Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kale shakshuka

So far, we've made kale chips and kale salad. They were good, but you can read about such things in a thousand different places.

But the kale adventures continued. I put some kale in a pasta dish with mushrooms, onions, wine and feta (not shown, but delicious).

Then came kale shakshuka. First, chopped kale is sauteed in olive oil with onions. Then comes a can of tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, chili pepper (tune the heat as you like it), chopped garlic, and some oregano. That all cooks for a few minutes, and then eggs are cracked in. A quick spray of oil over each egg, and then on goes the pan cover until the eggs are cooked (the spray makes this happen faster).

And, of course, some grated Parmesan on top, because what else were we gonna do with the little piece that was left?

Eat with bread. A lot of bread, if you made it spicy.

Foil pouch fish tacos

This is not an authentic fish taco. This is an easy way to cook fish - wrap it up in a foil pouch along with sliced onions, peppers and seasoning, and bake for about 20 minutes. Unwrap, and load the juicy fish, onions and peppers into crispy tortillas (made crispy by putting a little oil on a hot pan, then briefly toasting each side of the tortillas, one at a time) along with sliced tomatoes and lettuce.

Drizzle it with a dressing of mayo and hot pepper sauce (Frank's). Enjoy.

Beef #7 with herbs and bbq sauce

We buy beef #7 because it's cheap, and very good. I'm not sure which cut it is, exactly, but it may be deckle. I'm pretty sure it's from the brisket region. Whatever it is, it's fatty and perfect for slow cooking. Usually it comes as a big flat piece, but the last time we ordered it, it came sliced like big steaks. So I made up a way to cook them.

First, they were browned in a pan with some oil. Then, the meat came out temporarily, and onions were sauteed in the meaty brown bits. Then, back in went the meat, along with bbq sauce and lots of parsley. This whole thing was covered and put in the oven until soft.

The meat was good, although not 100% soft. To get more succulent meat it's better to slow-braise one of those big pieces I mentioned before.

Potato cabbage kugel

Basically a regular potato kugel, except there's a whole bunch of shredded cabbage in there too. Like, at least half a head, possibly more. The kugel is held together with eggs, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic.

In the end it was about half potato, half cabbage, and baked into a solid unit. The cabbage gives some crunch and acidity above the soft, savory potato. Regular potato kugel is a pure starchy indulgence, but by eating this instead, you are tempering the starch with vegetable matter.

One diner was actually surprised that this dish even contained cabbage. Go figure.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Potatoes with spiced meat

I peeled and boiled the potatoes until they were about half cooked. Then I halved them and scooped a little ditch out of each half (I burned my fingers a little, too). I mixed chopped meat with fried onions and a bunch of spices and put a little ball in each ditch. Then I baked the whole thing.

Problem was, the potatoes still needed a long time to finish cooking. By the time I took these out, the potatoes were still a little hard, and the meat was dry. Next time, I'd bake the potatoes blind until they are done, then put the meat in and put them back in the oven.


Mejadra is a delicious mixture of rice, brown/green lentils, and fried onions. The first time, I followed this authentic recipe, which calls for deep-frying the onions (pictured above). It was worth it, but time consuming.

Here's the corner-cutting method I used the second time: boil the lentils like the recipe says, and drain them. In that pot sautee all the onions at once until golden, then add dry rice and seasoning. Cook for a minute, add the lentils and water, finish as described in the recipe. Quicker, still delicious, one less thing to clean, and no oil to dispose of.

Serve the authentic version for a Shabbat meal. Make a huge batch of the short version for a bunch of ready-to-go weekday lunches.