Hi everyone, welcome to my blog!
Here I will post my kitchen experiments and favorite recipes. A little about my influences - I was born in Moldova, I grew up in Israel, I moved to the USA, and I studied abroad in both Argentina and France. I've also traveled quite a bit and had friends from all over the world, so you can expect to find quite the random assortment of foods on this blog! However, if they made it here it means they've been tried and joyfully devoured!
Cooking food from places around the world is a journey for me and I love finding recipes from places I've been or haven't been and give them a try, so if you have any favorites, don't hesitate to share!
So here it is, I finally decided to find me a place online where all my journeys can coalesce, enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chicken Tajine with Potatoes and Green Olives

Tajine refers to the infamous north african earthenware pot designed especially to allow the evaporating liquids to cool as they come up and thus drip back down into the dish being cooked. Many types of stews and dishes exist in the various countries in which this method of preparation is common, and often times the stews are served alongside a serving of couscous. This special method of slow cooking allows the meats and vegetables that make up the various stews to become very tender and aromatic, giving Tajine dishes a unique taste that leaves you wanting more!

This particular tajine recipe has moroccan influence in it's creation, but simply came to be on one chilly autumn night from ingredients that I had laying around the house. So I don't have any famous or official dish names for this one, but it turned out to be absolutely delicious so I had to share the creation! 

1.5lb chicken thighs
2 medium potatoes
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 large apple
½ can pitted green olives
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp chopped ginger
2 tsp shawarma spice
2 tsp moroccan paprika (1 tsp for milder spiciness)
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
5 tsp chicken soup powder
1 tsp turmeric
Ghee/Coconut oil/Butter
Olive oil

2 cups Couscous
3 cups water
1-2 tbsp salt

1.    Chop the onion and fry in ghee until transparent (personally I use a combination of coconut oil and olive oil, but you can use butter with olive oil instead).
2.    Add chopped garlic, chopped ginger, shawarma spice, paprika, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, chicken soup powder, and turmeric. Alternatively, if you don't have chicken soup powder simply use chicken broth instead of the water in the following steps.
3.    Cut chicken into stewing size cubes, add to tajine and brown lightly.
4.    Add enough water (or chicken broth) to cover the chicken.
5.    Cube the potatoes and apple, coarsely grate the carrot, and add to tajine along with the green olives. Make sure the liquid covers most of the content of the pot, but don't overfill. 
6.    Cover and cook on low for 1hour until all ingredients are soft.
7.   Couscous preparation: boil 3 cups water, add 1-2tbsp salt (to taste) and place couscous in the water, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand for 5minutes and fluff with fork. Transfer the couscous to a large container where the couscous can breathe and be properly fluffed.
8.   Serve all together!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Romanian Eggplant Salad

No meal in my household can be had without the absolute basic - our eggplant salad! It's like bread and water, you just have to have it! It consists of nothing other than roasted eggplants with some oil and salt, but the taste is divine and one serving is never ever enough! The directions might seem a bit confusing so I added a few pictures so you can realize they're not as intimidating as they might sound.. Enjoy!

4 large eggplants
Vegetable oil
Tomatos (optional, to garnish)
Green onion (optional, to garnish)

1.     Broil the eggplants for 40minutes, turning them over after half the time. You may broil using the broil function of your oven or use an open flame to roast them stove top. 
2.     Place a colander in a large bowl, peel the eggplants (careful, they'll be very hot), and place the meat in the colander.

3.     At this point the eggplants have to drain for at least an hour otherwise they will be very bitter. In order for all the juice to drain well we maintain pressure on the eggplant during this hour. A simple way that we use to do it is to place something heavy directly on top of the eggplants. Start by placing a plate over the eggplants and hand pressing it to get some of the juice out. When most of the major juice has sifted out, place a heavy bowl full of water to maintain the plate pressed down and leave for an hour. It may look something like this:

4.     When all the juices have drained place the eggplants in a food processor and mix, adding oil and salt to taste. Make sure you only pulse and don't let it run too much, you want to still be able to see most of the seeds. Be somewhat generous on the oil and salt until you reach a smooth texture, but once it's chopped you can take it out of the processor and add the oil and salt by hand mixing until it tastes good.
If you don't have a processor or just want to make it like in "the good ole-days," place the meat on a large cutting board and use a large knife to chop the eggplants until they reach a smooth, even texture. Then place in a bowl and add salt and oil until it tastes good! 
5.    Garnish with slices of tomato and green onion and serve!

Avocado & Egg Salad

Extremely easy, perfect for last minute prep, and absolutely delicious! A creamy texture with a slightly citrucey and salty twist makes for a perfect avocado salad! Serve it as part of a brunch, as a dip, or simply as another salad on the table as part of any meal, which is what we typically do. Use the 1 avocado to 2 eggs ratio as a guide to prepare the desired amount.

1 Avocado
2 eggs

1.     Boil the eggs
2.     Clean the avocado and mash it together with the eggs using a fork. 
3.   Mix in mayo, lemon juice, and salt to taste and serve. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spinach & Feta Shakshuka (Runny Eggs with Dip Dish)

In the spirit of the holiday, and with the weekend coming up, here's a great Sunday brunch idea. As I've mentioned in my previous Shakshuka recipe, the typical Shakshuka is made with sunny side up eggs with runny yolk on top of a thick tomato sauce and eaten with bread by dipping or serving as a sandwich. This recipe is a twist on the classic shakshuka for those who aren't huge fans of tomatos, or simply for an interesting and tasty morning variety. In the picture you can see I've added some mushrooms and made a smaller portion, so definitely feel free to be creative! This recipe serves 6, so adjust as you wish for your party size. Great with french bread or pita bread, but any bread will do!

2 leeks (white part only), finely sliced
1 tbsp butter
500g fresh  spinach leaves washed and trimmed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 eggs
100g crumbled feta cheese

1.     Melt the butter in a deep skillet and sauté the leeks until soft and translucent but not brown.
2.     Add spinach and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Season gently, remember that feta is salty.
3.     Break the eggs onto the spinach arranging the yolks around the pan. Sprinkle the cheese around the pan.
4.     Turn heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the egg whites set, 5-7 minutes.
5.   Serve immediately with your favorite bread.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Matzo and Coconut Cream Napoleon

Another great dessert solution for passover! Also taken from Janna Gur's The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey this is a fresh twist on our favorite classic napoleon cake. Instead of puff pastry we use matzahs dipped in caramel, our cream is coconut based, and we add some strawberries to liven up the taste! It might look complicated, but it's really quite a simple dish and can make for a very good impression! Just make sure you prepare the different parts ahead of time to allow the cream and matzahs time to cool before assembly.

Coconut cream:
800ml coconut milk (2 cans)
5 tbsp corn starch
8 egg yolks
150g sugar (3/4cup+1/2tbsp)
3 tsp rose water 

Caramel matzot:
10-15 matzos
250g sugar (1¼ cup)
1 cup coconut milk

confectioners’ sugar

1.     Coconut cream: dissolve the corn starch in ½ cup coconut milk, add the egg yolks and most of the sugar, and beat well.
2.     Bring the remaining coconut milk and the remaining sugar to a boil and gradually add to the egg mixture.
3.     Transfer the mixture back to the pan and heat slowly, stirring constantly, until it thickens to a cream. Remove from heat, add rose water, let it cool and then place in a piping bag.
4.     Caramel matzos: wet each matzo with water and wrap in kitchen towel for 30 minutes. Then cut into circles or squares by using a cookie cutter. Fry each piece in oil on both sides until golden. Remove and dry on paper towel.
5.     Dissolve the sugar in a saucepan with a few tbsps of water over medium heat until it caramelizes. Bring coconut milk to a boil and gradually pour into the caramel, stirring constantly. Cook for a few minutes until smooth and creamy.
6.     Dip the fried matzos in the caramel for 2 minutes, remove and cool.

To serve: place a matzo disk, pipe some cream on top, put a few pieces of strawberries, put another matzo, more cream and fruit, and another matzo. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve!

Pistachio and Chocolate Flourless Cake

To continue on with the passover edition, here's a solution to dessert with no flour! I got this out of my favorite source which I have mentioned to you before, The Book of New Israeli Cooking by Janna Gur - a must have in my opinion! This cake is extremely simple and quick and made solely out of nuts. If you don't have pistachios you may replace them with hazelnuts. Happy baking!

2 eggs
2 separated eggs
½ cup+1tbsp sugar
1½  cups pistachios
1 tbsp cocoa powder
¾ cup almonds
¾ cup chocolate chips
1½ tbsp melted butter

1.     Chop the pistachios coarsely (I like to put them in a ziplock bag and crush with a hammer).
2.     Grind the almonds finely.
3.     Beat 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks with 80g (¼cup+2tbsp+2tsp) sugar using a mixer until a thick, fluffy cream forms.
4.     Add the pistachios, almonds, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips and mix to a smooth batter.
5.     Beat the 2 egg whites with the remaining sugar (2.5tbsp) to soft peaks and fold into the batter.
6.     Melt the butter, stir it into the batter.
7.   Pour the batter into a well greased pan and bake for 40 minutes in 310oF (160oC).

Gefilte Fish (Ground Fish Patties)

Since tomorrow is Passover, it's time for a special edition :) This year I found myself making my first gefilte fish all from scratch, and I have to admit - it's not as scary as people make it out to be! So what's gefilte fish all about? It's a traditional dish of European Jews, usually served on holidays, but good any time of the year. It's basically a ground fish patty, often served with horse radish and some of the jelly from the fish stock in which it cooked. The patties are made out of Carp and the biggest challenge in the preparation of this dish is the surgical part - you have to separate all the bones from the meat! Of course, if someone can clean the fish for you, you're whole battle is won, otherwise, give yourself plenty of prep time... Brought to you by grandma's secret family recipe from the good old days in Kishinev, happy Passover!

2 kg carp meat (4.4lbs)
1 kg onion (2.2 lbs)
4 eggs
2 tbsp matzo meal
4 tea biscuits
1 cup soda water
½ tsp baking soda
2 carrots
1 beet

1.     Take a whole carp, skin it, separate all the bones out of the meat. Save the bones, head, and skin. Make sure that the meat, after you clean the fish weighs 2kg (4.4lbs). It took me 2 carps, each weighing close 5lbs, so don't be fooled by the fish's initial weight! If you have less, adjust the quantities ratios appropriately.
2.     Chop the onions coarsely and sauté until they becomes translucent but not brown.
3.     Pass the meat and half the onions through a meat grinder.
4.     Once ground, add eggs, biscuit crumbs, matzo meal, soda, soda water, and salt and pepper to taste (be generous!). However, if making this on passover - biscuits are not kosher so replace with 2 more tbsp of matzo meal.
5.     Beat very very well for 4-5 minutes until the texture is almost fluffy. Form patties and wrap each patty in the fish skin as seen in the picture.
6.     Slightly fry each patty in oil until both sides are golden, but only on the outside.
7.     Separately in a large pot, place the remaining onion, coarsely cut carrots, whole peeled beet, salt and pepper, and cover with 2-3L of water. Cook for 30 minutes.
8.    Place the patties in the cooked fish stock and cook on low heat for 2 hours. 
9.    When ready remove the patties and pass the stock through a strainer to isolate the bones. Pour the stock over the patties and refrigerate together to create the jelly.
10. Serve with horse radish and jelly, enjoy!