Archive for the ‘salad’ Category

Review: Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes

November 30, 2015


Disclosure: Artscroll supplied me with a review copy of Every Day Secret Restaurant Recipes. Opinions expressed are my own.

For those of you who loved Secret Restaurant Recipes, there is good news: Artscroll has just released Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes. It is an even bigger, wider ranging cookbook than its predecessor, jam packed with lots more recipes from a much larger number of restaurants. The new book repeats the original’s successful concept of dishes from popular kosher restaurants with a side order of chef tricks and tips.

While the first book had lots of special occasion recipes, the twist of the new book is that the recipes are more down-to-earth. The authors, Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek said their readers asked for “more casual recipes that work for everyday meals (or easier recipes that can also work for special occasions!).”

There is plenty here for home cooks looking to try a new technique or trend. Authentic smokehouse BBQ is an important trend, the authors say, and they explain how to home-smoke using a regular grill. A pizza recipe uses the interesting technique of par-baking the crust before adding the toppings, which is a great do-ahead trick.

If you are thinking ahead to Chanukah, there are quite a few recipes here that call for deep-frying and that would work for a party: Avocado Egg Rolls, Kani Poppers, Champignon Crispy Rolls, Broccoli Nuggets, Buffalo Cauliflower, Tater Poppers and Churros with Strawberry-Ginger Coulis (a perfect Chanukah dessert). If you like to make rugelach for Chanukah, there is a recipe for Chocolate Rugelach from Zak the Baker.

Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes makes for great armchair travel, with fascinating descriptions of kosher restaurants across the United States, Israel and beyond. The book covers an impressive 100 restaurants from 11 countries, spanning 5 continents. And the range of places covered is broad, too, encompassing high-end restaurants, cafes, pizzerias, fish grills, falafel spots, sushi bars, burger bars, delis, sandwich shops, BBQ joints, steakhouses, bakeries and gourmet take-out places.

I worked my way through 22 of the approximately 104 recipes in the book. The soups and salads were all excellent (especially the Harvest Salad from Pantry in Toronto) and the Par-Baked Pizza (from Brooklyn Pizza in Uruguay) worked brilliantly. The Dilled Salmon with zucchini and bell peppers (from Mocha Bleu in Teaneck) was delicious, super easy and had the added benefit of being a main dish and side dish all-in-one. The Gong Bao Chicken (from the Chabad restaurant Dini’s in Beijing) worked out really well made with tofu instead of chicken. The Peanut Butter Sundaes (molten chocolate cakes topped with ice cream and peanut butter sauce, from Glatt-A-La-Carte) were easy enough to make on a weeknight and a delicious twist on the usual lava cake.


Black Eyed Peas, Tomato, Spinach and Quinoa Salad

September 17, 2015


This is another way to combine leeks, spinach and black eyed peas. This delicious salad is worth serving year round–not just on Rosh HaShana.


Shredded Beet Salad with Carrots and Apples

September 17, 2015

beet carrot apple saladtext

I had roasted a large (14 oz.) beet and had no idea what to do with it. I found a recipe on Saveur that called for combining shredded raw beets, carrots and apples. I shredded the cooked beet with a large carrot and two apples. I seasoned the salad very simply, with a little Montreal Steak Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic and some other spices). The original recipe called for garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and orange juice.

The beet salad works well as an accompaniment to gefilte fish.


Lemony Barley Salad with Kale Pesto, Tomaisins and Israeli Innovation

July 30, 2014


This recipe proves how important one ingredient can be, especially if it is a intensely flavored condiment. I spotted this recipe in the August issue of Food and Wine Magazine and it sounded so good: nubbly barley tossed in a lemony kale pesto dressing.

The recipe said that the addition of chopped preserved lemon was “optional,”  so I left that ingredient out and added in lots of fresh lemon juice. Even with using a whole lemon instead of the measly 1 Tbl. of juice the recipe called for, the salad tasted bland, very, very bland. Mostly, the salad had a strong herbal taste from the kale.

I went down to Sarah’s Tent in Deal, New Jersey to rectify the situation. I came home with a pint of preserved lemon slices, floating in spicy oil. I went straight to the kitchen and pulled out the leftover salad and tried to fix it by adding in the lemon and also some craisins.

The recipe called for currants, but I felt the recipe needed a more acidic dried fruit. Ideally, I would have added in these dried grape tomatoes that my sister-in-law brought back from Israel. They look like giant craisins, but taste like really, really sweet tomatoes. Those would have been perfect in this salad.

Not to digress too much, but these Israeli dried tomatoes are astonishing. My sister-in-law told me that they have no added sugar. They were so super candy sweet that I just didn’t believe her.

I’m still not sure that I believe it, but I looked online and found out that there is something called the Tomaccio, the “sweet raisin tomato.” Bred in Israel from wild Peruvian tomatoes, the Tomaccio is super sweet, so sweet that it turns into something like a raisin when it is dried.  It took Israeli nursery Hishtil twelve years to breed this variety of tomato. Another Israeli company, 2Macho (pronounced the same as Tomaccio?) created another kind of cherry tomato raisin.  And yet another Israeli company, Tomaisin, bred a cherry tomato that dries on the vine and has twice the sweetness of regular tomatoes (see also this).

On top of being really sweet and having a pleasant raisin texture, these tomaisins are supposed to have much more lycopene than regular tomatoes. Yummy and healthy–my favorite combination.

So, anyway, back to the barley salad. I added in the chopped preserved lemon and, WOW! The flavor of the salad went from blah to something that exploded with spicy lemony flavor. This is a salad to serve at a fancy simcha because the colors are beautiful, the texture is very appealing and the flavor is intense.

The recipe for this salad was contributed to Food and Wine by up and coming chef Jessica Koslow, of Sqirl. The key to its success is aggressive seasoning.

Bonus: Someone else found this salad a bit bland without the preserved lemon (“somehow kale plus olive oil and a bit of salt and lemon was just sort of meh.”). Here is how Lynne Ireland jazzed it up.

Another bonus: the preserved lemons I bought were in slices, seasoned with paprika, hot pepper (other spices?) and oil. Here is a similar sounding recipe from chef Shaya Klechevsky.


Roasted Cauliflower with Lentils and Dates

July 30, 2014


If you want a main dish for the Nine Days that is hearty and filling, but not laden with dairy products, consider this salad. It is packed with super nutritious ingredients like lentils, spinach, tahina, dates, almonds and cauliflower.  It has a small amount of olive oil and only a teaspoon of honey. It feels light because it is a salad, but the lentils, coated with a tahina dressing, give it an almost meaty heft that will leave you completely sated.

It is the kind of unusual and exciting combination of ingredients that I usually associate with an Ottolenghi recipe, but this salad comes from Food and Wine Magazine contributors David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. David and Luise are a Stockholm-based couple that have a beautiful vegetarian blog called Green Kitchen Stories.


Broccoli Rabe Pesto Pasta with Heirloom Grape Tomatoes

July 8, 2014


Pesto made with broccoli rabe is pretty popular and it is also super nutritious. You can serve the pesto as a dip or spread for bread instead of as a sauce for pasta. I followed a recipe from Mario Batali’s Molto Gusto. If you follow the link, you will not only find the recipe, but a clip of Mario demonstrating its preparation along with that of two other pasta recipes (pasta with pureed red peppers and goat cheese and pasta with Swiss chard).

The original recipe called for orecchiette pasta, but I substituted farfalle and added in some heirloom grape tomatoes. Later, I served leftovers as a salad, with the addition of more blanched broccoli rabe and some cannellini beans.

The pesto is exceptionally good. I made twice as much pesto as I needed for the pasta, and I have been enjoying leftovers spread onto challah along with lemon chummus.


Char-Grilled Broccoli with Red Pepper, Garlic and Almonds

September 25, 2013


This broccoli salad/side dish is a signature dish at Ottolenghi. It comes to Ottolenghi from a Tel Aviv restaurant where Sami Tamimi used to work. The original recipe called for mild chili peppers, which I couldn’t find, so I used red bell peppers and sprinkled over a little hot sauce.


Wordless Wednesday: Ottolengi Mixed Bean Salad

September 4, 2013


Another good salad for simanin (lubia), this comes from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It also appeared in Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian. For American measurements and a lower calorie Weight Watcher’s version of the dish, go here.

It is typical Ottolenghi: vibrant melange of vegetables, exploding with flavor from creative use of spices and herbs: Green beans, roasted red pepper, cumin seeds, fried garlic, capers, lemon zest, parsley and scallions.

Other interesting choices from this book for Rosh Hashana:

Chraimeh (fish in spicy red sauce)
Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar
Baby Spinach Salad with Date and Almonds (well, leave out the almonds)

Easy Honey Lime Black-Eyed Pea Salad

September 3, 2013


Want a simple black-eyed pea salad recipe for Rosh Hashana?

Try this:


Umami Sauce

July 18, 2013


I have made batch after batch of this creamy sauce, adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil’s cookbook True Food, and never tire of it.  I have used it as a salad dressing, but it can also be used to enhance the flavor of ground beef, roasted fish, steamed vegetables and any number of other uses (like this recipe for stir-fried Brussels sprouts,  or stuffed potatoes with broccoli.

It is super creamy and thick, pungent with garlic, with a rich savoriness. The thickness does not come from mayonnaise or oil, but mostly from nutritional yeast, a powerhouse source of vitamins, minerals and protein.