 350 degrees F. Drain well and fry potatoes, only to cook through – no color! Fry in batches! Set aside.
  6. Reheat the oil to 400 degrees F (the cold batter will make the oil temp drop initially).
  7. Dip the fish in the batter and fry. Add the fries for the last 2 minutes to color and crisp up.
  8. Toss the fries in a mixing bowl with salt.
  9. Serve with malt vinegar and lemon wedges .

Enjoy it folks, enjoy!

Eran Elhalal

23
Aug
10

The Kosher Baker


A 1996 graduate of the Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Française in Paris, Paula Shoyer owns Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in the Washington, DC. area. She recipe tested and edited Susie Fishbein‘s Kosher By Design Entertains and Kosher By Design Kids In The Kitchen. Paula is also the author of the brand new book The Kosher Baker. Not only is this a beautiful tome, the attention to detail in its execution, the direction given in the recipes, make its publication an unparalleled event among kosher cookbooks.

I got the book last week and immediately started leafing through it. It has great great photos without being overbearing, the detail of explanation in the recipes will make for perfect results by whoever follows them fully. Each of the over 160 recipes is preceded by a little anecdote which makes it very friendly and offers us small tidbits of its author as very real and down to earth.

Having never outgrown my childhood sweet tooth, I was pleasantly surprised to find a recipe for the cinnamon buns I always loved. I made a batch of 20, on Thursday evening.

In a very uncharacteristic display of will power (likely due to being tired at such a late hour), I did not have even one! Friday morning, however, I had  intended to eat only a few myself and share the rest with SYR,  but alas… such was not to be! My will power failed and I finished the whole lot. As we are in Elul, I felt very guilty and confessed my dastardly deed and – predictably – SYR was rather upset with me. On Sunday – yesterday – she made two batches of cinnamon buns, thereby proving (again!) she’s a far better person than I. The buns looked better than mine, which gave me the opportunity to photograph them since in the losing battle against my sweet tooth I had entirely forgotten to do so. Best of all, her teenage son told her these were the best pastry she ever made!

Choosing just one recipe is hard; having gone through the book I can tell quite a few are destined to become new favorites (especially that Crème Brûlée on page 240!). Meanwhile I”ll quote the one recipe both SYR and I thoroughly tested:

Cinnamon Buns

MAKES ABOUT 20 BUNS
STORAGE
Store covered in plastic at room temperature for up to four days or freeze up to 4 months

Dough

1 cup parve plain soy milk
1/2 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) parve margarine, softened, plus extra to grease pan (if pan-baking buns)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

Filling

1 cup (2 sticks) parve margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The remnants of SYR's double batch...

  1. To make the dough: Heat the soy milk until lukewarm. Pour into a large bowl and add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the flour, eggs, remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, margarine, and oil and mix well. knead using either a dough hook in a stand mixer for 2 to 3 minutes or by hand until the dough comes together into a ball. Cover with plastic and let rise for 1 hour.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Place the margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix with a whisk or beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F. Take a piece of parchment paper about 2-feet long and place on the counter. Sprinkle with some flour. Place the dough on the floured parchment, sprinkle with some more flour, and roll it into 15 x 24-inch rectangle. Spread the cinnamon filling all over the dough, all the way to the edges.
  4. Roll up the dough beginning with the long side of the rectangle, so you end up with a log about 24 inches long. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 1-inch slices. You can bake these two ways.
  5. To make soft, pan-baked buns, grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with some margarine. Place the buns in the pan with the cinnamon swirl-side up. Bake for 40 minutes, or until browned on the outside edges.
  6. To make individually baked buns with a slightly crunchy exterior, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Place the sliced buns cinnamon swirl-side up on the pans 3 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan (or on the cookie sheets) and prepare the glaze. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the boiling water and the vanilla. Whisk in another tablespoon of boiling water and see if you have a thick pourable glaze. If you think it is too thick, add another tablespoon of boiling water and whisk to combine. If you accidentally made it too thin, just add some confectioners’ sugar. Use the whisk to drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon buns.

Enjoy, gentle reader, we certainly did!

CS

18
Aug
10

Cooking with Lévana – Part 5


It’s no secret to anyone who regularly peruses these pages (here, here, here, and here) that both SYR and I are enamored with Lévana’s cooking and teaching styles. Often defying the tried and true, she combines many an ingredient in ways that conventional wisdom might sometimes question but the results are always delicious! She does, time and again, prove that cooking for a crowd need not be a whole day affair, she invariably comes up with shortcuts that save hours of work, nerves and sweat.

This past Monday, after just over a month of being unable to do much, I found my way to Lévana’s Dinner and Show, this week. She covered Sephardi Finger Foods; the menu consisted of the following:

Lamb, Pine-Nut and Raisin Grape Leaves
Spicy Chicken Cigars
Mushroom Borekas
Fishballs in Lemon Sauce
Spicy Marinated Olives
Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini and Eggplant
Nut Truffles

"Let's start now, OK?"

It’s hard to choose just two of the recipes, but since this week we’ve been covering mushrooms we will include this one where she uses them:

Mushroom Borekas

Filling:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Good pinch nutmeg
½ teaspoon dry thyme or tarragon
2 pounds puff pastry sheets, kept chilled
1 egg, mixed with a little water

Preparing the filling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté until all liquids evaporate. Add the remaining filling ingredients, and combine thoroughly. Cut the puff pastry to desired size. Place the filling in the center and close on all sides, pressing all around the sides with a fork. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Bake about 30 minutes, or a little longer, until golden brown and puffy. Serve hot.

Hot and delicious

Hot and delicious

The Spicy Marinated Olives were superb (and those who know me, know I’m no big fan of olives), with very subtle hints of anise. Unusual, delectable!  The Spicy Chicken Cigars were the best I’ve ever tasted; the Fishballs in Lemon Sauce, superbly delicious, didn’t taste fishy at all!

The Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini and Eggplant looked great and tasted supreme. The excellent Nut Truffles dessert, was just sweet enough without the sweetness drowning out any of the other flavors.

The pièce de résistance, for me, was the Lamb, Pine-Nut and Raisin Grape Leaves dish:

Lamb, Pine nut and Raisin Grape Leaves

Filling
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic1 large onion, quartered
1 small bunch flat parsley
¼ cup mint leaves, packed
1 pound ground lamb
1 large tomato, halved, seeded, and diced small
1/2 cup golden or black raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (325 degree oven. 10-12 minutes)
Good pinch saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pepper to taste
1 15 ounce jar grape leaves, separated and rinsed
1 cup pomegranate or cranberry juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil in a skillet. In a food processor, finely grind the garlic. Add the onion, parsley and and mint, and grind coarsely. Add the ground mixture to the skillet, and saute until translucent. Add the lamb and tomato, and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add all remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place a tablespoon stuffing at the bottom center of a leaf (smaller leaves: Make them overlap to get a larger more workable surface). Roll once, fold the sides towards to center, and roll all the way up. Place seam side down in a pan just large enough to fit the leaves snugly in one layer. Repeat with the remaining leaves and stuffing. Whisk the juice, tomato paste and oil in a little bowl, and pour evenly over the leaves. Bake about 40 minutes, until the juices are reduced and the leaves look nicely browned on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lamb and Pine-Nut Stuffed Grape Leaves - ready to be baked

All in all, it was a cooking demo and dinner to remember.

CS

17
Aug
10

More Mushroom Recipes


[While recovering I'm actively on the hunt for new and exciting recipes, considering that our last post has gathered a lot of interest, I thought I'd do best by bringing you more "mushrooms as a main ingredient." I've tried everyone of these, and I found each simply delicious! CS]

From Kaylin’s Kitchen:

Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic, Thyme, and Balsamic Vinegar

1 lb. mushrooms (I used brown Crimini mushrooms)
2 T + 1 tsp. olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 T finely minced garlic
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 T chopped fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400F/200C or heat gas or charcoal grill to medium high. Wash mushrooms, pull out stems, and cut into halves (or quarters if the mushrooms are large.) Put mushrooms into bowl and toss with 2 T olive oil, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cover a roasting pan with foil, then arrange mushrooms on the pan in a single layer. (Spread them out as much as you can. For cooking on a grill, I’d probably use heavy foil to make a “pan” so the flame doesn’t turn the bottom of the roasting pan black.)

Roast mushrooms 15 minutes. While mushrooms cook, finely chop fresh thyme, then mix with minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, and the tsp. of olive oil. (You could mix this right in the bowl you originally tossed the mushrooms with.)

After 15 minutes, drain off any liquid that has accumulated. (If you spread the mushrooms out well, the liquid will evaporate, but if yours are too crowded like mine, you’ll have a little liquid to pour off.) Then toss the hot mushrooms with they garlic-thyme mixture. Arrange back on roasting pan and cook about 10 minutes more. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Delicious!!!!

Portobello mushrooms are inexpensive, full of flavor and meat like in taste. Here is a quick and easy recipe from allrecipes.com:

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 3 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
  3. Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe Yield: 3 servings

As a child, as a teenager, mushrooms were not exactly my idea of good food… As I grew older, my taste buds got more educated and started appreciating many ingredients I would never have touched in my early years. Mushroom based dishes not only are healthy, but mushrooms add a lot of flavor to almost anything they are cooked with. Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy

CS

16
Aug
10

Wild Mushroom Pierogies


[I've not been well for just over a month, while I'm slowly recovering and SYR is finishing off some other projects, I thought that I should at least bring you some delectable recipes from other blogs. One of my favorite recipe sites PtitChef, directed my attention to this great recipe (I made it yesterday and can attest to it being delicious!) from a non kosher blogger (Gourmet Traveller) who nevertheless has some superb recipes that are easy to adapt or already can be kosher. Below I will quote the original recipe and then I will give you my variation, because I had it together with meat. CS]


Wild Mushroom Pierogies

serves 6

Filling:

1 cup boiling water
18g (2/3 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
1 medium onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
170g (6 oz) cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 portion pierogi dough (recipe below)
450g (1 lb) onions, chopped
55g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
sour cream (to serve)

First, make the filling. Pour boiling water over porcini in a small bowl and soak until softened, 10 to 20 minutes. Lift porcini out of water, squeezing excess liquid back into bowl, and rinse well to remove any grit. Pour soaking liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve into a bowl and reserve.

Finely chop onion and garlic in a food processor, then add the cremini and porcini mushrooms and pulse until very finely chopped.

Heat butter in a skillet over moderate heat until foaming, then cook mushroom mixture, stirring frequently, until mushrooms darken and excess liquid has evaporated (about 8 minutes). Add reserved soaking liquid and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick, dry, and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes (there will be about 1 cup filling). Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave to cool completely.

To make the pierogies, Halve the dough and roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface into a 15-inch round (keep remaining dough wrapped). Cut out rounds with a floured cutter and place 1 tsp filling in centre of each round. Moisten edges with water and fold in half to form a half-moon, and pinch the edges together to seal. Transfer made pierogi to a flour-dusted kitchen towel and repeat with remaining rounds.

Cook onions in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Cook pierogies in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the skillet with onions and lightly pan-fry for a minute or two on each side – be careful as the dumplings will be fragile. Serve immediately.

Note: Filling can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Filled pierogies can be frozen 1 month. Freeze on a tray until firm (about 2 hours) then freeze in plastic bags. Thaw before cooking.

Pierogi Dough

1 3/4 cup plain flour
2 large eggs
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

Stir together flours in a bowl. Make a well in flour and add eggs, salt, and water, then stir together with a fork without touching flour. Continue stirring, gradually incorporating flour into well until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding only as much additional flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (Dough will be soft.) Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Note: Dough may be made 2 hours ahead, wrapped well in plastic wrap and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.

Because some porcini mushrooms are known to be infested with tiny insects and worms I substituted them with fresh shiitake mushrooms, even if the taste is somewhat different and not as nutty. On the other hand, shiitake mushrooms have been identified as a top provider of L-ergothioneine (one of the most potent anti-oxidants), so I felt it was a very good substitute.

Since I had some left over Shabbos meat, that had to be finished, instead of butter (as the original recipe calls for) I used Hollandaise Sauce (made with margarine) as taught by Chef David Ritter (from the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts) on these two videos. The Hollandaise also brought another element to the above recipe, not only was the sauce quite buttery but it also added a subtle, tang taste. MmMmm, MmmMm!

Yesterday’s dinner was delicious, but I also learned how to make a great Hollandaise… ahhh, the future possibilities!  I froze three of the six pierogies,  those I’ll try this with Chef Ritter’s Béarnaise Sauce, it should greatly enhance the taste.

CS

06
Aug
10

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! – Part 3


[My good friend, Eran Elhalal, gives us the third and last part of his Intro to Cheese.

Eran Elhalal is a chef/Entrepreneur working in Manhattan. An Honors Graduate of the  Culinary Institute of America,  Eran was Executive Chef of two Manhattan restaurants in the past few years and consulted several others. He began educating customers about food and wine pairing and cheese in 2007 while working as the Chef at UES’s BarVespa.

These days, Eran talks about food and wine pairing as the chef for the panel of Meetup, a wine club, dedicated to introduce and educate the American public about Israeli wines. Photos: courtesy of Eran Elhalal.

Not every type of cheese described below is, so far, made for the kosher consumer. That situation, however is changing fast as various distributors (here and here) and manufacturers are constantly introducing new and delicious cheeses into the kosher market. CS]

“How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?”
Charles de Gaulle

Trying to Categorize Cheeses

There is no one set of rules by which to categorize the world’s cheeses. After thousands of years of cheese-making , we still are unable to agree on one set of rules, and here is why:

  • Some factors are very difficult to quantify – for example the classification relying on smell. Detection and rating vary from person to person depending on how accute their sense of smell is. No one category can address all types and nuances. For example, Classification relying on rind alone, puts hundreds of cheeses with no rind in the same category.
  • Another example is classification by aging, it would put a Danish blue cheese and a Farmhouse Brie in the same category. Traveling between different categories- Cheese is a living thing. Every cheese is released with a certain fat content and certain water content. As the cheese ages these percentages change due to water evaporation. Hence, the same triple creamed cheese , tastes much more pungent a month after you bought it! Moreover, a cheese that was classified as Semi-hard like a dutch Gouda will turn rock hard as it ages.

Knowing this, we can now learn to pickout, describe and appreciate cheeses using the more common categories for classification:

Queso Manchego - Spanish sheep's milk cheese, has a wonderful and unique bite to it

 

 

Texture

Classification determined by water content:

  • Very soft – 80 % water, spoonable, includes most fresh cheeses like Cottage cheese, Chèvre, Labane.
  • Soft – 50 %-70% water, spreadable, includes the double and triple creamed cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Robiola, Taleggio, Colummiers…), but also some Feta cheeses (cow’s milk mainly).
  • Semihard – 40%-50% water, sliceable, includes Edam, Gouda, Manchego.
  • Hard – 30%-50% water, very firm and dense, includes Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Piave, Ossau, Iraty, Mimolette
  • Blue -40%-50% water, a classification within the semi hard group of cheeses, may be sliceable, spreadable or crumbly, includes all blue veined cheeses, like; Valdeon, Cabrales, Roquefort, Gorgonzola

 

 

Noordhollander Gouda - Yes, there are some delicious kosher variations of this cheese

 

Aging

Length of aging prior to release:

  • Fresh – Un-aged, produced and released, include Cottage cheese, Cream cheese, Chèvre.
  • Brief Molding period – 2 weeks-10 weeks, produced and allowed to take shape in a mold ( tub or basket), or for the rind to bloom, includes Feta, almost all blue cheeses and bloomy rind cheeses (Grayson, Taleggio, Brie…).
  • Aged – Anywhere between 2 months and 5 years, depending on the cheese, produced and allowed to mature until the cheesemaker deems it fully aged and flavored, includes all hard and semi hard cheeses,like; Parmigiano Reggiano, Idiazabal, Pecorino, Cheddar, Gouda

Type of Milk

Classification by what animal produces the milk:

The most common are Cow, Goat and Sheep (ewe), but there are also cheeses made with a mix of milk from different animals, and even cheeses from Buffalo, Moose, Camel or Yak’s milk.

 

Taleggio

 

Smell

Classification by degree of pungency:

A very difficult classification,works mainly for bloomy rind cheeses like – Taleggio, Robiola, Camembert, Brie

Methods of cheese-making

Classification by main cheesemaking traditional methods:

  • Fresh Cheese – Unaged or matured, includes some slightly pressed cheeses(Feta),whey based cheeses that are only strained (Urda, Ricotta) and the spoonable, Cottage, Cream cheese, Chèvre.
  • Pasta Filata Cheese – The curds are cooked, then streched and folded repeatedly before molding or shaping. The cheese is then ready to eat or may be ripened further and even smoked (Mozzarella, Provolone, Paneer, Kashkaval).
  • Unpressed Ripened Cheese – The curds are minimally cut and allowed to drain . They are then ripened with mold or bacteria on the cheese surface (Camembert, Brie, Taleggio…) or using a starter culture that is applied to the surface or inoculated into the cheese (Stilton).
  • Pressed and Ripened Cheese – The curds are pressed before ripening. Examples: Manchego, Idiazabal, Cheddar.
  • Cooked, pressed and ripened – The curds are cooked in whey, then milled, molded and pressed. These cheeses are aged for up to 5 years (Parmigiano Reggiano, Piave, GoudaEdam, Emmental…).
  • Processed – After the initial cheesemaking process is complete (see 2nd part of this series), more milk and emulsifying salts are added, food coloring and preservatives. This yields a very consistent product, yet rather unhealthy. Unfortunately, these cheeses, sold in blocks, slices, tubes and even sprays are the most commonly consumed types in the US. (American cheese, Kraft singles, Cheez Whiz ….and other such varieties of poor excuses for cheese!)

Rind

 

 

Dutch Gouda -Uses an artificial wax rind, to lock in moisture and deepen the flavor as the cheese ages

 

Classification by type of rind:

The rind of the cheese controls the rate of water evaporation from the cheese, oxidation of the surface and escape of gases from within.

  • No rind – The cheese is produced and packaged or at most strained, salted and packed. Includes all fresh cheeses like: Ricotta, Urda, Cream cheese, Feta
  • White mold rind – The mold grows on the surface and is edible. The rind is sometimes brushed away a number of times throughout ripening, so the cheese will develop a thicker rind. The mold is white at first but as the cheese ages it darkens. Includes: Camembert, Brie, Robiola Bosina.
  • Washed rind – the rind is washed with alcohol, usually Marc (Grape pomace Brandy) or wine. The alcohol dries the surface of the cheese and the white bloomy mold turns pinkish/Orange. The rind is moist and a has a slightly grainy mouthfeel, thus it is not usually eaten. Includes Taleggio, Robiola Pineta, Grayson, Pont I’Eveque.
  • Natural dry rind – The rind is in fact the dry outer surface of the cheese. The rind can be brushed, scraped, oiled or wrapped in cloth depending on the desired result. The rind is inedible, types include: Parmigiano Reggiano, Cheddar, Piave
  • Organic rind – Leaves, spices and herbs applied to the surface of the cheese after its made. The reason is to impart flavor and protect from insects traditionally (Fleur de Maquis, Corsican ewe’s milk cheese rolled in herbs & Juniper berries, or Majorero Pimenton – rolled in smoked pepper). another reason is to lock in moisture. Examples include: Valdeon, wrapped in sycamore leaves; Banon, tied in chestnut leaves and tied with raffia.
  • Artificial rinds – Added after the cheese is made. Rind is generally inedible. Includes Gouda, Edam (wax rind), Cheddar (plastic) and ash edible in St. Maure (for example).

So… these are just the main categories. When I describe a cheese, I try to use all the categories that apply most, focusing on the ones that characterize the paricular cheese category more than others.

One last example. Morbier

 

 

Morbier cheese

 

Origin: Comte region, North East France
Milk: Raw or Pasteurized Cow’s milk.
Texture: Semi hard (40 %-50% water), sliceable.
Method of cheese-making: Pressed and ripened,with a layer of ash running through the center.
Smell: mild pungent
Rind: Natural dry rind,brushed for firmness.
Aging; 2-3 months
Fat content: 45 %
Interesting facts: This cheese was traditionally made for consumption by the cheesemakers themselves. Leftover curds were put in a tub, then covered with ash to repel insects, while waiting for additional leftover curds from the evening or the next day.

Eran Elhalal

RELATED POSTS

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! – Part 2

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!

Les Petites Fermières plus Organic and Kosher

Naturally Kosher

03
Aug
10

Summer Soup


[Just because I'm not fully recovered yet from my last reported "Not Quite The Waldorf Astoria" stay - in fact I was in for 8 hours again, this past Tuesday - does not mean that The Kosher Scene's faithful readers have to suffer.  I therefore will regale your faithfulness and patience with an absolutely delicious recipe for a summer soup - and superb variations - by none other than one of my favorite chefs, Laura Frankel. CS]

GAZPACHO 101

(HOW TO KEEP YOUR COOL WHEN THE SCHVITZ IS ON)

When the heat is on and you cannot bear the thought of turning on the oven-keep your cool with refreshing gazpacho. Gazpacho originated in Spain as an afternoon snack. The true Andalusia version has almonds, bread, grapes, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Sometimes, anchovies are added. It is peasant food that utilizes leftover ingredients. The bread is soaks up water, and then the mixture is pounded with a mortar and pestle. The gazpacho is creamy and refreshing.

The gazpacho that we know came after Columbus when he brought peppers and tomatoes to Spain. The secret to great gazpacho is not to let any one ingredient be more pronounced than any other. The whole dish should be in harmony and very subtle and delicate in flavor.

Be sure to use your best olive oil for gazpacho. Because the gazpacho is not cooked, the flavor of the oil is very important. I use an unfiltered, organic Spanish extra virgin olive oil. It is delicious and I only use it for salads, cold soups and finishing sauces.

When the weather is hot and you do not feel like cooking, you can still entertain with style. Whirr up several gazpachos, pour some sangria and enjoy.

Recipes adapted from my book JEWISH COOKING FOR ALL SEASONS (John Wiley and Sons)

Tomato Gazpacho
This is a version of the soup that we commonly eat here in America. It is refreshing and delicious

4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 red bell pepper-seeded and de-veined
1 small English cucumber-peeled and seeded
2-3 pounds very ripe tomatoes
1 cup of soft bread torn into pieces-left over challah trimmed of crust will work nicely
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry (optional)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-use your best tasting oil here
2 cups unsalted tomato juice
1 teaspoon pimenton*
Salt and pepper

1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth and the mixture is peach colored.
2. Cover the gazpacho and chill it completely before serving. Adjust slat and pepper to taste.
3. Garnish with: herbed croutons, chopped cucumber, fresh parsley, chopped egg, Extra Virgin olive oil, hot chilies, roasted peppers. Use your imagination!

• **Pimenton is a Spanish smoked paprika. It is really not comparable to the paprika found in most grocery stores. It has a wonderful sweet smokiness essential to Paellas, chorizo and other Spanish delicacies. Pimenton can be found readily on-line or at specialty markets and at The Spice House on-line.

White Gazpacho (Ajo Blanco)
This is a version of the classic gazpacho from Andalusia. I love this version. It is beautiful in a glass bowl or a wine glass.

4 cloves garlic
1 quart of ice cold water
2 cups soft bread-crusts removed
6 ounces blanched almonds
2 cups of green grapes-peeled
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-Use your best tasting olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Place All of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and the process until very smooth. Add the reserved water to adjust the consistency.
2. Chill the gazpacho until it is very cold. Garnish with toasted almonds, grapes and flat leaf parsley.

Green Gazpacho (from Axarquia in Malaga)
This is a gazpacho that really highlights the vegetation of the mountains in Malaga. This version is a “shepherd’s gathering soup”. I love the herbaceous flavor and bright green color. I feel cool and refreshed just looking at this gorgeous concoction.

2 cloves garlic
1 small bulb of fennel-fronds removed and saved for garnish
2 cups watercress leaves or favorite lettuce
¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry (optional)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-use your best tasting olive oil
1 quart of ice cold vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until the gazpacho is completely smooth. Adjust consistency if necessary.
Chill the gazpacho completely before serving.
2. Garnish with fresh aioli, chopped mint, diced cucumber, reserved fennel fronds.

Gazpacho
This version is pure American and playful. I love cold food and am always looking for new ways to show off the flavors of food when chilled.

2 cloves garlic
3 pounds yellow tomatoes-or favorite heirloom tomatoes, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 cup yellow watermelon
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil-Use your best tasting olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
Splash of sherry
1 quart ice cold water
Salt and pepper

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Chill thoroughly before serving.
2. Garnish with watermelon cubes, diced tomatoes, aioli, flat leaf parsley.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!!!

CS




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