Shabbat

Zucchini Bayildi

Every year, at every Passover Seder, I serve a side dish called Imam Bayildi, which is basically stewed eggplant, leeks and tomatoes, though sometimes I've made it with onions instead of leeks.

Somehow the occasion wouldn't seem right without this traditional dish.

And yet, last year my kids said that maybe it was getting a little boring. One of them doesn't care for eggplant, so -- there was no Imam Bayildi this year. 

But during the week I will serve a kind of "bayildi" (which means "fainted" -- because it tastes so good that the Imam who first tasted it fainted).

This new dish is colorful and chock full of vegetables. It's spring-like and refreshing, so it is perfect for Passover's sometimes heavy meals. But it's also an all-year round dish that goes with any meat, poultry or fish you might serve. Or serve it as part of a vegetarian dinner.

It also takes much less time than the original recipe.

Zucchini “BayIldi”

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped (or 10-12 campari tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar, salt, lemon juice and water. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until all the vegetables are tender. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

Roasted Salmon with Hazelnut Crust

I think I could write a cookbook just about salmon, because we eat it so often and I am the kind of person who likes to change things up and not eat the same old same old for dinner.

So I have lots of recipes for salmon.

This one is among the easiest also. And fast. The essence of "quick and easy."

 

Roasted Salmon with Hazelnut Butter

 

  • 4 salmon fillets or steaks, about 6 ounces each, about 1 1/4 inches thick
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons crushed hazelnuts (or almonds)

 

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Place the salmon in a baking dish. Mix the butter, chives, lemon peel and mustard and spread this mixture evenly over the surface of the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and scatter the nuts evenly on top. Roast for about 15 minutes, depending on thickness, or until nearly cooked through but still darker in the thickest part of the center.

 

Makes 4 servings.

 

 

Love Livornese

One of our favorite restaurants dishes is some-kind-of-fish Livornese style. Ed and I both like the tangy components -- olives and capers -- and how they give so much extra flavor to the more typical tomatoes and garlic red-sauce. 

Somehow I never made Livornese sauce at home, until recently, when I saw a great looking hunk of halibut in the market and decided to dig right in and try it out.

It was absolutely perfect. I used Aleppo pepper, because I like the hint of smokiness that it has, but crushed red pepper would be equally good.

 

Roasted Halibut Livornese

  • 1-1/2 pounds halibut, about 1-1/2-inches thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cut up black imported olives
  • 2-3 teaspoons capers
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the fish in a lightly oiled baking dish. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the olives, capers, white wine and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Spoon the sauce over the fish. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish, or until cooked through.

Makes 4 servings

Veal Shoulder Roast with Shiitake Mushrooms, Rosemary and Thyme

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As usual we bought too much smoked fish for our New Year's weekend. So, thanks to bagels, we've been slowly using up the salmon, whitefish, sablefish and herrings every day since. Thank goodness also that my husband doesn't complain about leftovers.

Besides, it was delicious and we don't often have smoked fish in the house.

But it's time to move on.

Need meat.

This veal shoulder roast is easy, nourishing and flavorful. A good cold weather dish too. And perfect for Shabbat.

It's nice with cooked egg noodles and roasted carrots.

VEAL SHOULDER ROAST

 

  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 veal shoulder, about 3 pounds
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (about 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine

 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Soak the dried mushrooms, rinse them and cut them into shreds. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heatproof, ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side). Remove the meat to a dish and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until lightly golden. Return the meat to the pan. Season with the rosemary, thyme and pepper. Pour in the wine. Cover the pan and place in the oven. Bake for about 1-1/2 hours or until tender.

 

Makes 4 servings

Cornbread Stuffing

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There will be more of us for Thanksgiving dinner this year. 

That means: more stuffing.

So, I can always make my Mom's barley-shape noodle "filling" or a sorghum-based version of that.

Maybe my Bread Stuffing with Figs and Hazelnuts or my well-loved chestnut-sausage stuffing?

But this year I'm thinking maybe I'll add a cornbread stuffing to the mix.

This one:

Cornbread Stuffing

 

  • 6 cups cornbread cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 2 large eggs (or use chicken or vegetable stock)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a casserole dish (about 2-quart). Cut the cornbread into 1/2-inch cubes and place them in a bowl. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the parsley, thyme and salt to taste. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the vegetables to the cornbread and toss the ingredients. Beat the eggs and add them to the bowl. Mix and spoon the stuffing into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is crispy.

Makes 8 servings

Grandma Hoffman's Skinny Noodle Crusty-Top Mushroom Onion Kugel

Kugel is the kind of food that people can get into an argument about.

The issues can become monumental.

Like -- should it be sweet or salty?

have cheese or not? 

if cheese-- what kind?

And lots more.

Including this biggie -- what width noodles to use!

Skinny? Medium? Wide?

OY!

Here's my answer. Medium or wide for sweet, creamy, dairy-based or fruit-laden kugels served as side dishes with dairy or for dessert, because you want more pasta-surface area to absorb the sauce.

BUT, definitely skinny noodles for a savory kugel because you want it crispy on top to crunch under the pan juices or gravy that come with the tender meat and vegetables.

I grew up in a family where salty kugels were the thing. And ALWAYS made with the skinniest of noodles.

Here's my grandma's recipe. If you make it in a shallow baking pan the entire kugel is one huge crunch. Use a deeper pan if you prefer some soft noodles under the crusty top.

Grandma Hoffman's Mushroom Onion Kugel

  • 10 ounces skinny egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or schmaltz
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh mushrooms, any variety, sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • paprika

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions, until the noodles are tender but not mushy. Drain under cold water and set aside. While the noodles are cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Set aside. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the vegetables with any accumulated juices, and stir the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the eggs and some salt and pepper to taste and mix them in. Place the mixture inside a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake for about 25 minutes. Raise the heat to 400 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes or until the top is crispy and browned.

Makes 8 servings

Roasted Salmon with Mustard and Chives

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I realize that the Republican nominee for president for 2016 has already been chosen and the primary today in the state of Washington will not change that.

Still, I have to give the nod today to Washington, not for the politics but for the food. Two of our best ingredients come from there: apples and salmon.

So, here's to Washington. This salmon dish is amazingly easy to make (if you don't have chives you can chop some scallion tops). (You can also make the same dish using Arctic Char.)

If you'd like to follow on with a wonderful apple dessert, consider one of these: German Apple Cake, Apple Brown Betty, Apple Pie, , Apple Crisp or Applesauce Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

Roasted Salmon with Mustard and Chives

  • 24-32 ounces salmon (or use Arctic Char)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the fish on a parchment-lined baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the honey, mustard, garlic and chives. Add the lemon juice and whisk it in until the mixture is well blended. Spread the mixture evenly over the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 12-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked to desired doneness and the surface is lightly crispy.

Makes 4 servings

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Although I love to cook and don't mind fussing, chopping, washing veggies and so on, sometimes I get lazy or tired and prefer to take the easy way out. I don't mean order-in (although I do understand that). I mean, make food that's easy.

In fact, I find that I like quick-and-easy more and more often.

Like this roasted cod dish. I had been looking at loads of recipes that include tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts with fish. Most of the recipes involve searing and/or roasting the fish and making the sauce separately. But I didn't feel up to doing all that. And I certainly didn't want an extra pan to clean.

So I put all the ingredients together in a roasting pan and placed the fish on top, thinking the sauce would become sauce all by itself, moistened by the natural juices leeching from the fish.

And voila! I was right. There it was. Crispy topped fish and lovely, savory sauce. So good. So easy. Cleanup almost free.

I scattered some bread crumbs on top to give it a lightly crispy surface. (During Passover you could use matzo meal.)

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Raisins and Pine Nuts

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2-3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh cod
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (or matzo meal)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts and garlic in a roasting pan and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Place the fish on top of the tomato mixture. Brush the fish with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter the bread crumbs over the top. Roast for 18-20 minutes or until top is lightly crispy and the fish is cooked through.

Makes 4 servings

Roasted Salmon with Harissa

Many years ago Ed and I took our daughters on a cruise to Alaska. At the time they were going through what I think of as the usual teenage disdain for anything their parents liked. So although they went with us on deck to see some of the famous, enormous glaciers, after the first few, when we uncool grownups were still excited to see yet another huge hunk of ice, they stayed in their cabin. And so they missed the Columbia Glacier which, just by chance when we were watching, dropped what we were told was the ice equivalent of a 6-story apartment building into the water.

Okay, so they missed it. I still smile when I close my eyes and think about what we saw that day.

The other thing we all missed was the salmon. Alaskan salmon is world famous, and for good reason -- it's fat and flavorful. And some of the folks on our trip actually went fishing and caught some fish, which the chef cooked them for dinner. And for those who didn't go fishing, well, they got fresh fresh salmon anyway.

Unfortunately our daughter Gillian is allergic to fish, so we never have it on the table when she is with us.

Ed and I have made up for that in the years that followed, when we dine alone or with people who can eat and appreciate fish.

We both love salmon and eat it very often.

And so, in keeping with the political theme of this blog over the past several weeks, I will pay tribute to the Alaska Democratic political caucus coming up on March 26th (the Republicans had theirs on March 1st), and offer one of the salmon recipes we have loved over the years. It's so quick and easy to cook you can serve this any night of the week. And yet, salmon is festive, so it's a good choice for company also.

Roasted Salmon with Harissa

  • 4 salmon filets or steaks, about 6 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the salmon pieces in a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, oregano, harissa and mustard. Spread this mixture on top of the fish filets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-18 minutes, depending on thickness, or until cooked to desired doneness.

Makes 4 servings  

Remembering my Dad

I'm remembering my Dad today. Remembering the hugs and the "I love yous."

Missing him always but especially on this day, his 20th yahrzeit.

This was one of his favorite desserts.

william vail's favorite Apple Brown Betty

  •  4-5 pie apples such as Granny Smiths, Rhode Island Greenings or Golden Delicious
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups diced homestyle white bread
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the apples and remove the cores. Cut the apples into bite sized pieces. Pour the lemon juice over the apples and place them in a baking dish. Combine the bread dice, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Toss the ingredients to distribute the ingredients evenly. Place the bread mixture on top of the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crusty. Let cool slightly, but best when served warm.

Makes 4 servings