Lazy Leftovers Make Super Summer Suppers: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

The inspiration: Leftover roasted chicken breasts, garbanzo beans that needed eating, fresh tomatoes, and a need for something to feed my family for lunch.

Leftover chicken breasts can be delicious, but they usually need something to accompany them to really make them taste their best. Rummaging around my fridge, I found some leftover garbanzo beans, and I had tomatoes that needed to be used up.  It was far too hot to stand over a stove to cook, and when I am feeling lazy I usually make some sort of salad. This way I feed my family quickly and it’s not too much work!

The innovation: Giving the whole salad a boost by adding seasoned, roasted tomatoes and a bit of Dijon-red wine vinegar dressing.

I had wanted to make Provencal style tomatoes for a while. I have a cookbook that I read to get inspired (The Provencal Cookbook by Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine) and I kept coming back to this recipe.  Even so, the salad still needed a kick, something to make it really delicious. I love a good Dijon dressing, and after dipping pieces of cold chicken into some Dijon mustard, I had the idea for this dressing.

This salad is full of flavors and textures – the softness of the salad greens, the bite from the Dijon and the red leaf lettuce, the smooth creaminess of the garbanzo beans, the silky texture and sweetness from the tomatoes, and the roasted flavor and heartiness of the chicken. I think that is what makes it a great salad – no two mouthfuls are indentical.

My Interpretation: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

chickensaladwithprovencaltomatoes.fwp

This recipe is a entree size portion for 2-3 adults.

Ingredients:

3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (already cooked and cooled completely)

2 cups already cooked garbanzo beans

4 beefsteak tomatoes

1/4 tsp of the following spices: sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic

1 (12oz) bag of butter lettuce/red leaf lettuce mix (or 12 oz of your preferred salad greens)

3 tblsp of Dijon mustard

2 tblsp of capers

2 tblsp of juice from the capers

2-3 oz of red wine vinegar

A three- finger pinch each of  sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil 

To Prepare:

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the tomatoes in half, and with a spoon carefully scoop out the seeds and white interior (set aside for another use or dispose). Turn upside on a sheet tray and leave sit for at least 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. 

provencaltomatoes.fwp

2) Oil a oven-safe baking dish with a light layer of olive oil, and arrange tomatoes in dish cut-side up. Sprinkle insides with the sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic. Bake at 400F for about 45 mins, then remove and let cool to just above room temperature.

3) Cut the tomatoes into slices – you may notice that the skin comes away as you cut, and that is ideal. Whatever skin remains after cutting, carefully peel away. Refrigerate and chill completely.

4) While you wait for tomatoes to cool assemble the dressing. Using a stick blender, blend together everything except the olive oil.  Very slowly and in a thin stream add the olive oil til mixture looks a bit fluffy and is a very pale yellow.Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

5) To assemble, slice the chicken breasts on the bias, then cut in half down the middle (for a fancier presentation leave in strips) Add the garbanzo beans, and roasted tomatoes to the salad greens. To avoid over-dressing the salad, dip the fingertips of one hand into the dressing, then fold the dressing onto the salad, gently mixing the ingredients at the same time. Save leftover dressing for another use. 

 

 

 

 

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Silvertip Roast with Mustard Crust (Maille Mustard Review)

Many thanks to Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco of Fraiche PR  for sending me two full size jars of Maille mustard (1 Old Style and 1 Dijon Originale) to sample. All opinions are my own.

I’ve seen Maille mustard in my local supermarket, and chalked it up to one of those ingredients that I’d have in the fridge of my dreams. You know, the type of things that would be in your fridge if you had an unlimited food budget.

PHOTO CREDIT: http://maille.us/

PHOTO CREDIT: http://maille.us/

So when I got an email from Diana asking if I was interested in reviewing these products, I jumped at the chance.  I couldn’t wait to taste really excellent, kosher mustard (both of these are certified OU pareve).

I can say I wasn’t disappointed, and for the first time in my life tasted genuine Dijon mustard. In short, these are excellent products. I tasted a bit of each straight from the jar. The Old Style was a bit spicy, and I was surprised by how smooth the flavor was on my tongue. As soon as I tasted this, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

The Dijon Originale, however, gave me quite a surprise. In the past, I have tasted Grey Poupon, and was not thrilled with the taste – that had been a bit sharp and sour to the point my mouth puckered. Imagine my surprise when I taste this Dijon – bright, full of flavor – and a bit hot.  The heat lingers on the tongue a bit after eating it. After getting over my initial reaction, I found that I kept wanting more.

I will confess that I still need to develop a recipe for this mustard, but just try this- dip boiled red potatoes straight into the jar of Dijon Orignale – and then try to stop eating them. You will find it very hard, if not impossible. I know this from personal experience.

As for the Old Style mustard, I highly recommend using it as a crust on a roast. Be generous – the flavor is distinct but not overpowering, and I can say this was one of the best roasts I have ever made.

Silvertip Roast with Mustard Crust

Ingredients:

2 Silvertip Roasts, about 3 lbs each

2 cups dry red wine

Salt and Pepper for sprinkling

Half a jar of Maille Old Style mustard

2 shallots, sliced

1 pack of crimini mushrooms, cleaned and left whole

1 large Spanish onion, cut in half then cut into slices

To Prepare:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350F.  In a disposable aluminum tray (or doubled up 2 gallon Ziploc bags) pour the red wine over roasts and set in the fridge for a minimum of 20 mins, turning once midway through. While the roasts are marinating, prepare your vegetables and set aside.

2) Remove roasts and discard wine, gently pat dry and sprinkle salt and pepper over top and bottom of roasts.

3) Using a roasting pan with insert, arrange the vegetables on the bottom of the pan. Add the insert, placing the roasts on it. Using a brush (or your fingertips)  liberally apply the mustard all over the roasts, top and bottom. maille1fwp 4) Loosely cover with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour, uncovering half way through. The temperature at this point will be about 140F, or mid-rare. I would not recommend cooking this style of roast much past mid rare to meduim (150F).

5) Leave roasts to cool at room temperature at least one hour, or until it is barely warm when touched. Slice on a diagonal, and serve with the roasted mushrooms and onions from the bottom of the pan.

maille2fwp

 

For more information on these specific varieties of mustard, as well as Maille’s other products, please visit their website: http://maille.us/

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In My Town: Review of Bagels n Greens

All opinions are my own. I purchased all the products used in this review. bagelngreens1 Bagels n Greens has been in Boro Park and Flatbush for a while already (in BP on 18th Ave and in Flatbush on Coney Island Ave) but recently they opened a branch on 13th ave between 51st and 52nd streets.

When I worked at my previous full time job,  a lot of us ladies would order in lunch each day -with small kids to get out the door and trying to juggle a demanding job, we all treated ourselves to this small indulgence. Once or twice we ordered from Bagels n Green on 18th Ave, but with the minimum order for delivery ($30 minimum for delivery) and the longer wait (because we were on 38th between 14th and 15th) it took too much effort to co-ordinate and left too little time for eating. We would sigh and say “If they only opened up a closer location! Their food is the best! ”

Wish no more. I stopped in a few times before I decided to officially sit down and write a review. In Boro Park, you can’t just start snapping pictures in a restaurant – or anywhere, really. It tends to cause questions and people get upset. So after introducing myself to the manager, giving them my card and speaking to the owner on the phone (a lovely woman named Rivka)  and assuring them I would not take any pictures of any customers, I was allowed to go on my way. bagelngreens5 Bagels n Greens is known for fresh, delicious salads, sandwiches, Nepresso coffee drinks, and their delectable dairy desserts. For a kosher restaurant, they are also incredibly tech-savvy – their website and Facebook page are gorgeous. The thing I love best – they are forever introducing new products. Their closest competition, (and until BnG where I would order from) Spoons, has not changed their menu in at least a year- closer to two- when they added some pastries to their selection of baked goods.  Do not get me wrong – Spoons has good, reliable food – but for breakfast and lunch BnG (especially if you are taking to go) is poised to blow them out of the water. bagelngreens2 The space is a bit cramped at this branch of BnG, and there is not a lot of seating, but what is there is quite comfortable- and that is the only thing that is not completely positive I can say about the place.  The colors are light and vibrant, and their decor reflects their motto: It’s nature’s recipe…we just gave it a name. In every other aspect, it is hip, it is modern, and so fresh. bagelngreens3 I decided to go in for an early lunch – about 11.30- so I could have a chance to sit and enjoy my meal. One of my basic criteria for eating out is how a restaurant prepares the simpler menu items – their salad and egg selections. Since I have gotten salads from them before (and have never been disappointed – I suggest making your own, but any salad is delicious) I went with things I would never prepare at home. bagelngreens8 I tried the Jerusalem Toast (hardboiled egg and mozzarella cheese grilled with a thick tomato sauce and fresh pesto on homemade bread) and their shakshuka.  When I inquired as to the spice level, I was told that it used to be spicier, but because people preferred it less so, they adjusted it.  Good thing, as it was still spicy, but not so spicy that it was painful. bagelngreen10 What can I say? It was absolutely delicious! I asked a lady who had a tasty looking soup and salad if I could take a picture of her meal, and she obliged. When I asked her later how it was, she said it had been fantastic. Would she order it again? She assured me she would. bagelngreens7 So, here is the question: would I recommend this place to others? With a resounding yes. If you want to sit and enjoy a meal with a group of friends, I would recommend their Coney Island Ave location (the dining area is stunning). I would invite anyone from anywhere to come in and try Bagels n Greens.  Finally, a classy, fun, kosher restaurant that is reasonably priced, located in Boro Park, that I can rave about and recommend without reservation! For more information, please visit their website: http://www.bagelsngreens.com/

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Nicoise Salad with Potatoes – May Kosher Connection Challenge

Shavuot is about two weeks away, and I am already planning my menu. Especially for the last meal, on the second day of the holiday. In our Hasidic group the men and boys gather in the synagogues to observe the passing of a previous Rebbe (Grand Rabbi) on that day. They are away from early morning til very late in the afternoon, and even eat the festive holiday meal in the synagogue. These yahrzeit seudot (meals to commemorate the passing of a holy person) take place twice a year – once on Shavuot and once during Sukkot. We women take these times to eat with friends – groups of women co-ordinate and get together and eat in each other’s homes. Just as the men and boys bond together in the synagogues, the women and girls bond together over a delicious Yom Tov meal. It is also a chance to relax the menu a bit – it is our custom to eat meat at every Yom Tov meal except these. nicoise This is a more modern interpretation of a Nicoise salad – it features seared tuna, as well as green beans and baby red bliss potatoes. Instead of a vinagrette, it is merely dressed with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  This is a recipe for one large, main course salad, and is easy to multiply for larger amounts.

Ingredients:

1 tuna steak,about 6 oz

4 baby red potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

4 black olives (with pits)

1 Romaine heart (I use Andy Boy), torn into bite size pieces by hand

1 hard boiled egg

8-10 fresh green beans, ends trimmed

Juice from one fresh lemon

3 oz extra virgin olive oil

Table salt for salting water

Sea salt for seasoning

Olive oil spray for grilling

To Prepare: Fill a large pot at least halfway with water, and add table salt to the water, enough so there is the finest layer on the bottom of the pot Add your egg and when the water is at a full boil, add your green beans and potatoes set a timer for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove egg with slotted spoon and set into a bowl of cold water to cool.  Boil for a few minutes more, testing once midway. The beans are done when still crispy and green but not hard. Use a slotted spoon to remove green beans and set aside. Boil for another 10 mins or so, then check potatoes by gently poking with a fork – if they are soft but not mushy, they are done. Drain and remove, setting aside with the green beans. Put a grill pan on the stove, and get it very hot. Spray the pan lightly with olive oil spray. Place the tuna steak into the pan for 2- 3 mins, depending on thickness. Flip once, cook another 2 mins on the other side, then remove from pan, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and set aside. Roll the lemon on a cutting board or counter and cut in half, squeezing into a bowl and removing the seeds. Add the olive oil a tiny pinch of sea salt. Mix well. When all ingredients are cool but not cold, take everything except the tuna, egg, and olives and combine. Garnish with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

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In My Town: What You Want to Eat (Bo & Bon)

All opinions are my own. I purchased all the products used in this review.  When people think of Boro Park (official spelling Borough Park) it is easy to think of the obvious – the Orthodox and Hasidic residents, the many Judaica shops, Thirteenth Avenue.

Most people associate food in Boro Park with Amnon’s, Jerusalem 2, and Mendelsohn’s for dairy and China Glatt for meat – but in this series I want to challenge these perceptions. Change comes slowly to Boro Park, but it does eventually. It has to – with magazines like Joy of Kosher, supermarkets like Gourmet Glatt and the soon-to-open BreadBerry, and with kosher cookbook writers like Jamie Geller, Susie Fischbein, Paula Shoyer and Esther Deutsch (just to name a few!) bringing kosher gourmet cooking to the masses – it was only a matter of time before restaurants and shops had to start catching on.

Has Boro Park become the newest foodie hot-spot? Not yet. But for a person who knows where to look, there are places that are definitely worth your time and money (especially if you know what to order and when to go to get the best experience!)

So how do I know all this? Very simple – I live in Boro Park, right near the heart of all the major shopping – 13th avenue lays two avenues from me in one direction, 18th avenue two avenues from me in the other.  I’ve lived here almost 8 years, and I have watched as restaurants and shops have come and gone – and I know where to find what you want to eat in Boro Park.

Today I want to tell you about a little shop on 13th avenue between 50th and 51st streets called Bo & Bon. The Boro Park store opened up about 6-7 months ago, but Bo & Bon has been in business for a few years in Lakewood, NJ.  Bo & Bon sells homemade, gluten free, all-natural macarons, marshmallows, and chocolate bon-bons. They also sell madeleines (not GF)bobon1 I stopped in and picked up a sampling of macarons and marshmallows to take home. The store itself is spotless and very modern, and the packaging very beautiful. Would the product live up to the hype? Happily, I can say it does. I bought a half dozen macarons – praline, pistachio, blood orange, chocolate, strawberry vanilla, and pistachio-blueberry.  The macarons had a beautiful, paperthin crisp shell and a soft, moist interior that melted in the mouth. bobon2 They were all delicious, but the blood orange. pistachio-blueberry and strawberry-vanilla had the most distinct, stand-out flavors.  DH and I loved the blood orange, the DCs loved the strawberry-vanilla, and there was not a scrap left of any.  I can honestly say if you are having a chocolate craving, the rich chocolate macaron will certainly satisfy that! I also brought 4 marshmallows to try – vanilla, raspberry, lemon coconut, and passionfruit. My DCs loved the vanilla the best, and I couldn’t get enough of the passionfruit, with had a pleasing, slightly grainy texture I enjoyed. The vanilla reminded me of a true, pure marshmallow – ideal for putting into cocoa. The lemon coconut was a bit messy – it was covered in coconut flakes that fell off with every bite. The raspberry was another I couldn’t get enough of as well – not too sweet with a strong, natural raspberry flavor. Since becoming religious and keeping kosher, these marshmallows are the closest I have ever tasted to being a true marshmallow. bobon3 Here is the second best part: the price. With a macaron being $1.60 each, and each marshmallow costing only 90 cents for a piece the size of an air conditioner remote you most certainly get your money’s worth. This is a place I would recommend to anyone, and I know I will be returning there again myself. bobon4 Bo & Bon is also available online. They are certified kosher pareve under NSK (New Square Kosher). For more information, please visit their website  .

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The Basic Kitchen: Let’s Talk Acid

If I can offer one easy,natural and inexpensive tip to add excellent flavor to your food, it would be this: add acid.  Acids do amazing things when added to food! They can add a different flavor (sweet, sour, savory), or they can add depth of flavor to an existing ingredient. Acids can also add a pleasing balance or contrasting flavor to a dish.  The one thing about acids that astonish me is that when added to fish (citrus, in particular lemons and limes) they can ‘cook’ the fish, completely changing the texture without adding heat! These are just a few examples of how versatile acids can be in food preparation. Take a look around your kitchen – I’m willing to wager you have several examples of acids already on hand. I took a look around my kitchen and this is what I found: photoacid When I took a real look at what I had on hand and how I used them, I discovered exactly how much I rely on these ingredients.  I realized that learning to use acids effectively is a process that takes time, as well as trial and error. Let me share a few tips that I’ve learned along the way that work quite well. 1) Some commonly recognized  foods that are acidic include citrus produce, tomatoes, vinegars and wines ( I would recommend dry versus sweet). Some foods that I was surprised to find that have some acidic properties are mangoes, papayas, and kiwi.

2) If I want a more subtle flavor, I add the acid I am working with to the dish at the beginning of cooking. For a more assertive taste, I add it closer to the end.

3) Some of the pairings of acids that I use constantly in cooking: fresh lemon juice and white wine, fresh orange juice and red wine, tomato juice and white or red wine (depending on the dish). I have found that red wine and lemon juice really do not play nicely with each other. I also have found that while red wine poured directly from the bottle onto fresh salmon filet tastes delicious, it may also discolor the fish unpleasantly.

4) I tend to use red wine for dark chicken and turkey, lamb, and beef and use white for fish, white meat chicken and turkey, veal, and fish. While this is a more classic and traditional approach, it is not one that is set in stone. One of the things about cooking is to experiment and find what you love, not follow rules.

5) Try acids in unexpected places! My family loves chicken soup with red wine and orange juice in it. They also love tomato soup with rice and a tiny hint of lemon. A tiny splash of rice wine vinegar makes sauteed green beans with sesame seeds incredible.  Add a bit of tomato sauce and red wine to your meatloaf or meatball mixture for extra tenderness. For a super tender beef roast, pour a bottle of red wine and half that amount of orange or tomato juice into a doubled up 2 Gallon Ziploc. (If a Ziploc is too small, use a disposable roasting pan and remember to turn your roast over after several hours) Add your roast, and let marinate overnight. I’ve done this with my French roasts in particular.

6) Less is more, especially if you are just getting started.  You can always add more, but it’s impossible to remove once you’ve added.  Add a bit, taste, and if it is still not where you want it, add more then.

Remember my amazement at how acid can cook fish? It is literally the simplest thing ever! It’s called ceviche, and here is my take on this lovely, warm-weather fish recipe: http://foodwordsphotos.com/january-kosher-challenge-mini-ceviche-amuse-bouche/

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Amerikaner Yapchik – The Ultimate Jewish Food Reinterpreted

Passover is right around the corner, and Jewish cooks everywhere are planning their menus for the holiday. Many families have recipes that are generations-old, lovingly prepared year after year.  Even with the time-honored favorites, there is always room to reinterpret a classic recipe.

yapzik

No one can exactly say where yapchik (or yapzik) originates. The one certain thing is that it is Eastern European in origin, and a recipe that appears on the Sabbath and Yom Tov table of many a Hasidic family. The traditional recipe calls for strips of flanken to be placed in the middle of potato kugel mixture, covered, and baked in the oven for 8 to 12 hours.

DH and I did not grow up Hasidic – we became more religious after we got married and had children, deciding this was how we wanted to raise our family. As a result, at times we experience what I call ‘comedies of error’. This is one of them.

It started innocently enough – I was making potato kugel for Sukkot, and a friend of ours from our neighborhood synagogue sent us stuffed cabbage. Not wanting to look selfish and any less a balabusta (homemaker) I immediately offered to send over a potato kugel after it was done. She didn’t want that, but if I was making yapchik, she would be delighted to have one.

A quick consultation with DH told me that yapchik was potato kugel with meat inside. Considering what I know of cooking, and how I make potato kugel, it only made sense to me to put in pre-cooked meat. After all – if you put in raw meat, and only cook it for 2 or 3 hours (how long I cook my potato kugel depending on time) there is no way it would be cooked. So in my mind, it had to be deli.  Needless to say, she was full of compliments after the holiday, but informed me this was not yapchik as she and her husband was born and raised with.

But it is now a staple on many a Yom Tov in my house, and it a perfect, lighter meat dish. It is meat and potato kugel all in one – serve with a salad and you have a full meal.

Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced for a food processor
  • 3 large Vidalia onions, also peeled and sliced for a food processor
  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt plus a little to cover the top
  • 4 tsp black pepper plus a little to cover the top
  • 6 oz navel pastrami
  • 6 oz cooked deli turkey breast
  • 6oz 1st cut corned beef

To Prepare: 

Using the kugel blade (shredder) on your food processor, process your onions and potatoes, starting with an onion and alternating between potatoes and onions. (This helps keep the potatoes white.) There will be a lot of juice – drain as much as possible off now, but you will have to drain it again later. Add eggs, salt, pepper, and oil and mix very well. I would say use your hands (I do) to ensure complete mixing, but you could use a spatula or wooden spoon as well.

To assemble:

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Taking large handfuls of the mixture, press gently to drain excess liquid and make an even layer in the bottom 1/3 of the disposable pan. Add your deli meat, laying the peices neatly so the entire area is covered. (I did pastrami, turkey, corned beef, but you can pick your own deli meats and combos. Just make sure you lay the meat evenly and so the entire surface areas is covered.) Make an even layer of potato mixture over the meat, pressing gently to remove excess liquid, til the pan is filled.

Take a bit of salt and pepper and sprinkle a fine layer over the top of the kugel. Bake in preheated oven for 2-3 hours, or until a knife inserted comes out clean and very hot to the touch. Turn off oven, leave in for another hour or so to cool slightly.
Yield one regular 9”x 13” disposable pan and a bit extra for a small regular potato kugel (6” round) OR one deep 9”x 13”disposable pan)

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Kol Foods: A Series on Duck (Finale) Duck Mujadara

The ducks used in these recipes are from KOL Foods. (http://kolfoods.com/) I received no other compensation – all opinions are my own.

One of the things I love to do in the kitchen is to take ingredients, look at them, and say “What happens if I…”.  There is two vital considerations I keep in mind at all times. One – it has to make sense to me. Two – it must treat the ingredient with the respect I feel it deserves.  Yes, even if it’s leftovers. Especially if it’s leftovers. In many homes, they are the source of whines and frowns, but in my house, they can sometimes be better than the original meal!

So when I managed (by hook, crook and bribery) to secure a full duck breast (two pieces) for this recipe I knew precisely how I was going to utilize these gorgeous leftovers. Because let’s face it – duck is delicious right out of the oven, but the next day?  It can be some of the best eating ever. The question was how to make the meat stretch enough to feed my now duck-crazy family.

If anyone asks me what one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes are, mujadara is in the top three (shakshuka and lachmagine round out that list). Many varieties of lentils and rice are staples in my home, so this made my choice pretty simple. To avoid a clash of tastes, (the recipe I was taught for this dish has cilantro, which I couldn’t see working with duck) I had to re-tool the recipe a bit. I can say these were leftovers my whole family enjoyed! (This recipe make quite a lot, so divide it easily in half for a smaller amount)

duckmudjarah1

Recipe for Duck Mujadara

3 cups basmati rice 

2 cups green lentils 

1 whole KOL Foods duck breast (two pieces), already cooked and diced

1/3 cup white wine

2 tbsp of lemon juice

heaping 1/2 tsp of turmeric

tiny pinch of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Generous splash of olive oil

 4 cups of  duck stock, plus a little more for the lentils. (see this recipe for duck stock )

1) In a large pot, add just the lentils and a mix of water, white wine and duck stock til the lentils are covered and have an additional knuckle of liquid above that. Bring to a boil, then turn off and leave sit for a minimum of 2 hours (check and add a bit more stock if needed) and then simmer on low til prefered doneness. 

2) In another pot, add your rice, 4 C  duck stock, olive oil, a scant handful of salt and a three-finger pinch of pepper. Simmer for 25 mins with the lid tightly closed. Remove from fire and leave sit for 10 mins. (Nearly everyone I know combine steps 1 and 2, but I find either the lentils are not done as I like or the rice is too soft, so until I get a bit better at making mujadara this is how I make it. If you are able to make the lentils and rice together in the same pot, please feel free to do so.) 

3) In a saucepan, add the white wine, lemon juice, tumeric, and cumin to make a sauce. Add the duck breasts last and cook on low heat til the pieces of duck are warmed through. 

4) Combine the rice and the lentils gently, then add the duck pieces and sauce. Using a rubber or silcone spatula, fold the mixture together til well-coated (all the rice should have a bright yellow hue) and serve immediately.

 

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Kol Foods: A Series on Duck part 2

The ducks used in these recipes are from KOL Foods. (http://kolfoods.com/) I received no other compensation – all opinions are my own.

The second part of this series focuses on duck bones. Many people simply throw them into the garbage, and that is a shame. Duck bones, when roasted and then simmered with vegetables and herbs, can make a fantastic stock.

Duck stock, quite frankly, is something to get obsessed with. It has a richness of flavor and a gaminess that chicken stock (which is delicious) does not have.  It compliments both beef and chicken dishes quite well, adding an extra, welcome element of flavor.

Since I tend to use my stocks in more or less the same dishes, (lentils, rice, soups, for boiling pasta or potatoes) I keep the flavors simple so I can add what spices I want when I am preparing my final dish.

Recipe for Duck Stock

Bones from 2 whole KOL Foods ducks, with a bit of meat remaining

1 bunch of celery, chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 large white onions, large dice

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

handful of garlic cloves, smashed and roughly minced

1/3 of a 750ml bottle of dry white wine

Small amount of olive oil

1) Arrange duck bones on a tray in a single layer. Add a scant handful each of salt and pepper. Drizzle with canola oil and roast at 400F for 1.5 hrs.  Let cool in oven.

duckbones

2) Heat stock pot well, and add olive oil, garlic, celery and onions. Cook until garlic is fragrant and onions are getting soft, about 5-7 mins on high.

3)Lower flame to medium and add carrots and parsnips. Put a lid on the pot and leave sweat for about 15 mins, til you start to see the carrots soften a little and there is some liquid in the bottom of the pot.

4) Add your duck bones – make sure to scrape all the dark bits off the tray- and red wine, mix to combine. Cover and leave this mixture to sweat 15-20 mins on medium- low flame.

duckbonespot

5) Add  COLD water to fill the pot to about 2 inches from the top. Raise flame til water is at a strong simmer, not quite a boil, then lower, stir and leave cook on a low flame for 2 hours at the most, stirring once or twice.

6) Take a clean pot and put a colander over top. Strain the stock through the colander, and leave sit for 30 mins. Even after you pour the vegetables into the colander, all the liquid doesn’t come out right away. If you want, you can take a potato masher and gently press down on the cooked vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible.

7) Remove colander and dispose cooked veg. Clean out original pot you used, and cover top with cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (I use a fine mesh strainer). Carefully pour liquid to catch tiny pieces. Your result should be a vegetable stock that is clear, mild-smelling and a light gold in color.

8) Cool completely and refrigerate or freeze. Lasts for a few weeks in the freezer, a week at most in the fridge.

 

 

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KFWE2014 : A review, and a message

Many thanks and special consideration to Monica Gonzalez and Dejha Carrington of Rockaway PR for graciously enabling me to attend both the trade and the evening events gratis. All opinions are my own and are uncensored.

The Kosher Food and Wine Experience is a chance for restaurateurs, caterers, food brands, vinters, and spirit producers to showcase what is up and coming in the world of kosher food.  It is a chance to set the trends and raise the bar.  In my three years attending the event, this year I will have to say that with a few absolutely stunning exceptions, this did not occur.

I believe it is because the kosher food world is undergoing a revolution, and while everyone is eager to be on the forefront, not everyone is perhaps truly prepared or able (or even willing) to be at the vanguard.

I would like to state with as strong a voice as I am able: the world of kosher food is changing, and there is no reason whatsoever for mediocrity in any form as the status quo, to accept anything less than the absolute best from those in the service of hospitality. The excuse ‘well, it’s kosher, so..’ is no longer acceptable. The consumer has a larger sphere of influence and a stronger voice than ever before, and it would behoove every member of the service industry to listen.

I do, however, want to focus on the exceptions. They were few, and they were excellent in every sense of the word. What is my definition of excellence?  It is simple – the food that was presented tasted as it was supposed to, and there were no flaws in technique.

Gemstone Caterers/Got Cholent/Wandering Que was far and away the favorite of the event.  The veal pancetta and lamb bacon (served with hemp seed sweet potato mash), the tofu with smoked carrots and beets, the 18hr oak and apple angus brisket, and the mesquite smoked chicken with avocado crema and lamb belly bacon lardon were indisputably the best eating of the event. Each dish was executed properly, and every single thing tasted incredible. Top marks to the pitmaster from Texas for innovation, technique and taste.

Veal panchetta and lamb belly bacon with hemp seed sweet potato mash

Veal pancetta and lamb belly bacon with hemp seed sweet potato mash

 

Mesquite Smoked Chicken and Avocado Crema with lamb belly bacon lardon

Mesquite Smoked Chicken and Avocado Crema with lamb belly bacon lardon

 

18 hour Oak and Apple Smoked Angus Beef Brisket

18 hour Oak and Apple Smoked Angus Beef Brisket

 

Smoked Tofu with smoked heirloom carrots and beets

Smoked Tofu with smoked heirloom carrots and beets

On the completely opposite end of the culinary world, Silverleaf Caterers also garnered excellent marks in my book for their Euro-with-a slight-twist menu. Presented as if it were a set dinner (appetizer, salad, main, dessert) the entire menu, while more traditional, was executed perfectly – everything tasted as it was supposed to, the ingredients were the best and treated respectfully to enhance their flavor, and the presentation was simple.  Their offerings (nightshade crostini, moschata duchesne salad, lamb polpetine, and choco-caramel-buttercrunch-sea salt covered maztoh) were ones I could not get enough of.

Nightshade Crostini - eggplant, toasted pine nuts, tomato, paprika, olive oil on artisanal crostini

Nightshade Crostini – eggplant, toasted pine nuts, tomato, paprika, olive oil on artisanal crostini

 

Moschata Duchesne Salad - roasted butternut squash, tahini, fresh pomegranate, kale.

Moschata Duchesne Salad – roasted butternut squash, tahini, fresh pomegranate, kale.

 

Lamb Polpetine - ground lamb, lemon, coriander, toasted slivered almonds

Lamb Polpetine – ground lamb, lemon, coriander, toasted slivered almonds

 

Unleavened Manna Dessert - matzoh, buttercrunch, chocolate, caramel, sea salt

Unleavened Manna Dessert – matzoh, buttercrunch, chocolate, caramel, sea salt

ETC Steakhouse is a restaurant to watch. From innovation (their chocolate carmel/peanut nougat) to taste and technique, (pink peppercorn crusted ribeye with red amaranth salad, orange zest scallion and pomegranate molasses) I was quite impressed. The first farm-to-table kosher restaurant, this is a venue I would travel to.

Pink Peppercorn Crusted Ribeye - with red amaranth salad, orange zest scallion, pomegranate molasses

Pink Peppercorn Crusted Ribeye – with red amaranth salad, orange zest scallion, pomegranate molasses

T Fusion Steakhouse also impressed. They offered a coffee rub and bbq smoked brisket with blue mashed potatoes and a baby carrot. They also served a chicken roulade with spinach, olives and sun dried tomato tapenade. While the sides with the brisket could have been seasoned better, the brisket was the true star – melt in your mouth tender and full of flavor. I was especially happy with the roulade. Juicy and quite savory, I was pleased –  a roulade can be dry if not prepared and handled properly, and I was initially quite suspicious this would be the case. I can honestly say I was mistaken.

Coffee Rub -BBQ Smoked Brisket - with mashed blue potatoes and baby carrot

Coffee Rub -BBQ Smoked Brisket – with mashed blue potatoes and baby carrot

 

Chicken roulade - stuffed with spinach, olive, sun dried tomato tapenade

Chicken roulade – stuffed with spinach, olive, sun dried tomato tapenade

This year I did indulge a little in the wine and spirits department, and I am glad I did. The wine and spirits component of the event was larger than I ever remember it being, and the few I did sample (I am a complete lightweight!)  were absolutely wonderful. Keep in mind, I took literal sips of each, but even from that small amount I could tell what I had was fantastic.

I tend to go for wines that are semi dry – too sweet and I find it cloying, too dry and I find it overwhelming. With a bit of help from Yosef Silver and Naomi Nachman, I was never steered wrong. I very much enjoyed the Bartenura Asti and Prosecco, and something lovely and red from Or Haganuz. I apologize for my ignorance, but I will confess wine is not my area of expertise. However, from this experience, I would like to change that. The best thing I drank all evening: Drappier Champagne. I’ve had champagne at family occasions before, but nothing compares to this. It is what people dream of – a glass of golden bubbles that hit the tongue in the perfect marriage of sweet and dry. I still taste that champagne.

Bartenura Prosecco and Asti - some of my favorites

Bartenura Prosecco and Asti – some of my favorites

 

Or Haganuz - very delicious reds and whites for every occasion

Or Haganuz – very delicious reds and whites for every occasion

In conclusion, I would say that it was worth it to attend KFWE – and I would go again. I have heard quite a few people say that perhaps it is not worth the travel, or the expense. I am not sure if I agree. Then again, I am also intensely curious to see what will happen, where kosher food will go next. Since kosher (or kosher style, at any rate) appears to be the non-kosher foodie world’s newest trend, I am intrigued to see how this will translate onto the genuinely kosher food scene.

These next few years will change the landscape of kosher food dramatically, and both consumer as well as proprietor will need to be willing to step out of their comfort zone to face this new reality.  Open, positive dialogue on both sides is key.  The world of kosher dining has changed so very much over time, and it has survived -and thrived- with each challenge, each new innovation. I have every confidence that kosher food and wine can and will be on par with its non-kosher counterparts in due course.

I took so many pictures that I want to share, I decided to add a Facebook album of all the pictures that didn’t make this article on my FB blog page. It will be available in the next week or so. Click here  for my FB page for this and other photo galleries, as well as a backseat to many of my other food adventures!

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