Kale Chips

Last night’s sponge cake cooled in the pan overnight and it did not fall!  What I learned is that it is better to beat the egg whites to a slightly stiffer  consistency before incorporating them into the yolks.  Also, remember to tap the cake pan on the counter before placing it in the oven to eliminate  any air  pockets.  Of course, we haven’t tasted it yet.

As I mentioned yesterday, my plan was to go to the Hollywood Farmers’  Market this morning and at 8:00 A.M. I headed over with my good friend  Fredda and my daughter Shira.  Here is what we found:  pink cherry blossoms, lilacs, rainbow radishes, purple carrots, strawberries, swiss chard, brown eggs, asparagus, basil, zucchini blossoms, mint, kale, golden nugget mandarins, turnips, sweet potatoes, baby heirloom tomatoes, parsnips and ice cream (for tonight).  I am apparently going to separate and bake the kale leaves to make kale chips, a request from my daughter.  That should be interesting.  The squash blossoms and chard are going to be sautéed with basil, garlic, and olive oil (separately).  I am putting the carrots, tomatoes and radishes on the Seder table for people to snack on before the meal is served.  The sweet potatoes are for the tzimmis and the herbs are going to be minced with olive oil and garlic for the chicken.

NOTE:  Here is the recipe that I used for Kale Chips.  Everyone seemed to enjoy having something healthy and crunchy to snack on after the blessing for Karpas.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2009/02/tuscan_kale_chips

I hope that all of you have a Chag Sameach and I look forward to writing again soon.

Enjoy,

Irene

Quinoa

Shabbat tea worked out perfectly.  We had fresh fruit, a Greek salad and the fallen sponge cake topped with fresh strawberries. Nobody seemed to mind that the cake had fallen, and we finished the whole thing.  Another cake is in the oven and I am planning on letting it cool in the pan for about two hours, a tip I was given by Helene last night. I will keep you posted.

I had prepared some quinoa yesterday and this afternoon I used it to create a healthy, light salad that was full of flavor and color. Quinoa is not something that I grew up eating but it is a great alternative to potatoes or matzoh laden dishes. The trick is to add enough ingredients because the Quinoa itself is very bland.

Quinoa Salad

3 cups Quinoa

1 mango, diced

2 green onions, sliced

1 cup purple cabbage, diced

6 mint leaves, finely chopped

4 basil leaves, sliced

1 small can mandarin oranges, drained

3 beets, roasted, cooled and diced

2 Tbs honey

2 Tbs orange juice

1 Tbs lemon juice

3 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Rinse quinoa and add to pot with 5 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Cook for 13 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Prepare beets by cutting off both ends and wrapping in foil. Roast for one hour at 350.  Peel and dice.

Note: I used golden beets.

In a bowl combine remaining ingredients with quinoa and mix.  Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6-8

Enjoy,

Irene

Sponge Cake


Almost there.  The kitchen is converted, not a speck of Hametz to be found.  It is only Friday afternoon and now in addition to planning for Passover, I am trying to figure out what we will eat tomorrow.  Tonight we are going to our synagogue for Shabbat dinner so one less meal to worry about.  Breakfast will be cheese and fruit but the real concern was afternoon tea.  A group of us have been getting together every Shabbat afternoon for many years but the Shabbat before Pesach is a challenge.  At first I cancelled,  but quickly reconsidered  knowing the day is long and, besides, what would  Shabbat afternoon be like without our friends gathered around.

So, last night I went to the Farmers’ Market and bought beautiful strawberries, a cherimoya, golden beets, purple kohlrabi and purple cabbage.  I came home this afternoon and made a Sponge Cake to serve with the strawberries.  I cooked a pot of quinoa to turn into a cold salad with roasted yellow beets, dried cranberries and mango.  I have no idea what I will do with the purple cabbage but I still have some time.

Truth be told the sponge cake looked beautiful when it came out of the oven (see photo).  It was high and golden and I inverted it and allowed it to cool and guess what? As it does every year, it fell.  I will slice it up and serve it with the strawberries on top and nobody will care. Here is the recipe I used which is pretty simple and I know that others have made with success!!!

Sponge Cake

7 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 Tbs Meyer lemon juice

3/4 cup potato starch

dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat yolks till they are light and fluffy and turn a creamy yellow color. Slowly add sugar and lemon juice and beat till blended. Add potato starch and mix well.

Beat whites with salt till stiff peaks form. Fold into egg mixture and bake in ungreased tube pan. Invert and allow to cool.

Serve with strawberries.

Enjoy,

Irene

Essia’s Apple Cake

I wrote this last night in a state of exhaustion but I was determined to post a  recipe. I don’t know Essia very well but I wanted to add that I have reliable sources who say she is a very good cook.  Essia, thank you so much for sharing this recipe with me. I am definitely going to make it but I might take the liberty of using strawberries and rhubarb as the filling, for color contrast and because I love rhubarb!

A recipe from a member of Temple Beth Am’s Library Minyan.

Essia’s Passover Apple Cake

Batter

6 large eggs

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups cake meal

2 Tbs potato starch

Combine ingredients in food processor for several minutes.

Apple Filling

4 large apples (Granny Smith)

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tsp cinnamon

Peel and thinly slice apples,  toss with other ingredients. Allow to sit for several minutes.

In a 9 x 11 pan, alternate  batter and apples,  beginning with a layer of batter and ending with a layer of apples.

Topping

Combine 2 Tsp cinnamon with 1 Tsp sugar and 1/2 cup ground almonds or walnuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  NOTE:  Essia sent me an e-mail saying she used a springform pan which worked beautifully.

Enjoy,

Irene


Inspiration

I  am inspired.  I just returned home after seeing a documentary called Food Fight by Chris Taylor, one of a series of monthly documentaries brought to Los Angeles by “Something to Talk About.”   The message was simple; eat well, eat local and prepare delicious healthy meals that you are proud to share with friends and family.

http://www.indiedocs.net.

My plan is to go to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning and find further inspiration.  I may find the perfect green zebra heirloom tomatoes to serve with my favorite vinaigrette, or purple fingerling potatoes to roast alongside the garlic chicken.   And I can never resist the small bunches of multicolored radishes that will be beautiful on the seder plate. I will taste and smell and touch and savor the experience.


I look to you for inspiration as well.  It is time to share.  If you have a favorite family tradition or story or Passover recipe, please send them in and hopefully we can all inspire each other.

Enjoy,

Irene

Roasted Asparagus

Each year we get so caught up in the newest Passover products on the market that it is easy to forget that we can enjoy the holiday without sacrificing our health.  We are just a few days into Spring and here in Los Angeles the farmers’ markets are filled with all of the wonderful produce that the season has to offer;  California artichokes, rainbow chard, French radishes, fresh rhubarb, and of course, the ultimate Spring vegetable, asparagus.  This recipe is not new or innovative, it is a reminder that we can all have a healthy and delicious Passover, filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Roasted Asparagus

2 bunches asparagus

3 Tbs olive oil

1 Tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

On a flat baking sheet, mix oil with salt, pepper and garlic. Roll asparagus in mixture and spread in a single layer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roast asparagus for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy,

Irene

Matzoh Balls

When my sister and I get together and reminisce, it is hard to believe that we grew up in the same house with the same parents.  We not only have different memories of the same events, they are sometimes so different that it is even hard for us to believe that we had the same mother.  We can spend hours arguing and laughing over how MY mother prepared a dish in comparison to how HER mother prepared it.  So, it is not surprising that our taste in Matzoh Balls also differs.  My sister prefers small hard matzoh balls, and I prefer the large, soft, fluffy variety.  She may be my older sister, and  l love her, but here is MY version of Knaidlach, which is what my mother called them.

Fluffy Matzoh Balls

4 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup matzoh meal

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

Process all of the ingredients for about 10 seconds. Place in fridge for about an hour. Shape into balls and add to a large pot of salted, boiling water . Cook covered for about 45 minutes.

Makes 12 matzoh balls.

Enjoy,

Irene

Tzimmis

Transitions are hard. Be it a new site for my Blog, or trying to get ready for Passover. My younger son has been a tremendous help and I so appreciate all of the work, effort, and hours that he has devoted to this. Thanks Mich!

It is Sunday morning and we are nine days away from the first Seder. I must say that motivation has been in short supply but yesterday my friend Fredda assured me that it will kick in. One can only hope. I am looking at cookbooks and food blogs for inspiration. I am recalling menus of past seders, trying to think of the dishes that were most successful. Right now what I have in mind is fairly traditional. Marinated eggplant, chicken soup and matzoh balls, mushroom kugel, chicken with forty cloves of garlic, tzimmis, salad, roasted artichokes and fresh asparagus. My husband likes to have lots of greens on the table, a reminder that this festival is Spring based. Desserts will include brownie meringues, chocolate chip Mandelbrot (Tali’s favorite), and a platter of fresh fruit.

Maybe during these difficult and stressful times, traditional foods are appropriate. They are connected to the past, to memories of others, to distant lands and stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. Much like the story that we will retell at the Seder.

Tzimmis

3 lbs. short ribs

20 pitted prunes

3 carrots

4 sweet potatoes

2 tart apples

1/2 cup honey

1 large onion

salt and pepper to taste

3/4/ cup orange juice

Cut carrots and sweet potatoes in large chunks and place in large mixing bowl.  Add diced onions and apples along with remaining ingredients and mix well.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for two hours. Liquid should evaporate but dish should be moist.

Enjoy,

Irene

Garlic Chicken

My mother made garlic chicken every Friday night for as long as I can remember.  She used the same rub on turkey, duck and Cornish hens, the only variation being the bigger the bird, the more garlic.
Bake the chicken in a large enough pan to hold quartered potatoes and baste chicken and potatoes with drippings.

Garlic Chicken
1 whole roasting chicken
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs oil
1 whole head garlic, peeled and minced

Combine spices in a bowl. Add minced garlic and oil to spices and blend together until you have a paste-like consistency. Rub the garlic mixture on the inside and outside of chicken. Let marinate in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place chicken in baking dish, breast down, with about 1/2″ of water on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes and then baste with liquid. Add more water to pan if necessary. When chicken is golden brown, turn chicken breast side up. Baste every 20 minutes or so.  Total baking time is about 1 1/2 hours.

Enjoy,
Irene