Posts Tagged recipe
We eat soft and hard boiled eggs year-round, but only at Passover do we go Sephardic. The results are so beautiful and delicious, that I always wonder why we don’t bake our eggs in onion skins and coffee grounds on a regular basis, especially since they are so easy to make. But then I forget until the next year, and so it goes. I first found the recipe in Mollie Katzen’s “Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant” and tried them on a whim. When you peel them, they have a bit of a “brown eggs and ham” look about them, but the whites (now browns) have a rich but subtle flavor. Add some salt and you are in egg heaven. With the first seder just days away, I thought I would share the recipe with you. You start them at night and they are finished by morning:
Huevos Hamidados (Sepharidic Eggs)
Heat oven to 200º
Line a casserole dish with dried onion skins
Place up to 1 dozen eggs in the dish.
Sprinkle 2-3 T. ground coffee over the eggs.
Add 1 T. olive oil and 1 t. kosher salt.
Pour water over the eggs until they are just covered.
Cover the dish, place in the oven for 6-8 hours.
Go to sleep. Wake up to the delicious smell of eggs, coffee and onions.
The answer is: nothing. Nothing. is. better. Perhaps I am overstating, but as general rule, you can’t go wrong if you show up on someone’s doorstep with a freshly baked challah in hand. Challah, the ritual egg bread that is the cornerstone of every Shabbat meal, is also a delicious and impressive bread to make any day of the week. When I started baking bread way back when, I quickly added challah to my repertoire and I find few things are as satisfying to make and eat. There are about a million variants on the recipe, but all call for flour, water, yeast, eggs and some kind of sugar. I have always used the same recipe, published by the inimitable Mollie Katzen, in her book, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Recently, a friend expressed frustration at the results of her challah-making attempts, so we decided a tutorial was in order. When I arrived at her house, she pulled out her copy of the Enchanted Broccoli Forest and – lo and behold – the recipe was completely different from the one I had been using! Apparently, somewhere between the 1982 edition and the 1995 edition, the recipe was radically updated. The earlier version called for less water, more yeast and lots of kneading – no wonder she was frustrated! The newer version is almost the opposite, double the water, half the yeast and less kneading. Go figure. In any case, of the many challah recipes in the world, I am still loyal to this one (available on Mollie Katzen’s website) and it is virtually no-fail if you make it like this:
STEP 1: The recipe says to dissolve one package of yeast (about one scant tablespoon) into 2 1/2 cups of “wrist temperature water”. If you are unclear as to the temperature of your wrist, you can use a thermometer. For yeast to activate, the water should be between 105° and 115°, which is actually warmer than you might think. Too hot, and the yeast will die, too cold and it will just sit there, infuriating you with its indifference. Once the yeast is relaxing in its perfectly calibrated bath, it will want something to eat:
STEP 2: All yeast needs some kind of sugar to activate. Feed your yeast 1/2 cup of honey for this recipe. Mix it in with a wire whisk and then add the rest of the liquid ingredients: 2 room-temperature eggs (I like to beat them a bit before adding them) and 4 T. melted butter or oil. If you want a kosher challah, use oil, but I think the butter adds to the flavor. Just make sure it isn’t too hot when you add it or it may harm the yeast. Last but not least, a tablespoon of salt to help it along.
STEP 3: With your liquid ingredients all mixed together, it is time to add the flour (8-9 cups total), one cup at a time. Use a wooden spoon to stir (otherwise the dough will get caught in the whisk) and thoroughly mix in one cup before adding the next. By about the 6th cup, the dough will start to look like the sticky bread dough it’s meant to be, and you can knead it in the bowl with your hands. While it is still loose, you can pour it onto a floured surface for kneading:
STEP 4: Knead dough for about 5 minutes, adding the last cup or two of flour as you go. Once your dough is firm and not sticky, it will be ready to rise.
STEP 5: After the dough has risen for 1 1/2 hours, it should have doubled in size. To prepare it for braiding, you need to punch it down. This is fun and if you have any kids around, ask them to do it:
STEP 6: Turn the deflated dough onto a floured surface (this is my unnecessary, yet arty photo):
STEP 7: Knead for a few minutes and then cut into two halves. Knead each of those two halves for a few minutes, these will be your loaves. Take each half and divide it into three equal parts to make a basic braid. Roll each piece into a long snake, letting it rest awhile.
STEP 8: Braiding. For this challah, we are doing a simple 3 part braid, but there are a bunch of fancy ways to shape your bread. For better directions on braiding, check out “The Secret of Challah” website (there are also a myriad of YouTube videos on this topic). But suffice it to say that if you know how to braid hair, challah is no different. Normally, I just braid it into a simple loaf, but at Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – the custom is to shape your challah into a round loaf to symbolize the circle of life.
STEP 9: Second Rise and Egg Bath: Once the loaves are braided, place them on a parchment covered baking sheet, cover with a towel and let them rise for another hour or so. During this time, you can preheat your oven to 375°, spacing the two racks to accommodate rising loaves. (note: when I moved into a new apartment, I noticed that my challah seemed dry and a bit burned on the bottom, although I hadn’t altered the recipe. When I finally bought an oven thermometer, I found that my oven is a full 50° hotter than the dial says – so I now set my oven for 325° and wish for a new oven). Once the dough has risen a second time, beat an egg and paint the bread:
STEP 9: Bake! Place your loaves in the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. At that point, take the half-baked loaves out and rotate them so the top is now on the bottom. Set the timer for another 20 minutes. The bread is ready when the crust is hard and makes a hollow sound when you tap on it. Take it out of the oven and place it on a cooling rack for at least 30 agonizing minutes while you wait to slice it.
Voilà! Time for the payoff. You have two loaves of warm bread – one to eat and one to give away. Take a slice, dip it in some honey and take a bite. At that moment, there really is nothing better than a freshly baked loaf of challah.
The farm stand watermelons on our vacation were unbelievably delicious. While nothing is better than biting into a nice ripe slice, watermelon can also be enjoyed as a refreshing beverage, that is easy to make. Here’s how:
- Fill your blender 3/4 full with diced watermelon (without the rind, of course).
- Add water until just below the top of the watermelon.
- Blend for 1-2 minutes, longer if your watermelon has a lot of seeds.
- Turn off blender and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the seeds to sink to the bottom.
- Pour your agua de sandia into a pitcher. If you wish, you can add more water depending on the consistency you desire.
- Some recipes call for sugar, but none of our watermelons have needed this addition.
- Chill and serve.
They also make for delicious paletas, but more on that soon. Enjoy!
I may have mentioned that Domaphile is on a gluten-free diet these days after learning of a potential sensitivity to gluten, that essential protein in wheat that gives elasticity to dough and structure to baked goods…and a whole world of trouble to people who can’t easily digest it.
I’ve known for a while how dicey gluten can be — I have lots of friends or children of friends who either have a gluten allergy or full-on celiac disease. But about six months ago, when I began to consider the possibility that I might share their affliction, it was as if every other news story or magazine article I came across was about gluten allergies, how common and pervasive they were. Funny how that happens.
Unless you suffer from celiac or react dramatically to even traces of gluten, following a gluten-free diet is not overly challenging. And some of the challenges — like getting creative about substitutions — can be downright fun. Some things, though, are tough to replace — much as I like the buckwheat buttermilk pancake recipe we found at Food.com, I still long for the fluffy wheat-flour ones we used to make. And I’m still ambivalent about kasha. I’ve drawn most of my recent inspiration from the Gluten-Free Girl. Her blog is excellent, and her cookbooks are mouthwatering – you won’t notice what they are missing.
I recently took a day-long gluten-free baking class at The Natural Gourmet Institute, which focused on using flours made from alternate grains, pulses and starches. It was lots of fun and something I’ll report on in a future post.
But my favorite gluten-free concoction we’ve made recently is a simple adaptation with a single substitution: tabbouleh, the classic Middle Eastern grain salad, with quinoa instead of bulgur. Quinoa has a similar earthiness and chewy texture, and if you like it already in its own right, you won’t miss the cracked wheat! Unlike the Lebanese version of tabbouleh, which is heavy on the parsley and lemon juice, this one has more grain than herb and isn’t overly acidic. The lemon zest brightens things up and plays well off the mint. Enjoy as a mezze salad, with hummus, labneh, babaganouj, and roasted red peppers, or alongside grilled fish or chicken. Hold the pita.
Yields 4-5 cups
1 cup dried quinoa
4 scallions, minced
1 bunch of mint, chopped fine
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
½ to 1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped fine
¼ to ⅓ cup olive oil
Zest from ½ to 1 whole lemon
Juice from 1 ½ to 2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 red pepper, seeded and diced, and/or 1 tomato, seeded, juiced and diced
Rinse quinoa, combine in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and a ½ teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes until the water is gone and the quinoa is fluffy and chewy. Transfer quinoa to a mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, toss in the minced scallions, mint, and parsley, and diced cucumber. Add the olive oil and mix to coat the grain, vegetables, and herbs evenly. Add the zest and lemon juice to taste, depending on how acidic you like it. Season with salt and lots of fresh ground pepper.
Who hasn’t thought about curing fish at one time or another? Making your own gravlax is easier than you might think. It doesn’t take much more than some salt and some time. As in, if you want to serve it at your brunch tomorrow, you’d better get yourself to Zabars. But if you are planning ahead for next weekend, let’s go!
Gravlax – which translates roughly as “buried salmon” – is thought to have originated in Scandinavia during the middle ages when fisherman would preserve salmon by salting it, burying it in the sand, and leaving it to ferment into something presumably delicious. Today, traditional gravlax is made by “burying” the salmon in a combination of salt, sugar and dill. The moisture in the salmon combines with the dry ingredients to create a brine. Over a few days, the brine will cure the fish into something spectacular that is best served on a bagel. The basic cure can be altered to include items like aquavit and juniper berries to enhance the flavor.
I came across this recipe for Tequila and Lime cured Gravlax back in 1996 when I received a cookbook that quickly became a favorite: In Julia’s Kitchen With Master Chefs, the companion volume to Julia Child’s 1990’s PBS television series where she invited various awesome chefs to hang out in her kitchen and cook (let’s take a moment to contemplate just how sublime that must have been). The directions seemed simple enough, so I thought – why not give it a try? The truth is, gravlax is so easy, it’s like the gateway drug for wanting to cure everything else. The whole process takes from 3-5 days, but most of that is waiting around.
DAY 1: The Dry Cure
The first step is to purchase about 1 1/2 pounds of high quality salmon. Bring it home. Wash it off and run your finger over it to find any bones, which you can pull out using tweezers.
Next, take 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt and 3 cups of brown sugar and mix them together in a bowl:
That was super easy. Now, take out a jelly roll pan and a some plastic wrap. Line the pan with plastic wrap in both directions:
Fill the lined pan with about 2/3 of the salt-sugar mixture (leaving the remaining 1/3 for later):
Add the salmon, skin-side up:
Cover the salmon in the salt-sugar mixture:
Now. take the plastic wrap and pull it tightly over the salmon to make a little bundle:
It needs to be weighted down with about 4-5 lbs, which is a good way to use the exercise equipment you have lying around. Or you can use canned goods if you sold your dumbbells at a stoop sale because you realized you never, ever used them:
Take the whole crazy set-up and refrigerate for 24 hours. Make sure you don’t have more than 5 lbs of weight total on the fish or it will squish down in an unpleasant way.
DAY 2: The Wet Cure:
After 24 hours has passed, take the salmon out of your fridge, unwrap it (discarding the plastic wrap and wet cure) and you will see it is well on its way to becoming gravlax:
But we’re not there yet. Next up is adding the liquid cure:
1/2 c. tequila
1/2 c. fresh lime juice
the zest of one lemon
zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, crushed
3 sprigs each of fresh dill, mint, and basil, with stems and roughly chopped.
You will now need a new jelly roll pan set up with plastic wrap just like the first time. Only now you will add the liquid cure first:
Put your fish back in, skin side up, re-wrap it and replace the weights. Back in the fridge it goes for another 24 hours, after which you will take it out, carefully unwrap it and feel it from one end to the other. The flesh should be firm (but not too firm) and a deep red color. If it is too soft, put it back in the fridge for another day. Be careful not to let it go too long, however, or you will end up with salmon jerky (I have had this happen and it’s quite depressing). I also recommend taking the weight off the fish for the second day of the wet cure.
When you feel your gravlax is ready, take it out and slice it thinly starting at the tail end and using a very sharp knife. This takes some practice and I am not very good at it, but I can get the job done. Only slice as much as you plan to eat and you can store the remaining gravlax in its cure for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
I make this a few times a year, but always at Passover. It’s a festive appetizer and you can even get kosher-for-passover tequila (yes, they actually make that!). It’s delicious on matzoh with a little honey mustard, but even better on a bagel or a slice of pumpernickel all year round. With Cinco de Mayo coming up in a few days, just think of the possibilities!
I was delighted to see the New York Times Dining section this week devoted to one of my favorite topics: The DIY Kitchen! 16 completely accessible projects for ingredients you most likely would by psyched to have on hand in your kitchen. As chronicled here, we are big fans of transforming milk into butter, yogurt and cheese, but there are a lot of recipes on their list that I have never made (Hello, Tesa?). I’m starting with Kimchi, and I will let you know how it turns out. I can’t get through all 16 in short order, so I implore you to choose one, make it, and let me know if it’s delicious.
Although it is almost spring, one of the things that helps me get through the dark days of winter are the various mid-winter festivals. Besides Valentine’s Day, there is the the Lunar New Year, Mardi Gras and Purim, to name a few. A few weeks ago, on the last day of the Chinese New Year, we were invited to a dumpling party hosted by our friends, one of whom is Taiwanese-American and knows from dumplings and noodles. It’s taken me awhile to put this post together, but I didn’t want to wait until the Year of the Dragon to share these recipes with you, as they can be enjoyed all year around.
When we arrived at our friends’ apartment, their three children were busy making paper lanterns and our girls disappeared into arts and crafts land (only to re-emerge later not only having made beautiful paper lanterns, but also having covered the younger one entirely with marker, requiring a mid-party bath).
There were all sorts of lovely things bubbling on the stove and the air smelled like star anise. The menu was:
- pork dumplings
- tea eggs
- bok choy
- long life noodles with ba shi ya.
The first task of the evening was to put together the dumplings. The filling had already been made, and everyone participated in the assembly. Placing a bit of filling onto each wonton wrapper we dipped our fingers in cold water, traced around the edges, and folded the wrappers in half. (note: this is a great kid activity – they made some amazing avant-garde dumpling shapes).
The next step was to pleat the edges like little dough fans:
Or get creative:
The dumplings can either be steamed or pan fried. We opted for the former and soon we had a delicious plate of dumplings! They can also be frozen at this stage for a quick meal later.
Along with the dumplings, we had tea eggs, Bok choy, and long life noodles with “ba shi ya” , which is a phonetic spelling for a meat sauce that is something like the Chinese Bolognese. Long Life Noodles are traditionally eaten for good luck and a long life and the kids thoroughly enjoyed dropping the whole long noodles into their mouths to avoid cutting them – which can bring bad luck.
Oranges (for wealth) and the Chinese pastries I picked up earlier that day in Chinatown were our desserts.
Albert Einstein, Leon Trotsky, and Frank Sinatra were all born in the Year of the Rabbit. And so were you if you were born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, or 2011. Characteristics of the Rabbit are gentleness and persistence. I was actually born in the year of the Pig and I can only imagine what that means!
CHINESE PAN-FRIED (OR BOILED) DUMPLINGS
1 lb. of ground meat (equal parts ground pork, beef, and/or veal
1 can of sliced water chestnut (8 oz)
(Optional: 1 cup of Chinese chives or yellow chives, chopped)
2 oz. of chopped scallions
1 T. minced ginger (more or less according to taste)
1 t. sesame oil
2 packages of round pot-sticker wrappers. If you want to try making your own rappers, take a look at this blog post.
Traditional: 3 parts regular or light soy sauce mixed with 1 part white vinegar
Tom’s favorite (I actually have no idea who Tom is, but…): 1/2 c. soy sauce, 3/4 t. sesame oil, 4-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped, some minced ginger and/or chopped scallions. Add chili garlic sauce for added spice.
- If you have a food processor the preparation is fairly easy. Use the food processor to chop all the vegetables (including the ginger, which should be done first). After chopping the green onions, save some for the dipping sauce mixture. Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- You can add shrimp, crab meat, or lobster meat into the filling mix. Vegetarian substitutions can be dried tofu, Bok choy, or chopped carrots – sautéed first.
- Use your hands to mix ingredients well. Then add the seasonings (salt and sesame oil), and blend. You don’t need much salt if you use the dipping sauces which are, admittedly, a bit salty. Adjust the amount of sesame oil according to personal preference.
- Place a wrapper in the palm of one hand and put about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the middle. Wet the edges of the wrapper. Pinch tightly to seal the edges and pleat. Make sure the edges are well sealed.
- To cook the dumplings, heat a non-stick frying pan to medium. Coat the cooking surface with olive oil. Put in 8-12 dumplings, with the dumplings touching each other. Put in some water, cover, and cook for 4 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Allow the dumplings to brown, then turn them over, add slightly more water. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Allow the other side of the dumplings to brown and crisp.
- OR You can boil them in a pot of water until they rise to the surface (about 8-10 minutes).
- Keep the cooked pot stickers warm in the oven, at about 200-250F.
- When ready to serve, garnish with cilantro.
LONG LIFE NOODLES WITH BA SHI YA
Step one: cook noodles according to package directions.
The recipe for ba shi ya is one of the following:
1 lb of ground pork
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon handashi
3 tablespoons fried shallot
4 hard boiled eggs (shell removed)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine
Carrots (1 inch sections)
Potatoes (1 x 1/2 inch sections)
Brown the ground pork in 2 tablespoons oil
Add the handashi and fried shallots and cook for 3 minutes
Add the remainder of the ingredients (aside from the rice) measuring the
water to come up over the pork with the eggs pushed down into the
Simmer (adding water to make sure it does not dry out and there is some
gravy as necessary) forever until eaten.
For the nouveau version:
Substitute mirin and a bit of crushed and
minced garlic for the handashi and the fried shallot. I also like to
add a bit of scallion when serving. Mine has random detritus that is
left over from the dumplings that finds its way into my mixture. I
believe it contains ginger, cabbage and minced finger of small child.
Happy Belated Year of the Rabbit! Remember, dumplings and noodles can be enjoyed all year around!