Easy Shoulder Roast

It’s been over a year since I put anything on the blog – I’ve gone through some major life changes. The first was I had a baby 6 and a half months ago – a sweet girl we call Darling Girly. The second was a few months ago, when we moved into our first home. I still can’t find half of my things, but we are settling in.

These days, recipes are kept pretty simple as my kitchen time is limited thanks to a teething Darling Girly who is starting to try to crawl. My older kids recently requested that I make a ‘yummy roast, the one with no wine or fancy stuff ‘.

Mommy heard you, kids!   Here is the recipe, for other rushed-off-their-feet parents looking to make an easy roast.

 

 

1 roast, about 5 to 7 lbs (shoulder is best, but French will work nicely as well)

2 bags carrots, ends cut (you can peel if you prefer – I don’t, I scrub well)

2 medium Spanish onions cut into quarters

1/2 tbsp  salt

1/2 tbsp  black pepper

1/2 tbsp granulated garlic

2 oz dried parsley

 

To prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 295F. In a large roasting pan, lay out the carrots to form a plank for the roast to rest on.
  2. Scatter quartered onions along edges of pan

3.Add the spices and parsley, starting with salt, then pepper, garlic, and ending with parsley

4. Loosely cover roast with  heavy-duty foil, place on top shelf.

5.Cook at 295F for 3 hrs, the remove from oven and let rest for 2 hrs more.

 

 

 

 

Quick Bone Broth

The weather is turning colder, and I feel a strong desire to cook heartier, more filling meals. One of the things I love to make are homemade broths and stocks – they are incredibly economical, you can customize them to your preference, you get a lot for just a bit of work, and they add so much flavor to even the simplest and plainest of food. There is a lot of room for flexibility as well -you can cook it for 3 hours, or for as many as 12 or even 24.  You can roast the bones first, or use fresh, raw bones. Add more vegetables, different herbs or spices – the choices are yours and they are endless. You will notice there is no salt and pepper in the recipe – that is deliberate to prevent over-seasoning whatever final dish you are preparing with the broth. This recipe is also easy to divide or multiply as needed.

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Ingredients: 

2 lbs chicken bones

1 lb chicken necks

6 frozen cubes of parsley

4 frozen cubes of basil

4 frozen cubes of garlic

1/2 lb carrots

1 head of celery

1 medium Spanish onion

small amount of oil for sauteing

 

  1. In a heavy stock pot (at least 8 qts) add a small amount of oil to the bottom of the pot. When it gets hot, add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook on medium high for 7-10 minutes, or until the vegetables soften and get a bit of color on them.
  2. Add the cubes of frozen parsley, basil and garlic. Stir into the vegetables and let soften. Then add the chicken bones, necks, and water til an inch or two from the top.

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3. Bring to a boil, then lower flame til there are lazy bubbles floating to the surface every few seconds. Skim any scum from the surface as you are able to.

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4. Cook for about 3 hrs, or until the the broth is deep gold in color. Strain with a fine mesh strainer to remove as many impurities as possible.

Lamb Meatballs with Pepper-Tomato Broth

It’s been an interesting few weeks – we made the move from big-city Brooklyn to the suburbs of New Jersey.  I’ve been busy with all the things people need to do when they move, especially from one state to the other. Between making sure my husband had a way to commute to his job on Brooklyn everyday to finding ways to keep our children (9, 7, and almost 6) entertained, I am just starting to settle in. It took a bit of time to get used to my new kitchen, but things are coming together and delicious food is being made once more!

When I made this recipe, I served it with polenta (and it was completely delicious!) You could serve this with your favorite grain or starch – rice, pasta, or even quinoa would be just as tasty. Or you can eat it as is for a delicious, light summer soup.

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For the Lamb Meatballs:

2 lbs ground lamb

10 oz plain panko crumbs

3  extra large eggs

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp dried tarragon

1 Tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp porcini powder

1. Combine all ingredients well. Form into golf-ball sized balls.

2. Chill in fridge raw to firm up until you are ready to cook, about an hour. Make 3 dozen small meatballs.

 

For the Pepper- Tomato Broth

4 large beefsteak tomatoes, chopped

3 yellow bell peppers, sliced

3 orange bell peppers, sliced

2 medium white onions, sliced

1 750 ml bottle of Chardonnay ( you will want one not aged in oak -I used Abarbanel)

32 oz vegetable stock ( I used Imagine Foods Organic)

6 oz tomato paste

3 oz each dried tarragon and dried parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for sauteing

1. Heat a large stockpot (at least 12 Q) and add oil. When oil is hot, add onions and cook on high for 5-7 mins, stirring often

2. Add the tomatoes and peppers, lowering flame to medium low. Cover and let vegetables sweat for 10-15 mins, stirring once or twice.

3. Add the wine, stock, paste, as well as the herbs and spices. Stir well to incorporate and bring to a simmer.

4. Simmer vegetables covered for 30 mins, stirring once.

5. Using an immersion blender, blend all ingredients well, making sure they are no large pieces left behind.

6. Raise tempertaure so a few, lazy bubbles appear on the surface, and add  the previously made meatballs directly into the broth. After 3 mins, take a spatula along the sides of the pot to stir carefully.

7. After 5 -7 mins, remove one meatball and cut in half. If the meat is cooked all the way through, it is done. Serve while hot.

Tuna Ceviche

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and I am happy to finally be back and with a delicious recipe to share! There were many factors that kept me from posting, however, the reason why I was away for so long as due to health related issues. Thankfully, I am being treated and am well on the road to recovery.  Now that I am feeling better, I am eager to be in the kitchen and make delicious food once again.

One of my all time favorite foods is fresh tuna. Sear it, serve it as sashimi, grill it – it doesn’t really matter. One of the easiest way to prepare  fresh tuna, however, is ceviche. A ceviche is simple – take a  really, really fresh fish, cube it up, add an acid (usually in the form of fresh citrus) , some salt, pepper, and herbs,  refrigerate for at least an hour and serve. The acid ‘cooks’ the fish by changing the texture, and you have an extremely healthy dish. Pretty simple, right?

While the standard ceviche recipe calls for raw peppers, onions, and cilantro, I have found that I prefer my recipe to be a bit different.

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Tuna Ceviche

Ingredients:

1lb best quality sashimi tuna, cut into cubes while still mostly frozen

juice from 4 lemons

2 dozen kalamata olives, pits removed and cut in half lengthwise

handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely minced

3 Persian cucumbers, cut into quarters lengthwise and chopped

Sea Salt and Coarse Black Pepper

 

To prepare:

Note: It is VERY IMPORTANT to work with the fish while it is still mostly frozen, and that all the ingredients you work with stay cold. 

1) Combine the cubed tuna and the fresh lemon juice in a glass bowl. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator and let ‘cook’ for about 30 minutes. 

2)  Add your olives and parsley, use a spatula or your hands to prevent breaking up the tuna. Return to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.

3) 5 to 10 minutes before you want to serve it, add the cucumbers and add more salt and pepper if desired.

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

Gluten Free Pasta with Peppers and Capers

The inspiration: A need for a quick meal and to clean out my fridge

Sunday afternoons find me with a need to make a quick meal to feed my family. We’ll have Shabbat leftovers for dinner, but lunch is always about using up what is in the house. Since starting FODMAP, the definition of a ‘quick’ meal has changed. Even so, I didn’t have 30 minutes or an hour to make something. So what to make that would be hot, filling, taste good, and FODMAP friendly?

The Innovation: Using a corn/rice blend pasta instead of completely rice pasta

I’ve tried making rice pasta – it was a mushy overcooked disaster. But at the same time I bought the rice pasta, I also bought a bag of corn/rice blend GF pasta as well. If I’ve never seen it before, I always want to try it. It cooks quickly, too – about the same time and way you’d cook regular pasta. While the pasta cooked, I could saute some peppers I had in the fridge, and add something for a hit of acid. Capers are lovely for that – cooking them a little reduces the astringency a good bit, leaving a lovely almost citrus flavor in its place.  When my two younger kids demanded second helpings, I knew I had a winner.

My Re-Interpretation: Gluten Free Pasta with Peppers and Capers

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Ingredients:

2 large red bell peppers, sliced into strips

1  8 oz bag of GF corn/rice pasta (I used Landau’s)

2 heaping tablespoons of large capers

Olive oil for sauteeing peppers, plus a tiny bit extra

Juice of half a lemon

Juice from the capers to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste.

Dried parsley to taste

To Prepare:

1) Liberally salt the water for the pasta, when it reaches a boil add the pasta and stir frequently as it cooks to prevent clumps. Boil for about 7 -10 mins, testing at the 7 minute mark for doneness. When the pasta is al dente, remove from fire, drain from water and rinse lightly.

2) While you cook the pasta, add a bit of olive oil to your saute pan. When it is hot, add the peppers and parsley.

3) Saute the peppers at medium high heat for about 5 mins, or til the peppers start to soften and change color.

4) Add the capers, and cook for another 2-3 mins or until peppers are soft but not mushy.

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5) Add pepper-caper mixture to the cooled but still warm pasta. Mix in the caper juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

 

Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

The inspiration: a long Shabbat afternoon spent with a friend

Shabbat afternoon is the time I use to catch up with my neighbors (who also happen to be good friends of mine).  I live in an apartment building in Brooklyn that is home to about 30 families, and we are all like one big extended family. So many a late Shabbat afternoon (about 2 hours before nightfall on Saturday afternoon) you will find my kids and I visiting a neighbor and sharing a light meal with them.  One of the foods we enjoy at that time besides challah is salad – something light to offset the heavy Shabbat lunch from several hours earlier. I will usually go to visit a friend with fresh produce or some sort of fish and between the two of us we make a couple of salads.

The innovation: pairing a fish with a stone fruit

Salads are fun – you can add so many different combinations. So one Shabbat afternoon I showed up to my friend’s house with donut peaches, leftover baked salmon, and roasted pistachios. It had been a last minute invite, and I was basically making it up as I went. This salad was originally made that Shabbat afternoon with iceberg lettuce, but the flavor of the peaches with the salmon and pistachios stuck with me. Donut peaches are not as sweet as regular peaches – they remind me of more of white peaches – and I find they work really well with salmon.

My interpretation:  Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

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Ingredients

8 oz fresh, boneless/skinless salmon fillet, baked or grilled

10 to 12 oz spring greens or mesclun mix (you want a mixture that has both sweet and  bitter greens)

3 donut peaches, pitted and sliced

large handful of roasted pistachios, crushed

a scant drizzle of best quality light olive oil

a two-finger pinch of sea salt (if desired)

1) Make sure the salmon is completely chilled if you are preparing it fresh. I have used leftover salmon as well – warm fish will wilt your greens.

2) Carefully flake the salmon, and mix the fish, peaches, and olive oil into the greens with your hands delicately.

3) Taste and add sea salt now if desired. If not, top with pistachios.

 

Recipe for a simple baked salmon

In an aluminum tray or pan,  place your salmon skin side down. Add a sprinkle of salt and squeeze half of a fresh lemon over the fish. Cover tightly, bake at 350 for about 15mins. Fish is done when glistening and completely cooked through.

 

Sour Cherry Lemon Iced Tea

So one of the perks of my job, besides being surrounded with the most current and amazing things for a kitchen, is the ability to purchase what I’d like for my kitchen at a significant discount. For now, I have a whole list on order. That’s because what I want, (Wusthof knives, Staub Dutch ovens, a Wellness gel floor mat, a full set of All-Clad stainless steel pots and pans, and that is just the start of the list) I need serious money. But every now and then we get in something that I just have to have. I try not to indulge too much – good thing too, as we get new merchandise in at least once a week. But I had my eye on a Primula Flavor It 3 in 1 system. It comes with a fine mesh insert for loose-leaf tea, a filter for infusing fruit into the water, and even a freezable insert that you can put inside the pitcher to chill the drink without ice cubes. I had to get this, and when I did, one of the first drinks I made was this sour cherry lemon iced tea.  Super refreshing, not too sweet – this iced tea is perfect anytime you can get fresh sour cherries. This was my first time using this fruit, and I know I will be using it again. 016 Ingredients (this makes about 3/4 of a gallon) 16 sour cherries, stems removed and squished between your fingers 4 tea bags 2 and a half lemons cut into quarters 3 to 5 oz of honey  (I find that blueberry, or wildflower varieties work best. ( Clover honey I found to be too sweet for my liking)   018 1) If you have a pitcher like mine, make a layer of cherries, then lemons, then teabags, then the remaining lemons. Add the honey over the fruit and teabags, and fill pitcher with boiling hot water.  If you don’t have a pitcher, use a pot, add all the ingredients, then fill with water. 2)Leave the fruit and tea in the water til the water cools to just above room temperature. Stir the insert inside the pitcher or stir your ingredients once or twice. I like to leave my insert in for about an hour, but for weaker iced tea leave the fruits and tea in the water for less time. 3) Remove the insert, or strain your tea mixture into a pitcher. Make sure to press down gently on the fruit and tea so you get as much liquid from it as possible. Chill and serve.