Archive for the 'soup' Category

12
May
14

Kale, Kale, Kale


In a comment to our post of January 21 of this year, our good friend Lévana Kirschenbaum suggested that we discuss the different types of kale available on the American market. While it’s more easily found in autumn and winter, you can still find it even now.

The most commonly found is the Curly Kale sometimes known as Scottish Kale

Kale, Curly Kale, or Scottish Kale

Kale, Curly Kale, or Scottish Kale

For a delightful vegetarian recipe made with this version of kale and a meat variation of it check out our Caldo Verde.

Another fairly common variety is Russian or Red Kale…

Russian or Red Kale

Russian or Red Kale

Red or Russian Kale has a softer texture, is slightly sweeter than Curly Kale and has a somewhat buttery taste. When used together with the more common variety it produces a nice color combination while adding a subtle sweetness to the dish.

For tomorrow’s breakfast I will use Red Kale to make this delicious sounding recipe which I just found (on Kalyn’s Kitchen

Photo from: Kalyn's Kitchen

Photo from: Kalyn’s Kitchen

The most delicious kind of kale, however is Tuscan Kale or Cavalo Nero

Tuscan Kale or Cavalo Nero

Tuscan Kale or Cavalo Nero

Used mostly in Tuscan dishes, it’s hard to go back to any other kind of kale after savoring this tender and nicely flavored variety.

Kale is descended from the wild cabbages of southern Europe. It thrives in cold weather but grows successfully all over the world. The addition of some baby kale juice will spruce up any raw carrot juice drink. Kale is an excellent source of beta carotene and vitamin C; it is a good source of folate, calcium iron and potassium; it contains bioflavonoids and other substances that protect against cancer. It’s only known drawback is that it may produce gas in some people.

When you make a salad, a soup, a fritata, don’t forget to use kale for a superbly delicious and healthy addition.

CS

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

26
Jan
12

Vegetable Cream Soup


Growing up in Montevideo, Uruguay, as the only Jewish kid (a very fat one!) on an all-Italian block… in the middle of the Jewish neighborhood (go figure!), my mother soon realized that it would be safer for her little boy if she learned to cook cucina italiana, then some of his tormentors would stop harassing him in hopes of getting invited for a meal. She learned from our neighbors and soon became the outstanding Italian cook on the block. Somehow word got out, and life became a lot easier for me…

Here’s one recipe I made last eve (using a food processor, which – when I was a kid – my mother didn’t have), after I found it in The Italian Mama’s Kitchen by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi. It tasted just like I my mother’s!

Cream of Vegetable Soup – Passata di Verdure

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 small zucchini, trimmed
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 1 small bunch (about 1/2 oz) flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 cups chicken stock*
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • Salt and pepper

Detail from photo in The Italian Mama's Kitchen, page 57

Directions

  1. Cut the carrots, zucchini and potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes
  2. Place the parsley on a piece of cheesecloth. Using kitchen string, tie the of the cheesecloth together to form a bag shape.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the carrots, zucchini and potatoes; sautee for 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves and garlic. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the stock* into the saucepan. Add the Parsley and and peas . Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove and discard the parsley and bay leaves. Transfer the stock to a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is of a consistency you desire. Return the soup to the saucepan to reheat before serving and add salt and pepper to taste. It can be stored in the fridge for up to three days (and I know exactly what I’ll be having this evening, again!)

* Chicken Stock – Brodo di Gallina

Yield: 16 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 small bunch (about 1/2 oz) Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pound hen, cleaned and cut into four pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Place the celery and peppercorns on a piece of cheesecloth, then using kitchen string, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together to make a bag.
  2. Place 16 cups water in a large pot. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 4 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to catch and discard the residue and foam. Add extra water to the broth, making sure the original level of broth is maintained throughout.
  4. Drain the stock through a strainer discarding the vegetables and reserving the flesh for further use in other recipes.

The chicken stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen up to 30 days.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

19
Jan
12

Hearty Winter Soup


During this time of mild winter days and brutally cold evenings, nothing warms a body better than a delicious hot soup. Last eve I had the following (which I’d prepared a day earlier), it certainly did its job; no wonder soup is considered comfort food:

Hearty Winter Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb 2 oz neck of lamb
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 carrots, sliced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock *
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh parsley sprigs
  • 2 oz pearl barley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottom saucepan and add the pieces of lamb, turning them to seal and brown on both sides. Take the lamb out of the pan and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Add the onion, carrots and leeks to the saucepan and cook gently for about 3 minutes.
  3. Return the lamb to the saucepan and add the vegetable stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pearl barley. Bring the mixture in the pan to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Discard the parsley sprigs. Lift the pieces of lamb from the broth and allow them to cook slightly. Remove bones and any fat and chop the meat. Return the lamb to the broth and reheat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yields: 4 servings

You may want to prepare the soup a day earlier (as I did), let it cool, cover it, and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, remove and discard the layer of fat from the surface and reheat the soup gently. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve.

* Vegetable Stock

Ingredients

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

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and leek, cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining vegatables, 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 refrigerate. Use immediately or freeze in portions for up to three months.

Yields: 8 1/2 cups

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Soups as Comfort Food

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 2

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 3

27
Jan
11

Pairing Food and Wine – Part 2


As we said – in the very first sentence – in the first part of this series, the one true rule of pairing food and wine is that such pairings are highly personal. The ethnic/cultural background and, specifically, the food one grew up with are influential on how taste is perceived by the individual. Someone who eats mostly spicy food will taste wine very differently from someone accustomed to more bland foods..

When you enter the differences of each individual’s taste buds into the equation you can understand that what may be a perfect pairing for one person, may not necessarily be so great to another. Rules are, at best, approximations based on the “average” person (read: “the average connoissseur,” often self-proclaimed, instead). I could find no scientific study ever conducted that definitely showed what is the “average” when it comes to taste matters. What is the point of this series, then, if the rules are subject to each individual’s preferences? That is a fair question! The answer is that all we intend to accomplish – here – is to give you, gentle reader, some departure points as you embark on your very own food and wine pairing journey. Just remember that wine should never overpower the food it accompanies but it should complement it.

Once again, winter has shown itself relentless and bombarded us with another big snowfall. Considering that wine can warm the soul and gladden the heart, considering that medical most studies now find the health benefits in drinking 2 daily glasses of wine (like the French do), isn’t this weather just right for sipping wine, especially if paired with a nice soup?

A street in Brooklyn today... comfort food and wine weather

How about a Chicken Noodle Soup, paired with a Pinot Grigio or a Chennin Blanc? Perhaps a Cream of Chicken Soup with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Viognier would fit your preference? Maybe a French Onion Soup paired with a Beaujolais or a White Burgundy?  Hmmmmnnn, my mouth is watering already!

Since we are only offering departure points here are some favorite pairings:

Fish

Sauvignon Blanc – Light, zesty and citrusy

White Burgundy –  Goes well with salmon

Chardonnay – Perfect for rich fish dishes

Riesling – It’s lime/lemon juice flavor make it a nice complement to any fish dish

Pinot Noir – Yes, it’s a red wine, but try it with grilled fish and see what it does!

Meat

Beef or steak - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Shiraz

Lamb - Bordeaux, or almost any Red wine

Poultry - Chardonnay

Miscellaneous

Fruit – Any Sauternes, Muscat or Riesling (especially Late Harvest)

Very sweet or heavy desserts – I prefer to pair these with a Moscato d’Asti

Pizza – Chianti is the perfect choice!

This does not pretend to be an exhaustive list, it merely reflects pairings I’ve tried and liked.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

21
Dec
10

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 3


There are myriad types of soups, while I never intended an exhaustive listing when we started this series, while I realize there are far more types than I’m ever likely to try, this series only deals with some of my favorites from among those I’ve tasted. In this, the final installment of the series we will again feature two soups.

We chose all these recipes both because of their taste and the ease of preparation.

Last evening, at a cooking demo by Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum, I tasted her incredibly flavorful and very simple to prepare…

Aduki Bean Burdock Soup

Ingredients

  • 12 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
  • 2 cups aduki beans
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large zucchini, cut in large chunks
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 large piece burdock, peeled and cut in large chunks

Directions

  1. Bring all ingredients to boil in a wide heavy pot.
  2. Reduce to medium and cook covered for 1 hour.
  3. Cream the soup with an immersion blender.
  4. Adjust texture and seasonings.

If you do not have, if you cannot find burdock, you can substitute almost anything else. In spite of her recipe calling for burdock, Lévana – just to demonstrate the versatility of her recipe – used kale stalk instead

If you are like me you probably never heard of burdock before…What is burdock? For its culinary and medicinal properties look it up in the Wikipedia. Meanwhile, as the article says:

the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote in his journal, in 1896, about a tiny shoot of burdock he saw in a ploughed field, “black from dust but still alive and red in the center … It makes me want to write. It asserts life to the end, and alone in the midst of the whole field, somehow or other had asserted it.”

For another of Chef Lévana’s superb soup recipes check out Quick Black Bean Chocolate Soup

To end this series I chose to adapt an Emeril Lagasse variation of the classic French Onion Soup on the Food Network :

Gratinee Lyonnaise (Lyon-style Onion Soup)

[adapted to conform with kashrus]

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 8 cupspareve soup stock
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen string
  • 1/2 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 pound Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 egg yolks (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Port wine (optional)
  • Finely chopped parsley, garnish

Directions

In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cognac. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the alcohol has evaporated. Be careful as the cognac may ignite.

Add the soup stock and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 45 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, toast the bread slices until light golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Preheat the broiler.

When the soup is ready, divide 1/2 of the toasted bread slices between 6 individual ovenproof serving bowls or crocks and top with 1/2 of the grated cheese. Ladle some of the soup among the bowls and top with the remaining toasts. Ladle the remaining soup among the bowls and top with the remaining cheese. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted, golden brown and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Optional topping:

In a small bowl combine the egg yolks and Port and whisk to thoroughly combine. Pour some of the mixture evenly among the soup bowls, stirring in around the edges so that it is incorporated into the soup. (The heat of the soup will cook the egg yolk and this will thicken and enrich the soup.)

Garnish the top with chopped parsley and serve hot.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 2

Soups as Comfort Food

15
Dec
10

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 2


Yesterday we posted the first part of our soup posts, but there so many great soups that it certainly merits a multi part series.

On 101 Cookbooks I found this great recipe adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook:

I had it last night... Mmmmmmmnnn! Photo from: 101 Cookbooks

Carrot and Fennel Soup

…it’s easy to make a meal of this by serving it topped with a poached egg. Alternately, you can make this soup vegan by omitting the Parmesan.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed fronds reserved, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/4 pounds / 36 ounces farmer market carrots, thickly sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 10 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups / 12 oz cooked wild rice
  • 2 tablespoonsblood orange olive oil or 5 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (OPTIONAL)

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in your largest soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the fennel and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened a bit.
  3. Stir in the carrots and cook another 10 minutes, just long enough for them to soften a touch and start taking on a bit of color.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in the broth. Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered, until the carrots are very tender, another 15-20 minutes or so.
  6. Stir in the wild rice, bring back to a simmer, taste and add more salt if needed
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the blood orange olive oil or orange juice. Taste and add more if needed.
  8. (OPTIONAL) Serve dusted, generously, with freshly grated Parmesan, and a sprinkling of the reserved fennel fronds.

Serves about 6.

Inspired by the Carrot & Fennel Soup in The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser.

Just remember, if you do use Parmesan Cheese YOU MUST wait 6 hours before you can eat any meat!

I like cream soups, especially if they include mushrooms, I found this delectable soup on the Better Recipes site and changed the butter to margarine and took out the whipping cream.

Photo from: Better Recipes

Creamy Leek Mushroom and Risotto Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 cups sliced leeks
  • 16 oz whole mushrooms, washed and cut into quarters, but not sliced
  • 1 package shiitake mushroom risotto mix
  • 30 oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup finely chopped tender roasted chicken
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups whipped cream (Rich’s is what I use, but it needs to be whipped)
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large soup pan or Dutch oven, saute leeks for 4 minutes over medium high heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and risotto rice, without the flavoring packet, then saute until leeks are almost tender, about 6 minutes.
  3. Pour in broth and add chicken and seasoning flavor packet.
  4. Reduce heat to medium. Tie together herbs and add to broth. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  5. Check occasionally and stir to make sure rice does not stick. Test the rice for tenderness. If not tender, cook another 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add the whipped cream and red pepper flakes, then heat through.
  7. Ladle 1 cup of broth into a medium bowl and whisk in flour until well blended.
  8. Gradually add mixture back to soup. Heat through, stirring frequently, until broth is creamy and thickened.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Soups as Comfort Food

14
Dec
10

Soups as Comfort Food


It’s winter, last evening we had our first snowfall of the year. It was not a heavy snow but it was followed by verrrry cold weather, is there a  better way to warm up than having some nice hot soup? Below is one of my favorites:

Creamy Potato Soup

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium potatoes, mashed
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 cups soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Parsley and basil for garnish

Directions

  1. Peel, cube, boil, drain and mash.
  2. In separate pan, melt butter, add flour and cook while stirring for about a minute or so.
  3. Add half the milk and stir until lumps are out of flour mixture.
  4. Add remaining milk and on med-high heat, bring to a boil.
  5. Stir almost constantly or it will scorch.
  6. After boiling, turn heat off and add the mashed potatoes.
  7. Sprinkle some parsley and basil, serve.

Having scoured the web, we bring you a few easy to make recipes but are truly delicious.

At Foodista.com – The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit I found the following recipe by Alisa Escanlar:

Vegetable Beef Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 can (14 oz) whole tomatoes, broken up, with juice
  • 10 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme, ground

Directions

  1. Heat cooking oil over medium heat in large saucepan and add ground beef.
  2. Scramble fry until browned and crumbly.You can remove excess oil. Drain the hamburger and add back to pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Then, cover and simmer in medium to low heat.
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not too soft.
  5. Serve with crackers.

From South African cooking blog: KOEK! we bring you:

Photo by: Koek! blog

Pappa Al Pomodoro

Ingredients

  • 8.5 ounces olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 leeks, finely chopped
  • 34 ounces meat stock (made with beef and chicken)
  • 64 ounces puréed canned tomatoes
  • Half a loaf of bread, thickly sliced
  • Generous handful basil leaves, torn
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Directions

  1. Warm the olive oil and garlic in a medium cooking pot. When the garlic has coloured slightly, add the leeks. Saute over a low heat for 20 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep the vegetables from turning brown.
  2. Stir in the stock and puréed tomatoes and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the bread, pushing it into the liquid with a wooden spoon. Stir in the torn basil leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Now whisk the soup energetically until it has a porridge-like consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. 5. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

Vegetable Beef Soup

08
Dec
09

For Your Eyes and Palate Only!


On December 3rd, last Thursday, the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce held a full day conference in the Wall Street area of Manhattan at 55 Broad Street. Many distinguished American and Israeli business leaders and professionals (in a variety of disciplines) were in attendance. Israel’s Minister for Infrastructure (Uzi Landau) was keynote speaker. The Governor of the Bank of Israel, Dr. Stanley Fischer, was among the many notable speakers and workshop moderators. Subjects ranged from Education to Health, to discussions of the many challenges the US and Israel face in the current global climate.

At 12:30pm there was a networking dairy lunch. Who would the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce use for a caterer, a caterer that could provide a delicious, nutritious feast  for the palate and the eyes? u café, of course!!

The photo doesn't give you a true idea of size... these cheese sandwiches were mouthwatering big!!!

Certainly there was plenty more to eat, look at the colors and textures…

Healthy, nourishing and beautiful to look at. Who can ask for more?

Salads were plentiful, all colors, for every taste…

Pasta!

And the fruit platters? Sheer artistry and super fresh!!!

I get hungry just looking at these kiwis

Two long tables filled with sandwiches, salads, soups, hot dishes and fruit platters… Ahhh, the presentation! Deeeelicious!! Catering in style!!!

CS

25
Nov
09

Thanksgiving and the Jews


The first Jew to set foot in Colonial America, was Joachim Gans, who came here in 1584 having been recruited by Sir Walter Raleigh as he set out on an expedition to explore the Virginia territory. In 1654 a group of 23 Dutch  Jews arrived from Brazil, on the shores of New Amsterdam (New York), fleeing the Inquisition recently instituted in Portugal’s new colony. Like the Mayflower Pilgrims before them, this group came to the New World in search of opportunities and religious freedom. Life wasn’t easy; dreams could only be realized through an incredible amount of determination, hard work, sweat, tears and personal sacrifice.

I can just imagine these Dutch/Brazilian Jews in the new land celebrating Thanksgiving with a slowly cooked Moqueca Capixaba (a Brazilian dish consisting of: fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, chili pepper and additional ingredients). Fish was plentiful,  requiring no shechita.

As the years and centuries progressed, Jews realized unparalleled success in the New World, engaging in  fields of study and a variety of livelihoods unrivaled in our history… We educated ourselves and our children, excelling in areas in academia, maths and sciences, commerce, technology and the arts.  We suddenly had new freedoms and exploited unprecedented opportunities. 

In 1946, my dad, a teenager at the time, arrived to these shores,  on an orphan transport boat called the Ernie Pyle. In his hand was a shabby little suitcase that contained his Tefillin and a herring. Shortly after his arrival, speaking but a few words of English, he landed a job in a baby blanket factory, sewing & sweeping floors. His one meal a day was dinner at Ratner’s, one of the famous dairy eateries of its day, where he’d sit down to a bowl of soup and all the bread he could eat. The Hungarian wife ( and amazing cook) he married two years later, kept him happy and content in the kitchen and in life. May they continue together in health and happiness till 120!

Dad’s early days in the new land remind me of an old joke:

Abe Cohen goes to a restaurant every day for lunch. He always orders the soup du jour. One day the manager asks him how he liked his meal. Abe replies (with a Yiddish accent) “Vass goot, but you could give a lidle more bread.”

The next day, the manager tells the waitress to give him four slices of bread. “How was your meal, sir?” the manager asks. “Vass goot, but you could give a lidle more bread”.

Next day the manager tells the waitress to give him eight slices of bread. “How was your meal today, sir?” the manager asks. “Vass goot, but you could give a lidle more bread”.

The manager is now obsessed with seeing Abe say that he enjoyed his meal, so he goes to the bakery and orders a 6ft long French loaf. When Abe comes in – as usual – the next day, the waitress and the manager cut the loaf in half, butter the entire length of each half and lay it out along the counter, right next to his bowl of soup. Abe sits down, and devours both his bowl of soup and both halves of the 6ft loaf of bread. The manager now thinks he will get the answer he is looking for. When Abe comes up to pay for his meal, the manager asks in the usual way: “How was your meal TODAY, sir?” Abe replies “It vass goot, as usual, but I see you are back to giving only 2 slices of bread!”

How times and country have changed us all! America is still  a land of opportunity, if we can just get past the gauntlet of recorded voice messages that stand between us and our daily bread. Though the the ‘Goldeneh Land’ has lost some of it’s glitter, we have much to be grateful for.  We enjoy freedoms in this country that others less fortunate literally die for each and every day.  Though our health care system is in shambles, we have access to medical care, medication and vaccines that don’t even exist in other countries. We benefit  from technologies we never dreamed of; at our fingertips we have the power to transform the world or to destroy it.

In our tfilos we thank the Almighty each and every day, three times a day.  We acknowledge His mastery over Creation and bless His handiwork in everything we eat and partake of in His world. All our accomplishments are through His divine grace. Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the US, it brings families together from near and far, as collectively America remembers all we have to be thankful for.

Wishing those that celebrate this holiday a Happy Thanksgiving filled with good cheer, good conversation, good food, in the company of loved ones.

In the holiday spirit, I’ll leave you with a personal heimishe recipe for turkey stuffing and simple turkey baste. Enjoy!!

Challah Stuffing

(serves 10)

1 large challah, dried out (leave out overnight)
2 cups shredded carrots, sautéed
2 cup sautéed minced onions
2 cup sautéed finely diced celery
2 cups wild mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts (washed and drained)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, optional
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced, and sautéed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cups chicken stock
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:

Soak Challah in water, remove crust top when moistened, and squeeze out all water, break into small pieces. Add eggs, oil, stock and seasoning. Sautée vegetables; when cooled to room temperature, add into mix . Stuff inside turkey cavity, alongside turkey or bake in a separate casserole.

Turkey Baste

¾ c. oil
dried garlic powder
onion powder
sweet paprika
dried parsley, dried dill, salt and pepper.

Place sliced onions, celery, clove of garlic, (brussel sprouts-optional garnish) in bottom of roasting pan.  Add water.

Turkey

Place turkey in prepared roasting pan, tented with aluminum foil.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes per pound.  Baste 4-5 times with oil/spice mixture. Bake uncovered for last 15 minutes.

Here is my simple, homemade turkey (the guests always love its finger lickin’ goodness!):

turkey

As a dessert, some may want it as a side dish with the turkey, you might make this simple to follow but delicious recipe:

Cranberry Crunch Mousse

2 Rich’s Rich whip 8 oz topping
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

Whip up topping. When whip is formed add vanilla and confectioner’s sugar.

1 12 oz. package fresh cranberries
1 8 oz bag of mini marshmallows
8 oz honey glazed pecans chopped

Chop cranberries in food processor for about a minute, don’t pulverize. Fold cranberries, marshmallows and chopped pecans into whip mixture and serve chilled.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 8-10

SYR




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