Potato Kugel

Potato Kugel

Potatoes are a fresh vegetable, and they seriously deserve a place on your plate. You should know that one medium potato with the skin on is:

  1. naturally fat-free and sodium-free!
  2. has only 110 calories!
  3. Contains 45% of the daily value for vitamin C!
  4. Is packed with as much or more potassium (620 mg) than bananas, spinach, or broccoli!
  5. Provides 10 percent of the daily value of B6; and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc!

Of course all of that changes once we start adding the sour cream, the butter, and in the Ashkenazi tradition, make today’s recipe for potato kugel! Let’s not worry about the calories in this one and just enjoy! Besides, don’t you know that everything that you consume on Shabbos gets absorbed by the extra spirit that Hashem gives you during this holy time? All the joy, none of the guilt! Good Shabbos Everyone!

Ingredients:

5 large potatoes
1 small onion
5 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chicken soup mix
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 stick of margarine, melted
paprika

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a food processor or grater, shred the potatoes and onion. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, and pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle the top with a bit of paprika. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, until browned and crisp on top and the kugel is set.

* Note: If doubling this recipe – Double all of the ingredients except for the margarine. Keept that at 1 stick (1/2 cup).

Colcannon

Colcannon

When looking back in history, you don’t often hear about great famines or blights being brought about by a single type of vegetation, but the potato did just that. In Ireland between 1845 and 1852, the potato crop was devastated by a fungus known as “potato blight” or Phytophthora infestans. At the time, the peasantry of Ireland was very dependent upon the potato. The “Great Potato Famine,” caused a million deaths and another million emigrations (many to the U.S.). This caused the population of Ireland to drop by 20 to 25% during this period.

The potato remained Ireland’s staple crop after the famine and by the end of the 19th century, the Irish per capita consumption of four pounds a day was the highest in the world.  Because of their history and their first-hand experience Ireland has been at the forefront of international famine relief. In 1985 Bob Geldof, Irish rock star and founder of Live Aid, revealed that the people of Ireland had given more to his fundraising efforts per head of population than any other nation in the world. In 2000, Bono, lead singer with Irish band U2, played a central role in campaigning for debt relief for African nations in the Jubilee 2000 campaign. The Irish famine experience continues to influence many Irish people in their attitudes towards the developing world and famine victims everywhere. It is good to see that tragedy can turn into triumph, and bring about positive change in the world.

Ingredients:

6 medium/large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2-3 tablespoons butter/margarine, divided
2 leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)*
4 green onions/scallions, sliced*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head savoy cabbage, shredded*
2 ½ cups water, divided
3-4 cups green kale, washed, stalks removed and shredded*
salt & pepper

* Click here to learn how to clean cabbage, kale and green onions/scallions, and leeks.

Directions:

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain the potatoes, saving about a cup of the cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes, adding salt, pepper, a little butter/margarine to taste, and as much of the cooking liquid as needed to make the potatoes fluffy.

While the potatoes are cooking put 1 tablespoon of butter/margarine in a deep skillet and sauté the leeks, green onions/scallions and garlic until everything is translucent, about 7-10 minutes, over medium heat. Add the savoy cabbage and ½ cup of water, then cover the pan and cook until the cabbage is tender.

In another skillet add the remaining water and cook the kale until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain the kale well, and then mix everything together, and taste to adjust your seasonings. Serve and enjoy!

Papas Arrugadas with Red & Green Mojo Sauce

Canarian Potatoes

The humble potato. Where would be without it? As a Jew just coming off of Passover, I can tell you I’d be lost without it! So in honour of our starchy, tuberous friend from the nightshade family, I dedicate this week to the ever versatile potato!

We’re going to be starting our international dedication with a recipe from the Canary Islands, which are Spanish territory just off the southern coast of Morocco. It is fitting to choose a recipe with Spanish roots, since the English word potato comes from the Spanish patata (the name used in Spain).  The Spanish say that patata is derived from the Taíno (native language of the people of the Caribbean) batata and the Quechua (native language of the people of the Andes) papa. So as you can see, even the name is international!

This recipe makes a great little appetizer if you’re serving a tapas style meal or hors d’oeuvres and wine, as something savoury to nibble on! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the green mojo sauce:
½ green bell pepper, cut into large pieces
½ cup cilantro or parsley leaves*
2 garlic cloves, or to taste, crushed to a paste
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
pinch of fine sea salt, or to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the red mojo sauce:
4 garlic cloves, or to taste, crushed to a paste
¾ teaspoon pimentón picante, chile pepper, or cayenne
2 teaspoons pimentón dulce or sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
pinch of fine sea salt, or to taste

For the potatoes:
2 pounds small new potatoes (in their skins), washed
4 tablespoons coarse sea salt

* Click here to learn how to clean cliantro and parsely.

Directions:

To make the green mojo sauce:
Blend all the ingredients except the oil to a paste in the food processor. Gradually add the oil and blend to a light creamy consistency.

To make the red mojo sauce:
Mix the garlic with the pimentón, and cumin in a bowl, then beat in the olive oil and vinegar. Add salt to taste.

To cook the potatoes:
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan that holds them in one layer, and add just enough water to cover and the salt. If you have to boil the potatoes in two pans, do so, this way they each get the salty coating.

Bring the salty water to a boil and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, letting the water bubble for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender and the water has evaporated. Leave them over very low heat for a few minutes, moving them and turning them over in the dry pan, until they are wrinkled and covered with a fine powder of salt. Serve hot or warm, with one or both of the sauces.

Rhubarb Wild Rice Pilaf

Rhubarb Wild Rice Pilaf

So here’s a little FYI about rhubarb, were you aware that it is poisonous? Rhubarb contains oxalate, which causes illness or death when large quantities are ingested. Most of rhubarb’s oxalate is in its leaves, so trim them off and discard them, and you’re safe. There is almost no poison in the actual rhubarb stalks.

By the way, it’s not easy to die from eating rhubarb leaves. According to The Rhubarb Compendium website (at www.rhubarbinfo.com), a 150 pound person would have to eat at least 11 pounds of rhubarb leaves before suffering fatal effects. I think we’ll all be okay with this weeks recipes.

Ingredients:

¼ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium/large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 2 large stalks)
½ cup white wine
½ cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup cooked wild rice (about ⅓ of a cup uncooked)
1 cup cooked long-grain white rice (about ⅓ of a cup uncooked)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F, and spread out the almonds onto a baking sheet. Toast almonds in the preheated oven until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep an eye on them, nuts burn ever so quickly! Set the almonds aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion in the oil until just translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about another minute. Add the rhubarb and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes more.

Stir in the wine, raisins, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper into rhubarb mixture; cover the skillet with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until rhubarb is tender to the bite but still firm, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the honey and soy sauce, stirring everything to combine.

Lastly, add both the wild and white rice into the rhubarb mixture, stir until rice is heated through. Top with toasted almonds.

Wheat Berries with Charred Onions and Kale

Wheatberries & Kale
So today’s final grain is the wheat berry. For those of you not familiar with this one, it is the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. The grains, or berries, are a tan to reddish brown colour. What I love about them is their al dente bite and yummy taste. They are a great alternative to rice or other grains, and can be easily found in health food stores and some of your larger supermarkets. They are great as the base for a cold salad, mixed with diced veggies and feta. For this recipe we’re using them in a hot side dish, along with that trendy green kale! Be sure to check out my tips on how to de-stem and slice up the kale for best eating! The recipe below will serve six as a side dish and is definitely what should be on your table tonight! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups wheat berries
2 medium onions, halved, divided
5 sprigs thyme*
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon red chilli flakes, divided (to taste)
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into chiffonade/ribbons (about 8 packed cups)* §
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

* Click here to learn how to clean thyme and kale.
§ Click here to learn how to destem and chiffonade kale.

Directions:

Combine wheat berries, ½ of 1 onion, the thyme sprigs, 1 garlic clove and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until wheat berries are just tender but still firm to the bite, about 35 minutes. Drain; discard onion, thyme and garlic clove. Place the wheat berries in a large bowl and allow them to let cool.

Cut remaining 3 onion halves crosswise into ½” slices. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Mince the remaining garlic clove, and add half of it to the onions, along with ¼ of a teaspoon chilli flakes. Season the onions lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until onions are charred in spots, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the onions to the bowl with the wheat berries.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Working in 3 batches, add the kale and the remaining garlic and chilli pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Add oil as needed between batches, until the kale is charred in spots, about 1-3 minutes per batch. Add the charred kale to the bowl. Drizzle the wheat berries and vegetables with the lemon juice and any remaining oil; tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Butternut Squash with Cumin Couscous

Butternut Squash Couscous

When people are talking about alternatives to rice or potatoes as a side dish, they often list couscous along with grains such as barley, bulgar and buckwheat. But yes, I know, couscous is not a grain. It just looks like one ’cause it’s all cute and tiny. In reality couscous is actually grains of semolina, which is durum wheat, and is the same stuff that makes up pasta. So technically couscous is just unformed pasta? Well, that is something I’ll leave up to the food debaters (yes, there are such things as food debaters). For our purposes, this yummy dish will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
⅓ cup dark or golden raisins
4 ¼ cups vegetable broth
1 (540ml) can chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 ½ cups couscous
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves*
¼ cup (1 ounce) almonds, chopped

* Click here to learn how to clean parsley.

Directions:

Halve and peel the squash. Remove the seeds and cut the squash into 1-inch chunks. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon of the cumin and cook for another minute. Stir in the squash, tomatoes, raisins, broth, chickpeas, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until the squash is tender, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups water and the remaining cumin and salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the liquid has absorbed into the couscous and it is tender, fluff it gently with a fork.

Divide the couscous among individual bowls and ladle the squash over the top. Sprinkle with the parsley and almonds.

Quinoa, Bulgur and Bibb Salad with Feta

Quinoa & Bulgur Salad

So a co-worker of mine was recently asking for some recipes for grains, things like quinoa, bulgar and couscous (yes, I know it’s not an actual grain). I looked up a few for her, but then she suggested a week on alternative grains. So Judy, this one’s for you! Today’s recipe is a 2-for-1, in that it contains both quinoa and bulgur, two great grains that are easy to prepare and adapt well to a variety of flavours. As always, you can change up and adjust this recipe to fit your family’s tastes. If they’re not crazy about olives, leave them out. You can switch the feta for goat cheese, shredded cheese, or leave that out as well, and make the salad pareve. The lettuce can be changed up with salad greens, arugula or even romaine. The choices are endless! No matter what you use though, the recipe below will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

⅔ cup quinoa
8 cups water
3 teaspoons salt, divided
⅔ cup medium bulgur
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons dried mint, crumbled
½ teaspoon black pepper
8 brine-cured black olives, such as Kalamata, pitted and cut into slivers**
4 radishes, quartered and thinly sliced*
4 ounces feta, coarsely crumbled (about 1 cup)
2 heads Bibb/Boston/Butter lettuce, cut into ¼ -inch strips (about 8 cups)*
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

* Click here to learn how to clean radishes and Bibb/Boston/Butter lettuce.
** Click here for my tips on pitting and slicing olives.

Directions:

Add the quinoa into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Using your hand, agitate the water so that the quinoa gets rinsed well. Drain using a sieve or colander. Repeat this process 3 times, using fresh water each time.

In a medium to large sized saucepan, add the washed quinoa, 8 cups of water, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Simmer, uncovered until the quinoa is just tender and the germ starts to separate from the grain, about 20 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.

While the quinoa is simmering, in a small bowl, add the bulgur and cover it with warm water by 2 inches. Let the bulgur soak until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes. Drain well, and then stir into the drained quinoa. Cool grains completely, about 20 minutes.

While the grains are cooling, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mint, pepper, and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt in a small bowl and let stand 15 minutes, then stir into the grains along with the olives, radishes, feta, lettuce and tomatoes. Serve immediately.

Potato Galette (PEI)

Potato Galette

So the little province with the big heart, and name, is Prince Edward Island. This small province (only 5660 square kilometres or 2190 square miles), is one of Canada’s three maritime provinces and sits in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. When I think of PEI though, two things come to mind. The Anne of Green Gables book series and Potatoes! For those of you that are not familiar, Anne of Green Gables is a book series published from 1908 through 1921 and written by PEI born author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The series pivoted around a young woman named Anne, and her adventures and family who all lived in PEI. The series became quite famous, and spawned movies and televisions series based on Anne’s character. The other PEI claim to fame that I mentioned is their potatoes! Known for its red soil, PEI grows a bounty of potatoes, and in fact produces 25% of all potatoes grown in Canada! So, when it came to a recipe to showcase PEI, how could I not choose a potato one?! Today’s galette, or pie, will make a yummy, cheesy side dish and will serve 8.

Ingredients:

5 pounds of peeled, thinly sliced PEI potatoes
½ cup olive oil
½ cup puréed onion (about 1 onion)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
4 teaspoons salt (or less if desired)
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the herbs and let the mixture cool. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the potatoes very thin, using a mandolin if you have one. While you are slicing the potatoes, keep the cut ones in a large bowl with water. This will remove the excess starch from the potatoes and keep them from turning brownish/grey. Drain the sliced potatoes and dry them, then toss the potato slices with the cooled down onion mixture. Take a 9″ x 13″ pan, and rub or spray with oil. Combine the salt and pepper with the two cheeses. Place a layer of potato slices on bottom of pan. Sprinkle a layer of cheese mixture alternating with potatoes and finishing with cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and let bake for another 20 minutes, so that the cheese can become golden brown. Let cool. Cut into 8 pieces (1 across, 4 down) then cut squares in half to make 16 triangles.

Dirty Rice

Dirty RiceNo, before you get all worried, I’m not suggesting you eat the rice that you swept up as part of your Passover cleaning! Dirty rice is a traditional Creole dish made from white rice which gets a “dirty” colour from being cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, green bell pepper, celery, and onion, and spiced with cayenne and black pepper. Parsley and/or chopped green onions are common garnishes. Dirty rice is most common in the Creole regions of southern Louisiana; however, it can also be found in other areas of the American South. This recipe will serve 6 as a side dish, and 4 as a main.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium/large onions, diced (about 1½ cups total)
2 medium green bell peppers, diced (about 1 cup total)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup total)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ pound ground beef
½ pound chicken giblets or livers**
2 bunches green onions, chopped*

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions.
** If you are using livers instead of giblets, please ensure to following the directions found in this article on how to Kasher your raw liver.

Directions:

If using Giblets:
Place the giblets in a pot, and cover with water, bring to a simmer for 30 minutes with 1 bunch of green onions, salt and pepper.

If using Liver:
If using raw liver, please Kasher it according to the instructions provided in the link above. Once the liver is cooked (either purchased cooked or cooked through the Kashering process), follow the same steps as the giblets, however only simmer until warmed through, not for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a colander, rinse rice several times until water runs clear. Place rice in a large pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not overcook.

In a pan, sauté the garlic, onions, bell peppers and celery in vegetable oil until soft for about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne and add to rice. Cook the ground beef in a sauté pan and add to rice.

Finally, let the giblets cool enough to chop into small dice then add to rice mixture. Mix rice well and let simmer on lowest heat for an additional 30 minutes, stirring continuously, until flavors meld. Serve hot garnished with the second bunch of green onions.

Carrot, Sweet Potato, Apple Kugel

Carrot, Sweet Potato, Apple KugelThis recipe was passed around the office as a “keeper” on a scrap of yellowed newsprint. Wanting to track down the original source, (thank you Google!) I was able to find that the recipe was first published in the Baltimore Sun back in December of 1991*. It was part of an article written by Colleen Pierre, R.D. entitled “Veggies Don’t Have to be Bland, Boring”. While yes it is a bit old (23 years!) the article, and the recipe, still hold true. If you would like to read the original article, please click here.  This recipe will serve 8.

Ingredients:

¼ cup margarine
1 cup grated, peeled sweet potatoes (1 medium/large sweet potato)
1 cup grated, peeled carrots (2 medium/large carrots)
1 cup grated, peeled apples (1 large apple)
½ cup matzo meal
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons sweet wine
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon oil (to grease pan)

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with about 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ingredients, and then pour into your prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown on top.

* According to the article, the actual recipe comes from “Life After Schmaltz,” a book for heart-healthy Jewish holiday cooking by Rosalind Trieber, M.S., Ann Sussman and Janet Brigham, Ph.D., published in Baltimore by Trieber Associates.