Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-A Potage of Red Lentils husband and I just got back from a 4 day vacation in Monterey with his folks. We made many happy memories..and I learned so much about Dave. I love him even more than ever. But..I had to make Marlena Spieler's "potage of lentils". My blogger pals and I continue to cook and blog our way through Jewish Cooking.

Ingredients: Serves 10, at least ( increased the ingredients...have a party tomorrow)
5 tablespoons of good olive oil
1 finely chopped large onion
3 celery sticks..finely chopped
3 carrots..finely chopped
3 tablespoons minced parsley
2 packed cups of fresh baby spinach
8 garlic cloves..finely chopped
2 med. potatoes...peeled and chopped medium
3 cups red lentils
12 cups of veggie stock
4 bay leaves
4 lemons..halved
2 tsp. fresh ground cumin
hot sauce to taste
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
to serve: slices of lemon and parsley

Heat the oil in a dutch oven..and throw in the onion,potato, carrots, celery, and half of the garlic. Cook on med low for about 8 minutes. Do not burn the garlic!

Throw in 12 cups of veggie stock and 3 bay leaves..and let simmer for 30 minutes with lid on. I added a lemon cut in half as well. Make sure it is at a simmer..not a boil. After 30 minutes, add the cumin to taste..and squeeze in more fresh lemon juice to taste. Add salt if needed. I added about two cups of baby spinach leaves at this point.

I then, in batches, whirled the potage into a food processor until smooth. I offered hot sauce to those who wanted it.

At the very end, I squirted a bit a fresh lemon juice and added some minced parsley into the potage. Delish!!!!!

Be sure to check out this weeks offerings from Shankari and Eileen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wednesdays with Marlena Spieler-Herring Salad with Beetroot and Sour Cream

That is the name of the recipe straight out of the book..I have to change it to "smoked herring salad" because I bought that by mistake. It was delicious! I changed the recipe up a bit, but not much. :)

Ingredients: Serves 4 (unless Phil is eating..then maybe 2)

1/2 large tangy-type apple..I used a "jazz"--small chop
One oblong can of smoked herrings (kippers) drained and cut into nice slices
1 small pickle ( I used kosher dills) diced up
1 tsp fine baking sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar..or cider vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup thick plain yogurt
1/2 cooked beet, diced small (buy vacuum packed beetroot)
lettuce to serve, sprigs of fresh dill, chopped onion or onion rings for the top

Put all of the ingredients in a bowl, except for the diced beets, sprigs of dill, lettuce and onion. After mixing it up with a fork, plate salad on a bed of lettuce and put diced beets and onions on top. Chill. Serve when ready. So good! I served some toasted pumpernickel with mine. You can also boil a few red potatoes, cool, and dice them up. Let guests add what they will to their salad.

This dish is traditionally served on Shabbat mornings, after services.

Please be sure to check out Eileen and Shankari's blogs for their Wednesday recipes...which have all been great to use for Hanukkah or any holiday dinner. Check back this Sunday for even deliciousness from Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler.

Speaking of....Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I am off to Monterey for a few days.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sundays with Marlena Spieler- Fragrant Beetroot Vegetable Soup with Spiced Lamb Kubbeh

Click to enlarge order to smell it of course!

This soup and lamb "dumpling" dish is one of the best things I've ever tasted. It involves some steps and work but let me tell worth it! I took lots of pictures too. Here goes:

Ingredients for the soup: serves 6 - 8

1 tsp canola oil (she used veggie oil)
1/2 finely chopped medium-sized onion
5 minced garlic cloves
1 carrot, medium dice
2 medium zucchini, med dice
1/2 celery stalk, finely diced
4 cardamom pods..throw em in whole (you can take them later....or not)
1/2 tsp of curry powder
2 med. beets, roasted-peeled-chopped med and save juice (you can buy vacuum packed beetroots)
5 cups of chicken stock (or veggie stock)
1 14oz. can of chopped tomatoes ( I like Glen Muir fire roasted)
4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (could use rice vinegar) upon serving

Put the oil in the pot you'll make the soup in and have heat on med high..throw in the onions until they get soft, then throw in HALF of the garlic but don't let it burn. Throw in all of the veggies EXCEPT the beets. Stir and let them meld together but not until they are limp. Nobody likes a limp anything. Go ahead and throw in the spices too. After a few minutes pour in the broth, one chopped beet, canned tomatoes, fresh cilantro and the sugar. Bring to the boil then reduce for about 20 minutes. After, toss in the remaining chopped beets/and juice and remainder of garlic. Set may have to re-heat to serve.

Ingredients for the Ginger/Cilantro condiment: ( I LOVE THIS STUFF)

3 -4 garlic cloves chopped roughly (goes in food processor so whatever)
About 1 - 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger...peel first
1-4 mild fresh chilies (I used one large poblano and 1/2 jalapeno, seed removed)
a large handful of fresh roughly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil (slowly pour in as processor is on until a paste forms)

[you can spread this on a sandwich, serve with meatballs, make pasta and throw some in there while the pasta is hot with a little more olive oil and sprinkle cilantro or parsley over the top, or dip pita in it, or serve over dumplings]

Put the garlic, chillies, and ginger in the food processor and give it a whirl till blended. Add the cilantro, vinegar, salt and then the oil and whirl around till it is a paste-like consistency. Take it out and set aside. Wash the food processsor cause you are using it could let your dog or cat lick it clean..if they like spicy. No.

Ingredients for the spiced lamb and kubbeh dough:

2 large pinches of saffron threads (steep in a little hot water for about 20 minutes..or more. you won't use the threads..just the "saffron tea")
1 tablespoon canola oil
One large chopped onion.small chop
9-12 oz. of lean ground lamb
1 teaspoon vinegar (rice, or white wine, or apple cider)
a handful of fresh mint (rough chop)
About one cup all purpose flour..or a little more
2 pinches of salt
a shake or two of allspice
2 tsp ground turmeric (turns dough a lovely color)

Heat oil in a smallish not stick pan and toss the onion in there till is is soft. Then, put the onion and saffron "tea" in the food processor and hit give it a few turns. Add the lamb, seasoning, and blend it all. It will look like a sticky glop sort of. Add the vinegar and mint and CHILL (not you..the mixture).

The kubbeh dough-I used my kitchen aid pasta attachments (thank you East Bay).

Put the flour, salt, and turmeric in the mixer bowl. You could clean that processor again and use the dough attachment to make the dough. Blend for a few seconds. On low, with the dough hook or the paddle, slowly add the water while mixing. The dough will be a bit sticky.,, it's a theme. Knead the dough on a well-floured surface. Put it in a plastic bag and set aside to rest for 30 minutes. (you could do it ahead and put in fridge..then bring it out and let it get warm).

I put the dough through my pasta attachment until it was fairly thin and then layed it on my floured surface... (Thanks husband, for letting me use your bread kneading board) and I added teaspoons of the lamb mixture a few inches apart. Put the other sheet of dough on top and cut a round with my pizza cutter. Wet the edges with water and seal each one.. and then poached in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes. This goes in the soup. Done! all that? This recipe took me 3 hours..from start to slurping time. If I'd done the prep for the veggies the day before, it would have been a snap. You cold even make the lamb mix the day before..and even the condiment paste! Hell, the dough too. Was I smart enough to do that? I'll cook smarter next time. BE SURE to go on over and check out Eileen and Shankari's recipes by Marlena Spieler. Thanks for stopping by! We will be posting on Wednesdays too until Hanukkah...and then we'll be posting Marlena's on Sunday and our own posts Wednesday's thru Saturday's. You can find the book we are blogging about Here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sundays With Marlena Spieler...for real!

click to you can smell the soup

Well folks...I actually did spend Sunday with Marlena and that is why I have not posted anything today. Spent yesterday super cleaning my house and cooking and then we had this glorious Jewish food fest today. I am pooped people...and happy. I will post her recipe the way, she ate what I made and said it was very delicious. She was so kind and so much fun. Her aunt Estelle was a hoot! Please check out Eileen and Shankari's blogposts for today. They actually posted new recipes today!!

I am bad and should be spanked.

I'll post one picture..just to get you drooling.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Next Recipe for Sundays With Marlena

I'll be posting my version of Marlena Spieler's Fragrant Beetroot and Veggie Soup with Lamb Kubbeh. Apparently, in the U.K. beets are called beetroots and you can actually buy them in a vacuum sealed container. I found out that they sell them at Trader Joe' the refrigerated section above the frozen food. I roasted my beets..then peeled, etc. Next time, I am buying them already done.

There are many steps to this making this dish, but it was well worth it. I plan on having the condiment that is drizzled over it on hand for many other things! This dish is not for beginning my opinion. Dave said it was one of the best things he has ever eaten..and it was.

If anyone is interested in making it ahead of time, post a comment and let me know. Otherwise, I'll see ya on Sunday. Also, until Hanukkah, we will be posting Marlena's recipes on Wednesdays as well. Be sure to check out Eileen and Shankari's blogs for their recipe posts all of our dishes together would make a nice addition to any holiday celebration this year, and certainly Hanukkah.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sundays With Marlena Spieler - Bulgarian Cucumber Salad and...

Bulgarian Cucumber and Toasted Pine Nut Appetizer (click on photos to enlarge)
My husband is a bread making machine...Challah!
Kofta Kebabs
Daves Delish Pumpernickel
Sour Dough Rye

It is another lovely Sunday with Marlena and my blogger gal pals, Shankari and Eileen. Be sure to check out their blog posts for today...links to their sites will be at the bottom of this page. We continue cooking our way thru Jewish Cooking. By the way, everybody around here is reading about Jewish cooking! My FIL Bill bought a book about it and my husband learned that challah should have 12 knots in it..representing the 12 tribes. Who knew?

I am figuring out that my ancestors were Ashkenazim Jews who fled to the Rhine Valley over centuries, eventually ending up in Eastern Europe. I crave anything pickled, I always have cabbage in my fridge, and I've had a love affair with potatoes, grains, and beans since forever. I put saurkraut on hot dogs and for a snack, I just like to eat a bowl of it. I like those "cold weather foods" the best. Like Marlena often says of herself, "I'm a savory girl."

I started out making *Bulgarian Cucumber and Walnut Appetizer.. but I switched it up a bit:

Ingredients: serves 4 - 6

1 large cucumber (I used not peel it)
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup Fage (thick) Yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup double cream
plus 1 cup Fage (thick) Yogurt
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
4 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts (or use walnuts)
sprig of fresh dill for garnish
the juice of half a fresh lemon (had to add it)
1/2 teaspoon of salt..or to taste
finely chopped chives or green onion ends.. on top

So dice the cuke up ..small pieces and throw them in a bowl. Add the garlic, yogurt/cream, dill, salt, and lemon juice. Mix and then chill in fridge. When you serve it, sprinkle with the pine nuts and garnish with the dill. It is much like Greek tzatziki or Indian raita.

It is tangy, fresh, crisp, thick, and so very delicious. My husband ate a bunch of it on challah and pumpernickel. I think a little hot sauce would be nice in it...and it was! I want to try it on salmon..or mixed with hard- boiled eggs on sourdough rye.

I was craving some lamb, and I wanted to use the *BCW on it, so I made my version of Marlena's Kofta Kebabs.

Ingredients: serves 4

1 lb of ground lamb
about 3/4 cup matzo meal
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
a pinch of allspice, turmeric, and ground cumin
1 tablespoon of tomato paste ( I use the tubed paste)
salt and pepper to taste
3 shakes of hot sauce
1 egg

Mix it all together in a bowl..I used my hands. Wet your hands and make 4-5 large patties, or 7-8 smaller ones. I like em big. I heated a cast iron skillet, added about 3 tablespoons or so of canola oil. I turned twice, until browned and med rare in the middle. You can cook yours longer if you want to. I served mine with flour tortilla shells, as pictured. I would also served it rolled in a flat bread or in a pita pocket. I put some of the appetizer on it.

It was a Jewish gyro..sort of. The aromatic herbs and spices give a wonderful kick to the lamb..and my mouth was very happy. My husband was too. It would be great with onions sprinkled with some sumac. I can't stop thinking about it.

If you make any of the recipes, take a photo and send it to me..along with a little info. I will post them on my blog next week! BTW...I am not posting the bread recipes because I didn't make it, and Dave wouldn't do I mean. Maybe I can sweet-talk him into it...but I'm savory so probably not.

Please check out Eileen's blog and Shankari's blog for their Sunday's With Marlena recipes!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sunday's with Marlena Spieler - Muhammara

Love the matzo crackers with it...and any fresh veggie. Pickles and cheese? Yes. On kebabs or fish? Natch.
Click on photos to enlarge

[Photos by my gold mine of a husband, Dave Koontz.

So it begins. Three bloggers and three recipes every Sunday until we finish the book... or kill each other. Please check out Shankari's blog and Eileen's blog each Sunday and follow along with us. If you make the recipes, send me a photo and I'll post it! If you have a blog, be sure to include the link. Let me know where you are I can make fun of you. (no)

I decided to make Muhammara..or my version of it. It can be found on page 74 of Marlena Spieler's Jewish Cooking cookbook. Due to my huge fear of being sued by a publisher, I will not infringe upon any copyright laws. I switched the recipes up a bit and besides .. I thought I had all the ingredients and then..didn't! Adapt. Actually, I was going to start with Bulgarian Cucumber and Walnut Appetizer but changed my mind. I felt an urgent need to add some spice to my life. I checked with Ms. Spieler before starting the project and she has been helpful in so many ways. She spoke of feeling flattered and was so kind. Whew! wipes brow.

Instead of roasting red bell peppers, which I didn't have...I decided to use some jarred ones that I had. I didn't have any mild peppers either, so I used a few teaspoons of salsa taste. I had the choice to use pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar and I used the latter. I have some really great balsamic which I purchased at Corti's. (I did not buy the one that costs $499 bucks). I have purchased some at Taylor's both of those stores! it is a delicious dip or condiment. I am going to use it on sandwiches..absolutely. Veggies dipped in it is perfect is just about anything. Hell, I'd slide Stanley's paw down in it and lick it off! He is our cleanest cat.

So here is my adaptation of the recipe:

1 and 1/2 slices of toasted whole wheat bread
1 and 1/2 jars of Mezzetta roasted bell peppers
3 tsp of hot salsa verde...or to taste (oh baby, I like it hot and spicy)
one cup walnut pieces
3 or 4 medium sized garlic cloves
2 and 1/2 tablespoons of decent balsamic vinegar (I also like Oak Aged California Balsamic)
juice of 1/2 a lemon...a real lemon
1 teaspoon of ground cumin ( I toasted mine first in a med. hot dry pan.. and then ground it)
1/2 to 1 tsp. of sugar.. or I suppose you could use honey
7 tablespoons or so of good extra virgin olive oil

So I tore up the toast and through it in, added the walnuts and ground cumin and pulsed it all in my food processor until it was ground up..but not like flour or anything. An immersion mixer would work too..or a decent blender. Next, the rest of the ingredients go in and get pulsed.. except for the olive oil. That goes in last while the processor is still running. Pulse more until it looks like a thick puree. I slowly added in the olive oil until it had a smooth consistency. It is best to serve at room temp.

My new favorite party dip and sandwich spread. Smokey luscious goodness. From so much pleasure, one could plotz!

On Sunday, November 15th I'll be posting Bulgarian Cucumber and Walnut Appetizer and my husband is making challah! The man is a bread baking machine. If you make it, or this weeks, send me some photos and a bit of info. I'll post the pics next week! [I have decided to make Fragrant Beetroot/Vegetable and spiced lamb Kubbeh well]

Monday, November 02, 2009

Jewish Cooking....Sundays with Marlena

Our first meeting...on a Sunday. We missed you Eileen. Breakfast at Market Club Cafe in Sacramento was quite good. (photo by Rajesh Easwaran)

I had this idea to learn about my heritage...the one that was a big secret. When I was about 16, I saw my mom packing/or unpacking some books. There were several Hebrew and Yiddish books. I said, "what's with the Jewish books?" She replies, "my mother was Jewish." I said, "no shit?" I was raised in the Baptist Church so this came as quite the revelation to me.

Turns out, my ancestors migrated from Poland into southwest Russia, where my grandmother was born. She immigrated to Canada with her folks in 1902 from Romania..and finally slipped down into North Dakota as a "german russian" by the bookstand and everything! had this Jewish Cookbook. A few years back, I began buying other Jewish cookbooks..and one was by Marlena. Such a lucky, lucky day for me. I grew up eating most of the recipes....and I love em all! [well, not the cherry soup so much..but then I don't like cherries]. So, when Shankari heard about the project she wanted to help..and then so did Eileen.

On Sunday, November 8th, myself and two area food bloggers will begin a project to cook and blog our way through Marlena Spieler’s Jewish Cooking cookbook. *Three bloggers, three recipes every Sunday until we are finished.

We met and decided who was cooking least beginning with appetizers/starters. Eileen couldn’t be at the first meeting as she had some lame excuse about having to be in San Diego for the birth of her grandchild. So, Shankari and I met, along with our contributing husbands. Rajesh will be doing the photography from time to time (feasts) and Dave has been very helpful in establishing a data base of all the recipes. I admit right here and now that I am quite jealous that Shankari is married to such a great photographer...her food always looks so delish...and is!

Yes, we know Julie Powell already did Julia Child’s book and got famous over it. We are hoping the exact same thing happens to us. In reality, we’ll probably be hired to wash dishes and laundry at a Kibbutz in the Golan Heights or something. Oy vey! Also, there won’t be as many expletives in our food journals…unless they’re in Yiddish, of course.

Please join us on our journey every Sunday beginning November 8th, 2009. We will link each other up so you can see what is happening on each other’s blogs. On Sunday’s…our blogs will be called Cooking with Marlena. It will be fun to ride along as a Hindu, a Buddhist, and a shoulda-been Jew take on this glorious challenge. From so much pleasure, one could plotz!

[By the way…we are not being paid to do this.... like I had to tell you that. Feel free to send money though. Cabbage and matzo meal is not cheap!]

*Just the Two of Us by Eileen Thornton

*Stream of Consciousness by Shankari Easwaran and Rajesh Easwaran

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Festival of Lights-Three Ways

Jewish Festival of Lights

Hindu Festival of Lights

Buddhist Festival of Lights

I love diversity. I think it is one of the reason's I love living in Sacramento.

Food is a fabulous way to learn about other people. You saw Gran Torino, right? Food brought them all together.

The cooking/blogging project begins Sunday, November 8th. More tomorrow!

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-The Project Begins

So the project begins this coming Sunday, November 8th. Two other food bloggers, and myself, will begin cooking and posting our way through Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler.