Archive for the 'Poopa Dweck' Category

10
May
13

Kusa b’Jibn: Zucchini-Cheese Frittata


I found the following delicious recipe in Poopa Dwek‘s Aromas of Aleppo:

Kusa b’Jibn: Zucchini-Cheese Frittata

ZuchCheeFritt Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pound Muenster cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 6 pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large skillet saute the squash and onion in the vegetable oil for 8 minutes, or until the squash is crisp-tender.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, squash-onion mixture and salt. Stir well
  4. Pour the contents into a 2-quart baking dish. Dot the top of the mixture with butter. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy, gentle reader. Enjoy!

CS

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23
May
12

‘Ataiyef – Syrian Blintzes?


Geila Hocherman‘s blog made it’s very promising debut yesterday featuring a recipe for incredibly delicious blintzes, thus I was inspired to look for alternative recipes from cultures other than my own or Geila’s Eastern European one. I wanted something different, or at least a different way of making the equivalent of traditional Ashkenazi blintzes. For many years I’d heard of Syrian ‘Atayef  and finally I found a recipe in Poopa Dweck‘s Aromas of Aleppo.

‘Atayef – Stuffed Syrian Pancakes

‘Ataiyef is not your ordinary Sunday morning pancake. Filled with ricotta cheese, deep-fried, dipped in chopped pistachio nuts, and topped with shira (Fragrant Aleppian Dessert Syrup), it is more like a five-star dessert. Aleppian Jews eat ‘ataiyef on happy occasions such as engagement parties.

these pancakes are one of the dairy foods customarily eaten during Shavuot (feestival of the giving of the torah). King Solomon’s “Song of Songs,” particularly the words “honey and milk are under your tongue,” inspired this dish. the sweetness of shira shares a symbolic connection with the sweetness of Torah, which the Jews received on Shavuot. ‘Ataiyef is also served on Hanukkah because it is fried, and thus symbolizes the miracles of oil celebrated on that holiday.

While this recipe offers a way to make the batter from scratch, you may find commercial pancake mixes more convenient than homemade.

Batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup vegetarian oil
  • 1 cup shira (see below*)
  • 1 cup pistachios shelled, blanched, peeled and finely chopped (see below**)
  1. preheat a griddle pan over medium heat. wipe the pan with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil.
  2. Combine the flower, baking soda, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and 2 1/2 cups water to the mixture. stir the mixture until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.
  3. Make the pancakes by pouring water, 1 tablespoon at a time, onto the griddle. Shape the batter into 3-inch-wide pancake, much like a thin crepe. cook on one side only. remove the pancake, when bubbles appear on its surface. keep the cooked pancakes by covering them with a clean towel.
  4. Place 1-teaspoon ricotta cheese in the uncooked center of each pancake. Fold the pancake in half and pinch the sides firmly closed. Fill the pancakes as quickly as possible so they do not dry out. (At this point, the pancakes may be frozen for later use.)
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil until it sizzles upon contact with a drop of water. Deep-fry the filled pancakes in the cold shira. Dip the point of each pancake in pistachio nuts. To ensure a crispy texture, place the pancakes on a tray in a single layer; do not stack or cover them.

Variation

For a non-dairy version, combine 2 cups firmly chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and substitute for the ricotta.

Yield: About 4 dozen pancakes

–OoOOoO–

* Shira – Fragrant Aleppian Syrup

This simple syrup is a component of so many Aleppian desserts that it is a fixture in Aleppian refrigerators. The addition of rose or orange blossom water imbues it with an exotic flavor for which the Middle East is renowned.

When preparing shira, it is important to get the right consistency. For some Syrian sweets, a thicker syriup may be necessary. To thicken the syrup, keep it on tn the heat a a bit longer; if it is too thick, add some water and simmer again. when pouring shira over hot pastries, the syrup should be cold so the pastries stay crisp.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water or rose water
  1. Combine the sugar, lemon juice, orange blossom water, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the syrup slides slowly down the back of a spoon.
  2. Allow the syrup to cool. use immediately or pour into a glass jar and refrigerate. it will keep for up to2 months.

Note

All helou recipes use orange blossom water, rose water is used for other sweets.

Yield: 2 cups

–OoOOoO–

** Shelled, blanched and Peeled Pistachios

The tin, edible skin of the pistachio can easily be removed from the nut by blanching it. Cover shelled pistachios with boiling water and let them stand for 4 to 6 minutes, then peel off the skins.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! I most certainly will… my mouth is watering already.

CS

27
Jul
11

This Evening’s Radio Show


This evening’s show will feature cookbook author Poopa Dweck. Her cookbook Aromas of Aleppo took several decades from when she first got the idea until it came to fruition. It is a cultural history of the 2500 year old community of  Jews in Syria.

Photo by: NOAH ADDIS/THE STAR-LEDGER (June 8, 2008)

Mrs. Dweck has devoted her life to celebrating the legacy of her community and preserving it here in the West. This is her fourth cookbook, having first authored three volumes of Deal Delights. As a young woman she felt compelled to write down the recipes she grew up with and which existed only in the minds of older cooks, which led her to to document the Syrian Jewish cuisine with these beautiful produced book.

Poopa Dweck is a very active community leader in Deal, where she lives with her husband and five children, and she frequently lectures and performs cooking demonstrations.  She’s also the founder of the Jesse Dweck City Learning Center – where young men and women from the Syrian Jewish community learn Torah, their traditions their heritage in Deal, NJ, and New York City. She cofounded the Sephardic Women’s Organization.

This evening at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time), we will have Poopa Dweck on The Kosher Scene Radio Show. Please listen to an exciting conversation about a fascinating chapter that spans over more than two and half millennia of Jewish experience, about a community that dates back to the days of King David.

Last week we had two Talk radio shows, if you missed them or would like to hear them again you can do so here: A Conversation with Menachem Lubinsky and Healthy and Delicious versus Delicious at any Cost

Please tune us in this evening on BlogTalkRadioat 8:00 pm (Eastern Time). Hope to see there!

CS

25
Jul
11

Aromas of Aleppo


Poopa Dweck‘s magnum opus is far more than just an ethnic cookbook. In its pages, the author lovingly brings us the history, the culture, the flavors and aromas of over 2500 years of Syrian Jewry.

As the author tells us in the Preface, the book…

…features dishes that are both disarmingly familiar, exotic, and, above all, healthful.

My community represents a link to a forgotten past. It is one of the few Jewish communities to live through the rise and fall of Moorish Spain and the Ottoman Empire and survive as a modern people in the West while maintaining its venerable traditions. Our soulful culture, with its fervid, tuneful songs and communal celebratory feasts, is at its most vibrant during the Sabbath, holidays, and life cycle events. One of the most artful representations of Aleppian Jewish culture is our food, whose story I have yearned to tell.

By coincidence (is there really such a thing?!?) I was playing Rabbi Moshe Tessone‘s CD Odeh La’El!, as I became engrossed in this coffee table sized, art-book quality tome. The writing is informative and fun, the evocative photography (the colors, the settings, the lighting, the angles, bespeak of a certain rusticity and a sedate elegance at the same time) and the recipes truly introduced me to a world which – as an Ashkenazic Jew – I barely knew. Between this beautiful book and the music I felt transported to another time, to an enchanted region, far from the hustle and bustle of New York and – at least for the moment – life seemed beautiful, simple and far more pure…

Looking through the old photographs, looking at the author’s family, looking at the recipes pictured, almost made me feel as if I was partaking of a holiday meal at her table.

While loeafing though the book I just had to immediately try a recipe. On page 162 I found one that called for some of my leftover matzah meal and tamarind concentrate, which I’d picked up in the nearby Sephardic neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Keftes

Tamarind-Stewed Meatballs

Meatball dishes such as keftes are a tradition all over the Middle East. Some regions use turmeric and others use sumac or lemon and mintas flavoring accents for similar meatballs. Aleppian Jews like to use a combination of tomato sauce and tamarind, the proportions of which can vary according to a family’s preference.

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons matzah meal
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Sauce:
  • One 6 ounce can tomato paste, or two 8 ounce cans tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ou (tamarind concentrate, page 41), homemade or store bought
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. To make the meatballs, combine the the beef, eggs, matzah meal, salt and Aleppo pepper. Mix well by hand. The mixture should be loose and moist so that it can best absorb the sauce and retain a velvety texture. Shape the meat mixture into walnut-size balls.
  2. To make the sauce, combine the tomato paste, ou, lemon juice, salt, 1 cup of water, and, if desired, sugar, mix well.
  3. In a large ovenproof saucepan, brown the meatballs, one batch at a time, in the oil over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per batch.
  4. Return all the meatballs to the saucepan. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes to thicken sauce and allow the flavors to integrate thoroughly.

Variation

For a tangier sauce, increase the ou by 1 1/2 teaspoons and increase the water by 1/2 cup. Or omit the ou altogether for a lighter, more refreshing sauce, especially if you are serving another dish with ou.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! Sifrah daimeh – “May your table always be plentiful”

CS




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