Fire and Iceberg Salad

fireandiceberg
For a dairy meal add goat cheese or blue cheese, as pictured

Super colorful and great flavors. I found this recipe from a book called The New Midwestern Table, by Amy Thielen the new food network chef.

½ clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
½ cup walnut halves, toasted
½ large head iceberg lettuce
1 small head radicchio
2 stalks celery, sliced

For the dressing: Combine garlic, tomoato paste, both paprikas, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir to combine. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with cayenne, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Tear the iceberg and radicchio into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Add celery and walnuts and toss to combine. Add dressing and toss and serve immediately.

Tip: Toss just before serving or pass dressing alongside the undressed salad. The lettuce wilts very quickly in this dressing.

Spiced Lamb Hand Pies

photo: Bon Appetit

photo: Bon Appetit

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit and thought it looks great for Purim. If you’re not a lamb person, ground beef will also taste great.

SERVINGS: 4

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ pound ground lamb
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
⅓ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Store Bought or Homemade Pie Dough or puff pastry squares
All-purpose flour (for surface)
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add currants; set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato paste, cumin, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric and cook until fragrant and sticky, about 1 minute. Add lamb and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Stir in peas; cook until bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain reserved currants and add to lamb along with parsley. Let cool.

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Working with one at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 12” squares. Cut each into 4 squares; transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Spoon filling onto one side of squares, leaving ½” border. Brush edges with egg and fold dough over filling. Press to seal; crimp with a fork. Cut a few vents in tops; brush with egg.
Bake until pies are golden brown, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Do Ahead: Filling can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Purim Menus, Party Style, Mexican, Dairy, Indian, American and More

Party Menu
Party Cocktails…Chocolate Martinis AND Easy Margaritas AND Tutti Frutti’s
Red Pepper Soup with Cumin
Bourbon Chicken
Beer Bathed Brisket
Mixed Green Salad with Avocado, Mango, and Champagne Vinaigrette
Grasshopper Pie

Dairy Menu
Lasagna Soup
Cedar Planked Salmon with Dill Sauce
Asparagus Sesame Maple Dressing
Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms
Oven Roasted Greek Potatoes
Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Box Cake

Mexican Menu
Shrimp Cocktail
Guacomole
Nacho Chicken
Spicy Mexican Brisket
Mexican Cole Slaw
Black Bean Caesar Salad
Mexican Black Beans
Chili Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Mexican Chocolate Pudding

Indian Menu
Poppy Seed Bread
Indian-Spiced Cashews and Pistachios
Lamb in Filo Dough
Vegetable Samosas
Baked Basmati Rice with Cranberries
Lemon-Scented Almond Milk Custard

American Menu
Smoked Salmon and Wontons
Tequila Mustard Glazed Chicken Skewers
Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions
Butterscotch Blondies with Pretzel Caramel Topping
Iced Irish Coffee

Sugar and Spice Nuts

sugarspicenut

Makes 4 cups

4 tablespoons margarine or butter
¼ cup honey
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Ras El Hanout (recipe below and available in the spice aisle in most markets)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a skillet, melt margarine with honey, sugar, Ras El Hanout and salt over medium-low heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Once smooth, remove and add pecans and toss to coat.
Transfer to a parchement lined baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake 20 – 25 minutes.
Cool and store in an airtight container.

Ras El Hanout is a North African spice blend.
2 tablespoons cumin
¼ cup sweet paprika
¼ cup ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

buffalopopcorn

Why this spicy caramel popcorn didn’t already exist, we have no idea.

Makes 4 cups

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 cups popped plain popcorn (from ½ cup kernels)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup Sriracha sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment and a large bowl with nonstick spray; add popcorn to bowl. Set baking sheet aside. Bring sugar and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until caramel is a deep amber color, 10–12 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in hot sauce and margarine (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to a boil and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Working quickly (and carefully—caramel will be very hot), pour caramel mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.
Spread out popcorn on prepared baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until dry, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.

Sweet and Spicy Popcorn

sweetspicypopcorn1

Makes 6 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
6 cups popped popcorn (using no oil)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Spray a cold 13x9x2 -inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place popcorn in the baking pan.
In a small mixing bowl stir together sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add spice mixture to popcorn in baking pan. Toss popcorn until coated. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Transfer popcorn from baking pan to a large piece of foil. Cool popcorn completely. If desired, store in a tightly covered container up to 3 days.

Poppy Seed Hamentashen Filling

4 ounces poppy seed
½ cup nondairy creamer
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter
¼ cup seedless raisins
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the poppy seeds, creamer, margarine, raisins, walnuts, and honey. Bring to a boil and stir over medium heat until the creamer is absorbed and the mixture thickens. Cool. Stir in the vanilla.

Click here for hamantashen recipe.

Basic Hamantashen

3 cups flour
½ cup finely ground almonds
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ pound unsalted margarine or butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, almonds, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest. Blend or cut in the butter until the mixture resembles very fine crumbs.

In a small bow, beat the egg, water and lemon juice until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and beat until completely blended and the mixture begin to form a dough. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a floured board and knead the dough into a ball. Divide the ball into 6 equal portions for easier handling. Flatten each portion with the palms of your hands and roll it out to ¼ inch thick. With a scalloped cookie cutter or the top of a water glass, cut into 3 ½ inch rounds. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Fold the edges of the dough toward the center to form a triangle, leaving a bit of the filling visible in the center. Pinch the edges to seal them.

Place the hamantashen on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white. Bake fro 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and eat.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hamantashen

This recipe was contributed by Naomi Nachman at www.theaussiegourmet.com

2 sheets puff pastry
2 sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cumin
Salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg

Peel the sweet potatoes and boil them until they are soft then drain them.
Once they are slightly cooled, mash them with a fork.
Add honey, cinnamon, cumin, salt and. Mix well.
Cut defrosted puff pastry dough into 3-4 inch round with a cookie cutter. Place the filling inside the center and bring up 3 sides of the dough to form a hamentashen. Brush circles with egg wash and bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 350 for 20- 25 minutes until golden.
Serve warm

Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2015

by Naomi Ross, GKC contributor

crowd
For the kosher lover of wine and all things gourmet, there was no better treat than the tastings available at the 9th annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience (KFWE), held this past week. An evening eagerly awaited by kosher foodies in the know, KFWE 2015 certainly lived up to expectations, hosting the sold-out event at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC, a larger venue than in previous years, to accommodate the more than 1800 guests in attendance.

With glasses in hand, guests were able to taste the newest and finest in kosher wines and spirits – over 340 wines from around the world, distributed by KFWE sponsor Royal Wine Corporation. Israel, Chile, California, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Washington, Oregon and New York were all represented, exhibiting a broad range of wine varieties and flavors to suit any budget.
wines

That said, Israeli wines dominated the evening, showcasing an impressive array of wines from both small boutique wineries to large scale vineyards. “1848,” a family owned winery out of Maale Adumim had a well-balanced Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of cinnamon and oak.   In high demand were Alexander wines. The Alexander the Great Grand Reserve is a special treat, an intensely bold, full-bodied and rich wine on par with Castel Grand Vin; Alexander the Great Amarolo is a unique blend of spicy and fruity contrasts worth savoring. The Psagot wines were excellent as well– specifically Psagot Single Vineyard (a favorite from last year!), deliciously full-bodied with no traces of bitterness. More moderately priced Psagot Cabernet Franc was refreshingly light, yet satisfying, with a smooth finish. Shiloh winery, newly founded in the Judean Desert in 2005, exhibited some fun blends with their earthy Legend and newly released Legend II, an unusually complex blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Sangiovese (5%) and Carignan (25%), aged for 16 months in French oak.
photo 4

I happen to like Spanish wines for their punchy spiciness and aromatic bouquets – Capcanes Peraj Petita and Peraj Ha’Abib are very complimentary to meat meals. Elvi Wines’ Herenza Reserva Rioja is a fruity red table wine with hints of cherry and pepper, using Tempranillo grapes.

On the sweeter end, Morad Winery’s unique line of fruit wines was featured at a mixology bar showcasing Passion fruit and Red Grapefruit wines in super-intense mixed drinks – delightfully delicious…but these wines are great on their own, too! And if you really like sweet, Heavens Nougat Liqueur is nutty with coffee tones and well…pretty much a luxuriously drinkable dessert.

On the other side of the large ballroom were food samplings from the Tri-State area’s finest restaurants and caterers. Though KFWE is primarily about tasting new wines, pushing through throngs of hungry guests might suggest otherwise. A chance to taste and expose our palates to what’s new and innovative in kosher cooking is mutually beneficial to the consumers and establishments represented.

Crown Heights’ Basil presented Crudos – a ginger and beet cured Arctic char with kirby pickle, salmon roe caviar, avocado mousse and jalapeno. Beautiful contrasts to behold and taste.
oliveoil
Chagall Bistro out of Park Slope, Brooklyn is authentically French and Chef Jean-Claude Teulade delivers a mingling of subtle flavors elegantly – excellent Beef Tartare with crispy potato dentelle.

New to the restaurant scene, The Loft (Borough Park) featured a “Polenta Crouton” – a cube of polenta topped with tomato jam and duck cracklings. Simple, yet a perfect bite of textural contrasts brightened by the tartness of sweet tomato.

photo 1
Smokey brisket, BBQ braised short ribs and charcuterie reigned on high at KFWE 2015.   Highlights included Wandering Que’s Smoked BBQ Brisket (smoked for18 hours with wood from Herzog Wine Barrels & Cherry wood), Wolf & Lamb’s Cabernet Braised Spare Ribs with creamy polenta and braised raddichio, and a phenomenal spread of flavorful aged charcuterie from Prime Grill – I’m still dreaming about the pepperoni…oh my.   Though understated in presentation, NJ’s Palisadium caterers offered a memorable Arancini : a fried risotto ball with braised short ribs and it’s jus added to the filling. Brilliant.

photo 5
When the room was hot, cold desserts were welcome, and Mr. Penguin’s Peanut Butter Ice cream (parve) hit the spot, flecked with crunchy pralines among a sea of other refreshing sorbets.

For more homey options, Susan Sez “Say it with Cake” offered unpretentious baked goods with a homemade feel – chocolate chip biscotti and mini apricot-glazed fruit tarts were a nice way to end a satiating, enjoyable night out. As bottles emptied and the last plate cleared, it was time to head home…and time to move the belt buckle. All in a good night’s work!

Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer. She teaches classes throughout the tri-state area and writes articles connecting good cooking and Jewish inspiration. Visit her website – www.jewishcookingconcepts.com.

Praline For Purim

by Moshe Dembitzer, GKC contributor

For as long as I can remember I have had an addiction to praline. Whenever praline chocolate truffles or praline brownies were placed in front of me, my eyes would light up and my mouth would water. After you try this recipe you will understand. With Purim just around the corner everyone is looking for a new ingredient to spruce up their Shalach Manos, Seudah, or even favorite Hamantashen recipe. And after you try this surprisingly easy recipe for Praline paste, you will have just the thing to elevate any recipe and make it a Purim to remember.

Try these praline recipes:
Chocolate Cake and Praline Topping
Warm Bananas Praline with Pareve Vanilla Ice Cream

Or add some Praline paste to the chocolate filling in this Classic Hamantashen recipe to take them to the next level.

Bourbon Chicken

bourbonchicken
Serves 4

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes total. Remove chicken from pan.

Add remaining ingredients, heating over mediumand cook until well mixed and dissolved, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to pan and bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with white rice.

Oven Roasted Greek Potatoes

Serves 8

8 large potatoes, peeled, cut into large wedges ( about 6-7 wedges per potato)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or parchment paper
Place all the ingredients into a baking pan large enough to hold them. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Toss to make sure all ingredients are coated.
Bake for 40 minutes. Toss them once while baking.

Add 1/2 cup more water if pan appears to be getting dry, and pop back into oven to brown other side of potatoes.

Bloody Mary Chicken

bloodymarychicken
Fun way to present chicken at a seuda. I like to place the chicken on a plate over a few celery sticks. Then serve a shot glass of the sauce with another celery stick coming out of the shot glass. It’s especially fun on Purim
Serves 10

Ingredients
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
10 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, or pargiot
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
15 ounces Bloody Mary mix, plus more if needed (or tomato vegetable cocktail mix)
1/4 cup vodka, optional
1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning
Several dashes Tabasco, or to taste
Several dashes Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
5 celery stalks, cut into long pieces

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, onions, and garlic and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add chicken and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan.

Add chili powder, cumin and oregano and toast seasonings for 1 minutes. Add the Bloody Mary mix, vodka if using, Montreal steak seasoning, Tabasco and Worcestershire. Stir until combined. Bring sauce to a boil, simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chicken back to the pan and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Serve on a bed of celery sticks with sauce.

Beer Bathed Pulled Brisket

pulled-brisket
Serves 10

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (5 pound) brisket
2 onions, sliced
1 cup beer
1 bottle good barbecue sauce

Stir together the brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the brisket. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place onions in a large roasting pan. Pu the brisket top of the onions. Roast until fork-tender and falling apart, about 3 ½ – 4 ½ hours. Remove the brisket from the pot and set it on a cutting board.

Place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup of hot water. Scrape the pan to loosen up the bits and add beer and barbeque sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until sauce is thick and reduced a bit.

Shred the meat with two forks, then toss in the barbecue sauce until it’s fully coated.

Serve with sauce in lettuce cups, on hamburger or slider buns, or over mashed potatoes.

Nacho Chicken

This is a fun and delicious dish for Purim. It’s a little wild in appearance and full of flavor. My kids like it as a weeknight meal too.
Serves 6

2 tablespoons taco seasoning (from the Ortega seasoning package)
2 tablespoons chili powder
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces tomato sauce
A few dashes hot sauce or S’riracha sacue
1 large bag tortilla chips
1/4 cup jarred jalapeno slices or 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced (be careful when handling jalapenos, the spiciness will get into your skin and then burn, use gloves or a paper towel to protect your fingers)
1/4 cup chopped pitted black olives
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
3 green onions, green and white parts, finely chopped
1/4 cup Tofutti sour cream, optional
Guacamole, optional
Cilantro, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the taco seasoning and chili powder in a small dish and then rub all over the chicken breasts on both sides.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side, then remove from the skillet and set aside. To the skillet, add the tomato sauce, hot sauce and 2 cups hot water and bring to a gentle boil.

Crumble about 2 cups of tortilla chips on a platter. Place chicken on top. Crumble a generous amount of chips on top of chicken. Sprinkle with jalapenos, olives, tomatoes and green onions. Place dollops of Tofutti sour cream, guacamole and cilantro on top, if using.

Alternatively, for a shredded nacho dish: Shred the chicken with 2 forks, then return the shredded chicken to the tomato sauce liquid and simmer on low until everything is hot and bubbly.

Sprinkle a layer of tortilla chips onto 2 ovenproof plates or baking dishes. Sprinkle a layer of chicken and sauce; repeat twice more with each layer getting smaller in circumference. Layer on the jalapenos, black olives, tomatoes, green onions on the top, then add dollops of Tofutti sour cream, guacamole, and cilatnro.

Classic Hamantashen

unbaked-hamantaschen

3 cups flour
½ cup finely ground almonds
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ pound unsalted margarine or butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Hamantashen Fillings

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, almonds, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest. Blend or cut in the butter until the mixture resembles very fine crumbs.

In a small bow, beat the egg, water and lemon juice until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and beat until completely blended and the mixture begin to form a dough. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a floured board and knead the dough into a ball. Divide the ball into 6 equal portions for easier handling. Flatten each portion with the palms of your hands and roll it out to ¼ inch thick. With a scalloped cookie cutter or the top of a water glass, cut into 3 ½ inch rounds. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Fold the edges of the dough toward the center to form a triangle, leaving a bit of the filling visible in the center. Pinch the edges to seal them.

Place the hamantashen on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white. Bake fro 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and eat.

Hamantashen Prune Filling

1 ¼ cups pitted prunes
½ cup raisins
Sweet wine or water
½ cup sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
½ cup walnuts, toasted

In a large bowl, soak the prunes and raisins in enough wine to cover for 3 hours or overnight. Drain well. Chop or mince the prunes and raisins. Add the sugar, lemon juice and zests, and walnuts and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Hamantashen Poppy Seed Filling

4 ounces poppy seed
½ cup pareve milk
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter
¼ cup seedless raisins
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the poppy seeds, pareve milk, margarine, raisins, walnuts, and honey. Bring to a boil and stir over medium heat until the pareve milk is absorbed and the mixture thickens. Cool. Stir in the vanilla.