Welcoming the Season with Creamed Corn

photo: Melinda Strauss

photo: Melinda Strauss

By Melinda Strauss

With the holiday of Shavuot fast approaching, I have dairy on the brain. I tend to lean towards meat dishes and non-dairy desserts but how could I say no to this opportunity to use heavy cream and my favorite cheese, spicy pepper jack?!? With spring in the air and my favorite fruits and vegetables coming out of hiding, corn seems like the perfect ingredient to highlight the season. Continue reading

Quinoa Filled Squash Boats for Passover

photo: Lucy Schaeffer

photo: Lucy Schaeffer

As we wind our way through Passover week, it’s great fun to experiment with ingredients that fit the bill as perfectly as quinoa does. This vegetarian dish brings bright colors and textures together for this elegant side dish or entree. Continue reading

What’s YOUR Charoset Story?

Syrian apricot charoset (1)

Desperate for something to eat as the  Passover Seder progression delays the dinner, we welcome the moment when we are free to pile charoset on matzah.

Ironic, isn’t it, that while charoset represents the mortar used to make bricks when we were slaves in Egypt, it is somehow, the tastiest symbol at the Passover Seder? Continue reading

Turkish Temptations? Tell Me More!

photo by Debra Somerville

photo by Debra Somerville

I shared an hour on the phone with Moshe Aelyon last Friday afternoon and hung up with a deep hankering for Turkish cuisine.  I had planned to spend the afternoon with him,  chatting in his handsome kitchen while he prepared a distinctly Turkish, kosher style, Sabbath dinner for his regular, weekly client. Continue reading

Turkish Inspired Leek Meatballs (Passover or Any Time)

When Moshe Aelyon described his grandmother’s savory, leek infused meatballs to me, I was hooked even before I tasted them. Leeks impart a more interesting and nuanced flavor than other onions. These are a true Turkish specialty.

 

Kofte de Pirasa (Leek Meat Balls-for Passover)

25-27 golf ball sized meatballs

Kofte de Pirasa (Leek Meat Balls-for Passover)

These Turkish meatballs have been adapted for Passover. They were a much requested Sabbath specialty in Moshe's childhood home in Instanbul. When guests exclaimed how much they loved them, his grandmother reminded them of how special they were by claiming, "You should have golden teeth to eat these!"

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 3 bunches leeks (9 stalks), washed and chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup matzo cake meal
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut off the bottom, very dark green, tough portion on each leek.
  2. Slit each leek vertically from top to bottom and rinse them through each layer.
  3. Slice the leeks vertically into thin strips and then chop them across finely.
  4. Place the leeks in a pan with a tight fitting lid. Add water to cover and steam the leeks for about 15 minutes. When they are tender, drain out all the excess water and let them cool completely.
  5. After the leeks are cool, squeeze out all the remaining water with your hands.
  6. Combine the steamed leeks with ground beef, 1/2 cup of matzo meal, parsley, and eggs. Season the meat ball mix with salt and pepper.
  7. Form about 25-27 golf ball size koftes. Roll each kofte in matzo cake meal seasoned with salt and pepper.
  8. Crack three eggs into a shallow dish and beat them.
  9. Preheat a large sauté pan and when it is medium high, add oil to about ¼ inch deep.
  10. Dip each kofte in beaten egg and then place them in the oil to fry until they are golden brown. Only turn each kofte once. Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towel.
  11. serve with a spritz of fresh lemon juice.

Notes

Helpful hints from Moshe:

Mud and grit cling to the inner layers of leeks so be thorough when washing them.

You can steam leeks several days ahead. Keep squeezed out leeks in a container in the refrigerator.

Before frying, roll all the koftes out first and coat all with the cake meal before you start frying. That way, you'll be less rushed and the oil won't overheat.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/turkish-inspired-leek-meatballs-passover-or-any-time

 

Birthday of the Trees and a Glimmer of Spring

I wrestled with my warmest waterproof boots, grabbed my camera and began to hunt for signs of spring last week. There were spots of snow everywhere but some sunnier patches in my yard made way for tufts of bright green shoots. Good thing I was looking then, since temps have plummeted into the Arctic zone in the Northeast this week.

Not even writing this post could prompt me to take off my gloves to click the shutter with bare finger tips when it’s ten degrees out there. Like everything in life, it’s all in the timing.

Since I started writing this blog, I have committed to this ritual of searching for unexpected growth pushing through the frozen land. I love hunting for these subtle early harbingers of spring as we prepare to celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish birthday of the trees. Continue reading

Farm to Table from Goat to Goatgurt

I’m still abuzz from all of the new experiences I had last weekend at the Hazon Food Conference.

Over the course of four jampacked days, I met  passionate, articulate and inspiring food, social and environmental activists, Rabbis, educators and students, chefs and home cooks, gardeners, farmers and food producers, writers and filmmakers. Continue reading

Ready, Stuff, Roll for Chanukah

Giveaway is now CLOSED. BUT please keep on reading and find the scrumptious recipe at the end of this post.

Sometimes the mere suggestion of a twist on tradition is enough to get me going in the kitchen.  And I wasn’t even thinking about Chanukah yet.

On the last day of the  outdoor Westport Farmers’ Market in November, organic farmer, Patti Popp of Sport Hill Farm, beckoned me to come check out her pile of brussel sprouts still firmly attached to their stalks.

My focus shifted as I noticed the generous, fan shaped LEAVES fanning out at the tip of these nobby supportive stalks.

THE LEAVES?  I had never given them a moment’s notice, and likely had never even seen them before.  They were both  dusty and vibrant and Patti encouraged me to experiment with these lovelies as wrappers for whatever filling I saw fit. Continue reading

Chanukah in Venice with Holy Pumpkin Fritters

Pumpkin Fritters Recipe and photo: Alessandra Rovati

“Man tracht un Got lacht”.

Man plans and G-d laughs. Sometimes stuff just happens.

After weeks of planning the perfectly timed Chanukah cooking demo and tasting, we needed to postpone it due to unforeseeable circumstances.

I love to share my experiences at compelling culinary events, so you might guess that I had a cool post sketched out. I was just waiting to perk it up with action shots of charming Alessandra barely breaking a sweat while she fried up 50 fritters,  tempting close-ups of perfectly crisped, celebratory Italian treats, along with captivating descriptions of the Holy Pumpkin Fritters on the menu.

If the irristable aromas of traditional potato latkes (pancakes) or sufganiyot (doughnuts)  reduces your will power to nil,  you’ll love these novel and unfamiliar fritters from my blogging buddy,  Alessandra Rovati.

 

Continue reading