I've been playing it a little fast and loose with the part of this project that was oriented toward cooking my way through three cookbooks I chose for their emphasis on different types of Jewish food. So, one weekend, I decided to make a couple of dishes from Yotam Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem: A Cookbook". I previously made the Shakshuka recipe from this cookbook.
I'm a big fan of beets, so I started with:
Recipe: Spicy Beet, Leek, & Walnut Salad
- Two (2) cans of peeled, canned beets (about 28 oz.) - the original recipe calls for fresh beets, but I used canned
- Four (4) medium leeks, cut into 4-inch segments use the white part of the leeks
- 1/2 oz. cilantro, coarsely chopped - I forgot to include this and, tbh, it wasn't missed
- 1 1/4 cups or arugula
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds - none of the three groery stores I went to had pomegranate or pomegranate seeds, but I'm sure they would add a lot
- Dressing: Emeril's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Add one (1) cup of chopped walnuts
- Optional: Add red chili flakes to prepared salad
1) Drain the beets, then cut them into quarters and set aside in a bowl.
2) Put the leeks in a medium pan with salted water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for about ten (10) minutes, until they're just-cooked. They should be tender, but not fall apart. Drain the pan, then run the leeks under cold water. Cut each segment into three (3) smaller pieces, pat dry, then place in a bowl. (If you put them in the same bowl with the beets, the leeks will leach some of the color, just FYI.) If you're using cilantro, you will mix that with the leeks (and beets, if together).
3) Add the walnuts to the dressing and mix.
4) To serve: Place some arugula on the plate, top with the leeks and beets, then coat lightly with the dressing.
Recipe: Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke & Lemon
- Two (2) cans of artichoke hearts (about 28 oz.), drained - the recipe calls for Jerusalem artichoke but, again, couldn't find them or fresh regular artichokes anywhere
- Three (3) Tbsps. lemon juice
- Eight (8) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 12 shallots, halved lengthwise
- 12 large cloves of garlic, sliced
- One (1) tsp. saffron threads - expensive!
- 3.5 Tbsps. olive oil
- 2/3 cup of cold water
- 1.5 Tbsp. crushed pink peppercorns
- 1/4 cup of fresh thyme leaves
- One (1) cup of chopped tarragon leaves - tastes like anise/fennel/licorice
- Two (2) tsps. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1) Put the artichokes and half of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower the temp and simmer for about 10 - 20 minutes until tender. Then drain the water and let cool.
2) Put the artichokes, as well as the remaining ingredients - minus the lemon juice ad half of the tarragon - in a large bowl and mix together by hand. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least two (2) hours. (But, in my experience: the longer, the better.)
3) Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Spread the remaining ingredients around the chicken, and bake for 50 minutes. Remove, cover with aluminum foil, then roast for another 15 minutes.
4) Remove from the oven, add the remaining lemon juice and tarragon. Stir, add salt and pepper (if needed), and serve.
Marcella's Butter Almond Cake
This recipe actually comes from a recently-published memoir by Jessica Fechtor, and was featured in The Forward, which is where I discovered it. It is one of the best desserts I have ever had.
- Three (3) Tbsps. sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1.5 cups of granulated sugar, plus one (1) Tbsp. for finishing
- Two (2) large eggs
- 1.5 tsps. almond extract
- 1.5 tbsps. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1.5 cups of pastry flour
- A pinch of coarse sea salt
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a pie dish with oil or butter.
2) Place the sliced almonds in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 5 - 7 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.
3) Whisk together the sugar and melted butter. Add the eggs, almond extract, vanilla extract, kosher salt, and mix well. Add the flour and mix with a spatula.
4) Spread the batter in the pie dish. Spread the toasted almonds, coarse sea salt, and one (1) Tbsp. of sugar over the top of the batter. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick or knife can be inserted and removed cleanly. Cool for a few minutes on a rack, then remove from the pie dish and serve.