Hawaiian Poke

Tuna & Avocado Poke

So has anyone else noticed that it got pretty hot out? Like really quickly too? Whatever happened to Spring? It seems that here in Toronto we get, usually, a pretty wicked Winter, a week of Spring, and then watch out, ’cause here comes Summer! And with that, comes the heat and the dreaded humidity. Some days it feels more like you’re swimming outside rather than walking. So, having said all of that, how about some recipes that you don’t have to “cook”? No heat required? That’s right, we’re doing a raw week!

Today’s recipe is for Poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish that combines the freshest of fish, usually either tuna or octopus, with some asian flavours such as soy, sesame and onion. The trick to this dish is not to make it too much in advance. You want to combine the flavours just before eating, only about 15-30 minutes before everyone comes to the table. This way you don’t loose the fresh, delicate taste of the fish. My suggestion? Try serving this as a starter one Shabbos instead of gefilte fish! It will be a hit!

Ingredients:

½ pound sushi-grade salmon
½ pound sushi-grade ahi tuna
1 large avocado, cubed
4 green onions/scallion, thinly sliced*
½ jalapeno chili, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
½ tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
cooked white rice, to serve

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions/scallions.

Directions:

Check over your fish for any small bones or pieces of skin left on. Using a very sharp knife, slice the fish into ½” cubes. Set your fish aside for now. To toast your sesame seeds, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds, and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Make sure to stir often to prevent burning.

In a medium bowl, mix together the green onions/scallions, jalapeno, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, lime juice and ginger. Save a little onion and sesame seeds to top your finished poke. Add the fish and avocado to the bowl with the marinade, and toss to coat.

Fill a large bowl with ice, and then place the bowl with the poke in it into the larger ice filled bowl to keep the poke nice and fresh until you are ready to serve it. Taste the poke, and adjust the seasoning as needed, with salt and pepper to your own taste.

Serve the poke on top of some cooked white rice with thinly sliced green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Baby Potatoes with Cucumber Dressing

Cucumber Potato Salad 2In my family, it seems when ever we make a Father’s Day BBQ, this dish is made, and devoured! It came our way via a neighbour and family friend of ours named Stella Katz, who also does an amazing BBQ Chicken (click here for the recipe) and a delicious Corn Quiche (amongst many other yummy dishes). Funnily enough, I ran into her and her husband last night, so I felt today’s recipe was even more appropriate. This salad is pretty easy to make, without the chopping and dicing of a ton of ingredients, and will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

20 small new potatoes
5 green onions, minced*
1 English cucumber
2 tablespoons Lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped*

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions and fresh dill.

Directions:

In a large pot, boil the potatoes (skin on), until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and allow them to dry and cool. Using a grater or food processor, finely grate the cucumber. You can leave the skin on or peel it, according to your preference. In the bowl of the processor, or a large mixing bowl, combine the grated cucumber, lemon juice, salt, paprika, mayonnaise and about half of the dill. Stir to combine. Toss the potatoes with the dressing, green onions and remaining dill. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Gourd – קרא

The Hebrew word for Gourd is קרא, which relates to the word קרע—meaning to rip apart, as well as קרא—to announce. So with this in mind, we eat a symbolic piece of gourd or squash, and ask that our evil deeds are ripped up and our good deeds proclaimed.

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁתִּקְרַע רוֹעַ גְּזַר דִּינֵנוּ, וְיִקָּרְאוּ לְפָנֶיךָ זָכִיּוֹתֵינוּ

May it be Your will, Lord our G‑d and the G‑d of our fathers, that the evil of our verdicts be ripped, and that our merits be announced before you.

Once all the ripping and shouting is done, enjoy these gourd recipes with your family!

Squash, Pomegrante, Farro Salad

Roasted Squash, Pomegranate and Farro Salad

Ingredients:

1 medium squash (meat and seeds)
1 cup farro
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Spices for Toasted Seeds:

¼ teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
Pinch of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees for roasting the squash. Half the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, setting them aside for toasting later. Slice the halves into ¾ inch crescents, coat lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Roast on an aluminum-lined baking pan for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.

As the squash roasts, boil 1 cup of farro in 3 cups of water. Once at a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes until al dente. Drain the remaining water, and set aside in a large bowl to cool. Yield the seeds from the pomegranate by cutting off the stem, and scoring the pomegranate skin in quarters. Soak the scored pomegranate in water for a few minutes, before breaking it apart and seeding it under water. The pith with float to the surface of the water as you continue to agitate the seeds. Drain them and side them aside.

When the squash is done, allow it to cool almost completely before cutting it away from the skin and into cubes. Similar to the process for seeding the pomegranate, soak the squash seeds and pith in water, and agitate to separate the seeds. Discard as much of the pith as possible. Use the same pan to toast the seeds. Toss the seeds in the olive oil, salt, paprika, cumin, and pepper, then spread evenly on the aluminum foil. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, tossing halfway through.

When all the ingredients are prepared, toss together in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and chopped green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Roasted SquashRoasted Kabocha Squash with Fried Sage

Ingredients:

1 Kabocha squash (or acorn, butternut, etc.)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

To Fry the Sage:

Ingredients:

1 bunch fresh sage
¼ cup olive oil
Coarse salt

Directions:

Pinch off leaves from sage. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Fry 6–8 sage leaves at a time until crisp, 2–3 seconds. Transfer with a fork to paper towels and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Prep and fry sage and set aside. You can learn how to clean sage here.

Next scrub the outside of the Kabocha squash and with a very sharp knife and someone who has some strong hands, carefully cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Lay the squash halves on their flat side and again with a sharp knife and a strong person, cut them into wedges. Place squash on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, pepper, curry and dust the top with brown sugar. Roast in oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a total of 30 minutes. Turn wedges over half way through. When done, top with salt and pepper and the fried sage.

Beets – סלקא

In Hebrew, the word for Beet is סלקא, is closely related to סלק —meaning to depart. So taking that in mind, we eat beets symbolically and say the following:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּסְתַּלְּקוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשׂוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ

May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us shall depart.

So with that wishful adieu, I give you two beet recipes to say “later haters!”

 

Beet & Rice Salad

Beet and Rice Salad

This recipe comes from a good friend, Esther Prisman. I find it easier if purchase the pre-cooked, already peeled beets now available on the market, and then using the food processor with the shredding blade to grate them.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice, cooled
2 cups cooked beets, cooled and grated (around 3-4 whole beets)
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped

Dressing:

2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup mayonnaise
Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. Pour dressing over the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate, allowing to marinate. Serve at room temperature.

 

Roasted Beets

Tasty Roasted Beets

Quick tip, beet juice really stains, which is what makes it an excellent natural food colouring! However, if you don’t want your cutting board or fingers to turn bright pink, I suggest wearing gloves when chopping these raw beets and taping down a piece of wax paper over your cutting board. Just make sure you secure the paper well so that it doesn’t slip while you are cutting.

Ingredients:

4 beets, peeled and cut into ¾ -inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (optional)
1 pinch sea salt, or to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the beets, olive oil, and thyme in a bowl until beets are coated, and arrange pieces of beet on baking sheet so that they don’t touch. Sprinkle the beets with sea salt. Roast in the preheated oven until the beets are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. A fork inserted into a beet cube should come out easily.

Small beans – רוביא—לוביא

Small beans in Hebrew is רוביא or לוביא and is related to the words, רב—many, and לב—heart. So we eat these symbolic beans and ask the following request:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּרְבּוּ זָכִיּוֹתֵינוּ וּתְלַבְּבֵנוּ

May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that our merits shall increase and that You hearten us.

So to be heart healthy this year, here are two recipes involving beans that you can serve up to your guests!

Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar

Ingredients:

½ red onion, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced*
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered or 2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 15oz. can corn niblets, drained
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoons garlic powder
½ bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)*

Directions:

In a very large bowl, mix together the coriander, vinegar, oil, sugar and garlic powder. Once combined, add all of the vegetables and beans to the dressing, mixing well to make sure everything is coated. Be sure to mix well, but lightly so that you don’t crush the beans. If using cilantro, chop it finely and toss in with the salad. Let the salad sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavours meld. Take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before serving so that it is not ice cold. *See the produce cleaning guide on how to inspect green onions  and cilantro.

 

Black Eyed Peas

Deep Fried Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients:

1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
1 onion, cut into large dice
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
Canola oil for frying
2 teaspoons of your favourite seasoning blend (I suggest a Creole/Cajun type)
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Place the black-eyed peas into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the peas. Pour in enough water to cover the peas by 3-inches, then stir in the onion, bay leaves, and jalapeno pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the peas are tender but not mushy, 40 to 50 minutes. Add more water if needed to keep the peas covered while cooking. Drain the peas in a colander set in the sink, and spread them onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels or dish towels to drain. Discard bay leaves, and refrigerate the peas until ready to fry.

WARNING: The peas need to be dry before you drop them in the oil. Excess water will cause the oil to splash up and potentially cause a nasty burn!

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Use a thermometer, or here’s a neat tip: Take a wooden mixing spoon hold it standing up with the handle submerged in the oil and the wood touching the bottom of your saucepan. If bubbles start to rise from the tip of the handle, your oil is ready! If you don’t have a thermometer or a wooden spoon, you can always test a few peas first by dropping them in. They should immediately start to bubble, but not burn. Adjust your temperature as needed. Carefully pour about 1 ½ cups of peas into the hot oil per batch, and fry until crisp, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove the peas, drain on paper towels, and toss the hot peas in a bowl with your seasoning blend and kosher salt. Serve hot.