Archive for the 'kosher cookery' Category



16
Sep
10

Chicken and Fruit Fricassee


Chef Jeff Nathan, owner /Chef of Abigael’s on Broadway sent us one of his favorite yom tov recipes:

Chicken and Fruit Fricassee

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup dry figs
  • ¾ cup dry apricots, diced
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups water, warm
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • pinch saffron
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • saffron
  • 2 3 pound chickens, cut into eighths
  • 2 onions, diced medium
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl combine the dry fruits with the water.
  2. Set aside and allow to plump at least 30 minutes.
  3. Drain and reserve the fruit water.
  4. In a separate small bowl, combine the brandy with the saffron & cinnamon.
  5. Allow to steep 20 – 30 minutes. Stir well.
  6. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour.
  7. In a large sauté pan of hot olive oil, brown the chicken on both sides.
  8. Transfer chicken to an ovenproof casserole.
  9. Pour off most of the remaining oil.
  10. Add the onions and garlic.
  11. Stir occasionally and cook until translucent.
  12. Add the dry fruits, tomato, brandy mix and reserved fruit water.
  13. Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan for the pan drippings.
  14. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  15. Bake, uncovered at 350˚ F. for approximately 1 hour; or until the chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly.
  16. Serve with couscous, rice pilaf, or herb simmered new potatoes.

Well, gentle reader, having eaten quite a few delightful lunches and dinners at Abigael‘s, having tried a lot of the recipes in Jeff Nathan’s Family Suppers, I know this one will be a special treat and… I plan to have in the Sukkah!

CS

Chicken and Fruit Fricassee

13
Sep
10

Maple Roasted Pears and Sweet Potatoes and More


Susie Fishbein, best selling kosher cookbook author, graciously consented to share two of her recipes – from  her upcoming Kosher By Design – Teens and 20-Somethings – with our readers. I tried the first one last evening, after the fast, and loved it (and… I’m quite a few hours past my 20-somethings):

Maple Roasted Pears and Sweet Potatoes

DAIRY OR PARVE – YIELDS 6 SERVINGS

I adore these soft sweet pears and the way the sweet potatoes become sticky and sweet. You can try this with cubed butternut squash in addition to or in place of the sweet potatoes. While you have the maple syrup on hand, put the Pineapple Maple Glazed Salmon (page 134) on your menu for another night.

Ingredients

  • 8 mini pears, such as Seckel, or 4 ripe Anjou pears, peeled, halved, cored, quartered
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, (about 2 pounds) peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into
    chunks the same size as the pears
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup, NOT pancake syrup
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. For easy cleanup, completely cover a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
  3. As you cut up the pears and sweet potato, place them into a large bowl. Set
    aside.
  4. In a medium pot, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Whisk in maple
    syrup and salt. Cook until it starts to bubble.
  5. Remove from heat. Pour over the pears and sweet potatoes. Toss to coat.
    Transfer to prepared pan
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 11⁄2 hours.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter.

…and one more, can’t wait to try it!

Pineapple Maple Glazed Salmon

PARVE – YIELDS 6 SERVINGS

Ingredients

  • 6 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, without skin, pin bones removed
  • 1⁄4 cup maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup)
  • 1⁄4 cup crushed pineapple, from a small can, squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  2. Rinse the salmon and place it on a parchment-lined jelly roll pan. Pat dry with
    paper towels.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the maple syrup, pineapple, soy sauce, mustard, olive
    oil, and garlic.
  4. Pour over the salmon and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with pan juices. Serve hot or at room
    temperature.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!!

CS

Maple Roasted Pears and Sweet Potatoes

06
Sep
10

A Talk with Susie Fishbein


Chatting with Susie Fishbein was just delightful. The woman is the consummate kosher icon, renowned for her best selling Kosher By Design series. Unpretentious and generous, food talk flows from her like honeyed streams of culinary consciousness.

All you KBD lovers out there are going to love Susie’s new cookbook Kosher by Design Teens and 20-Somethings, cooking for the next generation, it’ll arrive on shelves near you on October 27th. Susie was amazed at just how savvy her new target audience was. Many of these kids had grown up on her recipes, and possessed rather cultivated refined palates. This generation of teens and early twenties had choices we never had; they’ve grown up with a wide array of kosher fast food and fine dining choices; many of them developing knowledgeable health conscious preferences. The expansion of the kosher product landscape and the extraordinary array of new kosher products hitting supermarket shelves has made designing fresh new recipe ideas so much easier as a result.

Susie held 14 tasting parties for audiences of this demographic and was impressed with the sophisticated and intricate comments she received on the recipe evaluations. Desserts of course had big appeal, but taste testers were enthralled with almost all of the recipes included in the final version. Her upcoming book speaks to her young fans and tweenlings who want to get involved in the kitchen preparing fun, healthful, easy to make recipes. The new cookbook even includes markation features for vegetarian, gluten and nut free recipes.

Nowadays, most families have two working parents, three meals a day to put on the table; it’s a great gift for the kids to get involved in the kitchen preparing meals and lightening the load. I expect that we’ll love this new KBD entry, and can’t wait to be dazzled by the table-fare our kids will be easily preparing, as we relax –feet up-with our martinis after a long day at the office, waiting for the supper call. Hey, I can dream can’t I? But just think, we can send our young adults off to college, seminary, and their new apartments armed with a handy kitchen survival manual that will keep them happily healthfully engaged in Bistro Mio 101.

Taking full advantage of the moment, I asked Susie if she could give us a few pointers for the up-coming Yomim Tovim and how to avoid getting overwhelmed. Organization and advanced planning seemed to be the keys to success. Susie’s appreciates an artful elegantly set table. Don’t overdo the presentation by making too many dishes. Plan for a soup or salad, no more than two main dishes, a side dish and vegetable; end with an exciting delicious dessert at each meal. “You’re not looking to kill anybody at your table”; the courses should resemble service at a fine restaurant. “They don’t overwhelm you with tons of dishes, but rather serve singular aesthetic dishes that you’ll remember.” Prepare what you are comfortable with; tried and true recipes, with something new to add to the mix. Keep to fresh and healthy ingredients, don’t freeze, do your chopping and sauces in advance where possible, and have 80% of the food prepped and ready for the oven or stove. Don’t overcook; almost every culinary faux pas can be saved except for overcooking. Susie does her math, she takes the time to figure out how many 4- 6 ounce servings she’s going to need, so that she doesn’t overbuy or over prepare. “If you’ve put too much food on the table, people are going to eat more than they should.” With the four grand meals of Rosh HaShana plus Shabbat, it can really become too much of a good thing.

We look forward to reviewing Susie’s Kosher by Design Teens and 20-Somethings. Judging by the series popularity, by Susie’s passion for cooking and infectious enthusiasm I have no doubt it’ll be very successful. I’ll venture that even those of us a few days, or so, past the 20-somethings might also learn a thing or two.

SYR

30
Aug
10

Sason Grill


Any faithful reader of this blog knows we have never reviewed pizza joints or take out places of any kind; we always confined our reviews to restaurants AND, even then, only to those establishments we could really rave about. So how come, today, I am reviewing a take out place? Why the sudden break from The Kosher Scene‘s usual practice? Truth be told, I never intended to deviate from our ways, however…

Yesterday afternoon, I passed by Sason Grill and the aroma emanating from the place (I’ve been blessed, or cursed, with a very strong sense of smell) suddenly made me hungry. It’s a tiny place, located on a side street off Brooklyn’s Avenue J (1012 East 15th Street; Brooklyn, NY 11230; Tel: 347.307.6647; under the hashgocho of Kehilla Kashrus), off the main street and very easy to miss. It looks extremely unpretentious, hardly enticing, but… don’t let appearances fool you!

Their menu includes only four items: Shawarma, Schnitzel, Falafel, and Hamburger. I ordered a Shawarma Sandwich Platter.

Juicy shawarma on the spit...

It came with two falafel balls, fried potatoes (cut Argentinian style, papas fritas we call them), and grape tomatoes on the plate – and a pickle, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant and tehina with the shawarma inside the pita – as you can see below:

Shawarma Sandwich Platter

The shawarma, made from fresh baby chicken meat, was very juicy; spiced liberally to give it that Middle Eastern flavor of cumin, etc, it was unusually delicious. I got a selection of the three house sauces: chimichurri, olive and tehina. All three made fresh in-house. The best part about this unexpected feast was, surprisingly, its low cost. Though it certainly lacked the presentation I’ve become accustomed to, it more than made up for it in flavor. I know I’ll be back again and again. Next time, I’ll even bring SYR with me.

CS

29
Aug
10

Fish N’ Chips


[Eran Elhalal, regales us yet again with one of his delicious recipes. SYR tested it last night and loved it. CS]

Comfort food is what it’s all about! What is comfort food, you ask? It’s fun food, heart-warming food, food that brings memories of warmth, memories of times past. Interestingly enough most comfort food stems from poverty. Creations relying on inexpensive cuts of meat/fish, and the cheapest ingredients available. There are countless examples: American Soul food,Mac&Cheese, Meatloaf, Rice & Refried beans (also Latin Americas’ protein supplement), Hummus & Fava Beans (the North African protein supplement), Pasta,etc.

Every country has its own array of comfort food, Fish N’ Chips are The British Empires’ greatest contribution to the culinary world! Well… that may be debatable, but it’s definitely the food for which English cuisine is most famous. It became popular in South-East England and London in the early 1800’s. They were even referenced in Charles Dickens’, “Oliver Twist” (published 1838). The first recorded Fish N’ Chip shop was opened between 1860-1865 by one Joseph Malin in London. Selling for Nine Pence in the 1800’s, it soon became the quintessential poor man’s food.

Trawling (pulling nets through the water behind the ship), which became the main fishing method in 19th century England, made fish abundant and thus inexpensive. Along with the fact that potatoes could be farmed on almost any soil and could survive the British Isles’ harsh winter, fish and potatoes became the perfect choice for the hungry working class.

Fish N’ Chips shops and carts are still the main British working stiff’s lunch or traditional Friday night dinner.

Traditionally served wrapped in newspaper, the fish is beer battered and deep fried with the fries. It is then drizzled with malt vinegar or onion vinegar (the vinegar used for pickling onions). Classically a Cod family fish is used (Cod, Haddock, Pollock, Hake), these are lean white flesh fish that are found in great numbers in the Atlantic Ocean.

I developed this recipe while doing my very first stint as Chef, at UnWined, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side:

Photo from: SugarMama Baking Company blog

Fish N’ Chips

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

3 lbs Cod fillets cut to 2 oz pieces
salt & white pepper to taste
oil for frying (for best results use peanut oil – it has the highest smoking point)
2
lemons cut to wedges

Batter:

2 cups flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp oil
1 bottle (12 fl oz) beer – (I use toasted lager!)
2 egg whites whipped to soft peaks
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Chips:

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut to battonettes (1/2 inch wide finger shaped)
cold water to cover fries (keeps potatoes from oxidizing and maintains crispness)

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water and let stand until fully dissolved.
  2. Mix flour, salt and sugar and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, oil and beer and stir to combine only. Gently fold in the egg whites.
  3. Let stand for 1/2 hour until the batter becomes frothy.
  4. Pat the fish fillets and season.
  5. Heat frying oil to 350 degrees F. Drain well and fry potatoes, only to cook through – no color! Fry in batches! Set aside.
  6. Reheat the oil to 400 degrees F (the cold batter will make the oil temp drop initially).
  7. Dip the fish in the batter and fry. Add the fries for the last 2 minutes to color and crisp up.
  8. Toss the fries in a mixing bowl with salt.
  9. Serve with malt vinegar and lemon wedges .

Enjoy it folks, enjoy!

Eran Elhalal

18
Aug
10

Cooking with Lévana – Part 5


It’s no secret to anyone who regularly peruses these pages (here, here, here, and here) that both SYR and I are enamored with Lévana’s cooking and teaching styles. Often defying the tried and true, she combines many an ingredient in ways that conventional wisdom might sometimes question but the results are always delicious! She does, time and again, prove that cooking for a crowd need not be a whole day affair, she invariably comes up with shortcuts that save hours of work, nerves and sweat.

This past Monday, after just over a month of being unable to do much, I found my way to Lévana’s Dinner and Show, this week. She covered Sephardi Finger Foods; the menu consisted of the following:

Lamb, Pine-Nut and Raisin Grape Leaves
Spicy Chicken Cigars
Mushroom Borekas
Fishballs in Lemon Sauce
Spicy Marinated Olives
Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini and Eggplant
Nut Truffles

"Let's start now, OK?"

It’s hard to choose just two of the recipes, but since this week we’ve been covering mushrooms we will include this one where she uses them:

Mushroom Borekas

Filling:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Good pinch nutmeg
½ teaspoon dry thyme or tarragon
2 pounds puff pastry sheets, kept chilled
1 egg, mixed with a little water

Preparing the filling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté until all liquids evaporate. Add the remaining filling ingredients, and combine thoroughly. Cut the puff pastry to desired size. Place the filling in the center and close on all sides, pressing all around the sides with a fork. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Bake about 30 minutes, or a little longer, until golden brown and puffy. Serve hot.

Hot and delicious

Hot and delicious

The Spicy Marinated Olives were superb (and those who know me, know I’m no big fan of olives), with very subtle hints of anise. Unusual, delectable!  The Spicy Chicken Cigars were the best I’ve ever tasted; the Fishballs in Lemon Sauce, superbly delicious, didn’t taste fishy at all!

The Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini and Eggplant looked great and tasted supreme. The excellent Nut Truffles dessert, was just sweet enough without the sweetness drowning out any of the other flavors.

The pièce de résistance, for me, was the Lamb, Pine-Nut and Raisin Grape Leaves dish:

Lamb, Pine nut and Raisin Grape Leaves

Filling
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic1 large onion, quartered
1 small bunch flat parsley
¼ cup mint leaves, packed
1 pound ground lamb
1 large tomato, halved, seeded, and diced small
1/2 cup golden or black raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (325 degree oven. 10-12 minutes)
Good pinch saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pepper to taste
1 15 ounce jar grape leaves, separated and rinsed
1 cup pomegranate or cranberry juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil in a skillet. In a food processor, finely grind the garlic. Add the onion, parsley and and mint, and grind coarsely. Add the ground mixture to the skillet, and saute until translucent. Add the lamb and tomato, and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add all remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place a tablespoon stuffing at the bottom center of a leaf (smaller leaves: Make them overlap to get a larger more workable surface). Roll once, fold the sides towards to center, and roll all the way up. Place seam side down in a pan just large enough to fit the leaves snugly in one layer. Repeat with the remaining leaves and stuffing. Whisk the juice, tomato paste and oil in a little bowl, and pour evenly over the leaves. Bake about 40 minutes, until the juices are reduced and the leaves look nicely browned on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lamb and Pine-Nut Stuffed Grape Leaves - ready to be baked

All in all, it was a cooking demo and dinner to remember.

CS

13
Jul
10

Getting Hooked on Fish


Look, I’m not a big fish lover, though I’ve got to tell you some of the fine fish dishes we’ve been served up have radically changed my gut reaction to those scaly creatures. We’ve had great sushi, fish that didn’t taste like fish, fish that didn’t look nor taste like fish and fish that tasted like fish but was so well prepared, we didn’t seem to mind; in fact we kept being surprised. Would I go out and buy them, during the Nine Days? Maybe, but otherwise, not so much; even if the stats on fish being a heart healthy, stroke and Alzheimer’s  preventative food, are definitely very convincing.

So, in keeping with with the season (and in lieu of meat), I thought I’d share a few tips learned along the way about preparing a good fish entrée.

Buying Fish

When you’re at the store pick a fish that’s firm doesn’t smell fishy, but fresh like it just came out of the sea; not that I’ve had first encounters with what that smells like. If you’re buying a whole fish, the color should still be vibrant, the eyes not dulled nor opaqued. Cook it right away or freeze it, but don’t fridge it for more than a day. When preparing a milchige meal, my mother always soaked the fish in milk for a while; she claimed it  got rid of any fishy taste.

From: Exile Kiss blog

Preparing Fish

  • Marinades are wonderful; just don’t leave the fish in an acidic based marinades for more than 30-60 minutes.  Simple marinades work great!
  • Try olive oil mixed with fresh lemon juice, add a little pepper, some fresh parsley or dill, thyme or basil and voilà, fantastic!
  • Add a teriyaki sauce or mix a small finely chopped  onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup light soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tbsp fresh ginger, zest of a lemon or lime, add some Tabasco or crushed hot pepper if you like it hot, (works great on salmon, but then practically everything does!).
  • If you like a cooler taste, try poached salmon with cucumber dill sauce.  1 c. chopped or shredded peeled and seeded cucumber, 1/2 c. yogurt or sour cream,1/2 c. mayonnaise (low fat mayo works), 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice,1 tbsp. minced parsley,1 tbsp. dill, salt and pepper to taste. (covers 4-5 medium fish filets).
  • For easy mayonnaise based sauces guaranteed to make you fatter- here are three favorites:
    1. ½ c. mayo, 2 tbsp. Dijon or honey mustard, 1 tbsp. honey, pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder, ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar
    2. Mayo-ketchup – 1 part ketchup to two parts mayo, garlic powder to taste.
    3. Tartar mayo – 1/2 cup Mayonnaise,2 tbsp sweet pickle relish, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley, 1 tbsp chopped chives.

Personally, I like my fish baked or pan seared with a few drops of olive oil, a clove of garlic, and a couple good squeezes of fresh lemon.

Fish is versatile and porous so it doesn’t take much for it to absorb surrounding flavors. Poached, baked or fried, don’t overcook your fish. Take it off the flame or remove from the oven when it’s mostly done; it will continue to cook till it cools. What makes a fish kosher? Check it out here, or you can find a listing of kosher fish here. For those who suffer on these strictly milchig or pareve days… remember that is the point of the whole thing. Pray for Shabbos, join a siyum, but  mostly daven for a true yeshuah when we will be zocheh to flip me’evel l’yomtov, bimhera biyamenu, amen! .

SYR

02
Jul
10

Royal Persian Grill


Efraim Azari, owner of Royal Persian Grill (192 West Englewood Avenue; Teaneck, NJ 07666; Telephone: 201-833-1555) has an inspiring personal story which explains his evolution into the kosher restaurant business.

Originally from Teheran, Efraim emigrated to Israel with his family, when he was just a child of 4. He grew up in a Tel Hashomer kibbutz. as left wing as it gets. Raised on  ideology which stipulates that religious people were untrustworthy,  superstitious and downright foolish, he focused his energies on an enlightened worldly consciousness, athletic healthy body, excelling in karate and other martial arts.

Thirteen years ago, Efraim emigrated to Miami, with his wife and youngest son, where he built a large successful business. One day, his son informed his parents of his decision to become a ba’al tshuvah. Efraim and his wife were devastated, wondering where they had failed their child; no amount of dissuasion sufficed, he couldn’t be talked out of this folly! Shortly thereafter, another stroke of bad luck befell the Azaris; Efraim severely injured his right shoulder blade. The tear required complicated surgery, the pain was unbearable, and the operation failed. A wounded, tired, exasperated Efraim traveled the world in search of a top surgeon that specialized in his injury… He found one, and scheduled a second  operation, with the hoped that this time it would be successful. His nights were sleepless, excruciatingly painful, filled with channel surfing, Arak and other potables to numb the unceasing pain.

A few short weeks prior to the operation, Efraim’s son – now married and an avreich in a Monsey kollel – invited his parents for a visit. Though his core beliefs and lifestyle hadn’t changed one iota, Efraim couldn’t help but be impressed by the size and scope of the bet knesset and Yeshivat Or Yisrael. Before leaving, his son told Efraim that the Rosh Kollel wanted to give him a bracha (blessing). Little did he know his life was about to change… for ever…

“I hear you tore your shoulder blade,” the Rabbi said. “Yes,” Efraim answered. “And your first operation was a disaster.” “Yes,” Efraim answered. “And you’ve already scheduled a second operation.” “Yes,” Efraim answered. “I have the perfect doctor for you!” said the Rabbi. “With all due respect to the Rabbi I already have a top doctor,” Efraim answered. “You don’t understand, I can recommend THE top doctor to you.” “Please Rabbi, I already scheduled my operation!” “You don’t understand, I can recommend the best specialist for you,” repeated the Rosh Kollel. Again, at the urging of his wife, Efraim acquiesced and let the Rabbi continue. “Give me two hours a day of deep study, learn and thoroughly follow this book – which I’ll give you – on the Laws of Shabbat. Follow it thoroughly, do not pick and choose what’s convenient, or sensible, just follow it thoroughly or don’t waste your time warming a chair here. If you follow everything, the Doctor will cure you.” Reluctantly and again at his wife’s urging, Efraim committed himself to this. That very night, for the first time in almost a year, Efraim slept right, soundly; no pain, no needles, no shocks!

Refreshed, the next morning, he showed up at the Yeshiva, fascinated with the new teachings – revealing a heretofore unknown, undreamed of, world and a new purpose in life. Again that night he slept well, the pain had inexplicably eased up. After a week of refreshing sleep and productive learning, Efraim began to achieve some mobility in his injured arm and shoulder; soon all pain disappeared, full mobility and the use of his arm and shoulder returned. All without surgery… Believe it or not! The Doctor had done his job!!! “I’m a stubborn man,” Efraim says, “I don’t like change, but who can argue with obvious miracles when I experienced the healing in my own flesh?” I truly understood the meaning of Ani Hashem rofecha! – I am the Lord, your Doctor!” And so, the enlightened athlete who stumbled upon the courtyard of the Royal Palace in Monsey, stayed and learned. Four years ago, still dedicating several hours a day to his learning, he opened the Royal Persian Grill.

Royal Persian Grill

What makes the Persian cuisine different from Middle Eastern cooking? At the Royal Persian Grill they use a twenty five herb combo mix, a lot of parsley, cilantro, mind lemon and garlic, not hot spicy like some Israeli dishes, rather more sweet and sour. Rice accompanies many of the selections and is cooked differently than the usual western way. It’s cooked half way, then it gets washed in cold water, finally, it’s steamed. Thus, the kernels stay separated and retain their shape gleam and taste. We sampled one of their very popular Persian dishes. Ghorme Sabzi- a thick beef stew- a Persian cholent – if you will – with rice, red beans and meat. It was earthy and filling. The second Persian favorite was Beef Bamya, a sweet and sour beef stew with okra. It wasn’t ready when we were there and we hope to sample it next time.

We started the meal with their Appetizer Salad Combo.

Appetizer Salad Combo with matbucha, hummus, Romanian eggplant, babaganoush and pikanti eggplant.

We enjoyed this dish with toasted pita covered with oil and zaatar (hyssop). All the salads, like the rest of the of the fare, are freshly made at the restaurant. This salad combo plate tasted very good!

Next, we ordered a very adequate Yemenite Meat Soup. We continued with a delicately seasoned Grilled Chicken Breast

Grilled Chicken Breast w/fries and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes

Cooked just right, it was tender and juicy, as we sipped a refreshing iced lemon/mint tea.

We finished the meal with a superb Halva Ice Cream

Halva Ice Cream. Amaaazing!

…and an excellent Baklavah. Yehudis, our waitress, made our meal an absolute delight with her friendly solicitousness. We know we’ll be back!

CS

Royal on Urbanspoon

09
Jun
10

Tiberias


Comfortable, relaxed, upscale, delicious… Those words barely describe this brand new eatery in Midtown Manhattan. Tiberias (45 East 34th Street; NY, NY 10016; Tel: 212.481.4222). is under OK supervision, its fare is cholov Yisroel dairy. SYR and I went there yesterday at mid afternoon, less than a week after it opened. It may be brand new but, the two Steinhart brothers have been working in and managing restaurants for the last five years, in spite of their very young ages. This is the realization of their dream, a dream of having a unique restaurant with something different than the standard offerings. If this is how they started, it will not just be a dream!

A partial view of Tiberias Restaurant

SYR started the meal with the Stuffed Mushrooms, stuffed  with fresh vegetables topped with mozzarella and doused in cream sauce.

5 button mushrooms, stuffed with vegetables, topped with mozarella, doused in cream sauce.

She found it very flavorful, each ingredient combined for a delicious, perfect, appetizer.

I had the Gravalax. Homemade smoked salmon with potato crustini and cucumber salad with dill and mustard,  subtly flavored and very good to the palate.

We then shared the Special of the Day, Pasta del Sol. It consisted of penne with cream sauce and cherry tomato culis, topped with a nicely sized grilled Atlantic salmon.

Considering it was a hot, humid day SYR accompanied the meal with a Lime & Srawberry Smoothie, made from freshly squeezed lime juice, a bit of lemon zest,  fresh strawberries and crushed ice. It looked great and tasted even better. I had the Coffee Slim Shake (it’s sugar free, but you wouldn’t believe it from that great taste!), it came with ice cream, skim milk and was topped with cocoa powder. On the table next to us, a young lady was feasting on an interesting looking Affogato de Gelato, her expression told us it must have tasted heavenly. She explained to us that she’s enjoyed it here before, it consists of a large scoop of sugar free vanilla ice cream, in a boiling shot of espresso served in a martini glass…

We ended the meal with their Jack Daniels Cheese Cake, this is a Mozart type cheese cake with 2% percent of Jack Daniels whiskey. It tasted superb  and looked great, served with three ice cream scoops, some whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Jack Daniels Cheese Cake

SYR had a Torino Hot Chocolate, gourmet hot chocolate with a partially submerged milk chocolate bar… buonissimo, ottimo!!! I had their Cappuccino, an espresso with steamed milk topped with foam, made from Italy’s famed Danesi Gold Beans…. subtly sweet with a pinch of brown sugar, artistically presented.

Tiberias Cappuccino

A great experience in a brand new eatery with a nice ambiance; as SYR puts it, NO-GUILT DELISH! This definitely calls for an encore…

CS

03
Jun
10

Basil – Pizza & Wine Bar


At the edge of Crown Height’s Jewish neighborhood, we walked through the tall glass paned doors of Basil Pizza and Wine Bar (270 Kingston Ave; Brooklyn, NY 11213; Telephone: 718.285.8777). We were greeted by the lovely homey smells coming from their large wood oven, clearly center staged by design, partnered with an open bar and cooking area. Soft relaxing Latin music permeated a high vaulted room adorned with 13 honey jar shaped glass lanterns hanging at variegated heights back-dropped by a glass fronted honey comb wine casement.  Marble top tables and dark rustic wooden chairs filled the room commodiously, seating 45 comfortably.

Partial view of Basil. Clara Perez, the Manager, taking a breather in one of those rare low traffic moments.

The pizza and wine bar opened its doors in late February of this year. Just a few months in, with an extensive gourmet dairy menu created by his predecessor, Chef Adam  (who started his culinary training in Italy’s Costa D’Amalfi – then the restaurant’s sous-chef – was suddenly asked to take the helm as chef de cuisine.  Like the young Luciano Pavoratti in February 1965 – who was asked to replace the regular tenor – in an evening’s fateful  performance (Donizzetti’s Lucia de Lamermoor) at the Greater Miami Opera, young Chef Adam stepped up to the plate prevailing successfully without missing a single high note apparently, for he served up dish after dish of consistently delicious Basil favorites.

We began this, our latest restaurant adventure, with their Wild Mushroom Pizza made with Goat Cheese, Mozzarella and Truffle Oil, we took a side dish of their signature Basil Fries, sprinkled with Fresh Parmesan aside a  Garlic-Truffle Mayo Dip- clearly – not for the faint hearted.  Both were delicious.  The thin crusted pizza dough (made with imported Italian flour) was terrific, as were the wild mushrooms and goat cheese topping. CS predictably downed a respectable number of fries, loving the crispy strips dipped in truffle mayo. We both opted for Tishbi’s Chenin Blanc to accompany our meal. It was perfect for the table fare and the balmy summer afternoon. I had a respectable Arugula and Beets Salad topped with medallions of warm goat cheese sprinkled with pine nuts and a truffle vinaigrette.

CS, gnocchi Gnostic that he is, couldn’t help but devour the Goat Cheese Gnocchi Gratin rich with Tomatoes, Spinach and Parmesan Bread Crumbs. He found it flavorful, authentic Italian Campagna, done to perfection! We sampled three more mains; spinach ricotta dumplings, striped bass, and a saffron risotto.  I went for their Striped Bass, with Charred Fennel, Pea Risotto and Meyer Lemon Cream. Presentation was outstanding as you can see from the pictures below (we had a very, very tough time settling on only three photos of the dishes!).  The charred fennel was set like a sail atop a perfectly cooked striped bass a sea in a gustable green pea risotto. The Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings with Melted Mozzarella were ambrosial- especially with the enfolded Tomatoes  Roasted for 24 hours in Balsamic Vinegar, fennel seeds and just the right touch of chili flakes. Basil buys mozzarella curd and stretches it on location, enhancing the flavor that much more.  The Saffron Risotto with Forest Mushrooms, Grilled White Asparagus, was quite aromatic. The forest mushrooms and white asparagus were savory & toothsome, though at this point we were quite full.

Goat Cheese Gnocchi Gratin

Stiped Bass, with Charred Fennel, Pea Risotto and Meyer Lemon Cream

Saffron Risotto, with Forest Mushrooms, Grilled White Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan

We’ll have to come back and meet their pastry chef, Ehud Ezra; word on the street is that he is an amazing talent.  A graduate of the Institute for Culinary Education, he trained at Oceana in Manhattan and was Pastry Chef for several years at Whole Foods (among other prestigious establishments), before coming to Basil, we tasted his Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cheese Cake served with Turkish Fig Puree and Melon. He’s there at 5:00 am preparing his croissants and other pastries, opening for breakfast service at 7:30 am. Chef Adam also treated us to a tasting of his home-made colorful Sorbet Trio and Basil Ice Cream (made from basil, you read it right!). Yummmm!

Sitting on the cusp of this Lubavitch neighborhood, Basil stands at the edge of new cuisine and ambiance territory.  The reluctant humble yet flight worthy fledgling chef and his team run a successful operation with the help of their warm friendly manager Clara Perez, whose respect and reverie for the Lubavitch community is admirable. The convergence of crossed cultures amongst their staff and the harmonious blend of clientele dining together with Basil’s good food its nucleus, is nothing short of chevlei mashiach amazing. The obstacles were many; it shouldn’t work but it does, remarkably so! Some places are just plain blessed that way.

SYR

Basil on Urbanspoon




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,682 other followers

Calendar of Posts

November 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Archives

Visit our friends at the Kosher Wine Society

Noach: Stranded and Branded

Buy the book…

Category Cloud

18 Restaurant baking baking recipe baking recipes BlogTalkRadio cheese Chef David Kolotkin Chef Jeff Nathan Chef Lévana Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum chicken chicken recipes cookbook authors cookbooks dairy cuisine dairy recipes Esti Berkowitz fine dining fine kosher dining fine kosher dining in Manhattan fine kosher restaurants fine restaurants fish fish recipes Geila Hocherman Gotham Wines & Liquors Internet Radio Irving Schild Jack's Gourmet Jewish history kosher kosher baking kosher baking recipe kosher baking recipes kosher beef kosher beef recipes kosher cheese kosher chefs kosher chicken dishes kosher chicken recipes kosher cookbook authors kosher cookbooks kosher cookery Kosher cooking kosher cooking classes kosher cooking demos kosher cuisine kosher dairy kosher dairy cuisine kosher dairy recipes kosher desserts kosher dining kosher dining in Brooklyn kosher dining in Manhattan kosher dining in NY kosher fine dining kosher fine wines kosher fish kosher fish recipes Kosher food kosher Israeli wine kosher Italian cuisine kosher meat dishes kosher meat recipes kosher meat restaurants kosher meat restaurants in Manhattan kosher Mediterranean cuisine kosher parve recipes kosher poultry dishes kosher poultry recipes kosher recipes kosher restaurant review Kosher restaurants kosher restaurants in Brooklyn kosher restaurants in Manhattan kosher restaurants in New York City kosher restaurants in NY Kosher Revolution Kosher Scene kosher soup recipes kosher wine kosher wines Lévana Lévana Kirschenbaum meat recipes parve recipes Passover Pomegranate Supermarket poultry poultry recipes Prime Grill Royal Wine Corporation Shavuos Shavuos recipes Susie Fishbein The Kosher Scene The Kosher Scene Radio Show Uncategorized Wine

BlogTopSites


<a href="//www.blogtopsites.com/food-drink/" title="Food & Drink Blogs" target="_blank"><img style="border:none" src="//www.blogtopsites.com/v_158881.gif" alt="Food & Drink Blogs" />
<a target="_blank" href="//www.blogtopsites.com" style="font-size:10px;">blog sites


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,682 other followers

%d bloggers like this: