One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish – Red Mullet

Friday night we decided to have fish, so I made my take on Fish and Chips.

I use all types of fish filets for shallow frying, such as cod, halibut and flounder. On Friday, I used red mullet, or barbounia as it is called in Hebrew. We had the following:

Cocktail hour: Mango-Pineapple Caipirinha

Red Mullet with a Panko-Sesame, Oregano and Parsley Crust

Crushed Potatoes with Chives, Garlic, and Yogurt

Green peas

Heilbronner Stiftsberg Riesling 2005

Leftover Quince Tart

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Red Mullet with a Panko-Sesame, Oregano and Parsley Crust
Ingredients
  • 350 g 3/4lb small or 4 medium red mullet filets
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Panko Crumbs
  2. In a plate, mix the panko crumbs, sesame seeds, parsley, oregano and thyme. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, yogurt and water.
  3. Ready for Frying
  4. Place the fish in the egg mixture and mix until the fish is thoroughly coated and then dip in the panko mixture until well coated. Cook the fish in about 25mm (1 inch) of hot oil for approximately two to three minutes on each side or until flaky. Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately.

Erev Yom Kippur

Tonight, I making a simple two course meal consisting of a Moroccan Kdra called Djej Kdra Touimiya or Chicken Kdra with Almonds and Chick-Peas, green beans, and some fresh fruit for dessert.

A Kdra is a tagine that is cooked with smen (I have to use olive oil), onions, saffron, cinnamon and sometimes ginger, depending on where you live. I am making a Fez version, which is made with a little dried ginger.

I think I was Moroccan in a former life because I am in love with the food, the architecture, the music and the culture in general. My earliest introduction to Moroccan food was when I bought Paula Wolfert’s, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, at a cookery shop in Seattle, Washington. The first dish that I tried got me hooked and I have exploring Moroccan food ever since. Since moving to Israel, I have been intrigued even more.

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Chicken Kdra with Almonds and Chick-Peas (Djej Kdra Touimiya)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup blanced whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried chick-peas soaked overnight or canned (if you must)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pulverised saffron mixed with a little tumeric
  • Salt to taste omit for kosher chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil or 2 tablespoons smen
  • 1-1/2 kg 3 to 3 1/2 lb chicken, quartered
  • 2 medium yellow onions quartered lengthwise and finely sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water more if necessary
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
Instructions
  1. Put the almonds in a pan, cover with cold water and simmer, covered for approximately two hours. Set the almonds aside, submerged in water.
  2. In another saucepan, cover the soaked chick-peas with fresh cold water, boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for one hour. Drain and rinse with cold water. Rub the chick-peas to remove their skins. Discard the skins.
  3. Note: For canned chickpeas, rinse and skin them and set them aside. Do not add them until the chicken has finished cooking.
  4. Place the butter, smen or olive oil in a casserole. Add 1/2 of the saffron-turmeric mixture, the spices and the chicken. Cook on a low flame for two to three minutes. Chop 4 or 5 slices of onion fine and add to the casserole. Add the stock or water. Bring to a boil and add the fresh chick-peas. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, covered.
  5. Add the remaining sliced onions and parsley. Cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Remove the chicken from the casserole. If relevant, add the canned chick-peas to the sauce. Boil the sauce at a high heat, uncovered and reduce the sauce to a thick gravy.
  6. Drain the almonds and add the remaining saffron to the sauce. Cook for an additional two or three minutes and spoon over the chicken. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve with couscous or rice.

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Tomorrow at sundown begins the observance of and twenty-five hour fast during Yom Kippur. The meal before the fast should be simple, not too rich and not too spicy. It is better not to make the meal with garlic or hot peppers.

At the completion of the fast, it is better to eat something that is not too hard on the stomach, so we usually break the fast by eating biscuits (cookies) and crackers, and of course some water, but not too fast or you will upset your stomach.

A Yemenite co-worker told me today that I should drink a glass of fresh pomegranate juice before the fast, it will make the fast easier. I just happen to have some pomegranate juice and I am going to try it.

I found a very interesting Saudi Arabian food blog called Arabic Bites. Two sisters share their recipes from the region. I have really enjoyed reading the blog and I decided to make one of their recipes for the break-the-fast, Cardamom Biscuits. They are actually Iraqi biscuits called Klejah and they are not too sweet, just a perfect end to the fast.

Hope that you have an easy fast. Gmar Chatimah Tova (May you be sealed in the book of life).

And to my Muslim friends, Ramadan Kareem.

Rosh Hashana 5768

Chag Sameach everyone! I hope you had a nice meal with your family. We went to my cousin’s house for the first night of Rosh Hashana and had a lovely time.

We invited some friends of ours for dinner last night. My husband made a Rosh Hashana favourite and I introduced several new surprises to our repertoire. Everything was delicious.

The cake calls for sour cream and one of my guests has a dairy allergy and can only tolerate butter in baked goods, so I substituted a non-dairy yogurt in its place. It worked fine.

And in case you are wondering about why I served a dairy cake, we keep kashrut according to the Italian tradition which is one hour between meat and dairy.

Our menu was:

Cocktails


Provence des Papes Savoury Biscuits


Rosemary Cashews
Cocktails

First Course
Apples with honey
Pomegranate seeds


Ducklava with Chestnut Honey

Main Course


Clay Pot Festival of Fruits Chicken
Couscous
Green beans


Round Challah with dried fruits and nuts
Golan Winery Sion Creek red wine

Dessert


Beekeeper’s Honey Cake
Mango-Nectarine sorbet

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Clay Pot Festival of Fruits Chicken
This recipe was created by my husband for the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashana. It is a fruity, but not an overly sweet dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 chicken cut into eighths
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 4-5 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 cm fresh ginger grated or chopped finely
  • 1 quince cored and cut into eighths
  • 10-20 majhoul dates pitted and cut into quarters
  • 10 dried figs stem removed and cut into eighths
  • 10-20 dried sour apricots cut into quarters
  • 20 walnut halves
  • Couple of pinches of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ c pomegranate molasses
  • ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. On a low heat, place the olive oil in the clay pot, just to cover the surface. Add the onions when the oil is hot, but not sizzling. When the onion is soft, add the garlic. When the onion is lightly brown, turn up the heat and add the chicken pieces, stirring constantly until browned, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on a low flame for approximately 1 ½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes and checking that there is enough remaining liquid for a nice sauce.
  3. Server with nut-studded rice or couscous.
Print
Clay Pot Festival of Fruits Chicken
This recipe was created by my husband for the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashana. It is a fruity, but not an overly sweet dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 chicken cut into eighths
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 4-5 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 cm fresh ginger grated or chopped finely
  • 1 quince cored and cut into eighths
  • 10-20 majhoul dates pitted and cut into quarters
  • 10 dried figs stem removed and cut into eighths
  • 10-20 dried sour apricots cut into quarters
  • 20 walnut halves
  • Couple of pinches of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ c pomegranate molasses
  • ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. On a low heat, place the olive oil in the clay pot, just to cover the surface. Add the onions when the oil is hot, but not sizzling. When the onion is soft, add the garlic. When the onion is lightly brown, turn up the heat and add the chicken pieces, stirring constantly until browned, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on a low flame for approximately 1 ½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes and checking that there is enough remaining liquid for a nice sauce.
  3. Server with nut-studded rice or couscous.

Chag Sameach – Shana Tova

At sundown on the 12th of September is the beginning of the Days of Awe which last ten days including the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana and ending with the 25-hour fast of Yom Kippur. During these ten days, we are suppose to meditate on the subject of the holidays and ask for forgiveness from anyone we have wronged.

During this month and the beginning of October, I will be blogging on holiday dishes for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

I would like to wish my family and friends a Joyous and Healthy New Year. May yours be a sweet year and may your names be inscribed in the book of life.

To those of you observing the upcoming month of Ramadan, Ramadan Mubarak, which means “Blessed Ramadan”.

Shana Tova and Chag Sameach!

Baroness Tapuzina

In preparation for Rosh Hashana, I made a round challah with dried fruits and nuts using my favourite challah recipe. I have heard many reasons why a Rosh Hashana challah is round instead of braided. Some of the reasons are:

  • They represent a crown that reflects our crowning G-d as the King of the world.
  • The circular shape points to the cyclical nature of the year.
  • It stands for the circle of life, and the hope that our lives endure without end.
  • The round challah is the true form of the original round showbread loaves that were kept on the Temple altar. ( Note: Twelve flat loaves, for each of the tribes, were set in two stacks on the Temple altar. It wasn’t until the 15th century that challahs were made in any other shape.)

I add the fruits and nuts before the first rise. I added apricots, cranberries, golden raisin, figs and walnuts.

After the first rise, I punch the dough down, form a long snake and then coil the challah, to make a spiral shape.

Let the dough rise for two to three hours and bake as directed.

Sweet Break at Work

Every Thursday my team takes a 30 minute break to go to the rooftop and enjoy the fresh air and homemade goodies that each team member, in turn, brings. Sometimes we have the break in the morning, and have breakfast goodies, and sometimes we have the break in the afternoon. We change it around for variety and the last couple of months we decided the theme would be cakes and ice cream. When we had the breakfast round, one of my colleagues brought a gas burner and made omelets. They were delicious.

This week was my turn and since my birthday is at the beginning of next week, I decided to celebrate my birthday and make homemade ice creams and cakes. I prefer cakes without icing and really like cakes or tarts with lots of fruit. So, I decided to make a plum cake, cherry coffee cake, dulce de leche ice cream, and for the adventurous I made pomegranate gelato. Everything was delicious except for the pomegranate gelato. It was terrible. The recipe calls for cornstarch as a thickener, which I have never been able to find in Israel, and so I decided to use an egg yolk instead. It was not enough to form a custard, and I should have added more eggs, but I decided to process it anyway. The gelato didn’t solidify completely, and it had a very funny chalky aftertaste. I am going to try and make a pomegranate sorbet instead.

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Meggyes Piskóta
(Hungarian Cherry Coffee Cake) This cake is moist, chock-full of cherries, easy to make and is delicious. You can make this a day ahead.
Ingredients
  • Softened butter and dried bread crumbs for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sliced natural almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 300 g 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs separated, at room temperature
  • 1 pound sweet cherries pitted (preferably fresh, or use 380g (12 ounces) frozen cherries, unthawed, and bake for a few more minutes)
  • Confectioner's sugar for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat to 375°F. Butter a 13- X 9-inch baking pan, coat with the bread crumbs, and tap out the excess.
  2. Process the flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the almonds are very finely chopped, almost a powder; set aside.
  3. Beat the butter on high speed in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
  4. Using clean beaters and a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed just until they form stiff, shiny peaks. Fold half of the whites into the butter mixture, then half of the almond-flour mixture; repeat with the remaining whites and almond-flour mixture to make a thick batter.
  5. Prebaked Cherry Coffee Cake
  6. Spread evenly in the pan and arrange the cherries in rows in the batter.
  7. Bake until golden brown and until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Sift confectioner's sugar over the top. Serve warm or cool completely.

Print
Meggyes Piskóta
(Hungarian Cherry Coffee Cake) This cake is moist, chock-full of cherries, easy to make and is delicious. You can make this a day ahead.
Ingredients
  • Softened butter and dried bread crumbs for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sliced natural almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 300 g 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs separated, at room temperature
  • 1 pound sweet cherries pitted (preferably fresh, or use 380g (12 ounces) frozen cherries, unthawed, and bake for a few more minutes)
  • Confectioner's sugar for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat to 375°F. Butter a 13- X 9-inch baking pan, coat with the bread crumbs, and tap out the excess.
  2. Process the flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the almonds are very finely chopped, almost a powder; set aside.
  3. Beat the butter on high speed in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
  4. Using clean beaters and a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed just until they form stiff, shiny peaks. Fold half of the whites into the butter mixture, then half of the almond-flour mixture; repeat with the remaining whites and almond-flour mixture to make a thick batter.
  5. Prebaked Cherry Coffee Cake
  6. Spread evenly in the pan and arrange the cherries in rows in the batter.
  7. Bake until golden brown and until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Sift confectioner's sugar over the top. Serve warm or cool completely.

Print
Meggyes Piskóta
(Hungarian Cherry Coffee Cake) This cake is moist, chock-full of cherries, easy to make and is delicious. You can make this a day ahead.
Ingredients
  • Softened butter and dried bread crumbs for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sliced natural almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 300 g 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs separated, at room temperature
  • 1 pound sweet cherries pitted (preferably fresh, or use 380g (12 ounces) frozen cherries, unthawed, and bake for a few more minutes)
  • Confectioner's sugar for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat to 375°F. Butter a 13- X 9-inch baking pan, coat with the bread crumbs, and tap out the excess.
  2. Process the flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the almonds are very finely chopped, almost a powder; set aside.
  3. Beat the butter on high speed in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
  4. Using clean beaters and a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed just until they form stiff, shiny peaks. Fold half of the whites into the butter mixture, then half of the almond-flour mixture; repeat with the remaining whites and almond-flour mixture to make a thick batter.
  5. Prebaked Cherry Coffee Cake
  6. Spread evenly in the pan and arrange the cherries in rows in the batter.
  7. Bake until golden brown and until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Sift confectioner's sugar over the top. Serve warm or cool completely.

Sumac and Spice Makes Everything Nice

I guess I am on a spice kick right now, but then spices are the key ingredient in Middle Eastern food. I bought some sumac a while ago and have been meaning to make something with it and today is the day.

Sumac has a sour and vaguely lemony taste and grows wild in the Mediterranean and in much of the Middle East. It is a popular condiment in Turkey and Iran, where it’s liberally sprinkled on kebabs and rice, or mixed with onions as an appetizer or salad. The Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians and Egyptians add water and other spices to sumac to form a paste, and add it to meat, chicken and vegetable dishes. I only recently learned that sumac is related to poison ivy.

I decided to make a popular Palestinian dish, called Musakhan (which means ‘something that is heated’), that is typically made in a taboun oven, but I will have to make due with my regular oven. My dream is to have an outdoor wood-fired oven someday so I can do some real slow cooking and baking.

As with all Middle Eastern dishes, there are numerous variations of this dish. Some are only with sumac, others with sumac and a combination of several different spices. I have chosen to make the dish with sumac, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Because the dish is cooked on top of flat bread, it is typically eaten with your hands, using the bread as a base to pick up the moist chicken and sauteed onions.

I got the flat bread above, called Saluf, at a Yemenite bakery around the corner from my house. They sell this flat bread that they made right in front of my eyes and they also sell Yemenite Shabbat bread called Kubaneh. It was very tempting to tear off some of the hot bread, but I behaved myself.

The dish was delicious. My husband I thought that I could have added a couple more tablespoons of sumac and next time I will cover the dish with foil before I put it in the oven. The bread was a little too crunchy on the top.

We did taste all of the spices and they gave off such a wonderful perfume in the house. I forgot about the pine nuts. Oh well.

This dish was even better the next day and the bread on the bottom was very soft and was infused with all of the juices and flavour from the chicken and spices. I am definitely making this again.

Musakhan

Yield: 4

Musakhan

Adapted from recipes by Clifford A. Wright and Paula Wolfert

1 (1 1/2kg or 3lb) frying chicken, quartered

2 tablespoons ground sumac

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Sea salt (optional for kosher chicken)

Juice of 1 lemon

1kg (2lbs) red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Olive oil

2 large Saluf (Yemenite flat bread), Lafa (Iraqi flat bread), khubz 'arabi (Arabic flat bread) or 1/4 kg (1/2 lb) of pita, split in half

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 heads of garlic, roasted

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Trim off excess fat.

Sumac Rub on Chicken

Combine the sumac, spices, salt and pepper. Set aside 2 teaspoons and mix the rest with the lemon juice. Rub into the chicken and marinate up to 1 day.

Place the onions in a large skillet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, reserved spices, and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook gently 30 minutes. Set aside in a bowl. (Up to this point, the dish can be prepared 1 day in advance.)

Bring the chicken to room temperature and preheat the oven to 180C (350F). In the same skillet as used for the onions, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, then lightly brown the chicken on all sides over a medium heat. Remove and set aside.

Layering Onions and Chicken

Cover a baking dish with two overlapping halves of the flat bread or several pita halves. Spoon half the onions over each, then arrange the chicken on top of the onions and cover with the remaining onions and the juices from the skillet.

Musakhan Oven Ready

Cover with the two remaining half leaves of flat bread or pita, tucking in the sides, crusty side up, and spray with water. Bake until the chicken is very tender and almost falling off the bone, approximately 1-1/ 2 hours. Check the chicken occasionally and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil before the top cover of the flat bread begins to burn.

Serve at once with a sprinkling of the pine nuts and roasted garlic.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/09/01/sumac-and-spice-makes-everything-nice/

Lemon Sole

Last night I made a nice light fish dish for a hot August night.

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Lemon Sole
Ingredients
  • 6 fillets of sole
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons single cream half and half, creme fraiche or thick yogurt
Instructions
  1. Put approximately two tablespoons of olive oil in pan on a medium flame. Add the garlic and then the fish, lemon juice, white wine and the thyme. Cook covered for about five minutes or until the fish is done. Remove the fish and reduce the sauce to about a third, add the cream and stir until thickened. Place the fish back in the pan and spoon the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle on the lemon zest and serve.

Spice up your Life!

I decided to try something new for a change. I have been wanting to play around with warka leaves for sometime now. Warka leaves are a very thin pastry, thinner than phyllo which are used to make Maghrebi savoury and sweet pastries, such as beestiya and cigars. For an good explanation of warka and Algerian cuisine, see my friend, Chef Zadi’s blog.

I also made some clove-cinnamon ice cream. I really love the flavour of cloves and thought it would be an excellent compliment to the peach briwatt. It was. As usual, I doubled the amount of cloves and used about 9 cinnamon sticks. My husband loved the strong clove flavour, but you might want to follow the recipe the first time unless you are a spice junkie like me.

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Peach Birwatt
Ingredients
  • 2 warka leaves also known as brik, brick, dioul and malsouqa
  • 1 peach peeled, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras al hanout or cinnamon
  • Sliced almonds
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Thaw out two warka leaves and cover them until ready to use. Place one warka leave on a flat surface and place the slices of one half of the peach onto the bottom half of the warka leaf. Sprinkle some sliced almonds, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of ras al hanout or cinnamon on the peaches. Dot with a pat of butter.
  2. Brush water on the edges of the warka and fold the bottom edge over the peaches and then the sides. The, roll the parcel up until you have a burrito or blintz shape.
  3. Melt the butter and the olive oil in a medium heat pan and fry the parcels until lightly brown on either side. Serve warm with ice cream.

My husband thought the the peach flavour was a bit too subtle for the ice cream, but I liked it. You can use any fruit of your choice, but if you use a harder fruit, such as apple, you might want to sautée them before placing them in the pastry.

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Peach Birwatt
Ingredients
  • 2 warka leaves also known as brik, brick, dioul and malsouqa
  • 1 peach peeled, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras al hanout or cinnamon
  • Sliced almonds
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Thaw out two warka leaves and cover them until ready to use. Place one warka leave on a flat surface and place the slices of one half of the peach onto the bottom half of the warka leaf. Sprinkle some sliced almonds, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of ras al hanout or cinnamon on the peaches. Dot with a pat of butter.
  2. Brush water on the edges of the warka and fold the bottom edge over the peaches and then the sides. The, roll the parcel up until you have a burrito or blintz shape.
  3. Melt the butter and the olive oil in a medium heat pan and fry the parcels until lightly brown on either side. Serve warm with ice cream.

Hot Colombian Night

Tonight for Shabbat dinner, I decided to make an appetizer to remember my Uncle Alfred’s life in Colombia. We have a large Argentinian community here and with that comes delicious Argentinian empanadas, but empanadas are found all over South American, including Colombia. I decided to try making empanadas with a masa dough and beef filling. I used top sirloin ground beef instead of steak.

Note: If you your dough is too wet, add a little flour to the mixture until it is elastic.

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Colombian Sirloin Empanadas
Ingredients
For the filling:
  • 1 cup peeled boiling potatoes cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups sirloin steak 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions white and pale green parts
  • 1 cup seeded and diced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
For the dough:
  • 1 tsp. roasted garlic
  • 2 cups fine-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 1/4 cups hot chicken stock canned low-sodium chicken broth, or water
Instructions
  1. Empanada Filling
For the filling:
  1. Place the potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Cover and bring to a boil, then boil until just tender, about 5 minutes, and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large non reactive skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the sirloin and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked potatoes and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Empanada Dough
For the dough:
  1. To make the dough, in a large bowl, mix the garlic with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Add the cornmeal, salt, pepper and parsley. Add most of the hot stock and mix just until well combined — the dough should be sticky and elastic. Add more stock only if needed. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to let the dough set. Cover your work surface with plastic wrap and turn out the dough onto it. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and roll the dough flat with a rolling pin, using short strokes, until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Without removing the plastic wrap, and using a cup about 4 inches in diameter, cut out rounds of dough.
  2. Peel off the top layer of plastic wrap. Clear out the dough between the rounds and reserve. With a pastry brush, brush the edges of each round with the beaten egg. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling on the lower half of each disk. Working on one empanada at a time, grab the plastic wrap and use it to fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape. Pressing through the plastic wrap, gently seal the empanada with the edge of the cup. Remove from the plastic wrap and set aside on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining empanadas, re-rolling the scraps of dough until it is all used up.
  3. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a heavy medium-size pot, or heat the oil in a deep fryer. When the oil is hot, about 365 F (use a bit of leftover dough to test it; the dough should quickly puff and turn gold), drop four empanadas into it and fry until golden. Remove and drain on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining empanadas.
  4. Serve hot.
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