Fennel, Coriander, Black Sesame Seed Encrusted Rib Eye Steak

27 Jun 2010 no comments Bracha Shor

For Shabbos, we made a number of new dishes – and we tried some new plating ideas and we actually photographed some of them.  

I started off with trying a new technique (for me) for the rib eye steak from Bryan Voltaggio.  I made a dry rub of fennel seeds, coriander and black sesame seeds with salt and pepper and applied it to the rib eye steak.    I picked the black sesame seeds, because I thought it would look nice on the meat.  I had never used fennel seeds before on meat and the fennel imparted a beautiful subtle flavor.  

I took one pound of rib eye, trimmed off all the excess fat I could, and cut it into a rectangular block.  I seasoned the block with salt and pepper, then I took a tablespoon each of fennel seed (which I ground up by using a knife and just chopping up the seeds), coriander (dried) and sesame seeds and applied the dry rub to all 4 sides.  I then seared all 4 sides of the meat in a hot saute pan – just be careful not to burn the spices (I seared the meat for about 3-4 minutes a side).  After searing I put the meat in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes (you will determine how long you leave it in the oven by how cooked you want the finished meat to be – the searing leaves the meat *very* rare).  

Rib Eye Steak with Spices, Potato Confit and Potato Coulis and Tomato and Crispy Basil Salad


The Potato Confit (confit is a French word generally referring to meat – and it means that the meat is cooked in its own fat and should be very tender – when the word is used with vegetables it means the vegetable should be very tender, I’m using this term, because it was used from the recipe I got from Kenny Gilbert – however, the potatoes were deep fried, so I’m not sure “confit” actually fits this method).  I took about a cup of oil, put it in a small pot and heated it up, then I added the potatoes (that I cut into ovals) – I cooked the potatoes for approximately 12 minutes – until they became golden brown, then I salted the potatoes once I removed them from the oil.  In the same oil I added rings of onions – pick a small onion, so the rings are small and add the onions *after* the potato – the onions will cook much faster, once they are the color you would like them to be, take them out of the oil.  The potato “coulis” is really just a puree of potato with onions and seasonings (salt and pepper) – I was looking to make a thick puree, so that the potato can stand up in it.  My husband upon tasting the confit coulis combination thought it would be better with a sweet potato puree.  So, I tried that (although did not photograph it) and we thought it worked much better.  First of all, you have the contrasting colors, and then the contrasting taste (savory and sweet) was fun.  I added minced onion to the sweet potato with salt and pepper and we liked it a lot.  

The crispy basil – take some fresh basil and in that hot oil – throw the leaves in – they don’t have to stay in long, about 2 minutes – and then take them out.  The longer you  leave the basil in, the less green the leaves will become and they will burn and not taste very good.  I cut up some fresh orange tomatoes and then put the crispy basil on top.  You could salt the tomatoes if you want, but I liked them by themselves.

Six Pointed Challah


We made a 6 pointed challah.  This is a fun challah to make for simchas or if you are having a lot of guests – you end up having a lot of challah, so make sure you have friends to share with.  I did not take pre-photographs, perhaps next week.  If you are interested in how I did this, send me an email and I’ll describe it to you. 

Salmon Mousse in an Apple Cup


I thought this appetizer came out very well – I modified a recipe from Jacqueline Lombard.  She used the apple cup with a liver mousse.  I’ve never made a liver mousse, so instead we tried it with a salmon mousse.  The apple cup was dipped in lemon juice to prevent oxidation.  I picked a salmon mousse as a contrast to the tart granny smith apple.

Quest for a Pasta Roller

10 Jun 2010 one comment Bracha Shor

We hear that home-made pasta is delicious and not that hard to do.  The ingredients are simple (flour, eggs, salt, oil) and some people say making pasta is well worth the effort. Some others say, just buy freshly made pasta (I don’t know where I could find freshly made kosher pasta, although there is probably someone who is doing it), and some people say just use dried.  How fun would it be to boil your pasta for 15-20 seconds for it to be ready?  I don’t know yet, I’ve never made home made pasta.  But I am willing to try.

However, I do not have a pasta maker.  Do you need a pasta roller to make pasta?  No, you can do it by hand (ravioli) or use a rolling pin.  However, if you want your pasta to be uniformly thin, and you are a relative novice to pasta making – a pasta roller will achieve uniformity and thinness (there are typically 9 settings of thinness, from thick (1) to see-through (9).  And, it’ll be faster.

I want to borrow a pasta maker because, although I will buy one, I’m not sure which one I want to buy.  Kitchen Aid has an attachment that will fit on my mixer, but will it work?  I don’t know.  And having a pasta maker sit on your counter (presumably attached to the counter with some kind of vice) looks neat.  So, I just got 2 more leads as to where I might be able to borrow a pasta roller.

I’ve seen recipes that I’ve wanted to try for years.  When we were living in the Old City of Jerusalem, my husband would get the paper.  Every Thursday would have the food magazine (which I’ve saved).  And they had about 20 articles on making your own pasta.  They mostly have raviolis with different fillings, but still, they sounded easy enough to do. So, we are on a quest.  We heard of someone who might have a pasta roller to lend, and it turned out they didn’t, but their daughter in law had heard of someone with one, so we’ll see how that turns out.

So stay tuned.

Sushi Art

03 Jun 2010 3 comments Bracha Shor

Have you heard of sushi art?  I saw a book on-line – it’s where you make pictures in the sushi.  I just made one this morning.  Here it is:

Hopefully, it looks like a flower to you.  I got the idea from a book I saw (and I’m going to have to see if the library has it, because my local bookstore doesn’t and I couldn’t find it online).  I am not sure how they made the carrots circular, I’m wondering if there is a carrot corer – like an apple corer.  If so, that would be vastly easier than my first attempt of using a knife to make the boiled carrot circular.  Not such a good plan, or at least not with my knife “skills”.  Then I tried a peeler which worked much better and it made the carrot more uniform and circular-like.  

I’m hoping to make a couple more designs this week, and if so, I will post them as well.

Dips and Quips

27 May 2010 7 comments Bracha Shor

Hello!  This week (May 25) we gave a class to 65 people on easy yet exoctic and delicious dips.  While preparing for the class, I found out “hummus” is the Arabic word for chick pea (and Garbanzo is the Spanish equivalent).  My first dip was the tri-colored hummus.  You can really use any colored vegetable to make the tri-colors.  I started with parsley, but I found that it didn’t turn the hummus green, it just gave the dip green flecks.  So then I tried spinach.  I was using an immersion blender, and it could be a food processor would have blended the dips better (but since I was doing 10-12 dips, I thought it would be easier clean up with the immersion blender).  Spinach tasted good and looked good, so that went into the final dip.    Dana F. gave me a great tip to use beets.  I was shocked, I really thought it was going to be less than yummy and it turned out to be one of my favorites.  I took equal parts of the hummus and the vegetable and blended them.  I used canned beets, and emptied out the water.  So, the dip was easy, good for you, and delicious.  The third dip I picked was pumpkin – I used canned pumpkin for this as well and it turned a nice orange.  However, I could have easily used roasted red peppers, or boiled carrots or a different squash.  I thought the pumpkin gave a unique flavor. 

Tri Colored Hummus:

  • 1 Part Hummus
  • 1 Part Beets


  • 1 Part Hummus
  • 1 Part Spinach


  • 1 Part Hummus
  • 1 Part Pumpkin
  • 1 T Lemon Juice

Puree the hummus and beets and put in a zip lock bag, do the same for the spinach hummus and the pumpkin hummus with lemon juice.  Once all 3 dips are made, pipe them onto a plate so that each dip takes up a third of the plate and touches the other 2.  Then jiggle the plate slightly to smooth out the dips (or you might have to use a spoon to smooth them out).  Garnish with chick peas, or red pepper slices between the hummuses. I used a rectangular plate, but if you use a circular plate, you’ll make 3 wedges.  

Deconstructed Baba Ganoush

  • 1 Roasted Eggplant
  • 3 T Tahini
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  •  Lemon Juice to taste
  • Garlic Powder to taste

This recipe is from Julie A.  Roast a whole eggplant with the skin on.  Then put into a plastic bag so as to make de-skinning easier.  De-skin the eggplant while keeping the stem in tact (this keeps the eggplant together and looks nice).  Cut the eggplant horizontally so that you can fan the eggplant out.  On a serving plate put a very thin layer of tahini (only to cover the plate).  Place and fan the eggplant onto the tahini, then drizzle the lemon juice, oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper on top. Then have your guests “construct” the baba ganoush when they spoon the dip onto their challah/cracker. 

I found out that aspargus is Greek for “shoot” or “stalk” (in case you were wondering – I bothered to look it up, so there you go).  Any of the dips with tofutti can easily be dairy (just switch sour cream in for the tofutti).  Did you know that Asparagi are *wrought* (when do I get to use that word?) with bugs.  It’s true, take the asparagus and agitate it in a white bowl and chances are you will find some very little green colored bugs (aphids? not sure).  Anyway, if you have asparagus that is bug free – go ahead and use the tops.  However, mine had a lot of bugs, so I just cut off the tops. 

Asparagus Dip:

  • 1 Pound of Asparagus
  • ½ c Tofutti Sour Cream
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut off the tips of the asparagus.  If usable – you can use these for garnish.  Roast the asparagus. Then puree all ingredients.

Ginger Carrots: from Naftali Q. 

 Friends of ours (Heather and Eitan B.) made this delicious dip on Purim (which they served with their savory hamentashen).  This is another surprisingly delicious dip.  It tastes very refreshing and makes you feel like you are eating healthy (which you are). The ginger rounds out the flavors, so if you do not like ginger, just use a little, but use some.  This is a great easy dip, since there is no cooking, just peel the carrots and blend.   The original recipe called for rice vinegar, I didn’t have any in the house, if you have some, use that.   I also didn’t have scallions in the house, so I just left that off (to be fair to myself, I got the recipe after I went shopping, and I didn’t have the energy to go out again). 

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 5 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped peeled ginger
  • 2 scallions coarsley chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic

Blend all ingredients until no big chunks are left.  I suggest putting this dip into a zucchini “boat” – it looks very nice in a green serving dish.  If I get my act together I will take pictures today of the dips.

Moroccan Carrots:

  •  1 Pound Carrots
  • 4 T Tofutti Sour Cream
  • ½ t Cardamom
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T Lemon Juice
  • 1 t Sugar

Bake or boil the carrots until soft and then puree.  If you boil your carrots, *SAVE* your stock (and this goes for any time you boil vegetables).  The vitamins/minerals go out into the water, so you might as well uyse them.  You can use it for soup, or many recipes that call for water (especially meat dishes – it adds a layer of complexity).

Beet Dip:

Intersting fact about beets: half the beets in the US are white and are made to harvested just to make sugar.  

  • 3 Medium Cooked Beets
  • ½ c. Tofutti Sour Cream
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 T Lemon Juice
  • 1/8 t Tarragon
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper


Combine all ingredients in bowl and puree to desired texture.  The tarragon adds a  bit of sweetness to the dip.  I used the can beets, – otherwise you can roast some beets with their skins on for an hour in a 350 oven.
Moroccan Beet Dip:

The following Moroccan dip is a little exotic.  If you do not like cumin, cilantro or cardamom, you’re not going to like the dip – so leave out whatever spice you do not like.  If you do not have cardamom and do not want to buy it (I found it at Whole Foods) you can use cinnamon instead.  I found the cashews did not smooth out and gave the dip texture.  If you prefer your dip smooth, then I would suggest using 1/4 cup of cashew butter.

  • 3 Medium Cooked  Beets
  • ½ c Roasted Cashews
  • ½ c Tofutti Sour Cream
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 T Lemon Juice
  • ½ t Dried Cumin
  • ½ t Dried Cilantro
  • ½ t Dried Paprika
  • ½ t Dried Cardamom

Combine all ingredients and puree until desired texture.

Red Pepper Dip:

  • 6 Roasted Red Peppers de-skinned
  • Dash of Salt

 Squeeze out any extra liquid.  Then puree until desired texture.  If it is too liquid-y, you can reduce the dip on the stove.  I was told by a woman at the class this dip would be good when combined with either Tofutti sour cream or regular sour cream.


Peanut Butter Dip for Fruit

  • 1/3 c Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 T Tofutti Sour Cream
  • 2 T Honey
  • 1 T Water
  • 1/8 t Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Yum.


Fried Wontons

19 Apr 2010 no comments Bracha Shor

We hosted a Sheva Brachos and we started off the first course with Fried wontons.  First of all, fried wontons are delicious, and are easy to make.  Buy some wonton wrappers at your local grocery store (I don’t know why, but they are often in the refrigerated produce section).   I bought the smaller wontons, if I were to do it over, I think I would buy the larger wrappers, why you ask?  Because although smaller ones are cuter they take a lot of time and you can’t put as much filling in.  Pick up some cream cheese, and whatever you want to use as your filling.  I picked mock crab this time around, although I have done them in the past with apricot – which was also yummy.  I made three per person.  

  • Makes approximately 50:
  • 1 Package of Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Parsley
  • 1 Package of Mock Crab

Bring cream cheese to room temperature, then mix in the egg, add the salt, pepper and parsley and mix.  (If you like Old Bay Seasoning, add some Old Bay – somewhere between a teaspoon to a tablespoon, depending how much you like it).  Lay out 9 wrappers in front of you and put 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle (if you are using the larger wontons, then put a tablespoon), then cut up some of your mock crab and put in a couple of pieces.  Then, wet the edges of the wonton and close the wonton completely, if you miss a part your filling will leak out while you fry them.  I brought all 4 corners together and sealed the sides together, but you can close them up however you like.   As you are putting the wontons together, start heating up the oil.  You need about an inch and a half of oil covering the bottom of the pan.  When the oil is hot enough, the wontons when dropped in will cause the oil to bubble slightly, so you can drop a little piece of wonton in to see if it fries up.  If you try to fry the wontons and the oil is not hot enough, you will get soggy oil filled wontons (ick).  

While you are working with the wonton wrappers, cover them with a damp (wet and then squeezed out) paper towel.  This will stop the wontons from drying out.  (You have to squeeze the water out, because too much water = soggy and unusable wontons).  I found these wontons good without a sauce, but you could make a quick an easy sauce to go with this.  An apricot sauce could be good (see below), as could a spicy mustard sauce, or even a dill sauce.  

I have also filled the wrappers with cream cheese and apricot jam.  Add a tablespoon of sugar to the cream cheese and egg mixture (and delete the other ingredients) and then add half a teaspoon or teaspoon of apricot jam to each wonton.  I then serve an apricot sauce with these wontons (take 1/2 a cup of the apricot jam and add a tablespoon of water to make a thinner sauce, add another tablespoon of water if the sauce is still too thick).


Ethiopian Shaloch Manos

01 Mar 2010 no comments Bracha Shor

This year we made Ethiopian Shaloch Manos and it was a culinary adventure.  We made Kik Wot (Red Lentil Stew) and Injera (a sourdough crepe-like flat bread).  First we had to find all the ingredients.  Injera is made with Teff Flour – a protein packed grain found in Ethiopia.  Here I got it from Bob’s Red Mills in Whole Foods (I tried to find it closer to home, but the supermarkets didn’t have it, nor the local health food stores, hooray for Whole Foods).

Then the red lentils were also found at Whole foods.  Red lentils are fantastic, not only are they good for you, they change color!  That’s right, they start off a salmon color and when heated turn yellow.  Red lentils make a great soup or a side dish.

Three days before you decide you want to make your Injera crepes – put all the ingredients together – the teff, regular flour, water, salt.  Then let it sit for three days, outside of the refrigerator. Three days.  I know, kind of weird – but if you have ever made sourdough bread, this process is totally normal.  And with luck, you will get the mixture to ferment.  Fermentation is key to get the bubbles, and the bubbles are key for the Injera to look like it is spongelike when cooked.

After the ingredients were gathered, I checked and washed the red lentils and then sauteed the onions in oil until translucent and then added the minced garlic and then added the Berbere – an Ethiopian spice mixture similar to curry in that everyone makes it a little different, but the primary spice is Paprika.  Please see below for my recipe for it – (it called for Fenugreek and cardamom – neither of which I was able to find with a Kosher certification, so I left them out).  That mixture sauteed for about 5 minutes, then I added the diced tomatoes.  Then I added the red lentils and the water.  Then I let it “stew” for about 2 hours.  In the end, the mixture should be thick and stew like – not a thin soup, so if you end up having too much water, let it boil off.

In Ethiopia, apparently, they use only Teff flour for Injera, but in America, most Ethiopian restaurants (according to the brief research I did on the internet) use regular flour with the Teff to create a milder flavor.  While the red lentils are stewing you can make the Injera.  I used a crepe pan, but you can use any circular sautee pan.    The Injera batter had bubbles floating at the top which let me know it did ferment and it smelled sour dough-y.  I took about 1/4 of a cup and poured it on the heated pan with a little bit of cooking spray.  Then as it heated, the bubbles came to the top and made the sponge like consistency.  You cook it like a crepe – but you only cook one side, no flipping.  It took about 2 minutes for the crepe to be fully cooked.

After everything was cooked, if it is a “real” Ethiopian meal, you put the Injera down on a platter and put the stew on top of it (the Injera soaks up some of the juices).  Then it is served with extra Injera to be used as utensils – you tear off pieces of the Injera and use it to scoop the stew.  After all the stew is scooped, then you eat the bottom layer of Injera (which is delicious).  If anyone tries this and wants extra information or pointers, just give us a call.  Purim Sameach!  Happy Purim!

Kik Wot (Red Lentil Stew)

  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 2 cups Onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 10 Tablespoons Berbere
  • a container of Grape Tomatoes
  • 10 cups Red Lentils
  • About 20 cups of Water (I just added enough to cover and then added more when it was too dry)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice


  • 1 cup Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek (I didn’t use it)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice (didn’t use)
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Turmeric

Mix all of the above ingredients.  I made this mixture only for the red lentils, if you are going to use this mixture for a lot of different uses, most people add minced garlic and onions to the dried ingredients and then sautee it, but since the red lentils had garlic and onions in it, I didn’t add them to the Berbere.

This amount made a little over 30 cups worth.


  • 1 cup Teff Flour
  • 8 cups White Flour
  • Enough water to make a slightly thicker than crepe like consistency – approximately 8 cups of water split into 2 cups and then add the rest.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Mix the flours and salt and add 2 cups of the water.  Knead the dough.  I had read that kneading the dough first helps develop the gluten and makes it better. So, I did this, for about 30 minutes (it was fun, and the Teff flour makes for a very silky fun texture).  Then I added the extra water – and the gluten didn’t dissolve after a day.  I was nervous I was going to have to toss the mixture and start again, but I just left it sit in the water, hoping the flour would dissolve after 2 more days, and it did just that.  When I was ready to make the Injera, I had a lot of bubbles – and it was slightly thicker than a crepe batter.   This mixture works just like a sourdough mixture, so you could save some and use it as a starter for the next time, if you want.