Archive for June, 2013

30
Jun
13

More Adult Drinks!


More adult drinks we’ve made this summer that proved successful (yes, gentle reader, some of our “brilliant” ideas were a disaster. I confess!):

Brandy and Chocolate Mint

AdltDrnk1a

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 1 ounce Chocolate Mint Vodka *
  • 1 ounce MimiCreme
  • 1 cup cracked ice
  • ground cinnamon or cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Combine the brandy, vodka, MimiCreme and cracked ice in a shaker. Shake for 15 seconds.
  2. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass. Garnish with cinnamon or cocoa powder.

* Chocolate Mint Vodka

  • 1 bottle vodka
  • 4 cocoa beans
  • Sprig fresh mint leaves

Directions

  1. Combine vodka and cocoa beans in a sealable container and store in a warm, dry place. Agitate the mixture 2 or 3 times a day for 1 week.
  2. Six hours before serving, add the mint leaves. Strain through a coffee filter into a bottle, seal and store in your freezer.

O–xOx–O

Grasshopper

AdltDrnk2aMy variation on the theme…

Serves 1

My variation on a theme…

Directions

  • 1 ounce Chocolate Mint Vodka (see above)
  • 1 ounce Creme de Cacao (I used DeKuyper kosher brand)
  • 1 ounce MimiCreme
  • Drop of green food coloring – (optional, I used Lieber’s brand)
  • 1 cup cracked ice
  • 1 teaspoon white chocolate shavings
  • sprig of mint

Directions

  1. Combine the vodka, Creme de Cacao, food coloring (optional), and cracked ice. Shake for 15 seconds.
  2. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with white chocolate shavings and a sprig of mint.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Adult Summer Drinks

30
Jun
13

Sautéed Lamb with Eggplant


I always liked cooking in a wok and anyone who’s been following this blog knows we like lamb. Here’s an easy recipe that adds a fresh and unusual flavor to lamb:

Sautéed Lamb with Eggplant

Photo from web, by: Max Falkowitz (not exactly this recipe)

Photo from web, by: Max Falkowitz (not exactly this recipe)

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 large eggplants thickly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 6 large tomatoes, blanched, skinned and thickly sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced to garnish

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 2/3 cup pareve sour cream (I used Tofutti brand Better than Sour Cream)
  • black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok over high heat until almost smoking. Add the minced lamb and fry until thoroughly browned. Remove from wok and keep warm.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the wok and fry the eggplant with the garlic for 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on both sides. Add the tomato slices and stir fry for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish. Top with the ground lamb and garnish with lemon slices and mint.
  3. Sauce. Mix together the mint and pareve sour cream, season with black pepper, serve with the lamb and vegetables.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! I plan to make this for tonight’s dinner.

CS

28
Jun
13

Strawberry Zabaglione


Zabaglione or Zabaione is a delicious Italian dessert made by whisking egg yolks, wine and sugar. The beating is done over simmering water so that the egg yolks gently cook as they thicken into a light, foamy custard. It is best made right before serving.

In France they call sabayon and in Uruguay – where I grew up – we called it sambayon. Regardless of what one calls it, this dessert is like ambrosia of the gods! Here we present you a delicious variation of it:

Strawberry Zabaglione

StrawZab

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb strawberries, halved in or quartered, depending on size.
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons sherry *

Directions

  1. Divide the strawberries among 4 shallow 1 1/4 cup ovenproof dishes or use a large 5 cup dish.
  2. Put the egg yolks, sugar and 4 tablespoons of the sherry in a large bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Cook the mixture, whisking continuously using a handheld electric beater, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and frothy and almost fills the bowl halfway.
  3. Add the remaining sherry and cook until it thickens again. Pour the mixture over the strawberries and sift the confectioner’s sugar over the top.
  4. Cook under a preheated hot broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden, or caramelize the sugar with a cook’s blowtorch. Serve immediately.

Between preparation and cooking time it took 20 minutes to have it ready. Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

28
Jun
13

Lemon Coconut Mousse


In our search for ever more delicious, easy to prepare, desserts (if lemon is an ingredient, that immediately makes it a prime candidate!), we came across the following in Lévana Kirschenbaum‘s The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen (page 356):

Lemon Coconut Mousse

Another treat born of good flavor matchmaking. Anyone not a lemon lover need not apply!

Detail from photo by Meir Pliskin, on page 357

Detail from photo by Meir Pliskin, on page 357

1 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 15-ounce can coconut milk

3 tablespoons lemon zest

1/4 cup rum

1 cup light agave syrup

1 pound silken tofu

1 8-ouncecontainer dairy-free cream cheese

1 cup toasted coconut for topping
(about 15 minutes in a 325 F oven),
optional

Dissolve the gelatin in the water, and resrve. Bring the coconut milk and the lemon juice to just below boiling  in a small saucepan. Transfer the warm mixture to a food processor with the reserved gelatin mixture and process about 30 seconds. Add a;; remaining ingredients and process until perfectly smooth. Pour into a bowl or small individual cups and chill. Tap with toasted coconut, if desired. Makes a dozen servings.

variation: lemon coconut pie GFA

This will make for a more dramatic presentation, with just a couple minutes more work, for the crust. Grind about 12 ounces graham crackers (gluten-free OK) with 1/2 cup oil in a food processor and press firmly into a 12 inch pie plate, then pour the mousse batter on top, and chill. Cut into wedges. Makes a dozen servings.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! I’ll be having these on Shabbat eve.

CS

27
Jun
13

Red, White And Champagne


We spoke with Ami Nahari , the CEO of The River, about two weeks ago on our internet radio show. We’ve tasted a selection of the wines he imports, at various tastings around the city, and both SYR and I found them all superb, with no exceptions. We are pleased that he will be presenting an evening of food, perfectly paired with wine:

TheRivrBrwnstone

Knowing Ami, having tasted his wines, I can tell you that if he offers an evening of food and wine, it is well worth the $75.00 price. Even the general admission price of $45.00 where the specialty vintages are not offered is still more than fair, the $35.00 special price offered between now and July 1st is an incredible bargain for an opportunity to taste superb potables and delectable foods.

Why not take advantage of this special promotion price? I will be there, hope to see you!

CS

27
Jun
13

Iranian Stuffed Apples – Dolmeh Sib


Fortuna F. from LA has once again regaled us with another Middle Eastern recipe, this time from Iran. The mixture of ingredients may, at first, sound strange to the western trained palate, but the resulting dish is absolutely delicious! I had these last eve:

Iranian Stuffed Apples – Dolmeh Sib

Photo sent in by Fortuna F. from Los Angeles

Photo sent in by Fortuna F, from Los Angeles

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 12 apples
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions

  1. In a frying pan gently fry the onion in half the margarine until transparent, add meat and stir over high heat until juices evaporate and the meat begins to brown. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
  2. Wash apples well. Dry and cut off tops but reserve them. Scoop out core and most of the flesh with a melon baller or a knife, leaving a nice size cavity in each. Sprinkle cavities with sugar and fill with meat mixture. Replace tops.
  3. Arrange the apples in a baking dish, add the water. Add haff the scooped out apple pulp to the water. Dot apples with margarine, cover dish with foil and bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove foil. Add lemon juice and brown sugar to liquid, tilt pan to combine, then baste apples with sauce. Cook apples uncovered for about 20 minutes or until tender. Baste occasionally.
  5. Remove apples to a serving dish and keep hot. Put the liquid and sauce through a sieve and return to pan. Reduce by half and adjust sweet and sour flavor with sugar and lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the apples and serve as an appetizer with a flat bread.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! By the way… after four of these delectable apples I didn’t need any more dinner; I used Granny Smith and delighted in their natural tartness in this dish.

CS

25
Jun
13

Strawberry Yogurt Pots


Today is the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, the beginning of the Three Weeks period that culminates on the 9th of Av. Five tragic events in Jewish history occurred on this day:

  • The first set of tablets on which the 10 Commandments were inscribed were broken by Moses when he descended from Mount Sinai.
  • The regular daily sacrifice at The Temple in Jerusalem was abolished.
  • The Romans made a breach in the walls of Jerusalem during the siege of the Second Temple.
  • A Roman soldier, Apostomus, publicly burned a Torah scroll.
  • An idol was placed in the Temple of God, and this caused its destruction and our  2000 year old exile.

Though the next three weeks are somber ones, while they invite reflection and self analysis, we must still eat. Why not have a delicious, easy to make, summer dessert as part of the post fast meal tonight?

Strawberry Yogurt Pots

StrawCheePots

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ginger cookies
  • 6 ounces strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • grated zest
  • juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, transfer to food processor with ginger cookies and process to fine crumbs.
  2. Divide the mixture between 4 glasses and press into the base of each. Chill in refrigerator.
  3. In the meantime, put the strawberries and granulated sugar in a saucepan ans cook, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes, then allow it to cool.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, cream, confectioner’s sugar, lemon zest and juice.
  5. Fill the glasses with the yogurt mixture and top each with the strawberries. Chill for 3 hours.

Have an easy fast, gentle reader!

CS

24
Jun
13

Jewish Ceremonial Art – The Soul of a People: Part 2


In many an auction there have often been unexpected surprises, such as an item that was estimated as a high seller failing to reach even the lowest threshold of its estimated value or an item selling for an amount far above the expected. Last Thursday’s auction, at Kestenbaum and Company, was no exception. While some lots may not have sold at the expected price, others indeed went for higher sums.

Kestenb12Just as art reveals the artist’s soul, and ceremonial art reveals the soul of a people, how and why later generations value that art speaks volumes of that particular people’s past. Last Thursday, quite a few items exceeded their estimates but two of them – in particular – demonstrate to me what we, as Jews, still treasure today.

UKRANIAN/POLISH SILVER SPICE TOWER. Single tier tower, engraved on four sides with animals representing the adage from Ethics of the Fathers: Bold as a Leopard, Swift as an Eagle, Fleet as a Deer, Strong as a Lion (Chapter 5:23). Set on knop stem and matching square base. Marked. Height: 7 inches.

Circa 1820: $6,000-$8,000

The above item sold for $15,000. Frankly, from a strictly artistic point of view, there were more beautiful, more intricately designed spice towers for havdala, even in this very auction; the particular lot, however, stood out for its inscriptions telling a Jew that he must IsiKaufwdalways be ready to act with alacrity, and defy every obstacle on his way to perform any one of Hakodosh Boruch Hu‘s commandments. While the esthetics of an item are important, its message and its function are – obviously – of greater value to us as a people…  even in the 21st century!

The second item I find worthy of mentioning is a mixed media work…

(Kaufman, Isidor. After). Studying the Talmud. Wood and mixed media (intarsia-style). Framed. 23.5 x 19.5 inches

Mid 20 century: $100-$150

Based on the Isidor Kaufman painting ‘Studying the Talmud’

The above item sold for $1500, ten times the highest estimated amount! Why? Because not only do we Jews value tradition, not only do we value books, we treasure learning and scholarship. Again the personal values of the buyer far outshine the artistic value of the work.

Attending this auction of Jewish Ceremonial Art showed me an important part of our character as a people. It reinforced the knowledge that no matter how far down the rungs of spiritual height our generation has descended, no matter how jaded we’ve become in the surroundings of the present day world, the values and beliefs our ancestors held are still engraved in our hearts. The flames of yahadut are indeed eternal and will forever warm our collective soul.

CS

RELATED POSTS

Jewish Ceremonial Art – The Soul of a People

23
Jun
13

Green Vegetable and Lamb Stew


Lamb comes from sheep under 1 year;  from 3 to 5 month old they are called spring lamb. The meat of spring lamb is pale pink and mild, lamb from older sheep is of a darker pink and has a stronger flavor. Though most lamb is grass-fed for good flavor, the lamb from sheep that graze on salt-marshes has a very distinctive taste. I always liked lamb, and when a Persian friend gave us this recipe we just had to make it. It was truly, superlatively, tasty!

Green Vegetable and Lamb Stew

GrnVegLambStu

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless stewing lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped spring onion tops
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley1/4 cups
  • 1/2 garlic clove, crushed

Directions

  1. Trim meat and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
  2. In a heavy pan gently fry onion in half of the oil until transparent. Add turmeric and fry for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Increase heat, add meat cubes and stir over high heat until meat changes color and begins to brown. Reduce heat.
  4. Add the water water and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is just tender. Time depends on type of meat used.
  5. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan and add potatoes. Fry over high heat until lightly browned. Add to stew, leaving the fat in the pan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add greens to pan and fry over medium heat until wilted. Add to sauce, add the half garlic clove, cover and simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until meat and potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

21
Jun
13

Cucumber Cooler


Easy to make, refreshing and delicious to drink. From The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook:

Cucumber Cooler

Photo by: Paulette Tavormina, on Page 52

Photo by: Paulette Tavormina, on Page 52

 

The combination of cucumber, coriander, and sugar makes a simple syrup that tastes like a cross between vanilla and citrus. It makes a great base for our refreshing summer cooler: just add sparkling water and a little lime juice. This same simple syrup can also be used in summer cocktails.

Cucumber Simple Syrup (makes 2 cups – serves 8)

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 Kirby cucumbers (1/2 pound total), peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

Cucumber Cooler (for 1 drink)

  • 1/4 cup cucumber syrup
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 to 4 slices skin-on Kirby cucumber, for garnish

For the Syrup: In a small saucepan,bring the water, sugar, and coriander seeds to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumbers to the pan, cover, remove from heat, and let stand at room temperature until mixture is cool. Strain and discard the cucumbers and coriander. (Refrigerated, the syrup will keep for several weeks)

For the cooler: Pour the cucumber syrup into a tumbler and top it off with the sparkling water. Add the juice and stir to combine. Add the cucumber slices and serve while sparkling water is still sparkling.

Variation: For a super-intense cucumber flavor, you can take this one step further. Leave the cucumbers unpeeled. Cut them into chunksand puree them in a food processor. Add the puree to the sugar syrup, cover and let stand at room temperature until cool, then strain and store as directed.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy and stay cool this summer!

CS




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