Archive for the 'kosher Italian cuisine' Category

21
Jan
14

Ribollita, Zuppa Toscana


It’s been snowing non-stop, since early morning. It’s CoOOolD out there!

kosher-scene-copyright-copy22

SnowStorm

Having come back from a long day I could think of nothing better to warm up with than one of my favorite Tuscan soups:

Ribollita

Rebollita

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • water, as needed
  • 14 oz canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock *
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lb 2 oz kale (preferably Tuscan kale**, if you can find it!), trimmed and sliced
  • 1 small day or two old ciabatta loaf (substitute any flat bread, if you can’t find the ciabatta, torn into small pieces)
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin oil, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions, carrots, and celery for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the vegetables are golden and caramelized.
  2. Add the white beans to the pan and pour in the tomatoes. Add enough of water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20minutes. Add the parsley and Tuscan kale and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the bread and add a little more water, as needed. The soup should be thick.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Ladle into warmed serving bowls and serve hot, drizzled with extra virgin oil.

Try this soup and you’ll understand the true meaning of comfort food!

–oOOoOOo–

* Vegetable Stock

Yield: 8 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or corn oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped leek
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 4 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fennel
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 bouquet garni

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and leek and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining vegetables, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the water and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes,
  2. Strain the stock into a bowl, let cool, cover and store in the refrigerator. use immediately or freeze in portions for up to 3 months.

–oOOoOOo–

**

Be warned, once you’ve tasted Tuscan kale, you’ll find it hard to go back to the more easily available variety.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

23
Jul
13

Sòlo – Revisited


We’ve reviewed Sòlo in its prior incarnation (here, and here), so why are we reviewing it again? Sòlo (550 Madison Avenue; New York, NY 10022; Telephone: 212.833.7800 – in the atrium of the SONY building), has reinvented itself as a dairy restaurant. We liked it as a meat eatery, now it changed… We had more than enough confidence in Prime Hospitality Group‘s Corporate Chef David Kolotkin so we decided to give it a try and see what a former meat restaurant turned dairy could do…

SYR had an out of town guest, whose home cooking is the stuff legends are made of (I should know, I’ve stayed in their guest house many a time over the years!), and she came with me. We chose a busy time, on a busy night, with last minute reservations to best test the service. As soon as we were assigned a table, we found ourselves in the able hands of Eka Halim, waiter extraordinaire!

kosher-scene-copyright-copy21

Fritto Misto all' Italiana

Fritto Misto all’ Italiana

We started our repast with Fritto Misto all’ Italiana, an assorted plate of rice balls, potato croquettes, eggplant and zucchini served with a trio of unique dipping sauces. The tastes were subtle yet definite, the sauces, rather than overpowering, introduced nice variations; we both loved it!

We segued with Big Eye Tuna Tartare - a raw big eye tuna, local farmed apples, roasted pine nuts, marinated in a red wine vinaigrette, served chilled – and Branzino Carpaccio…

Branzino Carpaccio

Branzino Carpaccio

…it consisted of raw, thinly sliced white fish, citrus  salt and capers, drizzled with an artisanal imported Italian olive oil and squeezed lemon.

Both were scrumptious; it was obvious the combination of ingredients was done with as much attention, as much focus on the final result, as the old master painters of the Renaissance put into the mixing of their colors!

Next we tried Eggplant Parmeggiana, slow baked alternating layers of eggplant with tomato sauce, parmesan and daily homemade mozzarella. Every ingredient shone on its own as well as a member of a well choreographed ballet on my palate. Wooow!

Before trying the pastas we had a Warm Goat Cheese Salad, with hazelnut crusted goat cheese croquette, arugula, roasted beet medley, caramelized local market pears, haricots verts drizzled with a red wine vinaigrette. Superbly balanced flavors. We segued into Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

The rigatoni pasta came with with zucchini, garden basil, imported pecorino romano cheese, eggs, cracked black pepper and cream. Richly flavorful!

We followed with Homemade Truffle & Butternut Squash Ravioli, with truffle Parmesan sauce and sliced black truffle…

Homemade Truffle and Butternut Squash Ravioli

Homemade Truffle and Butternut Squash Ravioli

…the Parmesan sauce gave it all a superb taste without overpowering anything else!

Risotto al Pesto was Chef David’s next choice for us…

Risotto al Pesto

Risotto al Pesto

This delicate, aromatic risotto came with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and haricot verts. Excellent, is an understatement!

Fettucini alla Puttanesca came next….

Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

Fresh homemade fettuccine with imported olives, capers, garlic and grape tomatoes, t’was a true masterpiece in taste and in looks.

Penne alla Vodka was our next dish…

Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

It came with tomato sauce, onions, cherry tomatoes  and romano cheese. Probably the best Penne alla Vodka I ever had.

Fish came next, considering that a mere three and a half years ago I could still honestly say I never tasted fish, I learned to appreciate the creatures rather fast. In rapid succession we devoured Wild Smoked Salmon and Mozzarella, Tuna Filet Pepper Verde and a Chilean Sea Bass Scallopini.

The wild salmon came in an avocado puree, with homemade mozzarella in a balsamic reduction; there is hardly anything as delicious as fresh salmon. The tuna filet was served with green pepper crusted big eye tuna steak, Dijon mustard, cream and a vodka reduction. The sea bass dish consisted of thinly sliced Chilean sea bass sauteed with lemon, white wine, capers, sundried tomatoes, parsley, basil and shallots. All three were a testament to the Chef’s artistry.

We washed this massive feast down with a Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, as suggested by – our waiter - Eka. Though it is a native California wine, its style is very French; it exhibits currant, berry, and cherry combined with a delightful earthy minerality. Its tannins are soft, smooth and well balanced, culminating in a long elegant finish.

We capped the meal with a Tiramisu, again it was obvious that while we had expected a delicious meal, we got a very memorable royal feast!

There is no question I’ll be coming back again and again!

CS

12
Jul
13

Bruschetta, for Breakfast or Brunch


Bruschetta is a traditional italian garlic bread made by rubbing slices of roasted bread with garlic cloves, and then drizzling the bread with extra-virgin olive oil. The bread is salted and peppered, heated and served warm.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • Italian Cheese *
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices Italian Bread, toasted to serve **
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Directions

  1. Mix the tomato, scallions, cheese, avocado, balsamic vinegar and half of the oil together in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Drizzle the remaining oil over the bread and top the tomato mixture. Garnish with basil and serve at once.

I’ve used different Italian cheeses, at different times, from TheCheeseGuy.com. His Lo Spadone and the Formagio Marzolino were my favorites. However, I’ve also been very pleased with Bastardo del Grappa, the Montaggio or any of the Pecorinos. Each cheese contributes its own character, each one creates a different mood, all are delightful!

** Whenever I can find it, I’ll use Ciabatta bread, though I’ve also used Focaccia (it’s much easier to find), and when I could find neither I’ve used Marsigliese (popularly known as Italian Bread).

Easy to prepare, delicious to the palate, a perfect way to start a dairy meal, so… enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

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08
Jul
13

Tonno alla Siciliana – Sicilian Tuna


Growing up as a very fat kid in Uruguay, in an all Italian block (in the midst of the Jewish area – go figure), meant being bullied a lot; until… my mother became the best Italian cook on the block. Suddenly everybody wanted to be invited to have a taste of her home-made pasta (Pasta Fatta in Casa), her Marinara or Margherita sauces, her Pizza Quattro Stagioni or the Piadina or the fat Sfinciuni, or breads like her Pane Siciliano, or Ciabatta, or that incredible Focaccia con Cipolle. Ahhh, quelli giorni!!!

This is one of her dishes, though I will confess… not being into fish – at the time – or anything that may have resembled one, I never touched it:

Tonno alla Siciliana – Sicilian Tuna

TunaSic

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 tuna steaks, about 5 ounces each
  • 2 fennel bulbs, thickly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • crusty rolls, to serve

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh red chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • juice and finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the tuna steaks in a large , shallow dish and spoon over a tablespoon of the marinade, turning until well coated. Cover and let marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade.
  2. Heat a stovetop grill pan over high heat. In a separate bowl, put the fennel and onions, add the oil and to toss to coat well. Add to grill pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side until it barely starts acquiring color. Transfer to four warmed serving plates, drizzle with the remaining marinade, keep warm.
  3. Add the tuna steaks to the grill and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes until firm to the touch but still moist inside. Transfer to the serving plates and serve immediately with crusty rolls.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

28
Jun
13

Strawberry Zabaglione


Zabaglione or Zabaione is a delicious Italian dessert made by whisking egg yolks, wine and sugar. The beating is done over simmering water so that the egg yolks gently cook as they thicken into a light, foamy custard. It is best made right before serving.

In France they call sabayon and in Uruguay – where I grew up – we called it sambayon. Regardless of what one calls it, this dessert is like ambrosia of the gods! Here we present you a delicious variation of it:

Strawberry Zabaglione

StrawZab

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb strawberries, halved in or quartered, depending on size.
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons sherry *

Directions

  1. Divide the strawberries among 4 shallow 1 1/4 cup ovenproof dishes or use a large 5 cup dish.
  2. Put the egg yolks, sugar and 4 tablespoons of the sherry in a large bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Cook the mixture, whisking continuously using a handheld electric beater, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and frothy and almost fills the bowl halfway.
  3. Add the remaining sherry and cook until it thickens again. Pour the mixture over the strawberries and sift the confectioner’s sugar over the top.
  4. Cook under a preheated hot broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden, or caramelize the sugar with a cook’s blowtorch. Serve immediately.

Between preparation and cooking time it took 20 minutes to have it ready. Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

19
Sep
12

A Conversation with Walter Potenza


Chef, restaurateur, cooking school director/teacher, food historian Walter Potenza (from Providence, RI’s Potenza Ristorante) will be our guest on tonight’s BlogTalkRadio show at 10:00pm (Eastern Time). We pre-taped this evening’s show, on Sunday morning past, in Providence. Our conversation was truly fascinating; Chef Walter is a warm individual, passionate about food and its history, a true artisan in the kitchen, a superb conversationalist, and a great teacher – in spite of never having graduated from any culinary institution.

Photo by: Irving Schild

We spoke about his fascination with Italian Jewish cuisine, with the history of that cuisine, the research involved and the real reason he is so passionate about it.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, please listen to our talk with Shaya Ostrov, On Dating and Marriage. It was an interesting, illuminating show on something that concerns every parent and every single Jewish person out there.

Please don’t forget to tune us in later this evening, at 10:00pm (Eastern Time), for a great conversation with Chef, restaurateur, food historian and superb teacher, Walter Potenza. We’ll be wait’n for ya!

CS

02
Aug
12

Insalata Caprese


This classic Neapolitan dish is truly a celebration of summer. Easy to prepare and made from simple ingredients it is, however, only as good as the quality of its components.

The tomatoes must be sweet and juicy; the basil should be fresh and very aromatic, the pepper freshly ground.

Insalata Caprese

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

In a bowl alternate the layers of tomato, mozzarella, and basil leaves. Sprinkle with the capers, season with sea salt and pepper.

Coincidentally, the salad sports the red, green and white colors of the Italian flag. Simple, refreshing and delicious, this salad is a feast to the eyes, the nose and the palate; it is a true paean to the joy of any occasion!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

23
Jul
12

Carciofi alla Giudia


I’ve enjoyed Carciofi alla GiudiaJewish Style Artichokes, the crowning dish (or, at least, the best known one) in the rich repertoire of Roman Jewish cuisine at both, Tevere 84 and its sister dairy restaurant Va Bene. I couldn’t get their recipe though there are superb ones posted on line, including a video link on Alessandra Rovati‘s Dinner in Venice blog. Here is my pareve version of this dish:

Carciofi alla Giudia

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 lemons, cut in half
  • 12 small young Italian artichokes
  • olive oil
  • bunch fresh -leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil leaves, shreded
  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cups bread crumbs, for coating
  • fresh parsley or basil leaves for garnishing

Directions

  1. Fill a large bowl halfway with water. Squeeze in the lemon juice from the lemons. Add the lemon halves to the water.
  2. Remove any tough or broken outer leaves from the artichokes and trim the tops with a sharp knife. Cut the stems to 2 to 3 inches and peel the remaining stem, if needed. Place each artichoke in the lemon wateras you prepare them this prevents discoloration.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup of oil with the parsley, basil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Pour the matzo meal into a shallow dish and set aside.
  4. Drain the artichokes. Holding each artichoke by the stem, press the top flat against the work surface to spread open the leaves.Spoon in some of the olive oil dressing between, then roll each one in the bread crumbs to coat evenly.
  5. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in large, heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Arrange the artichokes in the pan in a single layer and cook covered,  for 25 minutes, or until tender and golden brown, turning 3-4 times to brown evenly. Transfer to a serving plate and spoon over any pan juices or drizzle with fresh oil and leave to cool to room temperature before serving. Garnish with basil or parsley.

I strongly recommend using small, long purplish artichokes carried by most Italian specialty stores. If you use large artichokes you must remember to trim them carefully, remove the outer leaves and hairy choke.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

20
Jul
12

Italian Vegetable Stew


One of favorite dairy dishes, just perfect for the 9 Days!

Italian Vegetable Stew

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small acorn squash peeled and seeded
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 eggplant, sliced
  • 1 small celery root, sliced
  • 2 turnips, sliced
  • 1 small celery root, diced
  • 2 turnips sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 1 zucchini sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 6 oz Swiss chard
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • pinch each of dried thyme, dried oregano, and sugar
  • 1 cup from fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock *
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve

Directions

  1. Finely chop the garlic and dice the squash. Put them in a large, heavy-bottom pan with all the other vegetable, the bay leaves, fennel seeds, chilli powder, thyme, oregano, sugar, and half the basil. Pour in the oil and vegetable stock.
  2. Reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
  3. Sprinkle in the remaining basil and the parsley , season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with cheese.

–0o0o0–

* Vegetable Stock (follow the link)

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

11
Jan
12

Biscotti


Biscotti (or biscotto in singular) are Italian cookies which are baked twice, once by first baking in a loaf, then slicing the loaf and baking the slices. They are deliciously crunchy and are just perfect for dipping into dessert wine or coffee.

They are one of my favorite breakfast treats, sometimes I’ll even have them as dessert with wine, after a special dinner. Here is Lévana‘s easy and scrumptious recipe:

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour: all purpose, whole wheat pastry or spelt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon instant coffee powder (decaf OK) mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder


Directions

  1. Mix the eggs, sugar and oil by hand or with a mixer, until well combined. Add all remaining dough ingredients and mix to make a smooth dough. The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a very lightly foured board, roll each piece into a 12 inch cylinder. Transfer each cylinder onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten into a log about 2 1/2 inches wide and and 1/2 inch thick. Make sure the shaped logs are at least 1 inch apart, as they will expand. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Reduce the temperature to 325 F.
  4. When the logs are cool enough to handle, carefully move them onto a cutting board. Cut 1/2 inch slices with a very sharp serrated knife; put the slices back on the cookie sheet, cut upside down and bake again for 20 more minutes or until golden brown and very crisp. (Take one out and let it cool and then taste it. If it’s not very crisp, return the biscotti to the oven for 2 to three minutes.)
  5. Store at room temperature in an airtight cookie tin.

Yield: About 4 dozen

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS




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