Chuck Eye Roast with Apples and Zucchini

On Purim, it is my family’s custom to have two meals during the day. One is around 11am, the other about 4 or 5 hours later. There was a small problem: It was 10am, and I hadn’t started cooking. I had all the side dishes ready: baked salmon filet, chicken soup with kreplach (meat filled dumplings) and vegetable salads. But the star of the show, the roast – it was staring at me from my cutting board. It wasn’t even marinating in red wine yet, and my family was expecting to eat in an hour!

Moving the timetable for the meals a bit wasn’t a problem. But figuring out what to do with the roast on the fly was starting to drive me a little crazy. It’s rare that I’ll defrost something and not have some sort of plan for cooking. But the plan I had for the roast (marinating in red wine,making slits in the meat for garlic cloves, weaving parsley into the net all around the top) was too time consuming now.

So I had apples and zucchini on my counter, for other dishes I wanted to work on, and decided to cut them quickly into chunks. A quick 5 minute bath in red wine, a sprinkle of some herbs, and I had a plan.  Note: You can make this without onions- just add an extra zucchini and 2 extra apples. The roast will be sweeter for it. 

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Ingredients:

1 chuck eye roast, about 3 lbs

2 large green zucchini, ends removed and chopped into large rings

5 Macintosh apples, cored and quartered

1 Spanish onion, halved and sliced thin

1 and 1/2 C dry red wine 

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

Salt and pepper

 

To prepare

1) Preheat oven to 350F

2) Taking 3/4 to 1 C of the dry red wine and carefully pour it over the roast slowly, rubbing it into the raw meat with your hand as you go. Sprinkle with salt and pepper

3) Leave sit on the counter to quickly marinate while you chop the apples, zucchini, and onions. Arrange the apples and zucchini in the middle of a roasting pan, the onions around the edges.

4) Set the roast on top of the apples and zucchini, sprinkle with reserved herbs. Pour the remaining wine around the sides of the roast, directly on top of the fruit and vegetables.

5) Cover tightly and bake for 1 and 1/2 hrs, then let cool outside the oven for an equal amount of time. Carve the roast, and scrape all the fruit and vegetables together to serve as a side dish. Alternatively, you can quickly blend the apples, zucchini and onions together to make a thick gravy with an immersion blender or food processor. 

 

 

 

Pot Roast

It has been so cold lately! I’m talking flannel pajama, hot water bottle, three- pair- of -socks cold. On nights like that, I like to make a stew like this. It’s simple, hearty and warms the body as it fills the belly. This preparation is very similar to a pot au feu – the biggest difference is the presentation. I serve this as a one course meal- broth, meat and veggies all together in one bowl. Pot au feu is served as two separate courses – the broth is served as a starter, and the meat and veggies are served as the main, along with some boiled potatoes, mustard, and other accompaniments.

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I plan on serving this for one of my Purim seudot as well – we make two, one around 11 in the morning and one around 4pm- because it is that simple and delicious. You might notice the lack of onions and garlic in this recipe- it is deliberate. To boost the flavor but stay away from onions and garlic, I cooked the shallot til very brown, and added a large parsnip and a turnip. All this gives the stew a fresh sharpness so I don’t miss the onions and garlic!

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Ingredients:

1 piece of chuck or pot roast, between 2 to 3lbs

1/2 of a 750ml bottle of dry red wine

1/3 C orange juice

1 sleeve celery, cleaned and chopped

1 large parsnip. peeled and sliced

1 turnip, peeled and sliced

2 lg carrots, peeled and sliced

1 shallot, sliced thin

1 large handful fresh parsley (leaves only, minced)

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

1) Add salt and pepper to the roast on both sides. Sear on both sides, about 8 mins per side. Remove from pot and set aside

2) Lower flame, then add the shallots and celery, cooking until the shallots start to get very brown

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3) Add the carrots and parsnip,the red wine and orange juice. Keep flame at a mid-low setting and let the vegetables sweat, til you have a very good broth started.

4) Add the meat, and top with the parsley and turnip. Add a small amount of salt and pepper, and water til everything is just barely covered.

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5) Cook for about 1 and a half hours on low, or until the meat is fork tender.

KFWE15: Food, Glorious Food: A Review

Many thanks to to Vicki Garfinkel  of VICKIGJ PR for the opportunity to attend KFWE. For inquiries, please contact her at vickigj@gmail.com All opinions and recommendations expressed in this post are my own and are unsolicited. For the entire photoset of my experience at KFWE, please click here

As many people who attended the evening (food) portion of KFWE in 2014 can attest, there was many a fervent prayer that this year, 2015, would be better. Everything from last year felt off and short of the mark – from the way the venue was laid out, to the food that was almost-but- not-quite-there.

I have to say that 2015 is the year fine kosher cuisine got its groove back. With few exceptions and an overabundance of brisket and charcuterie, this year was fabulous. Nearly everything I tasted was spot-on, and the level of sucessful execution was higher than ever. I for one am sincerely glad I decided to come this year.

Let’s get hungry and talk about food, shall we?

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Ari White of Wandering Que, Got Cholent, and Gemstone Catering fame led it off right from the start. His Wandering Que display during the day (the wine portion) of sliders, ‘chettas, and lamb belly bacon were absolutely perfect with all the wine and liquor. A few of my fellow bloggers and I would taste a few wines, feel a little tipsy, then go back and visit Ari’s booth for meat goodness. I couldn’t get enough of the carnechetta and the vealchetta – his kosher take on panchetta, and one that is really delicious. The thinness of the slices and the flavors – it was magic. Simply incredible. And the lamb belly bacon was so spot-on for taste, thickness/fatiness, and mouth feel, I wanted to take some home and fry it up. I even thought about what might happen if I dipped it in melted chocolate…

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While we are on the topic of charcuterie, I have to say that I tasted bresaola from a few different places that day. Without question, the best came from Prime Grill. Almost buttery in taste and sliced paper thin, I could have eaten this a whole evening. But then there would have been none for anyone else. And there were other delicious things to try, so let’s move on, shall we?

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Chagall Bistro served a beef tartare with a homemade potato chip that made me smile. Rich and smooth, I was very surprised – I am not a fan of many completely raw protein presentations in general, but I could have eaten another helping of this with pleasure. They also served a seared tuna a la Provencal that made me want to cry. I wanted to try it so badly – it looked that perfect! But I had just eaten the beef tartare and for kashrut reasons I don’t eat fish directly after meat so that was that. I’m putting Chagall Bistro on advance notice: the bistro is not far from my house, so I will be stopping in some time in the near future.

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T Fusion Steakhouse was on point again this year – a pulled brisket with microgreens served on a crispy-bliniesque chip with a balsamic reduction. Not too rich, the crisp of the chip and the juiciness of the brisket, with the hint of herbal from the microgreens made this one of my favorite offerings of the evening.

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Estreia, to me, was a new find – and I am so glad I did! The duck confit with mango salsa on crostata was excellent, and their brisket on mashed potato with remoulade sauce was simple and delicious. I would keep my eye on this place – I have a feeling more delicious things will come from here.

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The Loft presented for the first time, and it was a delicious introduction. They are literally 4 blocks from my house, and it makes me so proud. Fine dining has come to Boro Park. Their polenta square was so good – but again, I had to leave some for other people, you know.

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Miami Beach Chocolates – why oh why does Miami get to have them?! They need to come to New York and give the folks here a run for their money! Their chocolate is the new gold standard in non-dairy chocolates. It is blatantly obvious that this is a chocolatier who takes pride in their work, and is commited to their craft. I told him I tasted Callebaut in the amaretto bonbon I sampled, and he nodded. ” That and some others – you must be a chocolatier yourself to pick that out in there.” We talked shop a bit while I sampled another creation and tried not to swoon.

One person I missed there this year was Heavenly Caterers. I was sad not to see them.  I also was hoping to see Breadberry, but alas, no. Perhaps next year. Bottom line is that this year raised the bar. Next year I would like to see less charcuterie and pulled brisket, Breadberry and Heavenly Caterers make an appearance, and more fish options. But even with this wishlist, I have to say that the KFWE this year was the best yet, and I looked forward eagerly to see what awaits next year.

KFWE15: Wines Review

Many thanks to to Vicki Garfinkel  of VICKIGJ PR for the opportunity to attend KFWE. For inquiries, please contact her at vickigj@gmail.com All opinions and recommendations expressed in this post are my own and are unsolicited. For the entire photoset of my experience at KFWE, please click here

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Confession time: I very rarely drink, and never more than a sip or two at a time.  My husband calls me a cheap date. I call myself  a light-weight. The last time I drank anything was at last year’s KFWE. So you’re probably wondering what someone like me knows about wine. Apparently I know more than I thought I did, and most importantly I rediscovered what I like. I thought very well of myself for buying my case of red and case of white for cooking every year. I cook with wine – I can count on one hand dishes I’ve made recently that don’t have wine in them.  I told myself that it was better to leave the tasting and posturing to people who knew about that sort of thing, who cared about terroir, aeration and oak barrels.

Every year right after Purim, I’d go into the wine store, and ask for a case of dry red and a case of dry white for cooking. No, not the cheapest ones!  My philosophy is that if I won’t drink it, I won’t put it into my food.  But if it is going into food, it doesn’t have to be top shelf either.  Almost a year ago, I purchased a case each of the 2010 Weinstock Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 Weinstock Chardonnay. I asked the clerk at the shop and this is what he recommended. And for what I use it for, it does exactly what I need it to. At the time, it was about $10 a bottle, and that was what I was willing to spend to cook with. I have no trouble at all using a half- bottle of Chardonnay in my Shabbat chicken soup. ( I make 8-10 qts at a time) and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for marinating a French roast is not unheard of in my house.

I even use liquors and spirits for my chocolate making – rum or whisky for boozy cherries, coffee liqueur for candied pecans, amaretto in chocolate mousse, cognac for soaking candied and dried fruit.  But I prided myself on knowing exactly what I wanted and for what. Til this year, my knowledge was utilitarian at best and deliberately ignorant at worst.

This is the year I stepped out of my comfort zone and discovered a whole new world of wines and liquors. And I can say now that I truly know what I like, why I didn’t truly appreciate what I had tried til now, and I can confidently say that I can never look at wine and liquor the same way again. Will I become a wine snob? I don’t think so, but I know what I really like, and how to put it with what I cook with, and that for me a rather fine start of it.

Let’s begin with the wines.

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My favorites, hands down, were both by Domaines Rollan de By.  The 2012 Domaines Rollan de By and the 2010 Tour Seran were..what can I say? I want them. I could have quietly taken a bottle of the Rollan de By and found a quiet corner and would have been very happy.  The Tour Seran prompted me to whisper something in the pourer’s ear that had us both giggling – it was that good. After I tasted that, I wanted nothing more than a large, mid rare steak and that bottle.  Neither wine was too dry, or too fruity-sweet. They started a little sweet and by the time you swallowed it mellowed to a nice dryness. The Rollan de By is sweeter and more fun, in my opinion. The Tour Seran has some serious seduction power- rich and intoxicating.

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Another wine I really enjoyed was the EL 26 – a Spanish wine that I would want to share with my girlfriends at an all-ladies dinner. Nothing too heavy – thinly sliced steak and grilled vegetables over penne – and with this wine it would make it a meal to remember.

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I surprised myself! For YEARS I thought sherry was simply awful. Seriously, I didn’t like it at all – so dry and lacking in flavor. Tio Pepe changed that for me.  The Extra Dry Light Sherry for me is now something I have to buy.  This makes me want to buy a whole Nile Perch filet and oven-roast it. Mix a little of this with some parsley, shallots, fresh tarragon and olive oil and I don’t think you need anything else. Maybe a few slices of  roasted bell peppers on the side.

In terms of champagne, hands down, no question the Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne. You ever hear of people swooning? That was me, after a sip of this. To me, this is perfect – you don’t need food! Or maybe you could go fancy with raspberries in the glass. Myself, I’ll take the bottle, thanks. A clear, cool night, my husband, and this bottle. To me, that is the ideal way to drink this.

So why didn’t I like what I had tasted til now? Why was it that even the wines I buy for cooking seem didn’t make me want to smile and swoon? For so long, I relied on what other people said was good. I didn’t trust my wine palate. I thought if everyone whose opinion I trusted liked a particular type, or if a wine had a certain price tag or label, by definition it had to be good. Allow me to stand corrected.  I’ve a new philosophy on wine now.  To me, it’s forget what the rest of the world says is so wonderful and focus on what you like. What do you want to experience when you drink? Do you want something super sweet, or something more acidic? Something that is light and fun or more serious and sophisticated? The traditional way to pair wine is red with red (red wine with red flesh, like meat, lamb and dark cuts of poultry) and white to white( like fish, veal, and white meat poultry)  This is the classic way of pairing and a good way to start off if you are like me and know little about wine.

As a result, I will in future be attempting to pair what I create for the blog with a wine I either use to cook the dish, or what I would serve with it. All the wines mentioned here are available for purchase at www.kosherwine.com

Homemade Tomato Sauce

The inspiration: A need for a delicious, minimally processed tomato sauce full of good flavor.

I love making things for myself -I like the concept of being able to control what goes into what my family and I eat. Processed foods have a time and place, but with all the additives they contain, I prefer to use them as little as possible. So I am always pushing myself to make more at home, and one thing we love is tomato sauce. We have meals that feature tomato sauce at least twice a week – grilled fish and brown rice with tomato sauce mixed in, or pasta with beef or chicken and tomato sauce are two examples that come easily to mind. The point is, for something I feed my family so often, I want to make it as healthy and flavorful as I can.

The innovation: Not adding sugar to the sauce, and not peeling the tomatoes first.

When I first started researching tomato sauce recipes, I got really discouraged – the recipe always calls for sugar, and to peel the tomatoes, or blanch then peel the tomatoes. I didn’t want to do either.  I didn’t want to add sugar because I wanted to make something completely healthy and as minimally processed as possible. I didn’t want to have to spend the extra time working on the tomatoes, either. This recipe is a chunky but not especially thick – if you are looking for a tomato sauce recipe like you see in a magazine or on TV, this isn’t it. It’s chunky with real tomato and fresh vegetables and herbs, and the small amount of sweetness comes from cooking down the onions and garlic. Using the best quality tomatoes will improve the sweetness as well.

My re- interpretation: Homemade Tomato Sauce

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Recipe for Homemade Tomato Sauce

4 lg cloves garlic chopped

6 stalks celery rough chopped

1 lg Spanish onion rough chopped

6 fresh sage leaves rough minced

1 small handful fresh tarragon leaves rough minced

8 fresh basil leaves rough minced

Olive oil for sauteing

5 lb ripe Roma tomatoes (look for ones that are bright red and only the slightest bit soft or not soft at all) cut into quarters

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (look for a can that says Imported from Italy)

2 packages crimini mushrooms cut into halves

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 of 750ml bottle of dry red wine ( I prefer Burgundy)

 

1) Heat olive oil in the bottom of a 10Qt or larger stock pot. Add garlic and onion, cook on high heat til they have a golden brown color.

2) Lower heat, then add celery, fresh herbs and mushrooms with the red wine, cover with lid and leave sweat for at least 30 mins, or until vegetables look more tender.

3) Add fresh and diced tomatoes, season with salt and pepper ( use a little now, adjust later as needed) and let cook covered at a low simmer for at least 1 and a half hours. The vegetables should be tender, and there should be a significant amount of liquid in the pot.

4)At this point, take a immersion or hand blender and blend everything into the pot together very well, til mixture is chunky. Cook a bit longer, about 30-40 mins, then turn off heat and allow to cool completely before storing away. This will make a large quantity of sauce – I filled 4 2lb deli containers.

Gluten Free Pancakes with Mini Chocolate Chips

The inspiration: A blizzard, and having my whole family home for breakfast

Most of the day yesterday and into much of the day there was a large snowstorm ( they call it Juno. Why I am not sure). But in any case, we got a good foot or so of snow, and my husband had off work and my kids had off school. When the family is all together for breakfast, I treat us all to homemade pancakes. I find it too difficult trying to get three kids and a husband out the door every morning to cook a hot breakfast, and this is the only one everyone agrees on.

The innovation: Making a family favorite healthier using Michael Ruhlman’s Ratios

There was one problem with me just getting into the kitchen and whipping up a batch of homemade pancakes, though. I was now on a primarily gluten-free, lower fat, lower sugar, lower processed/refined product diet. So how was I going to make pancakes for everyone and not be tempted to have one myself?  I decided to make them gluten free, and to keep the percentages exact, I turned to my culinary bible, Ratios. I primarily use this when I am baking, so I don’t end up with a disaster on my hands. I have a gluten free flour blend that is a 1:1 exchange for wheat flour. I doubled the recipe, used Earth Balance for butter, almond milk for regular milk, and gluten free flour for all-purpose, but the percentages are his- and once again they gave me a beautiful end result.

The reinterpretation: Gluten Free Pancakes with Mini Chocolate Chips

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Ingredients:

2 C unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk

4 large eggs

1 stick Earth Balance (4 oz)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 3/4 C  gluten free flour (make sure it is a 1:1 for wheat flour)

6 Tblsp turbinado sugar

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

Pam or other oil cooking spray

Mini chocolate chips (optional – I used Enjoy Life’s Mini Chips)

 

To prepare:

1) Melt the Earth Balance and set aside

2) Combine the wet ingredients- almond milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.

3) Combine the dry ingredients- flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. If you find there are lumps in the baking powder or flour, sift them out.

4) Combine the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and add the melted Earth Balance. Whisk together to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

5) Ladle mixture into desired size pancakes into a frying pan sprayed with Pam. Add chocolate chips and cook til bubbles start to appear, then flip over. Cook for about 2-3 minutes more.

 

 

 

 

Arroz con Pollo (Rice and Chicken)

The inspiration: A trip to the local market

I went to the local market down the street from my house for one thing. Just one! Does that ever happen to you – you need one thing and walk out with a whole cart load of stuff you have to have? That’s what happened here. I saw the corn and peppers outside, and I had to have them. Then of course I needed everything else I bought too… Anyway, I came home with a whole box of delicious produce and now had to decide what to make.

 

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The innovation: not using onions or garlic for flavor, but still managing to get a delicious, well-rounded flavor

Since starting the FODMAP diet, the biggest challenge I have is to get intense flavor without using garlic and onions ( big no-nos on the diet) It has led me to start exploring with different herb and spice combinations I normally wouldn’t use. In this case, the strong herbal flavor from the parsley (you can use cilantro but I am not a fan) leaves AND stems plus the addition of red chilis added great flavor – not too hot, but with a definite kick. The use of vine tomatoes (more expensive but more flavorful) also boosted the flavor as well.

My reinterpretation: Arroz con Pollo

 

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless dark chicken meat

3 ears fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob

2 red bell peppers, sliced

2 orange bell peppers, sliced

3 vine tomatoes, diced

2 red chili peppers, minced fine or ground with a mortar and pestle (I prefer a mortar and pestle)

half a bunch of fresh parsley (about 1 cup), minced fine

2 C water

1 C white rice

Salt and pepper

 

To Prepare:

1) Get a large stockpot (at least 6 qt) very hot, and add your chicken. Sear on both sides, each side about 7 mins, adding salt and pepper while you sear. Remove from pot and set aside.

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2) Lower flame to low, and add the corn as well as the red and yellow peppers. Cover and let sweat til vegetable soften, about 15 mins.

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3)Add the tomatoes, chilies, and parsley, stirring well to incorporate. Cover again and let sweat for about 5-7 mins, or til tomatoes start to soften.

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4) Add the seared chicken meat, mixing into the vegetables, and lower flame. Add a bit of salt and pepper and taste. Cook for about 15 mins, or til chicken is mostly cooked through.

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5) Add the water and the rice, stir well, and bring fire to a low simmer. Simmer for 20 mins, or until the rice is soft but not mushy. Serve immediately.

Baked Apple-Sesame Seed Chips

The inspiration: apples from a friend

Confession time: I don’t really eat that many apples. With few exceptions, I follow the FODMAP diet (although my family does not) and apples are considered a fruit to avoid because it has a lot of fructose naturally.  So are lots of other types of fruits as well, which make me sad because I love fresh fruit!  Most of my favorite fruits (tree fruits, like cherries, pears, apricots, apples, peaches and plums) are on the ‘ to avoid’ list.

So what do you do when your friend tells you she bought too many apples (they were on sale) and she needs your help to use them up? My husband likes apple chips ( I usually reserve this treat for Passover, minus the sesame seeds) and my kids will eat them sometimes. They are simple enough, and take longer to bake than to prepare. Win-win if you ask me.

The innovation: baking with sesame seeds to give a little nutty flavor

Before I started FODMAP, this was a snack I loved. It’s got sweetness, it’s a little crunchy, and I didn’t feel guilty for eating them! One of the things I like to add is sesame seeds – they are very healthy for you, and give a bit of extra flavor and crunch. I also switched from using regular cane sugar to coconut sugar to make the recipe a bit healthier as well.

My interpretation: Baked Apple Sesame Seed Chips

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Ingredients:

5 Macintosh apples, cored and halved, then sliced thin

1/2 C coconut sugar

1/2 C sesame seeds

1/3 C  ground cinnamon

olive oil spray

To Prepare:

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. Arrange the apple slices on two full size baking sheets. Spray a light coating of olive oil spray over the slices. 

3. Sprinkle first the sesame seeds, then the coconut sugar, then the cinnamon over the apple slices. It works best in this order because the oil helps anchor the sesame seeds to the apple slice, and the sugar stays on better this way.

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4. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, then shut off oven. Leave oven closed and allow apple slices to cool completely before removing . Using a butter knife, carefully remove them from the tray. These chips are best if eaten right away, or left in a Ziploc and eaten within a day or so. 

Roasted Mixed Nut Flour

The inspiration: 5 containers of freezer burnt nuts

I always meant to use them, but I never got around to it. I had bought several containers of nuts after they were on sale, and stashed them in the freezer so they wouldn’t get rancid. So a few months later as I am re-organizing my freezer, I find them all the way in the back, and very much freezer burnt. It made me really sad- my carelessness led to food and money being wasted. I wanted to find a way to solve this, but wasn’t sure how.

The innovation: Roasting them to remove the stale freezer taste

My first thought was to roast the nuts to try to restore the flavor.  After a quick Facebook chat with a good friend (thanks, Simone!) I figured this would be the best course of action. I also figured that even after roasting the flavor would still be pretty tame, and wanted to help it out a little. Salt and sugar work wonders – add a bit of salt to chocolate, or a bit of sugar to tomato sauce and you will see exactly what I mean. The logic was that an equal measure of both would restore a bit more of the lost flavor. Since going mostly gluten free, GF flours and flour mixes are expensive, so I figured a way to use the nuts would be to grind them into flour. This way, it would never be the star of the show, so to speak, and I could add as I needed as I went depending on what I was making.

My reinterpretation: Roasted Mixed Nut Flour

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Ingredients:

2. 5 to 3 lbs of raw nuts ( I used a mix of almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pecans, but you can use a single kind)

2 handfuls of salt

2 handfuls of organic turbinado sugar

 

 To prepare:

1) Lay the nuts out in a single layer on a cookie sheet or sheet pan. I needed two full size sheet pans

2) Sprinkle the salt and sugar lightly over the nuts

3) Roast in the oven at 350F for about 15 -20 minutes. The nuts will be lightly brown and smell roasted but not burnt.

4) Let nuts cool completely before grinding.

5) Grind nuts in the food processor using the shredder blade at a medium setting, making sure to include the salt and sugar.

6) When all the nuts are ground, sift through with your fingers to remove any clumps. Store in airtight container or Ziploc in the fridge. Use sooner rather than later.

 

Salmon Pan Bagnat

The inspiration: Leftover salmon, gorgeous mixed greens, and wanting to make a quick and easy meal

Leftovers- you have to love them or hate them. Every Shabbat, I prepare baked salmon for my family and there is always some leftover on Sunday. But I was tired of making my usual salmon-with couscous, salmon-with-rice, or salmon-with-pasta using the leftovers. I wanted something with bold flavor, something that would use my leftovers and I wouldn’t have to do more than make a knife (or my hands) dirty.

The innovation: Substituting salmon for tuna, gherkins for cornichons

Pan Bagnat is the classical tuna and vegetable sandwich of southern France. Traditionally, it has hard-boiled eggs, mixed greens or romaine lettuce, roasted squash or peppers (maybe both), cornichons or Nicoise olives and canned tuna. However, like much of Provencal cuisine, the one hand and fast rule is to use whatever is the freshest, the best tasting – and what you have on hand. Works for me! I had salmon to use up, as well as some delicious vegetables and greens. Cornichons add a slightly sour/tart taste that works in perfect contrast to the Dijon in the vinaigrette, but since I was using mixed greens that were slightly bitter and the Dijon together, I was sure the gherkins would add a welcome sweet/tartness to the pan bagnat. You can always omit the gherkins, but I wouldn’t recommend substituting pickle spears or sour pickles. If anything, if you don’t like pickles, add Nicoise or Kalamata olives or capers for a similar taste profile.

My interpretation: Salmon Pan Bagnat

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Ingredients: 

For the vinaigrette:

2 heaping tsp genuine Dijon mustard 

1 and 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar 

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together, set aside in fridge to chill 

For the pan bagnat:

1/2 of a French baguette

1 baked or grilled salmon fillet, about 6 oz, already cooked and cooled

large handful of mixed greens

1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into slices

1 Roma (plum) tomato, cut into slices

2 gherkin pickles cut in half lengthwise 

Olive oil to brush on baguette

Sea Salt 

Black Pepper

To prepare:

1) Brush the insides of the baguette with a light layer of olive oil and sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt and black pepper on top

2) Mix the vinaigrette with the mixed greens til coated very lightly and add to the baguette. You may have extra dressing – that is fine, save it.

3) One layer at a time, add in the cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles.

4) Flake the cooled salmon into large pieces and add to the baguette. 

5) If desired, add the remaining vinaigrette. At this point, it is traditional to wrap the sandwich tightly in foil and refrigerate for an hour.  However, if you are hungry- bon apetite!