Archive for the 'kosher Moroccan cuisine' Category

16
Apr
15

Barbara Bensoussan Makes Challah


This coming Shabbat is typically one when most people make “key or schlissel” challah. While some will bake it in a key shape, others put a key inside. I belong to the latter group, and for this Shabbat I plan to change the usual shape of my challah. This time, I will shape it as Barbara Bensoussan explains in the following video and in her book A Well Spiced Life:

Basic Challah Recipe

This is my best “Challah for Dummies” recipe. One of the biggest mistakes challah novices make is to work too much flour into the dough, since bread dough feels so sticky on the hands, but the result is a heavy loaf better employed as a doorstop. This recipe kneads the dough in a food processor, so you are less likely to make this mistake. The recipe makes one large challah, but since it goes so quickly, you can simply make one loaf, dump out the dough, and repeat the process as many times as you like. In the interests of sneaking some nutrition into my white-bread-loving children, I usually add a tablespoon of wheat germ to the dough.

2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast (1 package) dissolved in ½ cup very warm water along with ½ teaspoon sugar
3 cups flour, preferably high-gluten
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons 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
PAM 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 yeast-and-water mix (it should be foamy after five minutes) and process another 5-10 seconds.  Combine an egg and 1/3 cup 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 make take 20-30 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, ¼ cup at a time.

Let the dough process on a medium-low speed for one minute.  Voila!  The dough is done.  Place into an oiled bowl, turn it once, cover it with a plastic bag, and let it rise until doubled, about an hour and a half (may rise faster if your kitchen is hot).

kosher-scene-copyright-copy22

BarbBenssousChall

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 second rising may go faster than the first.  When doubled again, punch down the dough.  Shape into a loaf, either by braiding it or, as my mother-in-law does, by rolling it into a long rectangle from which you cut a fringe on one end and roll it up.  (I never managed to master braiding with six strands, but an easier, and also very nice, option is to divide the dough into four parts.  Braid three of them, then make a skinny braid with the fourth part.  Slice a little trough down the length of the big braid with a knife and nestle the smaller braid inside it—this will keep it from sliding off during baking, and makes a pretty double-braided shape.)  I like to use aluminum loaf pans to bake my challahs, as the high sides help them rise and maintain a more professional, uniform shape; spray them with Pam and dust with corn meal.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Let your shaped challahs rise at least another half hour, until almost doubled in size.  Brush with the beaten egg and top with seeds if desired.  Bake at 425 for five minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake until golden brown, about another half hour.  For a crispier crust, take the challahs out of the pans (carefully!) for the last five minutes of baking.  When they’re done, the bottoms will sound hollow when tapped with your finger.

Variation:  Whole Wheat Challah

My husband decided he prefers whole wheat challahs, as they’re more nutritious and he finds them easier on the digestion.  It’s advisable to mix whole wheat flour with regular bread flour, as the whole wheat flour contains much less gluten and consequently will not rise very well all by itself.  You can simply use the recipe above, but substitute half to two-thirds of the white flour with whole wheat flour or even spelt flour.

A Note on Sephardic Shaping

When my mother-in-law visits us, she makes her challah in a shape I had never seen before.  Instead of braiding the dough, she manages to create a sort of striped loaf.  I soon saw how this was accomplished; she rolls out the dough into a long rectangle.  Then she cuts one of the narrow ends into a sort of long fringe.  Starting from the opposite, end, she rolls the dough rectangle into a loaf, ending with the “fringes” wrapped around the loaf decoratively.  When baked, the fringes puff into a striped pattern.

My husband was familiar with this Moroccan challah shape and immediately surmised that it must have some ancient mystical significance; perhaps there was even a specified number of stripes to cut, like those who have the custom to bake a dozen challah rolls for every Shabbat.  But when he asked his mother the reason behind this unusual shape, she merely shrugged.  “Who knows?” she said.  “I think it’s just a way of making the challah easier to slice.”  And indeed, when you bring the striped challahs to the table, the indentations between the stripes make perfect cutting guides!

Enjoy!

SYR

06
Mar
15

A Well Spiced Life


Barbara Bensoussan‘s book A Well Spiced Life, is a memoir – through food – of her transition from a not very committed Ashkenazi young girl who marries a boy from Casablanca, to become the religious wife and mother of a Sephardi/Askenazi family. Packed with great anecdotes and healthy doses of subtle humor, sprinkled with delicious and easy to make recipes, it’s truly a delightful book!
BarBensoussnBk

From Page 81:

Moroccan Chicken with Apricots

Photo by: CS

Photo by: CS

  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (curcum, if you are Israeli)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 chicken (about 3 pounds), cut into eights
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (can be made with one teaspoon consomme powder and hot water)
  • 1 1/2 cups apricots
Photo by: Barbara Bensoussan

Photo by: Barbara Bensoussan

In a large, deep saucepan that has a cover, begin to saute the onions in the oil over medium heat. When onions are transparent, add the garlic, turmeric, and tomatoes, stirring the blend. now add the chicken to the pot and let it brown. While it is browning, sprinkle it with the salt, pepper, cinnamon, and ginger.

Once it has finished browning, add the apricots and chicken broth to the pot. Now simmer it, partially covered, for one hour, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the apricots and chicken are soft and infused with each other’s flavors.

Nice served over couscous or rice.

Enjoy!

SYR

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

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

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

21
Jul
11

This Evening’s Radio Show, Yesterday’s Superb Lunch


If you missed last evening’s very informative show: A Conversation with Menachem Lubinsky, you can hear it here.

Yesterday Alessandra Rovati (from dinnerinvenice.com), Esti Berkowitz (from primetimeparenting.com), Geilah Hocherman (author of upcoming cookbook The Kosher Revolution), Kim Amzallag (from Kosher Inspired/Mishpacha Magazine), Suzannah Raff (from koshershopaholic.com) and yours truly met at Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum‘s (from levanacooks.com) place.

We started the session with an incredible Moroccan lunch feast prepared by Lévana, of course. It consisted of:


  • Cold avocado cucumber soup
  • Spicy olive lemon salad
  • Celery remoulade
  • Moroccan tomato salad
  • Hummus-Tehina with za’atar
  • Lamb-stuffed artichoke bottoms
  • Chicken roasted in dry spice rub
  • Chicken Pastilla
  • Hot and sweet parsnips
  • Potato, tomato and olive tajine
For dessert she made us:
  • Spicy nut truffles
  • Date nut roll
  • Chocolate “salami”
  • Chocolate espresso bark
  • Coconut cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Quick halvah

After the meal we started our discussion, Suzannah Raff put it on video (she will have it up on YouTube soon!), while I taped it for this evening’s radio show. After such a rich, healthy, scrumptious meal you can bet our discussion was lively, entertaining, informative.

The topic of our discussion was Healthy and Delicious versus Delicious at any Cost. This pretaped show will air it this evening at 8:00pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalkRadio. Please tune us in this evening, we’ll be wait’n for ya!

CS

17
Jul
11

Events of the Week


Just because it’s summer and Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhoods’ street are half empty doesn’t mean that New York has become a ghost town. Kosher events abound and our favorites for this coming week are:

Monday, July 18th at 7:00pm (Eastern Time)

Lévana’s Moroccan Feast Part 2: Salad Buffet

Please make certain to register to the demo, as the venue has moved to my apartment!

We grew up eating no end of salads at almost every meal: Is it any wonder we loved our veggies and ate them without any prompting? I am even including a dessert salad. True to form, we will bake an authentic Moroccan bread to go with the feast so we don’t leave a drop of sauce behind (this bread is the only item on the menu that will not be gluten-free).

I’ll be demonstrating:

  • Matbookha
  • Grated carrot salad
  • Roasted pepper salad
  • Spicy lettuce and chick pea salad with salmon
  • Tomato salad
  • Eggplant salad
  • Minted orange, endive and romaine salad
  • Moroccan Bread

Click Here to Register!

Registrations: A gentle reminder – Please register at least two days before any cooking class demo so A) We know for sure we have a demo going, and B) We have ample servings!

P.S. Throw in a C) – It makes my life easier :-) P.P.S. Throw in a D) I’ll give you a free signed copy of my new cookbook if you bring a new friend!

Also starting tomorrow you can take advantage of a great, reasonably priced menu at 18 Restaurant:

240 East 81st Street, New York – (212) 517-2400

THE KOSHER SCENE SPECIAL DINNER PRIX FIXE MENU

$32.00 per person, tax and gratuities not included. All wine, beer and alcohol billed separately.
Any item ordered, not on the Prefix will be billed separately

May not be used in conjunction with ANY other special

APPETIZER

Combination Platters:

Humus, Babaganuosh, Turkish Salad, Tahini

Mixed Green Salads

Assorted Breads

Photo by: seamlessweb.com

ENTREE

Eighteen Mixed Grill Kebob Special Combo Platter:

Chicken

Beef

Side Dishes: Choice of 2

grilled vegetables

french fries

mashed potatoes

basmati rice

DESSERT

Coffee/tea

Assorted Rugelach or Slice of Cake

Cold beverage (non alcohol) included

The food’s delicious, the price is very reasonable, the portions are generous, the ambiance is elegantly casual, a perfect eatery to take your wife, your date or the family. Go ahead, treat yourself! All of you deserve it. (For this Prix Fixe, please print out the following  .pdf)

18 Restaurant
240 East 81st. Street (map)
New York, NY
Telephone 212.517.2400
www.eighteenrestaurant.com

CS

09
May
11

Chicken Tajine


This recipe is a delicious meal all by itself and it’s made in one pot, there is less cleaning and it’s an easier dinner to prepare. What could be more satisfying than the delicious aromas of healthy cooking wafting through the kitchen, especially when it’s all done with little effort? There are many versions of this dish; last eve some Moroccan friends, visiting from Israel, came over and this is the variation I made.

Chicken Tajine

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 onion, cut into small wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 lb chicken cutlets
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 8 oz zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 3 oz portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (see CS’ Chicken Broth)
  • 10 oz chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dates, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook for three minutes, stir frequently.
  2. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 5 minutes. until all sides are seared.
  3. Add the cumin and the cinnamon sticks after the first 2 1/2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir constantly, for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini, the bell peeper and mushrooms. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Blend the tomato paste with the chicken broth, stir into pan, bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and add the chickpeas, apricots, prunes, and dates. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Garnish  with chopped cilantro or parsley (I used cilantro) and serve immediately.
We paired it with with a Willm Gewurztraminer 2008. With fresh flowers and citrus on the nose, flavors of pineapple, honeydew, lychee and apple with lots of honey on the finish. This is a dry white but with a subtle hint of sweetness on the tongue, elegant rather than big and bold,  it is clean, refreshing and with just enough acidity to accentuate the sweetness of the dish. A marriage made in heaven!
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! We did.
CS



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