Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Julie Powell Rocks!

Myself and my blogger buds have been cooking and blogging our way through "Jewish Cooking" by Marlena Spieler for quite a while now. Three women cooking and then blogging her recipes each Sunday since November. Three recipes from three bloggers just once a week. It is true that it was my idea in the first place...but was inspired by Julie Powell and of course Marlena Spieler.

Julie Powell actually cooked and then blogged her way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" all by herself. She cooked every day from that book! Does anyone even realize what that involves?? I would be nuts...and broke by now trying to do that. I made one recipe from Child's book and it took me all day!

I have heard that some bloggers and authors thought Julie was a "hag book author" and are just jealous of her success. Just try to cook your way through Julia's book. The fact that Julia Child did not appreciate Julie's work only means that she was old-fashioned and did not get that Julie Powell was honoring her work. I know a couple of 80 year-olds who believe that Obama must be a Muslim terrorist! See what I mean?

Julie Powell....hats off to you for cooking and blogging your way through such an intimidating cookbook. Wish you had written the screenplay for Julie and Julia!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Even Kids Love Matzo Ball Soup!

Eva was totally into the mini-passover lunch today. Everyone had two bowls!
"Can I have more mitzi soup Mel?" That girl eats like a truck driver! :) :)
Nora liked it a lot too...and loved her princess dish and cup!
Nora looked so pretty and ate so delicately....she is older than Eva.
Eva played more on the cat tree than the cats did! She cracks me up.
I made lots o matzo balls last night...this was the golf-ball size batch..which we had today.
Ahhhhhh...perfect floaters.
The chicken soup is the key to a great matzo ball my humble opinion. Do NOT cook your matzo balls in your chicken soup. Those are onions you are looking at...chicken is underneath. Also, don't boil the soup...makes for a cloudy broth. Simmer.....
These were last night's matzo balls....kinda huge but delish. All floaters BTW.
I even saved up chicken fat and made schmaltz for the matzo balls. It made a difference!

Thanks to Ann, Eva, Kate, and Nora for making this a fun lunch today. It was great having you over! I appreciated the dessert goodies...and Dave will too! Those girls are so darling...and so are their little kids.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Rebecchine de Gerusalemme

These tasty "fritters" are from Italian Jews, no doubt. They are deep-fried round polenta sandwiches........ traditionally filled with anchovy fillets but I filled mine with mozzarella cheese and a dab of marinara sauce. It's allowed. They are so good! If I was eating alone, I would have used anchovies because I love em. Dave, not so much.

In Kosher Eye, I found this: "most Italian Jewish dishes are the cuisine of poverty, one can find traditional recipes in almost every region in Italy. Just look for the names all’ebraica, alla giudea, alla grega, Rebecchine, Gerusalemme; the names indicate that they are the foods of the Jews. Jewish influence in Italian cooking was present even in ancient Rome; the Garum Catimoniale was a fish sauce made only from fish with scales," by Lael Hazen.

Ingredients Serves 4 - 6
  • 1 ½ cups polenta
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste / puree
  • 2 or 3 tbsp tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 2 or 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 130g, 4 1/2oz mozzarella, Gorgonzola or fontina cheese, finely chopped or grated
  • half veg. and half olive oil for deep frying
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten
  • plain flour for a light coating

  1. In a large pan combine the polenta with the cold water, stir,
  2. add 3 cups boiling water and cook stirring constantly for about 30min.
  3. until mix is thick and no longer grainy
  4. season
  5. pour mix into greased baking dish, forming a layer ½inch thick
  6. lightly cover, and cool
  7. chill in fridge for an hour or longer..till polenta is set
  8. cut out rounds..I use a round deep jar lid 2.5" width
  9. combine the tomato puree with the diced tomato and Italian spices
  10. spread a little of the tomato mix onto the soft side of the polenta shapes
  11. save some for dipping *
  12. sprinkle with the cheese grated mozzarella or other melting cheese
  13. top with another polenta shape, again soft side against the filling
  14. press edges together to seal*
  15. fill the remaining polenta shapes in the same way
  16. heat oil in wide pan to a depth of 2 inches until hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 30 seconds
  17. dip fritters into egg mix, coat with flour and gently lower into the oil and fry for 4-5 min, turning once
  18. drain on clean kitchen towel or paper towels
  19. serve warm with a light salad and a dish of the tomato sauce.....optional
  20. Dave and I loved them and will serve as appetizers for our next party
My blogger buddies and I continue our project of cooking and blogging our way through Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler. Be sure to hop over and check out their offerings for this Sunday with Marlena. Eileen at Just the Two of Us and Shankari at Sacramento Spice.

Passover is upon us....I am making a load of Matzo Balls on Sunday! I've never attended a Seder but am reading all about it. I have learned so much during this project and am very grateful.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-- Putting the schnit back in Schnitzel

Salt, pepper, and lemon juice on the pounded-out chicken breasts
The dredging station..I just do the egg and then the flour/matzo meal blend.
After dredging, I put them on a rack, over a cookie sheet, and let them set up for 15 min.
I fry in a blend of olive and canola sure to drain on and blot with paper towels after!
I simply served with a small red baker with sour cream and Marlena's sweet and sour cuke salad...which I think Eileen is making or has already made. It is perfect with this. Sweet and sour red cabbage would be great too!

Schnitzel was originally made using veal and pork. Apparently Jewish folk appreciate the turkey variety. I love schnitzel..any way, any how. I decided to use chicken though..because I had these fabulous chicken breasts from Corti Brothers. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients: Serves Four

4 boneless turkey or chicken breast fillets, pounded to about 1/4 " thick each
juice of one lemon..or maybe a bit more :)
2 chopped garlic cloves
6 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 tsp paprika (I used hot paprika)
1 TBS water
2 eggs..blended lightly
a mixture of canola and olive oil for shallow frying (see photo)
salt and freshly ground black pepper (for the dredge and for on top of the uncooked meat)
lemon wedges to serve (lemon makes all the difference squeezed over top)

1. Lay each fillet between wax paper or inside of a large ziplock bag and pound to flatten. Use a rolling pin or the smooth end of a meat mallet. If the chicken falls apart..."glue" it back on with a tap or two.

2. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and lemon juice over the pounded fillets.

3. Arrange two shallow dishes for dredging. One with the blended eggs and one with the mixture of flour and matzo meal...I also added the hot paprika to this mixture. (my DIL gave me that dredging set, which includes three, ...came from Pampered Chef).

4. Dip each fillet into the eggs and then over to the dredge. You'll have to work quickly..make sure to press the dredging mixture into the fillet.

5. Then put fillet's on a drying kind of "set up" before frying. Not for too long.

6. Heat pan with oil mixture...when you can see little bubbles on the bottom, you are ready to fry! Be very careful when adding fillet's to hot oil. As they fried, I used a spatula to sort of push the hot oil on top of the it cooked the top almost as it cooked the bottom. The color should be golden brown...not dark brown! Watch the heat. A heavy cast iron pan would be perfect for this. oil so be careful. It doesn't take long to cook at all.

7. Be sure to put a clean towel or paper towels down on surface and lay cooked fillet on top...then blot to get most of the oil off. You will probably have to cook one or two at a time. You can leave the prepared schnitzel in the oven on 175 degrees until the others are done.

Enjoy! Be sure and check out the Jewish Cooking project blogger's out to see what they cooked for Sunday with Marlena.... Just the Two of us and Sacramento Spice. I know it will be delish.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Green Calcutta Curry with Chicken

I got some fantastic chicken breasts at Corti Brothers today. Perfect for this dish
I had coconut milk but forgot to buy fresh pineapple so canned did the job just fine.
I used some pita bread to dip into this fragrant, herbalicious and spicy sauce. Basmati rice would be great with it as well.
The chicken was tender...the dish was fresh. I like it "hot" so added more peppers.

Isn't this an Indian dish? There are Jews in India. They were a wondering people.

Ingredients: Serves 4

4 chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 or 3 chopped fresh chilies (I used jalapeno)
1/2 bunch freshly chopped cilantro (save some for garnish)
1 chopped onion
1 lemon..juice of
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of curry powder
2 pinches of ground clove
a pinch of cinnamon
lg pinch of ground coriander
1 large skinned chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces (or 2 smaller ones)
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
1 TBS sugar
1/4 pineapple, peeled and chopped (or use a small can already chopped..and drained)
2-3 sprigs of fresh mint, sliced thinly
salt to taste

Puree the garlic, ginger, chillies, fresh cilantro, onion, lemon juice, curry powder, cumin, clove, ground coriander, and salt using a food processor.

Toss the chicken with about 2 TBS of this mixture and set the chicken aside.

Heat oil in pan and add remaining spice mixture and mix till if forms a paste...on med. high.

Stir the stock, cinnamon, coconut milk and sugar to the pan..bring to boil then reduce to simmer.

Stir the chicken into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the mint and the juice of 1/4 of a lemon. Taste...add more salt, lemon, or mint if needed. **you could also cut up half a banana and stir that into the sauce until it melts. the recipe also called for golden raisins but we don't like those so left them out.

Be sure to check out what my fellow blogger buddies have cooked up from Marlena's Jewish Cooking today. Eileen at Just the Two of Us and Shankari at Sacramento Spice.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-The Menu

Chocolate Babka
Linzertorte with housemade ice cream
So they left out the Z-Koont is a good name too.
The Menu
House made pickles!
Zchug, sweet/sour cucumber salad with flatbread and baba ghanoush
Matzo Ball Soup
Brik A'louef with stuffed courgettes and housemade harissa. It was served standing up between the courgettes! You try cooking an egg over easy that you cannot see! The salmon inside was also delightful. Thanks Gayle!!
Brisket with cabbage and kishke...perfect!

Photo's of the "Jewish Menu" from Oak Cafe at American River College's Culinary Arts Program courtesy of Judith R. Scott.

Last week, my adaptation of Marlena Spieler's recipes were featured. My husband and I...with his parents went to lunch there on Friday. It was a fantastic and delicious presentation. The students "kicked ass" on the menu. So very gourmet! Yes....Gourmet Jewish Food! My thanks to Teresa Urkofsky for asking me to present a menu. I was verklempt! From so much pleasure, one could plotz! {the desserts were inspired by Clarrisa Hyman}

Check out my blogger pals for their take on Jewish Cooking this week! Go to Just the Two of Us and Sacramento Spice.