Monthly Archives: November 2007

Pesto Latkes: From Scott Saunders

Check out Pesto Latkes –

Winner of the Multicultural Category – Latke Festival 2000 and 2001

 

Turns out, every year there is a Latkes Festival in Long Island – hosted by Robert Mummert (pictured below), the festival organizer.The festival has been going on for over 20 years – and they’ve featured latkes influenced by every culinary flavor under the sun. Check out the NPR article here, for more on the festival, and more recipes. In the interim, below is the recipe for participant (and two-time winner) Scott Saunders.

 

Pesto Latkes

Winning Recipe: Multicultural Category, Latke Festival 2000 and 2001

Winner of the Culinary Engineer’s Golden Dreidel Award

Ingredients:

1 large onion

4 med. shallots

1 bunch of scallions, greens only.

8-10 russet potatoes

Salt and pepper

5 eggs

1/2 – 1 cup white corn meal

1/2 cup pesto sauce

1/2 cup pignoli nuts

1/4 cup grated Romano Locatelli cheese

1) Mix all ingredients well and check that the consistency is a “batter” and not too liquid.

2) Form into small, thick pancakes and squeeze any excess liquid out as you are forming each latke.

3) Fry to a golden brown, not dark brown color.

4) Spoon over a teaspoonful of pesto sauce and top with a few pignoli nuts and grated Romano Locattelli cheese.

Recipe created by Scott Saunders.

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Asian Latkes with Soy Dipping Sauce

This is one I’ve never seen before: cabbage in latkes?!! But it actually sounds like it could be good – especially if you’re looking to switch it up a bit. 

This is a recipe from Rabbi Rachel Berenblat – you can find her blog here. Her recipe was featured in The Boston Globe, in 2006.

SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce – LOW SODIUM
  • 1/2 cupe mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon Asian-style chili/garlic sauce
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 1 bunch scallions (white part only)  – chopped; reserve the green for the latkes

1. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin, chili sauce, ginger, and scallions.

2. Stir well and set aside.

LATKES

  • 1 large sweet potato – peeled
  • 5 small russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 carrots
  •  1/4 green cabbage – cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 purple cabbage – cut into thin strips
  • 1 bunch of scallions – green part only
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 piece (4 inches) gingner – peeled & grated
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
  • 10 ounces Matzo meal
  • Canola oil for frying

DIRECTIONS
In a food processor with the grating disk, grate the sweet and white potatoes, carrots, and onion. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the green and purple cabbages and scallions. Toss to mix.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil. Add the ginger.

3. Stir the egg mixture into the potato mixture. Add salt, sesame seeds, and matzo meal. Mix thoroughly. Use your hand to gauge the texture. A handful of the batter should just stick together but not be too dry. If it’s too dry, add more beaten egg; if it’s too thin, add a little more matzo meal.

4. In a large skillet, heat enough oil to make a 1/4-inch layer. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil to the pan. Heat until the oil is hot.

5. With a spoon, pick up enough batter to make 2-inch pancakes and gently ease them into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry about 4 minutes or until golden on the bottom. Turn and fry on the other side until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve with dipping sauce. Adapted from Rachel Barenblat Notes:

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Wolfgang Puck’s Fancy Shmancy Latkes – with Caviar, Lox and Dill Cream

“Pravda” in Russian, means “truth.” It’s also the name of the self-proclaimed “underground” caviar and vodka bar in NYC on Lafayette, made famous by Sex and the City. Aside from all that, they make a mean “crispy potato pancake” with smoked salmon (a.k.a. ‘lox’) and sour cream. Check out their website here.

A quick search brought back Wolfgang Puck’s recipe – and while I’m not so into caviar myself – the rest of it sounds just about perfect. His recipe makes 6 servings and takes 35 minutes! To see it at its home on Food & Wine, click here.

Vodka (our family friend Moti swears only by Finlandia – and drinks it with every meal after 11:30 AM) cuts the intense (code: oily) flavor of latkes nicely, even though Puck suggests wine.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • 2 medium baking potatoes (1 pound), peeled
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon
  • 2 ounces caviar

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir the crème fraîche with the dill and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with the chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potatoes and the onion. Transfer to a large, clean kitchen towel and squeeze dry.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the shredded potatoes and onion with the egg, flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet or on a griddle, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten with the back of a spoon to make a 3-inch round. Make about 5 more pancakes and cook over moderately high heat until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture; you should have 12 pancakes.
  5. Arrange the potato pancakes on a platter. Serve warm, with the dill cream, smoked salmon and caviar.

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Zalabia: Middle-Eastern Chanukah Fritters in Syrup

As the Jewish holiday of Chanukah fast approaches (this year, it begins on the evening of Tuesday December 4th), recipes for latkes and other deep-fried delicacies will abound. Here is a recipe from our favorite – Claudia Roden – for “Zalabia” – deep-fried yummies, which she writes are from Egypt.

To purchase this book, click here.

I’ve copied and pasted the Q & A below, but you should check out the whole article here. Of course, recipes embody cross-cultural influences and often you’ll find many recipes for the same dish, each region claming it as their own and/or emphasizing the traditional tastes of their own locale.

The politics of the Palate.

If you click here, you’ll find the “Horesh Family Recipe index” (Horesh is a common last name of Iraqi Jews – and there are lots of good recipes here) . They list the Zalabia as being Iraqi Chanukah Fritters.

So whether these are Egyptian, Greek or Iraqi in origin – who cares? Enjoy!

There are many different recipes for Loukoumades, called Zalabia in Egypt. They are served soaked in sugar syrup or dusted with icing sugar. I use a recipe that is delicious although the fritters do not come out quite round. It is not an easy recipe but I hope you enjoy making it.

ZALABIA
Serves 6
For the sugar syrup
1kg sugar
500 ml water
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon rose or orange-blossom water

For the batter
500g flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet fast action dry yeast
750 ml warm water (1 part boiling to two parts cold)

Light vegetable oil for deep-frying.

Directions

For the syrup, put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a pan and simmer for 15 minutes or until it is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add the rose or orange-blossom water and simmer a few seconds longer, then chill, covered.

For the batter, put the flour in a large bowl, mix in the salt and yeast, then stir in the water gradually, beating vigorously for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour, then beat the batter once more and let it rise again.

Make the fritters in batches. Pour little balls of batter by the teaspoon or tablespoon (they can be small or large) into sizzling but not too hot oil and fry until puffed up, crisp and golden, turning them to brown them all over. You may find it easier if you dip the spoon in oil so that the batter rolls off easily. Lower the heat a little so that the fritters have time to get done inside before they are too brown. The batter is light and produces irregular, rather than perfectly round, shapes. If the oil is not hot enough to begin with the batter tends to flatten out.

Lift the fritters out with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and dip them in the cold syrup for a few seconds, or let them soak up the syrup for longer. They are at their best hot, but are also good cold.

For variation, you can pour over the fritters honey heated up with about half the quantity water. You can also sprinkle instead with icing (confectioner’s) sugar and cinnamon.

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Filed under Cookbooks, desserts, Holidays, Iraqi, Middle-Eastern

Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash

 Please check out a favorite blog of mine: 101 cookbooks.com. In a big rush today – but wishing all the Americans (and Canadians in America) a Happy Thanksgiving!

Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash

If you are pressed for time, opt for a lightly or semi-pearled farro (actually easier to find in some places), which will cut the cooking time for the grains down to about 20 minutes. Barley, both hulled and pearled, would make a nice substitution if you are having trouble finding farro. Also, I found the beautiful red spring onions at the farmers’ market but regular red onions will work well, and will be much easier to find.

2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
5 cups water (or stock)
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red onion cut into 1/8ths
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.

While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss the squash and onions every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and mince just 1/2 of the red onions.

In a large bowl gently toss the everything (except the goat cheese) with the toasted walnut oil (or olive oil). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary. Serve family-style in a simple bowl or on a platter garnished with the goat cheese.

Serves 6 – 8 as a side, less as a main.

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Beet Salad with Feta, Orange and Mint

This is a recipe from Alfred Portale’s Simple Pleasures. It’s a perfect autumnal salad that brings in some packed, fresh and almost summery flavor to it. Delicious.

You can also find the recipe online here.

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Building Your Culinary Library: James Beard Foundation’s Top 20

Celebrating 20 years of the James Beard Foundation, the Book Awards committee has just released a Top 20 list for must-have cookbooks. There’s a range from Julia Child to Mark Bittman, from Chinese and Mexican to Italian.

This is a good list to keep on hand, when you’re looking to get some inspiration…. Here’s the top 10 (they’re listed alphabetically – not by any other hierarchy). To see the rest of the list, click below:

The James Beard Book Awards Committee’s 20 Essential Books to Build Your Culinary Library:

  1. American Cookery (BBS Publishing Corporation, 1996), James Beard

 

 2. Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2007), Rick Bayless

 

3. Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens, 2004)

 

 

4. Classic Indian Cooking (William Morrow Cookbooks, 1980),Julie Sahni

 

5. Complete Techniques (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2001), Jacques Pépinand Léon Pererr

 

6. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Macmillan, 1995), Marcella Hazan

 

 

7. How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food (Wiley, 2006), Mark Bittman

 

8. The Joy of Cooking (Scribner, 2006), Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker

 

9. The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook (Countryman Press, 2003)

 

 

 

10. Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1999), Maida Heatter


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