Archive for the 'kosher cooking classes' Category



29
Apr
10

Cooking with Lévana – Part 4 – Recipes!


Lévana has again allowed us to share 2 recipes with our readers.

Zucchini and Fennel Soup

Hot, creamy, delicious!

1/3 cup olive oil
4 large leeks, sliced
8 cloves garlic
6 ribs celery, peeled
Heads and leaves of 3 large fennel bulbs (save some leaves for garnish)
3 large yellow zucchini, cut in large chunks
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon anise or fennel seeds
2 quarts water
2 cups dry white wine
Salt to taste
4 cups milk or non-dairy milk
Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot. In a food processor, coarsely grind the leeks, garlic and celery. Add to the skillet and sauté until translucent. Add all but the last 2 ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, covered 30 minutes. Add the milk and pepper and bring to just below boiling point. Cream the soup with an immersion blender. Adjust the texture and seasonings. Serve hot or chilled, topped with fennel leaves or you may sprinkle some celery over the soup.

Chicken Breasts with Artichokes and Carrots

Butterfly thinning the chicken cutlets

First the layer of chicken...

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, choped
8 chicken cutlets, pounded medium thin, thoroughly dry
Flour
2 good pinches saffron
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 cups water
Ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1/2 cup good quality sliced pitted olives
6 very thin carrots, cut into inch sections
1 pound artichoke hearts (whole) or bottoms (quartered)
1/3 cup lemon juice

...and then all the ingredients.

Heat the oil in a very large skillet. Add the onion and sauté 2-3 minutes. Roll the cutlets in flour, shaking out excess. Add to the skillet and sauté 2-3 minutes on each side. Add all but last ingredient and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook covered 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook another 2 minutes. Serve hot. Room temperature OK.

Enjoy!!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Cooking with Lévana – Part 3 – The Rush of the Rustic

Cooking with Lévana – Part 2 – Recipes!

Cooking with Lévana – Part 1

Lévana’s Recipe

22
Apr
10

Cooking with Lévana – Part 2 – Recipes!


As we promised, here are 2 recipes Lévana has graciously allowed us to share with our readers.

Minted Lamb Kebobs

Ingredients

1 medium onion, quatered
4 large cloves garlic
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, including stems
1 bunch mint, leaves only
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
Good pinch cayenne, or more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 pounds extra lean ground beef, or extra lean ground lamb, or a combination.

Directions

Prepare the grill or preheat the broiler. Finely grind the onion, garlic, parsley and a mint in a food processor (pulse: do not let mixture get watery). Transfer to a bowl and add the cumin, paprika, cayenne, pepper and beef.

Form logs about 1″ in diameter and about 4″ long. Thread on wet wooden skewers. or on metal skewers. Broil 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve hot. Serve 2 to 3 skewers per guest.

Makrod: Semolina Date Pastries

I have always rather neglected this wonderful treat, as the traditional preparation requires frying, my nemesis: I don’t think I have more than a handful of fried dishes in my whole repertoire. But I tweaked the recipe to do my bidding as a baked, not fried, treat, and the result is scrumptious! I have streamlined it further by shaping it as bars. Sephardi flavors at their best! Gluten-free: Use GF flour and GF semolina.

Preparing the Makrod

Preparing Makrod

Ingredients

Dough

3 eggs
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
2 cups farina or semolina
1 tablespoon baking powder
A little water as needed

Filling:

1 pound pitted chopped dates
1 1/2 cups very hot water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
Peel of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons orange flower water

Topping:

1 1/2 cups honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all the dough ingredients thoroughly, and knead it on a board for just a minute or two, adding a little water if necessary to obtain a smooth dough. Set aside.

Process all the filling ingredients in a food processor, using the pulse button to avoid splattering, until smooth. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured board, roll each piece into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick, about 11 inches wide and 14 inches long. Transfer onto a well-greased cookie sheet with straight sides (don’t worry if it doesn’t cover the whole surface). Cover the dough evenly with the filling. Repeat with the remaining dough, and place gently over the filling (it’s OK if it breaks, just patch it). Bake about 40 minutes, or a little longer, until golden. Immediately pour the honey evenly over the whole pastry. Let it cool, then cut it in bars or squares.

–)xoOox(–

This coming Monday, April the 26th, Lévana’s “Dinner and a Show” at Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan (200 Amsterdam Ave – at 69th Street – New York, NY 10023) will be: Seasonal Spring Bounty. As she describes it:

Winter is over and wonderful vibrant food colors and fragrances are upon us in every food display: cheer up and enjoy them while they last! Life would be more meaningful to all of us if we respected the seasons more, with the specific gift each season has to offer! This menu is 100% gluten-free, naturally and effortlessly!

I will be demonstrating:

  • Lemon chicken breasts with artichoke and carrot
  • Zucchini and fennel soup
  • Haricots verts, roasted peppers and heirloom tomato salad with grey salt
  • Herbed yukon fingerlings
  • Plum granola tart
  • Click here to register and view other upcoming classes

    Remember to mention The Kosher Scene and you’ll get a discount.

    Lévana with some of the class regulars, flanked by members of her staff

    SYR and I will be there, hope you will too. You won’t regret it!

    CS

    20
    Apr
    10

    Cooking with Lévana – Part 1


    Every Monday evening at Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan (200 Amsterdam Ave – at 69th Street – New York, NY 10023), Lévana Kirschenbaum holds a cooking class, dubbed by most as “Dinner and a Show.” CS and I were privileged to attend last night’s special Yom Haatzmaut demo: Beyond Milk & Honey: Israeli Street Foods.

    The menu for the evening was: Spicy Bean Soup, Chraimi Fish, Minted Lamb Kebobs, Spicy Eggplant Salad, Hummus-Tehina, Israeli Salad, and Makrod (a semolina/date pastry); all made and served up, to 25 people, in the space of two and a half hours. Experiencing Lévana’s cooking class means experiencing Lévana.  One doesn’t need to ask her about her particular philosophy of good cooking; the woman walks the talk of it!

    While preparing the Spicy Bean Soup made with large lima beans, cilantro and cayenne pepper (which on principle sounded unappealing to me; wooow, was I in for a surprise!!), someone asked about the pot she was using, and someone else mentioned the use of garlic powder. Lévana recommended 18-10 stainless steel pots and pans, stating that her pot was made in China, quipping “there’s no room for politics in cooking!” Regarding garlic, she told us about someone who asked if they ran out of garlic powder could they use real garlic? ” Never settle for powder when you can get the real thing”, she replied, as she whacked a clove using the edge of her palm against the flat of her knife, demonstrating how easy it was to prepare a clove. “When should one look for a substitute?  Only when the real ingredient is unavailable. You can find garlic anytime anywhere  in the world. We’ve got so many choices, garlic in oil, minced, bottled, etc. Just because something is there doesn’t mean it’s good…..ersatz (artificial or inferior substitute or imitation) is so plentiful in so many forms, we think the imitation is real!”

    Hot, steamy, aromatic!

    Truth be told, the rich aromatic scent of  fresh herbs on her cooking table awaiting deployment, enhanced every dish Lévana prepared. Her use of market fresh healthy ingredients along with her quick prep techniques, easy humor, mastery of her trade and generous spirit of sharing her knowledge with others, made the evening delightful. Preparing the eggplants for grilling, she opted to lightly spray the eggplant slices top and bottom with oil . “Remember you’re the boss. Don’t let the eggplants boss you around. Don’t be afraid of them.”  Yet, she insisted on a full half cup of oil for the soup. “If there’s no oil, there’s no emulsion.”  Considering, however, that the pot yielded 25 decent sized portions, that was a very small amount of oil. A true creative chemist in the kitchen, Lévana cooks her magical eupeptic dishes mixing  wit, instincts, ingenuity,  inventiveness, along with her many years of experience. It’s almost like the ingredients bend to her will, bringing out their tastiest characteristics to serve the Queen of masterful combinations.  The soup by the way was incredible. The combined ingredients illuminated by the addition of home made pickled lemon, lit my palate with its explosion of  fresh tangy tastes, The lima beans, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and fresh garlic all combined for a delicious harmony of flavors.

    We can’t cover all of the dishes in the space of this post, but here are few further highlights. Lévana included some standard and not so standard ingredients for her Israeli Salad, creatively using the pulse feature of her food processor as a  time saver –  combining the celery, cucumbers, scallions, radishes and parsley; she hand chopped the tomatoes and lettuces, one could never tell in the finished product that any short cuts were taken.

    Preparing the sauce for the Chraimi fish

    Cooking the sauce with two layers of fish on top.

    I’m not a big fish lover, but that Chraimi Fish was savory delicious.One of the regular attendees told us she loves it so much that she makes a fresh batch every week… CS, a carnivore to the core, will tell you that as far he is concerned, the Minted Lamb Kebob (recipe to follow) was the evening’s real pièce de résistance. The exotic flavoring of the extra lean ground lamb was delicious and went perfectly with the Sliced Grilled Eggplant. The Chummus was nothing short of spectacular. Write us if you want Lévana’s recipe.

    Sliced grilled eggplant

    Levana describes herself as a a reverse chic kind of a person.  Her food is earthy and terrific, prepared simply- as low tech as possible.  But the woman herself is an articulate worldly person, well informed,  generous and a techie twitterer to boot.  Her days are filled with cooking for others and countless good deeds, so we heard from her devoted groupies.  They are a  tight loving group who acquired a love of cooking through experiencing Lévana’s warmth, good humor, talented free-reign creative fun cooking style and healing psychology delivered through the medium of food. Group regulars find the class absolutely addictive, having missed important meetings to be there each and every week.  It’s their fun night out, as they learn that cooking can indeed be a fun experience and not a drudgery. Many feel more empowered in the kitchen and love Lévana’s uncomplicated style and generous funny nature.  They’ve all learned to cook healthier recipes (with faster prep!) packed with fresh healthy ingredients, eager to replicate the recipes at home and experiment with variations.

    All in all it was a fun evening spent with a really nice group of people. Considering the upcoming courses, we will certainly be back for sure …you know, she is kind of addictive…

    SYR

    RELATED POSTS

    Lévana’s Recipe




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