Archive for the 'Chef Lévana Kirscenbaum' Category

22
Aug
12

Grilled Minted Beef Kabobs and Moroccan Tomato Salad


With the summer almost over, I’ve been frantically looking for more grilling recipes. I found this one – which promises to taste incredibly delicious – in Lévana Kirschenbaum‘s LEVANA’S TABLE:

Photo by: Ann Statton for LEVANA’S TABLE, page 105

Grilled Minted Beef Kabobs

This is the stuff of the barbecues of my childhood: hamburgers with a Meditteranean twist. These are perfect with Moroccan Tomato Salad (below). If you are avoiding beef or lamb and decide to substitute ground turkey, increase the amounts of seasoning to taste and add three tablespoons of olive oil to the mixture.

1 medium onion, quartered
4 large cloves garlic
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, including stems
1 small bunch mint, leaves only
1 tablespoon cumin
! tablespoon paprika
Good pinch of cayenne, or more to taste
2 pounds of extra-lean ground beef, or extra-lean ground lamb, or a combination
Freshly ground pepper

Makes about 6 servings

Prepare the grill or preheat the broiler

Combine the onion, parsley, and mint in a food processor and pulse untul finely choppe, do not let mixture get watery. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the cumin, paprika, cayenne, beef and pepper to taste..

Form about 18 logs approximately 1 inch in diameter and 4 inches long. Thread onto wet wooden or metal skewers. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve hot. allow 2 to 3 skewers per guest.

As Levana tells us above, this dish combines perfectly with:

Photo by: Ann Stratton for LEVANA’S TABLE, page 65

Moroccan Tomato Salad

We Moroccans cook tomatoes, sun-dry tomatoes, pickle tomatooes, candy tomatoes-we prepare tomatoes in every way possible. In Mediterranean climates, they are spectacular year round, inexpensive and bursting with color and fragrance. Recently, it has become easier (altjhough not cheaper) to get decent tomatoes throughout the year in the United States. This salad includes capers, gherkins, and preserved lemons; it is delightfully fragrant, colorful and refreshing. If you do nopt have preserved lemons on hand, simply omit them and proceed with the recipe.  If you must make this salad ahead of time, make it without the tomatoes (up to two days ahead), then add the tomatoes before serving.

6 plum tomatoes, seeds and juice discarded, diced
2 tablespoons minced purple onion
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, preferably tiny nonpareils
1/4 cup minced dill pickle
6 pitted green olives, minced
2 pickled hot peppers, chopped (optional)
1/4 of a preserved lemon, skin onl, rinsed and finely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper

Makes 6 servings

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

11
Jan
12

Biscotti


Biscotti (or biscotto in singular) are Italian cookies which are baked twice, once by first baking in a loaf, then slicing the loaf and baking the slices. They are deliciously crunchy and are just perfect for dipping into dessert wine or coffee.

They are one of my favorite breakfast treats, sometimes I’ll even have them as dessert with wine, after a special dinner. Here is Lévana‘s easy and scrumptious recipe:

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour: all purpose, whole wheat pastry or spelt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon instant coffee powder (decaf OK) mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder


Directions

  1. Mix the eggs, sugar and oil by hand or with a mixer, until well combined. Add all remaining dough ingredients and mix to make a smooth dough. The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a very lightly foured board, roll each piece into a 12 inch cylinder. Transfer each cylinder onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten into a log about 2 1/2 inches wide and and 1/2 inch thick. Make sure the shaped logs are at least 1 inch apart, as they will expand. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Reduce the temperature to 325 F.
  4. When the logs are cool enough to handle, carefully move them onto a cutting board. Cut 1/2 inch slices with a very sharp serrated knife; put the slices back on the cookie sheet, cut upside down and bake again for 20 more minutes or until golden brown and very crisp. (Take one out and let it cool and then taste it. If it’s not very crisp, return the biscotti to the oven for 2 to three minutes.)
  5. Store at room temperature in an airtight cookie tin.

Yield: About 4 dozen

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

10
Nov
11

Kosherfest 2011 Highlights – Part 1


I spent this past Tuesday and Wednesday at the Meadowlands Exposittion Center together with my good friend, successful commercial photographer and former Chair of the Photo Department at Fashion Institute of Technology – Irving Schild. I’ve been to Kosherfest quite a few times and as good as they were this one leaves those before it far in the dust. Not only was it far bigger (more exhibitors), it had far more visitors who were more informed, more health conscious, than ever before.

There were many new and exciting products, that will be hitting the store shelves soon, as well as non-food items that  caught our attention:

Ner Mitzvah - A candlemaker in the shtetl.

This company used a very creative way to show us their line of products, no words were necessary… just good old fashioned candle making.

Argentina, a country right across the river from where I grew up, distinguished itself by having Marumatok snatch the Kosherfest’s Best New Wine of the Year (Fincas Marumatok Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec). Marumatok has a nice line of wines at very reasonable prices, they may be hard to find but are well worth the search!

One of Marumatok's executives talking about the company's wines...

Costa Rica had its own booth promoting kosher travel tours in that country.

Kosher Costa Rica Tours

To me one of the main highlights was a panel discussion with various cookbook authors where new and upcoming trends were discussed:

From left to right (seated) authors: Jeff Nathan, Levana Kirschenbaum, Susie Fishbein, Gil Marks, Jamie Geller (standing) moderators: Leah Schapira and Esti Berkowitz

Various bloggers were allowed to ask questions to the authors, making this an interesting information packed hour.

There were far too many interesting items and products for the scope of this brief post, but we’ll talk about a few more in the 2nd part of this series. Especially worthy of mention, however, is the Best Overall New Product winner: Tishbi Passion Fruit and Strawberry Champagne Preserves. Ora Tishbi truly outdid herself for the second year in a row. I’m not into preserves but these are truly delicious

Seyman once again had an incredible display of superb European cheeses… that Manchego, the Gruyère, the Halumi, the Parmegiano Reggiano… just remembering the taste makes my mouth water and I wasn’t even taking part in a Pavlovian experiment!

The Petrini Gelato Shoppe, introduced a new dimension of flavor. Both their milchig and parve lines were outstanding

The French chocolates from Michel Cluizel, were miniature works of art. Their taste incomparable, far above any other chocolates this chocaholic ever tasted before!

CS

29
May
11

Shavuos Recipes


The Shavuos Recipe Contest, which we announced on May 12th, has so far netted only 11 entries. Come now, gentle readers, we know there are some great cooks out there, please send us your favorite dairy recipes for a chance to win a nice selection of cholov Yisroel cheeses.

Meanwhile, having attended Lévana’s delicious Shavuos themed Dinner and a Show this past Monday, she graciously agreed to share two recipes:

Photo by: levanacooks.com

Cold Watercress Soup Recipe

Cold soups would always be a thrill if only they were made with full-bodied and full-flavored veggies, as they are here. No stock or broth whatsoever! Bouillon cubes? Let’s not even go there!

There are several variations you might enjoy on this theme, keeping as always a short and sweet ingredient selection: Broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus instead of the watercress and zucchini; potatoes, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower instead of the celery root. Play with all the possibilities!

The immersion blender is a wonderfully nifty tool, inexpensive and portable (it will fit in a drawer), that allows you to blend your soup directly and in one shot right in your pot. No transferring, no mess. Just make sure there are no bones in the soup, or you will break your blade.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 large leeks, sliced
  • 1 large celery knob, diced
  • 2 large zucchini, cut in large chunks
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) water
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 bunches watercress, stems and leaves
  • Good pinch nutmeg
  • 4 cups cold milk or non-dairy milk
  • Pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot. Add the leeks and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add the celery, zucchini, turmeric, water, wine and salt, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in the watercress and cook only a few seconds, until wilted. Turn off the flame.
  5. The remaining ingredients and cream the soup with an immersion blender. Adjust the texture and seasonings.
  6. Chill the soup.

As a kid growing up in Montevideo, Uruguay, I had to contend with two major handicaps:

  • The first neighborhood we lived in was mostly Italian and we were the only Jews in our building, the lone Jewboy was a natural target…
  • I was extremely overweight and couldn’t run too well, that much better for the nabe’s bullies.

My saintly mother (aleha Hasholom!) decided she’d become the best Italian cook in the neighborhood. Why? So that everyone would want to be invited over for a meal and thus, out of pure self interest, stop beating up the very fat Jewish kid… One of the favorites was polenta, here’s Lévana’s own version:

Polenta Casserole au Gratin Recipe

Please ignore those insipid cooked polenta rolls you find in the supermarket: Making the polenta base takes minutes, and is the bulk of the work for this delicious dish, which will serve a good dozen guests! Au Gratin just means it is topped with a crust: Yum!

This is only one of the wonderful polenta possiblities: You will love to explore them, as it is not only delicious but very nutritious, and gluten-free to boot. You can:

  • Eat the polenta as is, hot and un-assembled (in other words, only the first step of the recipe) as the grain for a main course.
  • Thin it with a little water, garlic and minced basil, maybe a couple diced tomatoes for a great soup
  • Cut the cooled polenta in cubes or triangles and put it right under your broiler flame
  • Make other fillings: Roasted diced vegetables (mushrooms, eggplant, red pepper, fennel, artichoke hearts, etc…..
  • Make it dairy-free. Cook it in water or dairy-free milk, and/or substitute some white wine for some of the water or milk.

Ingredients

  • 9 cups milk, low-fat OK
  • A few drops olive oil
  • Salt to taste (remember the cheese is salty, so very little please)
  • 3 cups coarse cornmeal
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan or other strong cheese
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 5 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • Good pinch dried pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Topping

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, gluten-free OK
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Boil water, oil, and salt in a large pot. Add the cornmeal and stir until thick. This should take about ten minutes.
  2. Stir in the cheese.
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased cookie sheet, in a layer no more than half an inch thick. You might fill one and a half cookie sheets. Let the polenta cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  5. While the polenta is cooling, make the sauce: in a food processor, coarsely grind the garlic, basil and onion. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining sauce ingredients.
  6. Grease an 11-by-14-inch lasagna pan. Make one layer polenta, making sure you leave no blank spaces. Add half the sauce.
  7. Repeat: one layer polenta, one layer sauce. Bake the casserole for about 45 minutes, or until the dish looks bubbly and hot.
  8. Mix the bread crumbs with the butter, and sprinkle over the dish. Bake another 10 minutes.
  9. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares. Makes a dozen servings.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy AND don’t forget to send us your favorite Shavuos recipes (there is a nice selection of cholov Yisroel cheeses as the prize for the best!) to:

kosherscene@gmail.com

Meanwhile, check out Lévana’s pages for more Shavuos delicacies.

CS

RELATED POSTS

shavuos recipes – part 2 

————–

shavuos recipes – part 2

shavuos recipes – part 1

and for prize winning cheese cake recipes: and the winner is…

09
Mar
11

No Broadcast Tonight


Kudos to our dear friend, Rabbi Yaakov Spivak at the Jewish Radio Network, for hosting the past eleven episodes of The Kosher Scene Radio Show. We’re so excited to announce that starting next week, we’ll be moving to a terrific new net station.  We’ll be bigger and better than ever with new tech abilities and worldwide coverage. Check The Kosher Scene Radio for updates and details about our new and exciting venue. This week, however, we will be taking a week hiatus from radio while we make the necessary transitions.

Last week’s show featured Moshe Aaron Zimmerman from Liquors Galore (1212 Avenue J; Brooklyn, NY 11230-3702; Telephone: 718.338.4166), if you missed it here is the archived show. In the past, Aaron has shared some basics of wine tasting on this blog’s pages, with a four part series on Enjoying Your Wine (BuyingTastingStoring and Grape Varieties). His talk on our show was interesting and very informative.

Here are the links to our past guests’ audio files:

We have a great lineup of upcoming guests, enjoy a quiet night off tonight, but be sure to listen our new show. We’ll give you the details at the beginning of next week.

CS

21
Nov
10

Turkey Recipes – Part 1


With Thanksgiving almost upon us, we thought we should feature some outstanding turkey recipes, they are different and absolutely delicious.

We’ll kick off the series with Chef Lévana’s Spice-Rub Roasted Turkey:

Let’s start with her Dry-Spice Rub recipe:

Dry-Spice Rub

[This mixture is guaranteed to lick any commercial concoction you have been buying! I can see you recoil at the sheer size of this recipe, and of course you can divide it, but I don’t think you will: after you taste a dry-spice-rub roast chicken or roast turkey or roast anything, you’ll be glad you have plenty on hand!

I use this magical rub in countless dishes, it never fails me. I even roast turkey and capon with it. Since all ingredients are dry, I never have to worry about having to use it up quickly. I make a large batch, about a year’s supply (just a few months if you use it as gifts to your delighted friends!) and store it just as I do spices, at room temperature, away from heat. Mine has no salt whatsoever, so that you might feel free to use it liberally with kosher meat and poultry, or if you are limiting your sodium intake.. Lévana]

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups dry cilantro flakes
  • 2 1/2 cups dry parsley flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups paprika
  • 1 1/4 cups oregano
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2/3 cup ground cumin
  • 2/3 cup ground coriander
  • 2/3 cup ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup ground bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup tamarind powder
  • 2/3 cup turmeric

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Store in perfectly dry and perfectly clean glass jars.
  2. You will need 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture for roasting 1 chicken (per pound), 8 servings for salmon or tuna, a three pound London broil, or 3 pounds thickly sliced tofu.
  3. Use 1 cup of the mixture to roast a 12 to 14 pound turkey.
  4. Store the dry rub with your spices.
  5. Makes about 10 cups.

Dry-Spice Rub Roast Turkey

Juicy and flavorful!

Ingredients

  • 12-14 lb turkey
  • 1 cup dry-spice rub
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Rub a 12-14 pound turkey with 1 cup dry spice rub, place in a baking pan breast side down.
  2. Add 6 cups water and ½ cup olive oil to the pan.
  3. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake 21/2 hours.
  5. Discard the foil, turn the turkey breast side up and bake 1 hour more, or until juices run clear when pierced with a knife.
  6. Let the turkey rest about 15 minutes before slicing.
  7. While the turkey rests, transfer the liquids to a sauce pan and reduce to 3-4 cups.
  8. Strain the sauce over the sliced turkey.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! I already had it this past Shabbos, AS WELL AS this past Monday at Levana’s Dinner and a Show Cooking Demo. MMmmmmm, MMMM!!!

CS




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