Salmon with Spicy Citrus Soy Sauce

The hot weather does not inspire me to stay in the kitchen very long, so I have been making light, quick meals for dinner, and Mr. BT has been making nice big salads that include the home-grown lettuce of which he is very proud. This past Shabbat, I made a lovely fish dinner with salmon in an Asian citrus sauce over soba noodles. I served it with steamed asparagus and sauteed mushrooms.

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, which is wheat-free and gluten free, and can be served hot or cold. The Bretons make crepes with the flour and the Russians make Blini. It is also a good honey plant that produces a rich, dark honey. The buckwheat hulls are used to fill upholstery and the groats are now used to produce gluten-free beer.

I like to serve the soba noodles warm and sprinkle a little sesame oil on them just before serving.

Salmon with Spicy Citrus Soy Sauce

Serving Size: 2

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Juice of small lemon

Juice of small orange

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon chili paste

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 salmon fillets

Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Place the salmon fillets in a frying pan with a little oil over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook until the salmon is still slightly pink in the center. Serve over soba noodles or brown rice.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/07/24/salmon-with-spicy-citrus-soy-sauce/

Garum – Roman Ketchup

While perusing in my new favorite cookbook looking for something interesting to do with the fresh salmon I had just ordered, I found an interesting sauce for fish called Garum. When I asked Mr. BT if he would like this sauce, he yelled out “GARUM? Do you know what that is?!” I said no and he explained that it is an ancient Roman fish sauce made from stinky, rotten fish. I gasped and said, this recipe is a very watered-down version with olives and 4 anchovies. He said, “ok, how bad can that be.”

So, in my curiosity about the history of cuisine, I found out that garum is the ancient Roman ketchup. They put it on everything, and I mean everything! I found a recipe for Pear Patina, an ancient Roman dessert, that called for garum. I guess that is where the expression, “he puts ketchup on everything” probably came from, replacing ketchup with garum.

Historian Brian Fagan, an archaeologist, author and professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara wrote this about garum in his fascinating book, Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and Discovery of the New World:

Roman cooks placed great emphasis on sauces and flavors, but none was more ubiquitous than garum–fish sauce. The modern equivalent would be tomato ketchup or Tabasco sauce, utilitarian products used to enhance all manner of dishes, both lavish and prosaic…today’s global cuisine provides an equivalent to garum in readily available Asian fish sauces (such as nuoc nam, nam-pla). There were many garums (also known as liquamen) so there was no universal recipe, much depending on the catch at hand.

There were hundreds of recipes for garum, few of which survive, for each manufacturer–each fishing family–had its own favorite blend. The third-century writer Gargilious Martialis gives an example in his De medicine et virtue herbarum:

“Use fatty fish, for example, sardines, and a container, whose inside is sealed with pitch, with a 26-35 quart capacity. Add dried, aromatic herbs, possessing a strong flavor, such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint, oregano, and others in a layer on the bottom of the container; then put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole, if large, use pieces) and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high. Repeat the layers until the container is filled. Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid.”

This modernised garum is neither rotting nor stinky and is a delicious sauce for most firm fish. You could serve it with hot or cold fish.

Garum – Roman Ketchup

Serving Size: 4 to 6

Recipe from Casa Moro by Sam and Sam Clark

200g olives, a mixture of firm green and black/purple, stoned

1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

4 salted anchovy fillets, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sweet red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Finely chop the olives and place them in a bowl. Add the garlic, herbs, anchovies, and vinegar. Mix well and add the olive oil. Add black pepper and sea salt to taste. Serve over a grilled firm fish.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/07/17/garum-roman-ketchup/

Shavuot Ideas – Fresh Corn Pudding

Planning a dinner party can be quite daunting, but it helps if you are the “planning type” like I am. I was a meeting planner, by profession when I lived in the States and was responsible for planning meetings, conferences, and special events for anywhere from 10 to 10,000 attendees. My parents and grandparents also entertained a lot, so I learned everything I know about dinner party planning from my Dad and paternal grandmother who both loved to host grand gourmet dinner parties. So, planning this dinner for 11 was not a problem for me.  Here are a few good tips:

  1. Plan the menu before anything else and try to make sure that each course is a good marriage for the next.
  2. Check your wine stash or cellar and liquor stash or cabinet to see if you need to purchase a few more bottles.
  3. Make sure that your oven and Shabbat hot plate (if you have one) will be free for each course you need to make at the last minute or for those courses that need to stay hot before serving.
  4. Check that you have enough plates, silverware, glassware and serving pieces.
  5. Check that the tablecloth you want to use is ironed and doesn’t have that annoying wine stain from the last dinner party.
  6. Don’t overdo on the hors d’œuvre or your guests won’t eat your star attraction, the main meal.

Of course, it always helps to have a partner in crime and Mimi is a great friend, and a great co-hostess to work with. She was gracious to offer her home for the event and allowed me to share her kitchen with her. Her account of the “behind-the-scenes” is hysterical and quite accurate. There was a lot of swearing and “oh, I forgot to put that on the plate” going on in the kitchen.

For our main course, Mimi and I served beautiful fresh sea bass fillets that we bought from my favourite fish mongers, Dubkin Brothers. Mimi made the marinade, which was made with fresh herbs, lemon juice, and hot chilies. It was cooked perfectly and tasted good, but I would have preferred it to be spicier. We erred on the side of caution because some people do not like or cannot tolerate spicy food.  Mimi posted the fish recipe on her blog, Israeli Kitchen.

To accompany the fish, we served fresh, steamed green beans and I made individual fresh corn puddings that are made with corn cut from the cob and quickly pulsed in a food processor, fresh herbs, and a little fontina cheese for an added kick. This can be served as a first course, a vegetarian main course, or as we served it, as an accompaniment. I really like this dish, it is not too heavy and is best made with the sweetest, freshest corn you can find. I would have loved to have made it with Silver Queen corn, but sadly we do not have that variety here in Israel. I have heard that Silver Queen is all but a dying variety in the States, which is very sad because it is a sweet and creamy variety of corn. It was the best corn to use for everyone’s southern favorite, creamed corn.

Fresh Corn Pudding

Serving Size: 8

6 ears fresh corn, shucked

1/2 cup double (heavy) cream

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

50g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cool

3 large eggs, beaten lightly

2-3 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs: sage, thyme and chives

1/4 cup grated Fontina or other sharp, good melting, cheese

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and butter eight 1/2-cup ramekins.

Cut the corn off the cobs and place in a food processor. Pulse the corn about three times, until you have a very coarse mixture. Do not pulverise it!

Put all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add the corn, and mix thoroughly. Ladle the mixture evenly into the ramekins and place them in a baking pan just large enough to hold them. Place the tray in the oven and add enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of the ramekins.

Bake the corn puddings in the middle of oven for 50 minutes, or until tops are slightly puffed and golden and firm to the touch. Remove ramekins from water and cool slightly on a rack for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around edges of ramekins and invert each pudding onto a serving plate.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/05/14/shavuot-ideas-fresh-corn-pudding/

Happy 2010!

The first year I moved to Israel I invited a few friends over to my flat for a nice New Year’s dinner. I bought sparklers and really bad champagne in  Shouk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv. A few minutes before midnight we went out to my rooftop terrace, lit the sparklers and started yelling out “Happy New Year!”. Much to my chagrin, a neighbor yelled out of his window “Sheket!”, which means “shutup!” I never really celebrated New Year’s Eve again.

New Year’s Eve is not celebrated in Israel like everywhere else. Religious Jews do not recognize it as the new year because the start of the new year in the Jewish calendar is Rosh Hashana, which falls during the early autumn. So, even though you will see people celebrating in restaurants, pubs, and discos around the country, most people do not celebrate it.

Mr BT and I had a quiet dinner at home.

I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to cook on Thursday, so I had to find some dishes that I could make quickly, but were gourmet. I found an interesting salmon recipe from Chef Eric Ripert, who is chef of the famous Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Bernardin. I have never eaten there, but I have seen him on few cooking shows and his dishes always looked delicious. The recipe called for the salmon to be wrapped in phyllo pastry, so I went to the supermarket to buy a package of phyllo the day before. I took the box out the night before and when I came home to start cooking I discovered, to my annoyance, that I had bought puff pastry! The dessert I was making also called for phyllo, so what was the Baroness to do?! I improvised, like any good chef would do. I had a package of rice paper wrappers that I hadn’t used yet. I had Mr BT check on the internet if rice paper would crisp up like phyllo, and he reported that it was crispier than wonton wrappers. So,  I  replaced the phyllo  with the rice paper and it was a huge success. The dish is light and delicious and I will definitely make it again. We began the meal with a steamed artichoke with aioli, then I served the salmon on a bed of sauteed mushrooms with a side of Creole Orange Rice. The rice is spicy with a nice hint of fresh orange. It was perfect with the salmon.

Rice Paper Wrapped Salmon with Sauteed Mushrooms

Serving Size: 2

The Salmon:

2 (250g or 1/2 lb) salmon fillets, boneless and skinless

4 large round sheets rice paper

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

The Soy-Mustard Vinaigrette:

1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cut chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauteed Mushrooms:

1/2 lb mixed mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 small shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Salmon wrapped in rice paper

For the Salmon:

Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Soak two sheets of rice paper, one at a time, in warm water for 20 seconds. Place the sheets on top of each other and place one fillet of salmon in the middle. Wrap the rice paper around the salmon like an envelope. Repeat with the next two sheets of rice paper and salmon fillet. Set aside.

Mix together the soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the thyme and parsley. Set aside.

Place the oil in a medium frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add the two fillets of salmon and saute for about 4 minutes on each side, until the rice paper is lightly browned or crispy to the touch.

For the Mushrooms: Trim the ends off the mushrooms and cut them in half, depending on size. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced shallot and garlic and saute until soft. Add the mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the white wine and reduce adding the butter to create a silky delicate sauce. Add the herbs to the pan and remove from the heat.

To plate, place a fillet on top of a bed of mushrooms. Sprinkle the soy-mustard vinaigrette on top of the salmon.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/01/02/happy-2010/

 

Creole Orange Rice

Serving Size: 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 medium navel orange, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cup rice

2 cups water

Saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Sprinkle the salt and cayenne on the onions. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, cover and cook the rice for 20 minutes.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/01/02/happy-2010/

I wanted to make individual cranberry strudels for dessert, but I didn’t have any phyllo, so I decided to make bourekas instead. Mr BT suggested that I serve them to guests and not tell them what is inside. I would say that I didn’t have time to make dessert and thought we could have a savory dessert instead.

Cranberry Bourekas

Yield: 10 to 12

1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

1/3 cup water

2/3 cup Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon chopped candied orange peel

1 package puff pastry

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a baking sheet with silicone and set aside. Put the cranberries and water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 3 minutes or until the cranberries pop. Drain them, discarding the liquid and return the cranberries to the pan.

Add the apple, raisins, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and orange peel; toss gently until mixed.

Cranberry-Apple Bourekas

Unroll the puff pastry and cut strips about 5cm (2 inches) wide. Place a rounded tablespoon of the cranberry mixture near the bottom edge of the puff pastry.

Cranberry Bourekas

Take the bottom right corner and wrap it over the filling and roll the filling up into a triangle. Repeat with the remaining strips.

Cranberry Bourekas

Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the bourekas are golden. The bourekas make leak slightly during baking. Transfer the bourekas to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/01/02/happy-2010/

Comfort Food – Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Even though it is December and it should be raining in Israel, winter hasn’t really begun. On Friday, I was out in a short-sleeved shirt planting baby pansies, some unknown flowering purple and white plants, and burgundy and white petunias. I am preparing the “garden” for the winter. I am cutting down the basil and lemongrass. The rest of the herbs, such as thyme and rosemary, should endure the winter weather.

Since it isn’t that cold, I haven’t felt like making the hearty winter soups that I usually make to keep us warm and cozy, but there was a sale on cauliflower and I saw an interesting recipe for cauliflower soup from Thomas Keller’s latest cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home. It is very easy to make and has a slight hint of curry in it. The recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of curry, but I used one teaspoon of hot madras curry and it was still subtle. I also used 10% fat cooking cream instead of heavy cream and it was still luscious and creamy.

After a small bowl of soup, I served baked salmon with a lemon-artichoke pesto on a bed of mashed Jerusalem artichokes and petit pois on the side. The pesto had the perfect amount of acidity from the lemon juice and capers. It was a nice and light addition to the thick soup.

Comfort Food – Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Serving Size: 10-12 as a first course

From Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

2 heads cauliflower (2 to 2-1/2 kg or 4 to 5 pounds total)

50g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3/4 cup coarsely chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)

3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 teaspoon hot madras curry powder or curry of your choice

Salt

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups water

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Remove the leaves from cauliflower, and cut out the core. Trim the stems and reserve them. For the garnish, trim 2 cups of florets about the size of a quarter and set aside.

Coarsely chop the remaining cauliflower and the stems into 1-inch pieces so that they will cook in the same amount of time. You need 8 cups of cauliflower.

Melt 40g (3 tablespoons) of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, curry, and chopped cauliflower. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt, cover, and cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Pour in the milk, cream, and water, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off the foam from time-to-time.

Using a stick blender, puree the cauliflower at the lowest speed, and blend until smooth and velvety. Check the seasoning, and add more salt if needed. If the soups is too thick, you can dilute it with a little water. At this point, the soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil, Add the vinegar and the reserved cauliflower florets, and blanch until tender, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. The vinegar will help keep the cauliflower white. Drain. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan, until the butter turns a rich golden brown. Add the florets and saute until the cauliflower is lightly brown.

To serve, top each serving with a few cauliflower florets, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/12/05/comfort-food/

Salmon with Lemon Artichoke Pesto

4 salmon fillets, skinned

1 can artichoke hearts

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Pinch red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon capers, drained well

2 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest

3 tablespoons pesto

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

Combine the artichokes, lemon juice, garlic, pepper flakes, oil, capers, lemon zest, and pesto in the food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture is still chunky. Stir in the fresh herbs.

Lay a fillet on top of a large square of foil and spread 2 tablespoons of the mixture on top of the salmon , fold up to enclose the fillets, and tightly crimp the edges to seal the pouches. Repeat with the remaining fillets. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/12/05/comfort-food/

Baked Redfish with Cashew-Garlic Crust

Over the past few weeks we have been eating a lot of fish that we purchased from the Dubkin Brothers, a fish farm on Moshav Tekuma in southern Israel. They sell fish to restaurants all over the country, and also to individuals at an arranged pickup point every two weeks. The owners are very friendly and they prepare the fish any way you want. The fish is very, very fresh, most of it coming from their own fish farms and they have the best source for salmon I have found. Your order is packed in ice in a Styrofoam cooler  and they always include a bag of fresh lemons. They had a special sale on redfish (Rotbarsch in Hebrew and German) which is a nice semi-firm fish that can be broiled, baked, and pan-fried.

I found an interesting recipe from Emeril Lagasse that called for 220g (2 sticks) of butter. I couldn’t subject our bodies to that much butter, so I changed the recipe.The recipe also called for baking the fish on a bed of spinach, but I didn’t have any fresh spinach on hand so I served the fish on a bed of one of my favorite comfort foods from my mother, creamed spinach. I don’t really have a recipe, but I tried my best to create one for you. Let me know if you have any problems making it. I will make it again and try to come up with a better recipe.

I am sure Emeril’s recipe is divine, but I think my “healthier” version is delicious and really goes well with the redfish.

Baked Redfish with Cashew-Garlic Crust

Serving Size: 2

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 redfish fillets (or other 8 ounce white-fleshed fish fillets such as snapper)

Cashew-Garlic Paste

1 cup salted roasted cashews

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or a few drops of Tabasco

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

Season the redfish fillets with salt and pepper on both sides.

To serve, transfer the packages to warmed dinner plates. Open at the table, using scissors.

In a food processor, pulse the cashews until coarsely chopped, being careful not to over blend into a paste. Add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and hot pepper sauce, and pulse until the cashews are finely chopped. Add just enough olive oil (start with 2 tablespoons) to bind the mixture together.

Using a flat metal spatula or your hands, smear both sides of each fillet liberally with the cashew paste. Don't worry if it doesn't spread easily, just make sure that you have cashew-garlic paste on both sides. Lay 2 fillets on top of a large square of foil or parchment paper, fold up to enclose the fillets, and tightly crimp the edges to seal the pouches. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 -20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Serve on a bed of creamed spinach.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/11/27/baked-redfish-with-cashew-garlic-crust/

 

Mom's Creamed Spinach

Serving Size: 4

1 small onion, minced

50g butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup milk or light cream

500g (1lb) frozen chopped spinach

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Saute the onion until lightly browned and add the flour. Cook until the flour is incorporated with the butter and onion, and is a light brown roux. Add the milk or cream and stir until thickened. Add the spinach and cook on medium low heat, stirring until the spinach is defrosted. Add the nutmeg and mix thoroughly in the spinach. Cook until hot.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/11/27/baked-redfish-with-cashew-garlic-crust/

Erev Yom Kippur 5770

I think my grandmother (z”l) would have been quite shocked by my erev Yom Kippur menu. It was definitely not the usual family fare. But, I have finally realised that we shouldn’t have a heavy meal before the 25 hour fast. It is just not healthy. So, I collected some interesting recipes for the meal.

I found a very interesting Iraqi fish dish that was adapted from a 13th century Baghdadi cookbook called Kitab al-Tabikh.

Al-Baghdadi’s Kitab al-Tabikh was for long the only medieval Arabic cookery book known to the English-speaking world, thanks to A.J Arberry’s path-breaking 1939 translation as `A Baghdad Cookery Book’ which was re-issued by Prospect Books in 2001 in Medieval Arab Cookery. For centuries, it has been the favourite Arab cookery book of the Turks. The original manuscript is still in Istanbul, and at some point a Turkish sultan commissioned a very handsome copy which can still be seen in The British Library in London. – From Amazon.Com

The recipe called for 1/2 cup of sumac and I was a bit skeptical, but the dish was outstanding. I used a large drumfish, called  מוסר in Hebrew or Mussar, which is a nice firm, meaty fish that was perfect for this dish. The Iraqis probably made this with a type of carp that is found in the Tigris river called Mangar.

I only stuffed one fish for the two of us, so I have enough stuffing left over for one more fish.

Baked Fish with Sumac Stuffing

Serving Size: 4

(Samak Mashwi bil Summaq) From A Baghdad Cookery Book (Kitab al-Tabikh) by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Baghdadi

1 to 2kg whole fish, such as drum fish, barramundi, grey mullet or gilt-head sea bream (you may need 4 fish, depending on the size)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Sumac Stuffing for Fish

For the stuffing:

1/2 cup sumac

1/4 cup fresh za'atar or thyme

1/2 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin, and cinnamon

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

About 3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 220C (450F).

Place all of the stuffing ingredients in a food processor and process into a paste, as pictured above. Add more water, if needed.

Cut 2 to 3 diagonal slits in the fish and rub the oil and the turmeric on the outside and inside of the fish. Stuff the fish with the sumac mixture and close the incision in the fish with kitchen string, tooth picks, or the silicon ties as shown in the picture above.

Place the fish on a roasting rack and bake in the second level of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the fish is flaky. Cooking time will vary according to the size of the fish.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/09/29/erev-yom-kippur-5770/


Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Olives

My husband is not a big fan of ptitim (in Hebrew and maghrbiyya  in Arabic) or what the rest of the western world calls Israeli couscous. I have been trying to convince him to let me make it, so when I found an interesting recipe on Epicurious, I decided to push him a bit. He said ok. I found some whole wheat ptitim at the supermarket and I could have bought spelt ptitim, but I didn’t want to scare him off too much. This dish calls for preserved lemon which I like very much, but I didn’t have any at home, couldn’t find any in the olive sections of two different supermarkets, and didn’t have time to make any. So, I decided to add some lovely tart Tsuri olives instead that I cracked and pitted. The sweetness of the butternut squash with the tartness of the olives and the crunchy pine nuts and the fragrant hint of cinnamon gave a wonderful texture and taste to this dish. It was a perfect accompaniment to the fish and the salad I made. I think I have converted Mr. BT.

Janna Gur’s Carrot and Date Salad

I am in love with this carrot and date salad. I do not like tzimmes in any shape or form, but I really loved this dish. It calls for fresh dates which I have never cooked with.

Fresh dates are high in vitamin C. They are also a special food for Rosh Hashana. Moroccan Jews dip a medjhoul date in anise seeds, sesame seeds and powdered sugar to “mark the new year that is beginning as one of happiness and blessing and peace for all mankind.”

The crunchy dates and the cooked carrots were perfect together. And the silan (date honey) did not make the dish too sweet. I will definitely make this again.

The finishing piece to this meal was the semifreddo I made the day before. This is a very easy dish to make and would be perfect for any dinner party. I recommend using a strong-tasting honey such as chestnut, eucalyptus, thistle, or heather. The rosemary was quite subtle, so I will steep more rosemary in the milk next time. You need to factor in the cream that you will be folding in later. It will mute the honey and rosemary flavor.

Chestnut Honey, Rosemary, and Goat's Milk Semifreddo

Serving Size: 8

2 cups goat's milk

3 sprigs of rosemary

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup chestnut honey

Pinch of salt

2 cups heavy cream

Put the goat's milk in a heavy saucepan and heat until the milk is steaming, but not boiling. Turn off the heat and add the rosemary. Let it steep for 45 minutes. Taste the milk to make sure that it has a significant rosemary taste. If not, let it steep for another 20 to 30 minutes.

In a medium size bowl, whisk the egg yolks, honey and salt together.

Strain the milk mixture and place the milk in a clean heavy saucepan. Reheat the milk on medium heat, but do not boil. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into yolk mixture; return to same pan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves a path on back of the spoon when a finger is drawn across (do not boil). Strain into another medium bowl; chill covered until cold.

When the custard is cold, whip the cream to soft, thick peaks. If the cream is added when the custard is still warm, it will melt the cream.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/09/29/erev-yom-kippur-5770/

Fish, Fish, and more Fish with a Smattering of Cherry

I love to experiment with all of the wonderful fresh fish we can get here in Israel. And the other day, they had some small fish at the fish monger in the supermarket. I don’t usually buy fresh fish there, but this looked especially fresh. I have been buying my fish from Dubkin Brother’s located at Moshav Tekuma near the border with Gaza. They sell their fish to restaurants and come up to the center of the country every two weeks to make deliveries to individuals. They are lovely people, have good prices,  and most importantly their fish is a high quality and very fresh. The fish comes packed in ice in a Styrofoam cooler that they take back with the next delivery. So far I have ordered baramundi, sea bass, gilt-head sea bream, and red mullet.

The best way to cook it is to not do too much to it.  Most of the time I saute it in a pan or grill it under the oven, depending the type of fish. If I saute it, I slice garlic thinly and place it in a hot pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add the fish, and then add the juice of two large lemons and a couple of tablespoons of chopped thyme, fresh zaatar, oregano, or chives. If I grill it, such as trout, then I stuff the cavity with rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon slices, and sliced garlic and grill in the oven.

I bought small red mullet and another fish that I have never heard of and don’t know the name in English, but they were both wonderful. I just lightly coated them in flour and cooked them in a shallow pan of oil for about two to three minutes on each side. I served them with basil-garlic red potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Mr BT made red mullet with a mango sauce. He sauteed the fish in a little butter and olive oil. He added mango juice, white wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar, removed the fish and reduced the sauce. He has also made drumfish with a sour cream and herb sauce. You could also make it with yogurt. Skies the limit.

For one of the meals, I used the last of the cherries that we picked at the cherry festival. I had frozen them and they were perfect for a nice fruit crisp. It brought back childhood memories when my mother used to make a delicious apple crisp. She didn’t make the topping with oatmeal, but this recipe is British fruit crisp. The crisp was delicious and the cherries didn’t need any additional sugar.

Fresh Sour Cherry Crisp

Serving Size: 6 to 8

4 cups pitted sour cherries

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

100g (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Butter medium size baking dish, approximately 22 x 32 cm (9 x 13 inches).

In a medium bowl, mix the cherries and the flour. Evenly distribute the cherries in the baking dish.

Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and melted butter. Crumble evenly over the cherry mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/08/01/fish-fish-and-more-fish-with-a-smattering-of-cherry/

North African Spicy Fish

Chreime is a North African dish made from a firm white fish, such as grouper, amberjack, sea bass, grey mullet, carp or even the dreaded rat of the lake, Nile perch. Here in Israel it is typically served for one of the major Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashana or Passover, but it can really be served any time.

This is another dish that I have been wanting to make for a long time, but always thought I had to buy expensive fish to make it with. I had some Nile perch in my freezer that I had been dreading to make something with, and I say dreading because it is really not my favourite fish, but my husband seems to like it.

Nile perch is considered to be the rat of the lake because it will eat all of the other fish around it. It is one of the largest freshwater fish and reaches a maximum length of nearly two meters (more than six feet), weighing up to 200 kg (440 lb). It has a rather strong flavour, so this recipe was perfect to cover the fishiness of this fish. The other great thing about Nile perch is that it is inexpensive and easy to find at every Israeli supermarket, so it is perfect for the strange and stressful times were are all living in.

The recipe I used called for 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Now, I love spicy food, but I was too chicken to make it with that much cayenne, so I used 2 teaspoons. Next time, I will use 3 teaspoons. And if you are not crazy about caraway, well too bad, it is the secret weapon in this recipe, so don’t omit it.

Mr. BT and I really enjoyed this dish and I will definitely make it again. I would like to try it with grouper or sea bass sometime, but Nile perch definitely worked.

Chreime

Serving Size: 4 to 6

1kg (2lb 2oz) white firm fish (grouper, amberjack, haddock, cod, sea bass, grey mullet, carp or Nile perch), cut through the bone into thick slices or use thick fillets

1/3 cup oil (don't waste extra virgin on this)

10 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Moroccan or good quality Hungarian sweet paprika

1 tablespoon (or less) cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground caraway

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2-3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large shallow pan. Add the garlic and spices and fry over high heat while stirring until the oil becomes aromatic. Add the tomato paste and stir until blended. Add the water and cook with a covered pot for about 5 minutes.

Add the fish to the sauce, bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat. If the sauce does not completely cover the fish, turn them halfway through the cooking.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the fish is flaky. Serve with couscous.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/10/26/north-african-spicy-fish/

Shavuot 2008 – Updated

Being away for most of May didn’t give me a lot of time to decide what to make for Shavuot this year. I decided to keep it simple and not over do it. My menu was:

Salad of baby mixed greens with nectarines

Trout stuffed with dried apricots and pistachios

Mashed potatoes with basil

Steamed broccoli

All of the dishes were delicious. I have to admit the trout dish really caught my eye because of the unusual stuffing. I would have never have thought that apricot and pistachios should be stuffed inside of any fish, but it really married well with the trout. The sour apricots and the crunch of the pistachios lent such a nice flavour to the mild flavour of the trout. I will definitely make this again.

Trout Stuffed with Dried Apricots and Pistachios

Serving Size: 2

25g/1oz white breadcrumbs

55g/2oz dried sour (California) apricots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons parsley or coriander, finely chopped

40g/1-1/2 oz pistachio nuts, finely chopped

55g/2oz melted butter

Salt and pepper

2 fresh whole trout, gutted and rinsed

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

Apricot-Pistachio Stuffing

Place the breadcrumbs, apricots, parsley, pistachios, half the butter, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well.

Stuffed Trout

Place each of the trout on a large sheet of buttered foil on a baking tray. Spoon half the mixture into each of cavities. Brush the trout with the rest of the melted butter and enclose the foil around each of the fish to form two parcels. Place the tray into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the foil and serve.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/06/21/shavuot-2008-updated/

 

I know you are going to say that every French baker is going to sentence me to death for making brioche with whole wheat flour, but I have to tell you that the bread was delicious. Okay, it wasn’t as delicate as regular brioche, but it is was still very tasty.

Whole Wheat Brioche with Dried Fruit

Yield: 2 loaves

1/2 cup hand-hot water

1 tablespoon dried yeast or 25g fresh yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

6 large eggs, room temperature

4-1/2 cups whole wheat flour or white flour (for traditional brioche)

2 teaspoons salt

226g (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 cup of mixed dried fruit (such as cranberries, raisins, apricots)

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Let stand for five minutes to let the yeast and sugar dissolve.

Add the eggs and beat at medium speed for one minute, until well mixed. At low speed, add two cups of flour and the salt. Mix for five minutes. Add an additional two cups of flour and mix for five minutes. Still on low speed, add the softened butter in chunks and mix for two minutes, scraping down the beater and sides of the bowl, until well blended. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Use the dough hook or knead the dough by hand for two minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit a room temperature for one hour. Grease two loaf pans. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and cut in half. Pat each portion into a rectangle, then roll up each rectangle into a cylindrical loaf. Place each loaf, seam-side down, into a greased pan. Cover the pans with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). When the dough has risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top springs back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/06/21/shavuot-2008-updated/

Torta di Chioccolata al Forno con Vaniglia e Nocciola (Perugian-style chocolate hazelnut cheesecake)

This cheesecake is to die for! I used Israeli 5% white cheese instead of cream cheese and it was just as creamy, but with a lot less calories. I am not a big chocolate eater, but this was made with 60% bittersweet chocolate and it was just sweet enough. I really liked that this recipe did not call for a lot of sugar and the hazelnuts really make the cake. I felt like I was eating a Perugina Baci. Smacking delicious it was.

Chag Sameach everyone!

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