Thursday, February 25, 2010

Have the Courage of Your Convictions-when making Brik !

Red Lentil Curry Soup was served with the Brik A'louef (Brik with egg)
I love that Julia Child quote..and it is true! First, I made the Harissa. I toasted the cumin, coriander, and caraway seed and then added some dried mint and then used my old coffee grinder to blend it all up.

I added those to my blended peppers..along with some lemon juice, evoo, preserved lemons, chili powder, and 5 cloves of garlic..and some salt. Good and hot!
My non-traditional Brik mise en place. I cracked one egg in a little bowl per Brik.
My traditional Brik mise en place. Tuna in olive oil is a must! Get the good stuff!
So it's not a sue me. My phyllo was not cooperating at all! I must find some Brik! I also want a deep fat fryer if I ever make this again.

I smeared the pastry with the harissa first and then made a well with the when you make your own pasta. I put the egg in the little well and then folded like a mad woman. The phyllo was cracked when I took it out of the package so that was not good...but I went ahead and made some wonderful Brik A'Leouf and I bow down to Marlena Spieler, Betsy McNair, and Eileen Thornton for making it look so darned easy! I am proud to call you my friends...and fellow Brikster's.

It is one of the best things I've ever eaten and I liked the traditional the best. So very good. I even added more harissa on top. I am a spicy woman. I served it with the Red Lentil Curry Soup with some Fage yogurt and cilantro on top. It was a big hit around here!

[please see previous post for ingredient list-photo] Also here is a link that describes the difference between warka or brik, lumpia, and phyllo. OMG..look at this link that shows them actually making the brik dough!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Brik at a Time

Traditional Brik (Breek) ingredients...well, except for there is an egg...and salmon isn't usually used. I might try it. I did buy the good tuna in olive oil!
Non-traditional Brik A'Leouf ingredients....again, there is an egg as well.
Soaking chili's in hot water to make harissa..since I couldn't find it at The Nugget. Note..I ended up using way more peppers and put boiling water over them..then plastic wrap on top. Let them stand for 24 hours. Also..I cut tops off first and de-seeded before topping off with the hot water.
My preserved meyer lemons will add a nice touch to the Brik!

So...I get all this stuff and then see that I have to let the Phyllo thaw for 5 frickin' hours! Who knew? So, tomorrow I will be stacking Brik's like a mason. Anyone want to sample??

This is one of Marlena's recipes from Jewish Cooking. My blogger buddy Eileen made it over at her place a while back. It's on the Jewish Menu for American River College's Oak Cafe next week so decided to go nuts with it! I'll post pics and results Thursday evening! Below is a Harissa recipe I found that got 5 star ratings...maybe I'll use it.

This North African condiment is based on a recipe in A Mediterranean Feast by Clifford Wright (William Morrow, 1999).
Source: Saveur
Harissa Photo: Andre Baranowski

8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
and seeded (about 2 oz.)
8 dried new mexico chiles, stemmed
and seeded (about 1 1⁄2 oz.)
1⁄2 tsp. caraway seeds
1⁄4 tsp. coriander seeds
1⁄4 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. dried mint leaves
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil,
plus more as needed
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
5 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Put chiles into a medium bowl, cover with boiling water, and let sit until softened, about 20 minutes. Heat caraway, coriander, and cumin in an 8" skillet over medium heat. Toast spices, swirling skillet constantly, until very fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer spices to a grinder with the mint and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

2. Drain chiles and transfer to the bowl of a food processor with the ground spices, olive oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice. Purée, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the paste is very smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a sterilized 1-pint glass jar and fill with oil until ingredients are submerged by 1⁄2". Refrigerate, topping off with more oil after each use. Paste will keep for up to 3 weeks.


This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #117

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Usual husband loves it

Making Chicken Soup....all I want is the clear broth for the matzo ball pool!
I have started saving chicken fat for schmaltz...for the matzo balls
I tressed the chicken, roast for my husband. We stuff it with lemon, rosemary, onion, and thyme...all fresh herbs, We also put lemon and rosemary under the skin!
I make brown rice..and I add veggies from my winter garden.
Crisp chicken skin, tender chicken...fragrant and healthy brown rice.

That's a meal. I put my chicken soup in the frig. I will make matzo balls tomorrow!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Ashkenazi Gefilte Fish just aren't cooking from Jewish Cooking if you don't get your cuisinart dirty at least a few times while making a recipe! I have loved every single recipe I've made from her far. Well...

Gefilte Fish. It just sounds bad. Sorry. I hear that one must acquire a taste for it. I am not there yet but I know that many people love it sooo much. Gefilte means "stuffed" and back in the day this mixture was stuffed back into the fish before cooking it. My cats went crazy for it!!

I used whitefish and cod fillets

Ingredients: Serves 4

2 1/4 lbs of a mixture of fish fillets (carp, white, cod, haddock, yellow pike)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of cold water
3 tbsp med matzo meal
2 tsp sugar
fish stock to simmer balls in
4 small onions
2 carrots
1-2 pinches of ground cinnamon, salt, and freshly ground pepper.

**common to serve horseradish and beetroot along with this meal

1. Salt fish fillets on a plate and let chill for an hour. After, rinse fish in cool water and add to food processor and blend until ground,.

2. Put that fish into a bowl and add the eggs and mix...gradually add the water. Stir in the matzo meal, then the sugar and seasonings. Beat until light and fluffy...Chill for an hour.

3. Take about a tbsp of the mixture..with wet hands and roll into balls.

4. Bring a lg pot of fish stock to a boil (I bought mine) and then reduce to a simmer and add the fish balls. Simmer for about one hour. If necessary, add more water to the pot to keep balls covered.

5. Add the onions, carrots, cinnamon and a little extra sugar and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes.

6. Leave fish to cool slightly then remove from the pot. Serve them warm or cold with the beetroot/horseradish.

Be sure to check out my blogger buddies offerings for Sunday with Marlena Spieler at Just the Two of Us and Sacramento Spice.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jewish Menu Coming to Oak Cafe at American River College

The Jewish Cooking menu will be featured March 3-5th at the Culinary Arts Cafe at the College in Sacramento. I was asked to do a menu this term and was thrilled. Please check out the link for more info! Check out the Oak Cafe menu here.

My co-blogger Shankari's menu is featured this week!

BTW...that Russian menu looks pretty darned Jewish to me. Holishke's for everyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Sephardi Stuffed Courgettes

We have a problem Houston....I forgot to add the tomato puree.
Well, they were delicious anyway...just shoot me. :) I cannot multi-task the way I used to!

Our computer is still at the tech hospital so thanks to my in-laws and their computer, I am updating my blog today!

Courgette=zucchini. Courgette is much more fun to say, don't you agree? I feel like a gourmand as it rolls off my tongue. This is a vegetarian dish so rally those and the vegans and have a feast! This is great as an appetizer, side, or main course. Yemenite-spiced with the bright taste of lemon...perfect cold too.
Ingredients: serves 4
4 peeled smallish potatoes
4 smallish onions, skinned
4 courgettes, sliced width ways about 2 1/2 inches each
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 TBS olive oil
3-4 TBS tomato puree (I bought the kind in the tube)
1/4 tsp ras al hanout or curry powder **
lg pinch of ground allspice
seeds of 2 cardamom pods (just crack open the pods and there are the seeds)
3 TBS finely chopped fresh parsley
6-8 TBS veggie stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
serve with a salad...optional of course
1.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Starting with the potatoes, then the onions, and
ending with the courgettes: add to the boiling water and cook until they become tender but not fully cooked all the way through. The potatoes will take about 10 minutes, the onions about 8, and the courgettes about 4 minutes. Remove all from the water and let cool. (You could also roast the veggies rather than boil them...but don't over-roast the courgettes or they won't hold your stuffing mixture!)
2. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out some of the zuchinni "meat" and reserve. (I suggest you let it drain in a colander). You need a vessel to put all of the luscious veggies back in!
3. Chop all veggies up and add to small bowl. Add the garlic, 1/2 the olive oil, the tomato puree, the spices, lemon juice, parsley and salt/pepper. Mix together. I used an immersion blender for a few seconds..but next time I won't. I'd want it chunkier. This was not my finest hour people.
4. Arrange in Pam-sprayed baking tin and drizzle with the stock and remaining olive oil. Roast for 35 to 40 min or until golden brown. Enjoy! I loved it! Marlena, you knocked this one out of the park, just like your dad used to.
Be sure to hop over and see what my blogger buddies have made today out of Jewish Cooking. Eileen at Just the Two of Us and Shankari at Sacramento Spice.

** click on ras al hanout to learn how to make it. it is a N. African spice mixture

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Sephardi Stuffed Courgettes

Our dear computer is still in the tech hospital so am back at the in-laws this lovely morning updating my blog. Thanks Bill and Joyce!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sundays With Marlena Spieler-Baked Winter Squash or Ragout of Butternut Squash and Tomatoes

Our computer crashed so am over at my in-laws using their computer. Thanks mom and dad! I know I am posting early but for some reason I can't make the post options post it tomorrow so I give up. Here it is...1/2 a day early and a dollar short.

Dave made this killer chili today that had butternut squash in, I decided to make this dish from Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler. It is really Shankari's to do at some point..but I emailed and called her to ask if we could trade. Never heard back so let's hope we didn't make the same recipe today! If we did...just a double dose of goodness is all!

This dish is a favorite of the Italian Jews...from around Mantua. I guess they have some mighty fine squash growing in that region.

Ingredients: Serves 4 - 6

A winter squash like pumpkin, butternut, etc. about 2 1/2 lbs peeled and cut into large chunks

3-5 TBS olive oil

1 chopped onion

3-5 chopped garlic cloves

14 oz can chopped tomatoes [I used a couple of fresh tomatoes too]

pinch of sugar

2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary..chopped finely

salt and ground pepper to taste

Put some olive oil in a hot pan and saute the squash till it begins to brown.. transfer it to a bowl

Put onions in same pan and saute until soft

Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so

Add the tomatoes and cook till juices look like a sauce

Layer squash and tomato mixture in a baking dish

Bake at 325 until top becomes golden brown

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary

This is a satisfying dish on a cold savory. I would enjoy it with some brown rice too..or some pasta!!

Be sure and check out my blogger pals for their offerings for Sundays with Marlena at Just the Two of Us and Sacramento Spice.

Friday, February 05, 2010


I've been bad about posting. I am grieving the death of my old cat Simon this week..he died on Monday. Just haven't been into doing much. Come back on Sunday for my Jewish Cooking offering.

My cat Simon used to love to dance...and he especially loved "My Girl" by the Temptations. If the song was played on the radio..he would put his paws up on my thighs and beg to be picked up. He would always nibble my ear to the song. I heard the song today...a sweet memory indeed.

Check it out...My Girl