Chocolate Marshmallow Candy

The inspiration: Family coming to visit and no dessert in the house!

I’d made everything else for the family dinner (roasted chicken, my version of green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, rice with peas and carrots) but at the last minute I realized I did not have enough dessert. The family was due in an hour and a half, so I had to get something made – and fast!

The innovation: Raiding the pantry to use what I had instead of running to the bake shop.

I really had no idea how this would turn out. I also had to raid my neighbor’s pantry to get some of the ingredients- I now have new staples I need to stock, because this is now a family favorite!

My interpretation: Chocolate Marshmallow Candy

The peanut butter breaks up the sweetness of the chocolate and marshmallow, and the chocolate chips add textural contrast to each bite.

The peanut butter breaks up the sweetness of the chocolate and marshmallow, and the chocolate chips add textural contrast to each bite.

Recipe:

20 oz of semi- sweet chocolate ( I use either Callebaut or Alprose. For Alprose, it’s 2 whole bars)

13 oz marshmallow fluff (1 container)

8 oz smooth peanut butter

6 oz chocolate chips

To prepare:

Using the double boiler method ( pot filled with a few inches of water with a glass bowl fitted over the top) break chocolate into chunks and melt completely over mid-high heat, til chocolate is bright and shiny and there are as few air bubbles as possible.

Mix marshmallow, peanut butter, and chocolate chips together well, then spread onto a parchment- lined tray into as thin of a layer as possible. 

Taking the tempered chocolate, coat the entire surface of the marshmallow mix as thinly and evenly as possible. Be more generous for a thicker layer – that is your preference. Place entire tray into freezer and freeze for about 30-45 mins or until chocolate is hard and matte in appearance.

Chocolate has been flipped- see the hardened and darker chocolate along the edges. Be sure to coat thoroughly all the way to the edges.

Chocolate has been flipped- see the hardened and darker chocolate along the edges. Be sure to coat thoroughly all the way to the edges.

When chocolate has set, take another parchment paper and place on top of the chocolate. Carefully flip the mixture onto the new parchment paper and then transfer to tray, chocolate side down. Peel off the paper from the marshmallow side, coat with chocolate, then refreeze til new chocolate layer is hard. 

Remove from freezer, and using a sharp knife cut into squares. If chocolate gets too soft, refreeze for 5-10 mins til it re-hardens. Store in a parchment lined container in single layers.

Beef and Lentil Stew

The inspiration – The need for a tasty main dish for the Sabbath

It’s easy to make the same Sabbath foods week after week, and you would even be perfectly justified (and in the majority) to do so.  Some sort of fish, a type of soup, a type of roasted meat, a starch, a veg, and dessert more often than not grace the majority of Sabbath tables. Truth told, there is nothing wrong with this formula – one could even say it is traditional. I cannot speak, nor do I intend to speak for anyone else, but the question begs to be asked- do you ever want to change this? Make something new?

But what do you do when you want something different? For me, it is a luxury to make a meal all in one pot, and a novelty on a Friday night. The meal gets cut to 3 courses instead of four, and the serving and cleanup is much less.

Once in a great while, I’ll make some sort of stew – the main factor is that it must have meat, veg and starch all in one pot, and everyone has to be able to eat something from it.

The innovation – Taking a classic, French -style stew and using lentils and barley instead of potatoes or beans

Since on Shabbat day (Saturday morning) we eat cholent, (a bean and potato based stew  cooked on the stove overnight), I wanted a stew with no beans or potatoes. So with a little thinking, I added some lentils and barley directly to the pot – the stew was not super thick, with a smooth texture to the broth due to the starch in the barley. This was a stew everyone ate!

My interpretation: Beef and Lentil Stew

021edit_edited-1

Recipe for Beef Stew:

3 lbs large pieces stew beef (I use chuck tender)

8 oz green lentils

6 oz pearled barley

2 small parsnips, cut in half, then diced

1 bunch celery, chopped fine (trim the very tips, use everything, leaves included, til the last 1/2′)

4 carrots, cut into small pieces

1 lg Spanish onion, fine dice

5 garlic cloves, fine mince

3/4 C dry red wine

Olive oil for searing/sauteing

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

In a large saute pan, pat stew beef dry with paper towel, add a tiny bit of salt and pepper, and sear on high heat both sides, about 3-5 mins per side or until you see a nice brown crust forming. You may need to do this in batches – do not scrape pan in between. Set meat aside, and add 1/4 of red wine to deglaze pan and get all the goodness left in the pan. Reserve this as well.

In a 10Q stock pot, add a bit of olive oil, get it hot. Add garlic and onions, let sweat til onions starts to turn clear, about 5-10 mins on meduim high heat. Add carrots, celery, and parsnips, cooking on meduim high heat til the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 mins more. Add the reserved liquid from searing, as well as the red wine.

Add the lentils and the barley now, stirring well and lowering heat. Cover and let sit for about 10 mins, then add water to completely cover, and a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to scarcely a simmer and cook for approx. 3 hrs. Meat and veg will be tender, and the lentils and barley will have a bit of bite but will not be hard at all.

Flavor note: In the last 10- 15 mins of cooking, taste the stew. At this point, you may decide to add a bit more wine for a stronger red wine taste – 1/4C will do the trick. Also use this time to readjust your salt and pepper if needed.

 

 

Lazy Leftovers Make Simple Suppers: Sprouted Beans and Rice

The inspiration: Leftover rice and a need for a quick, light yet filling supper.

After all the Yom Tovim ( Jewish Holidays) of Rosh Hashana and Succot. with all the cooking and planning that it entailed, I was exhausted. For a month straight, it was back to back weeks of holiday, with a  few days to shop, restock, and cook again in between. So the Sunday after Simchat Torah (the last holiday) when my family said they were hungry, I could not bring myself to make a large meal for them.  I also could not bring myself to order takeout. Each day when I had been too busy cooking/cleaning/shopping/preparing, DH and the kids had gleefully lived it up eating takeout – pizza and falafel, mostly.  Enough was enough. Time for a home cooked meal, too tired or not.

The innovation: Using frozen sprouted beans to cut down on my cooking time

I rummaged through the fridge to find something the DCs would not turn up their nose to, and thankfully there were not that many leftovers.  I found a half of a 9×13 disposable pan of leftover, plain basmati rice, and I grabbed a pack of frozen sprouted beans. They were mixture of garbanzo, kidney and navy beans. Couldn’t find stock, so water and white wine had to do for cooking with.  Too tired to mince herbs and garlic – so a bit of dried cilantro, salt and pepper came to the rescue. Not the fanciest or most thought out meal I ever planned, but it was good and filling, and at the end of the day, everyone was happy.

My interpretation: Sprouted Beans and Rice

009editfwp

 

Recipe:

8 oz raw basmati rice, cooked to package instructions and set aside, or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice

1 12oz package frozen sprouted bean blend

2 to 3 cups water or vegetable stock, plus a bit more (keep some on reserve as you may need to add during cooking)

3 oz dry white wine

Two generous pinches of dried cilantro (substitute with parsley but use a tiny bit more pepper to compensate)

Salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare: 

Have the rice on reserve. Take a 6 Qt pot and add the water or vegetable stock and white wine. Bring to a boil and add the beans, covering tightly with a lid and cooking on at a low boil for at least 20 minutes. Check at least once to ensure there is enough liquid. When the beans are nearly finished – about 30 to 45 mins – drain almost all the liquid. Add the rice, a bit of salt, pepper, and the cilantro at this point, mix well and cook on medium to low until beans are done and rice is hot all the way through.

 

 

 

Product Review: Voilà! Hallah Part 2 AND September Kosher Connection Challenge: Spread the Joy

Many Thanks to Leah Hadad of Voila!Hallah (Tribes a Dozen)  for the product used in this review. All opinions are my own – the only compensation received was a case of Voila!Hallah for testing

So, remember a little while ago, I did a review on Voilà! Hallah, (see the first part of the review here (http://foodwordsphotos.com/product-review-voila-hallah-part-1) and promised to come back with a second post about experimenting with it? Thanks for bearing with me on this. To everything there is a season, and there was a reason why! I believe if it would not have been for Voilà! Hallah, the following incidents would have never happened.

Imagine a group of Hasidic housewives, dressed in long housecoats with their heads covered with various scarves and kerchiefs waiting in front of their apartment building in Boro Park for their children’s respective camp buses.  It was a Wednesday afternoon, and of course we all are discussing food for Shabbat. Which reminded me..

“Dassi, I’m making my challah that you like so much again, with the seeds. Want me to send you one?” That’s me, asking my neighbor who lives on the other side of my building if she wants my roasted pepita-sunflower seed-zaatar-Hungarian paprika challah. She had it once, on a Shabbat afternoon and loved it.  I never let my guests leave empty-handed, so that time a half- loaf went home with her.

” Sure! I’d love some!  It was really yum, and thanks for sending some home with me last time. My husband ate it the next morning with cream cheese – he said it was so good!” Dassi replied. ” Whoops! There’s my son’s bus – gotta run!”

My third friend turned to me, a funny look on her face. “You OK, Rifki?” I asked her. She just tilted her head and asked me a question I never considered. “How can you say that was challah?” she asked. ” Challah has to have certain ingredients in it for it to be challah. In my house we use seven, to represent the days of the week.” As she went on to list the ingredients, I was puzzled. Thinking for a few moments, I decided to answer.

” I believe that any bread, as long as it is shaleim (perfectly whole) and hamotzi (made with water and flour, versus a dough made with juice) can be considered challah. Why not? I made it in honor of the Sabbath, who says it can’t have seeds and flavors?” I asked her.

” On the outside, sure. But you put it in the inside, that just makes it fancy bread, not challah. Lots of people put sesame seeds, or everything mix (a spice blend of dried onion, garlic, salt. pepper, poppy and sesame seeds)  on the outside. My husband would never eat such a bread for a Shabbat meal” she pointed out.

” Tell you what. Come over Shabbat afternoon with your kids, and you’ll try it. It is so good, you’ll see why I can say it is challah, and special for the Sabbath.” I told her. My son’s bus came then, so I had to go.

I had made this before, and I wanted to perfect the recipes before using it on my last few boxes of  Voilà! Hallah. Now, usingVoilà! Hallah as the challah dough, I knew the challah would be exceptional.  I was not disappointed.

I had four boxes left, which I did in two batches of two boxes each. One batch got roasted pepitas and sunflower seeds with zaatar and Hungarian paprika, where I oven roasted the raw seeds with the spices til it was rich and fragrant. The second batch got the herbes de Provence treatment – garlic powder, and fresh parsley, sage, tarragon and basil.

My friend Rifky brought her kids that Shabbat afternoon, and she could not stop raving over the challahs. We agreed to disagree, after a bit more discussion, but she said she would make these for a fancy weekday lunch or dinner. She said the pepita challah tasted a lot like pita with zaatar, and the herbes de Provence challah tasted like a really good garlic knot. When I told her my mix for the challah dough came from a box, she was amazed – she said would have never guessed, it was that good!

In the end, she understood my point of view, I understood hers, we respectfully agreed to disagree, and I thought this was a good story to share for the September Kosher Connection Challenge. The theme is ‘spread the joy‘. Food is a universal ground-leveler, peacemaker, conversation-starter. In a way like nothing else can, it can overcome prejudices, cross social-economic divides, and bring healing to both body and soul.  In this case, this lady (myself) from Philadelphia, a semi-recent transplant to Boro Park who only became religious in her twenties and Hasidic a whole lot later started a discussion and gave food for thought to a woman ten years younger than herself, who was born and raised in Boro Park with a strong, European/Hasidic background, who does things the way her great-grandmother did them.  If sharing food and dialogue doesn’t spread the joy, I can’t think what else can. Can you?

034editfwp

 

Salmon Tail Gravlax

The inspiration: A package of salmon tails and the need for new recipes for the High Holidays

Have you ever gone into a grocery store and walked out with something you never expected to buy? Perhaps it was something you never saw before. I’ve seen salmon tails before – they are quite common in Boro Park supermarkets.  I never thought to buy them, and I still don’t know what possessed me to, but I did.

When the fish is cut into fillets, the tail ends are left separate, and are usually a dollar or two cheaper per pound than a regular salmon fillet.  Salmon tails pieces are rather good to serve to young children as they are naturally boneless.

So the question was: what was I going to do with them?

The innovation:  Taking salmon tails to make something new and interesting

In the run-up to the High Holidays, I’m completely in experimenting mode – I like to try new recipes a month or six weeks before a holiday so I have time to refine them. This way, every Yom Tov I can add new dishes to my menu.  So I decided to try gravlax – I’ve never made it before and it’s less salty and fishy-tasting than regular lox, so I knew this would also appeal to my family.

From Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah, my family has a tradition not to eat anything sour or bitter – no lemons, vinegar, pickles, those sorts of things. We believe that what we eat during this time is an indication of how our year will be, so we enjoy a lot of sweet and savory dishes. We also partake of foods that are more elegantly prepared and presented than we do during the year, and gravlax fits this perfectly.  Using Levana Kirschenbaum’s recipe for gravlax was a stroke of genius – it gives the salmon a bold and unique flavor while still allowing me to keep with my family’s traditions for the High Holidays.

My interpretation: Salmon Tail Gravlax

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into salad.  .

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into gravlax spread.

I used Levana’s recipe http://www.levanacooks.com/gravlax-recipe/  and applied the mixture to six tail fillets of salmon. I cut the recipe in half (hers is enough for 2 full sides of salmon). I then wrapped in Saran Wrap and packed into a 9×13 tin, then covered the top with aluminum foil. To weigh it down, I took 4 32oz jars of duck sauce that were sitting in my cabinet.

Salmon tail 'bundles' ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils.

Salmon tail ‘bundles’ cured and ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils. Make sure to drain it  away.

It is important to turn the salmon over twice a day so that it gets equal pressure on all sides. After the third day I unpacked, removed the dill, sliced and tasted it. The texture was fantastic, and I will be making this again for Yom Tov. Store well refrigerated in Ziploc or air tight container.

August Kosher Connection Linkup: Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs (Two Presentations)

The inspiration: The August Kosher Connection Recipe Challenge

Every month, the Kosher Connection features a Recipe Challenge.  An ingredient or style of cooking is chosen at random and the bloggers who participate (all kosher food bloggers are welcome) need to create a recipe featuring that. For August, because Rosh Hashanah is about 3 weeks away, the ingredient is apples.

The innovation: A sweet meatball that highlights apples

I wanted to do something a little bit different. While going through my fridge and freezer  to see what I have on hand, (I’m elbow deep in preparations for the upcoming High Holidays) I came across a pack of frozen dark turkey meat, a couple of packages of white stuffing mushrooms, a small amount of sage, and a few other odds and ends. Looking at all the ingredients, I realized that by adding apples to the list, I had my recipe.

My interpretation: Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs (Two Presentations)

085fwpedit_edited-3

Recipe for Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs

1 and 1/2 lbs ground dark turkey meat

3 Early Apples (remove core)

1/4 Spanish onion

2 packages of large white button mushrooms (remove stems and peel outer layer off caps, chop stems and reserve caps.)

6 large fresh sage leaves

1/2 bunch of parsley (leaves only. Get one small bunch at the store. Leave the band on. Cut half the top off. Save rest for your stock pot or something else.)

12 to 14 fresh tarragon leaves

3 cloves fresh garlic

3 3 fingered pinches of salt

1 3 fingered pinch of coarse ground black pepper

Add the salt and pepper to the ground turkey, then set aside in fridge. Take 1 apple (cored), the mushroom stems and the remaining ingredients and mince together well.  Mix with ground turkey.  This recipe makes 14 medium stuffed mushroom caps and 12 meatballs. See below for preparation suggestions.

Recipe for Homemade Tomato Raisin Sauce

4 lg carrots, chopped

4 lg cloves garlic chopped

1 lg Spanish onion rough chopped

4 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)

1/2 of 750ml bottle of dry white wine ( I prefer Chablis)

8 oz golden raisins ( I prefer Dole brand)

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a 10Qt or larger stock pot. Add carrot, garlic and onion, cook on high heat til they just start to color. Lower heat, then add fresh herbs with the white wine, cover with lid and leave sweat for at least 30 mins, or until vegetables look more tender. Add fresh and diced tomatoes, as well as the raisins, season with salt, pepper and sugar (use a little now, adjust later as needed) and let cook covered at a low simmer for at least 2 and a half hours. The vegetables should be tender, and there should be a significant amount of liquid in the pot. At this point, take a immersion or hand blender and blend everything into the pot together very well, til mixture is thick and mainly smooth. Cook a bit longer, about 30 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.

 

Preparation Suggestions:

Stuffed Mushrooms: Using reserved mushroom caps, fill entirely with a bit of the meatball mixture, garnish with a slice of apple. Bake at 350F for about 30-35 mins. Check for doneness by sticking a butter knife into the meatball. If it comes away smoothly, very hot and completely clean, it is done.

With tomato -raisin sauce: Form the turkey mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball.  Taking a small portion of your tomato sauce in a separate bowl (see recipe above) use a plastic soup spoon and cover the top of each meatball with the sauce. Bake at 350F for about 30 mins. A knife stuck through the center should come out smoothly, very hot and completely clean.

 

 

 

 

‘);
// ]]>

July Kosher Connection Challenge: The Great Blog Swap (Homemade Disaronno Ice Cream with Hazelnut Chocolate Bark)

The Inspiration: The Great Blog Swap and a Giveaway!

The Kosher Connection, the group I co-founded with Jamie Geller and Tamar Genger of Joy of Kosher (http://www.joyofkosher.com/), is turning 1 year old this month! The KC (as we fondly refer to the group) is a group of about 20 kosher food bloggers who are dedicated to the ideal that kosher food can be fantastic. The exchange of ideas, the fact that we are all dedicated to not only the improvement of kosher food, but also of ourselves as bloggers and recipe developers is nothing short of amazing. Unless it is Shabbat or a Yom Tov, not a day has gone by without at least one or two members of the group emailing each other or the group as a whole, using each other as sounding boards -and fully confident in the advice they receive in return.

In addition to the group, there is a monthly cooking challenge (the Kosher Connection Challenge) open to any kosher food blogger.  To celebrate this milestone, what better challenge could there possibly be than to try to step into a fellow blogger’s shoes? Using a random sorting device, each blogger participating was assigned another blogger whose recipe (or style of recipe) they would have to replicate for this challenge.

I was so thrilled to get Sina Mizrahi of The Kosher Spoon (http://www.thekosherspoon.com/) as the blogger whose recipe or style I had to imitate! Her food always looks delicious, and her photography is stunning.

The Innovation: A recipe similar to what Sina would make for her own blog.

We all know I cannot seem to follow a recipe. No matter how hard I try, it just never happens. There are precisely 2 recipes I follow to the letter – and that is because they are for Passover! The best I would be able to do was to become inspired by something Sina made previously, and hope my interpretation would do her justice. Here is the recipe I was inspired by: http://www.thekosherspoon.com/2012/07/dairy-free-halva-and-pistachio-ice.html

My Interpretation: Disaronno Ice Cream with Hazelnut Chocolate Bark

2013-07-21 15.50.07

 

Recipe for Disaronno Ice Cream:

14 oz ( 1 can) coconut cream

16 oz (1 container) non-dairy whip topping

32 oz vanilla almond milk (no sugar added)

5 oz vanilla extract

8 oz Disaronno

2 -2 finger pinches of table salt

Combine all ingredients and bring to just below a boil. Stir continually for about 5-7 mins. Whne you taste it, the raw sharpness of the  liquor and vanilla extract should not be present, only the flavor. Cool to room temperature, then pour into a mixing bowl with a whisk and mix at meduim high speed til the top starts to froth and turn foamy. Pour into a 9×13 baking pan ( it will fill it about half way) and set into freezer. You will let it set partially, remove from freezer and reblend 2 or 3 more times, til you get a lot of froth. Then you will return to pan and freeze completely. Remove from refrigerator a few moments before serving so it is easy to spoon out. The texture is more icy than creamy.

Recipe for Hazelnut Chocolate Bark

20 oz finest quality semi-sweet chocolate ( I used Alprose in this particular recipe)

8 oz chopped hazelnuts ( I used raw, you can use toasted or toast for 5 mins in oven at 350F)

2 -fingered pinches of Dead Sea salt

1 large baking sheet covered in parchment paper.

Using double boiler method, temper chocolate til there are no lumps, no air bubbles, and the chocolate has a high gloss. Working quickly, remove from heat, pour entire bowl in the center of the papered tray, and spread out, leaving room at the edges of the paper so you can cut and remove pieces later. When chocolate is evenly spread but still liquid, sprinkle hazelnuts evenly over chocolate. Then add the sea salt, and refrigerate on a level shelf til set. Take a sharp chef’s knife and dip the blade in boiling water, then dry. Working quickly so the chocolate does not melt or smudge, cut into peices of desired size. If chocolate does not cut easily, re-dip knife in boiling water. If chocolate gets too soft, re- refrigerate until its sets once more. Store in a plastic container, with parchment paper in between the layers, in your fridge.

And now for the giveaway…remember to enter everyday for a chance to win these amazing prizes from Emile Henry! The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18. Contest is sponsored by Joy of Kosher.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cold Soup: June Kosher Connection Challenge

The Inspiration: A Kosher Connection Monthly Challenge

This month’s Challenge is to make a cold soup.  It would have been so simple to make a traditionally cold soup, such as a fruit soup or a form of a gazpacho. I decided I wanted to do something a little bit different. I wanted to take a soup that is traditionally served hot and re-work it slightly so it would be delicious cold.

The Innovation: Cold Minestrone Soup with Homemade Pasta

I figured if I added more vegetables and pasta, less beans, and let it simmer for a longer period of time, I’d get a lighter soup with a rich broth and softer beans. By cutting the vegetables in smaller pieces, they don’t become as hard when eaten cold. By using different types of vegetables, I got a soup that was filling but not heavy – perfect hot or cold, winter or summer.

My interpretation:

034edit fwp

 

Recipe for Pasta:

10  oz all purpose flour plus extra for dusting

3 extra large eggs

Generous pinch of salt

002editfwp

In a clean, dry bowl, dump the flour and salt in the middle of the bowl. Using your knuckles, make a ‘nest’ in the middle of the pile and add your eggs. Fold the flour in from the outside in, til you have a pebbly-type dough that just stays together. Turn out onto floured counter and knead, using the heel of your palm to flatten, turning the dough over onto itself until it is a bit sticky and smooth. Wrap in Saran Wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

009editfwp

After the dough has rested, unwrap and cut into 4 pieces – re-wrap the other pieces until you are ready to work with them. Flour your dough, work surface, and rolling pin lightly. Roll in one direction at a time, turning the dough and rolling, until it is as flat as you can possibly make it. Trim into a large square for equal size and shaped pieces – reserve scraps for another batch. Cut into thin strips, separating as you go, and leave out to dry on a sheet tray – you will need these later. Repeat this procedure with the remaining dough, or save for another application.

Recipe for Soup

3 C dried beans, soaked for at least 4-6 hours

Handful of peeled garlic cloves, minced fine

Large handful of fresh parsley leaves, minced fine

Handful of fresh sage leaves, minced fine

1 heaping tablespoon of pesto (or small handful of fresh basil leaves and an extra garlic clove)

1 leek, cleaned and chopped as fine as possible

3 large carrots, cut into half-moons

2 parsnips, cut into half-moons

Half-bunch of celery ( I prefer the inside, with the leaves, just cut the very tops and the bottoms) finely chopped

1 large green zucchini, peeled and chopped

1 package white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 whole, peeled tomatoes and 1/2 C extra of juice ( I used canned, be sure to crush tomatoes before adding)

10 oz dry white wine

1 generous splash lemon juice

Olive oil for sauteing

Salt and pepper to taste

023editedfwp

In a large stock pot ( I used my 10Qt and it was more than half-way full) add a bit of olive oil and heat. Saute the garlic, fresh herbs, and leeks for a few moments. Then add all the remaining vegetables except the tomatoes, as well as the wine and pesto. Let vegetables sweat til they start to soften (keep covered) for about 15 mins on mid to low flame. Add tomatoes and beans, let all combine for about 10 mins, then add salt, pepper and lemon juice (these are to taste). Cook for at least 2 hours at a steady simmer, checking periodically and giving a quick stir. About 5 mins before beans are done, add pasta ( as much or as little as you like – I made the above recipe, cut it into quarters, and only added one to my soup mixture). Cooking is done when pasta is cooked (it will be a bit more chewy and different tasting than dried pasta), and the beans are very tender.

Using the bain-marie (water-bath) method, take a pot that will hold your stock pot and fill with ice and ice water half way. Put your stock pot inside, and stir soup rapidly for several minutes to stop the cooking process. Leave cool in bain-marie til water is no longer cold, and leave cool until it is safe enough to refrigerate. Chill completely before serving.

 

 

Oven Poached Orange Salmon with Red Bliss Potato Salad

The Inspiration: Facebook conversations between friends, and a trip to my local market.

Lately, I find I am inspired by the simplest of things: the smell of green plants growing, the slightly warmer air, the longer hours of daylight.  This week, a casual Facebook conversation about potato salad ( I don’t remember how the conversation started, or who even started it.) Point being, one of my friends mentioned liking potato salad without mayonnaise. One of my all time favorite recipes for potato salad is mayo-free, and relies on mustard and red wine as the base for the dressing.

When I went to the market,  I was drawn to make this recipe: the baby red bliss potatoes were gorgeous, tiny and perfect. I bought with the intention of putting them whole into my chicken soup and cholent for the Sabbath, and realized I had bought far too many. I now had the perfect excuse to make my potato salad.

The Innovation: To add a protein to the potato salad to enhance the dish. 

The potato salad put me in the mood to make something that could be served cold, and after talking with another friend on Facebook I decided that a poached salmon would be spot-on with the salad. The fish would help soften the spice and richness of the mustard-red wine dressing, and the poaching would create a salmon ideal for serving cold. A poaching liquid of  fresh orange juice, red wine, and herbs would serve a perfect counterpoint to the salad, bringing freshness to the dish

My interpretation: Oven Poached Orange Salmon and Red Bliss Potato Salad with Red Wine and Mustard Dressing.

Recipe for Oven Poached Salmon:

2 navel oranges (squeeze and save juice from oranges and remove flesh and white insides – keep and chop the peel)

1/4 C orange juice (in addition to the orange juice from the oranges)

generous splash good quality dry red wine

one large slice lemon peel (remove white inside)

8 leaves fresh tarragon (minced)

6 leaves fresh sage (minced)

1 bay leaf

Small pinch salt and pepper.

1.5 tbsp sugar

8- 6oz skinless, boneless salmon fillets

In small saucepan, add all of the above ingredients and bring to boil. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, til the liquid reduces slightly. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and chill completely. Pour over salmon fillets until fish is covered. Cook at 350F for approx. 20-25 mins, leave cool completely before serving.

Recipe for Mustard- Red Wine Dressing for Potato Salad

15 oz spicy brown mustard

3-4oz mesquite honey ( any milder flavor honey will work)

Dry red wine to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and chill completely, adjust flavor after it is cold as needed.  This makes a lot of dressing- the leftover is excellent as a sauce for chicken or fish as well.

It is absolutely important to use the freshest possible ingredients - the dish will not be the same otherwise.

It is absolutely important to use the freshest possible ingredients – the dish will not be the same otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Simple Sunday Supper: Fagiuoli all’Uccelletto with Sausage

The Inspiration: To improve on a recipe I made previously.

I made the following for Ali and Matan’s Virtual Sheva Brachot – http://foodwordsphotos.com/kosher-connection-sheva-brachot/  The recipe had not been bad, but there were elements that I was not completely happy with.

The Innovation: To recreate Fagiuoli all’Uccelletto (one of my favorite dishes!) using more ingredients that I made from scratch.

I realized that I could easily improve on this recipe by using homemade and all natural ingredients for the key components for this dish. Instead of using canned beans and tomato sauce, I used homemade sauce and raw beans that I soaked. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way I originally made the recipe for Ali and Matan – this is more a challenge for myself. I have been working to make as much from scratch as possible, and to become more aware of using a wider variety of foods that are perhaps not as fancy or refined, but that still make a healthy and delicious meal.

My Interpretation: Fagiuoli all’Uccelletto with Sausage

beanssausagesfwp

 

I didn’t make the sausage from scratch – that is the only part of this dish that I bought pre-made. The tomato sauce is homemade (excepting 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes per 5 lbs of tomatoes) and I pre-soaked the beans, then simmered in the sauce for several hours. The result? A delicious dinner that the entire family enjoyed. The beans were soft and had a creamy texture, the sauce was rich, full of flavor and a little chunky, and the sausage gave the dish a heartiness that was filling but not overwhelming.

Recipe for Homemade Tomato Sauce

8 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)

 

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a 10Qt or larger stock pot. Add garlic and onion, cook on high heat til they just start to color. 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. 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. At this point, take a immersion or hand blender and blend everything into the pot together very well, til mixture is thick and mainly smooth. Cook a bit longer, about 15 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.

Pre-soak a 2lb bag of Great Northern or cannellini beans in at least a 6Qt stock pot for a minimum of 3 hours. Drain water, then refill pot half way with water or vegetable stock, and 2- 2lb deli containers of tomato sauce. Cook beans at a simmer for at least 3 hours, or until beans are tender but not falling apart. Check every hour or so.

Take a package of pre-made Italian sausage (or any sweet sausage, about a 1 lb worth) and cut into coins. Brown on both sides, and cook through but take care not to overcook. Add to beans and leave mixture sit on low for about 10 mins to allow flavors to blend.  Add salt and if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature.