Archive for the 'kosher Italian cuisine' Category



25
Aug
11

Cioppino


This past Monday eve, SYR and I attended Lévana‘s Dinner and a Show: Light Italian Feast. As usual it was enjoyable, educational and absolutely DELICIOUS! Certainly one of the best cooking classes I’ve ever attended.

We especially liked the Cioppino and Lévana graciously allowed us to post her recipe:

Cioppino

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 ribs celery, peeled
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered, centers removed, sliced-thin
  • 3 leeks, darkest parts removed
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 2 good pinches saffron
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon anise and fennel seeds
  • Good pinch cloves
  • Good pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 2-ounce can anchovies, drained and rinsed
  • 1 side salmon (about 3 pounds), cut in large cubes
  • 1 pound flaked mock crab
  • 1 large bunch flat parsley, minced

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy wide bottom pot. In a food processor coarsely grind the garlic, celery, pepper and onion. Add the ground mixture to the pot, with the leeks, and sautè until translucent. Reduce to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Add the fish and parsley and cook just 5 more minutes. Ladle into soup bowls, and serve with good toasted bread or croutons.

Though it took me more 60 years to even taste fish, I can assure you (as does, SYR) that these was an incredibly tasty soup with a rich array of subtle flavors. Considering the ingredients… I can actually say…. it’s good for you, as well!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

22
Aug
11

Chef Haim Dadi – The Dream Concrete


Since he was very young, Haim Dadi knew what he wanted to do. His parents had a restaurant in Israel and whenever he visited their place – as a child – he loved the hustle and bustle, the aromas, the sounds of the patrons.  He is currently Chef/Partner of 18 Restaurant on 81st Street and 2nd Avenue. I’ve watched and followed him through every area of his restaurant and – as amiable as he is outside the cooking area – it is in the kitchen that he truly comes alive as he cooks, as he talks to his staff, as he experiments with more delicious ways of preparing his fare.

I spoke to Chef Haim recently to find out what makes him tick, what it is that spurs him on. Twenty five years ago he opened his first restaurant in Beersheva with his brother, serving mostly shawarma and a few other grilled items. Three years later, he arrived in New York and opened his first venture in Forest Hills – Tel Aviv Haktanah, though very successful he did not get along with his partner.

He left for a place in Manhattan called Shelanu, which eventually evolved into Mr. Broadway. It started out with a limited Israeli menu, yet considering the demographics in and around its location, it did not work too well. Over a period of seven years they slowly introduced various new types: deli, Chinese, shawarma and sushi. With the addition of all those cuisines Mr. Broadway, soon had one of the largest menus in Manhattan. With very moderate prices and the rich selection they expanded over the years and became a very successful venture, a fixture of the New York kosher Scene.

About a year ago, Chef Dadi was ready for bigger challenges. Together with Sidney Cohen he opened up 18 Restaurant on the premises of what used to be the high end Turquoise. In spite of the high quality of its servings, Turquoise had become a victim of the new recession.

Walking into 18, with its turquoise wall and aquarium, opposite an antiqued stone wall and red fixtures, gives the impression of an upscale expensive place. A quick look, however, at the menu immediately dispels the notion of “expensive.” The food served here is of higher quality than at his former place and in the year since they’ve opened they managed to gather a faithful following that fills the restaurant every day at lunch and dinner. The sushi is superb, and coming from someone who never touched fish until two years ago, someone who never thought he’d ever taste sushi, you can take it as very high praise indeed. I can never resist ordering Chef Haim’s Yemenite Meat Soup, or his juicy hamburgers. He doesn’t serve exotic dishes, instead he specializes in a wholesome array including Eastern European, Mediterranean, sushi and deli selections. He envisions 18 as a purveyor of high quality food at reasonable prices and… the concept works!

As a young child, Haim Dadi had a dream; as a man, he’s made the dream concrete!

CS

22
Jan
10

Noi Due


Noi Due – Us Two (143 W 69th St New York; NY 10023; Telephone: 212. 712.2222)… aah, the memories it brought back! Having traveled extensively through Italy, having taken in the aromas, this restaurant made me feel I had somehow magically returned to il bel paese. With its authentic decor, softly played romantic Italian songs… SYR and I knew almost from the moment we stepped in that the food would also have that authentic, simple, fresh taste. We were not disappointed!

As soon as we sat down they brought us a basket of home made foccaccia bread, with an oil dip. The bread had that fresh delicate scent that easily succeeded in whetting our appetite for what would come.

SYR stated her meal with a Minestrone, while I had a Zuppa di Pomodoro con Ricotta (Cream of Tomato Soup with a Ball of Ricotta).

Minestrone

The aroma of both soups, the simple country look, the freshness… mmmmMMMmm mmmMMmm! My tomato soup was a slight bit more orangeish than I had expected and that made it a greater feast for the eye. The combination of hot soup and the cold ricotta, brought two different flavors to perfectly complement each other. Somehow the contrast brought out both the soup’s and the cheese’s flavors in full force. The aroma of the fresh basil only enhanced the culinary experience.

SYR‘s Minestrone cooked to perfection, allowed her to taste each individual piece of vegetable. She loved it!

She followed it with a grilled Salmone which sat on a bed of potatoes and asparagus, it was topped with onion rings. Between the presentation and the aromas emanating from it it looked very enticing. She described the potatoes as very buttery, the salmon as delicate and not “fishy” tasting in the least, and the onion rings as just perfect.

Salmon with potatoes and onion rings

I had the Carcioffi Ripieni – Stuffed Artichokes. They came with artichoke bottom stuffed with fresh vegetables served in a lemon caper sauce. The flavor was just tart enough to enhance the vegetables without overpowering them.

We then shared a dish of Cheese Ravioli.

Cheese Ravioli with Gorgonzola and Parmigiano

The ricotta filled ravioli came with Gorgonzola, cream, walnuts, sprinkled parmigiano and spices. Being a cheese lover (wifey used to joke that I must have been an Italian mouse in another gilgul) the combination of the three cheeses was – as my mother used to say in yiddish – ta’am fun ganeiden, the taste of paradise!

The dishes went well with a delightful 2008 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

No meal at an Italian restaurant could be complete without a good cappuccino for me, and an espresso for SYR. Again, the aromas seduced us, and at least in my case this was one the best cappuccinos I ever enjoyed!

By six o’clock, this 40 seat eatery was filled to the gills. Service was prompt, the staff was friendly and enthusiastic, the portions were fair, the prices surprising low. Noi Due‘s motto is “poco ma buono – little but good.” They more than lived to it! We both enjoyed our experience there. We know we’ll be back, we have to!

CS




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