Thursday, August 25, 2011
Every once in a while you stumble across a recipe that becomes part of your life. It's one of those recipes that you continue to make, year after year. It becomes a staple at certain holidays and times of year. For me this is a classic applesauce coffee cake that I found in a Martha Stewart cookbook years ago. I love it because it is quick and simple to prepare, and it uses ingredients that I usually have stocked in my pantry. But, what I love most about this cake is its presentation. It is a beauty; a high cake, dense, and decorative. People are always impressed by it. And, the best part is, that it freezes really well too. Look, I am not a major 'freezer', if you ask me, fresh is always best. But, I've got to be realistic. And, chances are, if there's something I can prepare in advance, I will. When I am referring to freezing, I am not talking about leaving something in your freezer for 2 years, but usually for up to a month or so. Everyone seems to love this cake because it tastes like home.
p.s. The slices apples on the top of the cake can be replaced with sliced peaches, plums or pears.
p.p.s. Rosh Hashana is just around the corner and this makes a perfect dessert for the holidays.
Applesauce Coffee Cake
Thursday, August 18, 2011
All I do is wash the tomatoes, cut off the rotten parts and discard, and chop the rest into chunks- it doesn't have to pretty or perfect. That's the beauty of this recipe (also, the fact that all you will need are 5 straightforward ingredients). By the way, cherry tomatoes and fresh tomatoes of ANY kind can be used in this recipe!
Serves 4- 6, but can easily be adjusted for the number of people you are feeding
16 ounces of pasta, your choice ( I like using large shells for this because they really scoop up the amazing sauce)
4 cups chopped tomatoes, skin on (or cherry tomatoes, or a variation)
1/4 cup olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
6 fresh basil leaves, I was lucky enough to get my hands on lemon basil- you must try it if you haven't!
lots of salt and black pepper, to taste
chili pepper flakes, if you like it hot
Preheat oven 400. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Place the tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic in a large baking dish, season with salt and pepper- taste the tomatoes to check if there is enough seasoning.
Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, until tomatoes have swollen up and are soft inside.
Spoon the pasta directly into the baking dish that the tomatoes are in.
Toss well, scooping up all the leftover oil from the bottom of the pan.
Tear the basil leaves into small pieces over the pasta, and toss in. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper and chili flakes.
The smell, the look, the taste- so good!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
There are many things I love about the culinary world in Montreal..but my favorite are these 'lolipop' steaks, basically steaks on a stick, sold at J&R Kosher Butcher (JRKosher.com). I love the concept, a small portion of steak served on a skewer- they are great to serve at a barbecue, and kids love them! I simply grill them, as I would any ordinary rib steak, and serve them with this amazingly colorful and flavorful, zesty chimichurri sauce. You can make this recipe using any type of steak, and the chimichurri goes well with all grilled meats and chicken- just to change things up a bit.
Chimichurri is a green sauce used for grilled meats or as a marinade, and it originated in Argentina. Here is my version which basically uses those vegetables that I have forgotten about in my fridge, ie. soft tomatoes and peppers, and fresh herbs that aren't looking so alive anymore!
Grilled Steak with Chimichurri
4 individual steaks or 'lolipop' steaks, seasoned with salt and pepper
Grill the steaks according to your desired likeness...
Meanwhile, prepare the Chimichurri:
2 medium tomatoes, or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 handful fresh basil
1 handful parsley (or any fresh herbs you may have including: dill, cilantro, oregano, mint...)
2 garlic cloves
1 small piece ginger (1-2 inches), peeled
lots of salt and black pepper, to taste
drizzle of good olive oil
add a chili pepper if you like it hot
Combine the tomatoes and pepper in a food processor, and process just until chopped. Add the herbs, garlic, and ginger. Process until all ingredients are minced, and combined, Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the olive oil. Serve the steak hot, with the chimichurri alongside!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
When you are short on time, and looking for a quick, light meal, rice bowls are a great way to go.
Simply steam some of your favorite white or brown rice, and top with sliced grilled chicken, beef, tofu or fish and spoon over this spicy, fresh, flavorful slaw. (This is a great dish to make using your leftover rice and/or whatever leftover protein you may have in the fridge!)
Dinner in no time, served with a spoon!
Spicy Ginger-Carrot Slaw
3 kirby cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, and then cut into very thin slices
3 cups shredded or julienned carrots
1 cup shredded green cabbage
4 tablespoons chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1- 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup rice vinegar
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
4 cups steamed rice
your choice of prepared chicken, beef, tofu, fish...