The Nine Days

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Garlic, Sea Salt and Lime

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Recently, Faye Levy, noted cookbook author and food writer, wrote a piece for the Jerusalem Post about Cara Mangini, the "Vegetable Butcher." She also posted about it on Facebook. Then she asked if anyone else prepared "cauliflower steaks."

I do! Have done. Many times!

We are a family of cauliflower lovers and the "steaks" -- that is, thick slices cut from a whole head of cauliflower -- look beautiful on a plate, making them a special side dish at dinner.

I have a recipe for cauliflower steaks in my latest cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen. Thanks for posting this, Liz Rueven, at kosherlikeme.com.

Note -- the steaks taste the same as any other "cut" of cauliflower.

The cutting takes some doing, and a very sharp chef's knife. Also, truth to tell, the smaller sections at the side of the cauliflower head fall away into regular florets. No worries. Cook them alongside the steaks. They're like the "burnt ends" that you get from barbecue -- no one ever complains about those, do they?

After the cutting, its' simple. A bit of oil and seasoning.

Like this recipe:

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Sea Salt and Lime

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the green leaves at the bottom of the cauliflower and trim most of the fibrous stem attached to the head. Slice the head into “steaks” about 3/8-inch thick. Rinse and dry the slices on paper towels. Combine the olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard and brush this mixture on both sides of the cauliflower slices. Place the slices on the parchment. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until tender and crispy. Sprinkle the roasted cauliflowers steaks with lime juice. Note: for smaller pieces that fall away when you slice the head, cook along with the steaks. They may be done sooner, so look at them about 5 minutes ahead, or let them get browner, no harm done.

Makes 4 servings

Malaysian Style Fish in Coconut Curry

When it's fish on the menu I usually grill, broil or roast salmon with lots of different glazes or toppings. Either as filets or steaks. Ed likes salmon (and not much other fish), so, no complaints at dinner.

But recently we had company for dinner and even though some of my salmon recipes are suitable for a somewhat fancier meal than on any old Tuesday or such, I wanted to cook something different, something special.

So I experimented a few times to develop a good recipe for Malaysian style fish curry, because, (in my opinion anyway), Malaysian food is one of the most interesting, most intriguing and most delicious of all world cuisines.

This was the winner. I served it to our dinner guests. All plates were scraped clean.

But the recipe isn't that time consuming or elaborate, so you don't need to save it for a special occasion. Cook it anytime -- during the Nine Days before Tisha B'av, for example, when you might be more likely to be preparing fish for dinner. 

Or any Tuesday and such.

Although I served the curry with cooked rice, it would also be wonderful with rice noodles.

Malaysian Style Fish Curry

  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick, cut in half
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 24 ounces snapper, tilapia or halibut, cut into chunks (or 24 extra large shrimp)
  • cooked rice or rice noodles

Remove and discard the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass stalk. Remove some of the thinner, softer leaves and set them aside. Chop the tender portions (the thinnest inner leaves plus the bulb at the bottom). Combine the coconut milk, set-aside lemongrass leaves, cinnamon stick and whole cloves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat (or use a wok or stir fry pan). Add the onion and cook for a minute, stirring often. Add the garlic, chopped lemongrass, chili pepper, ginger, turmeric and salt to taste and stir fry for another minute. Add the fish and cook, stirring gently, for 3-4 minutes or until the pieces are lightly cooked. Strain the coconut milk mixture and pour the liquid into the pan with the fish. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Serve with cooked rice or rice noodles.

Makes 4 servings

Love Those Tuna Burgers

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Tuna is not one of my favorite fish. It's frequently dry and chewy, except when it's rare, and unless you buy a really thick hunk of really high quality fish, it's difficult to get it rare to perfection -- if the piece is thin it cooks to an unpleasant looking grayish color.

But tuna burgers? I love them. Because grinding or chopping the flesh makes it tender, even when the burger is well-done. And the color is just fine for burgers, especially because the outside surfaces crisp to a gorgeous golden brown whether you grill, broil or saute them.

I don't mix in too many seasonings when making tuna burgers. Instead, I add flavor with a tangy condiment to serve with the tuna burger on the roll. Recently I mixed the fish with chopped fresh chives -- the only herb I have been successful in growing in my garden this year -- and served the burgers with mayonnaise mixed with chopped kalamata olives and a hint of lemon peel.

This recipe is extremely easy, also quick to cook. Just perfect for casual, summertime eating, meatless/dairy meals and any old time.

 

Tuna Burgers with Olive Mayo

 

  • 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel
  • 20 ounces fresh tuna
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 rolls
  • lettuce, spinach or arugula leaves
  • 4 slices tomato

 

Preheat an outdoor grill or oven broiler (or use a sauté pan). Mix the mayonnaise, olives and lemon peel together and set aside in the refrigerator.

Chop the tuna into very fine pieces (or pulse in a food processor). Place the fish in a mixing bowl. Add the chives and garlic and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Shape the mixture into 4 patties. Brush the remaining olive oil over the surface of each patty. Grill or broil the burgers for 2-4 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy on both sides and cooked to the degree of doneness preferred. OR, pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the burgers for 2-4 minutes per side over medium-high heat.

Spread equal amounts of the mayonnaise mixture on the bottom side of each roll. Place a lettuce leaf on top, then top with a slice of tomato. Place the burger on top of the tomato. Cover with the top of the roll.

Makes 4

 

 

Gorgeous Hunk of Salmon, Roasted with Orange and Dill

We eat so much salmon at our house that one of these days Ed and I might actually turn into some. That's probably because in years past, when our kids were still living at home, we couldn't have any fish in the house. One of our daughters is allergic.

So we're making up for it now (I decontaminate the refrigerator after a fish dinner to get rid of any leftover fish oils or vapors). And salmon is a favorite. It's tasty, attractive and also healthy. Can you beat that?

We like it all sorts of ways, but I try to vary the seasonings, just to keep it from being too boring (same goes for chicken).

We had this dish recently: roasted salmon with a glaze that's basically orange marmalade and mustard. It is incredibly easy to prepare -- takes less than 5 minutes. I served it to company. Everyone declared it a keeper.

 

Roasted Salmon with Orange MARMALADE, MUSTARD and Dill

 

  • 24-30 ounces fresh salmon
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the salmon in a baking dish. Mix the marmalade, dill, garlic, lime juice and mustard together in a small bowl and spread this mixture evenly on top of the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, or until the fish is cooked to desired doneness and the top is crispy-browned. 

Makes 4 servings

 

Variations on a Recipe Theme

Lois Held, a colleague of mine in the food business, posted a recipe for Sour Cream Plum Cake on Facebook the other day. The photo of the cake looked so fabulous that I couldn't wait to try it.

So I did. Except I didn't have all the ingredients, so I varied it a little and it came out just fine -- as fabulous to eat as her photo looked. My cake may not be as gorgeous as hers because as I took it out of the oven to cool on the rack, I dropped it -- fortunately I was able to catch it, although a hunk or two came off. I patched it together for the photo.

Thanks here to Burn jel for that marvelous stuff that's now on the burns on my hands.

The cake has a light, soft and fluffy texture. Not overly sweet taste. Perfect for a post-dairy or fish dinner.

And hey! It's National Cherry Day, so there's an extra reason to bake this one.

 

SOUR CREAM CHERRY CAKE

  • 1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided (1/2 and 1/4)
  • 2 Tablespoons orange flavored brandy
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • 2 cups halved, fresh cherries
  • Powdered sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. Combine the sifted cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium for about 2 minutes, or until softened and fluffy. Add the sour cream and beat for a minute or until thoroughly blended in. Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a regular mixing bowl. Wash the mixer bowl, add the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until thick and pale. Add the cream cheese mixture, brandy and orange peel and beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until blended. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment, starting at medium speed, then gradually increasing to high speed for 1-2 minutes or until foamy. Add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold the flour mixture into the cream cheese/egg mixture. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan. Scatter the cherries on top of batter.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a cake rack for 5 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan. Just before serving, sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8-10 servings

NOTE: can add grated lemon rind if desired. Or use vanilla extract. Or both.