Last evening, under Micki Leader‘s able orchestration, JCC Rockland presented another installment of their 2014 Festival of Arts, Books and Culture. The evening opened with journalist and author Allen Salkin‘s talk about his book – From Scratch: The Uncensored History Of The Food Network – and video presentation about the Food Network. Renowned Chef Peter X. Kelley, a local restaurateur, was interviewed next by Mr. Salkin, as he recalled his TV battle with Chef Bobby Flay and his victory over him. He also introduced his smooth, exquisite Slovenia Vodka.
The highlight of the evening, however, was Chef Sara Black‘s cooking demo. Four participants were chosen and they cooked four recipes of the thirteen dishes that Chef Sara and a whole slew of volunteers cooked up on Friday for this motzey Shabbos presentation.
Chef Sara‘s menu for the evening included:
- Pita Bread
- Tomato Eggplant Salad
- Moroccan Matbucha
- Moroccan Spicy Salad
- Assorted Cheese Balls
- Spinach & Pear Salad, Feta & Toasted Pumpkin Seed
- Green Salad with Toasts and Goat Cheese
- Brown Rice Noodle with Chives, Carrot Strips & toasted Walnuts
- Stuffed Mushrooms Served with Remoulade Sauce
- Deep Fried Avocado with Vinaigrette Sauce
- Salmon Carpaccio with Olive oil and Fresh Herbs
- Tuna Tartar with Wasabi Sauce
- Baked Salmon Coated with Basil and Sea Weed
- Grilled Antipasti
The last two photos were of items cooked by the four people selected to demo some recipes under Chef Sara’s direction.
Chef Sara gave out three ultra easy recipes and here are my two favorites:
Moroccan Spicy Carrot Salad
- 1 pound fresh carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- harissa or hot pepper (optional)
- Bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Peel and slice carrots into rounds. Cook until semi soft. Shut off heat and let carrots sit for 5 minutes more.
- Drain carrots well… Toss with oil, garlic, paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste (add harissa/hot pepper, if you like). Serve at room temperature.
Israeli Eggplant Caponata
- 2 large eggplants
- 3-4 tablespoons canola oil
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley ingredients and season to taste.
- 2 tablespoons ketchup or tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Slice eggplants (do not peel) into 1/4″ rounds. Sprinkle with oil. kosher salt and pepper.
- Bake until eggplant is translucent, about 20 minutes or so. Let cool slightly.
- Toss remaining ingredients and season to taste.
Delicious food, great conversation, funny videos, great company… What a beautiful evening!