Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I left my stomach in Lima, Peru

I had the opportunity to travel to Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru for work at the beginning of March. Even though the days were packed with meetings, of course I still found time to squeeze in some fantastic dining experiences. Here is a shot of the gorgeous ceviche we tasted at Cebicheria La Mar with giant choclo corn, aji pepper, Peruvian sweet potatoes, and plenty of leche de tigre (the liquid that cooks the fish):

While I digest my experience and put together my photos, I wanted to share a recipe from a post way back in March of 2011. As part of the Daring Cooks challenge we made Peruvian recipes. Since I am missing the bright lime and zesty flavors of the many ceviches I had on my trip, I wanted to share this recipe to try to relive the experience!

I used a Wild Alaskan Halibut steak and plenty of fresh lime juice and cilantro. A finely diced red fresno pepper added a little kick to the dish (no aji peppers here, like they have in Peru). The fish "cooked" for about 10 minutes, until just opaque. Here's the fish in the 'cooking' liquid:

Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):
Adapted from recipe by Annik Franco Barreau
1 lb. Wild Alaskan Halibut steak
1 garlic clove, mashed
1 red fresno chili pepper, minced
1/2 - 3/4 cup  freshly squeezed lime juice (enough to cover fish)
1 tablespoon  fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Rinse fish and pat dry
Cut into 1 inch cubes (anywhere from 1/2 inch - 2 inches, depending on your preference)
Place fish in a thin layer in a non-reactive dish
Combine lime juice, chili pepper, garlic and cilantro in a dish
Pour marinade over the fish and lay sliced onion on top
After 10 minutes (approximately) fish will be 'cooked'
Remove from the liquid and serve

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Best of Intentions: Make it happen with Glenwood Garden

I find myself having the best of intentions to write blog posts, but with kids, life, and work blogging always seems to get pushed aside. I also have the best of intentions to support independent producers and try new foods. Sure, my local grocery store carries a few things, but what about all those great handcrafted artisan foods out there that aren’t at my store? While I’d love to have the time to find them on my own, it just isn’t a possibility. That’s where the e-commerce site Glenwood Garden fits in. They do the hard work of sourcing and bring it all together into one place.

Glenwood Garden contacted me to see if I would be interested in learning more about them and trying out a product from one of the artisans featured in their online market. I was intrigued by the possibilities- maple syrup, jam, shrubs – what to choose? They bring a wide variety of artisan products from around the country together into one online marketplace. Not only do they provide a distribution channel for these producers, they also have a shop-for-cause model where a large portion of the profit from each sale is donated to a specified non-profit. At checkout you choose one of the participating non-profit organizations to receive a portion of the profit of your sale. The organizations are focused on sustainability and food security. A triple-whammy! New discoveries, supporting independent producers, and contributing to good causes all at the same time.

I decided to try some jam and in just a few days received a well-packaged trio of jars. After passing the bubble wrap over to my appreciative two and a half year old, I found three unique flavors of jam from the Jam Stand in Brooklyn, NY: You’re My Boy BLUE-berry Bourbon, Drunken Monkey, and Not Just Peachy Sriracha. I wouldn’t have dreamed these flavors up on my own but they sounded incredible. I tweaked a few of my favorite recipes to incorporate the jam. First I put a twist on my grandmother’s apricot chicken wings. Swapping out the apricot jam for the Jam Stand’s Not Just Peachy Sriracha resulted in a sweet and spicy appetizer. For a sweet treat with a kick, I glazed my mini-banana bread with the Drunken Monkey. The combination of sugar coated bananas, splash of rum and a dash of lime makes for a fun twist on a classic recipe. We don't cook pork at our house, but I can imagine that the BLUE-berry Bourbon might be good on a roasted pork tenderloin or as a topping for pork chops.

There are items at many different price points, the process is simple, and the joy of discovering new products is thrilling. It doesn’t hurt that you are also supporting good causes. Thanks to Glenwood Garden for providing me with a free delivery of a trio of fun jams. I would encourage you to do a little browsing of the site and discover something new and exciting to try for yourself. On to the recipes!

Not Just Peach Sriracha Glazed Wings 

True to grandmothers everywhere, this recipe is measured by eyeballing and intuition. And if I’m being totally honest, I forgot to jot down my adaptations to the recipe while I was cooking. The basic instructions are to make a glaze of dry white wine (or chicken broth) and jam and set aside. Season chicken wings generously with salt and pepper and bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove cover, toss with glaze, and bake for another 15 minutes. If you want to crisp up the outside a little more, broil for a few minutes and serve. Sweet, spicy, messy, and delicious! And look at those slices of peaches in the jam.

Drunken Monkey Banana Bread with Drunken Monkey Glaze. 
I finally got to make this over the weekend with the help of my toddler sous chef. You’ll see his influence in the styling for the photos.

I had a little help on this one, using a tried and true recipe from King Arthur Flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/banana-bread-recipe.   I added in 3-4 heaping tablespoons of jam to flavor the bread from the inside out. Instead of one big loaf, the batter was divided into four smaller baking dishes.

Mini desserts are always more fun! For the glaze I mixed about 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, a tablespoon-ish of jam, and a few splashes of milk to get the desired consistency.

I was provided with free product by Glenwood Garden. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are honest and belong to me. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cooking My Books: The New Jewish Table {Book Review}

As a parent you want to teach your kids about traditions, but you also want to build on them and create your own. That is how I feel about recipes and cooking too. You need a place to start, familiar favorites that area  jumping off place for creation. And that is also how Judaism is for me – tradition, with individual interpretation to make things meaningful to you. 

Our new Jewish table! Rye for me, wheat for the hubby and little man.

I had the opportunity to receive a copy of The New Jewish Table, Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray for review back in the fall before our family expanded from 3 to 4. After trying to dive right into the bowl of matzo ball soup on the cover, I dove into the contents inside. Organized by season and type of meal, the book interweaves stories of family traditions, passed-down recipes and the evolution of them into the recipes in the books pages. The book is not strictly Kosher, but does indicate if a recipe is meat, dairy, or pareve with suggested substitutions. After a preface about the author’s relationships and background the book showcases recipes and the stories of their origins and evolution. By the end you feel as if you are a member of the authors’ extended family. The authors are owners of the Washington DC restaurant Equinox.

Included in the book are new takes on favorite dishes like chicken salad, matzo ball soup, kugel, and more. I love a good chicken salad sandwich. Ingredients need to be in the right balance and the chicken has to be the right texture. The authors include two great chicken salad recipes each with a little different twist. I started with a pulled chicken salad with cranberries and toasted cashews. According to Todd, the dish was a favorite at the White House and one of Equinox's signature items. I can see why! Using a whole poached chicken and then pulling it gives the chicken just the right texture. 

Piled onto two slices of good rye with a side of pickles and a Dr. Brown’s cream soda, this sandwich was deli-worthy!

I also used the recipe for Not Exactly Aunt Lil's Matzo Ball Soup, pictured on the book cover, for Passover this year. My grandmother passed along her matzo ball recipe, but her soup recipe hasn’t been written down yet. My mom tweaks her soup every time she makes it, much like I do. So I loved to read the journey this recipe took from Ellen's Aunt Lil to Equinox. The authors describe the soups evolution from "rustic, homey and satisfying"  to more refined and elevated to the next level for the book.

The addition of finely diced vegetables at the end (about 10 minutes of simmering at the end before adding and simmering noodles and chicken for 10 more minutes) gives me a solution to my lifelong dislike of cooked carrots in soup! The original vegetables are strained out, having given their flavor to the broth. The freshly added vegetables retain a slight crunch and all of their flavor.

This book is a great addition to the my cookbook collection. If you have a traditional with a twist streak, I recommend checking it out. The recipes offer a new interpretation of traditional dishes that make them a welcome addition to the table for holidays or everyday. Next on my to-make list are curried chicken salad with golden raisins and slivered almonds, Todd's deviled egg salad, and the Kassoffs' sweet noodle kugel. 

Starting a tradition, little man asked me to take a picture of his dinner!

Pulled Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Cashews
This is a signature item on their restaurant menu and the most popular lunch dish. 

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 whole poached chicken
1 cup mayo
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 cup minced red onion
1 cup minced celery
1/2 cup chopped toasted cashews
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the cranberries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak while doing the next step.
Pull or cut the chicken from the bones pull into bite size pieces, shredding with your hands. Place in a large bowl.
Drain the cranberries with a strainer.
With a fork, mix the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, slat, and pepper in a small bowl. Add the onions, celery, cranberries, cashews and mayonnaise mixture to the bowl with the chicken; mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Mix in the parsley. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Note: I omitted the onions and served the nuts on the side since we had a toddler dining with us. This allowed everyone to customize their sandwich to their liking. 

Book Info: 
The New Jewish Table, Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes
Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray 
Photos by Renee Comet (I met her at Eat Write Retreat!)

I received a review copy of this book. All opinions are 100% mine and I was not compensated for this post. 


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