Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler...Balkan Aubergines with Cheese and Moroccan Vegetable Salad

Male eggplant on is smaller and has fewer seeds. Good to know.
Saute untill a bit golden.
The texture is much like that of a souffle. It is delish cold too! Great to make ahead for Shabbat or a picnic. Great potluck dish..sure to please everyone!
Dave sprinkled some feta on top....very good idea. Next time I will peel the eggplant.. to make it easy to cut with just a fork.
Another great make ahead option.

My version of Balkan Aubergines with Cheese by Marlena Spieler from Jewish Cooking

Ingredients: Serves 6..or maybe even 8

2 large eggplants (aubergines) cut into 1/4 inch slices
(salt them and put them in a colander to drain for 30 minutes...then wash off the salt and pat dry) You will saute them until they are a golden brown.
5 TBS olive oil
3 TBS butter
3 TBS all purpose flour
2 large onions, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (saute in pan while eggplant is draining)
a small container of cherry tomatoes...sauteed till they pop open
2 1/2 cups of hot milk (do not boil)
1/8 tsp each of nutmeg and cayenne pepper (I used a tsp of sambal olek chili paste)
4 lg eggs lightly beaten
3 1/2 cups grated cheese like Gruyere, parm, and cheddar. I mixed them all together!

[I boiled some Israeli couscous and layered that in too...nice texture)

1. So, melt the butter in a sauce pan. then add the flour and cook for a minute, stirring the entire time. Remove from heat and gradually add in the hot milk..and keep stirring. Return to med heat and let it come to a slow boil..stirring..until it thickens. Season with nutmeg and pepper or chili paste. Let sauce cool.

2. When the sauce is cool, beat in your eggs and then mix in the grated cheese. Save a bit of cheese to top the dish with.

3. So, now you layer in an ovenproof dish or pan. First the sauce, then some eggplant, then the onions and tomatoes, then the couscous (optional) and start over until you end with eggplant and the remainder of the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until a light golden brown and it is firm. Let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting or chill and serve cold or at room temp.

Dave sprinkled some feta over it..and that was the bomb! It is so very souffle-like. We loved it..and so did my in-laws! Now, for the salad.

Moroccan Vegetable Salad..a great salad to go with the entree!

I have learned many things while cooking through Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler. A major delight and surprise is how wonderful the salads are...and they aren't just mixed greens. Often, greens aren't even on the menu! Not that greens are a bad thing. I've also learned....Jewish Cooking is not what you might think it is!

I made this salad the other night and Dave and I were crazy for it! I don't like green bell peppers, so we decided to exclude those.

Ingredients: Serves 4

2 waxy-type boiled potatoes..chilled and then sliced
2 bell peppers sliced thinly
10 black olives...slice a few
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 finely chopped lg garlic cloves
1 sliced jalapeno....remove the seeds
1 medium cucumber...sliced
1-2 finely chopped green onions
3 TBS each of chopped parsley and cilantro
1 TBS chopped mint
Feta cheese is optional and not in the original recipe..Dave wanted to add some and voila!

I put the ingredients on a plate and then drizzled the olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs over the top..took the photo, then mixed it all up in a bowl and chowed down!

Please go check out Eileen and Shankari's blogs for their offerings on Jewish Cooking.

Friday, January 29, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons and Stale Bread....

Meyer Lemons...a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange....and they were a gift from someones backyard tree!
You just rub em down with kosher salt, pack em in a steralized jar, add a bit more lemon juice, salt and boiling water. Waiting is the hard part..just 2 or 3 weeks! Preserved lemons.
Stale french bread..first ya have to cut off the outside crust..but save because you can grind em up and use them for bread crumbs. Don't toss anything!
Herb baked croutons...light and crunchy. Delish.
And you can freeze the breadcrumbs and use them whenever!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Holishkes...or stuffed cabbage rolls

I posted this before we officially began cooking and blogging our way through Marlena Spieler's Jewish Cooking cookbook. I've had several people ask me to publish the recipe. I actually had it here at one time...but I was lazy and just took photos of the recipe and uploaded them. WRONG! Below the photos is my adaptation of the recipe.

Just before I poured the chopped tomatoes over.
So we have sliced onions and chopped onions...and 5 minced garlic cloves.
I used two kinds of cabbage...blanched each and pulled leaves off for rolling meat mixture in.
I also used some beet greens...because I could. Not in original recipe.
This is how I roll.


2 lbs of lean ground beef (could use lamb or mixture of both)
3 -4 oz of long grain rice (not cooked)
4 med. onions, two chopped and two sliced
6 finely chopped garlic cloves (could make it less if you don't like garlic so much)
2 lightly beaten lg eggs
2 - 3 TBS water
2 large heads of cabbage ( I used one plain white and one napa cabbage)
*note: if you don't want to boil the heads, put them in the freezer for no less than 24 hours. Take them out about an hour before you start making the holishkes. The leaves will peel off.
2 14 oz cans of tomatoes...chopped
1/3 TBS sugar
1/3 TBS white wine vinegar (or apple cider or rice wine vinegar)
1/2 TBS fresh lemon some wedges to put on the plate for serving
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Okay..put the ground meat, chopped onions, rice, garlic, salt and pepper into bowl. Mush together with your impeccably clean hands. Add the water to the two beaten eggs and combine. and the mixture.

2. Cut the core from the cabbage...or get as much out as you can. Have a large pot of boiling water at the ready..unless you froze the cabbage. Blanch the cabbage for about 2 - 3 minutes. Take out with big tongs....and a big spoon. Let cool slightly and then gently peel leaves off. You will have to re-submerge to get more layers off. Any cabbage that is left over, just chop roughly and add to pan for cooking! Preheat that oven to 325 degrees.

3. Form the beef mixture into ovals or eggs shapes. Don't overwork the mixture...that makes em tough. Same for meatballs! Wrap each one in a cabbage you are putting a diaper on. Make sure the mixture is completely enclosed. Keep going. I also used some blanched beet greens that I had saved..just scooched em in there with the cabbage leaves.

4. In a large oven-proof pan or dish (I sprayed mine with Pam), lay the rolls side by side and then layer with the onions. To the tomatoes, add the cinnamon, sugar, vinegar and lemon juice and then slosh that over the entire top. Add a bit more salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 2 hours. Baste during cooking least twice, with the tomato mixture. If I recall, I think I also poured over a bit of low sodium V-8 juice..adjusted seasonings. I don't know why I did that...except that I cannot follow a recipe for the life of me!

5. After two hours, uncover and let cook for another 30 - 60 minutes. You don't want the cabbage to melt away.

Enjoy! This is something my mom made for us all the time.

She used to freeze it and send it (packed in dry ice) to my Aunt Kitty in Illinois! I actually froze it solid once and sent it to Dave here in Sacramento. At the time, I had no idea how hot it gets in Sacramento in April. Dave came home and as soon as he got out of his truck he could smell the stuff on his doorstep. Needless to say...he didn't eat it.

If you want to ship, insure the trip...dry ice!


Carolyn Jung said...

The best things come in little packages. These stuffed cabbage rolls are no exception. Yum!

Glenna said...

Yum! Looks wonderful! Can I come for dinner?

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

Yes they do..and yes you can!

Anonymous said...

Could we have the recipe? It seems to be missing?

I made these prior to starting to "officially" cook and blog my way thru Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler. I used to have the recipe up,I took photos of it..but then thought better of that lazy idea and deleted those.

I will be "making this" again very soon and will type out my version of the recipe along with the photos.

I'd do it right now..but am on a deadline and must get going!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks! looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there are any news on the recipe?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Yemenite Poached Fish in Spicy Tomato Herb Sauce

The cod and basa...they are under there!
The cod was poached perfectly..light and flaky.
The basa (Asian catfish) was poached after the cod...less dense so goes in last.
On Monday we met in SF to honor Marlena Spieler. More on that later this week. She is the one with the platinum hair and red lips! I look like the family matriarch in this photo. Ha! My fellow co-bloggers look so cute! More on everyone later this week! to this weeks recipe from Jewish Cooking.

Ingredients: Serves 6 - 8

1 and 1/4 cups crushed canned tomatoes
2/3 cup fish stock (I made mine from dried bonito but you can purchase in a bottle)
1 large chopped onion
5-6 pearl onions (I used frozen)
1 chopped carrot (I used baby whole carrots)
4 TBS chopped parsley
4 TBS chopped cilantro
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 TBS chili paste (I prefer sambal olek)
one lg pinch of ground curry powder and ground ginger powder
1/4 tsp of both cumin and turmeric
2-3 cardamom pods
juice of 2 lemons...might need extra (ya never know)
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
3 1/4 pounds of fresh firm white fish fillets (I used cod and basa but halibut alone would be great)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Put the crushed tomatoes in a heated pan and add the fish stock, onions, herbs, garlic, chili paste, spices, lemon juice, and oil and bring to a boil. Then, remove the pan from the heat and add the fish fillets. Return to the heat and allow to boil briefly. Reduce heat and simmer gently for a few more minutes. Spoon mixture over fish as it simmers. Don't overcook. Fish is done when it is flaky and white....about 5 minutes. I loved this aromatic dish so much and will make it over and over again. It was the best way I've ever cooked fish!

This is a traditional Jewish dish called Samak. You could serve it with flat bread or pita and with a condiment like Hilbeh...which is basically a fenugreek and tomato relish. Be sure to head on over to Eileen's blog, Just the Two of Us and over to Shankari's blog, Sacramento Spice to see what they have cooked up from Marlena's cookbook, Jewish Cooking.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tolliver Kids with their Mom

These are the children of Glen and Lydia Rosenberg Tolliver.

Back row, L to R:

Dee Tolliver, Andrew Tolliver, Ernest Tolliver, Glen Tolliver, Kitty Tolliver

Seated, L to R:

Millie Tolliver, Lydia Rosenberg Tolliver, Patty Tolliver

Andy died recently. Aunt Patty and Aunt Kitty are still with us. :)

My mom was Dee. [click on photo to enlarge]

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Onion Rolls and Hearty Salads

Beetroot with Fresh Mint-refreshing!
Tunisian Potato and Olive Salad...lusty!
We wait for the dough to smells heavenly
Top with more onion and poppy seeds and wait for another rise......
Ah...they are out of the oven. When I tasted one, I wanted a bierock! I wanted to stuff the inside with whatever they put in those bierocks. Sauerkraut, ground beef...???? These rolls rock! They are huge...great for a sandwich..where in the hell is the pastrami and mustard? Get me a sour pickle please.

Recipes below:

Onion Rolls [happily made by my sweet husband, Dave]

Ingredients: makes 12 - 14 rolls

1 TBS dry active yeast
1 TBS sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2 TBS veggie oil
2 eggs lightly beaten
4 to 4 1/2 cups bread flour (see how dough feels..not too sticky)
2 onions chopped very finely
1 tsp poppy seeds

Mix together the yeast sugar and water in a mixer or food processor with a dough hook or dough blade. Sprinkle this mixture with a little dough then cover and leave for about 10 min or until bubbles appear on the surface.

Beat 1 tsp of salt, oil and one of the eggs into the mixture then gradually add the rest of the flour and then knead in mixer for about 8 minutes or so until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. If dough is still sticky..add a bit more flour.

Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in it and turn to coat. cover with dishtowel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles.

turn dough out onto floured area and punch down...then knead for 4 minutes and then knead half of the onions into the dough. Form dough into egg-sized balls and then press down till about 1/2 inch thick. Put parchment paper on baking sheet and then place rolls on sheet. make sure they have room to rise.

Lightly beat the last egg and add about a TBS of water and a pinch of salt. push a slight indentation into each roll and then brush with the egg mixture. Sprinkle the remaining onions over rolls and then a bit of poppy seed over each one. Leave to rise again...don't cover..about 45 more minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls for about 20 minutes..or until golden brown. Serve hot with a hearty salad or two ...and I would use some butter or cream cheese..some lox too! Oh, and some pickles.

Tunisian Potato and Olive Salad

Ingredients: Serves 4-6

8 large new potatoes
large pinch of salt
large pinch of sugar
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 or 2 TBS vinegar...I used rice wine vinegar but you can choose your own
large pinch of ground cumin or cumin seeds ...I used some toasted and ground cumin
pinch of hot paprika or taste
3 or 4 TBS of extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS of chopped fresh cilantro or chopped fresh parsley
10 - 15 dry-fleshed black Mediterranean olives (I didn't have used Greek Kalamata..but a dry more wrinkled variety would be even better...which I guess is why Marlena suggests it).

Chop the potatoes into chunks and boil until just tender. Add the salt and sugar into the boiling water. Reduce and simmer until a knife slides easily into the potatoes. Don't overcook! About 10 minutes is all it takes. Drain into colander and leave to cool a bit.

Slice potatoes thinner if you like, then sprinkle the garlic, vinegar, cumin, and paprika or cayenne over the salad. Add the olive oil over the top and then the cilantro and olives. Mix gently and then chill.

Beetroot with Fresh Mint

Ingredients: Serves 4

4-6 cooked beets, medium (or buy them vacuum-packed at Trader Joe's)
2 tsp sugar
1 - 2 TBS decent balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of mint leaves, rolled up and then cut crosswise very thinly
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste

*you can make it Tunisian by adding harissa to taste and use cilantro instead of mint
*you can make it Ashkenazi by adding some finely chopped onion and some dill instead of the mint.

So our wonderful adventure thru Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler and learning all about their/my culture through food. Please be sure and check out my blogger buddies, Eileen at Just the Two of Us and Shankari at Sacramento Spice to see what they are offering up today!

Your feedback helps us. Don't be shy. My blogger buddy in Missouri made the onion rolls too..check out A Fridge Full of Food..and nothing to eat.

Stuff I Cooked This Week

Brannigan Turkey Breast was the best! Love their turkeys.
Split pea soup hit the spot on a dreary day. I was inspired by Glenna Muse.
I was into a legume thing for a few days. Black-eyed peas with rosemary/sage salt.

Check back tomorrow for Sundays with Marlena Spieler. Dave is making onion rolls and I will be contributing two fabulous and hearty salads.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Had to Post this Chowhound Reply

I often visit Chowhound to get ideas, get restaurant recommendations, etc. I went to the Kosher Board to get ideas about the "Jewish Menu" I have been asked to do for the Culinary Arts Program at American River College...for their Oak Cafe.

The thread is long..and eventually was moved to the General Chowhounding Board, but I loved this reply, as I did many.

On behalf of Jews everywhere, I would like to thank you for taking an interst in Jewish cuisine(s). At the risk of stereotyping my fellow Jews, the old adage -Ask 2 Jews a question & you'll get 3 (at least) opinions - seems to be demonstrated by the responses to your inquiry. Please don't feel under attack, as, for many of us, this is merely the hallmark of a lively discussion. Consider yourself lucky that you didn't inquire about a kosher Jewish menu. The opinions would have increased exponentially.

While Jews have historically (and some times hysterically) lived in scattered places around the world, the largest concentrations have been in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The cuisines from those areas, based more on geography than religion, seem to be those most identified with "Jewish food". With that in mind, I believe that selections from either or both of those cuisines will satisfy what your guests expect from "Jewish food." And don't forget, at the end of the meal, a little heartburn is perfectly acceptable.

Good luck with your dinner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sharlotka..a Russian "Pie"

Mila teaching me the recipe..crappy photo from Iphone.
The batter looks good!
Look at that crispy crust!
I gave half to my in-laws.
Yummmmmm. Mila is my housekeeper. Am I rich? No. My MIL gifted her cleaning services to me two years ago..and she comes once a week. The woman can cook..and I had fun with her today!

Simple recipe:

Cut up two lemons and one apple into quarter inch pieces. Spray a deep dish pie pan with Pam. Toss the lemons and apple in. [I used meyer lemons] I left the peels on the lemons..per Mila.

Beat one cup of sugar and 3 eggs..till it turns white
Take a tablespoon and put a pinch of baking soda into it..then add vinegar. It will "poof and bubble". Add it to the batter. Mix.

Then, add one cup of flower and mix slowly..then 1 tsp of good vanilla. Mila says you can add sour cream if you like..a spoonful. I was thinking ricotta!

Pour the batter over the lemons and apples and put it into a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes..or until the top is crispy and browned.

Take a knife and go around the edges of the pie...after about 10 minutes. Put a large plate on the top and invert it....

Serve with good vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

In Russian..gostya na paroge..means, guests at the doorstep..or uninvited guests. It is quick..easy, and delish!