Archive for the 'Mediterranean cuisine' Category

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

10
Aug
11

Tonight’s Radio Show – Alessandra Rovati From Dinner In Venice


Last minute cancellation due to unforeseen emergency!

Last minute cancellation due to unforeseen emergency!

Photo by: Irving Schild

Italian cuisine has earned a very well deserved place in the pantheon of superior cookery from around the world. Within that cuisine, it is the Cucina Ebraica, the Jewish Italian cuisine, which is considered its crown jewel. Our guest on The Kosher Scene Radio Show, this evening, will be Venetian born and bred Alessandra Rovati from  Dinner In Venice.com website and blog.  We will discuss the history of the Jews in Italy, a history that goes back almost 2200 years, the history of Jews in Venice specifically and, of course, the famed Jewish Italian cuisine.

Venice is where the first Jewish Ghetto came to be in 1500. The earliest known mention of Jews in Venice is around 1090. The census in 1152 showed 1300 of our coreligionists, mostly merchants, originally from Germany and  the Levant. Throughout its history, Venice has been the venue for some of the most picturesque chapters in our people’s history, featuring both famous and infamous Jewish personalities.

Please tune us in this evening on the internet’s blogtalkradio.com, at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time), for what promises to be a very interesting, and informative show.

If you missed our show last week with Ezzy Duchman from Jewpon, you can hear it here. The guest was interesting, the subject will save you money!

Please, don’t forget to tune us in this evening’s for our conversation with the charming, Alassandra Rovati, when we will explore the  history and the cuisine of Jewish Italy at 8:00pm (Eastern Time). We’ll be wait’n for ya…

CS

***UPDATE***

7:25 pm (Eastern Time) Ms. Rovati had a small electrical fire in her house and had to cancel this evening’s appearance.

09
May
11

Chicken Tajine


This recipe is a delicious meal all by itself and it’s made in one pot, there is less cleaning and it’s an easier dinner to prepare. What could be more satisfying than the delicious aromas of healthy cooking wafting through the kitchen, especially when it’s all done with little effort? There are many versions of this dish; last eve some Moroccan friends, visiting from Israel, came over and this is the variation I made.

Chicken Tajine

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 onion, cut into small wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 lb chicken cutlets
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 8 oz zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 3 oz portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (see CS’ Chicken Broth)
  • 10 oz chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dates, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook for three minutes, stir frequently.
  2. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 5 minutes. until all sides are seared.
  3. Add the cumin and the cinnamon sticks after the first 2 1/2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir constantly, for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini, the bell peeper and mushrooms. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Blend the tomato paste with the chicken broth, stir into pan, bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and add the chickpeas, apricots, prunes, and dates. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Garnish  with chopped cilantro or parsley (I used cilantro) and serve immediately.
We paired it with with a Willm Gewurztraminer 2008. With fresh flowers and citrus on the nose, flavors of pineapple, honeydew, lychee and apple with lots of honey on the finish. This is a dry white but with a subtle hint of sweetness on the tongue, elegant rather than big and bold,  it is clean, refreshing and with just enough acidity to accentuate the sweetness of the dish. A marriage made in heaven!
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! We did.
CS
17
Dec
10

Shakshuka


When I lived in Israel, I discovered the Sephardic cuisine. Growing up in Uruguay, I had occasional eaten over by some of my Sefaradi friends but never encountered most of the delicacies I found in the Holy Land. One of this discoveries was Shakshouka, therefore I felt compelled to scour the web in search of easy recipes for it.

What is Shakshouka, you ask? Wikipedia describes it as:

Photo from: Wikipedia

Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎; Hebrew: שקשוקה‎) (also shakshukashaqshuqa) is a dish from Maghreb consisting of eggs cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices (often including cumin, turmeric, and chillies), and usually served with white bread.

[..] Shakshouka is now a staple of Tunisian, Algerian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Somali, and Yemeni cuisines, and is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews.

And here is the Wikibooks recipe for Shakshouka:

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons of frying olive oil
  • One tablespoon of sweet paprika
  • 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • One large sweet red pepper diced
  • One Chili pepper (red or green) diced
  • 6 ripe tomatoes diced
  • Ground fresh black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 eggs

Procedure

  1. On a high flame, heat the oil for about half a minute.
  2. Add the paprika and blend well.
  3. Add the garlic and peppers, and turn to low flame. Cook for about ten minutes – until the peppers have slightly softened.
  4. Add the tomatoes and spice it with salt and pepper and then blend it.
  5. Bring it to a boil, taste it and if necessary – add spices to get the taste refined.
  6. Makes six dents in the mixture. Into each dent put an egg yolk, and spread the egg whites around.
  7. Continue to cook on low until the egg whites have coagulated.
  8. Serve the Shakshouka with black bread and fresh parsley.

From the Spanish language blog: Absolut Marruecos, we bring you this authentic Morrocan recipe:

Photo by: Absolut Marruecos

shakshuka con huevos

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 grated onion
  • 7 ounces water
  • 36 ounces tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon green pepper, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 eggs

Directions

  1. Sauté onion in very hot oil until just golden.
  2. In a pot add the water, tomatoes, let it boil for 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate pot cook the rice.
  4. Add the parsley, salt, pepper and green pepper.
  5. Carefully break the eggs one at a time and drop on the tomato pot.
  6. Cook for about 40 minutes on medium flame.

When Mia Cooks, adds an interesting variation:

Shakshuka

Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped bell pepper
  • 4 to 5 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup veg broth
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • coriander/cilantro leaves
  • Vegetable oil

Actually, it’d be better if you boil the tomatoes and then peel and chop them. But I forgot….heck, ok, I was too lazy.

  1. In a pan, heat a tbsp of vegetable oil.
  2. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and veg broth.
  4. Add the peas and corn as well. Season with salt and chilli powder.
  5. Simmer and allow to cook till the corn and peas are cooked and there’s some liquid left.
  6. Break the eggs into the base.
  7. Break the yolks with a spoon, cover and simmer. If you like your eggs runny, remove it well under a minute. I don’t, so i let it cook for 2 minutes till it firmed up. Add chopped cilantro and serve with bread.

Enjoy gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

04
May
10

Savor It!


Savor (2925 Avenue P; Brooklyn, NY 11229; Telephone: 718.338.1353), a newly opened dairy restaurant is off to a running start with a superb menu. It features Mediterranean and Asian dishes, each made in authentic, exacting manner without compromise.

A partial view...

SYR and I had the pleasure of eating here, mid-afternoon today. Lior Saiag, the Chef/owner graduated from the New York Restaurant School in 2000 and has since worked at some of the most prestigious eateries in town, under very demanding famous chefs in the city.

Savor represents sort of a coming home, where Chef Lior can provide the frum community with the exacting cuisine standards which, while de rigueur in the non-Jewish world, have not always been present in kosher restaurants. With a more sophisticated consumer, with a clientele no longer content with the standard fare of the past, Chef Lior family is bringing to Savor a rich and wholesome menu.

We started our meal with the in-house made bread and butter.

A light focaccia served on an oak board

SYR followed with Salmon Stuffed with Spinach and Feta, it comes with herbed orzo and a cherry tomato salad.

Salmon Stuffed with Spinach and Feta

The subtle blend of flavors was perfect match. While SYR, never cared for Feta cheese, combining it with with the salmon and the spinach helped her discover a savory dimension she never before experienced.

I had their Chilli Rubbed Grilled Tuna.

Chilli Rubbed Grilled Tuna

It came with buttery mashed potatoes and lemon scented steamed broccoli. The tuna tasted amazingly like a beef steak. As a potato lover, I found the mashed potatoes incredibly delicious and even the broccoli was delectable (my mother would never have imagined I could ever say such a thing about broccoli!).

A great meal at a restaurant with a very nice Mediteranean décor. The attention to detail in the presentation, in the cooking and in the appearance of the restaurant, make it quite obvious that this establishment represents a labor of love, a chef’s dream come true even as it constantly evolves.

CS

Savor on Urbanspoon




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