Off The Menu
Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese and Mint PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00

 

chickpea  Chickpea Salad with Feta Cheese and Mint

Makes about 6 cups

Two 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion (about 1 small onion)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
¼ cup slivered black olives
2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise, including part of the green (¼ cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the chickpeas in a medium-size bowl. Add the tomatoes (hold these aside if making ahead of time so they don’t get mushy), onions, cheese, olives, scallions, mint, and garlic; stir to mix. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour over the chickpea salad and stir to mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving; if you held the tomatoes aside, mix them in about 30 minutes before serving.

From The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Rcipes for Traditional Dishes Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray with David Hagedorn (St. Martin’s Press, 2013).

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 17:42
 
Farro-Chickpea Salad with Sunflower Seeds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Friday, 29 August 2014 20:36

 Listen to the interview with Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian, authors of  In a Nutshell--Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds 

farrosalad 

 

“Excerpted from In A Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photography by Gentl & Hyers/Edge. Copyright © 2014 by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Gentle & Hyers/Edge. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.”

The Umbrian countryside is filled with sunflowers turning to face the arc of the sun over the course of the day. Although in Italy the seeds from these sunflowers are usually pressed for their oil, it seemed logical to us to pair them with farro, a nutritious hearty grain seen throughout that country. It can be found in most Italian grocery stores. The colors of the Italian flag are tossed into the mix—bright green asparagus, rosy red grape tomatoes, and creamy white ricotta salata.
PREPARATION: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour standing  COOKING TimE: 20 to 25 minutes
8 to 10 servings

2 cups farro
1 cup (5 ounces) sunflower seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups (8 ounces) crumbled or chopped ricotta salata
11⁄2 cups cooked chickpeas  or one 15-ounce can drained & rinsed
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
1⁄2 cup sunflower oil
1⁄2 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half  lengthwise
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, cut into small dice
  1. Place the farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 4 inches. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a serving bowl large enough to hold the remaining ingredients.
  1. While the farro is simmering, cook the asparagus in a pot of boiling water with 1 table­spoon salt for 2 minutes. Drain well, rinse in cold water, and add to the cooled farro.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Keep the salad at a cool room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 20:46
 
Croque Monsieur - Grilled ham and cheese sandwich PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Lebovitz in My Paris Kitchen, Recipes and Stories   
Thursday, 21 August 2014 15:53

 Listen to the interview with Chef David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen, Recipes and stories

croque monsieurIngredients:

1 tablespoon salted or unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons
(2 ounces/55g) salted or unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
Pinch of sea salt or kosher salt &  Pinch of cayenne  pepper
4 slices sourdough or country-style bread
4 slices prosciutto or thinly sliced dry-cured ham, or 2 thick slices boiled ham
2 thin slices Comté  or Gruyère cheese
3/4 cup (60g) grated  Comté  or Gruyère  cheese

Preparation:

1   Melt the  1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir  in the  flour.  Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1/4 cup (60ml)  of the milk,  stirring to discourage lumps, then whisk in the  remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) of milk.  Cook the  béchamel for about 1 minute more,  until it’s thick and creamy, like runny mayonnaise. Remove  from  heat and stir  in the  salt and red pepper; set aside to cool a bit and thicken.

2    Spread  the  béchamel evenly  over the  four slices of bread.  Lay a slice of ham  over two  of the  slices, top them with slices of cheese,  and then top with the  remaining ham  slices. Finish with the  two  remaining slices of bread,  béchamel side down (on the  inside),  and brush the  outsides of the  sandwiches without restraint with the  4 tablespoons (60ml)  of melted butter.

3   Turn  on the  broiler and heat a large ovenproof frying  pan or grill pan over medium-high heat on the  stove  top. (Make sure to use a pan with a heatproof handle, for broiling later.)  Place the sandwiches in the  frying  pan, drape  with a sheet  of aluminum foil, and then rest a cast-iron skillet  or other heavy pan or flat object  on top. Cook until the  bottoms of the  sandwiches are well browned. Remove  the  skillet  and foil, flip the  sandwiches over, replace the  foil and skillet,  and continue cooking until the other side is browned.

4    Remove  the  cast-iron skillet  and foil and strew the  grated cheese on top of the  sandwiches. Broil the  sandwiches until the  cheese melts  and serve.

variation: To make  a croque madame, while  the  sandwiches are broiling, cook a sunny-side up egg for each sandwich. Slide the eggs onto the  sandwiches  after  you plate  them up.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 August 2014 21:50
 
Eggplant Napoleon. A recipe from Chef Rawia Bishara of Tanooreen, Brooklyn, NYC and author of Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 21:47

eggplant napoleonEGGPLANT NAPOLEON

(listen to an interview with Chef Rawia Bishara)

MAKES 8 TO 10 SERVINGS
3 medium eggplants (21/2 to 3 pounds total), stem and root ends trimmed , sliced into
1/2-inch-thick rounds
Sea salt for sprinkling
1/4 cup Basil Pesto (page 191)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites, beaten
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Corn oil for frying
3 cups Baba Ghanouj (page 40) or Mutabal (page 41)
For the Salad
8 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
7 tablespoons Basil Pesto (page 191)
Juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
 
Arrange the eggplant slices on two sheet pans, sprinkle with salt, and set aside for
30 minutes or until they begin to sweat. Using a paper towel, pat the slices dry and
set aside.
. In a large bowl, whisk together the pesto, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Toss in the
eggplant to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour or overnight
in the refrigerator.
. Dump the flour onto a shallow rimmed plate. In a medium bowl, whisk together the
egg whites and 1 cup of water. Combine the panko, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley
and pepper on a second shallow rimmed plate.
. Spread a sheet of waxed paper on a clean work surface. Working with one slice of
eggplant at a time, dredge it in the flour first, shaking  off the excess, and then dip it in
the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumbs. Gently press the breadcrumbs onto
both sides of the eggplant and place on the waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining
eggplant slices.
. Pour at least 2 inches of corn oil into a small, deep pot. Heat the oil over high until hot
but not smoking. Working in batches, fry the eggplant slices until golden, turning once,
3 to 5 minutes. Do not crowd the pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant slices
to a paper towel–lined platter to drain.
. To serve:  Place an eggplant slice on a small plate. Spread with 2 tablespoons of the baba ghanouj, top with a second eggplant slice and spread 1 tablespoon of baba ghanouj on top.
Repeat layering in this order with the remaining eggplant slices and baba ghanouj to
make eight to ten eggplant stacks.
. Just before serving, toss together the salad: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes
and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
Drizzle just enough of the pesto mixture over the tomato-onion mixture to thoroughly
coat.  Spoon some salad around each napoleon and drizzle the napoleons with some of
the dressing left in the bottom of the bowl. Serve immediately.
 
BABA GHANOUJ
Every country in the Levantine region claims this earthy, robust spread as its own.
And, in truth, it might simply be because there are many ways to season “baba.” On the West Bank and in Gaza, most cooks use red tahini made from sesame seeds that are roasted for a longer time than the white seeds. Many cooks use pomegranate molasses instead of lemon juice. Some garnish with parsley, others with pistachios, and still others with pomegranate seeds. And it goes on and on. My version is rather straightforward, intensely smoky and a touch more tart than most. In Nazareth, we call this spread mutabal (I had never heard it called baba ghanouj until I came to New York), a name used in other parts of the Middle East for an entirely different eggplant spread made without tahini.

MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
3 medium eggplants (21/2 to 3 pounds total)
11/2 cups Thick Tahini Sauce (page 195)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh lemon juice or pomegranate molasses to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Arabic Bread – pita - for serving
COOKING TIP- My dad used to say that the key to making excellent baba is to begin with grilled eggplant made by setting the vegetable directly over hot coals or the flame of a gas stove, imparting a lovely smoky flavor. But if you want a milder flavor, roast the eggplants in the oven; directions are provided for both methods below. You can use any kind of eggplant you like, but ideally choose a variety with few seeds and avoid especially large eggplants, as they taste bitter. I prefer the black Italian eggplant; I find it has the least amount of seeds.
. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for grilling over high heat, or turn a gas burner to high.
Place the eggplants directly onto the coals or one at a time on the flame and grill, using
tongs to turn the vegetables as the skin chars, until blackened all over. Set aside to cool.
Alternatively, to roast the eggplants, preheat the oven to 500°F and line a baking sheet
with aluminum foil. Pierce the eggplants in a few places with a sharp knife, place them
on the prepared baking sheet and roast, turning every 5 minutes or so, until the skin is blistered and begins to crack all over. Set aside to cool.
. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, transferring it directly to a strainer to allow the liquid to release.
. Transfer the strained eggplant to a medium bowl. Add the tahini sauce to the eggplant
and mash them together with a fork, breaking up the larger pieces of eggplant with a
knife, if necessary. Stir in the garlic along with lemon juice to taste. Spoon the eggplant into a rimmed serving dish and, using the back of a spoon, make a well around the circumference of the dip, about 1/2 inch from the edge. Drizzle the oil into the well and garnish with the parsley. Serve with Arabic bread.
 
Basil Pesto
The first time I ever tasted pesto, I was hooked. I remember the first meal I made using it like it was yesterday—linguini tossed with pesto, topped with fried eggplant and served with fresh home-baked bread. When I use pesto this way, as a sauce, I generally make it with pine nuts. If I’m going to incorporate it into a dish, I use almonds, which are less expensive.
MAKES 2 CUPS
3 to 5 cloves garlic
1 cup pine nuts, slivered almonds or walnut halves
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 packed cups chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for storage
Juice of 2 lemons
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

. Put the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Toss in the nuts, Parmesan, if using, pepper and salt and chop until the nuts are finely crushed, about 1 minute. Add the basil, oil and lemon juice and pulse for 1 minute more, until smooth. Stir in red pepper flakes, if desired.

. To store, transfer the pesto to a sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto, seal and refrigerate up to 10 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 21:56
 
Who Made That Whisk? PDF Print E-mail
Written by PAGAN KENNEDY for the NYTimes   
Monday, 15 October 2012 23:19

Who Made That Whisk?
By PAGAN KENNEDY for the NYTimes


whisk 
In 1963, Julia Child appeared on a television show called “I’ve Been Reading,” to promote her book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” While most guests chatted primly about their new releases, Child brandished a bulb-shaped whisk and then performed magic, inflating egg whites into snowy peaks of foam. “She told the audience that you needed a soft balloon whisk if you were trying to get air into a meringue, and a stiff whisk for mixing,” says Stephanie Hersh, who worked as Child’s assistant for 16 years. After Child’s bravura performance that day — 27 viewers wrote in to the station to demand more — she was given her own show and became one of America’s most-recognized TV celebrities. The whisk, with its soignée curves and the jazz-brush sound it made in the bowl, proved to be just as telegenic.


Of course, Julia Child did not invent this kitchen tool. Its origins can be traced to a handful of twigs. In the 1600s, European cooks improvised with wood brushes – one early recipe calls for a beating with a “big birch rod.” And by the 19th century, the gadget-loving Victorians popularized the wire whisk, which was just coming into vogue. Still, Child deserves credit for teaching American homemakers how to buy the right whisk and wield it with a snap of the wrist. “Before Julia, we used that little egg beater — the one that you wind up — or a fork to beat egg whites,” Alice Waters told me via e-mail. “My family never had a whisk.”

Waters went on to say that she procured some of her first whisks from Chuck Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma, who outfitted cooks for their maiden adventures with soufflés during the ’60s and ’70s. He “brought in a lot of things that were recommended by Julia,” Waters noted.

As for Child herself, she collected whisks during her travels. “Any size, shape, color, she wanted to try it,” Hersh says. “She had hundreds of everything — vegetable peelers, ladles, whisks, you name it. She was a freak about utensils.”

WHISKED INTO THE PAST

Alexandra Cervenak, a historical interpreter at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, spends her days cooking in the style of a 1627 housewife.

How do you fluff up eggs? I usually use my knife. But there’s one recipe from the 17th century — or “receipt,” as they called it back then — that says you should mix stuff together with your hands.

So hands were the first whisk? Yeah, I suppose so!

It sounds as if you end up using your knife for everything. I do. Yesterday we had a little get-together of interpreters, a potluck. We were all reaching for the knives at our waists. Even when we’re not in costume, we keep wanting to use the knife. It’s like a phantom limb.

Of course, in a 17th-century settlement, you wouldn’t own many tools made of metal — so a whisk would have been unthinkable. Yes, anything that would have been made from metal, like a knife, would have to come out of England.

Read story: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/who-made-that-whisk.html?ref=magazine&_r=0

Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 23:23
 
Why have tomatoes lost their taste PDF Print E-mail
Written by NYTimes   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 00:51

A gene mutation that breeders latched onto because it makes a tomato uniformly red also stifles genes that contribute to its taste, researchers say.  

tomatoeshttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/science/flavor-is-the-price-of-tomatoes-scarlet-hue-geneticists-say.html

 
How to make your own Crème Fraiche PDF Print E-mail
Written by www.food52.com   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 20:33

How to make your own Crème Fraiche by http://www.food52.com/blog/3781_making_crme_frache_at_home

Creme Fraiche at grocery stores can be both difficult to find and expensive. Not to worry because making it in your kitchen is so simple.

Makes 1 cup

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons buttermilk

 

  1. You'll want to seek out a good quality heavy cream that is pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized. If you can only find ultra-pasteurzed, it will work, but will take longer to thicken.
  2. To start, you want to pour 1 cup of heavy cream into a non-reactionary container (basically, any container that isn't made from iron or aluminum).
  3. Next, add two tablespoons of buttermilk to the heavy cream. Cover the bottle with a lid and shake until everything is thoroughly combined.
  4. Loosely cover the heavy cream mixture and allow it to sit out on your kitchen counter for 12-24 hours. Ideally the temperature in your kitchen will be from 72 to 78 degrees. My apartment tends to be on the cooler side, so it always takes mine a full 24 hours to thicken. After it's at the perfect consistency, transfer it to your fridge. The creme fraiche will be good for up to 2 weeks.

 

 
Pasta Graduates From Alphabet Soup to Advanced Geometry PDF Print E-mail
Written by KENNETH CHANG, NYTimes   
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:31

Pasta Graduates From Alphabet Soup to Advanced Geometry

By KENNETH CHANG, NYTimes

Most people eating pasta might enjoy the taste or appreciate the texture of noodles cooked al dente.

Sander Huisman did, too — and then he wondered about what mathematical equation would describe the undulating shapes he was eating.

Mr. Huisman, a graduate student in physics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, spends much of his days using Mathematica, a piece of software that solves complicated math problems and generates pretty pictures of the solutions.

“I play around with Mathematica a lot,” he said. “We were eating pasta, and I was wondering how easy these shapes would be recreated” with the software.

So that evening after dinner, Mr. Huisman figured out the five lines or so of Mathematica computer code that would generate the shape of the pasta he had been eating — gemelli, a helixlike twist — and a dozen others. “Most shapes are very easy to create indeed,” he said.

He posted one of them to his blog, thinking he would do a sort of mathematical-pasta-of-the-month for the next year. But he then forgot about them until someone asked for the recipes of the other pasta shapes, and he posted those to his blog, too.

Mr. Huisman, who studies fluid dynamics, is not the only who has been mathematically inspired by pasta. Several years ago, Christopher Tiee, then a teaching assistant for a vector calculus class at the University of California, San Diego, included in his notes a pop quiz asking students to match pasta shapes with the equations.

Meanwhile, in London, two architects, Marco Guarnieri and George L. Legendre, independently experienced a similar epiphany, also while eating pasta (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, cooked by Mr. Guarnieri). Then Mr. Legendre went many steps further: He turned the idea into a 208-page book, “Pasta by Design,” released in September by Thames & Hudson, a British publisher specializing in art books.

“We were interested in, if you like, the amalgamation of mathematics and cooking tips — the profane, the sacred,” Mr. Legendre said. “I was actually speaking to someone in Paris last week who said, ‘This might have been a project by Dali.’ ”

The book classifies 92 types of pasta, organizing them into an evolutionlike family tree. For each, the book provides a mathematical equation, a mouthwatering picture and a paragraph of suggestions, like sauces to eat it with.

Mr. Legendre calls trenne, a pasta with the rigid angles of triangular tubes, a freak. “It’s a mirror universe where everything is pliant and groovy, and in that universe there’s someone that stands out, and it’s the boring-looking trenne with its sharp edges,” he said.

Mr. Legendre has even designed a new shape — ioli, named for his baby daughter — which looks like a spiral wrapped around itself, a tubelike Möbius strip.

“I thought it might be nice to have a pasta named after her,” he said.

He is looking to get about 100 pounds of pasta ioli manufactured, but that is still probably months away, because of the challenges of connecting the ends together.

 

 
Buffalo Chicken Shake. PDF Print E-mail
Written by www.lunchblogkc.com   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:22

 

A kindergartner's yucky wet dream... can turn into a jackpot for tomorrow's daring chefs

Watch as 30 Rock SuperFan Robert Bishop (of Lunch Blog KC) and 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield conquer one of the show's most bizarre edible concoctions.

 

 

Full recipe text: http://www.lunchblogkc.com/2011/11/30-rocks-buffalo-chicken-shake.html
Lunch Blog KC: http://www.lunchblogkc.com/

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:32
 
Pupusas and chicken Loroco stew, recipes from the InterContinental Doral Miami, for Columbus Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Monday, 26 September 2011 19:45

To celebrate Columbus Day or Dia de la Raza on October 12, The InterContinental at Doral Miami is giving Miamians a culinary tour of Mexico and Central America. Pupusas, baleadas, and gallo pinto all come together for the hotel’s forthcoming Mexico and Central American Festival. For a foretaste:  Pupusas from El Salvador, and Chicken stew with Loroco*  from Guatemala.

The Armillary Grill, InterContinental at Doral Miami, 2505 N.W. 87th Avenue Doral, FL 33172 305-468-1400  ext.4318 www.intercontinental.com/atdoralmiami

Ana Rivera’s Pupusa

Recipe from El Salvador. This looks like a Flat Bread, however the taste is totally different. Makes 4 to 6 pupusas.

Ingredients

2 pounds                      Maseca (Corn Flour)

1 Quart                         Water

Preparation:

  1. Combine the Maseca and water together in a mixing bowl until smooth; knead well.
  2. Shape the dough into 2 inch round balls. On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball into 6 inch diameter disc.
  3. Place 2 Tablespoons of filling in the center (Suggestions for fillings follows) of a disc. Spread   evenly leaving an empty margin for sealing. Top with second disc and press the edges together to seal in the filling.
  4. Heat ungreased skillet over medium heat. Place one tortilla into the skillet at a time, and cook until the rounds/ tortillas are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve with a side of Cabbage salad.

Fillings:

Pork

Ingredients

2 pounds                      Pork Cooked - Fine Chopped

6 each                          Plum tomato

2 each                          Bell pepper

1 each                          Onion

As needed                    Salt

Preparation: In a blender combine and puree Plum Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Onion. In a pot over medium heat simmer for 25 minutes. Cool and Reserve

Queso Blanco

  1. pounds                         White Cheese.  Grate. Reserve in the cooler.

Cabbage Salad

Ingredients

2 Pound                        Cabbage - Shredded

1 each                          Carrot- Peeled and Grated

1 Cup                           vinegar

  1. teaspoon                      Oregano Dried

As needed                    Salt and Pepper

Preparation: Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Aura Cameron’s Stewed Chicken with Loroco Flower*

Typical Guatemalan Recipe serves 2

*Loroco is a delicious exotic flower, native of El Salvador. Touted to be a natural aphrodisiac it contains vitamins A, B and C, besides calcium and iron. It is rich in fiber, very aromatic and pulpous and can be purchased at ethnic markets.

Ingredients

2 each                         Chicken Leg quarter

2 each                          Plum Tomato - Diced

1 each Medium             Onion - Diced

1 tablespoon                 Garlic - Chopped

½ Each                          Bell Pepper Red - Diced

½ Each                          Bell Pepper Green – Diced

1 ½ cup                         Loroco Flower - Roughly Chopped

½ Teaspoon                 Achiote Paste/Annatto Paste

2 Tablespoons                Olive Oil

2 Cups                         Sour Cream

½ Cups                        Heavy Cream

As Needed                    Salt and Pepper

Preparation:

  1. Make a Sofrito; in a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, plum tomato, onion, garlic, Loroco, bell peppers red and green. Cook for approximately 10 minutes till the onions are translucent and the vegetables are soft. Incorporate the Achiote paste.
  2. Add the Chicken, Sour Cream and Heavy Cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium low heat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, (keep checking and occasionally stir) till the chicken is cooked.
  3. When the chicken is cooked serve with steamed white rice.

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 26 September 2011 19:55
 
Tipping the Balance for Kitchen Scales PDF Print E-mail
Written by FARHAD MANJOO, NYTimes   
Friday, 16 September 2011 17:12

 

CONSIDER the Parmesan problem: Imagine that you’re making lasagna with a recipe that calls for topping it with “a cup of grated cheese.”

This was a straightforward instruction when the box grater was the only way to shred cheese. In the last few years, though, more cooks have bought Microplanes, which can turn a small chunk of Parmesan into mountains of billowy ribbons of cheese. And there lies the difficulty: the heavier shavings of a box grater can fill a cup with twice as much cheese as a Microplane’s fluffy snow.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the managing editor of the blog Serious Eats, once asked 10 people to measure a cup of all-purpose flour into a bowl. When the cooks were done, Mr. Lopez-Alt weighed each bowl. “Depending on how strong you are or your scooping method, I found that a ‘cup of flour’ could be anywhere from 4 to 6 ounces,” he said. That’s a significant difference: one cook might be making a cake with one-and-a-half times as much flour as another.

Professional chefs have long argued that there is nothing simple about a simple cup of flour. Nor is there anything foolproof in that cup of grated cheese, a half-cup of diced carrots or a tablespoon of butter. When you fill a measuring cup or spoon with any ingredient, the amount you get depends on a number of factors: how small you’ve sliced it, how tightly you’ve packed it in, how carefully you’ve scooped and whether you manage to get all of it out of the spoon. (Consider the mess of getting all the honey out of a tablespoon measure.)

But when you weigh the same ingredients on a scale, none of these factors comes into play. Four ounces of flour (or cheese, carrots, honey or anything else) are 4 ounces, no matter who’s measuring, or how.

Over the last few years digital kitchen scales have become cheap and widely available. I’ve tried several and even the cheapest — the Ozeri Pro, about $20 — was easy to use and thoroughly accurate. Other models were just as terrific: The Soehnle digital kitchen scale, about $23, and the Oxo Good Grips model, $50, were slightly snappier to look at than the Ozeri Pro, but all three were equally adept at their primary function.

Yet the scale has failed to become a must-have tool in American kitchens. Cooks Illustrated magazine said scales were in the kitchens of only a third of its readers, and they’re a fairly committed group of cooks.

There’s a simple reason for this: The scale doesn’t show up in most published recipes. American cookbooks, other than baking books, and magazines and newspapers generally specify only cup and spoon measurements for ingredients. A few, like Cooks Illustrated, offer weights for baking recipes, but not for savory cooking. (The Times Dining section recently began using weight measurements with baking recipes.)

This creates a chicken-and-egg problem for the kitchen scale. Cooks don’t own scales because recipes don’t call for one, and recipes don’t call for one because cooks don’t own one.

Consider this a plea on behalf of the kitchen scale. It’s time for recipe publishers to recognize this humble gadget for the amazing tool that it is. If more recipes began specifying weight measurements, more cooks would buy a scale. And they would instantly recognize it as one of the most useful gadgets in their kitchens.

Cooks who have ditched cups and spoons for a scale can be rhapsodic on the subject; many describe getting a kitchen scale as an epiphany on the order of sharpening knives that haven’t had an edge in years, or buying a new set of eyeglasses. Not only does a scale provide the most accurate measure, but also, as you get used it, you’ll notice it begin to change how you move about the kitchen.

With a scale, you can get your ingredients together more quickly, and with less clean-up. Recipes that call for weights are also easier to halve, double or otherwise adapt. And the scale is handy for many other tasks.

“The greatest feat the kitchen scale accomplishes is that it turns almost any recipe into a one-bowl recipe,” said Deb Perelman, who writes the blog Smitten Kitchen. “You’re not hunting for six cups and six spoons to make a cake.”

Instead, you place a bowl on the scale, then pour the flour straight from the bag until you get to the desired weight. Most kitchen scales let you bring the readout back to zero after each ingredient. Do that, then pour your next ingredient — and so on. With a scale you can get away with using nothing more than a bowl and one spoon.

Ms. Perelman and other cooks who’ve taken to using scales say that over time, they begin to pick up the weight-volume conversions of common ingredients whose weight barely varies. This lets you use a scale even for recipes that don’t specify weights. If you know that a cup of sugar is 225 grams, why bother reaching for the cup?

Dave Arnold, director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute, recommends that you make a chart with the standard equivalences, and tack it up next to the scale. The conversions sometimes require some math, but there’s a payoff if you can brave it.

“If you start cooking that way, it makes your life so much easier,” Mr. Arnold said. “You’ll do everything just so much faster.”

But the scale is handy even if you’re not converting recipes. For instance, it makes getting the right portion size for dinner a breeze. When I’m preparing pasta for two, I lay the box of linguine on the scale, and then pull out 4 ounces for each person.

Mr. Lopez-Alt does a similar thing making hamburger patties, and Ms. Perelman uses the scale for portioning batter evenly between two layers of a cake, and making a batch of dinner rolls that are each the same size.

The scale also ensures repeatability. I once calibrated exactly the amount of beans that I need to make coffee the way I like. Now, every morning, I place my can of beans on the scale, and then scoop out 28 grams — allowing me to repeat the same pot every day.

Michael Chu, who runs the Web site Cooking for Engineers, uses a scale for making iced tea. “A slight difference in how much sugar you add to your tea changes the flavor dramatically,” he said. “So I figured out just how much sugar I like, and now that’s how much goes in.”

I’ve also found that it’s simpler to weigh liquid ingredients rather than to use a liquid measuring cup. A fluid ounce of water weighs roughly one dry ounce, which means that a cup of water will register 8 ounces on your scale.

Recently I needed 7 1/2 cups of water for polenta. If I were using a two-cup Pyrex measure, I’d need to fill it three times, and then almost fill it one more time, which is obviously a lot of effort. Instead, I simply placed the pot on the scale, then ran the faucet until the scale registered 60 ounces.

But these are all ancillary benefits. A few new cookbooks offer recipes that specify weights for every ingredient, and it’s when you cook from those that you notice the true brilliance of using a scale.

The other day I made the delicious macaroni and cheese from “Ideas in Food,” the new cookbook by the husband-and-wife chefs H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa. The recipe included shredded cheese, butter and several other ingredients that would have been a mess to measure with cups and spoons.

With the scale, I made the entire casserole with just a grater, one knife, one spoon, one bowl and a baking dish.

Cookbook publishers of America: every recipe can be this friendly.

Click here to read the article in the NYTimes

Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 17:21
 
Edible Organic Gardens become classrooms in Culinary Colleges PDF Print E-mail
Written by Becca Jane Griesemer   
Monday, 22 August 2011 20:13

First lady Michelle Obama’s initiative in the White House to get Americans to be healthy and stay fit has not only trickled down to the public, but has also become part of the curriculum in schools and universities.

In Miami two culinary colleges have started campus gardens this year, and while they are centered on different layouts, crops and ambitions, each was grown from the same motive: healthy eating and sustainability.

Johnson and Wales University and Miami-Dade College are using visual and hands-on learning to teach aspiring chefs about eco-friendly cooking.

Johnson and Wales University, College of Culinary Arts

Walking around the campus, one wouldn’t necessarily know that the greenery positioned throughout the parking lot and up the concrete stairs is not landscape, but consists of herbs, vegetables and even some unidentified species. Over a few acres, 90 different varieties are strategically planted for students to get familiar with and identify.

JWU Director of Culinary Operations, Chris Wagner, stopped teaching classes last year to focus on the garden, which was the brainchild of the Dean of Culinary Arts Education, Bruce Ozga.

Wagner explains that a campus garden comes to life from a combination of teacher initiative and student demand. “We do it because A:  it makes sense, and B: the climate here is perfect,” he said.

Wagner, who grew up on a country farm in Germany and has been with JWU for ten years, said it’s helpful for students who don’t know what juniper berries or star fruit look like to see it come from the earth.

On our tour around the building, Wagner pulled a tamarind off a tree and instructed me to take a bite; thus imprinting upon my taste buds and knowledge bank the extreme tartness of this chewy fruit used in Caribbean dishes,  in a way that I wouldn’t have remembered if I’d only been told about it in a classroom.

I learned about custard apple, which has the consistency of crème brûlée, and I was shown wild coffee beans which would take 1,000 of to make a single cup.

Wagner admitted even he was surprised by the way things grew, such as how pomegranate stems have long thorns to protect themselves. When we passed the habaneros, Wagner noted that they are ‘hotter than hell would ever be.’

While JWU has 17 kitchens, three dining rooms, one bar and too many students to be fed from the garden, they do use what is ripe to aid and supply the school.

Keeping in line with sustainability, Wagner’s dream is to have solar panels run the campus. Instead of using gas to cook, he wants induction, which is magnetic cooking where the pot is heated by agitation. To demonstrate, he placed a dollar under the pot and turned it on. Moments later, water was boiling and the dollar was not singed.

Miami Dade College, Miami Culinary Institute (MCI)

The recently inaugurated MCI, where students receive an accredited two year associate degree, teaches students fundamental structures for cooking organically.

The message that Director John Richards instills in his students is that being sustainable must ‘continue in a circle.’

Case in point: the food byproduct generated from cooking goes into a compost system that turns 100 lbs of waste into 18 lbs of compost in 18 hours, which then gets put into the earthworm farm and used in the garden.

“A good chef comes from experience, not accreditation,” says Richards, who is from Kentucky and moved to Miami to head the school. He launched the garden in June to give students and culinary graduates experience that starts at the roots. “We don’t put out chefs, we put out good cooks,” he explained.

The entirely edible and organic garden is a block away from the building in a combination locked, fenced-in area that used to be full of dumpsters, motorcycles and rusty trucks.

The area holds 88 species in different vegetable, herb, greens and flower beds, and is bordered by trees and bushes that carry things like sea grapes, papayas and yellow wild petunias.

Richards’ favorite part of the garden is a single, multi-citrus tree that has limes, oranges and grapefruit on it. Culinary Coordinator Victoria M. Nodarse, who helps the MCI achieve green standards, proved the entire garden is in fact edible when she pointed out a delicate calabaza flower that would be served stuffed with cheese.

The pair has big aspirations for the garden, including getting bee hives for the micro-organic growing experience (JWU wants hives too).  Eventually, students will be issued an iTouch to scan plants which will have barcodes attached to immediately identify them.

While the campus garden, which can seat up to 60, will host soil to soil events and serve as a classroom, MCI will expand to have other lots that will work as farms.  Produce from both garden and farms will go to the university’s ALPHABITE food truck and will be sold to a network of chefs through a website. The Produce will also be used in the kitchen of the eco-friendly, fine dining restaurant slated to open this fall on the building’s 8 th floor under the baton of chef Norman Van Aken.

Richards believes that MCI, which started with 50 students and is gearing to enroll 275 new students next semester, is taking the most advanced steps toward sustainability along the lines of other colleges in the country. “We’re all pioneers in this,” he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 August 2011 19:17
 
The truth about Jerusalem Artichokes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Philologos@forward.com   
Monday, 15 August 2011 23:12

Jerusalem artichokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem

The Jerusalem artichoke — Helianthus tuberosus, to call this member of the sunflower or helianthus family by its scientific name — is in fact an originally New World root vegetable that was widely cultivated in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Never very popular among European settlers there, it was eaten more widely in Europe, to which it was brought back for cultivation by French explorers; hence its early English name of “the French potato.” The French themselves, however, called it tupinambur, after the Tupinamba tribe of Brazil, a representative of which brought a Jerusalem artichoke to Paris as a gift in 1613.

But it was the Italians who gave us “Jerusalem artichoke.” Struck by the plant’s similarity to the sunflower with its yellow, daisylike flowers that turn to the sun and its ovoid, hairy leaves, and by its root’s resemblance to the root of an artichoke, they took to calling it, in some dialects, articiocco girasole, the “sunflower artichoke.” (The word girasole is formed from Italian girare, to turn, and sole, sun.) Yet at some point, girasole became confused in popular speech with the Italian name for Jerusalem, Gerusalemme, resulting in articiocco gerusalemme, which was carried to the United States by 19th-century Italian immigrants even as it was being forgotten in Italy. Today, Americans call their own native plant “Jerusalem artichoke,” Italians call it carciofo, a word that comes from Arabic, and few people in Jerusalem even know what it is. The tricks that language sometimes likes to play on us!

Questions for Philologos can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Read more:  http://forward.com/articles/141337/

 
The Magic World of Schakolad Chocolate Factory, Davie PDF Print E-mail
Written by Erik Mathes   
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00
 

By Erik Mathes - Photos: Adeline Ramos

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At Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Davie, Florida, the mother-daughter duo of Adriana Schaked and Dafne Reich are elevating chocolate to an art form.  From the immense selection of milk, white and dark chocolate truffles (including sugar-free and vegan/non-dairy varieties), to the countless choices for both in- and out-of-the-box gift ideas, Schakolad is a spot you’ll want to etch into your memory for holidays, special occasions, and, of course, occasional (or more than occasional) bouts of sheer indulgence.

Adriana is the wife of one of Schakolad’s co-founders, Baruch Schaked, so the business is rooted in family values.   This reflects in dedicated customer service, one reason Schakolad has become such a beloved community fixture in this South Florida suburb.

Part of a franchise of about thirty stores nationwide, every Schakolad Chocolate Factory location is independently owned, meaning each store’s management can put an individual stamp on the products (kosher under ORB supervision ) and the marketing strategies.

schakolad 5Workshops for children and for adults

To attract children and their parents, Schakolad is now running $1 specials Monday-Friday until August 31st, as well as a series of summer programs for local youth.  These workshops ($9.50/child, advance registration required) introduce kids ages 6-15 to the history and process of chocolate making.  Participants then craft personalized treats, such as chocolate pizza, and assemble goodie bags for home.  There are also in-store events for adults, and the venue is available for birthday celebrations.

On a tour of the factory led by Dafne, I went through an unforgettable tasting of Schakolad’s finest confections.  I’m not a chocolate lover at heart, which I confessed to Dafne early on, but she explained she’d convert me in no time.  Was she ever right. The first offering was a milk chocolate cashew truffle, so rich and creamy compared to commercial candy, and even other well-respected brands I’ve had.

After sampling an dark chocolate ganache —70% cacao — with Jamaican rum, a velvety vehicle of bittersweet chocolate and sugary rum with no trace of alcohol aftertaste, I bit into bliss when I tasted the vegan dark chocolate espresso truffle.  My expectations of vegan food aren’t usually lofty since I’m a devout carnivore, but this non-dairy nub nailed it when it came to nuanced flavor, giving off just enough oomph to taunt my threshold for bitter tang while simultaneously seducing me with subtle sweetness.

Then, I sampled the “Schakolatte,” a smooth and luxurious hot chocolate drink.  The key to this luscious drink is the real chocolate, as opposed to powdered cocoa that is tragically used in typical drinks of this type.  If you’re passionate about hot chocolate, you need try a Schakolatte (also available with espresso), as it’s akin to the platinum version of your beloved drink, thick and full of flavor.

Looking for something to cool you down while you sip on your Schakolatte? Schakolad Chocolate Factory serves up silky ice cream in chocolate fudge brownie, cookies & cream, strawberry, coffee, and “caramel caribou,” a vanilla-caramel swirl studded with caramel-filled chocolate chips.   

Now that you know the goodies you can treat yourself to, let me tell you about the unique gifts found at Schakolad.  I’m sure you’ve used wine as a present before, but have you ever given a bottle of wine that’s been dipped in divine chocolate?  Didn’t think so.  Have you presented your lady a pair of designer shoes for birthdays past?  Perhaps she’d like heels made of milk chocolate this year instead.  Schakolad Chocolate Factory can make these, and more scenarios happen.

With an abundance of different molds Schakolad can create almost any high-quality chocolate object conceivable, including cars, flowers, and even toothbrushes and teeth made from white and milk chocolate (to mess with the minds of recent dental school grads and veteran dentists alike!).  They also sell chocolate handcuffs, multiple flavors of chocolate body paint, and other risqué chocolate objects for more adult parties.

With their vast assortment of original gift ideas, custom selection of fine truffles, ice creams and hot drinks, Schakolad Chocolate Factory is well worth a visit if you haven’t already been.  You’ll be running back for seconds!

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Erik Mathes is a personal chef, in-home cooking instructor, creator of the blog “Rantings of a Chef” at kitchencoach.tumblr.com, and founder of www.kitchencoachFL.com.

 

 Schakolad Chocolate Factory
7740 Nova Drive, #3
Davie, FL 33324 (Just south of 595 and east of University Dr.)
(954) 472-6155 http://www.schakolad.com/store20

Monday - Thursday ~ 10am - 7pm
Friday ~ 10am - 5pm
Saturday ~ CLOSED
Sunday ~ 12pm - 5pm

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Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2011 20:23
 
The magical world of Schakolad Chocolate Factory, Davie PDF Print E-mail
Written by Erik Mathes   
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:58
 
Summer Treats from New Orleans PDF Print E-mail
Written by Judy Jurisich, The New Orleans Cooking Experience   
Thursday, 21 July 2011 15:18

Letter from Judy Jurisich, whose cooking school, The New Orleans Cooking Experience, is in an old and welcoming refurbished house on Bayou Road - home to marvelous tastes, lots of good company and convivial gatherings. (The New Orleans Cooking Experience, 2275 Bayou Road | New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-945-9104 For reservations: 504-430-5274 or send an e-mail to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

“Hello Friends of the New Orleans Cooking Experience,

“We’re almost at mid-summer now, and we’re finally getting our normal daily afternoon thunderstorms boiling up out of the Gulf. They are keeping us a little cooler, but our famous humidity is still with us, as always, in the summer. But in New Orleans everyone and everything tends to be a little slower and quieter in the subtropical heat.

The banana trees are very happy these days. We have a lot of crabs and shrimp on the menus, and we’re starting to see Louisiana blueberries and the famous Ruston peaches coming in….”

And then she proceeds to give the following recipes: 

From Gerard Maras

PEACH AND BLUEBERRY COBBLER

2 cups fresh peaches, peeled, sliced ...5.peaches
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons flour
1 recipe pastry dough*
 
In a 2 qt. mixing bowl add peaches, blueberries, lemon juice and sugar.  Mix well with a spoon and let set for 5 minutes.  Blend flour into fruiit to dissolve.  
For individual cobblers, use a shallow oval ramekin, 3/4" Deep x 4" long. Roll out pastry dough 1/8" thick. Cut to shape of ramekin so when it is set in the ramekin it overlaps 1".   Fill each pastry with filling, just above the rim..  Fold pastry over to the center.
You will have a space with exposed fruit in the center.  Mix egg with water and brush the pastry with the egg wash.  Sprinkle with sugar and place in a 400 degree overn for 10 minutes.  Lower temperature of oven to 325 degrees and bake approx. another 10-12 minutes until nicely browned and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven to cool slightly, top with Vanilla ice cream and serve.
Pastry Dough
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 whole egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter...cut into small pieces...frozen
1/4 cup ice water
 
In a food processor, add flour, salt and cold butter.  Process on "Pulse", to blend the cold butter and flour quickly, resulting in a mixture resembling coarse cornmeal.  
Remove flour mixture from processor to a work bowl.  Add eggs and incorporate with a fork.  Add cold water, a splash at a time, and work dough briefly until it comes together. Gather dough together,and wrap in food film.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
 
From Chiqui Collier
 
CORN MACQUE CHOUX
If you’re wondering what corn macque choux means, we’ve not found anyone who knows.  It is a Cajun dish and it might be an originally aural Cajun French translation of a Native American name.   If anyone out there knows more, please send a note.
 
8-10 ears fresh Corn, shucked
4 slices smoked bacon
1 Onion, finely minced
1/2 stick unsalted Butter
4 Tablespoons finely chopped Bell Pepper (red and green)
1 cup Heavy Cream
Salt, Black Pepper and Crystal hot sauce to taste
 
Cut kernels from the cob and then scrape cob with the back of the knife to extract the “milk” and pulp.
 
Fry bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels.  In the bacon drippings, melt butter and sauté the onions on a medium heat until translucent; add corn kernels and the bell peppers and “fry” for about 5 minutes until the corn gets some color and the onions begin to caramelize.  Reduce heat, add corn pulp and “milk” and cover.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes   Add the cream and cook, stirring frequently for about 5-7 minutes.  Season the corn with *salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.  Just before serving, crumble in the reserved bacon.
 
*NOTE:   Taste the mixture after adding the bacon to see if you need to add salt.  If mixture appears too thick, add enough milk to desired consistency.
 
Yields: 6 - 8 servings
 
Lagniappe (translation: tip):
To turn this dish into Corn Cakes simply cool the prepared Macque Choux mixture.  Stir in 2 cups of Bisquick (or any favorite buttermilk biscuit mix) and two large eggs, beaten.  The mixture should have the same consistency as a thick pancake batter.  Heat a heavy skillet that has been filled ¼” deep with vegetable oil or a combination of oil and 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings.
 
Carefully slide a heaping tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil.  Cook until the bottom of the “cake” is well browned.  Carefully turn the corn cake over and brown on the other side.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve immediately
 
These can be served with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and a drizzle of your favorite maple syrup as a side dish for brunch or topped with a tablespoon of your favorite homemade salsa as a vegetable or an appetizer.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 July 2011 15:25
 
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