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Everyone loves cold sesame noodles, an addictively delicious meal-in-one that also keeps well. Here’s my version, which features fried tofu for textural contrast. That is a dish that kosher cooks couldn’t make until chilli and rice wine vinegar became part of the kosher pantry. I serve this a lot in the summer-and the rest of the year, too.
Convert It – To make this a meat dish, add diced grilled or poached chicken in place of the tofu and substitute chicken stock for the water.
1/4 cup sesame paste (tahini)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon chili oil, to taste
2 tablespoons sugar
One 14-ounce package firm tofu
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, or frozen and defrosted under hot tap water
3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
3/4 pound linguine
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for garnish
In a pint measuring cup or immersion blender container, combine the sauce ingredients and 3 tablespoons of water and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Alernately, use a stand blender. Transfer to a large bowl.
Place a clean dishcloth on a work surface. Place the tofu on top of the towel and fold the towel to enclose it. Top the tofu with a plate and add a weight, such as a heavy can. Allow the tofu to drain for 30 minute. Cut the tofu into 1-inch dice and set aside.
If using fresh broccoli, bring abundant salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and blanch until deeply colored and slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Remove the broccoli with a large strainer and run under cold tap water. drain and transfer to a large bowl.
In a large skillet, heat the the oil-over premium high heat. Add the tofu and saute, stirring until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tofu to paper towels to drain. Set aside.
Bring fresh abundant salad water to a boil in a large pot. Add the linguine, and cook until al dente, following package directions. Drain the pasta, transfer to the bowl with the broccoli and sauce, and toss. Add the tofu, toss and let cool to room temperature before stirring.
I love this delectable soup, which is full of the deep flavors of roasted eggplant and sweet peppers. It’s also a great example of three-way cooking – a single dish you can easily modify to make something that works for any menu. The option to finish thickening the soup with oil rather than with butter or a butter-based roux is key to its versatility. I offer this with fricos – quickly prepared cheese wafers – but you can garnish it with grated parmesan and fresh ricotta instead.
Serves 10 to 12
Convert It – To make this into a meat dish, substitute chicken stock for the vegetable stock and drizzle each serving with Balsamic Gastrique.* For a parve version, substitute extra-virgin olive oil for the butter and finish with drops of balsamic vinegar, Balsamic Gastrique or basil leaves.
Geila’s Tip – You can make the fricos ahead of time and store them in an airtight container. They’re also delicious served with drinks.
4 medium to large eggplants (4 to 5 pounds)
6 medium red, yellow or orange bell peppers
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
4 to 6 large garlic cloves, to taste, minced
one 2-ounce can tomato paste
3 quarts vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 or 4 basil leaves
1 cup shreded Parmesan, Cheddar, Swish or other hard cheese
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne peppers, or to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line 1 or 2 medium cookie sheets, depending on eggplant size, with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray or grease lightly with vegetable oil.
Remove any stems from the eggplant and halve them lengthwise. With a fork, prick the skin-side of the eggplant all over. Sprinkle the cut sides with salt, place the eggplants skin-side up on the sheet, and bake until wrinkled and soft, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly then remove the skin and seeds with your fingers. (If removing the seeds is difficult, work them out under cold running water). Chop the eggplant into large chunks.
On a burner or under the broiler, roast the peppers until the skin is uniformly charred. Transfer to to a paper bagor a bowl. Close the bag or cover the bowl with foil, a dish towel or plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam until they become cool enough to handle. Remove the stems, peel and seeds and cut the peppers into 1 to 1 1/2 inch dice. Reserve any juice.
In a heavy soup pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté just until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir the peppers, eggplant, tomato paste, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
Using a hand blender (or carefully transferring to a stand blender or food processor in batches), purée the soup. If too thick add more stock.
To make the fricos, combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix lightly until blended. Transfer to a colander and shake to remove excess flour and any small bits of cheese.
Heat a medium non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a small handful of the frico mixture. Spread with your fingers to make a 3 inch round. When the cheese has melted and the edges of the frico are slightly colored, turn carefully with a spatula and cook until the bottom is colored, abou 30 seconds. Remove and drape the frico, colored side up. over a rolling pin. Let cool aand firm. Rep[eat with the remaining mixture.
Season the soup with salt and pepper, transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the basil. Serve with the fricos.
* Balsamic Gastrique (page 26)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
in a small glass bowl, combine the sugar and vinegar. Microwave at full power for 30 seconds, or until the liquid has boiled and becomes syrupy. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
Traditional mayo based slaws often miss the mark. This main-dish slaw with grilled chicken gets a savory Asian spin with the addition of a soy sauce- and sesame oil-based dressing. Almonds and crushed ramen noodles-a garnish to keep in mind for other uses-add texture and crunch. I prefer flavorful dark meat for this, but feel free to use white. Fresh napa cabbage is the first choice, but you can use packaged slaw for convenience. Minus the chicken, this makes a delicious side. You can make this all in advance; just dress right before serving.
Geila’s Tips – To crush the ramen noodles place them in a resealable plastic bag, seal, and roll a heavy can over them.
Convert It – To make this pareve, eliminate the chicken, The dish works equally well for non-meat eaters.
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
One 3-ounce package dry ramen noodles, crushed
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup mirin
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 cup grapeseed or canola oil
1 medium head napa cabbage, sliced fine, or one 10 ounce package slaw
6 scallions, white parts only, sliced fine
In a gallon-size sealable plastic bag, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken, press out any air from the bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.
Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast, stirring to prevent burning, until golden. About 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the same pan, toast the noodles until golden, stirring, about 8 minutes, and transfer to the bowl. Toast the sesame seeds in the pan, stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes, and transfer to the bowl. Set aside. (You can make this ahead. If you do, cool it completely, transfer it to a lidded container, and store it at room temperature.)
Heat a large grill, pan or heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken, shaking off excess marinade and grill until just cooked through, turning once 12 minutes for breasts, 15 minutes for thighs,. Alternately, broil, turning once, until just cooked through, or grill on an outdoor grill 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cool and cut into bite-size pieces.
To make the dressing, in a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Using a hand blender or whisk, blend, adding the oil in a steady stream until the mixture has thickened.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken slaw, scallions, almonds, sesame seeds and ramen*. Just before serving, drizzle in the dressing and toss. Transfer to individual plates and serve.
*Ramen Noodles. These fresh and dried Japanese noodles are made from flour, salt and water. It’s the dried version I call for, available as Tradition Ramen Noodle Soup, a soup-mix kit that contains a flavor packet. Use the noodles and save the packet for another use.
This French classic-a frittata-like omelet filled with potatoes, onions and cheese that originated in the peasant kitchens of Savoy-may be the ultimate branch dish. People love its hearty flavors-and its easily made, as it’s all done in a single pan. I like to serve the omelet moist, but you can cook it to the texture you prefer. Offer this with a salad of mixed field greens and you’ll be in business.
Geila’s Tips – You can prepare the potatoes and onions in advance and refrigerate them . Before making the omelet bring them to room temperature.
If you do not have a skillet with ovenproof handle, wrap your handle with foil before putting it in the oven.
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
onion, sliced thin
8 large eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
3/4 cup shredded hard cheese, such as Swiss or Gruyere
3/4 cup semi-soft cheese, such as raclette or havarti
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
In a 9-inch skillet with an ovenproof handle, combine the potatoes, 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until fork tender. 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a plate.
In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oiland the butter. When the butter stops foaming, add the onion, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and saute until the onions are golden. & to 7 minutes. Return the potatoes to the pan to reheat, , then transfer everything to a plate, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of salt until blended. Add the cream, if using.
Position on oven rack to the top third of the oven. Preheat the broiler.
In the pan, heat the remaining oil. over medium high until hot but not smoking . Add the egg mixture. swirl and cook the eggs until three-quarters done to your liking , about 3 minutes for still runny. Distribute the hard cheese over the eggs, leaving a half-inch border. Spread the potato mixture over. Place the pan under the broiler and cook for 3 minutes, or 4 to 5 minutes if you like your egges dry.Invert the omelet onto a serving dish, cover with foil, and let rest or 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, if using, cut into wedges and serve.
Exciting News!!! I will be doing a summer menu demonstration at the Chabad House in East Hampton on July 1, Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned for details. We will be doing a meat/pareve menu that will include:
Newly Minted Pea Soup
Mango Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Rib Steak with Herb Wash -2 ways
This is a very versatile menu. The demo will include tastings as well as all of my kitchen tips for maximum output with minimal input, meal timing and organization, menu construction , do ahead strategies, as well as tips for substitutions. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for all the details.
Everyone loves the special earthiness of roasted mushrooms. My version pairs portobellos with goat cheese, now available in many kosher-certified types and a spritely salad. My secret is the Asian Vinaigrette, a real flavor that’s both hot and sweet enough. This gets any meal off to an elegant start.
Convert It – To make this into a parvedish omit the cheese
Geila’s Tip – You can plate and refrigerate the greens and mushrooms and prepare the vinaigrette ahead. Bring the salad to roo temperature and dress it just before serving.
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed, wiped with damp paper towels
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 cup cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 drops hot chilli oil
3/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
6 cups mesclun or other mixed greens
One five-ounce goat-cheese log, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
In a small food processor, combine the garlic, olive oil, and salt, and process until roughly puréed.. Alternatively, mince the garlic and combine in a small bowl with the olive oil and salt, and whisk to blend.
Brush both sides of the mushroom caps with the mixture and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake the mushrooms until golden and most of their liquid has evaporated, turning once, about 35 minutes. Cool to room temperature and slice 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.
To make this vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients except the grapeseed oil in a blender and blend. With the motor still running, drizzle in the grapeseed oil until the mixture has thickened. Alternatively, place the ingredients in a large measuring cup and use a hand blender. Adjust the seasoning.
Place the greens in a large bowl, drizzle with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette, and toss until the leaves are evenly coated. If the salad seems dry, add more vinaigrette and toss again.
Divide the greens among 6 serving plates. Surround one side with portobello slices and add crumbles of goat cheese on the other side. Serve.
This savory Challah variation is based on pashwari naan – an Indian bread that’s filled with nuts and raisins. To those good things I’ve added pistachios, coconuts and a touch of honey. This easily done loaf, partnered with Coconut Ginger Squash Soup (page 61), also makes a wonderful accompaniment to Indian dishes like Cauliflower Paneer Masala (page 120). It’s great as a savory snack, too.
Makes two 1-pound loaves
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon fennel seed
½ cup chopped shelled unsalted pistachios, skinless sliced almonds or raw cashews
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup golden raisins, chopped fine
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
Prepare the challah as the Classic Challah recipe, up to Step 4*, adding the dough spices to the dry ingredients.
Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the pistachios in a strainer and pour the water over them. Transfer the nuts to a dish towel and roll in the towel to remove their skins.
Make the filling: In a minifood processor combine the pistachios, coconut, golden raisins, cumin, coriander, salt and fennel, and pulse until finely chopped.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Halve the dough and roll into an 18 x 9-inch rectangle, making the dough thinner at the short ends. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture evenly over the dough and drizzle with the honey. Starting with the nearest long side, roll the dough jellyroll-style, apply pressure to the ends to taper them slightly. Wind the dough into a spiral, tucking the outmost end underneath the loaf. Place on the cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining halves of dough and nut mixture and transfer to the cookie sheet. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty cookie sheet in the bottom of the oven and allow to heat.
In a small bowl, combine the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the risen loaves with the egg wash and place in the oven. Pour about 1 cup of hot water onto the heated cookie sheet to create steam, and immediately close the oven door. Bake until the challah is golden and sounds hollow when tapped, 25 to 35 minutes. Turn out and cool on rack.
* First Four Steps for Classic Challah (page 188)
In a 1-cup measuring cup, combine the yeast with the 1 tablespoon sugar and 3/4 cup warm (about 105 degrees) water. Stir and let sit until about 1 inch of foam has formed, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar and salt, and stir on low speed. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
In a small bowl, combine 2 of the eggs, and the oil, mix, and pour into the well. Expand the well, then pour in the yeast mixture. Mix briefly on low speed to combine. Remove the paddle, insert the dough hook, sprinkle the mixture with 1/4 cup flour, and knead on low speed for 1 minute. If the dough is still sticky, add more flour by 1/4 cups to achieve a soft, unsticky dough. Continue to knead for a total of 5 minutes. Alternatively, to form the dough by hand, put the dry ingredients in a large bowl, make a well in it, fill with the egg and yeast mixtures, and, with clean hands, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly combined. Add 1/4 cup more of flour and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Oil a medium bowl with canola oil. Form a ball with the dough and place it in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours. Punch the dough down, cover, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Oil two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.