Archive Page 5

12
Jul
13

Bruschetta, for Breakfast or Brunch


Bruschetta is a traditional italian garlic bread made by rubbing slices of roasted bread with garlic cloves, and then drizzling the bread with extra-virgin olive oil. The bread is salted and peppered, heated and served warm.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • Italian Cheese *
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices Italian Bread, toasted to serve **
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Directions

  1. Mix the tomato, scallions, cheese, avocado, balsamic vinegar and half of the oil together in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Drizzle the remaining oil over the bread and top the tomato mixture. Garnish with basil and serve at once.

I’ve used different Italian cheeses, at different times, from TheCheeseGuy.com. His Lo Spadone and the Formagio Marzolino were my favorites. However, I’ve also been very pleased with Bastardo del Grappa, the Montaggio or any of the Pecorinos. Each cheese contributes its own character, each one creates a different mood, all are delightful!

** Whenever I can find it, I’ll use Ciabatta bread, though I’ve also used Focaccia (it’s much easier to find), and when I could find neither I’ve used Marsigliese (popularly known as Italian Bread).

Easy to prepare, delicious to the palate, a perfect way to start a dairy meal, so… enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

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11
Jul
13

Tortilla de Papas


Back as a teenager in Uruguay a friend’s mother would often prepare this dish. Finding this recipe brought back fond memories of my youth. Where did I find it? Glad you asked! The Culinary Institute of America, aside from being America’s foremost culinary college, also publishes many books among them the At Home with the Culinary Institute of America series, for home cooks. The recipe below is from a book in that series, Healthy Cooking:

Tortilla de Papas

This flat Spanish-style omelet makes a great brunch or supper dish, or you can cut it into cubes to enjoy at room temperature as part of a tapas spread. Ideally the tortilla should be about an inch thick after it cooks, so choose your pan accordingly.

Detail from photo by: Ben Fink, page 234

Detail from photo by: Ben Fink, page 234

Makes 6 servings

2 cups quartered cooked artichoke hearts *

2 roasted red peppers, sliced **

2 roasted yellow peppers, sliced **

2 tbsp Vinaigrette-Style Dressing ***

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp thyme

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

4 tsp unsalted butter

8 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 Spanish onions, sliced

6 large eggs

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Combine the artichokes, peppers, vinaigrette, parsley, thyme, and a pinch of pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
  2. Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes, season with the salt and a pinch of pepper, and cook, turning them occasionally to cook evenly about 8 minutes. Add the onions and cook until the potatoes are tender but not browned, 4 to 7 minutes more.
  3. Break the eggs into a large bowl and blend with a fork. Do not whip them to a foam. Add the potatoes mixture to the large eggs and toss gently to coat with the eggs.
  4. return the pan to medium heat and melt 2 teaspoons of the remaining butter. Pour the egg-vegetable mixture into the pan and cook without stirring until the bottom is set and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Tip the tortilla out of the pan onto a platter. Return the pan to the heat and melt the remaining spoon of butter. Slide the tortilla back into the pan, browned side up, cook until the second side is browned, 3 to minutes more.
  5. Serve the tortilla sliced into wedges, topped with artichoke and peppers and sprinkled with the goat cheese.

* Preparing Artichokes

Artichokes require some special attention before cooking. The barbs at the tips of the leaves are simple snipped away with kitchen scissors. Spread the leaves apart to expose the feathery “choke” and scoop it out with a teaspoon. To make hearts trim most of the leaves away from the base and the top of the artichoke. To make artichoke bottoms pull away all the leaves and trim the stem away. Reserve cut artichokes in water mixed with a splash of lemon juice, otherwise, they may turn brown.

** Roasting and Peeling Peppers

When peppers and chiles are charred over a flame, grilled, roasted, or boiled, not only are the flavors brought out, but the skins are loosened as well. If you have gas burners,, hold the the peppers over the flame with tongs or a large kitchen fork, turning to char them evenly.

If your grill is hot, char the peppers over hot coals or high heat. To roast or broil peppers and chiles in a hot oven or under a broiler, halve them; remove their stems, seeds, and membranes; and place them cut side down on an oiled sheet pan.Broil or roast until their skin is black and blistered. Once the entire pepper is evenly charred, transfer it to a paper bag or bowl and close or cover tightly . By the time the pepper is cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes, steam will have loosened the skin enough that it peels away easily. Peel and rub it away with your fingertips or use a pairing knife if the skin clings to some places.

*** Vinaigrette-Style Dressing

This dressing can be flavored in a myriad of ways. Try adding mustard, chopped fresh herbs, capers, onions, garlic, or citrus zest. Fruit and vegetable juices can be used in placeof the broth for a more intense flavor. Special vinegars such as balsamic, sherry, or red wine will give the dressing distinct character. Oils other than olive may be used., including various nut and seed oils (peanut, sesame, or walnut), canola oil, or other mono – or polyunsaturated oils. Refrigerated, this dressing may be stored for up to a week.

Makes 2 cups

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup vegetable broth ****

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt, or as needed

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or as needed.

  1. Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the broth to form a paste. Bring the remaining broth to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Remove the broth from the heat.
  2. Gradually add the cornstarch mixture to the broth. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the broth has thickened
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in the vinaigrette, and cool completely. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

**** Vegetable Broth

Makes 2 quarts

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 pasnip, thinly sliced

1 cup broccoli stems, thinly sliced

1 cup fennel, thinly sliced

12 cups of water,

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  1. Saute until starting to release juices, then add the water. Cover the pot and stir occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

09
Jul
13

Lasagne alle Verdure – Vegetable Lasagna


Few Italian dishes have seen more variations than Lasagna, each one is delicious, each one has a distinct character.

From The Big Book of Pasta, published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2007:

Lasagne alle Verdure – Vegetable Lasagna

From The Big Book of Pasta, published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2007 - Photo on page 258

Detail from photo on page 258

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 eggplants sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups strained tomatoes
  • 6 ounces dried no-precook lasagna sheets
  • 2 1/2 cups Béchamel Sauce *
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmegiano cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Brush a large ovenproof dish with olive oil.. Brush a large grill pan with olive oil and heat until smoking. Add half the eggplants and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Remove from the grill pan and drain on paper towels. Add the remaining eggplant slices and extra oil, if necessary, and cook for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the garlic, zuchini, parsley and marjoram. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the zucchini are golden brown. remove from the skillet and let drain on paper towels.
  3. Layer the eggplants, zuchini, grated mozzarella, strained tomatoes, and lasagna sheets in the dish; season with salt and pepper as you finish with a layer of lasagna. Pour over the Béchamel Sauce, making sure all the pasta is covered. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese and bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately

* Béchamel Sauce

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 teaspoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (for a more Italian flavor, add ground nutmeg instead)

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden, sandy color, about 7 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened by the roux. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the flour has softened and not longer tastes gritty, 10 to 20 minutes, then season with salt and pepper (or nutmeg).

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

09
Jul
13

Briami – Vegetable Casserole


This is a Greek dish, a prime example of healthy, natural, Mediterranean cuisine:

Briami – Vegetable Casserole

Briami

Serves 6
Ingredients

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 2 sweet green peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fennel
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • fennel, for garnishing

Directions

  1. Cut zucchini and potatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Remove seeds and white membranes from peppers and slice. Mix together crushed garlic, tomatoes and sugar.
  2. Oil an oven dish and arrange some sliced onion on the bottom. Add a layer of zucchini, potatoes and peppers combined and top with part of the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle on some of the herbs and oil. Repeat until all ingredients are used, about 3 to 4 layers depending on the size of the dish, finish with herbs and oil.
  3. Cover and put in a preheated 350 F. oven for 90 minutes, until vegetables become tender. Remove cover for the last 15 minutes.
  4. Garnish with additional chopped herbs and serve immediately.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

08
Jul
13

Tonno alla Siciliana – Sicilian Tuna


Growing up as a very fat kid in Uruguay, in an all Italian block (in the midst of the Jewish area – go figure), meant being bullied a lot; until… my mother became the best Italian cook on the block. Suddenly everybody wanted to be invited to have a taste of her home-made pasta (Pasta Fatta in Casa), her Marinara or Margherita sauces, her Pizza Quattro Stagioni or the Piadina or the fat Sfinciuni, or breads like her Pane Siciliano, or Ciabatta, or that incredible Focaccia con Cipolle. Ahhh, quelli giorni!!!

This is one of her dishes, though I will confess… not being into fish – at the time – or anything that may have resembled one, I never touched it:

Tonno alla Siciliana – Sicilian Tuna

TunaSic

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 tuna steaks, about 5 ounces each
  • 2 fennel bulbs, thickly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • crusty rolls, to serve

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh red chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • juice and finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the tuna steaks in a large , shallow dish and spoon over a tablespoon of the marinade, turning until well coated. Cover and let marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade.
  2. Heat a stovetop grill pan over high heat. In a separate bowl, put the fennel and onions, add the oil and to toss to coat well. Add to grill pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side until it barely starts acquiring color. Transfer to four warmed serving plates, drizzle with the remaining marinade, keep warm.
  3. Add the tuna steaks to the grill and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes until firm to the touch but still moist inside. Transfer to the serving plates and serve immediately with crusty rolls.

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

07
Jul
13

Scrambled Eggs with Salmon


Since I did not get a chance to post about the superb grilled meat dishes I enjoyed together with some dear friends (Irving Schild and his wife Regina!) on the 4th, on a Pennsylvania lake, I’ll just keep those recipes for after the 9 Days. Let me assure you, however, that they were absolutely mouth watering and are well worth waiting for. Meanwhile, for the rest of the 9 Days we’ll regale you with some of our favorite dairy, vegetarian and fish recipes.

Scrambled Egg with Salmon

EggSalmn

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup MimicCreme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnishing
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 1/2 ounces salmon, cut into small pieces,
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine, if you will follow with a meat dish)
  • slices of toasted bread
  • 4 sprigs of dill, for garnishing

Directions

  1. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together with the MimicCreme and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the salmon pieces and mix to combine.
  2. Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet and pour in the egg and salmon mixture. Using a wooden spatula, gently scrape the egg away from the sides of the skillet as it starts to set. Swirl the skillet slightly to allow the uncooked egg to fill the surface.
  3. When the eggs are almost cooked but still creamy, remove from the heat and spoon onto the prepared toast. Serve immediately garnished with a sprig of dill.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

02
Jul
13

Moroccan Fish Tagine


Because of Morocco’s interaction with other nations and cultures over the centuries, its cuisine is extremely refined with marked Berber, Moorish, Arab, Spanish and French influences – especially the first three. Cooks in the Royal kitchens of Morocco’s kitchens have refined the cuisine over the centuries and created the basis for one of the top cuisines in the Mediterranean basin.

Though I’ve not always been a fish lover, I’ve made this dish before and it was absolutely delicious every time:

Moroccan Fish Tagine

FishTagne

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 7 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups fish stock *
  • 4 small red snappers, cleaned, boned with heads and tails removed
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Add the onion and gently cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until softened but not colored. Add the saffron, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook for additional 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the tomatoes and stock and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes, or until thickened.
  3. Cut each red snapper in half, then add the fish pieces to the casserole, pushing them down into the liquid. Simmer the stew for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked.
  4. Carefully stir in the olives, preserved lemon and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

* Fish Stock

Makes about 5 1/2 half cups

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 7 ounces white fish heads, bones, and trimmings, rinsed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  1. Cut out and discard the gills from the fish heads, then place the heads, bones, and trimmings in a large pan.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and gradually bring to a boil, skimming all the foam that rises to the surface.
  3. Partially cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Strain the stock without pressing down on the contents of the strainer. Let cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator. Use immediately or freeze in portions for up to 3 months.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!.

CS

02
Jul
13

Beef Curry


Spicy and delicious!

Beef Curry

BeefCurry

Serves 4

ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pound 7 ounces ground beef
  • 7 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over low heat,  stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes and cook, stirring occasionally for an additional 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef, increase the heat to medium and cook stirring frequently  and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes until evenly browned. Stir in the tomatoes and season to taste with salt. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning, add salt as needed. Transfer the curry to a warmed serving dish; sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

01
Jul
13

Hamburgers with Beets – Variation on a Theme


I always liked hamburgers, what carnivore doesn’t? I’m always on a quest to find new ways of making them, I was – therefore – pleasantly surprised with this delightful recipe (and photo) sent in by Ziva A. from Lakewood, NJ:

Hamburgers with Beets

hambger

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound 7 ounces ground beef
  • 1 medium egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cooked beets
  • 2 tablespoons pareve sour cream (I use Tofutti brand)
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook over low hea, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened
  2. Transfer the onion to a large bowl and add the ground beef, egg, wine vinegar, paprika and capers. Mix well with your hands. Add the beet and parve sour cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, mix well again. Shape the mixture into 4 patties.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons margarine with the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the hamburgers and cook over medium heat for 6 minutes on each side, or until well browned. Remove with a spatula and drain on paper towels.
  4. Melt the remaining margarine in a skillet. Break 2 eggs into separate cups and slide them into the skillet. Immediately collect the whites around the yolks with a spatula to keep them neat and separated. Cook until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny. Cook the remaining eggs the same way in the remaining margarine. Transfer the burgers to a warmed serving plate, top with the fried eggs and serve immediately.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS




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