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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Two years ago I published a recipe for a Jerusalem and chestnut gratin, it is one of my favorite recipes and a go to whenever Jerusalem artichokes are in season. This year I had a new challenge, as my friend became vegan I decided to make a different version of this fabulous gratin.
I used purple potatoes, for their beautiful color, Jerusalem artichokes (also known as Sunchokes), shallots and pre cooked and packaged chestnuts. To replace the milk, cream and cream fraiche I used my new favorite creamer: Cashews!
For the best cashew cream I soak them over night in water, and then puree to a smooth “milk”, but if you are pressed for time place a handful (about 1/2 a cup) of raw cashews in a bowl of hot water, replace the water as they cool down, or keep on a low simmer for an hour – two. The nuts are ready when they are soft and juicy, then you can puree them in a blender. start with a little water and add more if needed, you want it to be thick, not runny.

ingredients:potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, chestnuts (cooked and peeled), shallots, thyme, cashew cream, paprika, salt, pepper, juice of half a lemon and bread crumbs 

 

pre heat the oven to 375
start by slicing all vegetable as thin as you can, then mix all ingredients but bread crumbs  in a large bowl.adjust seasoning and layer in the dish you intend on using for baking.  if you want to make distinct layers, you can mix the cashew cream in as you layer the vegetable, make sure it gets all the way in between the pieces and layers.sprinkle crumbs on top, cover and bake for 35 min, remove cover and bake about 15 min more or until golden in color.let the gratin cool down a little before digging in. 

enjoy!

 

 

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Cherimoya?
I came across this weird looking fruit at the co-op earlier this week, and as always, I felt an obligation to try it.. I ran a quick Google search while shopping and came up with the following “The cherimoya is often considered one of the best-tasting fruits in the world“. well, now you see, I had NO choice but to get me one.

After a short research I found out that its a type of Anona, native to the Andes and that when ripe it should feel like one’s elbow.. hmm..
It has been resting on my kitchen counter for a few days and today I picked it up and WOW, it felt like an elbow!! well, not really, but it had a softness to it, while still maintaining it’s firmness. That’s good enough for me. let’s cut it open:

It has a fleshy white insides, with big brown seeds, it’s sweet and delicious, with a firm texture that can explain the nick name “custard apple”. Not sure that it stands up for the “best testing fruit” title earlier claimed, but its definitely tasty, and reminded me of a jack fruit both in texture and flavor.

buen provecho !

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It’s been months that I have been planing on making these cookies. It all started after I had Thini cookies at Sugar-Daddy in Tel Aviv earlier this year. I was talking about making these cookies for so long that it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen.
After looking up recipes online and in my cookbook collection and not coming up with anything that seemed promising, I tried to improvise… The first batch of cookies was too hard, so I added some butter and replaced a 1/3 of the spelt flour with almond meal. And here you go, a winner recipe, the cookies came out tasty and crumbly, perfect served with tea or on their own. So good!
Thini is basically ground up sesame seeds and Silan is a date syrup, the combination of these two flavors is unreal.
First thing is making sure you are using high quality Thini paste, I prefer Thini that comes from the middle east, it just seems to be better than any local brand I tried. The Silan should be as natural as possible, and without preservatives.

1/2 cup raw Thini paste
1/2 cup date syrup
8 tablespoon of butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cup flour, I used spelt and almond meal, 1 cup spelt and 1/2 almond.
1/4 cup chopped pistachio
cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla and a pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 355 (180 Celsius)
Start by placing the thini and butter in a sauce pan over low heat, mix until well combined.
In a large bowl mix the thini-butter paste with the silan, chopped pistachios, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a few drops of vanilla extract, 1/2-1 teaspoon of ground cardamon and the salt.
Slowly add the flour and mix by hand until a soft dough is formed.
Using your hands, form small balls and place on a baking pan, since the dough is soft the cookies will spread, so make sure they are spread out.


Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until slightly brown and take out. Let cool before trying to move the cookies or they will fall apart.
The cookies are extremely soft at first but they will harden as they cool down.

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Amy B was here this weekend for a very short minute, and that was a great reason to cook and celebrate. On Sunday as a part of our way to convince Roi to come and help us with an ongoing bathroom renovation, and since Amy was in town, I cooked an elaborate brunch featuring these little cheesy puffs, called gougères, savory cheesy pastry puffs. oh my, they are so delicious.
Being the gruyere lover that I am its sorta hard to be objective about any food that has this fantastic swiss work of art in it, but pairing these little yummies with some poached eggs was simply delightful, and it didn’t require too much work either (it is rare for me to go for recipes that do…).
It doesn’t require using a mixer, nor it won’t break your hand mixing it.


makes 8-10 servings


1/3 cup (3 oz/90 g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup (5 oz/155 g) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs 3 + 1 for brushing
1 1/2 cups (6 oz/185 g) shredded Gruyere cheese

pre-heat oven to 425°F (220° C), line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, salt, white pepper, cayenne, and 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water and bring to a boil. cook, stirring, until the butter melts, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and, using a wooden spoon, mix vigorously until a thick paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes.
remove from heat. break 1 egg into the pan, using the wooden spoon, beat it into the batter until combined. repeat with additional 2 eggs. whisk in 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) of the cheese.

dip a teaspoon into a glass of cold water, then scoop up a generous teaspoonful of the batter and push it onto the prepares baking sheet with a fingertip. repeat with the remaining batter, spacing them 2 inches (5 cm) apart and dipping the spoon each time to prevent sticking. brush the tops off with an egg and sprinkle with the remaining of the cheese.

bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven temp to 350°F (180° C) and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. remove from the oven, pierce each one with a wooden skewer, and then return to the oven. turn off oven and leave the gougères in the oven for 10 minutes. serve at room temperature

Bon Appetit!

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pickled beet salad, quinoa with lentils and some kale.

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I learned this one from Jules, shortly after he had learned it from Matt and Kayla. This delicious variation of a french toast is simple and doesn’t require frying, it’s perfect if you are having some friends over for brunch.

You will need:
1 loaf of challah bread, sliced the night before and left out or lightly toasted in the oven – this step is important to help the bread soak up as much liquid as possible.
4-5 eggs, scrambled
2-3 cups of milk
1 pint of blueberries
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cardamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
powdered sugar for dusting
maple syrup

baking dish, buttered

pre-heat oven to 400°
in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and spices, cut the bread into pieces and soak in liquid, mix it with your hands to insure the bread is completely soaked.
Mix in the blueberries, I like to use a lot of berries, about 3/4 of a pint.
transfer the mixture into a baking dish, fluff it with your fingers and sprinkle a few more berries on top.
place in the oven for about 30 minutes, covered, then remove cover and bake for 10 minutes more or until lightly golden in color. finish with some powdered sugar.


serve warm with pure maple syrup.

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Last week while making brussel sprouts I was wondering how come I never tried to recreate my favorite brussel sprouts dish yet, that one I have every time I go to Alta, charred sprouts served with apples, pistachios and creme fraiche.
Well, luckily It’s still the season for brussel sprouts!

You will need about a pound of brussel sprouts, an apple (I like to use Fuji), 1/4 cup of apple cider, 1-2 tablespoon creme fraiche and a 1/4 cup pistachios, I used almond since I didn’t have any pistachios.
pre heat oven to 425°F
Cleaning them is simple, if you cut the bottom part of the leg and therefor the bottom of the top few leaves they will come off easily. Then, cut them in half, length wise and add to a very hot cast iron with about 1 tablespoon of oil, a little salt and pepper, toss them around and place in the oven. I like to burn them a little, I find that it adds sweetness and a much-needed crispiness to this veggie. In the mean time, over a medium heat in a small sauce pan, reduce 1/4 cup of apple cider to about 2 tablespoon worth, slice half an apple to thin slices and cut to desire size and chop a hand-full of almonds.

Once the brussel sprouts are out of the oven arrange them in a serving dish, sprinkle the almonds/ pistachio over, mix in the apples and drizzle the apple cider reduction. top it off with some creme fraiche and that’s it! enjoy this delicious treat.

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I promised Debbie about a month ago that I will make some lentil soup and put the recipe up, but this entire time I just wasn’t inspired to cook any lentils, then I saw these green french lentils at the coop and knew that today is the day.

Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, but they have the added advantage of cooking quickly and they don’t require any soaking.
Green lentils are usually the ones I go for, the french ones are more delicate and take longer to cook. all lentils should be rinsed and picked through for stones before cooking. Oh, and by the way, they will take longer to cook if they are combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last.

for the soup you will need:
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 stick of celery
1 small turnip
1 large potato
1 1/2 cup of lentils, picked and rinsed
5-6 cups of chicken stock or water
1 tomato, chopped
2 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon paprika
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
chopped parsley for garnish

start by sweating the onion, carrot, celery and turnip in 2 tablespoons of oil, add black pepper and a pinch of salt just to get some liquid out of the veggies, add garlic, potato and lentils. Add liquid, cumin, paprika and a bay leaf. bring to a boil and lower to simmer. cook for 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the lentils you are using. Keep checking that there is enough liquid in the pot,  the lentils soak up a lot of liquid as they cook and the soup will slowly turn thicker, its up to you to decide how thick you want it to be. Taste a few lentils after the first 40 minutes and see if they are completely cooked and soft, make any adjusting to the flavor if needed, if the lentils are ready add the lemon juice, salt and the chopped tomato, cook for 5-10 more minutes discard the bay leaf and serve, garnished with chopped parsley.

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Bourekas are little pockets of goodness, made from puff pastry and filled with mushrooms, potatoes, cheese or really whatever you want to fill them with.
For dinner last night we decided to go light, we had a bag of mushrooms that needed attention, left over from NYE when we never got to cook them, and two frozen sheets of puff pastry. Bourekas can be served in different ways, I like serving them with a hard boiled egg, pureed tomato and some Labane with za’atar.

Potato, mushroom and onion Bourekas:
makes 18 pieces

you will need 1 potato, 1 onion, about 15 mushrooms of your liking, thyme, parsley, 1,4 cup white wine, 1/8 cup half and half,  butter, oil, salt and pepper and egg wash. I also like to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Start by cooking the potato and then mashing it add some butter (1 tablespoon) and set aside.
Take the dough out of the freezer and set your oven to 400. Slice the onion and saute in a pan until starting to color, add slices mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of butter, add thyme, salt and pepper, cook for a few minutes and add wine. cook the alcohol off and add cream, cook together, adjusting taste, for a few minutes until most of the liquid is gone.
mix together the potato with the mushrooms and add about 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, taste and adjust.

If the dough is still frozen let it sit until completely thawed, then sprinkle with some flour, and cut into 9 squares, try to keep the at the same size.
Place about 1 tablespoon of filling on one side of the square, away from the edges, brush edge with egg wash, fold over and press sealed, first with your fingertips and then with a fork.
once all the bourekas are ready, place on a baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and place in the oven for 15-17 minutes. keep an eye on them as baking time may vary, once the are puffed and golden in color take them out and let cool.

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As a kid, just like many, I didn’t eat brussels sprouts, I’m not sure if it was the smell, the look or simply the name that made me abstain from it, either way it wasn’t until recent years when I started eating it. One of the first times I truly felt like we might have a future was at Alta restaurant in NYC a few years ago, they were roasted and served with apples, pistachios and creme fraiche, as I’m writing these words I am wondering “how could it be that I have never tried to duplicate that dish?”

Brussels sprouts get a delicious sweet flavor when caramelized and even slightly burnt, I like starting them in a hot pan and then finishing it in the oven.

There are many ways to roast these little green beauties, some include the addition of bacon, pancetta, chorizo or other cured pork products, it sure does add some fatty goodness to the dish and if you chooses to use any of the above, start by rendering the meat for a few minutes to get some of the fat melted in the pan, then add to the same pan your cleaned and washed sprouts, cut in halves or quarters.
If you chooses a vegetarian dish, heat up some oil and/or butter and throw them in on a medium-high heat, then add salt and pepper and cook for a 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place pan in a pre-heated over, at 375° F, for about 10-15 minutes, or until brussels sprouts are soft and nicely roasted. you can add some roasted nuts once out of the oven, my favorite are sliced almonds but if I don’t have any I’ll use pine nuts instead.
This simple dish can be easily adjusted to your liking, you can spice it up with some chili or serve with fresh granny-smith apple slices and some lite drizzle of honey or reduced apple cider.

Either way its hard to go wrong.

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