Friday, June 4, 2010

Red Snapper Fillet in Green Sauce

Blend the following ingredients:

Fresh parsley
Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
Black pepper
Olive Oil
Worcestershire sauce

Pour over fillets, bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes depending on thickness of fish.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Braised Beef

Recipe from the creative and never dull Anne Burell. I halved the recipe, call it experimental. I couldn't get a good picture, hope this will do.

Step 1: Brown the ribs on both sides and remove from pan, drain fat.

Step 2: Slice carrots, celery, onion and garlic and run through food processor to create a coarse mixture

Steps 3 and 4: Sautee vegetable mixture in olive oil and add tomato paste, stir and let cook 4-5 minutes (don't forget to add salt).

Step 5: Add wine, reduce

Step 6: Return ribs to pot, add water to cover, add bay leaf and thyme (fresh is best if you have it). Cover well and let sit in 375F oven for a couple of hours.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cauliflower Curry Soup

This quick and easy recipe is from Kosher Cuisine by Helen Nash. The book was published in the early 80's so some of the recipes are outdated, but this caught my eye because of its efficiency. The result is light but satisfying as a first course and who can resist that curry flavor?

Ingredients (Makes 8 servings)

2 3/4 lbs cauliflower
6 1/2 Cups light chicken stock
3/4 to 1 tbsp curry powder
White pepper

Separate cauliflower into florets, soak and rinse. Combine cauliflower with 5 1/2 cups stock, bring to a boil then simmer until tender. Blend the mixture, add spices and keep adding the rest of the stock to reach the desired consistency.

For a smaller soup I used one head cauliflower and about 4 cups of water (instead of stock).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reviving Leftovers

Day One Menu:
Butternut Squash Risotto and schnitzel.

Day Two Menu:
Risotto patties, chicken salad.

Add egg to leftover risotto, mix well, form patties and fry in light olive oil until crispy and brown on both sides.
Meanwhile, cut the schnitzel into strips and to a salad combo of your choice. I used a Dole lettuce-red cabbage- carrot mix and added tomatoes and cucumber, then mixed up a dressing of sesame oil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Forbidden Sauce, or, Adventures of a Stuffed Pepper

This is the story of stuffed peppers that morphed into Bolognese sauce. My culinary adventures are usually quite boring, but last night's dinner preparation was rife with trials and tribulations.
Allow me to provide a short backdrop to this extraordinary adventure.

A friend of my husband's recently introduced him to a fruit store in New Jersey (I believe it's in the Meadowlands, a name that is reminiscent of cows at pasture but in reality marks the home of a sprawling commercial site). The store provides excellent fruits and vegetables at remarkably low prices. I don't know if the merchandise "accidentally" falls off a truck, but I do know good produce when I see it.

Last Friday's haul included some decent looking peppers. They were the color of green bell peppers, but longer and more narrow. My husband happens to love stuffed peppers so whenever he buys peppers, I know that I will eventually be going to buy some ground meat.
And so it was.

On Monday afternoon I chopped some onions and garlic and added them to the meat along with a variety of spices. I then prepared the peppers, stuffed them and cooked them in tomato sauce, adding a dash of red pepper flakes for a touch of spiciness.

A touch of spiciness, indeed. Ignorance will not kill you but some knowledge might prevent your face and fingers from burning up. The knowledge, for example, of the simple fact that I had just finished stuffing Poblano peppers - long peppers that look quite innocent but can turn out to be extremely HOT!!!
When I called my husband, he said he had tasted a pepper in the store and it was not hot. Could have fooled me! A quick internet search confirms that some, but not all poblanos are hot. He must have tasted the wrong one. It seems that the role of a wife requires a not at all negligible amount of martyrdom.

Meanwhile, my daughter was climbing on the printer, throwing food all over the place and running around without any clothes on, and my face and hands were still on fire. My ultimate concern was the removal of my contact lenses, which I would have liked to get done before heading for bed.
Another Google search yielded advice for hot pepper residue removal: milk, yogurt, lemon, vinegar. I tried vinegar and it helped assuage the pain, but it was still there and I knew not to touch my eyes. I wasn't willing to sacrifice a cup of milk or dip my hands in yogurt, neither of which are practical solutions for the mother of an active two year old who will NOT go to sleep. I waited for my husband to show up and save my life, which he did, unbelievably, with a vat of acetone.

By the time my husband tasted the peppers, much of the heat had gone. It figures, doesn't it? They were still too hot for me to eat though. The next day, my husband suggested I recycle the meat stuffing- perhaps by making a meat calzone. I did not feel like putting up dough, and I had to get rid of some pasta because I recently bought ten boxes of Ronzoni pasta at $0.77 each (who can resist such a deal?!) and believe it or not, pasta cannot sit around forever in those boxes.

I came up with ultimate forbidden food: spaghetti in Bolognese sauce. Bolognese is a sauce of 2 kinds of meat, tomatoes, and milk or heavy cream. I wasn't about to treif up my kitchen, body and soul, but I did want to try a version of the sauce using rice milk, which I usually have in stock.

And so, I chopped some carrot, onion and garlic, sauteed them in olive oil and added the meat stuffing, breaking it up as it warmed up. Before removing the stuffing from the peppers I geared up by donning two disposable gloves on each hand. I wasn't about to risk hot fingers again.
I added some white wine and raised the flame, allowing most of the wine to evaporate. I lowered the flame and added tomato paste, water and yes, the rice milk. Miraculously, lightning did not come down from heaven to strike me for cooking this daring dish.
I lowered the heat and let the sauce simmer and slowly thicken while I cooked the spaghetti.
The result was pretty enjoyable and the abundant sauce will last another day or two.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fennel Salad with Olives and Lemon

Chicken Borscht

The word Borscht connotes a heavy, old world dish that your grandparents ate, but borscht can be surprisingly light and savory.
This recipe from Saveur magazine goes easy on the potatoes (I went even lighter by cutting the 3 potatoes to 1-1/2). I skipped the beans and tomato paste and used one plum tomato instead of grape tomatoes, and parsley instead of dill.
My mother in law adds some diced boiled egg when serving borscht, and some thinly sliced lemon that adds some contrast.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

World's Best Honey Cake

It is a little late for a Rosh Hashana honey cake recipe, but the cake pictured above is great for all occasions. In fact, it's the honey cake for honey-cake haters. I do not usually like honey cake but this one is surprisingly light and moist and not at all too honey-ish and the allspice and cloves add some great flavor.

I found the recipe on Zabar's website and it was so well received on Rosh Hashana that I baked another batch before Yom Kippur, so we'd have something to crave.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Almond Biscotti

Monday, September 14, 2009

Caponata for Rosh HaShana

Caponata Siciliana is a side dish of sauteed/stewed vegetables in a sweet and sour red wine vinegar reduction. The beauty of caponata is that it will keep on the fridge for a week or so you can make it a few days in advance, as I chose to do today in preparation for Rosh Hashana.

This recipe is a little time consuming but well worth it (the page linked might take a minute or two to load so open it in a separate tab while you read on).
The reason I find this to be appropriate for Rosh Hashana is that the combination of sweet- for a sweet new year - and sour, for people like me who prefer savory to sweet- makes a perfect dish to please most palates. I may have started a new tradition!

Peeling the eggplants. I only peel half because some might not like the texture of the peel.

After letting the eggplant chunks sit in salt, they are sauteed and then set on paper towel to drain.

The onions and celery jump into the pan

Followed by the rest of the crowd. Check out those wonderful colors.

Monday, September 7, 2009


The chilly September morning prompted me to put up a big pot of minestrone, a hearty vegetable soup that is easy to make and easy to freeze if you need to plan ahead.

There are of course plenty of recipes available but I like to improvise and use the ingredients I already have and most importantly, get rid of the leftover chicken soup.

1 Large onion
2 Cloves garlic
1 Potato
1/2 - 1 C cannelini beans
3 Carrots
1 Bell pepper
1 Tomato or small can diced tomatoes
Broth or water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Parsley, etc
Small pasta

Sautee onion, mushrooms and carrots. There is no need for any fancy slicing because minestrone goes into the blender. Add the rest of the vegetables and cover with liquid. Bring to a boil, lower flame and add salt, pepper, fresh parsley and any other spices you prefer. Let cook for an hour or so, then blend to form a thick soup (pour out some of the water before blending if you think it might be too much).
Cook some small shaped pasta separately or directly in the soup. Serve hot and sop up with some good bread.


PS: minestrone made with a parve broth is delicious with some cheese added at serving time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

More On Olive Oil & ShopRite

My De Cecco Olive Oil ran out way too quickly and as I resolved to use less Extra virgin in my kitchen I went back to the supermarket to check out any deals they might have.
I found ShopRite brand olive oil that claims to be from Italy, "Made from the first cold pressing of Italian grown selected olives" and marked as Product of Italy, with an OU.

A 33.8 fl oz bottle cost less than $5 with the shoprite card. That is an exceptional price if the label is to be believed. I tried the oil in salads and stir fry and it's much better than others I've used. It's a little more subtle and less fruity than Bertolli but all and all it is surprisingly good.

I never thought I'd use and like a store-brand extra virgin olive oil, but there you have it.