Sunday, September 28, 2014

Curry In The New Year

I made this dish for many clients over Rosh Hashana and got amazing reviews.  Originally, it was supposed to be served in small portions and eaten with the simanim ,but my clients and myself consumed this salad during the main course as well!  This dish is so easy to make, unbelievably flavorful and very healthy! I recommend serving this with rice and eating it for dinner any day of the week.

Black Eyed Pea Curry
1 C. Uncooked Black Eyes Peas
1 C. Water or Vegetable Stock
2 Tbsp. Oil
2 Tsp. Ginger, minced
1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and minced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tsp. Brown Mustard Seeds
1 - 14.5 Oz. Canned Diced Tomatoes
1 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 Tsp. Ground Curry
1 Tsp. Paprika
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Tomato Paste 
1/4 C. Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Rinse the beans and soak in cold water or 4 hours or overnight. Rinse and boil in fresh water for 30 minutes until reached desired doneness.  The beans should be soft but still hold together. 
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium low.
Fry minced jalapeno, ginger, garlic and mustard seeds on medium-low heat until the seeds start to pop.  Add the tomatoes, coriander, cumin, curry, paprika, turmeric, tomato paste and salt.  Stir and  add the black eyed peas and water or vegetable stock.  Simmer and cook for 10-20 minutes on medium heat until water has evaporated and bean mixture turns thick.  Add the chopped cilantro.  The curry is best served warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How 'Bout Them Apples?

Rosh Hashana is coming up fast and I have been thinking a lot about different recipes to post. 
My husband envisioned a recipe like this about a year ago, but never brought it to life.  His was much more complicated and involved a phyllo dough purse enveloping the apples.  I told him that was way to complicated and with all the Rosh Hashana cooking we are making and I'm sure you are as well, it was much too time consuming.  Therefore, we came up with, in essences, a meatball mixture inside of an apple.  Festive apples for Rosh Hashana, yet very practical and pretty for a meal. 

This is definitely a show stopper dish that everyone will enjoy! If you find yourself with extra meat and don't want to fill more apples, these are great when baked as meatballs or even grilled for a nice flavorful twist on hamburger.

Beef Kofta Stuffed Apples
Makes 6-8 Servings

6-8 Gala Apples, Cut 1/2 inch off the top and core center, leaving the outside to form a cup. (reserve top and all the extra cored apple pieces)
1  Egg
½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
3 (3 tsp.) Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 Cup Fresh Mint, finely chopped
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 tsp. Ground All Spice 
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
¼ Cup Pinenuts, toasted (optional)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 lb . Ground Beef

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a muffin tin.
Dice the extra insides of the apple that you cored, removing the seeds.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk egg, panko, garlic, mint, cumin, all spice, cinnamon, pinenuts, cored diced apple pieces, salt and pepper. Crumble in beef and gently mix.  Do not overwork.
Stuff the cored apple cups with the meat mixture.
Place the apples in the greased muffin tin, one apple per muffin mold. Place the top (stem and all) of each apple on top of the apple and meat cup, leaving a bit of the meat exposed.
In the preheated oven, bake the apples, uncovered for 45 minutes until they become soft and juicy.
Serve warm.

Monday, July 21, 2014

This Soup is Smokin'

Tomato soup is one of my all time favorite comfort foods.  In my opinion, comfort food needs to have the ability to be made quickly in order to eat it when you want it the most.  I know plenty of recipes for tomato soup that call for roasting them in an oven and sautéing multiple ingredients together to reach the desired flavor.  I, on the other hand, would like to keep comfort food simple.  This recipe has very few steps and ingredients. The tomatoes have their own sweetness and creaminess and therefore it takes very little to make it very delicious.  I used liquid smoke to give the tomato soup it's signature toasty virtually one second! 
Next time you have a craving for tomato soup (and how about some grilled cheese?!) open up a few cans or slice a few tomatoes and let your immersion blender do the rest!

Smokey Creamy Tomato Soup
Serves 4

4 Cups Tomatoes (Fresh or Diced in Can), with juices
1 - 6 Oz. Jar Tomato Paste
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbs. White Miso Paste
1/2 Tsp. Back Pepper
1 Tsp. Basil, dried
1 Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
1/4 Tsp. Liquid Smoke
Optional Toppings: Sour Cream, Bread Croutons, Arugula, Basil

Pour in a pot the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, pepper and basil.  Heat through.  When the tomatoes begin to simmer turn off the heat and blend with an immersion blender or vitamix till smooth.  Add the milk and smoke and blend until desired consistency has been reached.  Ladle into bowls and garnish.  This soup may be served hot or cold.

Monday, July 7, 2014

So Fresh and So Clean Clean

I just returned back from Israel about a week ago and I have been thinking about so many wonderful Israeli dishes and food I ate on my vacation.  The one theme that keeps going through my mind is "Fresh." Everything we ate, from vegetable and fruit, to fish, poultry and was all fresh!
We traveled all around Israel, mouth, nose and eyes wide open, experiencing as much as we could in the short amount of time we were there.  We went to two market places, one called Machane Yehuda (The center of Jerusalem) and the other Shuk HaCarmel (the center of Tel Aviv/Yaffo).  Both are filled with produce that has literally just been picked from the fields and baked goods you can smell a mile away.  In the crevices of the long rows and the aisle of little shops, lay some of the best products and produce you would ever find! We witnessed the process of making techina (tahini), freshly ground sesame seeds that were made into a paste with morter and stone, we tasted the smoothest halvah, smelled the freshly baked laffa and pita, stood mesmerized while watching our lunch of fresh pasta being kneaded, rolled out and boiled, watched and tasted fruit and vegetable juice combinations squeezed right in front of our eyes,  we were privy to see the largest collection of kosher cheeses and so much more!

This week I haven't had one day pass without making a classic Israeli salad.  The flavor of the vegetables we have in our supermarkets don't even compare to the flavors in Israel, but they are still delicious and tasty! 

Israel is no doubt the inspiration for this dish.  We must have eaten watermelon everyday of our trip.   The combination of tomatoes and watermelon are such a perfect match and meld so beautifully with the feta cheese, creating a beautiful and fruity salad as a snack or with fish as a main course.   I know you will enjoy this fantastically fresh salad!


Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad
6 C. Watermelon, cubed
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 C. Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
8 Oz. Feta, crumbled
1 Tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbs. Fresh Mint, chopped (more for garnish)

Mix all the ingredients together.  Serve cold.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Asparagus...So In Right Now!

Asparagus is in season!  At least that is what all the famers markets are displaying, showing off and selling!  Now is the time to buy these stalks of deliciousness and they are at its peak just in time for the holiday of Shavuot!
I am so excited to be sharing this wonderful soup recipe with you! I love asparagus and found a fantastic sale on them the other day which made them even more irresistible to buy!  This soup is a creamy and savory experience and great served cold, which I think is a perfect way to serve soup during lunch on a very warm Shavuot day.  I made this cold asparagus soup for a 25 person party the other day and to quote the hostess it was "Absolutely amazing!"   

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Makes 10 Servings

2 Lbs. Asparagus, woody ends removed (reserve a handful of asparagus tips to roast for garnish)
4 Tbs. Unsalted Butter or Oil
2 Leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 Tbs. Fresh Garlic, minced
2 Small Idaho Potatoes, Cut into 8th's
1 Tbs. Fresh Thyme
4 C. Vegetable Stock
1/2 C. Heavy Cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. Fresh lemon juice
Garnish: Roasted Asparagus Tips, Dill, Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 400. Toss the asparagus with a little bit of oil and roast for 20-25 minutes.  Heat butter in a large pot and sauté the chopped leaks until they turn translucent and soft.  Add the fresh garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the potatoes, thyme and vegetable stock into the pot.  Bring stock to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  With a food processor, immersion blender or a Vitamix (my favorite!), blend all the ingredients together until smooth.  Add the Cream, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Tastes great served warm or cold.  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, roasted asparagus tips and a sprig of dill.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Eggplant Overload

I was catering a party a few weeks ago and I had an eggplant dish on the menu.  I went to my local fruit and vegetable wholesale grocer and bought 25 eggplants.  Let's just say I COMPLETELY overestimated (which tends to happen sometimes) and ended up with about 11 extra eggplants.  Not only did I not have room in my refrigerator for 11 eggplants, I had no events coming up calling for eggplants.  They do not last a long time so I had to figure out how to use them up quickly!  I decided to view this challenge as an opportunity to find out the quickest possible way of using up these eggplants without resorting to my fallback, eggplant parm (although it is delicious).

That same week, I found myself at the North Market in Columbus, OH at a place called North Market Spices.  They are located at the entrance which made it my first spot (They order these fabulous kosher spices from Kalustyans in NYC)!  Just walking by you get hit by a fantastic whiff of hundreds of spices.  I was drawn towards the shop and my brain went into to overload just dreaming about the different ways I would use these spices.  Dried lemongrass, star anise, chai...I was in heaven. 
I was put in the right place at the right time, exactly when I needed that inspiration!

Although I used up only four of my eggplants in this recipe, it still brought my numbers down.  I used another four in a babaganoush that I absolutely love.  The last three.... I haven't decided what I want to do with them yet. Suggestion box open :)

Savory Spiced Stuffed Eggplant
Serves 8

4 Medium Eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise
2 Onions, chopped
4 Tbs. Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 - 6 oz. Can Tomato Paste
1/2 tsp. Dried Lemon Grass
1/2 tsp. Anise Seed
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Coriander Seed
1 tsp. Cayenne (optional)
Pinch of Nutmeg
1/2 C. Parsley, chopped (reserve some chopped parsley for garnish)
1/2 C. Water
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Scoop out the seeds and the inside of the eggplants with a metal spoon, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the sides.  lightly salt and let sit for 30 minutes.
In a large pan, heat pan (without oil) on medium high heat.  Add onions and sauté until translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and watching carefully so that they do not burn.  Add oil and sauté for another 2 minutes.  Add in garlic cloves and stir for 30 seconds.  Add in ground beef and mix with spatula for about 3 minutes.  Add to the tomato paste and all of the spices to the meat mixture.  Mix till combined.  Turn off the heat and mix the parsley into the meat mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350.  Rinse off the eggplants and place in a baking dish.  Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and rub all around to coat the whole eggplant.  Take the cooled meat mixture and scoop the meat into the eggplants pressing down the mixture into the eggplant after each scoop.  Fill till the meat reaches a little above the edge of the eggplant.  Repeat with the rest of the eggplants and place in a baking dish.  Fill the bottom with 1/2 C. water and cover.  Bake for 50 minutes covered then remove the cover and bake for 10 more minutes. 

Serve warm and garnish with the reserved parsley. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Peezy Salmon

Salmon is a very flavorful fish that needs little done to make it taste fantastic.  The Osem croutons, salted almonds and citrusy lemons brings out the bright flavor of the fish.  Enjoy this salmon cold or hot.  It is sure to be a winner for your taste buds!


Almond and Crouton Encrusted Salmon
Makes 6-8 Servings

½ Cup Salted Almonds, finely ground
1 – 5.9 Oz. Box Mini OSEM Croutons, finely ground
Black Pepper and Salt, to taste
½ tsp. Dried Cilantro
1 Side of Salmon
2 Lemons
Fresh Cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix together the almonds, croutons, pepper , dried cilantro and salt.  Place the side of salmon, skin side down, in a baking pan.  Squeeze one lemon over the top of the salmon.  Press the almond-crouton mixture into the salmon to cover the top and the sides completely.  Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, keep an eye on the salmon for the almond-crouton crust not to burn (if it does begin to burn, cover loosely with foil for the remainder of the cooking time).  Remove from oven.  Garnish with fresh lemon slices and cilantro leaves.  Serve warm.
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