Aspen Community Garden

Aspen Community Garden

Every spring we have the same conversation about any summer trip we have planned. “Why would we leave our beautiful spot at home just as the trees and gardens are blooming? What could be better than our very own farmers’ market?  Why don’t we just stay put and enjoy listening to a hodgepodge of free summer music from our tattered lawn chairs? Let’s greet old friends and sip chilled Sancerre from paper cups!”

But off we go because we love a change of vibe and scenery.  And because summer reminds us to re-visit places we’ve already been, we headed to Aspen again.

Roaring Fork River

Roaring Fork River

It’s so easy when you know where to find the best veggie wraps after a big hike, when you can recall the name of that good humored fly-fishing guide (who doesn’t mock our twice a year fly fishing expeditions), where to find the best vegetarian plates after climbing a creaking flight of steps in our favorite bookstore.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls at Pyramid Bistro

Vietnamese Spring Rolls at Pyramid Bistro

Regular readers of this blog  (thank you) may remember that I covered lunches and dinners in Aspen a couple of summers ago. Not much has changed so if you are preparing for a trip or know a like-minded eater who is, let them know about these posts. Having covered the vegetarian and kosher friendly food scene already, I felt sure that I would use my camera  for family shots and scenery ONLY. HA!

Riding bikes in Aspen is a THING. The roads have bike lanes and the drivers are patient.  We slip our bikes into bike racks along the town’s historic streets , taking the the cue from the rows of other unlocked bikes. We leave them unlocked and walk away unconcerned about security.

Aspen Community Garden

On past rides we’ve been curious about a large fenced garden that we passed across a field of perfectly orange poppies. This time, we rode down that narrow path to explore it up close.

Garden of Eatin

Garden of Eatin

 

peonies

In some ways, I felt like an intruder. This community garden is for all to plant and enjoy but there is an intimacy and community bonding aspect that I was aware of as I wandered the vaguely marked squares of irises, poppies, rosemary, squash blossoms and scallions.

scallions

scallions

Some tend to their plots with meticulous attention to every stray weed, some allow their intrusion.

sculpture?

It was a vibrant and peaceful plot to explore.

photo courtesy of Plato's, Aspen

photo courtesy of Plato’s, Aspen

I was sure to reserve dinner at Plato’s, one of my favorite spots in town. It’s Bauhaus design, with curved floor to ceiling glass walls, place diners within earshot of the rushing Castle Creek below. Sweeping views of Aspen, Highlands and Buttermilk mountains are breathtaking.

Dusk between Plato's and Mozart

Dusk between Plato’s and Mozart

Located at Aspen Meadows, the location of the Aspen Institute and the home of the Aspen Ideas Festival, it’s a perfect campus to wander around.  Finish dinner early enough and walk the winding paths to the Aspen Music Tent where you can catch the second half of whatever magnificence is being performed that evening. Lawn seating is encouraged and free.

I’ll take Mozart for dessert any time.

Chef Aaron Schmude, Sous Chef at Plato’s for only 3 months when we met him, is a young and extraordinary talent. “I am fortunate to have a garden on the side of our patio where we can pick herbs and small lettuces.  Aspen is very local oriented, and it is easy to source produce from around the valley.  Beautiful, rich wild salmon comes from Alaska,” he explained.

We loved his cooking so much that I returned on a subsequent eve in order to catch the natural light on their porch before the sun descended behind the purplish peaks.

Platos' Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Platos’ Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Chef Schmude shared two recipes with me. If fish fumet doesn’t freak you out (and it shouldn’t), let me know and I’ll share his recipe for Olive Oil Poached Wild King Salmon.

Hoping to keep things simple, I’ve chosen to share Schmude’s Roasted Beets and Radishes Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse.

Plato's Beets and Radishes with Whipped Goat Cheese

Plato’s Beets and Radishes with Whipped Goat Cheese

If you can’t imagine using a whipped cream charger to achieve this frothy goat cheese delight, simply plate the salad with your favorite local goat cheese and you will be MORE than just fine! If you’re up for making the mousse with the iSi Cream Chargers as it is written in this recipe, click here to find it at Amazon.

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse

2 servings

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse

This Beet and Radish Salad highlight a great range of bright summer colors and textures.

Thank you, Chef Schmude, for this delicious treat.

This salad is kosher and dairy. Make it pareve (non-dairy) and vegan by leaving off the goat cheese.

Ingredients

    Salad:
  • 2 spears roasted white asparagus
  • 1 spear shaved raw asparagus
  • 4 cherry bomb radishes
  • 4 slices watermelon radishes
  • 3 beets, scrubbed and quartered- set aside to pickle. See below.
  • 2 baby roasted beets *
  • 4 slices shaved raw beets
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 tablespoon roasted pistachios
  • S/P
  • Pickling
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups champagne vinegar
  • 10 coriander seeds
  • Dressing:
  • 5 roasted shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dijon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 champagne vin
  • 4 cups grapeseed oil
  • Goat cheese mousse**:
  • 1/2 cup orange blossom honey
  • 3 cups local chevre
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • s/p
  • CO2 charge

Instructions

  1. To pickle the beats, heat all ingredients in pickling solution until sugar dissolves. Use a strainer and pour over quartered beets. Allow to cool.
  2. Toss salad ingredients with the dressing, season
  3. Charge the mousse in an iSI container, using a Whip-It CO2 charge
  4. plate

Notes

* Roasting beets: Scrub beets and cut off greens (reserve and wok with garlic another time). Season with EVOO, salt and pepper and encase them in a silver foil packet with ends crimped. Roast in 375 degree oven for 25-40 mins, depending on size. You should be able to pierce them with a fork. Remove from oven, unwrap and cool. Their peel will slip off easily.

** Substitute your favorite local goat cheese if you don't want to whip it.

http://kosherlikeme.com/on-the-road/garden-of-eatin-and-summer-beet-salad-in-aspen

 

 

photo courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

photo courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

Contributed by Marcia Selden Catering in Stamford, CT

Fish tacos are one of our favorites meals in the summertime. These super healthy, low calorie tacos are wrapped in a crisp lettuce leaf and go perfectly with an ice cold beer!  Easy to make and perfect for 2 or 20, try these delicious wraps for your next lunch or dinner.

Grilled Fish Tacos & Spicy Slaw in Lettuce Wraps

4 servings

This taco recipe is super healthy and low in calories. It's easy to prepare everything except the fish in advance, leaving you free to enjoy dinner with your family and guests.

This recipe is dairy.

Ingredients

  • 2 C. chopped white onion
  • 3/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 5 Tbs. fresh lime juice, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 1 lb. tilapia or striped bass
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 C. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 head of shredded cabbage
  • 1 head Romaine or Bibb Lettuce
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Mix onion, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, oregano and jalapeno in medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper.
  3. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish.
  4. Arrange fish over the onion mixture. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill an additional 30 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine remaining onion mixture with Greek yogurt and shredded cabbage. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Brush grill with oil and heat to medium-high heat. Brush the fish with additional marinade and grill until opaque in center; 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  7. Coarsely chop fish with a fork and wrap in a lettuce leaf. Serve with avocado slices, cabbage slaw and a lime wedge. Yum!
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/grilled-fish-tacos-spicy-slaw-in-lettuce-wraps

 

photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main

We are always impressed with the magic Six Main casts on their inventive vegetarian and vegan creations! While they press walnuts or cashews and transform them into ricotta, ice cream, or even “chorizo”,  we’ve been wondering what kind of summery deliciousness they’ve been whipping up now that their farm is bursting with ingredients that move from field to kitchen to table in a blink of the eye.

If you still haven’t made it up to the restaurant in Chester, CT, you can get a taste of Chef Rachel Carr’s cuisine by checking out her bright and oh-so summery salad recipe below.

But here is one more reason you might consider making the quick ride to this quaint New England town in CT…

photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main

 

The restaurant-owned, organic Upper Pond Farm that “grow[s] food to support our bodies, community, and ecosystem,”* and provides Six Main with its organic fruits and veggies is selling at the Chester Sunday Farmers’ Market on Sundays from 10am-1pm through October 12th.

photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main

If you are looking for a fun day trip this summer or early fall, head up to Chester for some Six Main Sunday brunch (the “Six Main Benedict” made with lemon tofu hollandaise, oven cured tomato, Portobello mushroom, avocado house made gluten free focaccia and organic eggs sounds particularly enticing) and then stroll through the market to bring home some of their farm’s organic fruits and veggies for the week.

You can also peruse the other vendors’ offerings while enjoying the live music; pick up some fresh fish from The Local Catch, as well as various breads and cheeses (including from Mystic Cheese – used in our favorite Skinny Pines pizzas!).

photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main

And if you need some inspiration for creating a perfect late summer meal with your Farmers’ Market bounty, you are in luck; Rachel’s blog, “The Raw & The Cooked” is packed with unique vegan and vegetarian dishes like Kohlrabi “Scallops” and a Raw Vegan Kimchee & Green Salad with Ume Plum Vinaigrette.

OR….

Consider attending one of her many seasonal ingredient inspired cooking classes, held on Fridays from 11am-1pm. Be sure to sign up way ahead of time as her classes are small and fill up very quickly.

*quote from Upper Pond Farm Facebook Page

Want to read more about Six Main?

Click here to read what we wrote a few months back. Somehow I forgot about that BLOOD ORANGE cheesecake (vegan and pareve)!  Thank you, Rachel Carr, for another scrumptious recipe and for these gorgeous food shots!

Strawberry Mint and Cucumber Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

4 servings

Strawberry Mint and Cucumber Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

When summer ingredients are perfectly ripe and only hours from the field, the simpler the better. This 4 ingredient recipe epitomizes that pleasure.

Thank you, Chef Rachel Carr, for this delicious summer salad.

This recipe is pareve, vegan, non-dairy

Ingredients

    Salad:
  • 12 fresh local strawberries
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • Dressing
  • Zest 3 lemons
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup agave
  • ½ tablespoon mustard
  • 1 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Instructions

  1. Blend lemon zest, lemon juice, agave, mustard, and olive oil in a blender until fully incorporated. Fold in the poppy seeds by hand.
  2. Toss salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.
http://kosherlikeme.com/on-the-road/simple-summer-salad-from-just-down-the-road

 

Red Flag on TLV Beach

Red Flag on TLV Beach

When hummus becomes a culture and freekeh is sold at Whole Foods, you know that the “New Israeli Food” has reached far and wide.

Freekeh, a chewy, nutty grain, has roots as far back as the Old Testament and is often cooked in the Middle East.  It’s not a coincidence that the 7 “species” mentioned in the Hebrew Bible are so much a part of the new Israeli cuisine.

Chefs love their depth of flavor, accessibility and ancient references. Many have taken a deeper and more experimental look at wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

Chef Shlomo Schwartz prepping shlushy watermelon, arak and mint cocktails

Chef Shlomo Schwartz prepping shlushy watermelon, arak and mint cocktails

I was lucky enough to catch a cooking class in NYC last week taught by Chef Shlomo Schwartz, a sabra (Israeli native) who was trained at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) in Brooklyn.

Shlomo now teaches at CKCA, owns his own kosher catering company called YOUR SOUL KITCHEN, and guides groups of enthusiastic 20 something’s through the tasty, ever changing, and extraordinarily creative culinary landscape in Israel.

cherry tomato and garlic confit with crispy za'atar pita bites

cherry tomato and garlic confit with crispy za’atar pita bites

The class I landed on with 10 other lucky cooks of all levels, was indeed called “The Melting Pot: flavors, people and stories that create the New Israeli Food”. We met at the Ramaz School, a convenient summer only outpost of the Brooklyn campus.

We gathered around stainless steel workstations with slushy watermelon cocktails in hand, (Red Flag on Tel Aviv Beach- blended watermelon, arak and muddled mint leaves) to listen to Shlomo’s intro and to receive our assignments.

Many hands separating kataif dough for Knafeh

Many hands separating kataif dough for Knafeh

After dividing up into groups of 2-4 we went to work chopping, sautéing, whisking and nibbling. Schwartz easily managed the group’s many questions and floated from station to station, demonstrating knife skills, best way to fry eggplant, how to elicit perfect creaminess from hummus all while sharing his passion for ingredients rooted in his native land.

Simmering Shakshuka for Chamshuka

Simmering Shakshuka for Chamshuka

Schwartz’s names for these dishes give clues to the origins and twists in each composition. Let me know if you need some help deciphering them. Here’s what we whipped up.

Amouse- Bouche- The Queen and King of the Desert- A New-Old Love Story: Cherry tomato and garlic confit with crispy za’atar pita bites and goat cheese.

Red Flag on Tel Aviv beach: Slushy watermelon, arak and mint cocktail (dangerous when you’re thirsty)

Sabich Salad

Sabich Salad

Sabich Salad- A Twist on Israeli Street Food: Iraqi-Jewish-Salad with fried eggplant, hard cooked eggs, green tehina, fresh parsley and garlic and sumac seasoned croutons

Fatush Salad

Fatush Salad

Fatush Salad: Shuk to Table: Forget Israeli, Arab, Mediterranean Salad. This is the real deal: chopped fresh market veggies and haloumi cheese with pita croutons

Freekeh Tabouli- Between Tel Aviv and Jaffa: Freekeh with fennel, celery , mango, red onion, fresh herbs, lemony tehina and more…. (see recipe below)

Chamshukah- Shakshuka over creamy hummus

Chamshukah- Shakshuka over creamy hummus

Jerusalem Machne Yehuda Chamshuka: traditional tomato and pepper stew with poached eggs, cheese and herbs over a bed of creamy hummus

Beets to Go: Carved beets with lemon-herbed couscous and roasted pistachios over yogurt sauce

and the grand finale…

Upgraded Knafeh: cheese pastry soaked in sweet syrup with vanilla ice cream, tehina cream, silan and nuts.

Drooling yet?

You can find Chef Shlomo  Schwartz at Your Soul Kitchen or teaching at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts. Check this kosher cooking school for a wide range of classes for professionals seeking certification or for enthusiastic home cooks by clicking here.

Mediterranean Freekah Salad

4 servings

Mediterranean Freekah Salad

Freekeh is an ancient grain made from young wheat that is harvested while still green and put through a roasting and rubbing process during production.

It has a smoky, nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture. Today, as part of the dynamic and exciting trends in the Israeli kitchen, freekeh is a popular addition to many dishes in restaurants and homes around Israel.

This salad is dairy but may be made pareve (non-dairy) and vegan by eliminating the yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Freekeh
  • 3 Cups Boiling Water
  • 1 Fennel, Stems and Core Removed
  • 2 Celery stalks, Top and Leaves Removed
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Small Diced
  • 2 Mangos
  • ¼ Cup Confectioners Sugar
  • ½ Cup Chopped Scallions
  • ½ Cup Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley, Stems Removed
  • 1 Cups Tahini
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Water
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 tablespoons Yogurt
  • Sunflower Seeds to Garnish

Instructions

  1. Rinse the freekeh twice and drain well.
  2. Place the freekeh and the water in a medium size pot over a medium- high flame. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes (We want the freekeh to be cooked al dente). Drain the extra water and let cool.
  3. While the freekeh is cooling start making the lemon- tahini by placing the garlic cloves in the food processor and pulsing a few times until the garlic is chopped.
  4. Add the tahini paste, and start adding water while the food processor is running until it gets the desired consistency.
  5. Add the juice of 2 lemons and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. On a mandolin or with a sharp knife, shave thin slices of the fennel and place in a clean bowl. With a vegetable peeler, peel the celery (discard the first layer of strips) and continue “shaving” thin strips of the celery. Add to the fennel.
  7. Dice one mango into small cubes and add to the rest of the vegetables.
  8. Clean the second mango and place in the food processor. Add the confectioners sugar and blend until the puree is fully smooth.
  9. In a mixing bowl combine the cooled cooked freekeh, the fennel, celery, scallions and parsley. Add the lime juice, pomegranate molasses and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. To assemble the dish, spread 2 tablespoons of the tahini on the serving plate. Place the taboli over the tahini and create a firm pyramid shape. Drizzle the rest of tahini sauce, mango coulis and yogurt over the dish and garnish with sunflower seeds.
http://kosherlikeme.com/in-the-kitchen/the-melting-pot-that-informs-israeli-cuisine

 

salsa close up

Contributed by Katy Morris

Juicy, refreshing, healthy, sweet peaches; what could be more quintessentially SUMMER than a perfectly ripe peach?

Tossed in salads, dipped in yogurt parfaits, baked in pies, blended in smoothies, chopped in iced teas, grilled, poached, heck – straight out of hand! There are so many ways to enjoy locally grown, luscious peaches this season.

 Here’s what you may NOT know:

IMG_3672

Over 300 varieties!

Peaches are part of the “stone fruit” group, along with nectarines, cherries and plums, referred to as such due to their large, hard pits/seeds. They originated from China but spread around the world over many centuries and now grow in mild, warm climates throughout.

There are two main types: white and yellow, although there are many varieties of each color (there are over 300 varieties grown in North America alone!). Did you know that peaches are actually 87% water? And at only 50 calories for a medium sized peach, you get a generous dose of vitamin C, A, and iron.

 

What’s the difference between a white peach and a yellow peach?

Most peaches in America are yellow fleshed. Yellow peaches have a deeper yellow color with red blush spots and are more acidic and tart in taste. In contrast, white-fleshed peaches, which are more popular in Asia, are lighter in color and much less acidic (and sweeter).

peaches (1)

Freestone or Clingstone?

Peaches are either freestone or clingstone. You can easily remove the pit from the flesh in a freestone peach, so these are the ones you’ll be nibbling on out of hand. Pits of clingstone peaches tend to (you guessed it…) cling to the flesh, making it difficult to separate. They are softer and juicer than freestones. These are most popular for canning and baking and are easily found at local markets versus large grocery stores.

 

Katy shops peaches in Guatamala

Katy shops peaches in Guatamala

What should I look for when buying peaches?

We recommend buying peaches at least a day in advance of preparing and serving them. Stay away from bruised, wrinkly, and green ones at the market. When gently squeezed (use your whole hand versus pinching them with your fingers as they bruise easily), there should be a slight give of the velvety skin.

Be sure to give your peaches a good whiff – you want the ones that smell like you want them to taste. If there isn’t a tantalizing aroma it means the peach has not ripened yet. Also, note that the reddish blush does not necessarily mean it is ripe – that is just where the sun was shining most brightly on it when it was growing. The lighter the coloration of the peach, the less ripe it is.

 

How should I store and ripen them?

This really depends on how ripe the peaches are that you buy. If you happen to pick up a bunch of ripened peaches (as described above) but don’t want to eat them right away, put them in a plastic bag in your fridge, as the chilled temperature slows the ripening process. It’s also important to note that if you have some with bruises/spots on them, you should separate those from the non-bruised ones since the rot can easily spread to other peaches.

If you get ones that are not ready to be eaten, simply leave them on your kitchen counter, but keep an eye on them since they can go from ripe to rotten pretty quickly. If you need to speed up the ripening process, try putting them in a brown paper bag (with a few holes so the peaches can still breathe) for a couple of days.

Did you go peach crazy at the local market? No problem – you can freeze them for up to 6 months! Make sure you peel and slice them first and spread them out on a large tray before putting in the freezer. Once they are frozen through, you can throw them in a sealed plastic bag.

Peaches

How should I prepare them?

Peaches are super versatile, which is one of the reasons we love them so much. When prepping them, simply wash them thoroughly as you would any other fruit. After slicing or chopping them, depending on the dish you are making, toss with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.

If you are going to be making a pie, go with slightly firmer ones and they will keep their shape when baked. Does your recipe call for peeling them (like the one below)? Make a quick “X” with a sharp knife on both the bottom and the top of the peach and then blanch them for about 30-45 seconds to loosen their skin. Then “shock” them in a big pot of ice water to stop the cooking, remove them, and you should be able to peel the skin with your nimble fingers.

Want to pick your own? Here’s where we pick ‘em in CT:  Silverman’s Farm in EastonWarrup’s in Redding, Lyman’s Orchard in Middlefield.

This refreshing, oh-so peachy and only slightly spicy salsa is a perfect topping for grilled fish or chicken on a summer night. You know all about the timeless deliciousness of surrounding a bowl of fresh salsa with crunchy tortilla chips and with your favorite frosty refreshing beer in hand.

What fruit would you like to experiment with in your next salsa creation? We want to know!

Summery Peach and Pineapple Salsa

Summery Peach and Pineapple Salsa

Seasonal salsas are a great way to take advantage of the many fruits available at your local market. Make them as spicy as you like by adjusting (or eliminating) hot pepper.

This salsa is vegan and pareve (non-dairy).

Ingredients

  • 4 small ripe peaches, peeled (see above!) and diced
  • 3-4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 small green chili pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • ¾ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Simply mix all together in large mixing bowl.
  2. Serve chilled.

Notes

See post (above) for instructions on how to peel peaches. It's easy!

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/seasonal-snippet-summer-peaches-plus-peachy-salsa-recipe

 

 

 

 

 

avocado soup

Contributed and photographed by Katy Morris

While I always enjoyed integrating avocado into dishes at home in the U. S.  (one of my faves is the Granola Bar’s Devilled Avocado Eggs!), there’s something pretty cool about knowing they grow directly on the trees where I am working and living right now.  And as great as farmers’ markets are back home, you won’t see these avocados among the locally grown produce. But you can surely get them at your local grocery– and I have seen firsthand where they come from.**

in the market

There are many varieties of avocados (Mexican, West Indian, California, and numerous hybrids between), but the ones I’m hooked on are the popular Guatemalan natives, the Hass.

They are oval shaped and have thicker, rougher skin than other varieties, which enables them to travel well and still boast great quality once they arrive at their destination. You’ll also see that Hass avocados turn black (and almost a bit purplish) when ripening, while other varieties get greener as they mature.

in the market (1)

It is interesting to note that Hass avocados often remain on the tree for several months after maturing; so in essence, the trees “store” them. Lucky for the locals (and you) this is why the harvesting time period is so long in Guatemala and we can essentially get them year-round in the U. S. Love learning these tree-to-table facts!

While the traditional Guatemalan cuisine of tamales, tortillas, and beans is no doubt delicious (and I sure had my fill in the first couple months), as a vegetarian KLM eater, I am always hungry for some more variety. Happily, I can always find an abundance of fresh, locally grown produce at the open-air market, and even though I only have a little blender and portable gas stove top to work with, I’ve started to get creative with my meals.

avocados

Here’s a healthy recipe that incorporates the super nutritious aguacate into one of those chilled soups we crave as the temperatures rise.

It’s the perfect soup du jour for a refreshing, summertime lunch whenever the temps are sizzling. The super smooth, creamy texture of the avocado negates the need for any added fat. Toss in some garlic scapes or shallots for some added flavor if you like!

As we say in Guatemala (both before AND after a meal), Buen Provecho!

 

**Kosher Like Me contributor and vegetarian enthusiast, Katy Morris, recently moved to Panajachel, Guatemala where she is working as the Communications Director for a non-profit organization called Mayan Families.

The first time she ventured to the local mercado she was taken by the brilliantly vibrant colors everywhere she looked. Heaping mounds of freshly picked fruits and veggies matched the vibrancy of colorfully clad Señores and Señoras. Her first edible purchase? She went straight for those famous, locally grown Guatemalan avocados.

Aguacates (avocado in Spanish) are indeed locally grown. In fact,  Katy is waiting patiently to pluck them from trees in her own yard.

Chilled Avocado- Cucumber Soup

2 servings

Chilled Avocado- Cucumber Soup

This super easy chilled soup is a naturally rich and satisfying summer dish.

This recipe is kosher and dairy. To convert to vegan and pareve, use plain soy yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled
  • 2 medium sized Hass avocados
  • 2 large limes, juiced
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, finely chopped (save some for garnish)
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • cumin or paprika for garnish
  • 1 radish, chopped

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree the mixture until smooth.
  2. Chop the radish and throw in the soup for some added crunch.
  3. Serve chilled and garnish with spices.
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/keeping-it-chill-with-avocado-cucumber-soup

 

 

 

 

 

chinese noodle salad

Photo and recipe contributed by Marcia Selden Catering, CT.

Here’s a delicious, vegetarian and vegan, room temperature pasta dish that requires little cooking and is light, easy, and delicious. For a  gluten- free version, check out this Shirataki pasta and seek out soy-free soy sauce at your local Whole Foods.

This Asian noodle dish only gets better as it hangs out in your fridge for a couple of days. It’s perfect on its own or alongside simply grilled chicken or fish. It travels well to a friend’s backyard buffet, beach or boat and is perfect for brown baggin’ it to work or camp.

Chilled Chinese Sesame Noodles

8-10 servings

This crowd pleaser is super simple to assemble and do-ahead.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and pareve (non-dairy). For a gluten-free version, see note about shiratake noodles.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Linguine Fini (Thin), soba, cellophane or shiratake (tofu) noodles
  • ½ lb. snow pea pods
  • ½ lb. shitake mushrooms- washed and sliced
  • ½ each red and yellow peppers- slivered
  • ½ C. chopped cilantro
  • ½ C. baby corn, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin in rounds
  • 1 T. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 T. black sesame seeds
  • DRESSING
  • ½ C. vegetable oil
  • ½ C. sesame oil
  • 1 C. rice vinegar
  • ½ C. soy sauce
  • ¼ C. grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1T. grated orange rind
  • Sriracha- optional to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta al dente. Be careful not to overcook. Rinse in cold water and place in a bowl and then into the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together to incorporate all of the flavors.
  3. Drop the pea pods and mushrooms into boiling water and remove after 1 minute. Run under cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Mix all of the vegetables: pea pods, mushrooms, peppers, baby corn and scallions and cilantro with ½ cup of dressing.
  5. Add to the chilled noodles and toss to coat. Add more dressing if needed.
  6. Place into a serving dish and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro leaves.

Notes

Note: almost any vegetable can be added to the basic noodles and dressing. Just mix the noodles tossed with dressing and then add your favorite vegetables.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/chillin-with-chinese-sesame-noodles

Originally Posted in “Chillin’ with Chinese Sesame Noodles
Ruby Rose Hips Cold Brew

Ruby Rose Hips Cold Brew

Contributed by Katy Morris

Leaf & Ardor Tea Co. of Fairfield, CT has put a modern and unique twist on conventional teatime, and they’ve offered us some innovative iced tea & cocktail combinations, as well as some tips & tricks for the best summertime thirst quenchers.

Fairfield-based Founders Connie Pappas and Cristina Copersino, both of whom share a passion for culinary arts and wellness, love tea: its tremendous healing properties, the sensory indulgences it offers, its versatility of flavors and uses, and the opportunity it lends to enjoy time with friends and family.

And they definitely know what they are doing from an epicurean perspective. They have both worked with professional chefs and food entrepreneurs on pairings & recipes in the past; and Connie currently provides holistic life coaching in her Westport office.

 

Karen Ford handmade tea cups

Karen Ford handmade tea cups

They sell their organic, seasonally inspired herbal blends and teas (that they often spend months creating) in beautiful packaging and often paired with one-of-a-kind serve ware by artisans like Westport’s Karen Ford, making them the quintessential hostess gift for your next summer soiree.

Moroccan Mint

Moroccan Mint

 

Consider their Cold-Brew Kit (also a great gift) when trying the iced tea recipe below, although special equipment isn’t necessarily required when making a good glass. Now, let’s clarify the distinction between cold-brewed iced tea versus hot-brewed iced tea and how to make the most festive, refreshing drinks for these dog days of summer.

The cold-brewing technique involves steeping tea in cold water for several hours which brings out the top notes of the tea’s flavor profile. They explain that most of their tea blends give off a smoother, brighter flavor profile when iced.

Masala Chai

Masala Chai

Compare this to iced tea that is made by simply chilling hot-brewed tea, which lends the same flavor profile as the hot brew.

They say it’s best to prepare it in advance – overnight or even a day or two ahead, depending on how strong you like it. Infuse with berries or citrus for some added zest, and when done brewing and cooling, you can even add some spirits to the iced tea base for a refreshing summer cocktail.

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Don’t forget to include colorful fruit ice cubes in your tall glasses, as well. Simply place small berries and herbs in an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze.  “Half the fun is experimenting with different flavors,” says Cristina.

Check out Leaf and Ardor’s beautiful website for flavor and brewing inspiration and for more recipes. You may order teas directly from their site or find a list of retailers who carry their products.

Thank you Connie and Cristina,  for sharing these icy brewed recipes with Kosher Like Me. All photos, except for image of thyme, courtesy of Leaf and Ardor Tea Co.

Chamomile Bliss Cocktail

2-4 servings

Chamomile Bliss Cocktail

This tea/cocktail is the perfect summer treat. Citrus and lavender keep the flavors bright and refreshing.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Leaf & Ardor Chamomile Bliss organic herbal blend
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups of ice
  • 1 1/4 cups of dry gin

Instructions

  1. Steep Chamomile Bliss herbal blend in boiling water, 4 minutes.
  2. Let cool slightly, strain through fine strainer (pressing on solids to release liquid), and add honey.
  3. Add Chamomile Bliss/honey mixture, lemon juice, and gin to a pitcher.
  4. Stir in ice till melted.
  5. Pour into chilled glasses & garnish with lemon twist & lavender sprig.
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/leaf-and-ardor-iced-teas-cool-the-spirit

Ruby Rose Hips Cold Brew

2 cups

This fruity iced tea uses and easy cold brewing technique. Adding fresh summer fruit enhances the bright pink color and summery flavors.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Ruby Rose Hips organic herbal blend
  • 2 cups cold, filtered water
  • 5 raspberries, slightly muddled*
  • 5 black cherries, slightly muddled*
  • 3 sprigs of thyme

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to an infuser teapot. If you do not have an infuser teapot you can use a pitcher or carafe and pour the tea through a strainer when it is ready to drink.
  2. Let the tea chill in the refrigerator for 12 hours/overnight.

Notes

*Muddling fruits or herbs is essentially just mashing them at the bottom of the glass; this tends to release a stronger flavor and is specifically done for cocktails.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/leaf-and-ardor-iced-teas-cool-the-spirit

Mango Matcha Smoothie

1 generous serving

Mango Matcha Smoothie

This delicious smoothie combines densely nutritious fruit with the slightly vegetal contrast of matcha tea.

This recipe is kosher, vegan and pareve (non-dairy)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup frozen chopped mango
  • 1/4 of a fresh ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup almond or hazelnut milk
  • 1 tsp honey (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Leaf & Ardor matcha
  • 1/8 cup filtered water

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and stir so that the matcha powder is mixed into the liquid.
  2. Blend on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Pour into a glass and garnish with a wedge of mango.
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/leaf-and-ardor-iced-teas-cool-the-spirit

Originally Posted in “Leaf and Ardor Iced Teas Cool the Spirit

Roasted Carrots, beets, fermented black beans

There’s always a lot of buzz around Le FarmBill Taibe‘s farm to table restaurant in Westport, CT. Taibe is admirably and firmly committed to sourcing from many of my favorite farms within a short distance from his charming and very popular restaurant.

Truth is though, I’ve struggled to find enough vegetarian friendly fare to keep me going back as a regular. So imagine my surprise when Executive Chef, Arik Bensimon messaged me on facebook to tell me that he was cooking up a new vegetarian entree and hoped that I would come and taste it with him.

Would I?!

Arik Ben Simon creating

I’ve followed his cooking for a few years now as he’s cooked in some of the most creative kitchens in restaurants near my hometown. Arik’s parents are Moroccan/Israeli via Queens, NY; my favorite dishes are those with some references to his love for Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines.

The farms

His quiet confidence and deep appreciation for the farm resources in CT shape his menu.  He shops the farmers’ markets and communicates directly with his favorite farmers in order to score the freshest local ingredients. He’s intent on adding more vegetarian and (kosher friendly) fish to his menu at LeFarm.

I can’t wait to taste what he dreams up next.

lavendar

This recipe for Roasted Carrots, Beets and Fermented Black Beans has complex and satisfying umami flavors from Bensimon’s use of  fermented beans. Do not be put off by this simple ingredient.

Click here to read what Max Falkowitz, of Serious Eats, had to say about fermented black beans, their complex flavors, and where to buy them.

Roasted Carrots, Beets and Fermented Black Beans

4 servings

Roasted Carrots, Beets and Fermented Black Beans

Arik Bensimon, Chef at Le Farm in Westport, CT, shared this dish with me on a recent summer afternoon. He added lemony sorrel leaves and freshly shelled summer peas as colorful toppings for my photos. Feel free to do the same in your own kitchen.

This salad is kosher, vegetarian and dairy.

Ingredients

  • 9 carrots
  • 6 beets
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • ½ onion
  • 1 Cup fermented black beans
  • 10 mint leaves (cut into strips)
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1Tsp.toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ Tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 8 T EVOO (olive oil)
  • 1 Cup sour cream

Instructions

    BEETS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place each beet on one piece of aluminum foil.
  3. Fold up the sides of the aluminum foil around the beet.
  4. Add 1 tsp. EVOO, salt (to taste), 1 sprig of thyme an 2 Tablespoons of water to each beet "packet".
  5. Close the aluminum foil around each beet.
  6. On a cookie sheet or ovenproof dish, roast beets until cooked through, approx. 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
  8. CARROTS:
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  10. Peel 8 carrots and toss with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Lay carrots on cookie sheet or in an ovenproof dish.
  12. Roast until tender but still firm, approx. 25 mins.
  13. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
  14. BLACK BEANS**:
  15. Drain and rinse beans.
  16. Place beans in a pot and cover with water.
  17. Add one carrot (whole), 1 celery stalk (whole), ½ onion (not chopped).
  18. Bring to a boil.
  19. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 35 minutes.
  20. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature in the liquid.
  21. Once beans are at room temperature, drain and set aside.
  22. ASSEMBLE:
  23. Once beets and carrots are cooked and at room temperature, cut carrots and beets to desired length/width.
  24. In a bowl, combine carrots, beets, black beans, 2 Tablespoons of EVOO, 1 ½ Tablespoons of lime juice, half of the sesame seeds, pinch of cayenne pepper, sesame oil, salt (to taste).
  25. In a small bowl mix together sour cream and the rest of the lime juice.
  26. Drizzle sour cream mixture over salad.
  27. Sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds over the salad.
  28. Serve.

Notes

**Beans should be soaked in cold water over night.

Serve this salad at room temp.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/arik-ben-simons-summer-salad

 

IMG_3507

Tossing ripe, mouth-watering summer berries into a pyrex pan with your favorite crumb topping is always a summer crowd pleaser.  If only the terms for these toppings were as easy as making these crisps- oh wait- is it a crumble? a cobbler? a buckle or a grunt?

Here’s a little help with the terminology for all you enthusiastic fruit bakers out there. When you’re done studying your vocabulary,  rinse your berries and toss them with these few ingredients.  It’ll take you all of 5 minutes to throw this easy Blueberry Crisp into the oven on the morning of your 4th of July celebration.

I brought this crisp to a friend’s home the other night (the kind of dear friend who didn’t mind that a good sized square was already missing from the corner) and she texted me for the recipe before I pulled into my driveway at the end of the evening. I seem to recall someone scraping the corners of the glass pan with a spoon loaded with ice cream before we accepted that it was all gone.

Top this crisp with Ronnybrook Ice Cream if you’re baking with dairy, or bake with a vegan margarine (Earth Balance) and top it with a non-dairy treat like Nada-Moo if you’re going vegan or pareve.

BTW, a CRISP is generally defined as a fruity baked dessert with butter, oats and nuts as the topping. In this recipe, Ronnie Fein adds a cup of bran flakes, adding another layer of flavor, fiber and crunch.  She learned that trick from her Mom. I’m definitely going to keep bran flakes in my pantry from now on.

Thank you, Ronnie Fein, fellow kosher blogger in CT, friend and author of Hip Kosher, for this delicious recipe.

Hope your 4th is as juicy as mine will be! I’d love to know what you’re serving!

Blueberry Crisp

6-8 servings

Blueberry Crisp

This crisp will be crispier if baked in a 9x14 pyrex pan. If you prefer a a softer, more fruity texture bake it in an 8x8 pan.

Thank you, Ronnie Fein, for this recipe.

This crisp is dairy if made with butter. It is easily veganized and made pareve by using a non-dairy margarine.

Ingredients

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup bran flakes or raisin bran
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking or rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts such as almonds, cashews or pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or margarine

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and lemon juice in a 6-cup baking dish. Set aside.
  3. Crush the cereal flakes slightly and put them in a bowl. Add the oats, nuts, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly.
  4. Pour in the melted butter. Mix until the dry the ingredients are coated with the melted butter.
  5. Place the cereal mixture over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is crispy and brown. Let cool slightly but serve warm (may be rewarmed).
  6. Serve plain or with cream, ice cream, whipped cream, or sorbet.

Notes

Ronnie kept the clean up minimal by tossing the berries with the next 4 ingredients right in the pan. I tossed them in a bowl first and buttered the pan lightly. Old habits die hard.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/blueberry-crisp-on-july-4th

Originally Posted in “Blueberry Crisp on July 4th