Archive for the 'Nine Days' Category

15
Jul
13

Avgolemono – Lemon Egg Soup


I first discovered this Greek Avgolemono Soup, in the ’70s, while living in Tel Aviv and it has appeared on our table countless times since:

Avgolemono Soupa

Avgolemono

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 cups fish stock * (I’ve always used chicken stock, but I’ve adapted this recipe here to comply with the requirements for the 9 Days)
  • 1/3 cup orzo
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • white pepper

Directions

  1. Bring stock to the boil,  add orzo and salt to taste. Stir until the stock starts boiling again. Cover and simmer for about 18 minutes or until rice or the orzo  is tender.
  2. In a bowl beat egg whites until stiff, add yolks and beat until light and creamy. Gradually beat in lemon juice.
  3. Ladle about a quarter of the simmering soup into the eggs, whisking constantly.
  4. Slowly add the egg mixture to the soup, while stirring vigorously. Remove soup from heat. Continue stirring for 1 minute as you adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately.

* Fish Stock

Yields: 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 pounds bones and heads of fish such as sole, flounder, cod, halibut, chopped
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until golden, (6 to 8 minutes).
  2. Add chopped fish, water, vinegar, peppercorns, and salt and bring to a boil, skimming froth, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes.
  3. Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids. If using stock right away, skim off and discard any fat. If not, cool stock completely, uncovered, before skimming fat (it will be easier to remove when cool).

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

07
Jul
13

Potato, Mushrooms and Sour Cream Pie


Another 9 Days dish that can easily be made parve:

Potato, Mushrooms and Sour Cream Pie

PotMushPie

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine, if you prefer to keep it pareve)
  • 1 pound potatoes, thinly sliced and parboiled
  • 2 cups sliced mixed mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives, plus extra for garnishing
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (for a pareve dish, substitute with this pareve sour cream recipe, or with Tofutti Sour Cream)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Grease a shallow round ovenproof dish with butter. Layer a quarter of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Arrange a quarter of the of the mushrooms on top of the potatoes and sprinkle with a quarter of the rosemary, chives and garlic. Continue making layers in the same order, finishing with a layer of potatoes on top. Pour the sour cream over the top of the potatoes. Season to to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook in a preheated oven at 375 F., for about 45 minutes or until the top potatoes are golden brown and piping hot.
  3. Garnish with snipped chives and serve immediately

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

22
Jul
12

This Evening’s Kosher Scene’s Internet Radio Show


Our guest for this evening’s special show at 8:00pm (Eastern Time) is Avi Gantz, the General Manager at Pomegranate Supermarket (1507 Coney Island Avenue – corner of Avenue L – Brooklyn, New York 11230; Tel: 718.951.7112). We will be discussing Pomegranate‘s special offerings for the Nine Days.

With many new items and some items specially made for these Nine Days, meals need neither be drab nor boring. Avi will tell us how we can avoid meat and still have delicious, healthy, meals.

Partial views of the Salad department (above) and the Sushi Department (bottom)

Meanwhile in case you missed it, please listen to our show with Naomi Sugar, ice cream confectioner extraordinaire, blogger at 365scoops.com.

Don’t forget to tune us in this evening, at 8:00pm (Eastern Time), when our guest will be Avi Gantz, the General Manager at Pomegranate Supermarket (1507 Coney Island Avenue – corner of Avenue L – Brooklyn, New York 11230; Tel: 718.951.7112).

04
Aug
11

A Simple Favorite Pasta Dish


A recipe need not be elaborate to make a tasty dish, especially in these hot days, there is no need to spend a long time in the kitchen. Here’s One of my favorite ways to prepare a simple but delicious pasta and it’s great for the Nine Days or anytime.

Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped, parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • chilli pepper flakes (optional)
Directions
  1. In a large pan boil some lightly salted water. Add the spaghetti and boil again, cook for 8 – 9 minutes or until tender but still a bit resistant to the bite (al dente).
  2. In the meantime, while the spaghetti is cooking, heat the oil in a skillet, add the garlic and a pinch of salt cooking over low heat. Stir constantly for 3 – 4 minutes or until golden brown. Do not let the garlic become brown for it will adversely affect the taste. Remove from heat
  3. Drain the spaghetti and put on a large, warmed, serving dish. Pour in the olive oil, add the
  4. For a bit more color and an extra kick in taste, sprinkle sparingly with chili pepper flakes.
Yields 4 Servings
Easy to make and truly delectable. Sometimes, when the mood strikes me, I’ll add some finely grated parmeggiano and will then skip the chili pepper flakes.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!
CS
02
Aug
11

POM Wonderful!


I learned at a very tender age that “Have it, it’s good for you!” would inevitably refer to something that tasted very bad. Fast forward a couple of decades (OK, OK so it’s more than that, I confess, I confess!) and  I’m a fan of Pom Wonderful because  it’s actually “good for you,” delicious and refreshing.

Delicious, refreshing, good for you

Pomegranate juice has a great concentration of antioxidants, various studies say it is similar to red wine, purple grape juice and black tea. Preliminary research has shown that it may reduce the danger of various types of cancer, it may reduce serum cholesterol and protect arteries from clogging. In the summer I like it as an ice cold drink, but it is a very popular ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. It is also used as a marinade for grilled meats.

Since we are in the Nine Days and meat may not be eaten, I thought it appropriate to bring you a delicious fish recipe, which I adapted from Perfect Jewish, by Elizabeth Wolfe-Cohen, published by Parragon Books.

Photo from: Perfect Jewish, page 106. - Copyright by: Parragon Books, Ltd.

Stuffed Oven-Baked Trout with Pomegranates

Yields: 4 servings

  • 4 Whole trout, about 10 to 12 oz each, cleaned, scaled, rinsed and dried
  • vegetable oil for oiling
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
Stuffing
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and skinned
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 4 tablespoons POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ripe pomegranate
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Prepare the stuffing. heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium high fire. Add the onion and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Stir in the pistachios, cardamon, POM Wonderful and the remaining oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. With a sharp knife, slice off the top of the pomegranate. Cut the thick skin into 6 wedgesand pull apart into sections. Carefully scoop the seeds into a small bowl, removing the skin membranes and reserving any juice. Add about three quarters of the seeds to the stuffing and stir to combine.
  4. Oil a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the fish. Season fish to taste with salt and pepper, inside and out. Cut into the fish’ skin diagonally 2 to 3 times on each side. Spoon one quarter of the stuffing into each fish. Arrange in the dish.
  5. Drizzle with the melted margarine. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the flesh flakes when pierced with a tip of a knife. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with the remaing pomegranate seeds and juice.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

18
Jul
10

Survival of the nicest? – The strange case of George R. Price.


As we abjure from physical pleasures for 25 hours this Tisha B’Av, fasting, mourning, deep in contemplative prayer, reading the Kinot and the Book of Lamentations (Eicha), commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples and other calamities that befell the Jews, I give you the strange case of George R. Price.

Several weeks ago, I caught the tail end of an NPR (820 am on the radio dial) segment. The piece described George R. Price- physical chemist, population geneticist, science journalist, mathematical and theoretical biologist, a quirky eccentric genius.  He worked on the Manhattan Project, acted as consultant on graphic data processing for IBM, and even worked as a cancer research assistant.

George R. Price

George Price was also a man obsessed with the apparent altruism found in nature (a term coined by August Comte) and its negation drawn from the Darwinian Theory of natural selection and the survival of the fittest. (Don’t leave just yet, there is a point drawn from the reference.) Unlike reciprocal symbiotic relationships typified by the primate behavior of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’, biological altruism refers to cases in nature where life forms as divergent as bacteria and dolphins exhibit behaviors analogous to kindness and sacrifice for the greater good. The honey bee, for example, may perform 100 times or more a ‘waggle dance’ -a pin-pointing signal for beehive members to spot food and new nesting sites. Essential for the colony’s survival, it does not directly benefit the waggle dancer worker bee. There are cooperative behaviors found in social insects like bees, wasps and ants; for example, sterile females in the colonies assist reproducing females with their offspring.  The loud squawk of the ‘watchman’ bird alerts other birds to the approach of predators like hawks, giving the flock time to fly off, while drawing the attention of the prey to itself. Wolves, lions and other animals risk their lives hunting prey, bringing back food for other members of their pack. The pelican will provide fish for blind pelicans within their flock. “The Arabian babblers (small birds) dance and take baths together, offer themselves gifts, clean themselves, and sometimes enter into conflict with each other for the privilege of helping another babbler. They may also feed their counterparts” (wiki) Dogs and other ‘sympathetic’ creatures often adopt strays or orphaned animals outside their species. Dolphins support sick or injured animals, swimming under them for hours at a time, pushing them to the surface so they can breathe. Darwin knew of these altruistic behaviors and it is said to have vexed him. Others came up with game theories (see John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern, John Maynard Smith) that mathematically tried to quantify, rationalize and find equilibrium (see Nash equilibrium) to behaviors in humans and in animals in which one individual benefits at another’s expense.

George Price, expanded on game theory, and spent years trying to come up with a mathematical equation to express altruistic behavior in nature and how such traits are genetically passed on. Eventually he did, and it became known as the Price Equation. The ability to quantify such an equation actually depressed George Price, for it meant that altruism was now a quantifiable, pre-determined, not chance or willed action, but rather inevitable. He abandoned his deep-seated atheism, coming to believe that it was beyond coincidence, but rather an act of Divine intervention, that led him to such a highly improbable equation.  He obsessively spent his remaining days trying to prove that the human spirit was greater than any random probability or equation; helping the poor, giving all his possessions to street beggars and drunks.  The depletion of his funds to aid the needy, the cruel actions of others, along with his physical/emotional deterioration, resulted in the tragic taking of his own life in 1975.

What struck me so strongly in all of this, was how a heretofore atheist came to see the ‘spirit’ of man to have the powers to dominate above all scientific reason or postulate. That in spite of the pre-programmed altruism in nature, such a brilliant mind could come to cherish the notion of a human spirit capable of willful good and selfless kindness toward others as such a strong driver that man can free himself from his animalistic, limited, determined nature and spirit the cause of something higher than himself.

The Jewish concept of sympathetic altruism whether reciprocal in nature or not is one of the cornerstones of the Jewish people.  The reward system and reciprocal benefits of the world to come is secondary to the obligation of each Jew to act for the well-being of his fellow Jew.  “Kol Yisroel arevim ze laze”.  We are intertwined, arms and legs of the same tree trunk rooted to His will and divine Torah. What affects one affects us all. We are responsible for one another and are obligated in demonstrating kindness and sympathy toward our fellow man, even at the expense of ourselves or possessions.  If altruism is evident in animal behaviors, what can the collective conscious collaboration of man accomplish if his actions and goals are acclimatized for the greater good?

Absorbed in the minutia of our lives and practices, we may become misdirected; missing emotional, physical, spiritual cues of others in our midst or beyond our normal perimeters. The jig of quantifiable causes, ‘meaningful’ actions, or pursuit of golden idols and placards often distracts us. Our ‘on loan’ possessions, tools and talents are by our choosing capable of manifesting sweet harmonics of creation of the highest human endeavors. May we never lose sight of our altruistic capabilities and may we collectively rebuild a binyan adei ad bimhera biyamenu.

SYR

12
Jul
10

Nine Days’ Specials – Part 1


Considering we do not eat meat during the Nine Day (which started last evening and runs through the 20th, the day of Tisha B’Av  – 9th of Av, when the Romans burned down the Second Temple. It continued smoldering until noon the next day.) meat restaurants either close down during this period or readjust to a special menu.

Though at very opposite ends of the price spectrum, these two restaurants – among others – offer special menus for the Nine Days. While one is a high end eatery, outstanding in its delicious and very imaginative gourmet dishes, Mike’s Bistro, the other is a more down to earth establishment with superb sushi, great appetizers and tasty, wholesome, fish dishes 18 Restaurant, very moderately priced.

Mike’s Bistro: Nine Days’ Menu

Cold Appetizers

  • Baby Spinach Salad red wine vinaigrette, boiled egg, tomatoes, red onions, chives
  • Garden Vegetable Salad tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, avocado, snow pea shoots, parsley & lemon vinaigrette
  • Portobello Mushroom and Arugula Salad balsamic reduction, red onions, enoki mushroom, crushed croutons, caesars style mushroom dressing
  • Fresh Legume Salad mixed legumes, marinated tomato, sprouts, white wine vinaigrette
  • *Roasted & Marinated Beet Salad candied walnuts, fresh citrus segments, orange beet vinaigrette, shaved endive, haricot vert

Roasted and Marinated Beet Salad

Hot Appetizers

  • Hand Shucked Corn Chowder cajun mirepoix, diced fish, chili oil, fresh herbs
  • Chipotle Spiced Bean Soup black rice, avocado, crispy corn tortilla, cilantro
  • *Porcini & Wild Mushroom Consomme acini di pepe, shitake mushrooms, sliced portobello, fresh herbs
  • Braised Royal Trumpet Mushrooms english pea puree, white asparagus, marinated tomato, mushroom glace, fresh herbs
  • Fresh Cod Fritters frisee, house-made remoulade sauce

Main Courses

  • Wild Striped Bass acini di pepe, fresh summer succotash, smoked vidalia onion vinaigrette
  • Mushroom Scented Rice Noodles edamame, sprouts, carrot puree, exotic mushrooms, toasted sunflower seeds
  • *Handmade Gnocchi “Ala Vodka” smoked salmon, fresh peas, fresh herbs
  • Chinese Style Steamed Market Fish pan charred napa cabbage,  ginger, scallions, garlic, sesame oil
  • Summer Squash Cannelloni spicy marinara sauce, breaded zucchini, fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil
  • Grilled Hawaiian “Walu” Fish marinated artichokes, peppers, beans, capers, lemon vinaigrette, olive tapenade

*denotes signature item

18 restaurant: Nine Days’ Menu

Sushi

Eighteen Fresh Crisp Salads

  • Eighteen Salad cucumbers, carrots, avocado, cherry tomatoes on top of mesclun, romaine lettuce
  • Salad Nicoise white tuna salad, capers, olives, avocado, egg, cherry tomatoes on top of mesclun, romaine lettuce
  • Grilled Fresh Salmon Salad grilled salmon steak on top of mesclun, romaine lettuce with assorted vegetables
  • Tuna Salad Platter

All salads come dressed with a choice of balsamic vinaigrette, red wine vinaigrette, Thousand Island dressing or dill dressing

  • Eighteen Tricolor Pasta Primavera

Eighteen Fresh Fish Selection

  • Fish N Chips
  • Pan Fried Filet of Sole
  • Broiled Filet of Sole
  • Salmon
  • Chilean Sea Bass

All fish served with grilled vegetables and choice of French Fries, mashed potatoes or basmati rice

Eighteen Tasty Side Dishes

  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Basmati Rice
  • Homemade French Fries
  • Potato Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Sweet Red Pepper

Just because we can’t eat meat doesn’t we can’t eat well!

CS




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