Maple-Cured Salmon & Barley Risotto

Salmon & Barley Risotto

When preparing this dish, make the barley first, as it takes quite a bit of time to cook from it’s raw stage to it’s fully cooked stage that you will need it to be to make the risotto.  Once it is cooked, the risotto stage is fairly fast. While you can skip the parsley emulsion, I would not skip the mustard sauce, as it definitely adds the kick that the dish needs. To learn how to clean barley and parsley, click here.

Maple Cured Salmon

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds skin-on salmon filet
½ cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

Pour 2 tablespoons of oil over a large sheet pan and top with salmon, skin side down. In a small bowl, combine maple sugar and the salt. Rub onto salmon flesh. Cook in preheated 475F oven for 10 minutes. Turn oven on to broil. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the fish rest. When you are ready to serve, cut it into 6 portions. For the mustard sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and a pinch of sea salt. See below on how to plate.

Barley Risotto

Ingredients:

8 ½ cups vegetable stock
2 cups dried pearl barley
Pinch + 1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups crimini and stemmed shitake mushrooms, chopped (or any other type of mushroom)
2 cups 35% cream
4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

In a large pot, bring stock to boil over high heat. Add barley and pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until soft, about 2 hours. Drain. Return barley to pot. In a medium pan, heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cream to barley mixture. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until well-mixed and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan and 1 tablespoon of sea salt.

Parsley Emulsion

Ingredients:

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a blender, combine garlic, oil, lemon juice, parsley, and two pinches sea salt. Pulse until smooth.

Plating suggestions:

To serve, divide risotto among 6 plates. Drizzle each serving with parsley emulsion. Top each with one portion salmon. Drizzle fish with mustard mixture. Enjoy!

Pomegranate – רימון

On Rosh HaShannah we eat a pomegranate and say:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה מְלֵאִים מִצְוֹת כָּרִמּוֹן

May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that we be filled with mitzvot like a pomegranate [is filled with seeds].

With 613 to choose from, I’m sure we can find a way to be filled with mitzvot and pomegranates this year!

Pom Dip

Pomegranate Pepper Dip

This version of muhammara, a Turkish dip made with red peppers, pomegranate molasses, and walnuts, uses fresh pomegranate seeds instead of reduced pomegranate molasses, and pecans instead of walnuts. It has a fresh, bright flavor and is delicious spread on crackers or pita bread or used as a dip for fresh or lightly steamed veggies.

Ingredients:

3 to 4 red bell peppers
1 pomegranate
1 to 1 ½ cups pecans
1 clove garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Directions:

Use either the broiler method or live flame method, roast the red peppers until they are charred. Let them sit, covered, about 15 minutes. Heat an oven to 350°F. While it heats, seed the pomegranate and set the seeds aside. You should have about ¾ cup. Lay the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Cook until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set a timer and check frequently – pecans can go from raw to burnt very quickly. Set pecans aside to cool. While the pecans cool, remove the skin from the peppers – the charred skin should slip right off. Feel free to rinse them under cool running water, if you like. Gently rub the pecans with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and lift the pecans off the towels. You won’t remove all the pecans skin, nor do you need to, but it should remove a fair amount of it. Put the peppers, pecans, pomegranate seeds (save a few for garnish, if you like), garlic clove, olive oil, and salt in a blender or food processor and whirl until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add lemon juice to taste and adjust salt to taste. Serve immediately or cover and chill to serve later (the dip will keep for several days). Garnish with reserved pomegranate seeds, if you like.

Pom Relish

Pomegranate Relish

Ingredients:

2 pomegranates, seeded (About 1 ½ cups of seeds)
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons orange juice
Dash of salt

Directions:

Seed pomegranates – see How to Seed a Pomegranate. Be careful because the juice does stain! Combine all ingredients and mix well with wooden spoon. Refrigerate for 4 hours prior to serving. Remove from the fridge about 15 minutes before serving so that it is not ice cold.

Mama Miriam! Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

Original recipe makes 10 quarts

Ingredients:

25 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
3 bay leaves
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound yellow onions, finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 1-quart canning jars with rings and lids
10 teaspoons salt, divided
1 ¾ cups bottled lemon juice, divided

To make 1 Quart:

Ingredients:

2 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
¼ bay leaf
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
⅓ cup yellow onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1-quart canning jar with ring and lid
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons and 2 ½ teaspoons bottled lemon juice, divided

Directions:

I find this first step, while a little time consuming, really helps in the end, so trust me and go with it! Blanch your tomatoes and remove the skins! Bring a large pot of water to boil. Take each of your tomatoes and score an “X” at the top and bottom of it. Drop it in the boiling water and let it roll around for a minute or so, then fish it out and plunge it into an ice bath. This will shock the tomato, and let you slide the skin off relatively easily. if you’re having difficulty, use a paring knife to remove any stubborn pieces.

Due to the sheer amount of tomatoes used in this recipe, you make want to divide it up amongst several large pots on your stove top, rather than attempting to try and do everything in one large (enormous!) pot. Place tomatoes, bay leaves, honey, oregano, 1 tablespoon salt, and black pepper in a large stockpot and cover with water. Stir to combine, cover, and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Remove cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning. Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes you may want to add more salt or more honey.

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onions and garlic in the hot oil until the onions are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are done, you can either transfer the mixture in batches to a food processor and puree it, or use an immersion or hand blender, and just blend it in the cooking pot itself. Return the pureed sauce to the stockpot, add the cooked onions and garlic, and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until sauce thickens and reduces by about half, about 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. During this reduction time, you can make your different varieties of sauce by divvying up the sauce into smaller pots and adding additional garlic to one for a garlicky sauce, fresh basil to another for a basil sauce, or chili peppers to make a spicy sauce. You are only limited by your imagination!

Prepare quart jars and lids by heating them in boiling water in a canning kettle for at least 5 minutes. When the sauce is ready, remove jars and lids and place on dry towel. To each jar, add 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice. Ladle the hot tomato sauce into jars, leaving 1/2-inch of space at the top of each jar. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth, place lids onto jars, and screw on rings. Place filled jars in the canning kettle. Return water to a simmer, adding more water if needed to cover the jars by at least 1/2 inch. Cover kettle and bring water to a boil. Cook at a steady boil to process the jars until fully sealed, about 45 minutes (add more water if needed). Turn off heat and let jars rest 5 minutes before removing and cooling on a clean, dry towel placed on kitchen counter or table. Check that the lids have sealed, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Bumper Crops Day 4 – I’m Seeing Red!

Bushels of Tomatoes

Well, here it is, the last day of bumper crop week and I think I’ve saved the best for last. Tomatoes! If you’ve ever grown your own, you know you seem to go from “Man, when will I ever get a decent tomato to slice up for a salad or a sandwich?” to “What am I possibly going to do with all of these tomatoes? Can I somehow convince people that tomatoes are the new currency?” Even if you don’t grow your own, you’re bound to see bushels full at your local grocery stores and farmers market. So what can you do with all of these little red gems? Besides packing a few in your family’s lunches everyday trying to push the benefits of lycopene? (FYI tip: The lycopene found in tomatoes, is a powerful anti-oxidant, and studies have shown that it helps protect the blood vessels around the heart and neck better than vitamins A, E, or CoQ10, as well as having Cancer fighting properties. However in order for your body to properly absorb the lycopene, the tomatoes need to be cooked first, preferably in olive oil, which helps the body absorb the full benefits of the nutrient). The answer is easy! Tomato Sauce! You can set aside a few hours and make quarts and quarts of your own tomato sauce, varying between zesty, spicy, garlicky, you name it! You can make a day of it by putting on some opera, pouring a nice Chianti and pretending you’re in Rome for the day! Ciao Bella!

Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted Red Peppers

Ingredients:

12 Red Bell Peppers
12 cloves of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 bunch fresh Basil
Kosher Salt
Air-Tight Storage Containers

Directions:

In order to make Roasted Peppers, there are two practical methods for the home cook. If you have a gas oven, with exposed flame elements, then you can simply rest the peppers on top of the elements to blacken the skin of the pepper (or use tongs to hold over the element to get all the angles). If you do not have a gas oven, then move your oven shelf to the top portion of the oven and set your oven to broil. If you are using the oven method, you can roast the peppers whole, rotating them occasionally to get all the sides, or you can slice the peppers away from the core, and place them on a greased cookie sheet, flesh side down, and just let them roast. Remember however to leave your oven door ajar so that you do not set off your smoke detectors!

Once you have completely blackened the skin of the peppers, place the hot peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This will trap the steam, and make it easier to remove the skins once the peppers have cooled. While the peppers are resting, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Make sure that the containers you will be storing your peppers in are 100% clean, as you will be storing your peppers for a long time, (or until they’re all eaten up!) and you do not want bacteria to grow.

Finely mince the garlic and divide it up amongst your containers equally. Wash and dry the basil, making sure you have checked for any dirt or insects. Take 5-6 leaves of basil, and stack them on top of each other, then roll them up, making a little basil cigar. Take your knife and slice through the cigar, making fine strips of basil (this technique is called chiffonade for those who want to be fancy!). Divide the basil amongst your containers. Remove the plastic wrap from the peppers, and slide the skins off the peppers. It does not have to be perfect, in fact, a little bit of the charred skin adds flavour. Make sure to remove all the seeds, then slice into strips and equally distribute the peppers into your containers. Add salt to taste, and cover with EVOO.

These peppers will keep for weeks, but make sure to keep them REFRIGERATED! You do not want to risk botulism (which can form if left for a length of time un-refridgerated). Botulism can’t grow below 40F.

Sneaky Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna

Ingredients:

12 Lasagna noodles
2 cups Tomato sauce
1 Zucchini, medium
1 Eggplant, medium
1 Red Pepper
5 cloves of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 cups Ricotta Cheese (or low fat creamed cottage cheese)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup shredded hard cheese, like Mozzarella
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and lightly grease or spray a cookie sheet. Wash all the vegetables, removing the stems from the larger vegetables. Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise and place cut side down on cookie sheet. Slice the eggplant in half. Leaving the skin intact take a paring knife and gently slice around the rim of the flesh, then criss-cross the flesh of the eggplant. Place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Slice the pepper in half and remove the core and any seeds. Place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Wrap the garlic cloves in tinfoil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and EVOO, then make into a little baseball shaped package and place on the sheet. Sprinkle all the remaining vegetables with EVOO and salt and pepper. Place in the oven for around 15 minutes, checking to see how the vegetables are doing. The skins may blacken (especially on the peppers) this is NORMAL!! TIP: Keep your over door slightly ajar during this, so that you don’t set off your smoke detectors.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of water up to a boil on the stove. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add a heaping tablespoon of salt and drop in the pasta noodles. Cook, minus a minute or two, according the pasta’s directions on the package they came in. Drain the noodles into a colander and allow to cool so that you can handle them to layer.

Remove the roasted veggies from the oven. Allow to cool for a few moments while you reduce the oven temperature to 350 (for baking the lasagna) and while you set up your food processor with the metal chopping blade. In your food processor, add the cloves of garlic, the zucchini, the eggplant, minus the skin (which should just slide out since you scored it). For the pepper, try and remove as much of the pepper skin first before adding it to the mix, but you don’t have to be perfect. Give the vegetables a few whirls to break everything down. Next add the ricotta and parmesan cheeses to the mix. Hit the pulse button to mix it up, then add the eggs and a touch of salt and pepper to taste. Give it once last pulse to fully combine.

Lastly, in a 9×13 baking dish layer the lasagna as follows: Tomato sauce, Noodles, Cheese/Vegetable mixture, grated cheese, repeating until the dish is filled and ending with noodles, sauce and grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting into, to allow the cheese to set.