Archive for August, 2012



07
Aug
12

Three Superb Imported Cheeses


This past Sunday, I run into Brent Delman (TheCheeseGuy.com) at a kosher foodie bloggers meetup, having met him before, having interviewed him on my radio show and having him sponsor our Shavuos contest for this year, it was natural we would get into a conversation. Of course, it centered on… you guessed it… cheese! We spoke about his latest cholov Yisroel offerings: Scamorza, Aged Havarti and Bastardo del Grappa.

The Scamorza is a new product and the one I had wasn’t even been labeled yet, it also did not make it to the photo above, because (I shamefacedly confess!) it did not last long enough for me to remember to take the picture for this post. It was originally made only from buffalo milk, though today it’s made from from whole cow’s milk (sometimes mixed with small amounts of sheep or goat’s milk). It’s basically a slightly salty type of mozarella, though smoked (in a smoker with cherry wood chips), unlike other smoked cheeses the smoke is not overwhelming. Rather, it’s balanced perfectly with the natural flavors. Creamy and with a somewhat nutty taste.

Aged Havarti (pictured above) is a cow’s milk cheese with a supple, elastic texture, with a sharp, intense tangy flavor tempered with creamy butter notes.

Bastardo del Grappa (also pictured above), used to be made with sheep, goat and cow milk mixed together, hence the name “Bastardo.” Today, it is produced by mixing cow’s milk from the previous evening and letting it settle during the night, with the milk from the morning. It’s got a strong flavor, with sweet notes and is slightly aromatic.

My favorite is the Scamorza and I can’t wait until I find it  in a store near me, meanwhile, I’m more than satisfied with the other two pictured above.

CS

06
Aug
12

Halloumi Cheese


Ever since I tasted a Halloumi Salad - pictured below – almost 3 years ago, at u café (1436 Lexington Avenue, Bet E. 93rd E. 94th St, New York, NY 10128 – In Manattan’s Upper East Side – Telephone: 212.427.8223), I’ve been looking for this particular cheese.

Having tasted it, I understood why this is a favorite in the Eastern Mediterranean basin. I finally found some at Pomegranate Supermarket and here’s is what I concocted early evening:

Deep-fried Halloumi

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 5 ozs halloumi, cut into slices
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • milk
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Pour enough in a large pan to fill about a third and heat it. Dip the halloumi rectangles in flour.
  2. In a bowl whisk the eggs and a bit of milk together. Dip the floured cheese in the egg mixture.
  3. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and coat the halloumi with them.
  4. Deep fry the breaded cheese in the oil for about 3 minutes, until faintly golden. Use a slotted spoon as you take them out of the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Put them on a preheated toaster oven grill for about 30 seconds.
  5. Arrange the slices on a serving plate and serve with melted butter (as I did), tomato sauce, or salsa.
  6. I added some sliced cherry tomatoes and cucumbers on the side, but I might even more if I had the halloumi slices with roasted peppers.

In Cyprus and Greece they like to grill these slices, they are a favorite summer fare, especially when partnered with watermelon. Since it is quite salty, the cheese should be rinsed before use to wash away some of the excess.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy. I did!

CS

03
Aug
12

Hillulah of Amram ben Diwan


Today’s is Tu b’Av (15th of Av), but it is also the yohrtzeit of Nachum Ish Gamzu, and the venerated Moroccan tzaddik Rabbi Amram ben Diwan.

The grave of Amram ben Diwan in Ouazzane, Morocco

Last evening, my good friends Raymond and Kim Amzallag hosted a get-together at their home for Rabbi ben Diwan‘s Hillulah. Who was this venerated 18th century Rabbi whose tomb became the site of an annual pilgrimage?

As Kim explained:

Born in Jerusalem, he soon moved to Hebron in 1743 and was sent to Morocco in order to collect donations for the Holy land from the Jewish community there.

He took up residence in Ouazzane where he opened a celebrated yeshiva and had many disciples. After 10 years in Morocco, Rabbi Amram returned to Hebron and, according to legend, entered the Cave of the Patriarchs disguised as a Muslim because it was forbidden for Jews at the time. Someone recognized him and reported him to the Ottoman Governor, who ordered his arrest. Rabbi ben Diwan fled and returned to Morocco, where he was welcomed by the Jewish community of Fez. He is credited with many healing miracles and had at least one son, Rabbi Hayyim ben Diwan. While touring Morocco with Rabbi Hayyim, the latter fell ill and doctors gave up all hope. Rabbi Amram prayed that Hashem take him instead of his son. Miraculously Rabbi Hayyim recovered almost immediately but Rabbi Amram  fell ill and died in Ouazzane in 1782.

Lighting a candle to the memory of Rabbi Amram ben Diwan and meditating on one’s personal requests…

His burial place in Ouazzane became a pilgrimage site and is regularly visited, particularly by people who invoke him to heal their illness.

May Rabbi Amram ben Diwan succesfully intercede with Hashem on behalf of everyone who needs a cure of any kind!

CS

02
Aug
12

Insalata Caprese


This classic Neapolitan dish is truly a celebration of summer. Easy to prepare and made from simple ingredients it is, however, only as good as the quality of its components.

The tomatoes must be sweet and juicy; the basil should be fresh and very aromatic, the pepper freshly ground.

Insalata Caprese

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

In a bowl alternate the layers of tomato, mozzarella, and basil leaves. Sprinkle with the capers, season with sea salt and pepper.

Coincidentally, the salad sports the red, green and white colors of the Italian flag. Simple, refreshing and delicious, this salad is a feast to the eyes, the nose and the palate; it is a true paean to the joy of any occasion!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

01
Aug
12

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Brazillian Tomato & Coconut Sauce


I made this yesterday evening, and it was superb! I found the recipe in Food & Wine – Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Brazilian Tomato & Coconut Sauce

Serves 4

Redolent of ginger and jalapeños, the tomato sauce is a lively addition to plain grilled chicken.
If you like less heat. use only one jalapeño.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

Directions

  1. Light the grill. In a shallow dish, combine 3 tablespoons od the oil with two-thirds of the minced garlic. Coat the chicken with half of the garlic oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, basting with the remaing garlic oil., until just done, about 10 minutes per side for breasts. 13 for the legs.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent., about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, the ginger, and the jalapeños, and cook, stirring for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes, the coconut milk, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve with the chicken.

MENU SUGGESTION – Rice and beans or refried beans are typical Brazilian side dishes that taste especially good with chicken, as well as a crisp salad.

I had the chicken with a tall glass of cold Blue Moon Belgian Style White Ale. Cloudy, orange/gold in color with a big and faintly yellow foamy head, it tasted of wheat, yeast and citrus, somewhat zesty with spicy notes of coriander towards the moderately sweet finish.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy. I did!

CS




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