Nine Days Pasta – Choosing the right strand

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Time for pasta but choosing the right strand is more than just about what you have in the pantry.  Choosing the right pasta depends on the topping.  The shape should be dictated by the type of sauce you are preparing with it.  Here are a few tips to go by:

Tubes: Tubular shapes like penne and ziti are perfect with hearty and thick sauces like meaty tomato based sauces.  Ridged ones capture even more sauce.  Try this Bolognese Pasta with tubes or with spaghetti.  For the nine days, use soy meat instead of beef.

Ribbons: Wide, flat pastas like pappardelle are ideal for sopping up creamy sauces.  Generally, the wider the noodle, the heavier the sauce.  I like linguine with artichokes.

Long strands:  Long, round pasta like spaghetti are best with olive oil and tomato based sauces, which coat each strand evenly.  Go thinner for delicate preparations.  A good one to try is Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers (if you do not cook with wine during the nine days, just omit it and use 4 cloves of garlic with the olive oil).

Shapes: Chunky vegetable sauces absolutely go better with short pastas that have lots of crevices to trap the sauce.  Try this Eggplant and Ricotta Pasta, it’s perfect with shaped noodles.

Try lots of pastas with different types of noodles.  See pasta index here.

Lamb Chops with Pepper and Olive Caponata

Lamb chop

Serves 4
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 red or yellow bell peppers (about 1 1/4 pounds), thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Scant 1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons drained capers
¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar mixed with 3/4 cup of water
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 small lamb chops (5 to 6 ounces each)

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large, deep skillet, heat the 1/3 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Add the peppers, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins, capers, olives and sugar. Add the vinegar mixture and simmer over low heat until the peppers are very tender and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Heat a cast-iron grill pan until very hot. Brush the lamb chops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chops over high heat until they are lightly charred, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the grill pan to the oven and roast the chops for 3 minutes for medium meat. Serve the lamb chops with the caponata.

Foccacia with Roasted Salmon and Summer Vegetables

Recipe from DASH, Inspired Kosher Recipes for the Seasoned Palate
Contributed by Avi Pifko, grilling expert and aficionado.

prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 5 minutes plus topping cooking time
serves 6-8

1 ear of corn
½ pound salmon fillet
2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cleaned
Purchased regular or whole wheat pizza dough, thawed
¼ cup purchased hummus
One (8-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, cut into strips

Corn: Place corn in a small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. When cool, hold corn vertically and slice down, removing kernels.

Salmon: Preheat oven to 400 degreesG. Place salmon on a piece of foil and drizzle with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in oven until cooked through, approximately 16 minutes. When cool, flake salmon into large pieces.

Asparagus: In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil. Place asparagus in water for 3 minutes or until they turn bright green. Remove and place in a bowl filled with ice water. Drain and set aside.

Pizza: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Roll pizza dough to 1/8-Ginch thickness and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Quickly and firmly flip dough onto grill, oiled side down, making sure to lay dough flat on grill. Baste top of dough with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and grill for 1-2 minutes or until bubbles begin to form on top and dough does not stick when lifted. Flip dough, close grill lid and grill for another 1-2 minutes, checking for doneness after 1 minute.

Toppings: Remove pizza dough from grill and spread with hummus. Top with red peppers, corn, asparagus and salmon. Return pizza to grill on low heat for 1-2 minutes (or to preheated 300 degree Goven for 5 minutes). Remove pizza from grill or oven, slice and serve.

SIMPLIFY: Substitute frozen corn for fresh. Defrost and slice kernels off of cob.

COOK’S TIP: Try different vegetables as toppings. String beans add a nice crunch and can substitute the asparagus when not in season.

Coffee Cajun Rubbed NY Strip Steak

Recipe from DASH, Inspired Kosher Recipes for the Seasoned Palate
Contributed by Avi Pifko, grilling expert and aficionado

Coffee lends a beautiful deep flavor that brings out the boldness of the steak and perks up your meal!

prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 8-10 minutes
serves 2

4 tablespoons ground bold espresso beans
1¼ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Olive oil, for brushing on steak
2 shell strip steaks, 1-inch thick (may also be called kosher NY strip steaks)

Prep: In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients until blended. Lightly brush steaks with olive oil and season steak liberally with dry rub.

Grill: Preheat grill to high and place steaks on the grill. Grill approximately 4 minutes per side, turning only once, for medium-rare; grill 6 minutes per side for medium doneness. Remove steaks from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

DO AHEAD: Dry rub can be prepared ahead and stored in a tightly closed container up to 2 months.

Cook’s Note: This recipe works beautifully on a boneless fillet steak and a rib eye steak.

Giveaway: DASH Cookbook

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Just in time for summer, the authors of DASH, Inspired Kosher Recipes for the Seasoned Palate (the publication for Torah Academy for Girls in Far Rockaway), have not one but TWO cookbooks and mugs for us to giveaway this week. Published last year, this book made a splash with its jazzy cover and great list of recipes, including a gorgeous layered salad titled Summer Salad with Sweet Poppy Seed Dressing and Art Deco Tart, which boasts great roasted vegetables with olives and honey mustard. I love how the book takes kosher cooking to a new level of cuisine by using new and exciting flavor combinations. There is something in the book for everyone, from traditional to International foods. This week DASH shares some BBQ recipes with GKC. Check out the recipe for Coffee Cajun NY Strip Steak.

Get your copy of DASH for a special promotional price of $22 for the cookbook plus the mug at www.getyourdash.com or call TAG directly at 718-471-8444

Meanwhile, submit to win!

To enter to win a DASH cookbook, either:
1. Subscribe.
2. If you are already a subscriber, send us a comment. We love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
3. Follow us on Twitter or tweet about this post to your followers

Bat Mitzvah

It’s graduation and Bat Mitzvah week in our family (and getting off to camp too).  That means lots to celebrate and a very insane schedule.  So crazy that I am not even sure how I put dinner on the table each night. Somehow, some way, it all comes together thanks to my kids help and some quick and easy recipes each night.  And one more thing. Open a good bottle of wine each night and relax.  This week it was all about Goose Bay.  I chose  a Goose Bay Pinot Noir, its light, and crisp, and the perfect amount of fruity for any of these midweek dinners. It’s a great Shabbos Day wine too.

Here is my crazy schedule, midweek, survival menu….
Sesame Chicken
Chicken Strips with Bow Ties
Easy Weekday London Broil

Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc

spencer-hill
Don’t miss this great wine that I am truly loving for the summer. This Sauvignon Blanc has incredible citrus fruit flavors.  It’s produced from grapes harvested after a long, cool growing season n New Zealand’s South Island.  Serve Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc alongside fish, cheeses, and freshly baked breads, or light chicken dishes.  To me it’s a perfect wine to serve company on a warm summer day.  And stay tuned for the White Sangria video that features Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc coming soon!

Recipes of the Week

This week from the authors of DASH, Inspired Kosher Recipes for the Seasoned Palate (a publication by Torah Academy for Girls in Far Rockaway) shares two great recipes. Get the book at www.getyourdash.com for a special promotional price of $22 with a free BBQ menu. Or submit to win one in our giveaway section. The book has everything from traditional to bbq, to great dishes for all palates. Try these just to wet your appetite!
Coffee Cajun Rubbed NY Strip Steak
Foccacia with Roasted Salmon and Summer Vegetables

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

peanut-butter-cup

Makes 18 cupcakes size brownies

1 box brownie mix (I use the fudgy kind), made without nuts

Filling:
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1-1/2 ounces soft tofutti cream cheese or dairy cream cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar

Prepare the brownie batter according to package instructions and set aside.

Line 18 to 20 cups of a standard muffin tin with bake cups. Combine peanut butter, cream cheese, egg and sugar in a medium-size bowl and beat them with an electric mixer until evenly blended. The texture should be like whipped peanut butter. If it’s not stiff enough, add a little extra peanut butter.

Fill each muffin cup about halfway with brownie batter. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of peanut butter filling into the center, pushing it down slightly into the batter. Cover the filling with another spoonful of batter, making sure that the cups are no more than about two thirds to three quarters full.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, just until set and cracked on top. Then transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. The center will sink a bit. Remove from pan and serve.

Chipotle Maple Sauce

Chipotle sauce

Makes 1 cup

2 chipotles in adobo, seeded
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, non-fish
2 tablespoons margarine, softened

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Scrape into a small saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes, until glossy. Use on chicken, turkey and beef.

Dad’s Day Barbeque Sauces

You can certainly buy any variety of sauces from the market and yes, some are quite good but I prefer to make my own for several reasons. First, most store bought sauces have a lot of sugar and artificial ingredients like liquid smoke. I like to control the amount of sugar and use natural ingredients. I also like to vary the flavors like sometimes I make it spicy with extra adobe chiles and sometimes I add roasted garlic to give it richness or soy for an Asian inspired BBQ. Homemade sauces keep for weeks in the refrigerator and can be used over and over again.

Check out the video on my favorite homemade BBQ sauce here.

Here are a few others that I like keeping in the fridge to use all summer.

Chipotle Maple Sauce
Spicy Peanut Sauce
Honey Mustard Sauce

Honey Mustard Sauce

bbq

Makes 1 cup

1 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the mustard, honey, brown sugar and vinegar. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Use as a marinade or dipping sauce for chicken, meat or fish. .

Spicy Peanut Sauce

photo © John Kernick

photo © John Kernick

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove

In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Use on noodles, chicken, fish or tofu.

Southwest Corn Guacamole


Serves 4-6

1 ear of corn

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 plum tomatoes, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

3 avocados, diced

2 minced jalapenos, seeded, diced (optional)

¼ cup cilantro, diced

Juice of 1 lime

Sprinkle the corn with chili powder, coriander and salt. Broil the corn for 2 minutes. Remove kernels from cobb when cool enough to handle. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with more chili powder, coriander and salt.

Super Sleek Ice Cream Scoop

icecreamscoop

Tired of the boring or childish ice cream scoops in your drawer? I sure am! I’ve been making ice cream and sorbet all season and I hate bringing a lame scoop to the table. This one is sleek and highly styled. A former car designer created this modern, curvy metal ice cream scoop in eight sporty colors. Which is your favorite?

Available at www.savorstyle.com for $14.99

Indian Guacamole

indian-guacamole

Serves 6 – 8

2 ripe large avocados, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno or serrano chile
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Tortilla chips

Scoop avocados into a bowl. Add juice, chile, salt, and garlic. Coarsely mash with a fork.
Stir in remaining spices, and let stand 2 minutes. Stir cilantro into guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips.

Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing

horseradish-steak-salad
Serves 4 – 6

This is a great appetizer salad. Horseradish is perfect with steak and the honey mellows it out a bit. This is a GKC remake of a recipe from Keens Steakhouse in NYC.

I love grilled meat salads, especially in the summer time. They are not a heavy appetizer and showcase all sorts of great grilled items. This salad incorporates a favorite flavor combination; steak and horseradish. I like to gill the meat but I keep it simple by just using olive oil and salt and pepper on the steak. The dressing has some zesty white horseradish in it. The honey mellows the spice and the tofutti sour cream gives it creaminess. The result is a great grilled salad with bold flavor and lots of great color. All can be prepared ahead of time, so that makes it a winner for me too! It also works great with any leftover grilled steak that you have in your refrigerator. This is a perfect Shabbos day first course or a star at any summer BBQ!

Horseradish Dressing
1/2 cup tofutti sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or scallions
1 ½ teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Steak Salad
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1-pound flank, skirt steak, or other thin grilling steak
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
12 ounces fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
6 radishes, cut into thin wedges
2 cups greens (such as arugula or torn Bibb lettuce leaves)

For the dressing:
Whisk tofutti sour cream, horseradish, chives, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

For the Steak Salad:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or grill pan, over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked to desired doneness, 5-8 minutes per side for medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side for flank steak, or 3 minutes per side for skirt steak. Transfer meat to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes.

On a large platter, scatter the salad greens. Top with potatoes, cucumber, and radishes. Slice steak and place on top. Drizzle with horseradish dressing.

Nectarine Creamsicles

nectarine-creamsicles

Makes 9

Super creamy and delicious. Such a refreshing treat and the kids can make them with you.

1-1/2 pounds soft-ripe yellow nectarines or peeled peaches
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup pareve whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pit fruit, cut into chunks, and put in a large saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon juice. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until pulp mashes easily with a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.

Transfer fruit with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Whirl until only tiny pieces of skin remain. Return to liquid in pan, Chill in a bowl of ice water until very cold, stirring occasionally.

Pour mixture into a 9- by 13-in. pan, cover, and freeze until it’s firm but still shows a fingerprint when pressed, about 2 1/2 hours.

Beat cream, remaining 2 tsp. sugar, and the vanilla with a mixer in a medium bowl until thick. Stir frozen mixture to soften slightly, then fold in cream with a few strokes to leave big white streaks. Spoon mixture into 8 or 9 popsicle molds (1/3-cup size) and push a popsicle stick into each.

Freeze creamsicles, covered, until firm, at least 6 1/2 hours. To remove, dip molds in a bowl of warm water about 10 seconds, then gently squeeze pops to loosen.

Papaya Guacamole


Serves 4

1 small diced papaya

Juice of a lime

½ chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (mashed in a mortar with a pestle with salt into a paste)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup cilantro, chopped fine

2 avocados, diced

½ cup red onion, chopped fine

Combine all ingredients together. Let flavors blend for 20 minutes.

Snack Pack Granola Bars with Dried Fruit

granolabars

Makes 12 to 16 bars

My kids are on there way on school overnights and trips to Washington and then off to camp. I like to make these and send them for the bus rides or for a pick me up snack while they are traveling. They have great taste, are homemade and have no preservatives so they are better than store-bought versions. Feel free to substitute chocolate chips or other nuts for the dried fruit if you prefer.

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, margarine or canola oil
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Minda’s Best Biscotti

mindas-biscotti1
Makes about 60 small biscotti

My daughter’s piano teacher Minda, has become my friend. We connect over parenting, fashion, music, and mostly food! She spent years in Italy while her husband did his medical residency there and mastered both the language and the cooking. She stocks up on cookbooks and looks forward to making new recipes just like I do. And best of all we always share our favorites with each other. This biscotti came from her and she knows biscotti! I’ve been making it all week with different additions like dried fruit, white chocolate, and other types of nuts. It’s definitely a classic and one you cannot tire of.

1 ¾ cup flour (plus a little more for using on the work surface)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 cup sugar but Minda suggests the lesser amount)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 ounces slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped (I suggest Trader Joe’s brand)
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

biscotti batter tray

biscotti batter tray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet or prepare it with parchment paper or silpat mats.
In a bowl, combine 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk with sugar. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and mix until blended. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Flour a flat surface to work on, and transfer dough to the work surface. Knead the dough into a ball. If it is too sticky, add about 2 tablespoons more flour.
Separate the dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a log, about 14 inches long. Flatten the top a bit so that they are about 2 inches wide.
Brush top with beaten egg. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before cutting into slices about 1/3-1/2 inch thick.
Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Put cookies back in oven cut side down for 15 additional minutes.