Archive for January, 2012

27
Jan
12

Homemade Lokshen


Pasta was a staple in our home as I was growing up, whether it was the influence of the Italian neighbors or something my mother learned back in Poland in her mother’s kitchen I’ll never know. The freshly made noodles, in a good old fashioned hot chicken or beef soup, were just the right food for winter days, or she’d just use them for her delicious loskshen mit rozhinkes (raisins) kugel.

Of course you can buy ready made noodles but… they’ll NEVER taste the same!!! This recipe is very simple, easy, to make:

Home Made Lokshen

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup salt, plus extra for cooking
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. Put the flour and salt into a food processor, with the machine running add two-thirds of the beaten eggs. If the dough is too firm, add more egg, slowly and process again until a soft dough forms (the dough should be flexible, not sticky). Turn it onto a floured surface and need for about 12 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover it with an inverted bowl for about 30 minutes.
  2. Cut the dough in half. Starting with one of the halves, roll out – on a lightly floured work surface – as thinly as possible into a 14 inch square. Transfer to a large floured baking sheet and repeat all the steps with the second piece of dough. Leave to dry for 25 minutes.
  3. When the dough surface looks dry, fold the dough loosely in half then in half again and repeat until you have a loosely folded strip of dough about 2 inches wide.. With a sharp knife, slice crosswise, straight down on one movement without dragging the knife into 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide.
  4. Unroll the noodles, gently shaking to separate. Leave to rest for 1 minute. If not using immediately, hang the noodles over a wooden rack to dry.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add all the noodles at once, cover and return to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes for the wider noodles slighly less for the thinner ones. As soon as the noodles rise to the surface they are cooked. Drain into a colander and serve in soup, toss with butter and cheese, or refresh under cold water to use in other recipes.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

26
Jan
12

Vegetable Cream Soup


Growing up in Montevideo, Uruguay, as the only Jewish kid (a very fat one!) on an all-Italian block… in the middle of the Jewish neighborhood (go figure!), my mother soon realized that it would be safer for her little boy if she learned to cook cucina italiana, then some of his tormentors would stop harassing him in hopes of getting invited for a meal. She learned from our neighbors and soon became the outstanding Italian cook on the block. Somehow word got out, and life became a lot easier for me…

Here’s one recipe I made last eve (using a food processor, which – when I was a kid – my mother didn’t have), after I found it in The Italian Mama’s Kitchen by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi. It tasted just like I my mother’s!

Cream of Vegetable Soup – Passata di Verdure

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 small zucchini, trimmed
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 1 small bunch (about 1/2 oz) flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 cups chicken stock*
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • Salt and pepper

Detail from photo in The Italian Mama's Kitchen, page 57

Directions

  1. Cut the carrots, zucchini and potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes
  2. Place the parsley on a piece of cheesecloth. Using kitchen string, tie the of the cheesecloth together to form a bag shape.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the carrots, zucchini and potatoes; sautee for 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves and garlic. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the stock* into the saucepan. Add the Parsley and and peas . Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove and discard the parsley and bay leaves. Transfer the stock to a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is of a consistency you desire. Return the soup to the saucepan to reheat before serving and add salt and pepper to taste. It can be stored in the fridge for up to three days (and I know exactly what I’ll be having this evening, again!)

* Chicken Stock – Brodo di Gallina

Yield: 16 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 small bunch (about 1/2 oz) Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pound hen, cleaned and cut into four pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Place the celery and peppercorns on a piece of cheesecloth, then using kitchen string, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together to make a bag.
  2. Place 16 cups water in a large pot. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 4 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to catch and discard the residue and foam. Add extra water to the broth, making sure the original level of broth is maintained throughout.
  4. Drain the stock through a strainer discarding the vegetables and reserving the flesh for further use in other recipes.

The chicken stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen up to 30 days.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

25
Jan
12

A Conversation with June Hersh


This evening on our radio show we will talk with June Hersh, author of Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival and Kosher Carnivore. June is teacher, writer and passionate home cook.

In Recipes Remembered she not only gives us some great recipes of yesteryear, but the author brings us  the personal stories of Holocaust survivors, or their children, with memories of their childhood, their struggle for survival, ultimate success and each one’s personal favorite recipe. It is a book filled with love and admiration, as only someone who understands life and is passionate about food could write. In a way it is as a record of Jewish life as it was, a glimpse of what we lost…

In Kosher Carnivore, the author gives us her favorite meat recipes but teaches us how to buy meat, which cuts are best for what type of meal, she also talks about wine and food pairing. Both her books are beautifully written, both are more than just cookbooks!

We will be speaking to her this evening at 8:00pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalkRadio.com. June Hersh is an exceptional writer, a superb storyteller we a passion for all things Jewish. As we speak to her tonight, her charm, her warmth, her genuineness, will shine trough, enveloping each and every listener.

If you missed last week’s broadcast about The Peppermill, you can hear it right here.

Please tune us in this evening at 8:00pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalkRadio.com. We’ll be waiting for you.

CS

24
Jan
12

Celebrating 100 Years


What’s The Kosher Scene doing at the New York Public Library, on 5th Avenue between 41st and 42nd in Manhattan? Apart from using their extensive library resources for research, I took the time to look at  250 items of special interest that the curator culled from among the millions in the library’s collection; surprisingly, among them were a number of articles of Jewish interest.

The Library, its famous guardian lions overlooking Fifth Ave, reward visitors with its treasured halls of knowledge, its ornately carved and painted ceilings, elegant corridors, ranking it amongst the world’s most beautiful public libraries

The exhibit, Celebrating 100 Years, is divided in four sections: ObservationContemplationSociety, and Creativity. As you enter, the first items shown are a series of cuneiform tablets – one of the earliest forms of writing known – all are business and inventory records. One exquisitely illustrated book displayed in the Contemplation area is Jacob Judah Aryeh Leon Templo‘s Image of the Tabernacle

First written in Dutch and published in Amsterdam, it was translated into Spanish in 1654, and into English in 1675

Jacob Judah Leon was born in Hamburg (the son of Spanish Jews who fled the Inquisition) in 1603 and died in 1675. He became Chacham in Middelburg and, after 1643, in Amsterdam, where he was also engaged as a teacher in the Talmud Torah. He vowelized the entire Mishnah which was printed in 1646 at the establishment of Manasseh ben Israel. Leon wrote various books on religious subjects which he meticulously illustrated as well.

As you walk around the exhibit you will see Tatiana Kellner‘s powerful, impressive narrative of her parents, Holocaust survivors both…

The life like arm shows the Nazi given, concentration camp, number… B-11226 of the author/artist’s father

The power of its simple yet gut wrenching words, moving art work which includes drawings and sculpture, make it a powerful testimony to man’s inhumanity to man, a never to be expunged indictment of antisemitism and the horrors that echo still, despite Holocaust deniers.

On a lighter note, there is a theatrical poster in Yiddish about a dramatic reading “concert” by the celebrated actor Herz Grossbart. Another fascinating item was a handwritten notebook of Mary Evans’ (writing in the 19th century, under the nom de plume George Eliot), filled with annotations, Hebrew words and random thoughts that were part of the author’s research for her last novel Daniel Deronda.

Ms Evans (George Eliot) studied Hebrew, Jewish tradition and history to write Daniel Deronda.

To be sure, there are some infamous works here as well. Most notably, a copy of Adolf Hitler‘s first edition of his Mein Kampf;  a chilling historical radical reminder not yet a century old, of the power of the written word to inspire greatest good or greatest evil.
The inclusion of 5 pieces of Jewish interest, among 250 objects, books and manuscripts out of 50,000,000 items in the NYPL’s collection, serve as a powerful affirmation of the Jewish contributions to history, art, writing and more. An exhibit worth seeing, it will be on display through March the 4th.

CS

23
Jan
12

Tomato Broth and Angel Hair Pasta


I always liked tomato, I always liked pasta, I always liked soup in winter. When I came across a simple, easy to prepare, recipe that combined all three, it was obvious I had to try it. When I made it last eve, I knew it would become an instant favorite. From The Big Book of Pasta:

Tomato Broth and Angel Hair Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 2 oz ripe tomatoes, peeled and halved.
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, slightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2 inch strip thinly paired lemon rind
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 oz angel hair pasta
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Put the tomatoes, garlic cloves, onion, saffron, sugar, bouquet garni, and lemon rind into a large, heavy bottom pan. Pour in the stock and bring the to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, until the tomatoes have disintegrated.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Remove and discard the garlic cloves, bouquet garni and lemon rind. Ladle the tomato mixture into a food processor or blender and process to a purée.
  3. Return the purée to the rinsed out pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the olive oi, add the pasta and bring to a boil. Cook for 2-4 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the broth and pasta into warmed soup bowl and serve immediately.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

20
Jan
12

Chinese Brisket and Turnip Stew


Yes, gentle reader, most of us think of brisket as the quintessential Jewish American meat delicacy but more than  just us members of the tribe like it. (it’s long been a holiday staple of Ashkenazi cuisine), the fact remains it is extremely popular in the Orient (China, Korea, Thailand, Viet Nam), as well as in Mexico where it’s known as suadero.

When I came across this recipe chow.com I knew that you’d all enjoy this variation on a theme:

Chinese Brisket and Turnip Stew

Ingredients
  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 10 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh, unpeeled ginger
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce *
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water, plus more for blanching the brisket
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 pounds turnips or daikon radish
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • Steamed white rice or cooked rice noodles, for serving

* The original recipe calls for “chu hou paste,” since I could not find a kosher certified brand, after some research I came up with hoisin sauce which is very similar but less spicy. There are two kosher brands Gefen and Joyce Chen.

Directions

  1. Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the brisket pieces and return the water to a boil. Immediately drain the meat through a colander and rinse any scum off of it with cold water; set aside.
  2. Wash and dry the pot. Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and starting to brown, about 1 minute. Return the meat to the pot, add the chu hou paste, and stir to coat. Add the chicken broth, measured water, star anise, sugar, and measured salt and stir to combine.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover with a tightfitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, peel and cut the turnips or daikon into 1-1/2-inch cubes, place in a large bowl, and cover with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap. Trim and cut the scallions into 1-inch pieces, place in a small bowl, and cover with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the vegetables until the meat is tender.
  5. Add the turnips or daikon to the pot and stir to combine. Cover and simmer, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the scallions, and let sit uncovered for 5 minutes to allow the scallions to soften slightly. Remove and discard the star anise pods. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve with steamed rice or rice noodles.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

19
Jan
12

Hearty Winter Soup


During this time of mild winter days and brutally cold evenings, nothing warms a body better than a delicious hot soup. Last eve I had the following (which I’d prepared a day earlier), it certainly did its job; no wonder soup is considered comfort food:

Hearty Winter Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb 2 oz neck of lamb
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 carrots, sliced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock *
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh parsley sprigs
  • 2 oz pearl barley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottom saucepan and add the pieces of lamb, turning them to seal and brown on both sides. Take the lamb out of the pan and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Add the onion, carrots and leeks to the saucepan and cook gently for about 3 minutes.
  3. Return the lamb to the saucepan and add the vegetable stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pearl barley. Bring the mixture in the pan to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Discard the parsley sprigs. Lift the pieces of lamb from the broth and allow them to cook slightly. Remove bones and any fat and chop the meat. Return the lamb to the broth and reheat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yields: 4 servings

You may want to prepare the soup a day earlier (as I did), let it cool, cover it, and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, remove and discard the layer of fat from the surface and reheat the soup gently. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve.

* Vegetable Stock

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped leek
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fennel
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 bouquet garni

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and leek, cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining vegatables, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the water and bouquet garni, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Strain the stock into a bowl, let cool, cover and refrigerate. Use immediately or freeze in portions for up to three months.

Yields: 8 1/2 cups

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Soups as Comfort Food

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 2

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 3

18
Jan
12

The Peppermill & this Evening’s Radio Show


Earlier today I attended Geila Hocherman‘s cooking demo and book signing (of her Kosher Revolution) at The Peppermill (5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn – Tel: 718.871.4022) in Borough Park.

On 16th Avenue in Boro Park

Amidst shelves, racks and baskets filled with interesting cookware and a plethora of exotic ingredients barely seen or hardly even found in kosher stores (THEY HAVE CHOLOV YISROEL…. DULCE DE LECHE!!!!! I haven’t seen that since I left Uruguay in 1962!), Geila demonstrated four dishes to an enthusiastic audience.

A view of the front, a partial view of the back.

She started with Surimi Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Mayonnaise (Kosher Revolution, Page 72)…

...frying the crab cakes

She then followed with Fried Pea and Parmesan Ravioli (page 43) and Shiitake-Tofu Dumplings (page 42)….

Straight out of the steamer and ready to serve.

The crab cakes were incredibly tasty, the ravioli crisp and perfect, the shiitake dumplings were superbly delicious, but the best was yet to come!

The demo ended with Pistachio- Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Mayonnaise (page 78), delicious, perfect… frankly neither of those two words do it justice. While some preferred it well done and fully browned, I preferred it where you could still the red color. Truly a great way to crown a demo where unusual combinations of ingredients, and dishes one would not have thought of as part of the kosher diet were de rigueur. Verily, a Kosher Revolution, but… you expect nothing less from Geila.

The staff, all comprised of members of one family, was knowledgeable and helpful. I’ve been to many a store, many a foodie haven, and The Peppermill (5015 16th Avenue, Borough Park in Brooklyn – Tel: 718.871.4022) ranks among the best.

Two of the sisters-in-law, part of The Peppermill‘s team (Chayale Braver and Rivkie Braver) will talk about their unusual store on our internet radio show this evening at 8:00pm (Eastern Time), be sure to listen in to what promises to be an interesting and entertaining show.

Meanwhile, if you missed it, give a listen to last week’s show when our guest was Gary Landsman from the Royal Wine Corporation.

Hoping you will be listening,

CS

17
Jan
12

Viennese Chocolate Fingers


SYR and I are both confirmed, hopeless, chocoholics. Yes, we love chocolate in almost any shape or form. Here is a recipe she adapted (to make it pareve) from Jacqueline Bellefontaine‘s What’s Cooking Chocolate:

Viennese Chocolate Fingers

Makes about 18

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sweet margarine
  • 6 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups self – rising flour, sifted
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate

Warning: very addictive!!!Directions

  1. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Beat the sweet margarine and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat the flour and cornstarch into the mixture.
  2. Melt 2 1/4 oz of the dark chocolate and beat into the cookie dough.
  3. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe fingers bout 2 inches long on the prepared cookie sheets, slightly spaced apart to allow for spreading during cooking.
  4. Bake in a prepared oven at 375 F for 12-15 minutes. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets, then carefully transfer with a spatula to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. Melt the remaining, dark chocolate and dip one end of each cookie in the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl.
  6. Place the cookies on a sheet of baking parchment and allow to completely set before serving.

Not only do these cookies practically “melt in your mouth,” but the taste is almost unequaled by anything else I can remember. They went so fast, I never got a chance to shoot my own picture and had to use the photo above, a detail from the one appearing  in the book!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

16
Jan
12

Chicken and Cavatelli


Perfect comfort food for these cold winter days, delicious too! I found this recipe in Food & Wine: Qick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook:

Chicken and Cavatelli

So comforting, this dish reminds us of Grandma’s chicken and dumplings. In fact you can substitute frozen dumplings for cavatelli.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 1/4 lb in all)
  • 1/4 lb frozen cavatelli, egg noodles or dumplings
  • 2 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons flour

I made it with homemade dumplings last eve... Mmmmmmm!

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring the broth, bay leaf, onion, celery, and carrots to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sage, salt, pepper, and chicken breasts and simmer, partially covered until just done, about 25 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts a few times during cooking.
  2. Meanwhile in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the cavatelli until just done, about 10 minutes. Drain
  3. In a small bowl, stir the margarine and flour together to form a paste. Remove the bay leaf from the pot. push the chicken to the side and then whisk the margarine mixture into the liquid. Simmer until thickened, 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked cavatelli and simmer until just heated through.

Frozen Pasta

Several brands of frozen cavatelli, flat egg noodles or gnocchi are available in supermarkets. Unlike dried pasta, these products have an appealing doughty chew that we find just right with this type of saucy stew. Cook the the frozen pasta separately according to package instructions, drain, and then stir into the pot with the chicken.

Coming back last evening, from a very cold day, making the above recipe with my own homemade dumplings was comforting and delicious.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS




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