Archive for the 'Crème Brûlée' Category

25
Feb
14

Chagall Bistro


This past Sunday, a Belgian couple we just met at the Museum of the Jewish Heritage concert, SYR and I, went to Chagall Bistro in Brooklyn’s Park Slope section (330 5th Avenue – on the corner of 5th Street – Brooklyn, NY 11215; Tel: 718.832.9777) for dinner. Walking into Chagall immediately took us to another time, another world, from Brooklyn’s Park Slope straight to old Paris. The ambiance was truly très authentique - a nice surprise – and the first of many more the evening had in store for us.

kosher-scene-copyright-copy22

Chag1

We started our repast with the Duck Pastilla

Chag2

It came with crispy duck cigars with saffron, almond and date coulis. Full of flavor and seasoned just right!

We segued with Chef’s Terrines and Pâté, a rich assortment of duck rillette, chicken liver mousse, veal country pâté, cornichon jelly and basket of greens. The rich taste of these delights brought back memories of my travels through France, memories long forgotten.

But we were not done with the surprises… we followed with two orders of Chagall Duck, for the ladies, and two Specials for the men…

Chag3

The Special consisted roasted rack of lamb, grilled basil focccaccia, parsnip mousseline, artickokes, tomato confit, thyme, sauteed natural jus. The lamb was tender, juicy and full of flavor, the foccaccia still warm from the oven – full of aroma and taste – the jus was better than any I ever tasted. The ladies couldn’t stop talking about the Chagall Duck, it became obvious we would have to taste it… Frankly, duck had never been a favorite of mine, but I’ll confess the Chagall Duck just became one.

We washed it down with a delicious 2013 Rashbi Malbec, from Argentina’s Mendoza region. Artgentina, it seems, is almost incapable of producing a bad Malbec, even in the case of an inexpensive one like this bottle. With plum and black currant on the palate, a hint of smokiness it left with a long finish, this young wine proved a perfect pairing for an exceptional dinner.

Chag4

We crowned the meal with a Chocolate Mousse for my friend, two Capuccinos for the ladies, and a Crème Brûlée for me. My Belgian friend pronounced his mousse the best he ever had, my Crème Brûlée (I’m addicted to them!) certainly was the best I’ve ever had.

As the Belgian said when we were leaving, “After eating in great kosher restaurants all over France, who would have thought I’d get my best French meal in Brooklyn?” A great evening to be sure, nonetheless there was something that marred it for me… looking around the nearby tables and seeing other diners’ choices, made me wish I could have eaten more. Chef Jean Claude Teulade and his stuff have developed the art of French kosher cuisine to heretofore unparalleled levels, which leaves us with little choice but to go back again and again and again.

CS

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

04
Mar
10

Pam Reiss’ Passover – A Kosher Collection


Pamela Reiss works with her parents catering business and store in Winnipeg, Canada. By her own admission she’s not a trained Chef, yet judging by this book, the lady can cook!!!

I’ve seen quite a few Passover cookbooks over the years, some very good, some mediocre. This one is excellent! It shows imagination, understanding of the subtle nuances of flavor and has so many delicious recipes.

Among my favorites is the Spinach and Zucchini Soup with the Matzo Ball. For the Mains I have a tough time choosing between the Black Currant Miami Ribs, the Old Fashioned Beef Flanken, the Brisket with Onion Gravy, the Slow Cooked Brisket with Tomato Sauce, or the Pineapple Turkey Meatballs. For desserts there are quite a few that could become my new favorites, among them any of the variations of Crème Brûlée

Pineapple Turkey Meatballs

Serves 6 – Meat

To make a lighter version, I’ll often use ground turkey or chicken as a substitute for beef in meatballs. But this recipe was created with turkey in mind — I think the sauce works well with turkey, but don’t let that stop you if you want to try it with chicken or beef!

Sauce

28 oz. | 796 mL canned whole tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. | 10 mL fresh ginger, minced
20 oz. | 565 g canned pineapple chunks, with the juice
2 oz. | 55 g brown sugar (¼ cup | 60 mL)
3 Tbsp. | 45 mL tomato paste

Meatballs

1 ½ lbs. | 680 g ground turkey
1 large egg
5 oz. | 140 g yellow onion, peeled and finely minced
(1 small)
1 tsp. | 5 mL fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. | 5 mL salt
¼ tsp. | 1 mL black pepper
2 ¼ oz. | 65 g matzo meal (½ cup | 120 mL)
2 Tbsp. | 30 mL cold water

Preheat the oven to 350°F | 175°C.

Put the whole tomatoes with the juice into a mixing bowl and use an immersion blender to puree. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir together.

In another mixing bowl, combine the meatball ingredients and mix well.

Ladle some sauce into the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish.

Form the turkey mixture into balls the size of large walnuts — you should get about 24.

Lay as many meatballs as you can on top of the sauce in a single layer and pour some sauce over them.

Add the remaining meatballs in a second layer and add the remaining sauce, spooning it on and making sure that all the meatballs are covered.

Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 1 ½ hours.

Remove from the oven and serve or chill and reheat for serving later.

The book’s title refers to Passover but, frankly, with so many delicious recipes it’s a book for all seasons. Ms. Reiss has taken heimish cooking to new heights.

You can obtain the book directly from her website, amazon.com or Eichler’s in Brooklyn

CS

23
Nov
09

The Joys of Emotional Eating


Oh, I know we live in a society where body image is paramount and you’re either thin or you’re irrelevant.  And yes, given that we are amongst the top ten fattest nations in the world, we should be weight conscious and not indulge in abnormal eating habits, but exercise regularly and all that. Certainly, we should sublimate our gashmius (physicality) to the higher functions of our being …

Yet, every once in a while – I propose – coddling the inner child is a laudable, valuable, action. Granted, nothing bests the sweet taam (taste) of Shabbos nor the sound of zmiros lifting you ever higher, but the occasional escape into corporeal weekday bliss, leaving the emotional and physical overload of life’s daily grind behind, is a good thing.

The hustle and harried hurry of our fast, frequently faceless, hi-tech daily drudgery makes it difficult to be in the moment of any one thing.  So, we often have to steal or create a moment for ourselves. One of my favorite ways to seize that special particle of time is by dining out in style. Dress up or down, whichever makes you feel better, and figure out the type of cuisine you’re in the mood for. Personally, I prefer an eatery that exudes calm and soft lighting; where chef and staff wait on you indulgently, presenting the finest service and cuisine they have to offer. Hopefully, you’re in the company of someone you really want to be with during this stolen moment.

If you can, leave the kids at home, shut the intruder cell phone, sit back, relax, breathe in, and give yourself over to the sensory delights to come. Start off with a good wine that has some personality, one that complements your disposition. Perhaps a deeply aromatic contemplative wine like one of the following:
Makhpelah Cabernet/Merlot 2002 from Israel, only a few hundred cases were produced! This wine combines spicy aromas with a touch of vanilla and smoky oak. The well-balanced palate is soft and rich with plum and dark cherry flavors highlighted by fine tannins. For that extra,extra, special occasion, it’s a bit pricey! For the more price conscious, but still very discriminate wine palate, I recommend any of these, Italy’s Borgo Reale – Primitivo di Manduria 2001; France’s Flegman – Merlot 2006, or a South African Rothberg Cellar – Shiraz 2008. Frankly, there are far too many superb kosher wines to fit every mood, every palate, every occasion. You can find the above and hundreds more, at Liquors Galore (1212 Avenue J; Brooklyn, NY 11230; Telephone: 718.333.4168).

Take in the calming scent of the wine’s perfume; delight in each sip, savoring the rich flavor, allowing your palate to pick up its complex symmetry. Let your body relax, as the liquid soporific hits your bloodstream.

For starters, I recommend choosing an appetizer or salad that you’ve never tried before like Orchideä’s Spring Fling Salad; perhaps something like T Fusion‘s Pan Seared Sweetbreads or Solo‘s Barbeque Short Rib Spring Roll. Discern the distinctive flavors within. Redefine your stomach’s state of satiety by trading quantity with quality and variety of taste. Allow the sensual mixing of fresh textures and subtle tones and spices on your tongue and taste buds. Observe the placement of food, the artistry and color and let it become a true binge of the senses.

For the main dish, if you’re watching those calories, pick a fish or chicken dish prepared in a way you’ve never tasted or wouldn’t make at home. when it comes to fish few can beat the imagination or IMITATE the meat-like look and taste at Plaza Dining (downstairs at Boro Park’s Plaza Hotel). If you’re a meat lover like I am, go for the steak if it’s really what you’ve got the yen for.

We particularly enjoyed Prime Grill’s Black Angus Steak, and the Delmonico Steak at Bistro Grill. Order a notch higher on the temperature time as fine restaurants tend to grill a bit on the rarer side. If you’re out with friends be a good sharer, and sample each other’s dishes. It can get ugly with the really delectable, so be prepared to fight them off with fork or skewer if they become voracious.

I’m usually too full by dessert time to get territorial.  Here a morsel of some heavenly delight is sufficient. Nothing alters vexation like a great dessert. We loved Les MaraisCrème Brûlée, Gusto Va Mare‘s Double Truffle and u cafe‘s Tricolor Cake.

Finally, if you’re still not convinced, contemplate this with your latte: “There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

So eat and enjoy!

SYR




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