Monday, July 23, 2007

Raita and Tzatziki

I'm not a huge yogurt fan, but strained yogurt is outstanding, especially in the hot weather. It's so great not to have to put the stuff in a coffee filter to get the water out of it, but I'm willing to do that because it makes such a huge difference in the taste. By all means, if you can get kosher strained yogurt, pay the difference and buy it.

I make both raita and tzatziki - two yogurt dips/sauces from India and Greece respectively - which are great when you don't feel like cooking or eating anything. This yogurt has about 15g of protein in 7 oz (200 g), so it's a good source of easily digested protein.

[b]Easy Raita [/b]
(Indian Yogurt Sauce)

3 tblsp fresh mint (use dried if you have to)
1 tsp fresh ginger (" ")
1/2 c. fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves (substitute parsley if you hate cilantro)
1 clove garlic
(garam masala - Indian spice mixture, if you like and have it)

Grind these in a food processor or blender until paste-like

Whir in:
1 peeled and seeded cucumber, chopped. Drain on paper towels if it's really wet

Make sure there is some substance left to the cucumber

Blend with:

2 - 3 cups Greek strained yogurt

Serve cold with rice or any grain - quinoa is a great choice here. Or just enjoy as is.

(Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)
(Makes about 3 1/2 cups.) This sauce is great with grilled zucchini or any grain dish. If you don't worry about mixing meat and milk, as most Greeks don't, it's a classic with lamb and any other grilled meat. I've also had this combined with avocado and it's quite yummy. Add more yogurt and it becomes a dip.

2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced.

Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Dice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

Juice of one lemon (about 3 T - warm lemon in micro first to get more juice)
1 garlic clove, chopped
about 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill
1 T finely chopped mint leaves (if you'd like)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended. This is different from the raita, where you want more cucumber niblets left in the sauce.

Stir in:

3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained)

Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

Some people like to add:

A dash of extra virgin olive oil


A dash of Ouzo - greek liquor - I have a bottle of "Bnei Brak" stuff that could be used but I HATE licorice/anise so I'm not going there myself.

This will keep for almost a week in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any liquid and stir each time you use it.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Yep, even "Mad Dog" MD loved blintzes.

Not one, but two kinds of blintz shells, one more typical for crepes, the other some blinchiki variant. Both good but they are two different tastes. We don't put fruit in our blintzes usually, preferring to pass fruit sauces on the side.

The Shells:

     4 eggs

     1 1/2 cups of flour

     1 1/2 cups of milk

     1/2 teaspoon salt

     2 tablespoons sugar

Beat the eggs and milk together. Then gradually sift in the flour,
salt and sugar. The mixture must be thin and so if it happens that it
comes out thick, add a bit more milk.

Melt margarine in a large frying pan and when hot, put about 3
tablespoons of the batter into the pan, tilting the frying pan to make
the blintz thin. Cook each crepe-pancake until it just begins to brown
and slide out of pan on to a waiting plate. Put the cooked side up to
receive the filling.

Sour Cream Batter

1 egg

1/4 milk

3/4 cup sour cream

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup sifted flour

butter for frying

Beat egg, milk & sour cream together with salt. Stir in the flour, mixing until smooth - no lumps. Next, heat some butter in a 7" skillet. Pour about 2 tblsp in to pan, tilting the pan to spread the batter evenly. Fry until brown and turn to brown other side. (makes about 16)

Pre-heat oven to 450.


This should be prepared before the shell so that it may be added when
the shell is ready.

     2 packages of cream cheese of your liking

     2 egg yolks mixed well - or just say to heck with it and go with two whole eggs

     3 teaspoons of melted butter

     6 teaspoons of vanilla flavored sugar

     1 pinch salt

Mix filling ingredients together until they are smooth.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the edge of the
crepe-pancake. Fold over from the two sides to protect the filling
from leaking out and roll up like a jelly roll. Roll over to seal blintz; it should look like a flat

At this point the blintzes may be fried to be served now, bake 450 in buttered baking dish for 10 min, or frozen for
later consumption. l

Monday, May 07, 2007

Smell Cookies

Tom's favorites!

Smell Cookies

2 1/2 c. flour
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp soda
1 c butter
1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 f.

Cream flour and sugar. Add egg, extracts and beat. Mix soda with flour and add to butter mixture. Incorporate the last part with hands.

Roll into 1" balls and place on ungreased baking sheet or parchment. Leave at least 1" between as cookies spread. Bake 15 - 18 minutes but do not let get brown. Cool on rack. Cookies remain chewy.

Carrot Cilantro Couscous Salad with Tahini Dressing

Moroccan Carrot Cilantro Couscous Salad with Tahini Dressing
1 cup prepared whole wheat couscous or 1 cup quinoa
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup drained canned garbanzo beans
Generous handful of chopped cilantro
Shredded romaine or spinach
(Slivered toasted almonds, optional)

Stir together couscous, carrots, beans and cilantro. Then heap on top of romaine lettuce or spinach leaves.

Tahini Dressing
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
A dash of coriander or cumin
1 clove chopped garlic

Stir it all together. Pour over salad.

Friday, April 27, 2007


The Joy of Cheesecake has this amazing Passover cheesecake, which, frankly is too good for just one time a year. Shavuos is coming up next month, aka the blintz and cheesecake holiday, so there's a good time to try this out. You could definitely do this with Splenda if you are splendarific, which I am not.

It's got some good protein going on!
Try it with the matzoh meal crust (which is a restaurant standard these days for cheesecakes). Graham cracker will work too, not during Pesach, obviously, but it's higher in sugar:

Matzoh Meal crust: 1 c Matzoh Meal, 4 T Butter, Melted, 3 T Sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Blend ingredients well in a bowl. Press mixture onto the bottom and partly up the sides of a greased 8" springform pan. Smooth crumbs to an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool before filling.

Filling: 1 c cottage cheese (or ricotta if you don't want to sieve and drain), 1/2 lb cream cheese, 2/3 c sugar, 3 large eggs, separated, 1 t grated lemon rind, 1 T potato starch, 1 c sour cream

Oven should be cooled to 325 degrees.

Press the cottage cheese through a sieve. Drain. Beat together the cottage cheese, cream cheese, sugar and egg yolks. Stir in the lemon rind, potato starch and sour cream until just mixed. Beat the egg whites (in a separate bowl) until the form stiff peaks, then fold the whites into the cheese mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake for 1 hour or until set. Allow to cool in the oven, with the door propped open, for 1 hour. Chill.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Exotic Fruit Salad - Easy

I was experimenting with a chopped fruit salad that would be sweet and tasty, but high in fiber. This is what I came up with:

12 oz mango slices or chunks - FROZEN (important!)
3 granny smith apples, cored and sliced, but unpeeled
1 can crushed pineapple in own juice, drained
1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds or pecans
(1/4 cup sweet wine, if desired)
(1 tbsp honey, if desired)

Core and slice the apples. Juice the lemon and toss the apple slices with the juice. Chop the apples coarsely in a food processor or a mezzaluna. Put back in the bowl with the lemon juice and toss. Chop the frozen mangoes in the food processor or with a mezzaluna. If they are not frozen, they will turn to mush! Mix with the apples and juice and toss. Add cinnamon to taste - about 1/2 - 1 tsp. Mix well. Add wine if desired. Mix again. Last, add honey and pineapple and nuts. Let stand at room temperature to meld and then refrigerate. Will keep a week in the fridge.

If you like, you can make this with fresh mint for a different taste. It is also good with coconut, which I like, but DH isn't keen about. I could also think to substitute coriander for cinnamon and chop cilantro and serve the salad as a type of chutney.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Two More Pesach Recipes

From various sources:


"Finally...the brownie recipe, as adapted from the St. Louis Post Dispatch 3/28/1988
Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.(foil works fine)

4 eggs, well beaten (egg beaters are ok)
2 cups granulated sugar
½ Cup cocoa powder
1 Cup canola oil ( I am going to try 1/2 apple sauce & 1/2 oil this year)
½ tsp. Salt
1 cup matzo cake meal (sift if you are not as lazy as I am)
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels

1. Beat eggs with sugar, cocoa, oil and salt.
2. Gradually add the matzo cake meal.
3. Stir in pecans* and chocolate morsels, and pour into the baking pan.
4. Bake 30-40 minutes. You want a toothpick to come out a little sticky.
(*my kids don’t like the nuts, so after I have poured the batter into the pan, I add the nuts to ½ the pan & gently stir a bit)
NOTE: recipe can be halved and baked in a 9 x 9 inch pan."


"Potato Kugelettes

1 1/2 cups Idaho potatoes (I use Russets), grated and drained
3/8 cup onions, grated
3 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (NO substitutions), plus fat to grease the muffin tins
matzo meal, for dusting muffin tin

1. Preheat oven to 375~

2. Combine all ingredients

3. Grease a 24 cup mini-muffin tin with chicken fat and dust with matzo meal. Place 1 T of filling per muffin cup and bake for 25 min. until golden.

Yield 24 kugelettes

This recipe is from Patty Unterman, a San Francisco restaurant reviewer and restaurant owner (Hayes St. Grill.)"

Passover Menu 5767

We've bagged the brisket this year and are going with the following menu:

Asian inspired gefüllte fish - cilantro, spring onions, toasted sesame seeds. 1lb of fish - total - yielded 12 large patties. I reduced the stock by 3/4s and let it jell.

Avgolemono - Greek egg/lemon chicken soup - You can find a good starting point in Jewish Holiday Cooking by Joan Nathan, although mine is more Turkish than Greek (shhh!)

Braised beef roast with carrots and pearl potatoes and home preserved peaches

Heart of palm and marinated artichoke salad

Apio made with 2 kinds of celery and artichokes - another starting point for this is Taste of Tradition

3 kinds of macaroons - almond/cocoa; chocolate coconut, white macaroons with pecans. The cocoa one is based on Mama Leah's Jewish Kitchen, but made KLP by making my own confectioners sugar with ultrafine sugar and potato starch.

Nut torte with coffee filling - weather permitting

3 kinds of charoses - Iraqi with coconut, figs, dates, apples, raisins; mango/apple (my version of Janos Wilder's from Joan Nathan's Jewish Cooking in America; and a Georgia version of standard Ashkenazi apple/pecan. And April is national pecan month in the US.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

I've been baking, and baking! I have made three kinds of macaroons -
one with almonds/cocoa, one with chocolate and coconut and another
very simple, but delicious, kind with cream cheese and coconut. The
last ones I was able to make (even though it has been very wet) as they
have no eggs. Lemon bars are done and suitably tart.

The cooked haroses is finished - modified charoses of joy. I made it
this yearwith dates, figs, raisins, coconut, almonds, wine, homemade
peach brandy, and apples. There are two more kinds to be made - Janos Wilder's one with mango and pecans and the other more standard Ashkenazi with apples and hazelnuts.

The gefillte fish came out very well, I think. I abandoned tradition
totally and made an Asian inspired variation - I used toasted sesame seeds, cilantro and chopped green scallions and freshly ground
Szechuan pepper in the mix of salmon, whitefish and walleye (along
with egg and matzoh to bind). I then poached them in homemade stock
and then reduced the stock and added more herbs to put the poached gefillte balls in.T said it tasted very good - enough to make even
a non-gefillte fish fan hungry! Horseradish we bought on Essex St. on
the Lower East Side when we were there. Soup is also on the list for
tomorrow - I'll probably make the soup and then put the chicken into a
Greek egg/lemon sauce. Then we'd have another dinner off the list.

Chopped liver is still to be made, and I want to get one of the minas made for the second or third day. I plan to make the spinach and cheese kind.
Also tomorrow I'll make a chopped heart of palm and artichoke heart salad and a sweet-sour artichoke dish. I've also got plans for your nut torte, but that may fall by the wayside if the rain doesn't abate. On the other hand they say it will snow again on Tuesday. Can you believe we are only 4 people for dinner?!? My old classmate from Cal is coming up from Madison where he's in law school. DH would be up for it
being just the two of us, I think. We are also inviting a former colleague of T's. Three guys and me. I hope they are good eaters.

Actually, most of the sweets - and half of the charoses - will be
given away. But I am genetically incapable of cooking for just a small number of people. Know thatproblem?