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Passing Through Passover

29 Mar

Happy Passover y’all! How’s everyone’s holiday going? How were your sedarim?  I survived my first Seder.  I not only survived hosting my first Seder but I also really enjoyed it. Our first night didn’t go as originally planned and it ended up just being my wonderful husband and I, so we enjoyed our cups of wine and we may have even rapped the Four Questions so even though we were by ourselves the first night, we still nailed it.  Our second night was pretty awesome as well.  We hosted lab mates from my husband’s PhD program (he’s a marine biologist).  No one was Jewish but it didn’t matter.  There was wonderful conversation, folks participated, I printed our visual aids for the order of the Seder and the 10 plagues, and I gotta say, it was really a lovely night.  I made WAY too much food and actually ended up sending folks home with goodie bags of meatballs and charoset, which is definitely normal, right?  I mean, who wouldn’t want a goodie bag of meatballs and charoset?  I’m thinking of giving that out as party favors for the kid’s first birthday in a couple of months.  You know, something for the kids.

Anyway, I’m currently in Atlanta visiting my brother and sister-in-law and their wonderful kids.  I flew solo with the baby, which was an Exodus in its own right (read: people do NOT like babies when flying.  People do not like you AND your baby when flying. It does not matter that your baby slept the whole time and didn’t make a peep, you will be ostracized from your plane-community and glared at for deeming to leave the comforts of the ground and flying with your baby.  And it’s Passover so there is no enjoying a coffee during my 8AM flight with the baby nor is there any enjoying a Bloody Mary either . . . which I would definitely not drink with the baby.  Definitely not. ).  But anyway, I digress.  We’re in Atlanta, I miss my amazing husband but I feel like I passed through a mom-hurtle with this solo traveling with baby and I’m gonna pat myself on the back for that.

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Solo Flight Success

This week’s recipes once again feature the deliciousness that is Temp Tee.  When organizing the menu for our Passover week I tried really hard to only include fresh vegetables and fruit and lay off the starches.  I wanted to go light in the afternoon knowing that dinners would be a little more filling.  I also wanted to save money because Passover, though a favorite holiday of mine, is draining on the wallet.  As a result, I settled on a gravlax and herb cream cheese recipe that could be eaten for several breakfasts/brunches as well as an eggplant and baby portobella mushroom saute with an avocado and Temp Tee crema.  Recipes can be viewed on the Joy of Kosher website.  Simply click on the recipe titles below (Gravlax can be found after eggplant pictures) and enjoy!  Chag Sameach and Happy Easter to our readers who celebrate!

*This blog post is sponsored by the fine folks at Temp Tee, but all opinions and recipes in this post are my own.

Eggplant and Portobella Saute with Temp Tee and Avocado Sauce

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Getting Ready to Make Some Magic

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The Flavors of Miami

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The Flavors of Miami Meet the Flavors of Passover!

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Everything is Better with Sauce

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The Final Product. Delicious!

Gravlax with Herbed Cream Cheese

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Fresh Herbs

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Fresh Herbs and Temp Tee = Partners in Tasty Heaven

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Fresh Fish, Herbed Cream Cheese — What More Could You Ask For?

Get Lazy with Whole Foods

1 Nov

I don’t have a precious baby, well, other than my sweet puppy, so it feels a little disingenuous to complain about my schedule.  Just know that preparing any sort of meal during the week is hard. What I usually do, what I like to do, is prepare a huge meal on Sunday that can last us a few days of the work week.  Then, I’ll pull something together to get us through the last couple of days.  I try to do that anyway.  The older I get, the more respect I have for what my mother did when I was a kid.  A new meal every night of the week.  Oh, my Lord.

Last night on the way home from work, I stopped by the Whole Foods. I figured I’d buy a huge container full of tuna salad or some other such madness.  Then?  I walked through the meat department.  I didn’t want to spend my evening baking chicken or figuring out some sort of magical meat entrée.

Then I saw the fish. Minus tuna salad, I am not that much of a fish guy.  I know I should be. Doctor Oz tells me every day that I need to make it happen with the fishes.  Enter last night.  You guys!  The Whole foods has filets of Tilapia.  Filets of Tilapia crusted with Parmesan.  You guys.  I mean…come on!  I love Tilapia.  So I got a couple filets.

Then?  Since I was feeling super lazy, I found chopped cauliflower and cut (AND SPICED!) butternut squash.  Shut your mouth!  I love a roasted vegetable more than just about anything.  I figured I’d throw all of this in the oven around the same time.  As it turns out I’m a genius.

Nope. I don’t know a thing about baking a fish filet.  That’s why Hashem invented the Internets.  I preheated the oven to 450.  I put those babies on a baking sheet.  I tossed my cauliflower with a 3 tablespoons of garlic and a little olive oil.  I put my pre-seasoned squash in a baking dish.  I put the veggies in for about 25 minutes and the fish in for about 20.  When the buzzer went off I looked like a champ.

My suggestion for tonight?  Be lazy.  Go see what Whole Foods (or grocery story of your choice) can do to make your life easier.  I mean don’t you need to catch up on old episodes of Housewives of Beverly Hills?  I know I do. l’shalom!

Barefoot Jewess

16 Feb

Hey Y’all, it’s Whitney.  So my mom is coming into town for her first visit to Miami and her first time visitng the hubby and I in any place we’ve ever lived together.  I’m really looking forward to her visit.  I left work, ran to 2 grocery stores to pick up the goods I need for our Swedish Shabbat lunch, prepared and gravlax and then mom called to say her flight is 3 HOURS LATE!! Boo.  Regardless, it gives me more time to relax, clean, watch some Top Chef and keep an eye out on the gravlax.

Like any red-blooded American woman, I’m a massive fan of Ina Garten, a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa.  The woman is living the dream.  This is the kitchen in her barn in The Hamptons:

This is the pantry in her barn:

I mean, I have a microwave cart in the corner of our kitchen that’s about 1/20 the size of one of these shelving units.  Its real real nice.

Sigh.  Anyway, we can’t all have a glorious barn in the Hamptons but we can at least cook like we do in our tiny apartment kitchens and cook we will do.

So, like I said, Mom’s coming into town and I’m thinking gravlax on top of a yummy dark pumpernickel with the mustard sauce paired with a creamy leek soup might be just what the Contessa ordered.  Gravlax is a cold-cured salmon dish popular in Sweden, Norway and other Scandinavian countries.  It is very easy to put together (though I say that now but I won’t know if it all work out until Saturday at lunch) and usually served as an appetizer. See recipe below and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fresh salmon, center cut
  • 1 large bunch of dill, plus 1/4 cup chopped dill for serving
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • Pumpernickel bread, for serving
  • Mustard Sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Cut the salmon in half crosswise and place half the fish skin side down in a deep dish. Wash and shake dry the dill and place it on the fish. Combine the salt, sugar, crushed peppercorns, and fennel seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly over the piece of fish. Place the other half of salmon over the dill, skin side up. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place a smaller pan on top of the foil and weight it with some heavy cans. Refrigerate the salmon for at least 2 and up to 3 days, turning it every 12 hours and basting it with the liquid that collects.

Lay each piece of salmon flat on a cutting board, remove the bunch of dill, and sprinkle the top with chopped dill. With a long thin slicing knife, slice the salmon in long thin slices as you would for smoked salmon. Serve with dark pumpernickel bread and mustard sauce. You can also serve with chopped red onion and capers, if desired.

Mustard Sauce:

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground dry mustard

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Combine the mustards, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil and stir in the chopped dill. Serve with the gravlax.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Be our guest, be our guest

8 Feb

OK- maybe I’ve been watching a little too much Beauty and the Beast lately but come on, I couldn’t resist.

This week I’m so excited to be a guest blogger on Jewhungry.  Woot woot.  Jeremy asked me yesterday afternoon if I’d like to throw you guys a bone this week and supply a recipe since Whit is out-of-town and I would have been NUTS to say no.  Have you people noticed that there has been over 400 hits on this site?  I’ll be like, a celebrity guest blogger!  Amazing.

Jonathan and I started keeping kosher-style just over 2 years ago.  Some things were obvious….I didn’t come home with a big can of cream of chicken soup anymore to throw in my chicken casserole.  No more pepperoni pizzas (that was seriously tough).  I didn’t grab the package of turkey bacon to cook with our traditional Sunday morning cheese omelets.

There were some instances though that a few things didn’t even dawn on me until I got home, or sat down to eat, or had taken about 10 bites (oops).  Like the time I brought home catfish.  Yeah, that was dumb (but it was Cajun and on sale!).  And the time I realized that I made homemade french onion soup with beef broth and then put a big ol slice of swiss cheese on top.  Awesome.  So there’s a learning curve for sure.  Every meal it gets easier and I have to say it at least makes you stop and think what you’re putting in your mouth.  I check ingredients on everything now, which is a good thing.  To be honest, I’m sure we’re probably leading a healthier lifestyle as a result of paying attention to what we’re eating and how I’m cooking.

In honor of Jeremy’s love for all things Oprah, and while I’m on the topic of eating healthier, I picked a recipe that I recently made from Bob Greene’s  “The Best Life Diet Cookbook.”  So, I have to admit there are a lot of great recipes in this book and Oprah DID write the foreword for the book it’s based on 🙂  I checked the book out from the library, copied down the recipes I found interesting and wa-la.  Here we are.

בתאבון (Bon Appetit), hope y’all enjoy it!

Pecan-Crusted Trout with Peaches

The combination of trout with pecans and peaches put this dish in the category of southern comfort.  If possible, use U.S. farm-raised rainbow trout, which is delicious, sustainable, and free of contaminants.

1 cup thinly sliced peaches

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

1/2 cup AllWhites, or 3 egg whites

1/2 cup of ground pecans

1/4 cup of cornmeal, preferably whole grain

1 pound of trout fillets, cut into 4 pieces, about 4 oz each

Vegetable oil cooking spray

  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, onion, oregano, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  3. Place the egg whites on a large plate.  Mix the pecans and cornmeal on another large plate.
  4. Take each piece of trout and coat with the egg whites, then the pecan mixture.  Place the dipped pieces of trout on a clean plate.
  5. Coat the skillet with cooking spray (I did this, but next time I’ll just pour olive oil in the skillet…my first round of trout stuck a little bit b/c I just don’t think the spray worked as well as pouring some olive oil in the pan)
  6. If there is not enough room in the pan to cook all the trout comfortably in a single layer, cook in two batches.  Cook until the crust is browned, about 3 minutes.  Flip the trout and cook an additional 3 minutes.
  7. Serve the trout topped with the peach mixture.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes  Total time: 25-30 minutes

I served this meal with the peaches but I also bought a butternut squash, sliced it in half and removed the seeds.  I then cubed the squash and put in a small roasting pan, drizzled some olive oil on top and baked at 350 for 45 minutes…..the butternut squash and the peaches combo was DELISH!!!!!

Koshi!!!

4 Feb

Koshi is kosher sushi.  Koshi is delicious.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Now that we live in Miami (which, at times makes me feel like we live in Israel or a really really tropical Brooklyn), we have access to all sorts of imitation kosher goods and the best is the shellfish.  As most folks may know, being Jewish and kosher means no eating of the shellfish.  The laws of kashrut (kosher) state that only fish with fins and scales can be eaten so that means no eel, no lobster, no shrimp, etc.  BUT, the imitation shrimp and crab are made of a white fish base and actually quite tasty.

I’m gonna be very honest here.  I don’t really make the sushi. Well, really, I only make one kind of roll–sweet potato with cream cheese and green onions.  Yum!  Otherwise, the husband does everything else.  He’s very good at it. I’m in charge of that roll and making the sushi rice.  Some of the rolls he delves into usually look like this:

Fake crab
Seedless cucumbers
Green onions
Avocado

 

 

OR:

Sushi grade tuna
Avocado
Jalapeno
Mango
Cilantro

It’s also really yummy to make a green roll:

Avocado
Seedless cucumbers
Asparagus that has been blanched

We also make a little side dip out of mayo and sweet chili sauce.  It’s a nice little dip and really easy to make.  Plus, its mayonnaise and you know how us Jews loooove our mayonnaise.

 

****sushi set handmade by the wonderful Annie Grossman
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