Archive for the 'vegetarian cuisine' Category

02
Jun
13

Summer Compote


Of all the foods we eat, fruits are the most beautiful; since biblical times they symbolized the bountifulness, the riches of the land. Fruits are refreshing and healthy as a snack or as the end of a hearty meal.

Summer Compote

SummerCompote

Serves 8

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • sugar to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 peaches, skinned and sliced
  • 6 plums sliced
  • 6 ripe apricots, quartered
  • 3 cups sweet cherries
  • 5 cups mixed berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries

Directions

  1. Pour enough water into a large pan to cover the first batch of fruit. Add the cinnamon, stick, cloves, lemon juice, and one tablespoon sugar (taste after the fruit has been poached and adjust as necessary).
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat and and add the the peaches, reduce the heat and simmer – depending on the ripeness – for 2 to 5 minutes,, until just tender.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the peach slices into a large bowl, draining as much of the liquid as possible against the side of the pan.
  4. Add the nectarines to the pan and cook same as the peaches. Transfer to the bowl. Cook the apricots the same way, then the cherries, adding to the bowl as they become tender; do not overcook since the fruit continues to cook in the bowl. Add more water to the pan if necessary.
  5. Stir in the berries and swirl gently just to cover with the liquid.Simmer for 1 minute. Remove the berries to the bowl and taste the syrup in the pan. adjust the sweetness to taste. If the syrup is too thin, increase the heat and boil until thickened and reduced. Pour over the fruit, let it come to room temperature and refrigerate over night.

You’ll find it thoroughly refreshing and delicious.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

21
May
13

Mushrooms à la Grecque


Growing up I intensely disliked mushrooms but, like so many other things that changed, as I grew up, as my palate got more sophisticated, I learned to love them! So… what are mushrooms? They are…

…the fruiting bodies of soil-borne fungi that live from nutrients they take from plants living and dead. They flourish throughout the world’s temperate zones and add varying of earthiness and savory flavor to foods. Their flavor character and intensity depend almost entirely on the type of mushroom they are, rather than whether they are cultivated, what color they are, or their size.

(The Illustrated Cook’s Book of Ingredients – Page 270)

And… they are delicious, healthy and a great addition to salads, soups and more. Last evening I was not in the mood of long preparations, so… what better than this classic dish?

Mushrooms à la Grecque

GreekMushrms

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb 3 oz crimini or button mushrooms, halved
  • 8 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 1/2 oz pitted black olives
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley, to garnish

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic, and cook until soft and starting to brown. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook, stirring gently, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. transfer the mushroom mixture to a serving dish and garnish with the olives.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining oil into the vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad, Garnish with the copped parsley, cover and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle before serving.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!!!

CS

12
Nov
12

Jayne Cohen’s Jewish Holiday Cooking


The Jewish calendar is filled with celebrations, each has its unique foods and traditions. What better way to celebrate than with columnist, blogger, cook author Jayne Cohen‘s Jewish Holiday Cooking? Ms. Cohen covers the spectrum of Jewish cooking around the world. Her dishes – though often traditional – include many a delightful surprise, an update in taste.

The recipes are peppered with quotes from the vast world of Jewish writing ranging from the Talmud to Nathan Englander, from Chaim Grade to Sholem Aleichem, from the Zohar to Shmuel Hanagid and more. It is obvious this is not just a cookbook, it is a paean to Judaism, its timeless spiritual and cultural values, with the recipes representing a way to celebrate it all.

As I browse through the pages, it is obvious the author loves many genres of books, her quotes, her references, her intros to the individual recipes, her writing in general becomes “unputdownable.” As you leaf through, as you read through, not only do you see yourself at the very locals she’s traveled but you can smell and taste as well. Written in the best tradition of M.F.K Fischer, Joseph Wechsberg, Hillaire du Berrier and Ruth Reichl, Ms. Cohen leaves you begging for more…

With Chanuka coming up in less than a month, what could be better than an interesting latke recipe to whet one’s appetite?

Garlic-Rosemary Potato Latkes

Pareve
Yield: About 4 servings

These exceptionally fragrant potato pancakes require no topping or sauce as adornment. They are perfect as is, ready to accompany any roasted or grilled chicken or meat.

Ingredients:

  • About 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or 3 large russet (baking) potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon matzoh meal or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • About 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Sea salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Shred the potatoes, using the shredding disk in a food processor. (Don’t wash out the food processor–you’ll be using it again right away.) Transfer the potatoes to a colander or strainer and use your hands or a wooden spoon to press out as much moisture as possible.
  2. Remove the shredding disk from the processor and replace with the steel blade. Return about one third of the shredded potatoes to the food processor. Add the garlic and rosemary and process, using the pulse motion, until roughly pureed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the remaining potatoes, the egg, matzoh meal or flour, salt and pepper to taste, and the baking powder to the bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Let stand for 10 minutes to mingle the flavors.
  3. In a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (cast-iron is ideal), heat about 1/4 inch of oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Drop 1/4 cup of the potato latke batter into the pan and flatten with a spatula. Repeat with more batter, cooking no more than 4 or 5 latkes at a time; crowding the pan will give you soggy latkes.
  4. Regulate the heat carefully, reducing it to medium as the latkes fry until golden and crisp on the bottom, about 4 minutes. To prevent oil from splattering, use two spatulas (or a spatula and a large spoon) to turn the latkes carefully. Fry until crisp and golden on the other side.
  5. It’s best to flip the latkes only once, so that they don’t absorb too much oil. So, before turning, lift the latkes slightly with the spatula to make sure the underside is crisp and brown.
  6. As the latkes are done, transfer them to paper towels or untreated brown paper bags to drain.
  7. Continue making latkes in the same manner until all the batter is used. If necessary, add more oil to the pan, but always allow the oil to get hot before frying a new batch.
  8. Serve straightaway, sprinkled with a little coarse salt, if you’d like. Or if necessary, keep the latkes warm in a 200 degree F oven (arrange them in a single layer on a rack placed over an oven-proof platter or baking sheet) and serve when they are all ready to be brought to the table.

From Jewish Holiday Cooking: A Food Lover’s Treasury of Classics and Improvisations
by Jayne Cohen (print edition: Wiley 2008; e-book: 2012).
Visit jewishholidaycooking.com

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! And… don’t forget to tune in this coming Wednesday at 10:00pm (Eastern Time) when we will be talking with Jayne Cohen; we’ll be waiting!

CS

17
Oct
12

Spicy Mumbai Potatoes


Reader Ilana Berg, from Miami, sent in this recipe of a dish she loved while traveling through India, where she met some Bene Israel Jews:

Spicy Mumbai Potatoes

Photo by: Ilana Berg

Yields 6-8 portions

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds new potatoes
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground hot chilli peppers
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, to garnish

Directions

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces
  2. Transfer to a large pan and cover with cold water. Add the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 7 minutes, or until tender (yet slightly undercooked), test by inserting a knife. drain and rinse under cool running water
  3. Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add the cumin, chilli powder, chilli flakes, turmeric and and curry powder and cook., stirring to blend for 30 seconds.
  4. Carefully add the potatoes and stir to coat with the spicy oil. Add the lemon juice and water, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.
  5. Stir in the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and any liquid is absorbed. Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the cilantro.

It sounds like a great side dish and I can’t wait to make it; so… enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

16
Aug
12

Moroccan Carrot Salad


Reader Kochava Amar, from Tel Aviv, emailed us the following recipe and photo; it’s her family’s favorite salad, she writes.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley plus a few leaves to garnish
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange
  • 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. Using a hand grater or food processor (fitted with a grater blade), grate the carrots and turn into a large bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and fry for two minutes, or until the garlic starts to color. Add the salt, cumin, chilli flakes and sugar; stir to blend. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
  3. Stir in the remaining oil, chopped cilantro, orange juice, lemon juice, and ground cloves. Pour over the carrots and toss well.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with some cilantro leaves.

For those who prefer it less spicy, you may skip the chilli flakes. Try it, your family will love it.

[I tried this last evening, and found it delightful. CS]

Enjoy!

Kochava Amar

24
Jul
12

Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto


Sure, we don’t eat meat during the Nine Days, but we still can have food that is nutritious and delicious!

From Pam ReissSoup – A Kosher Collection:

Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto

The soup itself is light on flavor-but serve bowls up with a dollup of the pesto on top and you’ll be amazed. You can add any vegetables you like-see what your garden has to offer.

Serves 6
Ingredients

Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (freshly packed)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic(1 tsp), crushed
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese

Soup

  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch
  • 5-6 small new potatoes, skin on, cut in half and sliced into 1/4 inch
  • 1/4 lb button mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup green beans, tips cut off, then cut on diagonal into pieces
  • 3-4 spears asparagus, cut on diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch half -circles
  • 1 cup firmly packed spinach leaves (2 oz), cut into thin strips

FOR THE PESTO, place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Puree for 30 seconds and then scrape down the sides. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil and keep pureeing until you have a nice paste-don’t worry if it’s not liquified, you want to see a few small pieces of basil and garlic. Scrape this mixture into a bowl and mix in the Parmesan cheese. Cover and refrigerate.

For the soup, bring the stock to a boil in a covered pot over high heat. Add the onion, carrot, potatoes, mushrooms, green beans, asparagus and salt and pepper-reduce the heat and simmer gently for 7 minutes.

Add the zucchini and spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve each bowl of soup with a large spoonful of pesto.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

02
Feb
12

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Soup


This hearty soup was so good, I had three bowls of it last evening (and still have leftovers in the fridge). It was just the perfect dish for capping a winter evening, even if the weather was unusually warm for this time of year.

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lb 9 oz ripe tomatoes, skinned, cored and halved
  • 3 large yellow bell peppers. seeded and halved
  • 3 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 onion cloves, cut into eights
  • pinch of thyme
  • 4 cups chicken vegetable, or beef stock
  • 1/2 cup MimicCreme
  • salt and pepper
  • shredded basil leaves for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Brush a large shallow baking dish with olive oil. Laying them cut-sized down, arrange the tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant in one layer (use two dishes if necessary). Tuck the garlic cloves and onion pieces into the gaps and drizzle the vegetables with the remaining olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Place in preheated oven and bake uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, or until soft and browned around the edges. Let cool, then scrape out the eggplant flesh and remove the skin from the bell peppers.
  4. Working in batches, put the eggplant and bell pepper flesh, together with the tomatoes, zucchini, garlic and onion place into a bowl and chop together using a knife.
  5. Combine the stock and chopped vegetable mixture in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and the flavors have completely blended.
  6. Stir in the MimicCreme and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until hot. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, garnish with basil and serve.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

29
Apr
11

Marred by Overpreaching…


Anyone with a smidgen of intelligence, anyone who has ever used the grey matter that Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave him/her, realizes that in this age when animals are raised much faster than nature intended them to (with the help of various chemicals added to their foods), red meat consumption has to be cut down. Even yours truly, carnivore to the core, admits it. Thus, I welcomed Roberta Kalechosky’s books when I first heard of them. While I never intended, nor intend, to abandon my preference for meat I was looking for healthy tasty alternatives.

When I got The Vegetarian Shabbat Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky and Roberta Schiff and The Vegetarian Pessach Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky, I expected to find some great recipes that would lessen my interest in meat dishes. Instead, while I found some intriguing possibilities I also found myself barraged – specifically in the Passover book – with anti meat sophistry based on often made up statistics (even if Ms. Kalechofsky quotes others), out of context quotes and even horribly misquoted quotes. The Vegetarian Pessach Cookbook (published in 2002) spends the first 20 of its 72 pages preaching against eating meat in terms that misunderstand – or purposely obfuscate the intent of – the religious texts she quotes and bringing politics as a reason for ceasing our consumption of meat. I could go on, but I see little point in continuing to discuss the all too often shrill tone of the author’s polemics.

In The Vegatarian Shabbat Cookbook, (published in 2010) a far more attractive tome, far less shrill and more than three times the number of pages than the earlier one, there are some good recipes. Whether she has matured in her thought in the eight years since she published the Passover book, whether she studied Dale Carnegie‘s How to Win Friends and Influence People, or whether her co-author – Roberta Schiff – served as as a tempering foil, she has curbed down her anger and her politics. What emerges instead is a far more sensible book with some interesting possibilities for those who would vary their diets and veer away from constantly eating meat. While none of the recipes got me very excited, unlike other cookbooks we reviewed on this pages, some are definitely not bad and here’s one I intend to try:

Roasted Root Vegetables With Wine Sauce

Preheat Oven to 375 F

  • 3 golden beets scrubbed
  • 1 turnip, scrubbed, but not peeled, if organic
  • 2 parsnips, scrubbed, but not peeled, if organic
  • 2 large potatoes, do not peel if organic
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed, do not peel, if organic
  • 3 medium or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 shallot cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of a good prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large soup pot to boil.
Cut all the vegetables into large chunks and put the chunked vegetables in to the boiling water in three or four batches. Boil 2-4 minutes for each batch. Take each batch out and drain.
Put the olive oil in a large skillet. Mix wine, mustard and cumin. When oil is hot (but not smoking), add the mixture of vegetables to the oil.
Add the root vegetables and the sliced shallots and garlic. Stir-fry until golden at the edges. Combine wine with the mustard and cumin and add to the pan. Add salt and pepper.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes. Turn over every 10-15 minutes.
They should be golden and crispy.
Serves 6-8

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

02
Dec
10

Natural Village Cafe


Warm, welcoming, classy, delicious… these four words give us a faint idea of my impressions of Natural Village Cafe (2 Avenue I – across from Shoprite Supermarket – Brooklyn, NY 11218; Tel: 347.492.5337 or 347. 417.6424). The restaurant is cholov Yisroel and pas Yisroel, with a mashgiach temidi and under the certification of Harav Meir Goldberg of the Va’ad Hakashrus d’Flatbush.

Upscale atmosphere, organic fare, beautiful and healthy in every possible way...

Nina Shapir, who presides over this eatery is truly a fascinating personality, the personal journey that changed her life and motivated her to open this establishment is full of commitment and dedication.

Fourteen years ago, Mrs. Shapir – a very young mother of three – found herself sick and unable to move, unable to cope. It was not a question of being financially overwhelmed, any such concerns were well taken care of. Medical tests and treatments produced no positive results, on the contrary things inexplicably kept getting worse. She met Harav Chay Azoulay, from Herzliya, who told her the real malady was not physical but rather one that affected her neshama. After some thought, trying to make sense of Rav Azulay’s words, she went on a detox diet with the help of healthfood stores, intent on ridding herself of all negative energies. This decision was followed by six very hard weeks before she saw any measurable improvements but soon after she was her old active, curious, intelligent, enterprising self again.

At this stage, Nina decided to help others who, though similarly afflicted, may not be aware of the real source of their health troubles. She went on to study Healing Arts at The School of Natural Healing in Utah from which she graduated. Seven years ago her first organic restaurant opened its doors. Her partner, however, was not frum and it proved frustrating eventually Nina bought her out. In 2008 she moved to the present location which combines her personal philosophy, her exquisite sense of aesthetics and the true love of a foodie for superb fare. She also has an an office adjacent to the restaurant where she treats the many in search of natural healing.

The restaurant sports geometric patterns on its walls and ceiling, with warm earth tones that give us a clue to the owner’s style and personality. Chef Bobby Brabaloni is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America – America’s foremost Culinary School – a fact which becomes obvious when you see the presentation, smell the aromas and taste the wonderful flavors.

My companion and I started our early dinner with a dish of Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

It consists of white mushrooms with sauteed onions, creamy pesto sauce, melted mozzarella and feta cheeses with a kick of chopped parsley. It was a perfect opener to a memorable meal.

We segued with their Village Pizza

Village Pizza

It came in a sesame crust, red onions, mushrooms, two types of mozzarella cheese and their very own red sauce. I know pizza, I’m a pizza addict and I must confess this one ranks among my favorites. My companion also found it delicious.

Next we had their Salmon Salad…

Salmon Salad

A superbly tasting salad fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, grilled salmon, pan sauteed red inions, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms with a subtle teriyaki sauce. A fitting crown to our meal!

Wholesome food, warm ambience, reasonable prices, a nice bakery on premises… I know I’ll be back again and again.

CS

Natural Village Cafe on Urbanspoon




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