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Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Dinner In Venice

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Winter is almost here and nothing says comfort like a rustic Italian dinner.

Pasta e Fagioli (Bean Soup)
(serves 4-6)

Ingredients

1 quart hot water
2 or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 cup of dried beans
1 small ripe tomato, seeded, peeled and diced (or you can use canned peeled tomatoes, drained)
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or rosemary
2 cups fresh egg pasta, or you can use dried egg pasta (broken down pappardelle), or regular dried pasta.

Directions

1. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of cold water.
2. Dice the carrot, thinly slice the celery, and chop the onion finely.
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato, beans, and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Cover with hot water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for one hour or until the beans are cooked.
6. Add the pasta and allow to simmer until the pasta is also cooked (for fresh pasta, usually 3 to 5 minutes; for dried pasta, follow the instructions on the package).
7. Sprinkle with black pepper, adjust the salt, drizzle with a little more olive oil, decorate with the parsley and serve hot.

Potato Salmon Terrine

Ingredients

3 medium/large potatoes
1 fillet of salmon (about 2 lb), baked or steamed
2 scallions or a medium onion
½ cup Chardonnay
1 lemon
3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chives and parsley, to taste

Directions

1. Boil the potatoes until soft, drain, peel and mash with a fork or potato masher.
2. Add the salt, pepper, wine and about 2 tbsps of the oil.
3. In the meantime boil the salmon for 15 minutes with the peeled and sliced scallions (you can also cook it in the microwave in 5 minutes).
4. Then drain it and chop the whole mixture in a food processor along with the juice of ½ a lemon, salt, pepper, and about ½ tbsp of chopped chives.
5. Combine with the mashed potatoes and pour into a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3″), previously lined with plastic wrap.
6. Press the puree into the pan with your hands or a wooden spoon, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
7. Unmold and serve decorated with more chives, and (if you like) some mayo.
* If you are in a rush, replace the fresh salmon and scallions with canned salmon and a touch of onion powder, but the result is less delicate.

Chicken Stew (Ezekiel’s Chicken)

Ingredients

1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, slightly pressed or minced
1/3 cup green or/and black olives, pitted
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons mix of freshly chopped herbs (sage, rosemary, plus basil, mint or parsley)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 or 3 peeled tomatoes
1/3 cup dry wine, red or white

Directions

1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the chicken and sauté until golden.
3. Add the salt, pepper, olives, garlic, and herbs, and the chopped (and drained) tomatoes.
4. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, add the wine, then lower the flame and cook covered until tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally, and adding a little water if it tends to dry out.
5. Uncover, and if the sauce is too liquidy turn up the heat to thicken it.
6. You can serve it with a side of polenta, potatoes or rice as a main course.

Chocolate Hazelnut Whole Grain Cake

Ingredients

3 medium/large eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz parve dark, bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp DiSaronno liqueur
1/8 cup almond or soy milk, or more if needed
1 cup hazelnut meal (or almond meal)
4/5 cup whole grain flour (oatmeal or spelt or other; for a GF version, try buckwheat flour)
1 package baking powder
1 pinch salt
Confectioner’s sugar to decorate

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Beat the eggs with the sugar for a couple of minutes or until light and frothy.

Easy Weeknight Dinners

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

With loads of camp laundry to wash and fold, and school prep on our minds, we are all busy with one thing or another. No one needs the added stress of planning tomorrow night’s dinner! Look below for several quick and tasty dishes to serve the family.

Chicken & Rice Bake

It’s still August and the heat of summer is hitting us full blast! I’m hot and sweaty and the last thing I want to do is turn the oven on or have to stand in front of the stove for a long time. This recipe is quick and easy at it’s best. It’s a one-pot dish that makes for a flavorful dinner with an easy cleanup. I like ginger, however, if you don’t simply keep it out and replace it with your favorite spices.

Ingredients:
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped spinach (I use frozen)
1 cup of rice, raw not yet cooked
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
4 pieces of chicken breast, cut into small pieces
Salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger to taste

Directions:

Saute onions with olive oil in a large pot until golden.

Season with salt, pepper, garlic and ginger.

Add the chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink.

Add rice, broth and spinach to the pot.

Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

This dinner is tasty and fun for the entire fam! The grown ups will enjoy the rich flavor in the soup while the children will adore the mini grilled cheese sandwiches floating on top.

Ingredients:
1 container of cherry tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes (14.5oz)
3 cups of vegetable broth

Directions:

Place cherry tomatoes in a baking pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Coat well.

Place in oven on 400° for 30-35 minutes until beginning to brown.

Once the tomatoes are roasted, saute onions and garlic with remaining olive oil. Once golden, add the broiled tomatoes and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes and mix well. Allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender and serve with grilled cheese croutons. (Grilled cheese sandwiches cut into mini squares)

Creamy Spinach Mushroom Linguine

I was craving Fettuccine Alfredo the other night and decided to experiment in the kitchen. I wanted to eat pasta that was rich and creamy, yet lighter on calories than the original dish which is loaded with fat. I skipped the heavy cream and butter and swapped them with low fat cream cheese and olive oil. I added the mushrooms and spinach for extra nutrition and flavor.

Ingredients:

1 box of whole grain linguine
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
Mushrooms, sliced
Spinach, fresh or frozen
1 8oz. container low fat cream cheese
1 cup of 2% milk
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions and garlic in some olive oil. Once golden, add the mushrooms. Cook until tender and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cook and then add the cream cheese.

Once melted add the milk and parmesan. Combine well.

Add the pasta and stir over low heat until heated through.

Top each serving with additional parmesan.

Hillary: She Was Radiant, She Was Funny, and She Was Almost Two Hours Late

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The lobby of the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem was quiet and calm on Monday evening as journalists trickled in to see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak as part of her 13-day foreign tour. The atmosphere before the event was subdued, with only a few Israeli soldiers and navy blue, blazer-clad security agents milling about to give away the magnitude of what was coming.

After going through an intense security screening, we awaited her arrival…and waited. And waited.

About 45 minutes after she was scheduled to begin, there was still no sign of her. The anticipation and excitement were building as chatter filled the press room. A lady then took the microphone…to tell the crowd that Hillary would be another 40 minutes.

Finally, at close to 10:45 PM, an hour and forty-five minutes later than promised, Hillary stepped up to the podium.

When she entered, the sound of flashing cameras immediately flooded the room. It was the only noise to be heard—minus the soft click-clacking of her shoes.

She looked serene, calm and prepared.

It was a short conference, lasting less time than the wait for her arrival. She spoke for a few minutes about her recent trip to Egypt and reiterated her commitment to peace in the Middle East. It was clear that she knew what topics would be asked about, as her eyes regularly glanced down to her notes before she responded. Even so, there was one answer that was not so expected, and actually yielded a quite shocking response:

Speaking about the fate of Jonathan Pollard, Secretary Clinton said she believed that he would never be freed from his life sentence in America. The room was stunned by the blunt nature of the statement, and jolted as that harsh reality was brought out into the open.

Clinton’s politics have been discussed only slightly more than her appearance in the media. It’s often to my disappointment (if she were a man, it would never be such a point of discussion), but I will say that she was poised, confident and well put-together. Known for pastel colors, the Secretary of State updated the inevitable pants suit look to a clean black and cream.

The media often use the pants suits as fuel to criticize a masculine air, but tonight Secretary Clinton was both feminine and assertive. She even generated laughter in the room a couple of times. A few days ago tomatoes and shoes were thrown at her motorcade in Egypt, but Clinton remained un-phased, even joking that she felt bad that good tomatoes were wasted. When referencing the incident seriously, she explained it as people expressing a new type of freedom, even though their assumptions and conclusions were wrong.

A busy woman, it was clear that she was tired. But she charmed the crowd when, in the beginning, she said that although her traveling team is anxious to get home, she’d like to be hanging out in Jerusalem.

Personally, I also wish we could have hung out with her for a little longer in the holy city. The room covered the basics, such as Iran’s nuclear threat and U.S. involvement in the future, but we were still left with unanswered questions. One reporter made a last attempt by shouting that he wanted to ask about Turkey as Hillary stepped out of the room. Whisked away immediately to her awaiting motorcade, Clinton did not respond to the shout.

In reference to Egypt’s current situation, Clinton said, “Never in the 5,000-year history of Egypt have they ever had this opportunity or challenge.”

The Obama Administration doesn’t have 5,000 years. With Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel only a month away, Obama’s side needs its Israel creds to garner the Jewish American vote.

Summer Fiesta – Mexican Dishes!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Spice up your summer with these colorful and zesty Mexican dishes. Since I like it quick and easy in the kitchen, all of these recipes are no fuss dinners that are full of flavor.

Quick & Easy Chicken Burritos

There is nothing more satisfying than digging into a freshly made burrito. With tasty fillings all wrapped up and ready to bite into, you won’t care about making a mess!

Ingredients:

1 small onion, diced
2 tbs. olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 cup of uncooked rice (I used brown basmati)
1 package of taco seasoning mix (I used Ortega)
3 cups of water

Directions:

Sauté onions in a large pot with olive oil. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.

Add rice and taco seasoning to chicken then add water and mix well. Cook until water is absorbed by rice.

While the chicken and rice mixture cooks, dice up some fresh tomatoes and open up a can of corn and black beans.

Serve in a wrap (I use whole wheat) or as a taco bowl with the chicken and rice in bowl with tomatoes, corn and beans layered on top.

Fresh & Tasty Fish Tacos

This is definitely one of my favorite recipes. It’s super easy and fresh and tasty. I often serve this for Shabbat lunch, buffet style so my guests can create their own tacos with their choice of toppings. Guacamole, salsa, corn salad and shredded cabbage are all great toppings.

Ingredients:

1 lb tilapia fillets
¼ cup olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 small red onion, diced
1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. teaspoon cajun spice or cumin or fajita seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Hard tacos
SALSA & PURPLE SLAW to garnish (check the site for those recipes!)

Directions:

Combine olive oil, lime juice, red onion, cilantro, cajun spice as well as salt & pepper in a large zip lock bag.

Place the tilapia fillets in the bag then seal and let it marinate in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

After it has marinated, bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Using a fork, flake the fish into pieces. Serve in taco shells with salsa and purple slaw.

Flavorful Steak Enchiladas

Similar to a burrito, enchiladas are rolled tortillas filled with meat, rice and veggies that you bake with a tomato based sauce that are usually topped with cheese. Since these are meat based, I left out the cheese. If you opt for a veggie version without the steak, top with shredded cheese before baking.

Ingredients for Steak Marinade:

1 lb. pepper steak, cut into small strips
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder

Ingredients for Filling:

1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5oz) – reserve
1/2 cup of sauce on side
1 can of tomato sauce (15oz)
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. mexican pepper flakes
1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup of uncooked brown rice
2 cups of water
whole wheat wraps

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine olive oil, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. chili powder and pepper steak in a large ziplock bag. Marinate in fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer and cook until water is absorbed.

While the rice cooks and the steak is marinating, sauté onions in a large frying pan until golden. Add in garlic. Cook for several minutes before adding the red and yellow pepper. Mix well and cook for several minutes then add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. (Remember to reserve 1/2 cup of sauce on the side) Add spices and mix well. Cook until pepper is tender.

While the tomato and pepper mixture cooks, cook steak strips until no longer pink.

Take the 1/2 cup of reserved tomato sauce and pour on the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.

Take the whole wheat wraps and one by one fill it with brown rice, tomato, onion & pepper mixture, steak strips and some chopped cilantro. Roll over and place in pan with rolled side facing down. Once you have filled up the pan, pour some of the remaining tomato, onion and pepper mixture on top then place in oven and bake on 400° for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle on some fresh chopped cilantro before serving.

Married? Still Single? Divorced? This is for You!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Our Sages tell us that HaKodesh Baruch Hu, the Holy One Blessed Be He, weeps when a Jewish home is torn apart by of divorce. Unfortunately, He must be crying quite a lot these days, judging from the vast number of divorcees you discover on the pages of Facebook. Just as every Jewish wedding adds another stone to the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, every divorce keeps it in ruins. Since the Fast of Tammuz is almost upon us, marking the beginning of the Three Weeks leading to Tisha B’Av, when we mourn over the destruction of Yerushalayim and the Holy Temple, I thought it appropriate to say a few things about marriage.

Thanks to the good graces of God, a lot of hard work, and lowering my head whenever my wife is upset with me, I have been married nearly thirty years now to the same wonderful, emotional, sensitive, and sometimes stubborn, irrational, and tempestuous woman that I married. In the course of those three decades, we have seen our share of couple’s therapists, and my wife has studied the subject enough to have become a practicing marriage counselor and coach herself. For my small part, I have helped dozens of couples deal with their marital problems through my website, www.jewishsexuality.com. And now, thank God, my wife and I are beginning to counsel the oldest of our seven children who was recently wed.

Yes, marriage is not easy. Yes, it is a challenge as demanding as climbing Mount Everest. Yes, you may have to sacrifice some of your toes in the effort to reach the incomparable peace and stillness you discover at the peak of the climb. But, it’s the best blessing there is, especially when you are fortunate enough to be raising a family in the Land of Israel.

One thing I have learned to avoid, as best as I can, is anger. The holy Kabbalist, the Arizal, teaches that anger is the worst of all the bad character traits. He explains that while every bad character trait and transgression blemish a part of one’s spiritual blueprint, and even physical anatomy, the blemish can be repaired by sincere tshuva and atonement. In contrast, when a person becomes angry, his Divine Soul flees from him, and he receives a lesser animal soul in its place. Ever notice how people look like beasts when they get angry? Their human character seems to leave their faces, and they look like wild animals. The reason is because their Divine Soul has fled, and the work of restoring it to its place, the Arizal writes, can take years and years of penitence.

In a marriage, if either the wife or husband gets angry, and the other responds with anger in return, then the heavyweight prizefight begins. Our Sages teach us that the Hebrew words for man and woman, איש andאשה   have the letters alef, shin, yud, and hai. But when there is anger between them, the yud and hai flee, letters which stand for the Name of God, symbolizing the loss of the Presence of God in the home. Now, only the letters alef and shin remain, אש meaning fire. And how many fire engines are needed to put out the flames!

What’s the solution? Very simple. When my wife gets angry, I lower my head and agree that she’s right. Even though I know that she may not be justified about her immediate complaint, I tell myself that I surely did something else that has brought upon her outburst. A woman has radar and senses when she has been slighted or betrayed. At the moment, she may think she is angry because I forgot to buy tomatoes at the supermarket, and how can she make a loving salad for her family without tomatoes? And, yes, what a rotten husband I am, but I know that the tomatoes she is angry about are not the tomatoes you buy in the supermarket, but about the attractive women I glanced at while I was shopping there.

So when my wife throws a punch, I lower my head and duck, knowing that she is right, that I assuredly did something wrong, and that her anger is God’s way of informing me that I have to do tshuva and mend my erring behavior or thoughts. This way, after throwing a few punches and not finding a hittable target, she gets tired and quits. But if I were to hit back with the very first blow, God forbid, it would turn out to be another “Thriller in Manila” with Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier exchanging murderous blows until the final, 15th-round bell.

How To Cook Without Measuring

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

There are two primary forms of measuring when it comes to cooking, and our goal is to wean you away from both of them to the greatest extent possible. (There is also a third form of measuring, but doing without it can be risky and, based on my own disaster-stories, I don’t advise it.)

The first is reading a recipe. The process of looking at the recipe, cooking, looking back at the recipe, going back to cook, is time-consuming, and, unless you’re aiming for perfection, often unnecessary.

The second piece of measuring is utensils, i.e. measuring cups and spoons (or weights, if you’re not American). Ditch them. We want to minimize dishwashing time and all the effort it takes to bring utensils out from the cupboard. In the next chapter we’ll go over tools to estimate measurements, like tablespoons and cups, which will be helpful if this step makes you nervous.

The third piece, which we don’t advise eliminating, is measuring time, as in checking the clock and using a timer. Because this is the least cumbersome and most risky measuring tool to do without (think burnt, inedible food), it’s advisable to hold off on eliminating this tool for now. I tried cooking without it for several months, attempting to get a feel for when my food was done, whether it was pasta, meat or chili. Well, the pasta was soggy, the meat was chewy beyond belief and the beans in the chili had an overcooked, ghastly flavor. (I didn’t even know you could overcook dried beans!) So if estimating time worries you or has burned you like it has me, focus on the first two pieces for now.

Getting Comfortable with the No-Measure System

In case you feel skeptical about your ability to discard recipes and measuring spoons, consider that you already cook without measuring in many ways. Have you ever made a sandwich? Scrambled eggs? A smoothie or a milkshake? You probably dumped together some ingredients, waited until they were done and served or ate it straight.

Take it further: if you ever made mashed potatoes, you probably didn’t measure the amount of butter, milk and seasonings that you included. Or when making French toast, did you calculate exactly the amount of eggs, milk and vanilla? (If you did, don’t worry. We’ll help you get more comfortable in your cooking skin in the next section.) So put your fears aside. You have what it takes to cook and prepare food using your own taste and senses.

No-Measure Recipe Number 1

To get you started on your journey to no-measureville, here is a non-recipe that explains how to cook a basic dish without using measurements. I wrote this recipe as if I’m standing with you in the kitchen, telling you what cooking moves to make. If you’re an experienced cook, much of what I write is already second nature to you. But if you’re new to the kitchen, read the instructions carefully and take your time while cooking.

Master Chili Recipe

Solid standby at tailgating parties, barbecues and hearty winter meals, chili is super-versatile and satisfying. This recipe serves four to six.

Ground beef, about 1 and 1/2 lbs.
Oil, a spoonful
Onion, about 1 medium, chopped
Green pepper, about 1/2 chopped
1 medium can of diced tomatoes or 4-5 chopped plum tomatoes
Kidney beans, about 1 can, drained (or cook your own from scratch! Use about 1 cup)
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper
Salt

Brown the ground beef and chopped onion in a spoonful of oil over medium heat. Stir often, breaking up the chunks, until beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat and carefully pour of fat. (A good way to do this is to position a pot lid over the beef, keeping it from coming out of the pan, while you tilt the pan to pour out the liquid.) Add the chopped green pepper, kidney beans and tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, you will need to add some extra liquid like tomato sauce or marinara sauce; just a pour) to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, seasoning with a good sprinkling of salt and a small palmful of chili powder. Add a dash of cayenne pepper; use caution as it’s very spicy.

Tomato Shortage Leads to Price Surge in Israel

Monday, May 7th, 2012

A tomato shortage has led to a surge in prices for the juicy Israeli staples, with prices estimated to reach NIS 16 per kilo on Monday ($1.90/lb).  Tomatoes are usually an inexpensive commodity, available at 45 – 75 cents a pound.

The shortage is a result of the conclusion of a growing season.  In a month, ripe tomatoes are estimated to be available again, bringing the price back down, according to the Vegetable Growers Association, cited by Globes online business news.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/tomato-shortage-leads-to-price-surge-in-israel/2012/05/07/

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