Archive for the 'kosher dairy cuisine' Category



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

21
May
10

Pizza, Pizza!


Since I was a kid, pizza has always been a favorite. Laura Frankel, has been one of my favorite Chefs since I discovered Shallots, years ago here in New York, on the very location that is currently Solo. Now I found an interesting recipe by Laura Frankel, a perfect summer dish, could anything be better?!?

GET YOUR DAIRY ON

Pizza Rustica is a traditional Italian savory pie. The name means “rustic pie”. Traditionally served cold-this delicious pie is perfect for Shavuot or any time you want a light lunch or dinner. Plan to make the pie one day ahead to allow plenty of time to chill the pie completely.

4 large egg yolks and 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds whole milk ricotta (look for deli style-hand packed. It is rich, dense and slightly sweet)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes
½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 recipe pastry dough (recipe follows)
Egg wash: 1 egg lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water

Directions

1. Position a rack on the bottom third of the oven, and preheat to 375 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta and Parmesan cheese, mixing well. Add the mozzarella cubes
3. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. Roll out the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 16-17 inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9 or 10-inch spring form pan. Gently press the dough to fit the inside of the pan and the sides. Trim the overhanging dough to about 1-inch. Save the scraps for patching up any holes.
4. Spoon the filling into the dough-lined spring form pan.
5. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal, and fold the edges of the dough inward and crimp with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Brush the egg wash over the entire pastry top, and cut several slits in the top to let the steam escape.
6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the pie comes out clean and the crust is golden brown, about 60-75 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Let pie cool for at least 20-30 minutes before refrigerating until chilled all the way through.
8. Release the pan sides and transfer pie to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Dough for Pizza Rustica

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
2 sticks (1 cup) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 large eggs, beaten lightly

Directions:

1. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, pepper and zest together in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
2. Add the cold pieces of butter into the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is broken down and the mixture resembles a coarse, sandy meal.
3. Drizzle in about half of the beaten eggs and pulse several times until the dough holds together when pinched. Process a few more seconds, until the dough forms into one big clump. The dough should be smooth and soft, but not sticky. If it looks crumbly or dry, add a few drops of water or cream. If it’s sticky, add a tablespoon or two more flour.
4. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into two disks, one about 1/3 larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but my mouth is already watering…

CS

17
May
10

Shavuos Recipes – Part 2


Pam Reiss posted an interesting recipe on her Pam’s Kosher Collection page on Facebook:

A Twist on Cheese Kugel for Shavuot — Pesto Vegetable Cheese Kugel
Serves 10

Ingredients:
1 lb. broad egg noodles
2 oz. basil leaves — (1 cup firmly packed)
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
7 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese — (Cottage Cheese if you can’t find it)
1 small red onion — peeled and chopped small
1 small bell pepper — cored, seeded and diced small
1 small zucchini — diced small
1 small eggplant — (Japanese) diced small
8 oz. button mushrooms — (3 cups) sliced
6 large eggs

Cook the noodles following package instructions. Drain well and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Prepare the pesto by placing the basil, garlic, salt, black pepper and 3 tbsp. of olive oil in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add parmesan and puree to combine. Add to the noodles along with the ricotta cheese.

Use a non-stick frying pan to sauté the vegetables. Over medium-high heat, sauté the red onion in 2 Tbsp. olive oil for 5-8 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and add to the noodles. (Try to leave excess oil in pan). If necessary, add additional 1-2 tbsp. of oil as you sauté the different vegetables.

Add the pepper to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Remove once they start to brown and add to the noodles. Continue sautéing the zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms on their own and add them to the noodles once cooked.

Mix the noodles, pesto and vegetables together and taste, checking for salt and pepper. Remember that the noodles will absorb the salt, so make sure you can taste it. Let cool.

Whisk the eggs and add them to the mixing bowl combine with the rest of the ingredientsl. Grease a 9″x13″ casserole and pour the mixture into it. Use a spatula to evenly distribute, then place the kugel into a preheated 350º oven. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the top of the kugel is golden brown.

Sounds delicious, we’ll be trying it this Shavous!

CS

RELATED POSTS

shavuos recipes – part 2 

shavuos recipes 

————–

shavuos recipes – part 1 

and for prize winning cheese cake recipes: and the winner is…

16
May
10

Shavuos Recipes – Part 1


Being a foodie, I’m always scouring the net or pestering friendly Chefs for new interesting creations. Here are two superb Shavuot recipes. The incomparable Lévana will always find a way to do it different, to make it easier and keep it delicious!

Ricotta Almond Pie

Anyone looking for a nice departure from the traditional all-American Cheesecake? This is for you! light and ethereal, with a wonderful almond crust and scented with lemon peel. I just made it for a fundraiser demo and watched it disappear with great pleasure!

Almond crust ingredients:
1/2 cup
almonds
1/4 cup
brown sugar
Dash
salt
2 cups
flour (any flour, including Gluten-free)
1 tablespoon
vanilla
1/3 cup
cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2
tablespoon very cold water, or a little more if needed.

Filling ingredients:
3 cups
ricotta
4
eggs
1 cup
sugar
2 tablespoons
brandy or rum
2 tablespoons
lemon zest

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the crust: finely grind the almonds with the sugar. Add the salt, flour, vanilla and butter and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and mix just until the dough comes together. Working quickly, spread into an 11inch springform pie plate, coming up the sides.

Whisk all the filling ingredients together. Pour into the pie crust. Bake about 40 minutes, or until set.

For a long time I wanted a great kosher recipe for French Onion Soup Recipe… I finally found it:

Every single ingredient in this wonderful soup is in on the secret of its success: All the members of the onion family are present; fresh thyme; The mixture of dark miso and dry red wine do wonders to imitate the beef broth that is the trademark of onion soup but that is off-limits to Kosher and Vegetarian Cooking; The cheeses must be freshly grated.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup
extra virgin olive oil
2
large onions, sliced very thin (food processor)
4
large shallots, sliced very thin (food processor)
2
large leeks, white parts only, sliced very thin (processor)
6
large cloves garlic, minced (food processor)
3 tablespoons
sugar
2 cups
dry red wine (liquor stores)
1/2 cup
dark miso paste (health food stores)
6 sprigs
thyme, leaves only (or with their stems, but remember to fish it out)
2 1/2 quarts
(10 cups) water
Good pinch nutmeg
Salt and freshly grated ground pepper (very little salt if at all)
1 cup
grated Swiss cheese
1 cup
smoked cheese, cut in small chunks
1 cup
grated parmesan
A dozen slices baguette, cut on bias, toasted. (375 degrees oven, for about 20 minutes, until light brown)

Directions:
Heat the oil in a heavy pot, and in it fry the onions, shallots, leeks and garlic on a medium flame, about 30 minutes, until dark. Add the sugar and cook two more minutes until caramelized. Add wine, miso, thyme, water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook covered another 30 minutes.  Stir in the ground pepper and nutmeg. Pour the mixture into individual oven-proof soup crocks. Float a slice of toasted baguette in the center of each bowl, and a handful of the mixed grated cheeses, and run under the broiler for just a few seconds. If you don’t own the crocks, no problem, just stir in the cheeses at the end and cooking, right in the pot, and top each serving with a slice of toast. It won’t look as dramatic, but it will be every bit as delicious!

Enjoy these folk, I know I will.

CS

related posts

shavuos recipes – part 2 

shavuos recipes 

————–

shavuos recipes – part 2

For prize winning cheese cake recipes: and the winner is…




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