Archive for the 'Levana's Table' Category

28
Oct
12

Miso, Shiitake and Swiss Chard Soup


With winter fast approaching, with a predicted hurricane – a “frankenstorm” as the media refers to it – about to hit New York this very evening, it’s time to start thinking about comfort food. What better than a nice hot, hearty soup?

From Levana’s Table, by Lévana Kirschenbaum (page 48):

Miso, Shiitake and Swiss Chard Soup

Photo by: Ann Stratton, page 49

Makes 8 – 10 servings

Although the flavors are rich and complex, rthis soupis ready in about 15 minutes. Miso adds its intriguing fermented flavor and a bulky but not starchy texture to the broth. It is important to add the Swiss chard aat the very end of the cooking process., so that it retains its brilliant color. The corn adds a wonderful flavor.

2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, caps, thinly sliced
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dark or light miso paste
2 ears of corn, cobs cut into 1-inch rounds
3 – 4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon bottled hot sauce
1 pound firm or extra_firm tofu, cut into sticks
1 bunch (1 pound) Swiss chard, leaves only, cut into ribbons
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Combine the water, mushrooms ginger, miso, and corn in a heavy pot  and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, hot sauce, and tofu. Bring to a boil again. Add the Swiss chard and scallions and cook for one more minute, until the Swiss chard is wilted. Serve hot.

The elements may be raging outside, but this soup is certain to keep you warm.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

22
Aug
12

Grilled Minted Beef Kabobs and Moroccan Tomato Salad


With the summer almost over, I’ve been frantically looking for more grilling recipes. I found this one – which promises to taste incredibly delicious – in Lévana Kirschenbaum‘s LEVANA’S TABLE:

Photo by: Ann Statton for LEVANA’S TABLE, page 105

Grilled Minted Beef Kabobs

This is the stuff of the barbecues of my childhood: hamburgers with a Meditteranean twist. These are perfect with Moroccan Tomato Salad (below). If you are avoiding beef or lamb and decide to substitute ground turkey, increase the amounts of seasoning to taste and add three tablespoons of olive oil to the mixture.

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

Makes about 6 servings

Prepare the grill or preheat the broiler

Combine the onion, parsley, and mint in a food processor and pulse untul finely choppe, do not let mixture get watery. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the cumin, paprika, cayenne, beef and pepper to taste..

Form about 18 logs approximately 1 inch in diameter and 4 inches long. Thread onto wet wooden or metal skewers. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve hot. allow 2 to 3 skewers per guest.

As Levana tells us above, this dish combines perfectly with:

Photo by: Ann Stratton for LEVANA’S TABLE, page 65

Moroccan Tomato Salad

We Moroccans cook tomatoes, sun-dry tomatoes, pickle tomatooes, candy tomatoes-we prepare tomatoes in every way possible. In Mediterranean climates, they are spectacular year round, inexpensive and bursting with color and fragrance. Recently, it has become easier (altjhough not cheaper) to get decent tomatoes throughout the year in the United States. This salad includes capers, gherkins, and preserved lemons; it is delightfully fragrant, colorful and refreshing. If you do nopt have preserved lemons on hand, simply omit them and proceed with the recipe.  If you must make this salad ahead of time, make it without the tomatoes (up to two days ahead), then add the tomatoes before serving.

6 plum tomatoes, seeds and juice discarded, diced
2 tablespoons minced purple onion
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, preferably tiny nonpareils
1/4 cup minced dill pickle
6 pitted green olives, minced
2 pickled hot peppers, chopped (optional)
1/4 of a preserved lemon, skin onl, rinsed and finely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper

Makes 6 servings

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

31
Jan
11

Our Guest This Week Will Be…


Last week we presented Jay Buchsbaum the Executive VP of the Royal Wine Co., as our interviewee. You can hear Jay and his encyclopedic knowledge of all things wine, here

This coming Wednesday, at 8:00pm, our guest will be Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum, the regulars of this blog know how much we enjoy her cooking demos, how much we enjoy her recipes. Mrs. Kirschenbaum has written three cookbooks Lévana’s Table, In Short Order and Lévana Cooks Dairy-Free!. She’s now hard at work on her fourth cookbook on Superfoods, due out this coming summer.

Who is Lévana? What are her credentials? Most of you may remember her ground breaking restaurant Lévana’s, but there is far more as we are told on her website:

For nearly thirty years Lévana Kirschenbaum has owned and operated a catering business, a bakery and a successful Manhattan restaurant all while raising a family. She understands that even gourmet chefs don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. With this in mind, she keeps the recipes simple, insisting that using fresh, natural ingredients will yield fantastic results without a lot of fuss.

When Lévana opened her eponymous restaurant with her two brothers-in-law twenty five years ago, all Kirschenbaums were perfectly aware they were facing a hard sell: introduce fine kosher dining to the Kosher public, who until then was content either eating at home or grabbing a bite in the rare joints that served institutional old world treats. The general prediction was that the presumptuous idea would fall flat on its face.

Undaunted by being the trailblazers of the trend, they surrounded themselves with the best chefs, developed the most delicious dishes and waited patiently until the idea of gourmet kosher caught on. The rest, as we all know, is history: kosher food and wine has experienced a veritable explosion and has its place among the most prestigious competitions. Many luxury kosher restaurants have opened and thrived since Lévana’s pioneering days, bearing out the dictum that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

With over 25 years of experience in professional cooking, recipe development, catering and teaching, celebrity chef Lévana makes the preparation of nutritious and exotic gourmet cuisine easy. She gets countless devoted fans for her fearless, practical and nutritious approach to cooking and spreads the good word on simple, streamlined, elegant and wholesome dining in her classroom on the Upper West Side – where she gives weekly demos – and around the country.

What is her goal?

Fine dining that is also contemporary, nutritious and easy to prepare is a way of life that Lévana instills in her classes. Lévana’s unfussy, straightforward approach utilizes fresh, all natural ingredients to create international flavors from her native Morocco and other wide-ranging culinary influences.

I’ve known Lévana for a while now and I can assure you that the show will be truly informative and entertaining. Just listen in, gentle reader, at 8:00pm on Wednesday, February 2nd, on Jewish Radio Network. Enter the site and click on the red “here” under the white “Radio,” then wait about 30 to 90 seconds for the application to start streaming.

CS

24
Dec
10

The Joy of Cookbooks


There was a time when cookbooks were written dry as a road map, the writing was limited to exact cooking directions, nothing more; in their current generation, cookbooks tell a story – besides presenting us with succulent recipes – we are regaled with personal anecdotes, or the various transformations of the specific dish, something about the region or culture that created it and so on. Quite often the result is very readable and interesting, even if you do not plan to make the specific recipe at the moment, there is something about it that catches your eye, excites your imagination and makes your taste buds salivate.

Food writing, differs from other types and yet it combines so many staple features of all the others. More than any other writing, however, it affords us huge insights into its author’s personality, interests, quirks, likes, dislikes and sometimes, personal life. Oft, you come away with the feeling you reunited with an old friend or that you just met someone you’ll love revisiting time and time again.

From books that trace Jewish influences on a specific country’s cuisine (like Joyce Goldstein‘s Cucina Ebraica), to books that bring us anecdotes, personal stories and more about the author’s or the recipes’ background (like Lévana Kirschenbaum‘s Lévana’s Table), or the incredible well researched Encyclopedia of Jewish Foods by Gil Marks (I’ve only seen a few random pages of the last, but I found it absolutely fascinating!!!), reading food writing – specifically kosher food writing – connects us with our past as a people, connects us with new friends we’d probably never have met otherwise, connects with our traditions. Yes, gentle reader, reading a cookbook is not what it used to be, there is a lot to learn from it – far more than how to prepare a flavorful dish. As Gil Marks so aptly puts it in his Encyclopedia:

Food is more than just sustenance. It is a reflection of the history, culture and values, and this is specially true of the Jewish people–a community that spans the globe. From Brooklyn to India and everywhere in between, Jewish food is represented by a fascinating array of dishes, rituals, and traditions.

Jewish cuisine is truly international. In every location Jews settled, they brought culinary traditions and also adapted local dishes modifying them to fit dietary laws, lifestyles and tastes. Unique traditions and dishes developed within the cuisines of North Africa, Europe, Persia, and the Mediterranean, but all are recognizably Jewish.

Enjoy your reading, gentle reader, and excite your taste buds.

CS

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09
Apr
10

Lévana’s Recipe


[Lévana Kirschenbaum, the power behind Lévana's, the restaurant that pioneered the kosher gastronomic experience paired with wines dry and sweet in New York City, is author of two superb cookbooks:  Levana's Table, Levana Cooks Dairy Free! and a Book/DVD set, based on her cooking classes: In Short Order. I'm a chocaholic and when I saw this recipe on her website, I just had to quote it here! CS.]

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Posted on April 9th, 2010 by Lévana

This will take you about five minutes to prepare, and will knock your socks (and your guests’!) off. And although it tastes sinfully rich, it contains no eggs and no cream. So what’s the secret? The best chocolate, that’s what: Start with real chocolate (no brand affectionately called “heimish”) brand: They contain a smidgen of chocolate and loads of sugar: Who needs it? Get a good brand, even a price club brand will do. I assure you that if enough of you customers will ask your kosher supermarket to carry some good chocolate products, they will be happy to oblige! So, use good ingredients, and taste the difference!

Ingredients:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or grated semisweet chocolate), only the best
2 tablespoons
instant coffee powder
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup pure cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoon brandy or rum (unflavored please)
1 pound silken tofu, drained

Instructions:

In a small saucepan, on a very low flame, place all but last ingredient, and cook, stirring, until melted. This will take about 2-3 minutes (Or microwave 2 minutes). Transfer the mixture to a food processor, with the tofu, and process one full minute, until perfectly smooth. Pour the mixture into 6 to 8 dessert glasses or cups, and refrigerate until firm, 2-3 hours.

Enjoy, my mouth is watering already!!!

CS




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