Friday, February 18, 2011

Kosher Inspired Magazine

I had the best day yesterday! Spent the day at a photo shoot for Kosher Inspired Magazine. The subject? Mimouna, an wonderful, traditional North African Jewish Celebration held the night Passover ends. I haven't had that much fun in a long time! We wrapped a whole fish in pearls, made couscous, moufletta, and set a gorgeous Moroccan table. It really brought back great memories. The shoot took place at Kim Amzallag's apartment- she is the most colorful, energetic, inspiring woman! And I was lucky enough to meet the ever-talented photographer Irving Schild, along with other amazingly creative people like: Michelle Giovanello, Chantal Tobali, and Geila Hocherman. If you haven't yet checked out Kosher Inspired magazine, you should! The website is currently under construction, but is set to launch around Passover time, and I will be writing recipes and articles for the site!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why my place is always the hang-out..

I have always been a biscotti-maker. In fact, I'd like to say that I am known for my biscotti. I always have a fresh baked batch in my cookie jar. My neighbors are always popping in for some tea and biscotti. Often times, a new batch is finished off the same day they are baked. And at the end of a cold winter day, there's nothing like cozying up with a hot cup of tea, and of course, a great assortment of biscotti.
Here are my absolute favorite, tried and true biscotti recipes.

Thin Fig & Pecan Biscotti
I ripped this recipe out of an Australian cooking magazine while traveling through the country 5 years ago. These have become a staple in my household. They are simple, but tasty and beautiful. I serve them on their own, or alongside sorbet. This is my idea of the perfect biscotti, no frills.
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
11/4 cups flour
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup mission figlets, stemmed (I use Blue Ribbon Orchard brand)

Preheat oven 350. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Using an electric mixture, whisk together the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes. Fold in the flour, pecans and figlets. Don't overmix.
Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan. Bring the sides of the parchment paper together and fold over to tighten, so the loaf takes on a more rounded shape. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely, and wrap in tinfoil and refrigerate overnight. 
Preheat oven 300. Using a very sharp knife, cut the log in to slices, as thin as possible. Place slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes until golden!
Crunchy Biscotti with Chocolate, Pecans & Coconut
My friends go crazy for these biscotti because of their "butterscotchy"flavor and texture. Every time someone bites into one of these, they have the same reaction: "mmmm! What is that?" Read through the recipe to uncover the secret ingredient! I've adapted this recipe, which comes from a wonderful Kosher cookbook, called, "Panache," edited by Shawna Goodman-Sone. Definitely check it out!

3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
Preheat oven 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
1/4 cup grated sweetened coconut
1/2 cup toasted pecans (you can use any type of nuts)
1 cup Grape Nuts Cereal (*ie the secret ingredient*)
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In an electric mixture, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk for about 3 minutes until all in well combined. Fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, coconut, pecans, grape nut cereal, and chocolate, until evenly combined. Using wet hands, divide the mixture into 4 even logs (about 7 inches long and 3 inches wide). Place logs on baking sheets, and bake for 30 minutes until golden. Remove from oven, and let cool 20 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the biscotti into 1-inch slices. Turn the slices onto their flat sides and place on baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, until really golden!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blogging about me...

While trying to look up some old recipes I wrote back in the day for a magazine called, Chile Pepper, I came across this adaptation of my recipe for Spicy Chocolate Souffles on "The Alchemist" blog. Check it out:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Recipes from last night...

We had so much fun last night...such a great group of beautiful, inspiring, and smart women. Thank you Jessie for putting the group together!

Here are a few of the recipes from last night:

Ginger-Scallion Artic Char
Serves 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 bunches of scallions, trimmed and cleaned, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 ginger root, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
½ cup soy sauce
1 large fillet Artic Char, weighing about 2 lbs, skin removed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
juice from 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven 350. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, and sauté until translucent.  Add the ginger, and cook for 5 minutes. Pour the soy sauce over, and simmer, until the mixture is dark, and all the liquid is absorbed. This takes about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the fish in a parchment-lined baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the Dijon, paprika, lemon juice and garlic. Brush on top of the fish flesh. Bake the fish, uncovered for 25-30 minutes. You can check with a fork to make sure its cooked to your liking. Transfer the cooked dish to a serving dish, and spoon the ginger topping over the fish. Serve hot, warm, or even at room temperature.

Winter Arugula Salad with Avocado, Grapefruit & Pistachios
Serves 6-8
2 bunches fresh arugula (5 cups)
1 avocado, sliced thin
1 grapefruit, peel and pith cut away with a serrated knife and sections cut free from membranes
¼ cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup good, strong olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon (use Meyer lemons, if in season)
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place the arugula, avocado, grapefruit, and pistachios in a large bowl. Pour in the olive oil, squeeze lemon juice over, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Serve alongside grilled meats or fish.

Fried Eggplant Slices with Harissa Dipping Sauce
Serves 10 
1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into ¼ inch slices (half-circles)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley, or herb of your choice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
½ cup vegetable oil

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip the eggplant slices into the eggwash, and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Shake off any excess. Place on a baking sheet. Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Fry a few slices at a time, about 30 seconds per side, until golden. Drain on paper towel. Repeat until all are fried. These are crispiest made the day you are serving them but are still great when made a day or two ahead of time. Serve alongside the harissa dipping sauce.

For Harissa:
1 tablespoon store-bought Harissa
½ lemon, squeezed
1 tablespoon minced cilantro

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Keeps refrigerated for up to 1 week.