Author Archive for Chaim Szmidt



03
Mar
15

Purim Rolls – Ojo de Haman – Haman’s Eye


Barbara Bensoussan, author of The Well Spiced Life, shows us how to make Ojo de Haman in the following video:

kosher-scene-copyright-copy22

Ojo de Haman – Haman’s Eye

Makes 6 rolls

  • 1 large challa dough to be divided*
  • 6 hard boiled eggs

Haman's-Eye

* Basic Challah Recipe

(from page 37 in The Well Spiced Life)

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast (1 packet) dissolved in 1/2 cup very warm water along with 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups flour, preferably high gluten
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 beaten egg for glazing the challah, sesame or poppy seeds for garnishing if desired
  • Cooking spray and corn meal to grease the pans.

Place flour, sugar, salt, and wheat germ in the bowl of the food processor and pulse to blend. Add the yeas-and-water mix (it should be foamy after five minutes) and process another 5-10 seconds. Combine an egg and 1/3 cup cup of oil and water into a small bowl; now dump this into the processor and continue processing until the mixture forms a ball around the blades of the machine – this may take 20 to 30 seconds (if you have a plastic dough knife for your machine use it, if not, a regular steel blade will also do the trick. Check the dough; if it seems tough and dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water, if it seems too wet and won’t come together, add more flour., 1/4 cup at a time.

Let the dough process to a medium-low speed for one minute. Voila! The dough is done. Place into a greased bowl, turn it once, cover it, with a plastic bag, and let it rise until doubled, about  1 1/2 hours (may rise faster if kitchen is hot).

Punch it down and repeat the rising (it’s not absolutely necessary to do two risings, but I think it makes a smoother loaf). The rising may go faster than the first. When doubled again, punch down the dough.

Enjoy gentle reader, enjoy!

A freilachn Purim – Chag Purim sameach!!!

CS

03
Mar
15

Almond and Sesame Seed Brittle – Boulokunio


While we Ashkenazim eat Hamentashen (see here and here) on Purim, Sephardic communities have some very interesting foods for the occasion.

From Stella’s Sephardic Kitchen by Stella Cohen

Almond and Sesame Brittle

Detail from photo by: Marc Hoberman, on page 211

Detail from photo by: Marc Hoberman, on page 211

Toasted cinnamon seeds, honey and almonds make a deep-golden, chewy treat. Popupar at any celebration, this ancient confection is traditionally offered over the Festivals of Purim and Hanukkah (Feast of Lights). These petite treats, not unlike the nut bars that are popular today are utterly addictive.

5 cups hulled sesame seeds
1 tablespoon plain (all purpose) flour
1 tablespoon blanched spit almonds, toasted

For the syrup:

1 1/2 cups clear honey
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups sugar

SPRINKLE 1 cup of sesame seeds with a pinch of flour and toast lightly in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat for 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Shake the pan often and stir with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this process, 1 cup at a time, with the remaining four cups of sesame seeds.

HEAT the honey, water and sugar in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until it thickens and reaches the soft ball stage *. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a very large, heatproof bowl.

ADD the almonds and 3 cups of sesame seeds and stir together vigorously with a wooden spoon. Spread the hot mixture onto an oiled worktop. Sprinkle in the remaining two cups of sesame seeds, working it a little at a time into the mixture. Dampen your hands with cold water and roll into four ropes about 1 inch in diameter. Cut diagonally into 1 inch sections using a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Allow to cool at room temperature until hardened.

STELLA’S HINTS:

* The soft ball stage is reached when a small drop of syrup forms into a little ball at the bottom of a cup of cold water. It will flatten and feel soft and pliable.

To store: Place the brittle between layers of baking paper and store in an airtight container up to 1 month.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

02
Mar
15

We Gotta Live Together


Jews come in many varieties, Sephardim, Ashkenazim, religious, secular; each group is further subdivided, but we all have one thing in common… We are all Jews! In spite of our strong disagreements, whether political or religious, in spite of differences in minhagim or nussach of prayer, we are all Jews! To the world at large, we are all one. You doubt it? Look at Jewish history throughout. Especially look at Hitler, yimach shmo vezichro, and his murderous Nazi henchmen. They didn’t care if we wore a shtraimel, a hat, a yarmulkeh or sported no head covering at all. Hitler didn’t care where, or even if, we prayed. In the interest of a mythological Aryan purity, the Nazis went went back six generations to see if there was a drop of Jewish blood so they could add more individuals to the roster of those they wanted to exterminate. Why? Because to them, whether one was an Eastern European Ashkenazi or a Greek Sephardi from Salonika, whether a world famous scientist, or a well known doctor, a renowned author or academic, or just a lowly – previously unheard of – shoemaker, we were all – without exception – verdammte Juden.

This week we commemorate the 70th anniversary of Anna Frank‘s death in a concentration camp, you would have thought that after the horrors of WWII, the world would have learned its lesson. Well… it obviously learned nothing or forgot it too soon! Look around you, religious and ethnic hatred are rampant and at heightened levels. Antisemitism in Europe is once again approaching the infamous levels of the late 30s. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

Starting on Wednesday evening through Thursday, we celebrate Purim. In the Hebrew year 3404, Haman – King Achashverosh‘ Prime Minister – decreed the Final Solution that was to annihilate every Jew in all 127 lands ruled by the Persian Empire. On the following year 3405 (356 BCE), on the 13th of Adar the Jews were victorious against their enemy. Today 2370 years later, Israel once again faces the same existential threat from Haman‘s spiritual heirs, now it is the Persian satrap, the Supreme Leader of Iran and his murderous fanatics. Just as we did then, we will emerge victorious again! We must realize that regardless of differences in degrees of religious observance or lack thereof, regardless of the hue of our skin, regardless of religious customs, regardless of social status, regardless of the cultural influences that mold the individual, we are all Jews; far too many people around the world still consider us verdammte Juden. WE GOTTA LIVE TOGETHER , in peace and harmony for only then will we be invincible!!!

CS

01
Mar
15

Braised Lamb Shanks


It’s snowing out there, it’s obvious that dinner must consist of a hearty comfort dish, and it has to be something special since one of my granddaughters and her husband are coming over. I always liked cooking with wine, and my granddaughter shares my love of lamb, what better occasion then, could present itself to prepare this delicious recipe emailed by S. Lefkowitz, from Miami, Fl? She writes that it was adapted from Pam Anderson‘s Perfect One-Dish Dinners.

All Photos EXCEPT for the one by S. Lefkowitz are copyright of
The Kosher Scene

I can't remember a year where it snowed so often, as long as I've been in NY...

In all the years I’ve been living in New York, I can’t recall it ever snowing as much…

Braised Lamb Shanks

Photo sent in by Shoshana Lefkowitz from Miami, FL.

Photo sent in by S. Lefkowitz from Miami, FL.

Serves 6

 

MonCabSauvIngredients

  • 6 large lamb shanks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 large carrots, cut into medium chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into medium chunks
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cup dry red wine
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cans white beans, drained

Directions

1. – Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 F. heat a large heavy roasting pan set over two burners on low heat. Meanwhile, place shanks in a medium bowl with the 2 tablespoons of oil and turn to coat. Season with salt and pepper generously.

2. – A few minutes before searing shanks, increase heat to a medium-high until wisps of smoke rise from the pan. Add shanks and sear on all sides until well browned, 7 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl. Shanks should have rendered enough fat to cook onion. if not add another tablespoon of oil.

HerzVari53. – Add onions, carrots an celery to roasting pan and cook while stirring until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and Italian seasoning until fragrant about 1 minute. Whisk in flour, then broth, wine and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. – Return shanks to pan, Using two potholders to protect hands, place a sheet of heavy-duty foil over pan, Press foil down so that it touches shanks and seal foil completely around edges. Repeat with a second sheet of foil to ensutre a tight seal. Continue to shanks on medium-high until you hear juices bubble. Set pan in oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

5. – Transfer pan from oven to stovetop. Arrange shanks on a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Stir beans into pan juices and simmer over 2 burners on medium heat to blend flavors, for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

I don’t use “cooking wine,” why ruin a good recipe with a lousy wine? In this case I cooked with Mony Cabernet Sauvignon Classic 2009, a great choice.

We washed it down with a Herzog Variations Five Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – which the young couple brought – with aromas of ripened blackberry, notes of blackcurrant and bold blueberry flavors. It proved a superb companion to the lamb shanks. My granddaughter and her husband showed excellent taste in wines.

Enjoy gentle reader, enjoy, we certainly did!

CS

27
Feb
15

Barbara Bensoussan interviewed by Esti Berkowitz


Who is Barbara Bensoussan? What makes her tick? Sunday afternoon, at Kim Amzallag‘s home, Esti Berkowitz interviewed Barbara about her background and how her new book came about:

kosher-scene-copyright-copy21

Enjoy.

CS

19
Feb
15

Capers and Eggplant Pizza


I confess, I’m a pizza junkie, in fact as long as I have cheese, some sort of tomatoes (sauce, diced, sliced, pureed, or whatever) and a crust, I’m happy. I constantly experiment with the toppings, the following recipe is my latest creation. Yes, I know, I didn’t discover America; others have made similar pizzas before me – but – this one came out delicious and I’ll be making it often.

Capers and Eggplant Pizza

CapeEggplPizz

Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
  2. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Roll out to a 10″ circle.

Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed
  • 1/2 lb of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 25 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil (for garnish)

Directions

  1. Wash and slice the eggplant into very thin slices (I used a mandolin). Grill the eggplant slices in a pan for about 2 to 2.5 minutes on each side.
  2. Wash and quarter the cherry tomatoes. Cut the mozzarella cheese into medium-large dices and tear the basil after cleaning it carefully.
  3. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese into, the capers and the cherry tomatoes over the pizza; season with olive oil, salt and pepper, then bake at 450 F for 4 minutes.
  4. After 4 minutes add the eggplant and continue cooking for another 4 minutes, until the edges brown lightly browned and crispy. Remove from oven, garnish with the basil leaves and serve immediately.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

18
Feb
15

Tomato-Vegetable Bisque


Continuing with our winter soup series, I’ve made this recipe (which I adapted years ago from a magazine) many times and it always comes out delicious and very filling:

Tomato-Vegetable Bisque

Tom-Veg-Bisk

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 3 medium sized parsnips, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth *
  • 2/3 cup béchamel sauce **
  • seasoned croutons

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook 6 minutes. Stir in carrots, parsnip slices, oregano and pepper. Cook an additional 3 minutes.
  2. Add drained tomatoes and 2 cups of broth. Increase heat to medium-high and partly cover pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes, until all vegetables are cooked.
  3. Ladle half of the mixture into a blender to puree. While blending, add 1 cup of the remaining vegetable broth. Repeat with remaining tomato mixture and remaining broth. Return to pot, stir in béchamel sauce and heat gently until warm for about 2 minutes. Add hot sauce and croutons to taste.

* Vegetable Broth (follow link)

** 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).

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter (or margarine, if you want to keep it pareve)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 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).

TIP – To give meat dishes a French, buttery flavor, use margarine instead of butter (for  a pareve sauce)

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

17
Feb
15

Hearty Winter Broth


It’s snowing this morning and while it’s considerably warmer than the last days, one still needs some good winter comfort food…

SnowyDay-1

This time I found the soup in Simply Soup, published in 2007 by Love Food in the UK. The following recipe appears on page 47:

Hearty Winter Broth

WintBrot

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

It is advisable to prepare this soup a day ahead, then let it cool, cover and refrigetrate 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 immediately.

* 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.

Enjoy, gentle reader, I tried it last evening and it was a perfect finish for a cold day!

CS

16
Feb
15

Avgolemono


[I’ve posted already my version of Greek Lemon Egg Drop Soup, but reader Dovid R. – from Baltimore – sent us his recipe and the accompanying photo. I found it a delicious variation! CS]

Avgolemono – Greek Lemon Egg Drop Soup

AvglmnoServes 4

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken broth *
  • 1/2 cup long grain white rice
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely chopped
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Bring the broth to a boil over medium heat in a large pot. Add rice and cook uncovered, until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs together with egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest. Constantly whisking, slowly pour 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg mixture. Reduce heat under broth to medium-low and slowly stir in the egg mixture into the pot. Cook, stirring, until the soup is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Do not let it boil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

0o-x-m-x-o0

* Chicken Broth

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! I tried it last night and found delicious.

CS

15
Feb
15

Barley and Mushroom Soup


Nothing warms one up better and more deliciously than a hot soup on these freezing days, therefore we’ll be featuring a few of our favorite soup recipes over the next few days.

From Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen‘s Perfect Jewish, published in 2008 by Parragon Publishing in the UK (page 13, photo on page 12):

Barley & Mushroom Soup

Bar&MushSp

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 oz dried wild mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 small rutabaga, finely chopped
  • 1 lb mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock *
  • 1 1/4 cup barley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • chopped fresh dill, to garnish

Directions

  1. Put the dried mushrooms into a small heatproof bowl or measuring cup, and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave the mushrooms to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the carrots, rutabaga, and fresh mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Rinse the pearl barley in a strainer under cold running water and stir into the boiling liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until the vegetables and barley are tender adding more stock if necessary.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift the dried mushrooms out of their soaking liquid (do not pour through a strainer or the sand will go into the mushrooms) lice or chop the mushrooms and add to the soup.
  5. Strain the mushroom liquid through a muslin-lined sieve into the soup. Continue to simmer or until the mushrooms are tender, adding more stock if necessary. Serve hot, garnished with dill.

0-0-0oo0-0-0

* Vegetable Stock (follow link)

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS




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