The Joy of Passover Rolls

March 28, 2013

The Passover Roll, as seen above accompanying matzo ball soup, is a bit of a culinary enigma. Prior to having seders with my wife’s family, I had never encountered them before.

My family (admittedly reform Jews) on both sides traditionally would have matzohs during seder, and the kugels, and of course the matzo ball soup. But the idea of having ersatz bread or rolls during Passover was a bit alien to me, and questionably pesadich.

I mean, the whole point is that you are not supposed to eat bread during Passover, right? You’re supposed to want for it.

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Latke-Vision: It Sure Beats The Yule Log

November 30, 2010

Here’s an oldie, but a goodie. Happy Chanukah — Jason and Rachel

This last Sunday, Rachel’s family got together and had a Hanukkah party, a week early. We were given the task of making the latkes, the venerable Ashkenazi-Jewish pan fried potato pancakes.

Although I tend to favor Sephardic-style cuisine, Latkes are among my favorite things from Ashkenazi (European) Jewish culture, and I hold them in extremely high regard. Hanukkah isn’t a particularly important Jewish holiday but I look forward to the annual latke frying ritual with great anticipation.

I didn’t grow up on homemade latkes — my mother wasn’t much of a cook and she wouldn’t use oil of any kind in the house because she hated the smell of grease and fried food. Frankly, I can’t blame her. The act of frying latkes will create odors that will linger in your kitchen for several days, and even with the best ventilation will require that your entire house get aired out in order to completely rid your home of the powerful chickeny/potatoey/oniony odor. Don’t let this deter you, however — the rewards are well worth it.

Want to learn how to make latkes? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Podcast #42: Bacon, Lettuce and TomatoCAST

August 18, 2010

Back by popular demand and Saveur.com is our Ultimate BLT post from 2007!

My dear friend Christine Nunn, who helped me with this project has since opened her own restaurant in Fair Lawn, New Jersey — Picnic, The Restaurant, where you can get the Ultimate BLT as an appetizer for a limited time or while summer Jersey tomatoes run out!

Click Here To Listen to the Bacon, Lettuce and TomatoCAST!

Click Here for a Hi-Res Slide Show with More Photos!

Related OTB Post: No Bacon? “P”, L and T

Ah, the BLT. In many ways, it is the ultimate and perfect expression of the sandwich, simple and yet one of the best possible sandwiches that you can eat. Still, the perfect BLT can be elusive, as most restaurants and people do not take the exacting level of care in order to construct the best BLT possible. Skimp on any of the ingredients, or use a component that is substandard in any way, and the entire sandwich fails.

In order to build the Ultimate BLT, one must be committed in Zen-like fashion to go to great lengths to source pristine ingredients. Indeed, an entire afternoon could be spent in trying to get all the right components, at considerable expense. It is neither a cheap nor an efficient affair, but it is well worth the effort.

To build the Ultimate BLT, I collaborated with CIA-trained chef Christine Nunn of Picnic Caterers in Emerson, New Jersey, who came up with some great ideas, sourced some fantastic bread and tomatoes for us and assembled the incredible sandwiches you’re about to see.

Do you want to see how the Ultimate BLT is constructed? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Matzo Brei 101

March 26, 2010

Here’s another classic resurrected for the Chosen People… Foodies. Enjoy.

— Jason

Matzo Brei — some people like to eat it just during Passover, but I like it all year round. To me, it’s the ultimate breakfast food. Both savory and sweet, it combines both aspects of French Toast and scrambled eggs in one package.

The version we are going to do is a savory version which we’ll top with syrup. You can also do a strictly sweet version, but I think the whole notion of that is insipid — you really want the contrast of the savory and sweet together.

The first thing you’ll need to do is take half a box of plain matzos (which you can buy year round), crack them in half, and then half again, and soak them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes.

Then you want to drain them in a colander so they are just soaked and a little soggy, but not swimming in water.

Are you ready to make the greatest Hebrew contribution to breakfast and brunch cuisine? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link for more.

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Low-Karb Veggie Kugel

April 20, 2008

by Rachel Perlow

This veggie kugel was a big hit at our Passover Seder last night. Knowing it was low carb and low fat, everyone took seconds of this instead of the Potato Kugel. When we made it yesterday, I used 4 boards of matzo and 20 oz of egg product, but we found the results a little too starchy tasting. So, the proportions below use less matzo and more egg. I am hoping to achieve a more quiche or souffle like texture on our next attempt.

It’s not just a Passover dish, it’s a St. Patrick’s Day dish too! Green Kugel is made of PEOPLE!!! It’s made of PEOPLE… oh never mind.

Does the Veggie Kugel frighten you? It should, because it’s damn tasty. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms a la NYT

March 19, 2008

When we were called and asked to prepare a dish for Kim Severson’s “Fat Pack” article in the New York Times that the photographer could watch me cook that very weekend, we took one look in the refrigerator and noticed we had a package of great, big, phallic King Oyster eryngii mushrooms, along with our usual staples of soy sauce, hot chile peppers and scallions.

“How about grilled King Oyster Mushrooms?” Rachel said to Phaedra, the NYT Dining Section photo editor.

“Great! We’ll be there Saturday morning at 9am”.

The resulting recipe that was used in my photo that accompanies the piece — which was originally intended to be published but ended up on the cutting room floor — pretty much came together last minute as the photographer was setting up. My idea was to replace the fattening butter yaki that typically is used as the prime flavor component of this dish with something more like a teriyaki sauce or a Korean BBQ marinade, but with an Awase Miso and fresh chili punch, and using a small amount of molasses instead of sugar.

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms

1 bunch Scallions
2 tsp Awase Miso paste
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 clove Garlic pureed
1 small Hot Red Pepper, minced
1/4 tsp White Pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp Molasses
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs Chicken Broth (optional, use water if a vegetarian dish is desired)
1 tsp Roasted Sesame Oil
1 pound King Oyster Mushrooms
1/2 tsp Sesame Seeds

Clean scallions and separate the white part from the green. Slice the scallion greens and reserve for garnish. Mince the scallion whitesand put in a bowl with the miso paste, grated ginger, garlic, minced red pepper, white pepper, molasses, soy sauce, rice vinegar, broth or water, and sesame oil. Stir to combine.

Begin heating your grill pan or outdoor grill. Lightly spray the grate with cooking oil, or use a silicone basting brush to apply a scant amount of oil.

Slice the king oyster mushrooms lengthwise into 1/3 inch thick planks. Brush one side of each mushroom slice with the glaze as you place it, glaze side down, on the grill. Then brush the tops of all the slices. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning when the underside is well marked and basting to use up the glaze.

Serve hot or at room temperature, garnish with reserved scallion greens and sesame seeds. Serve with brown rice as a side dish (serves 4) or main course (serves 2). The leftovers are great sliced and added to a salad.


Soup, Glorious Soup: Part 2, Beans and Grains

March 17, 2008

In Part I of “Soup, Glorious Soup” Rachel presented a variety of recipes for lentil soup. Now, she’ll share some ideas for using other legumes and whole grains in soups.

Chunky Bean and Vegetable Soup

The first recipe is for split pea. Split pea soup has always been one of my favorites – I make a vegetarian version that you’d swear was cooked with a ham hock. And, contrary to popular belief, it’s hardly necessary to soak beans before cooking them, as you will see in the second recipe. I just simmer for an hour or so before adding the other soup ingredients and my mixed bean soup is perfectly tender. The third recipe below is for an addictive minestrone. Finally, I present Mushroom Barley. I brought this soup over to a friends house for part of a dinner we were making together. Jason’s friend went crazy over it, the wife has asked for the recipe for her mother – she said it tasted just like her grandma’s. Even the kids liked it, and it’s vegan!

If you don’t read the rest, there’s NO SOUP FOR YOU! Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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