Archive for May, 2010

a random walk

I was going through my food photos and came across a few that I thought would be fun to share. These are ones that somehow got lost in posts I meant to write or got caught up in the dilemma of having nothing to say except that this tastes really good or got thrown to the wolves as just too basic to share.  But, let’s take a short trip through some of my archives and see what we can come up with.

So this is simple syrup infused with dried roses. I’ve made simple syrup here before, and while the mint version is fabulous, the rose variety is lovely to look at but that’s where the loveliness ends.

This here is rainbow challah — my standard recipe filled with sprinkles and formed into a round challah for Rosh Hashana. This tradition was passed on to me by part of my extended Atlanta family.

These are some vegetables that I tossed with a balsamic reduction vinaigrette. The star here was clearly the vinaigrette. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I found the recipe that I used as my starting point. I remember reducing the balsamic by about a third, mixing with olive oil, salt, pepper, and mustard. And tossing it over sliced peppers and blanched asparagus.

Mmmm…yet another quinoa recipe. Actually, this one is worth sharing.

Lemon-Tahina Quinoa

Inspired by 101 Cookbooks’ Lemon-scented Quinoa Salad.

– 1 C quinoa (I used a mix of white and red quinoa)

– 2 C water or amount called for by your quinoa package

kosher salt to taste

– 1 garlic clove, chopped

– 1/4 C tahina

– 1/4 C lemon juice

– 2 T olive oil

– 2 T boiling water

– 1 can garbanzo beans

– chives

Make quinoa. Prepare quinoa as directed on package, or bring water to a boil, add salt and quinoa and return to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover for ~15 minutes. Remove from heat when the water has been absorbed and allow to cool, covered for 3-5 minutes.

Make dressing. Whisk the garlic, tahina, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add in boiling water to thin and salt to taste.

Assemble salad. Toss quinoa and garbanzo beans with dressing. Cut chives over top of salad before serving.

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Shavuot just ended. Last year, in the spirit of the dairy tradition of this holiday, I made a cheese tart. In addition, I taught a dance/movement class for a tikkun leyl Shavout — an all-night learning session to commemorate the giving and receiving the torah. A dance class as part of Jewish learning?, you might ask. Well, it’s just one of my things and the cooking class I had planned didn’t work out.

Having a pantry filled with almonds — natural, sliced, slivered, roasted and salted, and crushed into meal — and a serious craving for all things amandine, I flipped through my cookbooks and found Dorie Greenspan‘s Swedish Visiting Cake. I’ve heard it described as tasting like a large almond macaroon. Yes, I meant to say macaroon rather than macaron — the consistency is somewhere between a cookie and a cake (at least the way I made it), similar to a chewy macaroon (and not the coconut kind). Anyway, it seemed worth a shot and the name alone made it sound like a good gift to offer friends.

I didn’t stay up learning all night, so I managed to bake the cake in the morning. The cake itself barely rose at all – not surprising as the only leavening agent was eggs. As I set it to cool, I decided to read a little bit in bed, and, you guessed it — fell asleep. Lucky that I waited to take the cake out of the oven before cozying up under my duvet as the rain pelted outside. 2 hours later and I had missed lunch. Despite having my cake, I just couldn’t bear to be that fashionably late.

So, I did what any of you would do – I cut a slice and ate it myself. Not bad, but it would have been nicer to share.

Swedish Visiting Cake (variation)

adapted from Dorie Greenspan.

The batter for this cake is very thick. I lost some of the almond flavor when I realized that I didn’t have almond extract and substituted orange blossom water which complements almonds. I think next time I might replace some of the flour with almond meal. Even though I neglected to share this with my barbecuing friends, I did treat a visiting friend to a slice with some red wine.

– 1/2 C butter or margarine

– 1 C sugar

– zest of 1 lemon

– 2 eggs

– 1/4 t salt

– 1 t orange blossom water

– 1 C flour

– 1/4 C sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter/margarine.

Make batter. Mix sugar and zest until sugar is fragrant and moistened by the oils in the zest. Beat in eggs one at a time along with orange blossom water. Then, use a spatula to fold in the flour. Finally, add the melted butter/margarine and incorporate into the batter.

Bake cake. Grease and sugar a springform pan and pour the batter in. Since it is so thick, you’ll need to smooth it out so it spreads evenly. Sprinkle sliced almonds and a little extra sugar on top. Place pan on a cookie sheet (the original recipe calls for baking the cake in a skillet, so the sheet adds a bit of extra thickness). Bake 25-30 minutes (I would err on the side of less time).

Cool and serve.

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dream come true

How often do you have the power to make a dream come true? Well, I did it this morning. I woke up ravenous, dreaming of shakshuka. That typical Israeli breakfast of eggs atop a bed of spicy tomato sauce. Having all the ingredients in my kitchen, I whipped up my dream for a great start to the day.


Not really a recipe, but just guidance as there are many variations to this dish. I like mine spicy and liberally add cumin and schug (a Yemenite mix of hot red or green peppers). Taste the sauce as you go along and make adjustments as necessary.

Heat oil in a pan and add garlic, onions, and diced peppers, sautéing until  soft. Add salt, a few pinches of cumin, and schug. Then add crushed tomatoes to fill the pan and continue to cook until heating through. When sauce is to your taste, crack two eggs into the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until the whites are solid. If you prefer your yolks less runny, cover the pan while the eggs are cooking. Eat while still hot with some bread to soak up any leftover sauce.

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